Imagination is often misunderstood, defined as a fanciful flight away from reality – and sometimes it is. But there is another kind of imagination, one that is based on deep inner listening with a quality of calm presence, and a curious, open-minded focus. When images arise into that kind of spacious awareness, imagination is tapping into a source of wisdom, a type of intuition, that puts us in touch with more of reality, not less.
With deep listening, we bring our ourselves into relationship with the unknown. This is similar to the creative process, whether we are facing a blank canvas with a handful of paints, jotting notes for a speech on a napkin at the café, or in the scientific crowd, pondering how quantum gravity helps explain the origin of the universe. We step outside what we already know, send our inner critic on vacation, and make room for messy, confusing bits and pieces of insight to swirl and shift before connecting in new and meaningful ways.
Cultivating creative imagination has a powerful role to play at this pivotal time in human history as scientists around the world are reporting that the impacts of climate change on civilization and the natural world are accelerating. We need to cultivate a pragmatic form of hope by discovering clarity followed by empowering actions, resilient individual and systemic support with effective methods that support eco-harmonious change.
A powerful way to shift things in your life is by aligning your unconscious thoughts with your conscious desires. Yoga Nidra is a simple and elegant way to do that. Through a guided meditation, you allow the mind to relax and soften and then you insert a conscious desire while the mind is like soft clay. This desire, or vow, called a Sankalpa, helps you align with your deepest truth. Sankalpa translates literally as – the vow made in the heart that is greater than all other vows. We are constantly making vows to ourselves, and some of those vows are unconscious. These could be powerful internal voices that we don’t even realize are ‘vows’. Things like, “I’ll never amount to anything,” “No one will ever love me,” “I’ll never get a job I love.” Even though these just seem like our internal dialogue, they are actually vows that our internal computers read and enact as if they are computer code.
Most of you know that our behavior is run almost 90% unconsciously. This is why we keep getting the same outcomes in our lives, despite the fact that we really, really, really want to change and transform. But change is not always easy. There are energetic flows in the body whose job it is to keep you from change. Even when that change would be good! All the yoga and meditation and running and swimming and dieting and praying and vision boarding in the world won’t help you change if you can’t get your energies to agree to change too! This is part of the power and magic of Energy Medicine Yoga. In this modality, we work with our energies, and help them transform, so that the rest of our bodies and minds can follow. And one of the most powerful practices to help us change is Yoga Nidra coupled with a sankalpa.
By Constance Kellough, who will be presenting Innerbody Meditation at Hollyhock on July 12-16, 2017.
There are many different meditation practices originating from various spiritual and secular traditions. Most, however, stress the importance of quieting the compulsive thinking mind, which wanders on average 50 times in 5 minutes. This on-going thinking (which is often unsettling, non- productive and not related to what we are experiencing in the present moment) usually emanates from some level of egoic fear and pulls us into the past or into the future.
So instead, we may crave to experience blessed stillness. Why? Because stillness is our natural state; it’s our essential self.
Stillness rises on its own when there is no thought. Eckhart Tolle has said, “Stillness is the language God speaks.”
So how does stillness relate to love? It has been said, “Be still and know that I am God.” Because God is love, one could also say, “Be still and know that I am love.”
When two people are authentically themselves in a state of stillness (some call it “presence”) with one another, they are in a state of love.
Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames. – Jalaluddin Rumi
Wherever you are, please take a few slow, deep breaths into your
belly. Feel your whole body, from your feet all the way up to the
crown of your head, and then down to your fingertips. Please relax any tension you feel and let yourself be. Using each inhalation to open your body and create inner space, welcome everything you’re thinking, feeling and experiencing here in this moment. Please be present to your body and your breath.
Before any form of external commitment can begin or remain healthy, we have to commit to being true to ourselves completely. Until we commit to ourselves – to saying our deeper feelings, values, needs and aspirations matter now – our personal and professional commitments will always result in stress, confusion, struggle or heartache, especially our intimate relationships. If you’re currently having trouble committing to an intimate relationship, it’s important to be kind to yourself as you navigate your next steps. You are feeling this way for a reason. No one wants to feel insecure, fearful, owned, controlled or limited in a partnership. However, it is equally important to become aware of why you feel as you do. For this reason, it’s empowering to know that the main reason we struggle with commitment, whether we’re starting a new relationship or questioning an existing one, is because we still have not fully committed to ourselves, which ultimately entails learning to value and be true to ourselves in all our interactions. This is a major
challenge for all of us, but it’s the only road to lasting peace,
happiness and freedom – whether we’re seeking lasting
true love or not. Continue reading Healthy Commitment to Self and Other→
Hollyhock exists to inspire, nourish and support people who are making the world better. Our learning centres are located on Cortes Island and Vancouver, BC.