Visualization – Meditation Guide Part 5

Picture yourself in a green meadow. The sun is out and there are white billowing clouds rolling gently over head. The tall trees at the edge of the meadow rustle gently in the breeze. The meadow is filled with long blades of grass that gently sway in the wind. Through the center of the meadow, winding back and forth is a small brook with water flowing over green rocks. The stream is lined with yellow daisies and golden-orange poppies. Butterflies whimsically flit about from flower to flower as the sun kisses the water splashing beams of light onto your face.

Visualization is a powerful technique. This can be used to bring yourself to a calm place. It can even be used to prompt your subconscious into a dialog with you. I will close with a visualization technique used for this latter process.

Visualization can be done in several ways. As with most techniques, you can’t really do them wrong, but you will find ways that work and ways that don’t. Some may be good with words and be able to craft an image in their heads. Others may require no dialog at all and simply piece the vision together wordlessly. And still others may find an outward source most useful.

For those seeking an outside source there are resources available that can help. Visually oriented people may find simply looking through a picture book with inspirational images gives their mind enough to work with and they can close their eyes and picture themselves in the image. There are also meditation groups that offer guided visualization. I have been in yoga classes that ended with a visualization that was very effective. Be sure to ask your yoga teacher before class if this is something they would be willing to do.

Higher wisdom Visualization

Follow the directions after reading through once or twice. It’s hard to read once you’ve closed your eyes. This is also a good meditation to do in a group where a leader reads the instructions and the rest of the group goes through the process.

Steps

Close your eyes
Picture a small sphere of white light entering your body through the crown of your head.
Visualize the sphere running down your back to the base of your spine and then back the top.
Slow move the sphere through this path 2 or 3 times. At the end rest the sphere over your heart.
As you breath deeply and fulling in and out, picture the sphere expanding with your inhales
till your entire body is surrounded with this white light sphere.
This sphere is your vehicle,
Trusting your instincts allow the sphere to transport you to a safe place.
You are surrounded by Love.
At this point you will be in a safe place of your minds choosing.
Exit your vehicle and walk through the new surroundings.
Take a few minutes to experience this world.
Off to the side you see a circle of elders, they are here to assist you.
Approach the elders and follow your insticts.
You can engage in dialog. Embrace silence. Or ask a simple question.
Take a few minutes to allow this to happen.
Slowly walk back to your sphere of light, enter and gently return to your starting point.
Slowly open your eyes and rest absorbing the moment

I have found it helpful to journal about this experience or dialog if in a group setting to help process the outcome.

I am always open to hearing about your experiences if you want to share, please feel free to email me.

Namaste,

Kevin

 

Mantra Mindfulness – Guide Part 4

In Celebration of Mantra Minder’s release, I wanted to focus today on Mantra Meditation and Mindfulness.

mantra   [mahn-truh]

noun

1. Hinduism . a word or formula, as from the Veda, chanted or sung as an incantation or prayer.
2. An often repeated word, formula, or phrase.

Shift your mind back for a moment now, to when you were first learning how to drive. I personally remember happily driving down the road, and then something off to the side would catch my eye. I’d look over for just a moment and then look back at the road. Often, to my horror, I would find that my eyes had lead my hands and the car was now off angle headed towards the side of the road instead of straight down the road as I’d intended. I’d make a course correction back to the road and continue on my way.

Often in our lives we are heading down the road towards our goal and we get distracted by something off to the side. Sometimes we are not even aware we have changed direction, or thinking, but we are headed towards the side of the road and unaware that we’ve changed course. In this way a mantra is a tool used as we’re navigating our path down the road. The mantra can act as a reminder for where we are going and help correct our coarse.

The mantras we surround ourselves with are powerful. In many ways they are both a guide and indicator, sending our thoughts in a specific direction and indicating where we are likely to go. Pause for a moment and think about a typical day for yourself. Over the course of the day are there any phrases that seem to repeat themselves? Coming from computer software I was surrounded by mantras and catch phrases that guided our thinking. “Work smarter not harder”, “Look for our synergies”, “It is, what it is”. Sometimes these were useful, and sometimes they were a form of release, but they connected with a larger thought or idea and when used in the appropriate context would connect with a state of mind and help shift us back to our goal. This is the power of the mantra. And this is why we should choose our mantras carefully.

