Thursday, November 22, 2012

Full Circle

I harvested my pumpkins and tomatoes yesterday. The first frost of the year was upon us and it had to be done. Yet, while gathering the wonderful bounty the harvest provided, I couldn’t help but feel something for the plants. They had been flourishing all season, putting all of their energy into growing strong and healthy and producing their beautiful fruits (vegetables) and here I was yanking them out of the ground and tossing them on the compost pile. One minute they were rich and healthy plants and the next they were mulch. It was a very poignant moment of experiencing the cycle of life. Of course everything is born, grows and dies, but there seems to be a cognitive dissonance in people these days. They can understand the concept abstractly, or on a television program, but there seems to be very little true understanding of the full meaning of this.

When something dies it goes back to the earth to nourish the next thing that grows. It is part of the beauty of the life process. All things follow this cycle. The dawn brings the birth of a new day while the dusk signals the onset of night and the end of daylight. The new moon appears each month, grows in size until full, and then wanes. The seasons cycle from spring to summer to autumn to winter in a never-ending circle of birth, death and rebirth. We, as human beings have roughly 80 years from start to finish and once things begin to breakdown the end can come much quicker. On a longer timeline the cycles of ages can take thousands of years.

The larger cycles can often have an influence and impact on other shorter cycles. The cycle of the seasons from autumn to winter brings the frost that kills the plants, ending their cycle. The fall of a civilization can cut short the life cycle of a large number of the people living within that civilization.

This cycle is very apparent in the course of the development of societies. A group of people come together with common values and commitment. They form a community which begins to grow and prosper. Given time and good fortune, it can become a robust society full of culture and innovation. Eventually it might even become a great civilization with influence that spreads to other societies. Eventually however, things begin to break down, decay sets in, and the society passes into the annals of history and finally...myth. A new day then dawns on the next group of people gathering together.

At the core of this cycle is change. Change represents the movement from one state of being to the next and so on. For anything to grow and develop there must be change. In fact we live in a world that is in a constant state of change. It is just that the changes are most often too subtle for us to notice except over long periods of time. In middle age we can look back on our childhood and notice how much things have changed, but on a day to day basis things seem the same.

For us, here and now at the end of 2012, we have entered a time of dramatic change. We have reached the end of a great cycle of ages and it is going to have an impact on all of us. As this larger cycle reaches its conclusion and begins its rebirth, all of the smaller cycles within it are going to have to adapt to the end of the old cycle and new way of being.

For many it is easy to interpret this as saying that we have reached the end of our civilization, however I don’t believe that is correct. It is more of a time of dramatic change that will have a significant impact on our civilization. We will still exist after this time of change, but the world may look rather different once we have navigated our way through it. The most important thing we can do is to be aware of the changes and put ourselves in a position to react and adapt to them in a calm and mindful manner.  By being aware of the cyclical nature of things we can be prepared to deal with the changes as they occur.

The cycle is best expressed in the symbol of the yin/yang. It is one of the oldest and best-known life symbols in the world, but few understand its full meaning. It represents the two poles of existence, which are opposite but complementary, and which replace each other in a constant cycle. The darkness and light revolve around each other, one growing strong as the other weakens and vice versa.

As I mentioned above, these cycles can be large or small. We encounter some of them on a daily basis, while others can take years or decades to cycle through. The large cycle we are living through at the moment is on a scale we are not really able to comprehend. The end of this cycle has been taking place for the past 20 years. It will take just as long for the beginning of the new cycle to commence. We stand at a significant moment in time. The end of this cycle signifies the power of the dark ascending as the light weakens. It will be some time before the new cycle begins and the light returns. We need to consider our actions carefully. In times like this it is important for those with the power of light to retreat, so that the darkness cannot encroach upon them. This retreat at is not to be confused with running away. Instead it is a sign of strength to gather one’s forces in a safe place and wait until the time is right to emerge.

