Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Thursday, December 20, 2012

What have you learned?

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the Mayans have predicated that 12/21/12 would be the end of the world.  Much has been written about this predication. Some begging you to repent as the end draws near.  Some laughing at those gripped with fear.  And of course, there are those who have changed their opinion about the prediction as the end approaches.

We as aspiring yogis know that we have taken this human incarnation to learn certain lessons.  With this in mind I find myself exploring the idea...what if today were the last day of this human experience?  What lessons have I learned?

I've learned to love....even  after my heart was broken.

I've learned to forgive...even when the injury was repeated over and over.

I've learned to walk through my fear...and there were many.

I've learned compassion...for you are me and I am you,  in sorrow and in joy.

I've learned to get back up when I've fallen....Laughing or crying to keep moving forward.

I've learned to see the beauty....even in the darkness.

I've learned to keep my inner light burning....and to be mindful of where my shadow was cast.

I've learned that I have strength that I never knew I had....which I never would have learned had it not been for the troubles.

I've learned to feel grateful....even of the challenges.

I've learned that God's plan for my life was WAY better than my plan....even though it didn't always feel that way at first.  I learned to trust in God.

I've learned that I AM ENOUGH....regardless of what others may say.

I've learned that it's okay to kick people out of your home but not out of your heart.

I've learned that it's okay to feel sad....just not to get stuck in it.

I've learned that I do matter....what I have to offer is important and valuable and to feel comfortable with that.

I've learned that all good things come to an end.....Only to make room for something even better.

Tomorrow the world will end.  It's the end of our old patterns of thinking and being.  It's a time to shift the focus from the individual to the collective.  A time for all of us spiritual seekers to shift our focus from our own individual awakening to what we can do to help the collective awakening.  The individual ego needs to end and our focus must shift to what's best for the greater good of ALL.   In other words....something better.

Hari Om!

Friday, December 14, 2012

The teacher is waiting.....

The deeper I go in meditation the more vivid and real my dreams are.  At least that's what it seems like.  Today a message I received in a dream keeps coming back to me over and over.  I may have shared this dream already as it happened some time ago.  If I did I hope your memory is as short as mine and you won't mind the repeating.

The dream goes like this......

There's a teacher sitting in a room preparing to teach a class.  I'm really eager to hear what she has to say. I'm there waiting for the "class" to start.  You see, I'm so excited that she was there because she left her body before I got to know her.  Before I even realized that she was my teacher she was gone. 

The teacher is sitting, smiling, waiting. Waiting for everyone to settle down.  She doesn't get angry that people are talking and walking around and completely ignoring the fact that she has some very profound things to say. She simply waits.  I'm not so patient.  I'm getting frustrated.  I'm getting angry.  I want to hear what she has to say.  People are talking to me.  They are distracting me when all I want to do is hear what the teacher has to say.   Still the distractions continue and frustration grows.

The lesson is this......

The "teacher" is waiting patiently for our minds to settle down.  There's no use for the teacher to offer words of wisdom when we aren't listening.  When our minds are distracted, the teacher waits.  Knowing that we aren't listening.  Why talk when no one is listening.   We know this, yet we continue searching for wisdom, searching for knowledge with a distracted mind.  What's the use? 

Distractions are plenty.  Aside from the endless mental chatter we've got going on, there's our emotions, and our anger to distract us.  Relationships, jobs, many distractions.  The knowing that we seek is being offered.  The teacher is ready to teach but what's the use when we are distracted?

I need to get a gift card at Macy's so I go to the mall.  Macy's is at the opposite end of the mall.  It shouldn't take more than a few minutes.  I head towards Macy's but notice a new store so I go in, just for a minute.  I continue my walk to Macy's when I see something shiny in the window of another store.
I go in, just for a minute.  I continue my walk until I see a clearance sign in the window of the bookstore. 
Imagine how long the walk to Macy's is with all these distractions?  Imagine how long the walk to yoga is with all the distractions in our lives.

The challenge is this......

Do not get distracted.  Be still.  Meditate often.  Be prepared to receive the teachings so that the teacher can begin the class. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

New Moon

Ever since I read Shambhavi's book, Yogini, I've been fascinated with the idea of doing special sadhana during specific astrological events.  Today being one of those times.  I'm hosting my first "new moon" gathering this evening.  My intention is to plant the seeds of spiritual community.  I know the power of group practice but my exploration into astrology is minimal.  I've therefore consulted an astrologer, my friend, Christopher Burns.  Here's what he had to say:

"Aum Gam Ganapataye Namaha'

The final new Moon of 2012 takes place at 3:42am in the Eastern time zone.