As you can see, thinking about your own mantras and phrases that float in your head, they are both indicative of your thought processes as well as directional guides for your thinking. This gives them a great deal of power. And yet, many mantras that we use have come across our path unintentionally and stuck to us. With the power of these mantras it is a very good idea to apply discernment and awareness. So now that we understand the tone they are applying to our day we can in turn shift our focus to the mantras that empower and have a positive impact.

Choosing a mantra

Choosing a mantra is important. There is no set length content or format. I personally have an “I am …” phrase that I repeat the reminds me of my core essence and purpose here on this planet. But I also have many other mantra’s. When I’m paying my bills I find it helpful to remind myself that “I am abundant”. When I am trying to meditate and move into a more spiritual plane, my mantra is simply “Ohm”. Find something that reflects who you are and the kind of thinking you want to foster in yourself. You can start simple “I am positive”, “My world is at peace” or even “I Rock!”. Have fun with it and find something that resonates with you as both a message you need to hear and one you can believe in.

Using your mantra

Now that you have mantra, put it into practice. A simple way to start with your mantra is incorporating it into a quick 5 minute meditation. You can begin with chanting your mantra 5 times to shift your thinking. Then connect into your breath with 5 deep inhales and exhales (done slowly with pauses between). Then end the meditation with 5 more repeats of your mantra. I would suggest you say your mantra aloud in your most powerful voice. Give the mantra power. But it can be okay to think loudly too, especially if you’re doing this at work. Sit up straight, breath deeply, and own it.

Another tip is to find a tool that will remind you of your mantra throughout the day. Write it on your hand (nontoxic writing tools please). Or tie a string around your finger. Or find a tool that will work with your mobile device such as Mantra Minder.

You have the power to guide your path. Use your mantra to make a positive impact on yourself and the results will ripple out to the world around you. Be the change that you want to see in the world.

Namaste,

Kevin

 

A Day Without Technology

a-day-without-technology-bw-trim

On Friday night I decided to make good on an idea that had been circling around in my mind for a few months. Turn off everything and leave it off till sunset the next day.

I grew up with the practice of Sabbath, so this wasn’t completely foreign to me. But I hadn’t practiced in quite a while.

The evolution of my tech addiction started simply enough. First there were desktop computers of course, I loved them and wanted to take them everywhere with me. But they were stuck to my desk and plugged into the wall.

Then came the laptop. An improvement to be sure, but still quite limited. Short battery life. Limited power. And heavy, oh so very heavy. My first laptop was for work and they called it a broad-axe. It was about the size of a giant axe blade of war, and about twice as heavy. At least it didn’t have a giant handle sticking out of the side.

Next came the cell phone. They’d been around for years by the time I got my first. My first cell phone was practical. It made phone calls. It had a rudimentary web browser that was capable of displaying text and was a complete waste of time to use. It was a phone and mobile message taker.

Phones began to evolved.

Laptops got faster and lighter.

Soon phones were full scale web browsers and you could get all your email on them. You never had to be out of touch… From anyone. Always on.

Now our phones are full blown portable person computers, game systems, social communication platforms and … oh yeah, I guess they still make phone calls.

And we have come to feel they are an extension of us. They are part of our lives and we are accessible through every moment of our lives.

I’m still curious what the impact will be on the current generation. They won’t know a time when they aren’t always available, always connected, always on.

I know the impact on me has been powerful and subtle. I don’t even know the full impact. Technology is a fundamental part of my world.

So how would I react to turning everything off?

What would happen if I just went dark for a day?

As challenging as the idea of turning them all off for a day was, I thought it would be good for me.

So Friday night I turned off my iphone, I turned off my ipad, I powered down my laptop, I hid my TV remotes. I took a deep breath, and I went to bed.