The light will return. Those who have held to the path of truth and peace and light will be in ascension.

We will come full circle.

Until then...
Nourish your Body
Calm your Mind
Expand your Heart
Honor your Soul.

Wishing you much peace.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Vibrational Changes

Events of the world appear to be moving quite rapidly. This phenomenon has been called the Quickening or Earth Changes. Whatever name you decide to give it, the bottom line is that for many people there is finally a dawning recognition of the dramatic changes we are facing in the world as events begin to impact daily life. This brings with it a palpable sense of upheaval and disturbance that can breed fear and uncertainty. And while many people are scared or confused at the disruptions that are taking place, they fail to recognize their own behavior that continues to contribute to the situation. 

At a fundamental level these changes are vibrational. Everything is vibrating. We are all in a state of energetic vibration. However as the finite limits of the planet are neared these vibrations are starting to shift and grow in intensity. With the increasing intensity we start to become more aware of the vibrations. These vibrations can affect our lives in many ways, but most often it results in higher levels of stress and tension during the daily interactions we have. Dealing with these vibrations can be a challenge as they can often be very destabilizing to our inner equilibrium. At times, it can even seem as if everything is on the verge of falling to pieces.

People in the spiritual community have more skills to deal with these vibrational shifts than the average person. They usually have some type of meditative and/or healing modalities that help to counter effects of shifting vibrational energy fields, yet even those who are grounded in spiritual practices can be knocked off balance by people or events beyond their control. In addition modern technologies including phones, computers and televisions create their own vibrational fields that disrupt our connection to the planet. Becoming aware of these vibrations is imperative if we are going to move forward towards a more enlightened way of being.

Modern society appears to have reached another important crossroad. We have had a number of opportunities in the recent past and it is hard to know how many more there will be. Like the pendulum that swings from one extreme to the other, our way of living has reached the point where going forward in our destructive all-consuming manner is no longer feasible. As a civilization we have come to consider the Earth, the plants, the animals, other human beings and everything else, whether it is nailed down or not, resources to be exploited. This no longer serves us (it never did to begin with) and we must do something different.

Long ago humans lived in harmony with the world around them. They had a relationship with spirit, and an underlying reverence for the life-force that flowed through everything. They entrained with the vibrations of the Earth. From the Celtic concept of dana to the Chinese tao, people used to live in reverence of the world and pay homage to the spirit that exists within all things. And that spirit was strong within them. We need to return to this way of being. Our connection to the world is vital to our survival. We need to break out of the shell created by the vibrations of the technological distractions of the world. We need more time with the trees and the animals. We need to listen to silence.

Global awakening was never going to come from the top down. It must start with each of us as individuals. We can continue headlong over the edge of the abyss or step back and turn down a different path. And while many have chosen to relinquish their will and courage to embrace the excessive materialism of today, many others are starting to feel unsatisfied with that world.

It is imperative we regain our sensitivity to the vibrations, lest we become like those doomed animals in Pink Floyd’s “Sheep” Meek and obedient we follow the leader down well-trodden corridors into the valley of steel.

I have always believed that if you always do what you’ve always done you will always get what you have always gotten. The logical conclusion to this is that if you are unsatisfied with what you have then in order to change that you need to do something different. This is easy to say but can be extremely difficult to put into practice. This process starts in the mind. You have to make a mental commitment first if you want to succeed at this.

A great cycle is coming to an end and a new age is dawning. It is time to turn away from the lower vibrations. It is time to focus on our spiritual development and vibrate on a different wavelength.

