Category Archives: Yoga

A Two Tier ‘Map’

The word recovery means a restoration or return to normal condition.  This begs the question of what is normal?   Perhaps we will address that question down the road a bit. What we do know.  What we have become aware of is that things are not working to our satisfaction. We have become aware of a disturbance.  We can deny it no more.  In some cases the situation seems to spiral and we, not only notice dysfunction but experience it in our life.  

A desire wells up in us.  This desire is for the present moment to be different from what it is.  The desire for things to be different from what is – is suffering. We suffer whether we are aware of it or not whenever we have any degree of desire for this moment to be anything other than it is.  Of course, with anything, there is a sliding scale as far as the degree to which suffering presents itself.  I guess the poles would be from mildly irritating to excruciatingly unbearable.  I think you get my point.  

I started this with the concept of recovery because I have seen a connecting pattern between the Twelve Steps of AA/GA/NA….. and The Four Noble Truths of The Buddha.

First, The Four Noble truths.

Continue reading A Two Tier ‘Map’

Session “Three”

We completed our third and final session this past weekend. I like three sessions as an orientation type of ‘training.’

Three is the foundation. It is the formation stage of the process.

There are many areas in the yoga map. What most people think of as yoga (poses and movement and stretching) is but one step of one perspective in one area. Hatha Yoga is about movement and poses and breathing and all that. There is Jnana Yoga which is the accumulation of Knowledge, there is Karmic yoga – the path of action and Bhakti Yoga – the spiritual path of devotion.

We looked at the eight limbed path of Yoga……

Note that the poses – asana is the third limb of this path.

We looked at the chakra system……

And then brought is back to the duality of the two….

We inquired into a few yoga poses and a few pranayama exercises and sat in meditation practicing scanning the body at the sensation ‘level.’

This was an interesting series of sessions. I appreciated that we committed to three sessions. I look forward to the next step in this relationship.

Session “One”

So, I am guiding a three session introduction to meditation. ‘mindfulness and yoga for a new group. We are meeting once a week for 45 minutes. Recently had our first session and this is a ‘recap.’

First of all, I am very excited to be working with this group because they are a business involved in the health and wellness field and they are exploring “alternative” approaches to integrate with their current systems and procedures which is primarily a mainstream western medical approach.

Since my motivation for trying yoga 23 years ago was to enhance my healing path….and….I am very familiar with western medicine with having to engage with the diabetes since 1976…..it is almost a dream come true to work with doctors and nurses and their support staff.

In our first session we covered the three levels of wisdom according to the Buddha: 1. Received Wisdom, by reading a book, listening to a lecture…etc. This level is the awareness level, 2. Intellectual Wisdom. via inquiry, study, testing a practice or application and 3. Direct Personal Experience, the highest level of wisdom which one incorporates what they “know” via their experience into their perspective.

We brought into our awareness the yogic philosophy of The Koshas. There are five of them and they are the five “layers” or “veils” or “bodies” that make up a human being: The Koshas are:

The Five Koshas

We juxtaposed the five Koshas with The Buddha’s 5 processes that make up a human being, the growth process and The Kripalu BRFWA Process of Transformation:

 Kosha       The Buddha                    Kripalu                GROWTH   

1.  Physical.                          Physical                            Breathe                Confusion

2.  Energy                              Reaction                            Relax                     Exploration

3.  Mental/Emotional    Sensation                          Feel                        Incubation

4.  Higher Self                    Perspective                    Watch.                   Illumination

5.  Bliss                                    Consciousness               Allow                   Celebration

I think……that the next step in integration of western style medical perspective and alternative Eastern Style medical perspective will be a willingness to expand the perspective of what we are, who we are and why we are. We are not simply our physical bodies. In fact, the physical is but less than 1% of the all that is. This is not my opinion but is scientific fact according to Quantum Physics. More on this in a later session……The TRUTH is that we are not human beings having a spiritual experience but rather we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

Over the next two sessions we will explore this from all three levels of wisdom using the practice of meditation, mindfulness, yoga and mapquesting.

I left the group with the assignment of practicing BRFWA. In this post I further challenge the group to contemplate what their current “Creation Story” is.

Now, I know that there are several “camps” of thought on this question. There is one camp that has ruled out any further thought on this question. They have determined we live in a physical universe and that a creation story is simply that….a story. Evolution is adequate in answering any questions of creation and existence. There is another group that has contemplated this question and just determined it is unanswerable. This group is generally not interested in any further inquiry. There is another group that has adopted the creation story of a religion. Most religions have their own creation story. And there is another group that is truly seeking. Perhaps, this group is stuck in seeking?

Nevertheless, in this first session we talked about the ability to suspend belief and disbelief for the practice of meditation and yoga. To cultivate a state of inquiry and openness as we explore. To “empty our cup” of what we believe, think we know or have discounted and put in the disbelief column of our awareness and, therefore, perspective.