The next morning, I told my wife about my plan. She was very hesitant at first, she liked the idea, but the repercussions of being out of contact with her online mother’s community was daunting. I highlighted that this was something I was doing and that she didn’t need to do it. She had a few concerns about her own participation in the experience. After mentally coming to grips with the idea, she decided to join me in my experiment.

As I showered that morning my brain kept popping up things I needed to check on the internet. Things that immediately needed my attention. Then I remembered I wasn’t doing that today.

At one point I realized that in that last 5 minutes there were no less than 4 times I could easily looking back and see I’d been thinking about “checking on” something. So the idea occurred to me that I should keep a tally of how many times I actually thought about my phone. I realized that I could download an app to help me keep track… Then I laughed quietly at my brain and tried to move on.

I was amazed at how challenging this was. I wasn’t used to observing how many impulses I have to check my phone over the course of just a few minutes. All of this turmoil from a simple act made me feel that I should write notes about my experience while it was occurring.

I then lamented that I couldn’t write notes because I didn’t have my computer turned on and I couldn’t use my phone. I thought about turning on the computer, “just for a minute” to write notes, but knew that would break the spirit of my experiment.

During this inner dialog I remembered something, something ancient from my childhood, it was also called “writing” and it involved a pencil and paper. Hooray, problem solved!

As the afternoon wore on, I found the need to check my phone lessen. I did have an undertone of unease to my mental state. I realized that this was coming from a feeling that “Someone, somewhere, must need me.” If only I turned on my phone I would find out.

I kept looking forward to sundown like a man holding his breath under water waiting to surface.

Early afternoon involved a nice nap sitting in my reading chair. Also I pulled out a physical book and did some reading into it’s pages. Two activities that would probably have been interrupted or not have occurred at all had I been “plugged in”.

When sundown did finally come, I enjoyed checking my email and seeing if I’d missed anything that I needed to know. But I was able to approach the experience in a calm fashion as opposed to feeling like a man gasping for air.

Interesting, the internet did not miss me. It didn’t even care that I was gone for 24 hours. In fact all those people that I thought were trying to contact me didn’t even notice I was gone. The only lingering side effects left over from the experience is this story and the calm that it created within me.

No damage done by my day without tech.

Overall I would highly recommend this experiment to everyone.

I was very disturbed by how many tell tale signs of addiction showed up over the course of the day. A computer seems like such simple tool, but it is tapped into more neural pathways than we care to admit.

Namaste,

Kevin

 

The Power Of Breath – Guide Part 3

The power of breath

Breathing is often taken for granted in our culture. The breath is a gift that is so often forgotten, because it is so fundamental to our being. The bodies use of the breath to revitalize itself and then expel toxins is critical to life as we know it.

In this day of smog filled air and high pollen counts it’s even more amazing that we simply keep breathing. Our bodies operate automatically on a subconscious level and it will not allow us to forget to breath.

This autopilot mode is an important piece to understanding the breath. When we become stressed and overwhelmed our breathing becomes rapid and shallow, our pulse rate increases, and our whole physiology changes to accommodate the signals coming from the brain. The mind is telling the body that we are in crisis and we must be vigilant and ready to respond to the attack that may come at any moment. But the attack never comes… Instead we sit in that state of high alertness and our body suffers from the minimized breathing activities as we continue to be ‘ready’.

The good news is that our nervous system is a two way street. Just as the mind can tell the body how to respond, the body can inform the mind. So shifting into a state of mindfulness and adjusting your rate of breathing and the fullness of your breath can in fact shift your mental state. Slowing your breath and deepening your inhale and exhale will cause your heart rate to stabilize and slow down and can reduce feelings of anxiety and agitation. As with all states of mind, the first and most crucial step is becoming aware.