10 Things to Do To Change Your Life

  1. Turn off the television. Unplug it. Toss it out the window. Everyone enjoys a movie or show sometimes, but end your relationship with commercial television today.
  2. Spend at least one day a week away from the computer, phone and internet. No calls, no emails, no Facebook…just leave it alone for a whole day and see if you can notice a vibrational difference.
  3. Grow a plant from a seed. Water it, nurture it, experience it growing.
  4. Cultivate a relationship with a tree. Sit with it and see if you can learn something.
  5. Give up junk food. No excuses, just stop eating low vibration food.
  6. Give thanks to spirit at mealtimes for the blessing of having food to eat
  7. Learn a new spiritual discipline like yoga, tai chi, meditation, tea ceremony, or anything that teaches you to be more mindful.
  8. Learn to play a musical instrument. It doesn’t matter if it is a harmonica, drum or trumpet, allow the vibration of music to move through you.
  9. Walk outside in nature everyday. Feel the vibration.
  10. . Make someone else feel good about themselves.

We stand on the threshold of a profound shift in our world. Wake up, strengthen your body and clear your mind. There is much work to be done.

Please visit our new website Shen Qi Yoga (pronounced Shen 'Chi')

Wishing you much peace.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Unplugged From Nature

These days we seem to be plugged into everything. Handheld mobile wifi platforms are making it possible to stay connected everywhere we go. Wall-sized, flat screen, high definition televisions dominate our living spaces, feeding us a, never ending, diet of information and advertising. Facebook, Twitter and texting have become the preferred method for keeping in touch with people. There is no doubt that it can be very stimulating to feel so connected and yet it can hardly be denied that there is an feeling of underlying emptiness. We have lost something. The more plugged into things we get, the more disconnected from nature we become.

Take a moment to reflect on your daily life and determine how much time you spend in front of the computer, on the phone, watching television, texting, blogging, facebooking or whatever. Now subtract the amount of time you spend sitting outside, walking in the woods, gardening or otherwise interacting with nature. The result is your Nature Deficit.

The bigger the Nature Deficit the more out of balance with the life force of the natural world you are.

All living things are connected by the life force that flows through them. If you can imagine this connection as billions and billions of tiny web-like fibers linking all things in creation, you can begin to understand how we are intertwined. This web of life is made up of the life force energy that is part of everything. And every living thing is part of it. The plants and animals of the world, including humans, all have a relationship to each other. At the most basic level this is obvious. It is no accident that the oxygen we breathe is a by-product of the plants as they go through the life process of photosynthesis. Just as the carbon dioxide we exhale is exactly what plants require to live. But the connection goes even deeper than that. In their book The Secret Life of Plants Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird proved, in experiment after experiment, that plants have a much more complex interaction with the world around them, than we think they do. They react to thoughts, feelings and emotions in a manner that could be described as quite humanlike if we were to be so arrogant as to assume we are the ones that originally developed such reactions. This is the same for animals as well.

But something has gone wrong. We humans have become blind to our connection as we rush to cut down the forests, mine the mountains, and frack everything else in between. We are destroying the habitats of wild creatures and making much of the world uninhabitable. We don’t realize or even seem to care that we are damaging the web of life and, ultimately, ourselves. The reason for this is our Nature Deficit. When we are disconnected from the natural world we lose our ability of feeling empathy for what is going on. Our obsession with technological innovation and our infatuation with electronic connectivity cuts us off from the web of life force energy and substitutes it with an artificial construct, in many ways similar to the concept portrayed in the movie The Matrix.

Most people do not realize that when they turn on their television, they are seeing a repetitive pattern of flickering images, which creates a state similar to hypnosis. Studies have shown that within the first minute of television viewing, brain waves switch from predominantly beta waves, indicating alert and conscious attention, to predominantly alpha waves, indicating an unfocused, receptive lack of attention. Our brain's left hemisphere, the part that processes information logically and analytically, tunes out while the right hemisphere of the brain, which processes information emotionally and non-critically, is allowed to function without hindrance. The result is that when viewing television, we do not consciously rationalize the information resonating within our unconscious depths at the time of transmission. We become more open and suggestible to the messages that are being conveyed.

Is it any wonder that, in a world where children spend an average of 44 hours a week connected in some way to electronic media, levels of anxiety, depression and attention-deficit have gone through the roof?  And it is no better for adults.

