Posts tagged ‘Mindfulness’

An Invitation to Explore Yourself and the Gita

Isaac Bentwich’s book, GITA – A Timeless Guide for our Time, is my first exposure to the Gita. I have never been a big fan of poetic verse, but I decided to go into this translated version of the Gita with an open mind. I purposefully read this book one chapter at a time so that I would have time to read, digest, and bring personal meaning to the author’s translation. As Bentwich explains to the reader, it took him 12 years to turn his translation into a poetic work of art, and I didn’t want to rush through my reading and understanding. While the creation was a loving and painstaking process for him, my reading and contemplation were a gift I was giving myself.

Bentwich gives us the invitation to “enjoy its beauty, and let its truth touch your heart, and its music stir your soul.” While I did not come away with “music” stirring my soul, I found that by reading the passages aloud, I deeply experienced this book as a conversation between a mentor and his pupil. At times I felt as though I could be voicing these teachings to some of my clients, and, at other times, I felt as though I was the pupil learning from my master.

There were many important lessons I took away from this book, and because I was slowly savoring the nectar of each chapter, I found myself trying to live out its guidance. The following lessons that continue to ring true for me include:

  • Be detached from fruits of one’s actions. Acting selflessly without desiring results cultivates wisdom.
  • Give up like and dislike thoughts
  • Return within for the Truth and freedom.
  • The real battle is to find inner peace in the face of life’s ever-enfolding drama.
  • Cleanse the mirror of your heart so that it reflects its Light freely onto others.
  • You no longer need to depend on the external world for your happiness.
  • You yourself are your only friend as well as your only foe.

And perhaps my favorite line was, “Abandon clinging to your work’s results, act always heart-united with the Divine; True Yoga is the art of maintaining in success and failure an even-mind.”

A recent bout with the flu gave me a lot of time to putter in my office, clear out old client paperwork, and think about where I am and what the future might hold for me. I found years of old journals where I have worked with a variety of teachers, and I found journals where I have done guided writing. I once thought I wanted to write a book about my spiritual journey, and here were the perfect notes for that book. But after a couple of sessions with a teacher who told me I don’t have to do anything but shine my light, and after reading Bentwich’s inspiring book, I now realize I could just let it all go. I tore the pages out of my journals, and I put them in the recycling. That has been a huge feat for me, someone who has had a need to do and create for more than 40 years. I decided that we are each here to individuate, and my story doesn’t need to be told by me or read by anyone else. It was nice to see how much I’ve learned. Those were old stories, and this is now. There is a part of me (the human form and egoic mind) that felt a bit of grasping at letting go of my journals. How could I just let it all go? But the “Dweller” (as Bentwich calls the Higher Self), has no longing for any of it. I can feel the beginning of a shifting to the life of the Dweller where I let go of things and external judgings, and I become more and more aware and at peace. I think Bentwich’s book came along at just the right time because this shift feels substantial, although I am aware it is not meant to be observed by others. I think I now understand the comment about human BEING versus human DOING. I’ll see where this leads me as I continue to savor the fruits of Bentwich’s work of art.


January 29, 2018 at 10:57 am Leave a comment

Creating an Environment of Well-Being

There have been times in my life when I have felt as though I was emotionally hanging on by a thread. By a thread that was fraying. And I was hanging on for dear life. Those days are behind me, and I owe it to having created an environment of well-being for myself. I wake up at 5:30 a.m. most mornings so I have time for a wellness routine. I begin with a gentle stretching routine by Bob Anderson and his DVD “Stretching.” I do the “Mindful Movements” routine by Thich Nhat Hanh, and a qi gong routine that varies according to the amount of time I have available. One of my favorite routines is free on YouTube and features Lee Holden. It is only 10 minutes long and helps move energy through my body. I like to end these wellness practices with qi gong shaking and mindful meditation. I really like the Insight Timer app for meditative music and/or guided meditations. These practices have had such a positive impact on my well-being that I also do most of these when I’m on a vacation.

The central theme of my focus on well-being is “self-compassion.” Kristen Neff, Ph.D. has written a really nice book, Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. My morning routine helps begin my day with self-awareness and self-compassion. I have found that by building up a reserve of self-love and self-compassion, I am not relying on others to fill me up. As Neff says, “Instead of relying on our relationship to meet all our needs for love, acceptance, and security, we could actually provide some of these feelings for ourselves. And this would mean that we had even more in our hearts to give to each other.” (7)

One of the greatest gifts of a life focused on creativing an environment of well-being is a deep feeling of calm and peace, even in the midst of emotionally challenging times. As someone who used to suffer from panic attacks, I am grateful for a sense of well-being that provides me with a resilience I never knew was possible. As Neff says, “…self-compassion is a powerful way to achieve emotional well-being and contentment in our lives. By giving ourselves unconditional kindness and comfort while embracing the human experience, difficult as it is, we avoid destructive patterns of fear, negativity, and isolation. At the same time, self-compassion fosters positive mind-states such as happiness and optimism. The nurturing quality of self-compassion allows us to flourish, to appreciate the beauty and richness of life, even in hard times….Self-compassion provides an island of calm…” (12)

As Neff says, “…open your heart to yourself. It’s easier than you might think, and it could change your life.” (15)

For more information about how to create an environment of well-being for you and your family, here is a podcast with Dr. Dan Peters of Footprint Parent, and me.

September 1, 2017 at 2:36 pm Leave a comment

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