Tag Archives: meditation

Nature, the Greatest Teacher

Upcoming Hollyhock Presenter, Mark Coleman speaks about nature bringing our attention to the present to foster mindfulness.  Nature truly is the greatest teacher.  Check out the short video below:

Mark’s Hollyhock program, Awake in the Wild, runs August 18 – 23rd, 2013 on Cortes Island.

 

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

by Susan Woods via UCSD Center for Mindfulness

Suffering is not personal, but in so many ways we are inclined to feel it in that way.  Of course the feeling of pain and heartache is universal; it’s what connects us and also what can separate us.  Mindfulness meditation practice encourages and supports us in developing a profound understanding about how we relate to pain and gives us choices on how we can respond.  It took me some time and lots of practice to relax into appreciating this.  What I became aware of was the more I could allow myself to show up and pay a kind and steady attention, without denying or pushing anything away or alternatively chasing after something, the steady momentum of mindfully noticing became compelling as an act of generosity.

We don’t often talk too much about acts of generosity when facing suffering; a sense that it is permissible and might even be imperative to be kind when facing the overwhelming; that by cultivating a tender abiding, embodying an intentional and attentive mindful consciousness which supports a friendly and intimate awareness we come to experience our pain, our difficulties in a different way.  We also come to notice that being mindful is dynamic and creates just enough intuitive and emotional space to acknowledge pain and the story around it without needing to react to it so much.  Learning by this measure we come to see directly the simple and powerful presence of kindness and patience, acknowledging that nothing needs fixing, residing in the meaning of being present and in the power of deep noticing and listening.  And so paradoxically we are able to let go more and more sensing what lies behind the narratives of our ego driven world.

It is this awareness, this presence, that nurtures caring which is deeply compassionate; an attentive listening heart which is quiet, calm, loving and knows from experience the storms of suffering, the rages, the hatreds, criticisms, judgments, frustrations, sadness’s and anxieties.  And when these arise, the listening heart opens, quivers, creates space, embraces, bearing witness to all while residing with the movement of breathing.  Breathing in, inhabiting this moment, breathing out, softening and letting go.  This heart has learned the worth of gentleness, has learned the value of an attending presence – a presence that asks for nothing in return, only this moment now.

In our lives and in our teaching of mindfulness, embodying a mindful presence conveys the hope that we may all slowly walk this journey of kindness with a listening heart.

 

Susan-WoodsSusan Woods, MSW, LICSW, is extensively trained in the clinical application of mindfulness-based approaches, teaches the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy programs and has been awarded MBSR teacher certification by the Center for Mindfulness, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA.

 

Mark-LauMark A. Lau PhD, R Psych, is a registered clinical psychologist in private practice at the Vancouver CBT Centre in British Columbia.  He is also a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia and a Founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy.

 

 Join Susan and Mark at Hollyhock on Cortes Island for Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy Training, July 18-21, 2013.

 

So you think this is about dancing?

by Bettina Rothe via bettinarothe.com

Jan 31:  A week ago I ruptured my achilles tendon. I had surgery and am home now with a cast in bed – horizontal, leg elevated.

A fellow 5Rhythms teacher from New York sent me a sweet email reminding me to keep up my practice, to keep moving. How might you ask would one dance in the bed, cast and all?

I remember a few years ago listening to Gabrielle Roth speak in front of a group of students about the 5Rhythms. She had a fiery way of engaging. Someone asked her where she would position the 5Rhythms compared to other dance practices. She turned around, laughed and replied: “Do you really think this practice is about dancing?

Bettina-Rothe-blogIf the 5Rhythms were simply about dancing, I would be pretty sad right now, since I probably won’t dance fully again until the summer when my leg is healed. No, this practice is about tuning in, being with, moving what can move (inside and out) and being present with one self. It is truly a meditation, an exploration of our human nature from moment to moment.

Today my spine wants to move, my hands, my shoulders. I follow my breath deep inside my body and send some loving down my injured leg. How kind and attentive can I be? How much can I rest in the Now? Can I allow the pain to be there, the physical and the emotional? What wants to be expressed?

In the 5Rhythms we show up as we are. As Mary Oliver says so beautifully: “You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” And begin.

 

Bettina-RotheBettina Rothe is a licensed 5Rhythms® dance teacher and has studied healing movement arts, psychology, meditation, and shamanic practices around the world. She has been teaching movement and meditation classes nationally and internationally since 1998. Bettina is coming back to teach at Hollyhock to offer her wild dancing spirit along with her gentle encouragements and support in an open and loving environment. 5rhythms.ca

Join Bettina Rothe at Hollyhock on Cortes Island, July 3-7, 2013 for 5Rhythms®: Song of the Body.

 

 

The Road Map to Salvation through Mantra

BY SNATAM KAUR KHALSA

How can we really enjoy this life?  How can we really enjoy being in our bodies, in this rib cage?  We must have the capacity to have a still and quiet mind.  Because the joy is there.  This innocence is there. The love is there.  We become too ravaged in our own insecurity, our own misery, our own blindness, to even see the truth.  Yes, thrash around if you must, gnarl and gnash your teeth like a wild animal.  After enough tearing about, you will be left alone, simply alone, to rebuild the pieces of your life.

Use the sacred medicine of Mantra at this time, and you will find the happiness and the joy that you are seeking.  What is despair?  What is anguish?  It is a simple frequency of the mind.  Just as Mantra is a frequency of the mind.  Mantra is a word that is thousands of years old.  It means projection (tra) of the mind (man).  Mantra is the way we project our mind to Divinity.