It is at times like this when we need to be guided back to the wisdom the other living beings of this planet have for us. We need to reconnect with nature to bring our lives back into balance. And I’m not talking about watching a show on the Discovery Channel.

The Heart of Nature

Recent discoveries in neuroscience have proven that more than 50% of the heart is comprised of neural cells. It is from our hearts that we process our energetic connection to everything we come in contact with. The problem is that we have cut ourselves off from this connection by allowing ourselves to be distracted by technology and all of its associated noise. We cannot hear it if we are not listening.

The consciousness of plants may be vastly different from our understanding of consciousness. Interacting with plants is not simply about talking to them. It is much more about opening the lines of communication with them on an energetic level and sharing our lifeforce. By opening our hearts and experiencing nature in its fullness we can begin to realize this connection. It is a purely experiential experience. We have to spend time in nature to truly feel it.

If you are reading this, then it is very likely that you already understand what I am saying. You have felt this connection to nature. You have probably also felt the frequency of distraction that comes from our fascination with electronic technology. It is also very likely that you know someone who is caught up in that frequency and unplugged from nature. It is time to pass this message on and change the dynamic that has ensorcelled us. 

Today, right now, go for a walk outside with someone you know who could really use some nature energy. Breathe deeply and open yourself to the life force energy around you. It is time to plug back into nature.

Wishing you much peace.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Generation of Energy

A body full of energy should be our natural state of being. We should feel wonderful and alive every waking moment. The process of deep breathing provides us with a continuous exchange of energy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work as well as it should. On a purely physical level, the human body was designed to be active, yet most of the things we do in an average day require very little physical effort. In fact, we often spend most of our days doing work that does not exercise the physical body at all. The result is that any unused energy that we have built up within the body gets transformed into muscle tension. This type of physical tension is often the source of the myriad aches, pains, twinges and worse, which we begin to experience as we grow older. These can easily turn into chronic illnesses that often become overwhelming.
During our daily life tension is gathered and deposited in various places throughout the body. For some people it may be the neck, shoulders, or lower back. In others it may be in the knee joints or feet. Still others may find it affects them internally, in their gastrointestinal tract, for instance. This tension can be quite debilitating. Left unaddressed, it can easily make you feel as if the weight of the world is on your shoulders pushing you down. It is impossible to relax because the body just plain hurts. Physical tension is a difficult barrier, however, until you can release it and reduced the physical pain and discomfort, it is very difficult to generate new energy.
Releasing this build up of tension is done through teaching the body to surrender its weight to the pull of gravity. It is a process of learning to unclench and unwind the musculature and open the energetic pathways in the body so there is a smooth flow. It is learning to let go.