So this leads to the first meditation process, simple breath awareness. This can be a very short process with the goal of observation or it can be part of a longer meditation. Find a comfortable position in which you can meditate for a short period, as stated you can do this for a minute or, as you become more advanced, much longer:

  • Shift your awareness to your breathing.
  • It can help to focus on a single point in your inhale and exhale.
    • Either visualize the air as it passes in and out through your nostrils.
    • Or monitor the expansion and contraction of the lungs.
  • And simply observe
    • Notice the air as it passes through your nostrils, into your body
    • Notice the air as it leaves through your nostrils, out of your body

That’s the whole technique. Simple Breath awareness. You are performing two activities here:

  1. You are increasing awareness of your breath and thus awareness of your mental state
  2. You are giving your mind something to focus on other that it’s endless chatter Chitta Vritti (Sanskrit for fluctuations of the mind, or mind chatter)

This simple process of becoming the observer and shifting the focal point of your mind can create a change in your breath and mental state that is beneficial to you.

This technique can then be augmented with breath control. In breath control exercises you are actually informing your physiology and your mind that we are no longer in crisis. By controlling the breath and gently bringing yourself into a calm state through breathing the body is informing the mind that everything is okay.

This can be accomplished through alternate nostril breathing, as highlighted in part 1 of the meditation guide.

Another technique is simple deep breathing.

  • Shift your awareness to your breathing.
  • It can help to focus on a single point in your inhale and exhale.
  • Begin by fully exhaling and pressing the air out of your lungs.
  • Now begin slowly breathing in through your nostrils to the count of 5
  • Fully inhale and then pause for a count of 2
  • Next begin to slowly exhale through your nostrils to the count of 5
  • Now pause at the bottom of the exhale for a count of 2
  • Repeat for 3 or 4 full rounds
  • Then release and allow your body to resume breathing normally
  • Become the observer and watch your breath as it passed in and out of your nostrils

As you can imagine this technique can be easily customized to suit your personal meditation needs.

I look forward to receiving feedback on your personal experience with these techniques.

Namaste,

Kevin

 

 

Meditation Guide – Part 2 – Eating Mindfully

In this installment of the meditation guide I’d like to discuss eating, specifically mindful eating.

If you step back for a moment and consider how much of our time is spent eating, thinking about eating, or searching for food, it’s a pretty big chunk of time. When you step back even further, you can think about how blessed we are that we don’t spend even more time. Frequently our food is grown for us, prepped for us and presented to us. Whether you’re talking about highly processed food like a granola bar, or very basic food like a head of lettuce, a lot of work has gone into getting the food to you.

Let’s quickly follow a head of lettuce from start to finish. At some point seeds need to be gathered. These seeds then need to be planted, watered, nurtured for months. The plants need to be protected from bugs, especially lettuce which looks particularly tasty to a passing snail. Then when the lettuce head is ready it is cut from the garden. If you’re lucky enough to grow it yourself, it’s almost on your plate. Otherwise it is carefully boxed, stacked, and carried from the field. Delivered to the market as delicately as possible. Then someone has to put it out for display so you can find it. You procure the lettuce from the market, bring it home and wash it up for a nice salad.

Processed food like a granola bar goes through even more steps which I won’t go into here. But think about all the different ingredients that go into it. All the different steps, cooks, processes, quality controls (hopefully), and all the other steps involved in readying the food for your consumption.

Which now brings us to you.

Did you know that chewing is a vital activity for the health of your digestive tract? It’s true, good nutrition getting into your body actually starts with you being aware and taking the time to chew your food. It’s the first step in a chain of processes that involves breaking food down into it’s individual nutrients so your body can use and benefit from those nutrients.

So in this hurried world of too much to do and too little time. It’s critically important to stop, reflect, and be mindful, while you’re eating.

There are several activities that can help you mindfully engage in eating. The most basic is simply to be aware as you’re eating. Focus your attention on the action of chewing and be aware of the food in your mouth. If you need to, put your fork down between mouthfuls and focus on chewing what you have in your mouth. You will notice that simply being aware of what is in your mouth and focusing on chewing it well before swallowing helps prevent you from rushing through your meal and swallowing whole chunks of food.

Another very important approach to mindfulness eating is gratitude. If you think back to the above illustration of the food being grown. There are so many hands involved in bringing food to your plate. Sometimes these hands are from people around you that you know. And sometimes these hands are with people that you will never even meet. But sending out gratitude and appreciation while you consume your food benefits the universe at large and can help you as well. Take time to appreciate everything that went into bringing the food to you. For some this can take the form of thinking through the steps involved in the foods growth and the people involved. For others it can be a simple as glowing with gratitude over the abundance of eating a meal. How blessed are we simply to have food? It is truly amazing when you stop and think about it.