However, the practice of yoga is a spiritual path. There is no doubt about that. The destination is Samadhi or connection to Source. So, it behooves us to at least contemplate this Source, our origin and our current relationship to it.

Now, I know I am pushing the envelope here with what I am copying and pasting. However, if you choose to read further do so with an open and inquiring mind. Don’t seek confirmation with your current belief system. Just follow the Buddha’s path – Let it come into your awareness, seek to understand and note your experience with it. It is a writing from one of my Kabbalah teachers on the Torah portion of the week. See how it applies to our practice …… Don’t worry if you don’t understand some terms or references. Just try to receive the message my teacher is communicating . Enjoy….

Until the revelation of the Zohar, whenever this section of the Bible was read over the millennia, the challenge was always in understanding how to construct the Candelabra out of one piece. But the Zohar shows us the deeper significance of this section and what it can teach us about our own lives.

In questioning the construction of the Candelabra, Moses indicates the difficulty for us today to connect with the totality of the Lightforce of God in the physical world, which is limited. The difficulty of creating a Candelabra represents the difficulty in creating unity—unity between ourselves and God. This is what the Zohar tells us was the deeper significance of what God and Moses discussed.

The only thing that can sustain us in every aspect of our lives is the Lightforce of God, which means having a connection with the Flawless Universe. But because we are unfamiliar with it, chaos reigns supreme in every aspect of the physical world. There is not an aspect of physicality that does not experience chaos in some form—death, decay, and so on.

The physical world is fragmented. Take medicine, for example. It is difficult today to find a general practitioner; if you have something wrong with your arm, you go to an arm doctor, if you have something wrong with your finger, you go to a finger specialist. There is no longer a connection to the totality. 

What the Zohar teaches us is that we must examine the body and connect to the whole. This is what holistic medicine is about—unifying and connecting the physical body with the Lightforce of God, which is already complete.

This week, the example of the Candelabra teaches us that there must be a totality of connection; it cannot be broken or segmented. This is a very deep lesson.

We can acquire this kind of knowledge from the Zohar and transform our consciousness. Before we can demand that we live in a totally Flawless Universe, we have to have unity within ourselves. We should work to remove that which creates division, not only within us but also towards others. The purpose is to not only create a unified system, but also to create a unified person. We have to strive to create that unity within ourselves, which creates unification between the realms of the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. This does not mean that we pay no attention to the physical. We are talking about a state of consciousness by which the physical world does not influence our decisions. Unfortunately, most of us succumb to the physical world. 

We have the power in our consciousness to override and elevate ourselves. No matter how difficult the physical weighs upon us, we can still rise above. This is what we are trying to achieve.

Any time the challenges of the physical world become the deciding factor, we distance ourselves from the Flawless Universe. This week the story of the Menorah reminds those who permit the physical world to control them, how to be whole. The most important aspect of Beha’alotcha is to understand that if we have difficulties on the physical level, it is because our consciousness still permits the physical world to dominate us. As an example, if you are working in your business, do not permit your business to become your master; always remember your higher consciousness.

The 4th PHASE

A good Kripalu Yoga Teacher will start the class by describing what we are going to do, then, do it and then, describe what we did.

As we enter the 4th of 5 “Phases” in our inquiry of yoga, meditation and “maps of the territory” allow me to recap the past 14 months and set the stage for this phase and the final phase.

RECAP

In the first phase, March 2020 – December 2020 we “confronted” the mystery of the body-mind connection through the practice and study of yoga – meditation and multiple maps of the territory. Our focus was on right alignment and discovering our personal edge.

In the 2nd phase, January 2021 – March 27 2021 we began to explore a bit deeper. At least we became more aware of being in inquiry. We has awakened the mind that seeks The Way and we went into inquiry mode.

In the 3rd phase, March 28 2021 – May 17 2021 we deepened our contemplation. We went into incubation. We considered how to best utilize our awareness of the path.

Phase 4

The 4th phase, May 17 2021 – July 24 2021, is the illumination stage in the process. We have confronted, explored and incubated. Now, we must take inventory of what we have accomplished and allow the manifestation to bloom. It is interesting that the 4th book in The Torah is named ….”The Desert.” The message being that while it appears we are not making progress, that we are in a Desert, we are really making progress with our work. It is just hidden. Will it appear as a mirage? How much longer can you hang in there. We are almost there.

Phase 5

The 5th and final phase, July 25 2021 – September 29 2021 is the manifestation stage. Actually, the way I see it, is that it is more about managing the manifestation. We are always achieving results. On a moment to moment basis we are achieving results. What do we do with them? In The Torah we have reached the proverbial “Promised Land.” What is this territory and how should we be? What do we do now?

Now What?

On September 30, 2021 we start back at phase zero. But with a larger and more efficient vessel to receive The Light of The Creator. I will be setting up the retreat experience. Want to come join me?