Tension Release Practice

There are a number of techniques for releasing tension. The simplest and quickest involves the use of the Yin/Yang concept by contrasting tension with relaxation. In this process you push the body to experience an excess of tension so that when balanced by an equally full experience of relaxing allows the body to return to a state of balance and serenity. The contrast produces a relaxation that is more pronounced, identifiable and deeper. The key to this practice, as with most vital practices, is deep breathing.
This exercise is best practiced in bed at night before you go to sleep. You should be lying flat on your back with your legs straight and your feet flopped apart. Close your eyes and take a few natural breaths as you allow your body to settle down. Imagine that each breath allows you to sink deeper into the bed. When you are ready, inhale deeply into your abdomen. Fill up your belly, then your ribcage, and finally, your chest. You want to feel as if you are expanded completely as you fill up. Stop and hold your breath in. Next curl your toes and squeeze your feet as tightly as possible. Hold the squeeze for a moment and then exhale as you release, allowing the air and tension to flow out of you.
Take a couple of natural breaths if necessary and then begin again. Inhale into the belly, ribcage and chest. Feel the fullness as you hold your breath. This time, after you curl your toes and squeeze your feet, squeeze your calf muscles, thigh muscles and buttocks. Tense all of your muscles from your hips down to your toes, so that the whole lower half of your body is tight and rigid. Hold the squeeze for a moment and then release it as you exhale. Let go of all the muscles. Allow yourself to uncoil and unwind as you release, relax and let go.
Again, take a couple of natural breaths. As you breathe in, feel as if you are filling up from the lowest points of your body as the oxygen-rich blood courses through the clear passages of your legs. When you are ready, begin again. Inhale; expand your belly, ribcage and chest. Hold your breath as you squeeze your toes, feet, calves, thighs and buttocks. Next begin to tighten the muscles of your stomach and back. Squeeze your ribcage and the muscles around shoulders and under your armpits. Hold the squeeze for a moment and then release it as you exhale. Let go of all the muscles. Allow everything to uncoil and unwind as you release, relax and let go.
One more time, begin again. Take a couple of natural breaths to allow the energy to flow through you. Then inhale, expand your belly, ribcage and chest. Hold your breath as you squeeze your toes, feet, calves, thighs, buttocks, tummy, ribcage, chest and under your arms. Next, make fists with your hands and squeeze them. Tighten the muscles of your arms, shoulders and neck. Grit your teeth and make your whole body rigid. Hold the squeeze for a moment and then release it as you exhale long and slow. Let go of everything and feel as if you are sinking into the bed. Sink down as you breath deeply and let go.
As you lie there, continue to breathe and see if you can begin to feel the energy flowing throughout your body. The contrast between the extreme tension and the resulting relaxation should be very pronounced and give your body a warm, energized feeling.
This exercise will help to break through the hard shell of tension that has encased you. It is something that can be practiced at any time, even sitting in a chair at work. It only takes a few moments, but the benefits can last for hours.
Once the tension has been released our breathing naturally becomes deeper and less strained. This is the time to take a deeper breath and help to circulate more energy through your body. Each deep breath you take helps to assist that energy flow through your body to all the places that need it.
Generation of energy always starts with the breathing. If we can learn to incorporate deep breathing practice into our daily life, we find we have reserves of energy we were never aware of. If provides us with a valuable tool to help us face the challenges that appear before us.
I know that I said I would be addressing spending quality time in nature in this post, but because of the weather, I've been outside most of the time. I will be getting to the subject shortly.
Wishing you much peace.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2012 - Year of the Yang Water Dragon

the Dragon
January 23, 2012 marks the end of the year of the Yin Metal Rabbit and the start of the year of the Yang Water Dragon.

Hopefully the year of the Yin Metal Rabbit has given us time to reflect on things and make some decisions as to how we are going to proceed. Now the Yang Water Dragon brings with it an elemental force that must be reckoned with.

The Dragon is a sacred creature of myth and legend. A symbol of good fortune and sign of intense power, the dragon was often regarded as divine. However the Dragon also symbolizes an uninhibited bundle of elemental energy that can quickly get out of control.
This could very well be a year that Mother Nature weighs in on how things should be run on this planet. It is worth noting that the largest earthquakes in recorded history have all taken place in Yang Water Dragon years.

This year is symbolized by the element of Water above Earth.
In the I-Ching this hexagram is called Pi (Holding Together)

PI - Holding Together
Water and Earth hold together because of their natural affinity. It is a time of strengthening our inner attitude and holding to what is correct within ourselves. This holding together begins with holding ourselves together morally and spiritually. It is a time of maintaining integrity in the face of fear or desire.

We can no longer afford to compromise our integrity simply to satisfy our selfish wants. It is no longer helpful to look sideways at all the distractions keeping us in a state of ignorance. 

As I said in my last post Correct Yourself, regardless of what you believe or how well you distract yourself, a fundamental shift is upon us. What are you doing to adapt? 

Take a look at your life. What part of it is wasteful, greedy or selfish?

An even more important question is; Are you spending enough quality time out in nature? 