A third approach that can be helpful when eating is visualization. You can step through the digestion process in your mind and visualize the steps as your body breaks down the food into the nutrients that are needed to keep you alive. In this process you can express gratitude, or even wonder (whatever moves you), regarding that bodies ability to process the food and utilize that food for energy and vital processes. If you are interested in learning more about the processes involved in eating and a healthy body, I recommend this book that I am currently reading Accidentally Overweight By Dr Libby Weaver. There is an excellent introduction on the digestion process and it addresses an individuals health and weight in a very approachable and educated way.

Making each meal a moment of reflection and appreciation can do wonders for your stress levels and increase your appreciation of the world around you. I encourage you to try these mindfulness techniques. I would love to hear back from you on your experiences and insights gained from this process.

Namaste,

Kevin

 

 

Beginner’s Guide to Meditation – Part 1

Meditation has many goals, there are various processes and results that can come from meditation. Meditation is simply a tool and a tool can have many uses. The goal of the information I am providing is meditation for mindfulness and awareness. This mindfulness and awareness leads to stress reduction and a new prospective on life.

One of the primary benefits of awareness is the ability to see the truth of a situation. When involved in stressful or intense situations it is easy to get pulled into the emotion of the moment and incorrectly interpret a single event to be the deciding factor in our survival. Fundamentally we are creatures of instinct. And those instincts have taught us to handle stressful situations with responses of our nervous system.

Typical responses include fight or flight. Either of these responses will cause adrenaline to course through our systems preparing us for battle or for a high speed run. But in our daily lives it’s frowned upon to battle everyone. Additionally if we left every business meeting 5 minutes in by running out of the room, we’d start to develop a less than favorable reputation around the office.

I will cover more on stress and responses in later installments. But this gives a general feel for the type of situations meditation is intended to assist in. When we have prospective on these situations we can see clearly that our in most situations our survival isn’t at stake. Better yet, when we don’t jump into survival mode, we are better able to handle each situation calmly and appropriately.

Finding your purpose in Sandcastles

Sand-Castle-On-Beach

This week I was listening to dust in the wind By Kansas. It is amazing how timeless concepts age very well in music. Check out the lyrics if you’ve never heard the song or want to refresh your memory. I’m sure I’ve heard the song a hundred times or more. But this time a new piece of the lyric caught my ear:

Now don't hang on
Nothin' last forever but the earth and sky

As I listened, I was reminded that all the effort we do, everything we put our hands to, will eventually pass away. It may pass 5 minutes after we are gone, or 500 years, but it all passes into shadow. There is nothing that we can do in the physical world that will last beyond a few moments.

With this in mind I was thinking about the underlying value of our tasks, the spiritual growth. Each time a task is performed, the task doesn’t change, but we do. It’s this growth, and the growth of those around us that I believe has lasting value beyond our ‘dust in the wind’.

There are many times that we perform things that we perceive as tedious or menial. And often that impact of our actions is lost to us in the demands of the moment. If we take the time to step out of the emotion of the moment and view the larger picture, that we can see our true value and impact.

So when our activities feel like building sandcastles, remember the ultimate benefit. The physical and tangible results of our efforts are only the tip of the spiritual iceberg.

Namaste,

Kevin

Sand castle destroyed by the surf. Black Sea coast. Space for text.
Sand castle destroyed by the surf. Black Sea coast. Space for text.

Building Yourself Up Is More Than An Ego Trip

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We live in a world that is constantly telling us we don’t measure up. This can be obvious as the person honking at you because you didn’t see the green light soon enough. Or as subtle as an advertisement showing someone eating an order of French fries surrounded by beautiful people.

We are surrounded by messages of lack, inferiority and want.

Worse yet, the messages are often so subtle, or so persistent, that we become numb and lose awareness of these negative messages. We know we are uneasy. We can’t place why we feel out of place. Sometimes the answer is as simple as identifying the connection to this subliminal nagging.

