Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Friday, April 26, 2013

All in due time.

It's still dark outside and with my sneakers in my hand I prepare for the gym.  But it's sadhana that calls me.
I leave the sneakers outside the door of the Zen Den and trade the treadmill for the meditation cushion. Time passes in an instant.  It's time to start the day.  I want to sit longer  but responsibilities await me.  Service is sadhana.

All day I sit at the my desk.  I do the work that needs to be done but every ounce of my being is longing for sadhana.  Service is sadhana when we offer the fruit of our work to God.  Finally, the work day is over but responsibilities are still plenty.  The meditation cushion must wait.

While grumbling to myself at the grocery store on the way home I remember:  Service is sadhana.  See God in everyone and offer all that you do in service to God.  Ok, I understand....I finish my shopping and head home to prepare dinner.  With this reminder fresh in my mind I prepare dinner with the intention of sadhana.  I am feeding my family as if I'm feeding God.  Seeing God in everyone.

We must fulfill our responsibilities even if it means formal practice of sadhana must wait.  If we were to abandon our responsibilities to our jobs and families in the name of sadhana we would be missing God's message to love and serve.

(Okay, I admit it.... I did abandon the dishes after dinner.) 

Everyone is preparing for bed, finally the pull of the Zen Den is too strong to ignore any longer.  With the chants to Shiva playing and room in a soft glow of the candle light I roll out my mat.  Immediately I feel my breath deepen and the stress of the day melt away.  As my body moves in rhythm to the music and my own breath I feel alive.  This is heaven right here in my own home. 

As I slowly make my way to the meditation cushion in front of the alter I close my eyes.  Still it's the Shiva mantras playing in my mind so I go with it....

OM. Tryambakam yajamahe
Sugandhim pushti-vardhanam
Urvarukamiva bandhanan
Mrityor mukshiya mamritat

Tanslation:  OM. We worship and adore you, O three-eyed one, O Shiva. You are sweet gladness, the fragrance of life, who nourishes us, restores our health, and causes us to thrive. As, in due time, the stem of the cucumber weakens, and the gourd is freed from the vine, so free us from attachment and death, and do not withhold immortality.

"As, in due time, the stem of the cucumber weakens, and the gourd is freed from the vine"  This sentence seemed to apply to the entire day yesterday.  In due time.....formal sadhana was possible.  Until then I needed to remember to make everything I do an offering to God which makes everything sadhana. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What I wish I knew when I was 22.

The most important thing to remember is that you have the power to control your destiny. That's right, YOU have the power.  Not just some of you....ALL OF YOU!! Including me.  We have the power to control our destiny by choosing our thoughts.   It's really that simple

For years and years I wasted so much energy on worrying and being fearful.  That worry and fear was paralyzing and exhausting.  Hindsight is 20/20 they say.  I can see clearly now that 99.9% of the things I worried about never actually happened.  Not to say that bad things haven't happened but never the thing that I worried about.  And guess what?  When bad things did happen, I survived and grew from it.  The seed must break open for the flower to grow. 

Sometimes just remembering that you have the power to choose your thought is enough.  Other times, we need some help.  Sometimes the obsessive thought is so ingrained and has such a strong hold on our minds that we need something equally powerful to counter it.  That's when we use mantra.  Mantra is so powerful that it can override any other thoughts and/or fears.  But don't take my word for it, try it yourself.

Let's face it, you're going to obsess anyway so why not give your mind something useful to obsess about.  Choose a mantra, prayer or inspirational passage.  Memorize it and whenever your mind is hijacked by worry or fear choose to think the mantra instead.  Then sit back and watch how your life changes.


(shameless self-promotion:  if you are interested in learning mantra meditation email me or message me with your contact info.)

Friday, April 12, 2013

I surrender............

As I sit in front of my alter I pray "Divine Mother, make me an instrument of your peace.  I offer my life in service to you.  Let my words be your words, my hands be your hands.  Use my life in whatever way you see fit.  Not my will but your will be done".   As I sit in the stillness in the early morning I wholeheartedly, sincerely mean the words I pray.

But it isn't long before the challenges begin.  Suddenly the old anger and resentments  rise up. At a closer look I realize it's an opportunity to practice forgiveness.    Some days its earier than other days.  As I move through the day I may find myself losing my patience with someone.  I get frustrated until I shift my perspective and see it as an opportunity to practice patience.  Some days its earier than others.  At times my inner child is throwing the mother of all temper tantrums when things don't go my way or I'm not getting the attention I want.  It's at those times that it's most important that I remember to be still and go within so that I can hear the whispers of the Divine reminding me to surrender my self will.

Setting aside my self will to make room for the will of the Divine is the practice of surrender.  Some days are easier than others.  Some days my self will is like a two year old in the middle of a full blown temper tantrum complete with kicking and screaming and maybe even holding my breath. 

At times I think to myself that doing the work of the Divine Mother should be more glamorous.  When I offer my life in service shouldn't that mean doing great works of charity?  Shouldn't I go to some exotic foreign country and feed the poor or something??? Doesn't that mean I should organize some huge fund raiser to help cure cancer or something?  You guessed it, that's my ego talking.   Some people's dharma is to do these great works of charity.   My dharma is to live by the light of Ma's grace in ordinary, every day situations. 

Every ordinary interaction with others becomes an opportunity to serve.  Yes, it's commendable to do great works of charity.  But equally important are the little things you do in your day to day life.  Holding the door for someone else.   Helping someone who's struggling with their groceries.  Offering a word of encouragement to someone who struggling.  If you make a donation or do some work of charity doing it anonymously.  Make dinner for someone for no reason.  Forgive someone who hurt you deeply.  Have compassion for those who hurt you because clearly they are dealing with their own inner demons. 

Every ordinary interaction with your loved ones or strangers alike is an opportunity to practice forgiveness, patience, love, and surrender.   When we choose to do what's best for others even when it means that it's not what our ego or self will would like.... That's the practice of surrender.  

When we surrender our individual, self will for the greater  good.....that's surrender.  It's easy to talk about surrender while sitting on the meditation cushion but the real practice happens in the ordinary, every day moments.  When I look at the challenges and struggles in my life through the light of spiritual practice I can see the Divine will at work. I am finding it easier to surrender when I remember my morning prayer:

 "Divine Mother, make me an instrument of your peace.  I offer my life in service to you.  Let my words be your words, my hands be your hands.  Use my life in whatever way you see fit.  Not my will but your will be done"

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

By the light of the moon.....

"Mom! Where's my shoes?!"  "They're in the closet" the mother replies.
"I looked....they aren't there!  I need them now. I'm late!!" The desperate child calls out. "I put them in the closet myself.  Look again".  The mom calmly replies.  "Oh yeah!  I found them".

The mom goes back to her meditation....  By the light of the moon the mom seeks the answers to life's questions....."Ma! where are the answers?" The desperate child calls out.  "They're right there, in the lotus of your heart"  Ma calmly replies.  "I don't see them.... I need them right now!"  The Divine mother whispers...."I put them there myself... look again". 

Oh... Yeah....there they the lotus of my heart, right where Ma told me I'd find them.

I sometimes forget that it's really that simple.  I get so lost in the details that I forget to simply turn on the light so I can see that what I'm looking for is right there in front of me.  How I turn on the light is by committing to a daily spiritual practice.  It's in the practice of training my mind to be one pointed that I can get beyond the clutter that prevents me from hearing Ma's whispers guiding me. 

Jai Ma!