This is a question that I will be addressing in my next post.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Correct Yourself

And so it begins…2012 has arrived and, whether there is some prophetic galactic convergence on the winter solstice in December or not, change is upon us. There has been a fundamental shift in the world that we can no longer turn a blind eye to. It is starting to affect the daily lives of more and more people. The circus-like distractions of the mainstream media are no longer able to divert our attention from what is happening. The basic tenets of fairness and rule of law have been broken by greed and selfishness. Free market Capitalism is failing, the climate is a wreck, and the already-scarce resources of the planet are shrinking every day. Hubris and fear threaten to tip the world into chaos. The world is much in need of correcting.

There is an old Chinese proverb that states if you want to correct the world, correct the state; if you want to correct the state, correct the family; if you want to correct the family, correct yourself.

It is time to correct yourself. It is the only way you are going to make it through this. You can no longer live in distraction and fear. You must now turn towards what is good, and right and just. This means taking responsibility for yourself and owning what is yours. It means you must start working on being present in every moment of every day and maintaining balance along your path.

Staying present can be a challenge for yogis who live in the mountains and meditate every day. For the rest of us in today’s crazy world it is downright impossible. But we must now do the impossible if we want to avoid the inevitable. Yes, there is too much going on and it may often feel like you are one inch from the edge, however, if you are to continue on this journey and bring peace, love and light into the world, staying present is vital. Staying present provides a solid ground from which to focus on difficulties as they arise. It is a way to take control of things and get your life in order. It is no longer an option to spend your time distracting yourself as you try to escape from being present.

There are three ways of distract yourself from staying present: Looking Forward, Looking Backward, and Looking Sideways.

Looking Forward is focusing on the future. This happens when you become diverted from the present moment by wishing or wanting things to be different. It also happens when you seek to protect yourself from imagined consequences of present situations or when you try to find ways to undo what you have done. In reality Looking Forward is merely an attempt to escape from a present moment you are unhappy with. The truth is that the only way around a problem is through it. Face your difficulties with courage and honesty. The creative power of the universe is available if you are able to acknowledge the power of right and good.

Looking Backward is focusing on the past. This happens when you spend your time wishing you had made different choices and blaming yourself for things that have happened. You also are Looking Backward when you feed your ego by congratulating yourself on things you have accomplished. Looking Backward is another method for escaping from the present moment. It is time to let go of all of the baggage you are carrying. If you are dragging all of that stuff behind you it is impossible to open yourself to new opportunities and experiences that appear before you.

Looking Sideways is looking at anything but yourself in the present moment. This happens when you spend your time comparing your situation with others. If you gauge your rate of progress through the rate of progress of others it is very easy to get caught up in envy and resentment. Envy comes from the perception that others have more than you do and resentment comes from the perception that others have it easier. The truth is that everyone is on his or her own journey. Each of us has our own struggles. Someone’s good fortune is not to be looked upon with covetous eyes. Turn your attention away from what other people do or have. Focus on yourself.

When you are not satisfied with your lot in life it is very easy to get drawn down into a negative spiral of fear and disappointment. Focusing on Looking Forward, Looking Backward or Looking Sideways is a diversion from dealing with the present moment. When you are distracted by wishing, wanting, blame or resentment, you are unable to act spontaneously as the moment demands. If you are looking at the goal rather than the needs of the moment, it is very likely you will stumble over something in the road. If you are looking back at where you came from rather than the path forward, you are likely to run smack into something. If you are looking around at what the other people are doing rather than paying attention to your own life, you will get lost.

The time is now to pay attention to yourself. Let things happen by allowing to be guided by the present moment. Focus only on that which is before you. Cultivate an attitude that is concerned with what is essential and correct. Leave the rest be.

The force of inner truth influences us. No matter the darkness we find before us, going through it is the only way to reach the light.  Be simple in your needs. Be sincere in your interactions with others. Be serene in your state of mind. It is the only path forward.

Wishing you much peace.

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