When you are provided with this constant input, it can be challenging to stay in tune with reality. In reality, You are amazing! You are abundant! And you are loved! But sometimes it’s easy to forget how much you rock.

So when you consider self improvement, you may feel it’s selfish or inappropriate to spend time yourself. Is not self improvement, by definition self importance, a vain task?

But the truth of the matter is you can be more effective and valuable to the world if you realize, and I mean really believe, how effective and valuable you are. Everything you touch can be positively impacted if you simply believe in yourself and have a real connection to your value.

It’s often said that pride comes before a fall. I also believe that pride must arrive before success. If you don’t really believe you’re working on something of value, if you aren’t really proud of what you do, why do you bother doing it?

So why don’t we spend more time on ourselves?

Possibly because of another message the imbalanced world bombards us with, “Don’t be selfish”. “Don’t focus on yourself”. There are starving children in (insert country X here), you should focus your energy on helping them.

While I agree we should help starving children in country X, I also believe we should consider where we are coming from when we help others. The energy we put into something is impacted dramatically and directly by our own personal pride, confidence, beliefs and motivations.

If you try to help someone else from a place of imbalance, you are really offering them imbalance.

If we come from a place of abundance and balance, we offer them that same abundance and balance.

I was reading this week in my copy of Moving into Stillness, by Erich Schiffman, about balance. I’ve always thought of balance as calm, stillness, or inaction. However, after reading Erich’s description I think I’ve had it wrong. He describes balance as a top spinning at very high speed. When we are unbalance we are actually in a lower state of energy (picture a top spinning too slowly, about to fall over and crash). When we are in our higher states of energy, read that as confident, self assured and balanced, we are actually metaphorically spinning faster. The result can be stillness and balance.

With this in mind take the time to focus inward. Find your peace, find your purpose, and change the world in the best way that you can, by being Yourself!

Namaste,

Kevin

To aid in this task here a few tips:
-Find a mantra, saying or slogan that empowers you, and repeat it to yourself.
Chakra Clock is an iphone app that you can create alarms and custom messages in. You can setup an alarm to remind you throughout the day to repeat your mantra. available here

-Take time to meditate and focus inward to allow your body to express needs and take the time to address those needs.
Chakra Chime is a iphone and android app available to help you time meditation and set the meditative mood with soothing chimes. available here

-Allow yourself the freedom to be you. Accept who you are, what you are, how you are, exactly as you are and love yourself. You are the only You there is.

Miracles Happen Every Day

miracles-happen-every-day

I went for a bike ride last weekend. Riding my bike always shifts my brain into a calm state, especially when I get into a steep climb. There isn’t room for my mind to worry about bills or politics, it’s just me, the bike and the hill.

I also love the exhilaration of the downhill run, after the long ride up the hill. If there is any bit of fun in life, that you can feel like you’ve totally earned, it’s riding down a steep hill you just worked your butt off to climb.

When I’m out riding I always keep an eye out for cyclists in need. I have been helped by random cyclist myself, so it’s nice to pay it forward. Making the world a better place through service has always been something I connect with.

On this particular occasion I saw a red 1970’s bicycle laying on it’s side next to the road, with a big saddle bag on the ground next to it. Something looked odd about it, but I couldn’t see anybody around, so I decided to just leave it alone assuming the owner would return soon. As I kept riding, I was wondering in the back of my mind what had happened. I found I didn’t have to wonder long.

About 100 yards up the road was a man in cycling gear walking back and forth looking down at the ground. I asked if he needed help. He replied that his back tire had broken loose and he’d lost a small part he needed to reattach it.

A little background on this hill. It’s called Mount Eden and it is in Saratoga, California. Coming down the back side of this hill, where we were, I have managed to get up to about 40 miles an hour. It’s a very curvy road with a sharp turn right at the bottom of the hill. I usually reach the turn and my top speed at about the same time.