On December 13, 2012 our Sun and Moon come together in the final degrees of Scorpio in the stars of Jyeshtha. The new Moon represents renewal, it is the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. Scorpio is the feminine internal process of Mars and it is the sign of debilitation for the Moon. Our heart and mind (Moon) seek stability and comfort (Taurus). The depth of Scorpio can be unnerving as it is the space in which we face the unknown. Here in the depths of Scorpio we find our inner strength. This new Moon calls on us to go within and confront our projected fears and see them for what they truly are. We are receiving a tremendous amount of support from Jupiter (Guru) who is retrograde in Taurus. The two planets of communication, Mercury and Venus, also support as they are in Scorpio as well. Saturn and Mars also influence as the Moon was with Saturn in Libra leading up to Scorpio and will join Mars later in the day. Saturn can feel heavy on the mind as he shows us the truth and as we enter into the next lunar phase, Mars will help us to make use of the renewed inner strength that this new Moon signifies. The star Jyeshtha is said to be ruled by Indra, king of the Devas and the lord of thunder. These stars bring the power to rise and conquer, to find courage in battle. Indra rides upon the elephant and is the slayer of the dragon. He provides the final steps in the feminine reflective process of our passions as to ready us to take action on our beliefs and fulfill our dharma."

I've come to realize that creating spiritual community is my dharma.  It's also where I find the support I need to "confront" my fears and take action on things that I feel passionate about... like sadhana...

Om Som Somaya Namaha!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Is it true?

I feel like I've had a year of intense psycho-therapy with myself.  It's been a fascinating experience. When I uncover a pattern or false belief and looked at it objectively, without emotions, I can trace the pattern back to some specific moment or event from my childhood.  Don't worry, I am not going to bore you with the gory details of neurosis

What I would like to share with you, however, is that there is an incredible feeling of lightness that comes from realizing that you no longer need to carry the baggage that you unintentionally picked up as a child. Imagine that for your whole life you have been carrying around this unconscious belief that you were responsible for holding up the world. Then one day you notice that it's not your responsibility. Not only is it not your responsibility, someone else is already doing it. Since it wasn't your responsiblity anyway, there's no reason to feel guilty for not doing it anymore.  Ahhh.... what a relief!!

I feel like a proclamation is in order:

* I am not responsible for the well-being and happiness of others
* I am not responsible for holding up the world
* It is not my responsibility to fix everything that's wrong with the world
* It is not my responsibility to point out other people's patterns
* It is not my responsibility to "fix" other people's problems
* It is not my responsibility to insure that everyone is on the spiritual path
* I am not responsible for the enlightenment of mankind.

Wow! This must be what liberation feels like!

Don't get out the straight-jacket just yet! Believe me... I have no intention of using this revelation to run away from what I am responsible for. I do, however, intent to quit holding myself responsible for things that are clearly not under my control.

I do feel like it is my responsibility to offer you a challenge, if you wish to take it:

Challenge those "beliefs" that you hold most dear. Look at them from an objective, un-emotional place and ask yourself "Is that true?" Then, dig a little deeper into those scary, hidden places within your sub-conscious mind.  Can you find the root of that belief? Ask yourself  "How has that false belief colored my actions"  If you find that the belief is NOT true, give yourself permission to let it go. Then ask yourself  "How does that feel?"

P.S: Consider sharing your experience with this challenge by commenting.  Perhaps your experience may help someone else.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A rose by any other name.....

Recently a friend asked me "what's the deal with yoga people changing their name?". She proceeded to ask me why I didn't have a spiritual name. I got to thinking..."does the fact that I don't have a spiritual name mean I'm less of a yogi?" "What is the deal with yoga people changing their name?"
I did a little (and I mean a little) research via google. I came across an interview with Amma where she talks about spiritual names. In the interview she says (para-phrasing here) that she gives devotees a name because they ask for one not because she wants them to change their name. She goes on to say that changing your name doesn't change you. Change has to come from the inside. In other words,  calling yourself God doesn't actually make you God.  She said something to the effect that if your mother and father gave you a name and you toss it aside you are disrespecting your parents.

Still, there is a tradition of a master or guru giving the student a spiritual name when they initiate them into the spiritual tradition which goes back thousands of years. Sadly, like much of the tradition of yoga, this taking of a spiritual name has been stripped of any tradition and sacredness and has become another ego inflating practice.

Here's what my teacher, Ed, says: 

"Names are traditionally given by the Guru to the disciple as part of being accepted into the teaching lineage (the Guruparampara).. like becoming a member of the spiritual family.

Also names and titles are given to renunciates and/or monks when they take their vows...such as Swami Yogananda Saraswati... Swami - a title... Yogananda.. ananda.. divine bliss - of- Yoga Divine Union... Saraswati is the order of monks...who later was named a Param hamsa a supreme soul...

Again the name designates the connection to the teaching lineage... and its transmission of Shakti over time."

Let's not forget that when you take a spiritual name you have an even greater responsibility to honor that spiritual family by living your life in accordance with the yamas and niymas. All of them! The spiritual name is not a pass to skip over "intentional self-discipline" and "self-inquiry".  

Besides, when we merge with the Divine in cosmic consciousness what you call yourself won't matter anyway.