An excerpt from Blake Bauer’s book, You Were Not Born to Suffer. Blake will be presenting Unconditional Self Love, Qi Gong & Meditation at Hollyhock in August 2017.
The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places. – Ernest Hemingway
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.
Everything happens for a reason, especially health challenges of the mind and body. Although this may be difficult to accept, I’ve found that many of us unintentionally allow ourselves to get depressed or physically unwell, because we never learned how to express our emotions or care for ourselves in the ways necessary to remain healthy and happy throughout life. We learn from a young age to please others and to seek our parents’ or our caregivers’ conditional love to survive, but it’s often at the expense of being true to ourselves and it causes us very deep harm.
If we never wake up to this unhealthy internal dynamic, it eventually leads to depression, disease, relationship problems and most forms of suffering, all of which are simply cries from our soul calling us back home to ourselves, to the source of peace and strength within, and ultimately to love and value ourselves in each moment – starting now.
Continue reading The Purpose of Suffering, Depression, and Disease
By Padma Shyam, who will be presenting Padma Meditation: Finding Balance and Joy at Hollyhock in September.
Namaste! I live in the Himalayan mountains, and over the last thirty years, I’ve learned from my guru and through my own daily meditation that we are, each one of us, pure and free and forever blessed.
For years I’ve practiced breath exercises and gentle hatha yoga, eaten a pure vegetarian diet, and every single day, taken the time to meditate.
I’ve found that the single most powerful technique you can do, is the very simple act of sitting down and closing your eyes each day.
Continue reading Padma Meditation
By Leslie Davenport, who will be presenting Deepening Climate Advocacy at Hollyhock on June 19-23.
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.
Continue reading Ecological Imagination: Listening to the Heart of the Earth (Audio)
By Lauren Walker, who will be presenting The Art of Energy in Yoga at Hollyhock. Audio meditation found below.
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.
Continue reading Yoga Nidra (Audio)