Snatam_Kaur_playingAs human beings we are constantly in a state of being in touch with our darkness and our light, our insecurity and our security, our courage and our fear.  We come to this earth with our karma, our past actions from previous lifetimes.  Our souls have come here to learn and grow.  The yogis say that it takes 8.4 million lifetimes (rock, blade of grass, ant, tortoise, etc. etc. not necessarily in that order!) to reach the human incarnation.  We have passed through that animal phase.  Yet many of us are still in this kind of animal phase, and even worse then animals.  At least with animals there is an innocence about their actions.  We have even lost our innocence!  So, how do we experience the goodness, the joy, and the love?  How do we reach our Divinity? Mantra.  Mantra, takes you there.  It is a fast track, direct line.  Many people do not want to even practice it, because it works too well!  They enjoy the neurosis, the anger, the pain, and the anguish!  There is a certain kind of satisfaction in it, a knowing, the familiar, and the oh so delicious drama of it all.  Mantra, well, sorry folks, mantra is kind of boring.  It is that kind of boring, boring, boring, boring a hole into your heart so that your light can finally shine through you.  It takes time, it takes patience, it takes consistency, it takes prioritization.

Here is a thousand foot view of the human experience of Mantra from the beginning to the ultimate goal. Someone experiences a Mantra, they get healed, they feel light, they feel love, and they feel joy.  Perhaps they heard someone singing it, their yoga teacher, a musician, something. If they are lucky, they will realize that it was  not in fact the human carrier of the mantra that brought them joy, but the living presence of the Mantra.  You see, because every mantra is alive, a living breathing energy.  The mantras find you!  So yes, if you know the truth, you will know that the healing, the joy has come from the Mantra itself.  With this realization one incorporates the Mantra into their life.  The ultimate goal is that the Mantra becomes you, you live it and breath it, it guides your breath, your thoughts, and your actions.  These Mantras are simple positive affirmations of the love and light of God that is within and around us, the affirmation of truth and reality that all is Divine, all is God.

Most of us exist with the Mantras on a very peripheral level.  We hear the Mantra every once in a while, we cycle in and out, we go to a chant concert or experience one night, to a disco the next night, we chant together, and then we turn around and yell and scream at each other all in the same day!  Such is the human life!  How do we get to  grace, to true experience, and joy?

My teacher taught a very simple practice that in essence gives the opportunity for all of us having a very human experience to transform, and transform completely.  It is essentially a road map to salvation through Mantra for the house holder.

It is called the Aquarian Sadhana.  I have been practicing this Sadhana since I was a teenager. And yes, with all of my faults and life in its ebb and flow, if there is anything that has worked for me, it is this practice.  This is the way it is done; we get up before the sun rises, in what is called the “Amrit Vela” or nectar time; somewhere around 3:30 am.  To make this early rising sustainable one must go to bed early as well. So we rise up, and then take a cold shower.  And yes, I did just say that.  I’ll say it again in caps, Cold Shower.  If you want to change your life, wake up before the sun and take a cold shower!  It is the most awesome experience in the world.  It totally wakes you up, for obvious reasons, but also gives you an amazing rush and experience of circulation which is fabulous for your skin and all of your organs.  Any emotional freak outs, any craziness, can be completely healed by a cold shower.  Alright so, moving on, then we do a recitation called Jap ji.  Followed by about a half hour of yoga, and then by seven mantras which we chant.  Of course in this article I cannot tell you what all of the chants are, and how to do the practice.  You can come and attend one of our courses to have an experience of that.  Or check out one of the links below for more information.

What I can tell you is that this practice has changed by life.  It has given me the opportunity as a human being, in the best and worst use of the word, in all of my experience, to reach the Divine.  Why?

Here is why, and the number one thing I wish to convey.

I do it every day.  Let me repeat that.  I do it every day.  Like the heart beat, I am consistent.  With consistency we convince the mind that yes, in fact we are putting our Divinity first, we are prioritizing it at the top, that this is in fact the core experience that we are choosing to have.  Daily practice.  That is how we are going to change the world.  That is how we are going to bring peace to this planet.  One practitioner at a time.  And so we set aside 2.5 hours each day, we give a little over 10% of our day to God, and as my teacher Yogi Bhajan says, then God gives Himself/Herself to you.

What is my goal with all of this? To have sacred mantras in my mind all day, all night, all the time.  Am I there yet?  No.  Do I have a method to get there?  Yes.

Join me my friends.  Find a way to have a daily practice.  Put Divinity in the front seat, and watch as your life, even if ever so slowly, changes and transforms.  We have to start somewhere.  And if you are like me, the chaos, the noise, the confusion, the drama, is well, let’s just say, not really working any longer.  Let us find the stillness, and even for a moment allow for the boredom to set in.  Ah yes, the boredom!  Where we can finally be still long enough to hear the laughter of a child.  Where we can finally be still enough to see how much God truly loves us.  Where we can finally just be.

Sat Nam. God Bless You.

Snatam_Kaur

Snatam Kaur is a beloved teacher of chant and yoga whose dedication to peace, love and wellbeing have inspired students and audiences around the planet. She is one of the most popular New Age artists of all time, selling over 70,000 albums a year with enthusiastic press about her music everywhere from the Houston Chronicle to the Hindustan Times. She’s been featured in publications such as Oprah Magazine, Yoga Journal, and LA Yoga. Dressed in distinctive Sikh garb, Snatam Kaur embodies the Sikh message of strength through inner serenity. snatamkaur.com

Join Snatam Kaur at Hollyhock on Cortes Island Sept 13-16, 2013, for Awaken the Kundalini.