I’d also like to point out the obvious. When you’re on a road bike going 40 miles an hour, and you come up on a sharp turn, it’s not an ideal time for your back tire to come off… Come to think of it, I can’t think of any ideal time for your back tire to come off. But that turn would be the worst.

As I stopped to help out, I got more of his story. He was coming down the back side of Mount Eden. At the bottom of the hill, just before the turn, a car was in front of him, forcing him to hit the brakes hard! During this braking maneuver his back wheel had broken off and gotten tangled up in the rear fork of the bike.

This could have easily been a fatal accident. With a back tire that was no longer rolling he managed to go off the road, avoid a big pile of rocks, and stop on the grassy edge of the road 200 yards later.

As I listened to his story I became more and more impressed that I was seeing the aftermath of a miracle. Instead of needing an ambulance or worse, this man had managed to put down his bike and walk away. He had pulled out his mobile phone and calmly called his friend while he proceeded to search for the part he was now missing from his bike.

I wanted to grab him by the shoulders and shake him till he came to his senses and saw the truth of this moment. As I was still in touch with my sense I knew that was a bad idea. But I did manage to ask if he happened to get a good look at who or what was holding up his back tire as he came careening around the corner.

It really hadn’t occurred to him that anything miraculous had happened. At the time of the accident he was simply focused on avoiding the rocks and trying to land his bike. Then, possibly in a state of mild shock or denial, he was simply searching for the 2 dollar part he didn’t want to lose.

When looking back at this story I come away with these two main thoughts.

  • When you find yourself worrying about the small stuff, remember that means the big stuff, beyond your control, has been handled for you. AKA: If you can spend your time looking for a 2 dollar widget you may want to remind yourself you’re still alive.
  • Miracles happen every day, but sometimes it takes an outsider to see them.

See if you can spot the miracles in your own life today.

If you are having trouble seeing them, ask someone around you to point them out.

Namaste,

Kevin

Female cyclist biking on a country road on a lovely sunny day (m

Finding Your Path – Experiential Spirituality

 

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Growing up in a family connected with an organized religion has advantages. You have a community of people that care about you and want the best for you. And you have the benefit of the wisdom and experience of that community to teach you. And for a while that was enough… However, even during my early years I questioned the disconnect between what I was told and what I experienced.

I have always been driven to deepen my spiritual life. However disillusionment with main stream religion sent me down unexpected paths throughout my life. I don’t feel that I have any horror stories about being abused by religion. The organizations I was connected with never directly traumatized or persecuted me. But the stories that I was told were so powerful, and the experiences I had were so not. My attempts to connect on a spiritual level with my religion failed and as a result I began to search for truth outside of that framework.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I don’t hold ill will toward religious people. I believe there are religious beliefs that empower and enliven people to become all they can be and truly enhance the world. But it didn’t do this for me. So my search continued.

This is where yoga and meditation entered my life. I had a misrepresentation of yoga in my head. When the idea was first suggested to me I was under the impression that yoga was for women who wanted mild exercise, I had no concept of the history or the experience that yoga offered. My education began 8 years ago and has continued since. A highlight was in 2006 when I became a certified yoga instructor. I took a 200 hour certification program here in California.

Yoga was a different world to me. I was surrounded by people having their own intimate experiences with the spiritual world. The movement and fluidity of Vinyasa Flow yoga centered me in a way I had never felt before. I was able to find peace in the midst of my mental chaos. This is an experience that I never would have had, if I hadn’t tried yoga.

I’m sharing this in an effort to highlight the importance of experiential spirituality. In life we will find many people that will try to tell us how things work and even what we are experiencing and feeling. These guides can be beneficial, but they can also rob us of what is really happening. I invite you to experiment and find a spiritual path that works for you. Find something that you are experiencing and feeling for yourself, not something where you have to depend on someone Else’s interpretation. This is your path! No one else can walk it for you.

It is important to highlight my use of the word experiment. Be prudent. Be cautious. Use your instincts. I’m not encouraging anyone to try anything harmful or damaging. I am encouraging people to live. This is your chance to grow. You only get one shot at this moment, embrace the opportunity and let the universe guide you.

Namaste,

Kevin

Portraits of people thinking