Become an Indestructible Warrior of Love

The majority of my yoga classes take place on a wooden platform jutting out over the shoreline, with a majestic view of the lake and the three volcanoes along the southern shore. (Shout out to Hostel del Lago in San Marcos La Laguna!)

In just about every practice I’ve led this year, I’ve been including pranayama and sound healing before final relaxation. Asana (postures) are important, but there is a depth of inner peace and transformation that is reached when pranayama and chanting are incorporated in daily practice.

Sometimes, we’ll do the consonant or vowel sounds for the crown, heart, and root chakras, in different orders depending on the day. Or, I’ll lead the students through the seed mantras for all seven of the main chakra points.

I always encourage people to join in with their voice if they feel comfortable, or just to listen, because I can clearly remember feeling freaked out by Sanskrit chanting at age 21.

I also love playing with the warrior syllables from Tibetan Buddhism. My beloved friend and yoga teacher, Paola, introduced them to me some months back in a sauna ceremony. They are amazingly powerful and beneficial.

The five warrior syllables are AOmHungRam, and Dza. Each represents a quality of realization.

Seed syllables contain the essence of enlightenment. It is subtle, not grandiose, this uncovering of the thick multitude of layers of conditioning. Yet, it empowers us to connect more and more with our true nature—pure awareness.

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The Big No: The Value of Boundaries.

I tend toward the YIN, meaning feminine, meaning soft and earthy.

Recently, I had the opportunity to express my YANG, meaning masculine, meaning strong and fiery. And it was hard and it gave me a splitting headache and vertigo and insomnia, but in the end it was GOOD.

It feels so good to say know when it’s right to say no, when saying “yes, sure, okay, why not?” has been your pattern for eons.

Give it a try:

  • “No, I will not do that.”
  • “No, I am not going there.”
  • “No, I am not going to engage in that habit/pattern/behavior/addiction anymore.”

Why not? Because our time and talent is worth more. Because we cannot and do not want to be flexible and accommodating anymore, when the other party is rigid and exclusive. Because our energy will be spent in the way we choose, from moment to moment, every day.

We all have feminine and masculine energies within us, waiting to be balanced. May we find equilibrium and the essential equality of yin and yang, of yes and no.

There are endless possibilities. May we continue to explore them.

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HOW TO KNOW NO

There was a giant No.
That No rained.
That No created a tremendous blizzard.
That No made a dent on the coffee table.
That No was the greatest No of No’s in the universe.
That No showered and hailed.
That No created sunshine, and simultaneous eclipse of the sun and moon.
That No was a lady’s legs with nicely heeled shoes.
That No is the best No of all.
When a gentleman smiles, a good man.
That No is the best of the hips.
When you watch the gait of youths as they walk with alternating cheek rhythm,
When you watch their behinds,
That No is fantastic thighs, not fat or thin but taut in their strength,
Loveable or leaveable.
That No is shoulders that turn in or expand the chest, sad or happy,
Without giving in to a deep sigh.
That No is No of all No’s.
Relaxation or restraint is in question.
Nobody knows that Big No,
But we alone know that No.
This No is in the big sky, painted with sumi ink eternally.
This Big No is tattooed on our genitals.
This Big No is not purely freckles or birthmark,
But this Big No is real Big No.
Sky is blue,
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
And therefore this Big No is No.
Let us celebrate having that monumental No.
The monolithic No stands up and pierces heaven;
Therefore, monolithic No also spreads vast as the ocean.
Let us have great sunshine with this No No.
Let us have full moon with this No No.
Let us have cosmic No.
The cockroaches carry little No No’s,
As well as giant elephants in African jungles—
Copulating No No and waltzing No No,
Guinea pig No No,
We find all the information and instructions when a mosquito buzzes.
We find some kind of No No.
Let our No No be the greatest motto:
No No for the king;
No No for the prime minister;
No No for the worms of our subjects.
Let us celebrate No No so that Presbyterian preachers can have speech impediments in proclaiming No No.
Let our horses neigh No No.
Let the vajra sangha fart No No—
Giant No No that made a great imprint on the coffee table.

-Chögyam Trungpa, January 1979

Lessons Along the Path

“The path is like a busy, broad highway, complete with roadblocks, accidents, construction work, and police. It is quite terrifying. Nevertheless it is majestic, it is the great path. ‘From today onward until the attainment of enlightenment I am willing to live with my chaos and confusion as well as with that of all other sentient beings. I am willing to share our mutual confusion.’ So no one is playing a one-upmanship game. The bodhisattva is a very humble pilgrim who works in the soil of samsara to dig out the jewel embedded in it.” ~ Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

aerial photo of black spiral staircase
Photo by Axel Vandenhirtz on Pexels.com

Everything changes

be kind and grateful as much as possible

eat local, wholesome foods, mindfully

consume ideas that are wholesome, nourishing, and in alignment with nature.

be in touch with your precious breath

take time each day for a yoga and meditation practice

cultivate loving relationships with all beings including yourself

choose to slow down

choose to let your emotions arise and pass away, even the difficult ones, even the excruciating ones, even the ecstatic bliss

release the delusion of “I, me, mine”

(Buddhist teacher Joseph Goldstein says, “Nothing whatsoever is to be clung to as me or mine.” This isn’t easy, since it happens multiple times per minute. My bed. My house. My body. My child. My pet. My happiness.)

watch life as it unfolds and remember that “I” am nothing but a collection of ever-changing molecules in human form who has been given this day to live, breathe, love, and make mistakes

[Read original post on elephant journal]

5 Ways to Find Balance & Bliss in Daily Life

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Our past does not have to define or confine us. We have the power to choose, now, in this moment, to say YES or NO or MAYBE. We have the power to affect our present and future, yet the wisdom to know that there are many things outside the realm of our control.

Finding our balance is lifelong work. If we were perfectly balanced all the time, that wouldn’t be much fun, would it? We wouldn’t appreciate the times when we find balance because there would be nothing to compare it to, no growth, just a stagnant, too-easy, status-quo balance.

Here are some wonderful ways to cultivate more balance and wellness into our daily lives:

1) When you wake up every day, repeat this Shantideva verse three times (Pema Chodron swears by it):

Just as all the Buddhas of the past
Embraced the awakened attitude of mind,
And in the precepts of the bodhisattvas
Step by step abode and trained,
Just so, and for the benefit of beings,
I will also have this attitude of mind,
And in those precepts, step by step,
I will abide and train myself.

Bodhisattvas are human beings who strive to benefit all beings (including themselves) and choose to stay in the human realm helping inspire everyone to achieve enlightenment. The precepts include a long list of things to avoid (killing, stealing, etc.), the Buddhist version of the ten commandments. What it all boils down to is cultivating openness, honesty, compassion, loving kindness and equanimity. 

2) Be in touch with reality. Remember the simple truths of life: everything changes; be kind and grateful as much as possible; eat things and consume ideas that are wholesome, nourishing, and in alignment with nature.

3) Be in touch with your breath, taking time each day for some yoga and meditation practice, and always cultivating loving relationships with self, family, friends and ultimately all beings and things.

4) Choose to slow down, shed toxicity and be patient. Awareness of how our minds and bodies and hearts work is the first step. Acceptance is the next. And, simultaneously, striving to improve, to be more disciplined yet more spontaneous, more natural and open. I know it’s paradoxical to be content with how things are in this moment and to set goals and achieve them. Life is full of paradox!

Thanks for reading! May this article be of benefit. Please pass it along to someone who could use it, if so inspired!