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Entries related to: enlightenment

Yoga is Not A Cure

Sometimes the warring yoga factions out there make my head spin. While I understand the passion some yogis feel when they find a practice philosophy that resonates with them, I find it hard to watch if that turns into disrespect for other schools of practice. I wrote this after watching one such "debate" turn into a full blown yogi feud about how one type of yoga was a magical cure and another illegitimate fluff. When I first began my practice I often read things in the more "revered" yoga texts like "The cure for x (disease or disorder) is to hold y (usually an advanced) pose for 25 breaths." Maybe it happened to work for someone out there, but so far I haven't come across any school or method that has the power to cure. Yoga is not a cure afterall.
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On Losing My Brother

It's been a little over a month since my brother, Tim, died suddenly at his apartment in suburban Chicago. I miss him like crazy and still can't believe he's gone. While anything I write about him as a person or the process of losing him in my life is going to be partial and risks diminishing the experience, I think it's important to share my reflections in the hopes that you may find them useful in your own life.  Life is incredibly short and death incredibly final.  Like I said above, I can't believe he's gone. I saw his name in the favorites on my phone a few weeks ago, and my heart leapt at the possibility that I could just hit that button and hear his voice. Technology seems so magical at times that I believed for a split second that it could still connect me with Tim despite any distance that exists between us. Then reality set in and the magic of the phone faded. No technology can bridge the gap that exists between us now. I'm left to find other ways to connect with Tim without him being here.
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Spiritual Lessons of Parenthood

One year ago today I watched the sun come up in my hospital room while Steve and I welcomed our daughter into the world. I have heard many people say that the journey of parenthood is a spiritual one and reflecting on this past year, it has been both a learning challenge and simultaneously the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced.   Several spiritual lessons and concepts are an inherent part of being a conscious parent. Like the most rigorous spiritual practice, being a parent demands devotion, awareness of yourself and others and it teaches you how to let go. I have only been at this job for a year and I know that these lessons will expand and unfold in the precious time we have to raise our child.   Here are some of the lessons I continue to learn spending time with Baby Ray. 
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Meditation is Waking Up From a Dream

Erin and I are spending the week on retreat with Jeff Carreira, and the insights are flowing like water down a hill. My favorite so far is how meditation is like waking from a dream. What is the dream? To begin, our world assumes that we're all separate selves working towards a goal. Consider when you look at your phone: checking email, stocks, Facebook, Pokemon; who is checking? You. You with your interests and concerns. You're checking to see who you love and who loves you. How much money you have today. Whether you'll be able to sleep at night after the next presidential election. Or you're just fighting away your boredom. It all strengthens the sense of who you are and what you know about the world.  The rush in real meditation is when all these problems and situations disappear. In fact, you realize they never bugged you in the first place. You were just hypnotized by them. You located yourself in the distractions and you got lost. When you sit still in meditation, you're not reaching for anything. You let go of the relationships and ideas you lost yourself in. Then you realize: you're free from it all. And that's when things get scary, in a good way. If meditation means waking up from a dream, and my sense of self was lost in that dream, that means I'm waking up from the dream of myself. In other words, you're the dream. The dream is everything you knew about yourself. The dream is that you are the center of the universe. Meditation reveals that there is no center except consciousness itself. Your stories never mattered. And you wake up from the drama of "my life." Unfettered, you realize that there are many different ways to see your circumstances. Some of those ways have much more power and truth than others. And you can choose how to see it. If you're interested in deepening your experience and practice of meditation, join me and Erin. Our upcoming meditation teacher training starts in September. Space is limited.   
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Spring Cleaning: The Negativity Detox

It feels good to get rid of all the stuff cluttering your space doesn't it? If you missed the first part of this series on spring cleaning your whole life, check out the tools I have been using to make my living and work space more harmonious. The next major clean up job perfect for spring is a negativity detox.  Now, let's be honest. It would be impossible to live a life where you never encounter negativity. Some days you will find yourself in a bad mood. Other days a friend or family member will be suffering. I am not suggesting you deny when something upsets you or you have to deal with a primarily negative situation. As my friend Bre Nourse says "Feel Your F@$king Feelings". The negativity purge I am suggesting aims to get rid of the junk that gets through your filters and creates low grade stress and anxiety. We all have that "friend" on Facebook who constantly posts about their relationship problems, doom and gloom conspiracy theories or complains about how foamy their latte is (Okay, I admit that last one is a scene from Zoolander...but you know the people).
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Why Your Three Year Plan Is A Waste Of Time

I was talking to a teacher I know and love last week about the future. She told me that although things are on an upswing in her life, she had no idea what particular goal she was reaching for or how to start to think about the daunting - “Three Year Plan”. I know a lot of people swear by the one, three or five year plans to keep them on track and I would say, if that is working for you then there is no reason to change anything. In my experience however, after working with thousands of people on their life direction in some form or another, I have come to the conclusion that most of us cast our dreams and goals into the future and take on the task of breaking down the steps along the given time frame as a sort of security blanket. Our future “to-do” list gives us a sense that we are in control because we have a “master plan” and from there we can hide from the fact that we have no idea what is actually going to happen despite our best efforts and intention. Is there anything wrong with this?
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The Power of Pain

Not long ago, I wrote an article about what not to do when someone is sick. I won't sugar coat it, living with a chronic health condition or emotional pain is not easy or fun, but if one is willing to look hard enough there are some beautiful things to be learned even in the midst raw and constant discomfort. Today I want to share some of my hard earned lessons with you and see if pain has been a powerful force in your life as well.
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When Pain Makes Way For Joy

In the last 5 months I have begun to work with other yoga instructors to help them create more sustainable lives as part of the Yoga Teacher Survival Program. It has been a truly rewarding and amazing journey that has led me to connect with incredible instructors from all over the world. One instructor who I have been especially moved by is the lovely Niki Cochren. I am thrilled to share her with you in today's guest blog post. I think of it as a meditation on how pain can make way for joy. 
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Enlightenment, What If It's Already Happened?

Just because you may not feel perfect Doesn't mean you aren't. What if life's biggest secret is that: There is no problem That nothing is missing You're perfect just as you are. Could you handle it? Would you believe it? Could you bear the knowledge that Everything is perfect? What if your issues Weren't issues at all? You were already forgiven Would that change the way you see things? Would it take a load off your mind? Could you bear the happiness and freedom? I think it's worth the risk.  
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