All posts filed under: Mind-Body

Cyndi Lee

Radical Inclusivity and Just Showing Up

By Cyndi Lee // The other day a friend of mine texted to cancel our lunch date. The reason, she wrote, was that her body wasn’t feeling well and was telling her it needed to rest. After wishing her a delicious nap and a speedy recovery, I couldn’t help but wonder about this conversation between her and her body. I pondered how it could be that her body is not her and, if so, who is she that isn’t a body? Of course, this brings up age-old questions about the nature of consciousness, impermanence, and the definition of the true self. But what I’m really struck with is how we separate ourselves from ourselves. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word, yuj, which is typically translated as to yoke or bind, to join, unite or re-unite. In other words, yoga is relationship. Of course, we know that mind and body are part of each other. You cannot have a body without a mind or a mind without a body. But sometimes we forget. One …

Blake D. Bauer

The Purpose of Suffering, Depression and Disease

By Blake D. Bauer // The body’s suffering is a mask the mind holds up to hide what really suffers.  — A Course in Miracles As a culture and as individuals we need to swing the pendulum of attention towards transforming our dysfunctional mental and emotional life if we want our body and outer world to reflect a healthy internal environment. But before we can take these steps we have to find the humility to open our mind, especially if our current approach is not getting us the results we want. We have to admit that we didn’t know better and acknowledge that maybe our views have been limiting or not very healthy for us. This is not about making ourselves wrong, thinking we are flawed or blaming ourselves. Rather it’s about recognizing the fact that we inherited some very self- destructive habits and beliefs from people who were doing their best, with what they knew, at the time. And now, our body, life and world is screaming out for us to finally heal our …

Reading As a Path to Awakening

By Albert Flynn DeSilver // Here’s a funny question: What is reading? I mean really. The act of looking at words splayed out across a page or screen? (An army of ants skittering across an expanse of white sand, a flock of geese strewn windward against a dusk-lit sky). Maybe reading is a primal act of tracking and hunting. Footprints, deer trails, wing movements in the batted-down brush. We are looking for signs of movement, action, food. Contemporary reading is based on an ancient primal embodied knowledge of studying the landscape—scrawl of branches against a winter sky, tide patterns left in the sand at the tip of the ocean’s reach, a musical script the wind left via quick ripples against the calm face of the bay, hexagonal patterns of drought-cracked earth, debris patterns at flood lines, terminal moraines and glacial erratics (giant stones left behind in open meadows by receding glaciers). Each a lone word, sentence, phrase, or paragraph—nature leaves her book wide open, her journal pages flapping in the wind, for us to drink …

Mindful Hiking

Practicing Mindfulness and Awareness in Nature

By Kay Peterson // A passing rainstorm doesn’t have to ruin a hike if we remember to bring a raincoat or don’t mind temporarily getting a little wet! The clouds are certain to pass and we may even be left feeling stronger and more rejuvenated than we expected. Our emotional landscape is much like the weather – we may not be able to control it, but we do have power over our reactions to it. As human beings, we have a tendency to gravitate toward pleasurable experiences and to avoid potentially painful ones. One could argue that some of that tendency is a by-product of important survival instincts. We need to be able to identify and act when we encounter potentially life-threatening situations. However, this “instinct” can also run amok – especially these days when we rarely find ourselves being chased by dinosaurs 😉 Sometimes that part of the brain that alerts us to potential danger has been trained to be reactive – to be especially sensitive – often due to some kind of trauma …

Healing Sound

Healing Secrets of Sound

By Christine Stevens // The roar of joy that set the worlds in motion Is reverberating in your heart —Radiance Sutras, Dr. Lorin Roche We are all wired for rhythm by our circadian sleep and wake cycle, our brain waves, our cardiac beats, and even our neural firings. This is our personal music medicine. So many people have been told they have no musical ability. They believe they can’t ‘hold a tune in a bucket’ or keep a beat. But the truth is we are the music. I call it “homo musicalis”. The healing power of music is not just a fluffy concept; it is based on both historical and research-based evidence. One of the fathers of music therapy, psychologist and music therapist Dr. Mark Rider, known for coupling musical experiences with active visualization for pain reduction, writes about the power of group sing-alongs to treat trauma responses for veterans. In fact, group drumming has been shown to directly activate the immune system and calm stress responses. A 2001 study published in the journal Alternative …

Insight Meditation

Living Fully, Loving Well—Reflections on the Awakened Heart

By David Chernikoff I first became interested in death and dying in my early teens. It wasn’t a choice as much as a necessity. Because of numerous early losses, most of them sudden and unexpected, I felt deeply drawn to understand the essence of living and dying at a time when most of my peers were preoccupied with very different concerns. At the time, I had the sense that I’d been singled out, bullied by an uncaring universe or an incomprehensible God. Looking back, I can see the blessings that were wrapped in the painful packages of grief and trauma that touched my life so many years ago. Those events shaped the unfolding of my journey in a way that is clearly evident in retrospect. It’s not surprising that I chose to study psychology, religion, and theology in the years that followed. I was passionately interested in the way we heal our hearts, bodies, and minds as well as “big picture” questions related to why things happen the way they do. In my late twenties …

Compassionate Acceptance as a Path of Healing

By Thomas Roberts // How often do we embark on our spiritual growth journeys with the well-meaning intention of improving, changing, quieting, calming, or otherwise modifying ourselves? Thinking that if we just get it right, then our demons will finally leave us alone! I know I did. With that approach, the harder we work at it, the more conflicted, frustrated, anxious, self-berating, and distant it seems we become from that goal we so want to achieve. A long time ago, I was talking with a fellow journeyer about this whole conundrum. She said: “You know it’s kind of like training a dog by locking it in the basement and hoping it will eventually become a nice dog. Hmmm… In truth, we simply cannot silence—or otherwise lock away—those parts of ourselves that are wounded, messy, difficult and scary. They need to be recognized, accepted, and held with great love and compassion. And this brings us to the notion of compassionate acceptance. After all, the guts of our spiritual/healing journey is not about silencing, changing, or becoming …

The Search for Comfort Zones

By Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche With every blink of the eye, with every breath, we are trying to find comfort—some kind of relief from the underlying agitation and unsettledness of our ordinary mind. We look to family or friends, to some source of stimulation, or to an infinite number of other external conditions that we hope will help us. When we listen to music, watch movies, or engage in any other form of entertainment, in one way we are enjoying it, but in another way it is also an example of using our ordinary mind to find comfort. Our search for this comfort arises from the primordial fear within our ordinary mind. We are all trying to find a comfort zone, and when our circumstances inevitably change and we are no longer in a comfort zone, our secure and hopeful world is gone. Even when we are getting what we want, we worry that we may lose our comfort zones. We worry about losing our job, our family, our relationship, our health, and anything else that …

Culadasa

Culadasa: Disentangle From Your Thoughts and Emotions

By Culadasa One thing that all successful meditation practices have in common, whether it’s acknowledged or not, is stable attention and mindfulness. You could even say these are the two functional objectives of the meditation process. And although you may have never noticed before, conscious experience takes two distinct forms: attention and peripheral awareness. Attention and peripheral awareness are associated with different brain networks that process information in fundamentally different ways. They are two quite different ways of “knowing” the world. Paying attention involves a bilateral dorsal network of structures that selectively engages specific objects, is top-down, voluntary and intentional, focal, highly verbal, abstract, mostly conceptual, and evaluative. Peripheral awareness involves a right-lateralized ventral network that provides an open awareness that automatically orients to new stimuli, can disengage and redirect attention, is bottom-up, stimulus-driven, panoramic, minimally verbal, concrete, mainly sensory, and non-judgmental. The main thing these two systems have in common is that both contribute to conscious experience. To be successful in your practice, you must work with both attention and peripheral awareness to stabilize …