How India Taught us Forgiveness

I taught a class in February of 2016, empowered by the then social unrest in India, and wishing to add something positive and supportive. I experienced that it was a very raw time. For me, as a teacher, I consider that India with her traditions, practices and teaching in an Ancient Eastern Wisdom path to Liberation, taught us all how to Forgive from a bedrock of Universal Acceptance.

India is for many of us, as Yoga and Meditation teachers globally, our bedrock and spiritual taproot.

Her ancient wisdoms taught us, that none of us free unless we are all free . . . and our route to this individual freedom is Universal Acceptance. Forgiveness is the key.

Right at the beginning of all of our practice, on commencing every class of any discipline we make our practice into a Sadhana, working with the Divine, with our ritual of Namaste: honouring the spirit that dwells within each one of us.

And of course our practice is about making the mind body a more comfortable place for the Spirit to dwell. What else can we do, if a Spirit is not comfortable in an individual human being, except forgive? And practice Universal Acceptance.

Might not sound an easy thing to do or practice. But Yoga gives us the power, the strong mental power we need to make this choice in life.

In our devotion to, and practice of, the whole of Yoga we know the importance of keeping our thoughts high. And so, to leave you with an uplifting energy, this is a non-Indian poet’s experience and expressions of Love: especially the “light of flower” that is within all of us waiting to bloom, as we know in Yoga.

I love you

between shadow and soul

I love you

as the plant that hasn’t bloomed yet,

and carries within itself

the light of flowers

I love you

without knowing how,

or when,

or from where

Because of you,

the dense fragrance

that rises from the earth

lives in my body,

rioting with hunger

for the eternity . . .

Pablo Neruda, I Love You Because I Love You

Namaste Susan

This is the Youtube meditation class for February of 2016, that I taught especially for the disruption of the times in India: It is unlisted but I share the link here:

Social Media Resources: Facebook: Freedom To Flow Twitter: @FreedomToFlow

 

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Your Divine Thread of Light

Reposting this for Diwali: This blog is the basis for a very simple Satsang, teaching, in my weekly Youtube  meditation class . . . a contemplation in our practice on our connection . . . our being . . . our essence . . . [Satsang in Class 17].

The phrase “Divine Thread of Light” reminds me so much of the Golden Threads of fairytale and myth which connect our hearts . . . especially in Celtic Legend . . . that we are all connected at the heart level.

And the Divine Thread of Light is a visualisation for our connection, at our being level with our core . . . our own essence, our divinity within.

Living with Divinity in your life includes living with the energy of the Divine Mother – the sacred feminine . . .

. . . and of course what has happened over the last 2,000 years or so has been . . . the devaluing of sacred feminine essence during an age often known as the age of the dark mother, Kali, and during which the qualities of nurturing, nourishing and bonding have been pushed down into the shadow of our psyches . . . neglected and denied . . . which of course means ultimately that the importance of our souls has been reduced practically to a point of invisibility . . .

More than that though, as what happens in reality and practically is th our actions and values become the oppositw of what has been made invisible . . . in this case the opposite of the shadow of the Divine Mother, the sacred feminine, is planning, achievement, goal setting, ambition. From the perspective of living with soul, this does not nourish the human heart.

What we are doing, in essence, in our practice is giving ourselves a way of reacting to our environment and responding to our relationships . . . by valuing qualities of deep self-care, nurturing and nourishing with practice and the bonding connection with all things that we value so highly . . . and, as we know, through practice the qualities of the Divine Mother, which give us the power of life within us, power of nature . . . are activated by effort: ritual, practice, awareness, belief . . .

This is the way to healing that you have within you . . . and we belief that all your life essence, the vital power of the mystery which transcends everything, is bound to a commitment you made for your soul . . . your bliss . . .

So as you know my teaching is “further than yoga”, and I’m teaching you simple practices for your daily life . . . so your life becomes about your own Divine path . . . with simplicity of Divinity . . .

Namaste, Susan

A Return to Innocence

 

We are continually in communication with Divinity, and Bindu Chakra, the energetic centre and psychic gateway at the back of the head is where we experience the amber nectar of immortality . . . the sweet nectar of the gods: we awaken and activate this center in our Yogic meditation practices, which essentially are a return to innocence.

Our Perfect Innocence

And of course whenever we express this kind of concept, from the cosmology and mythology of Yoga, we are talking about projecting outwards our own inner god-like qualities. Bindu Chakra represents a point in our inner cosmos, integral to our attitude to life and our relationship to the world and our environment . . . remembering our perfect innocence.

Hatha Yoga teachers would not normally teach this, as Bindu Chakra is not in their “books”. These practices come from deeper and older practices originating in the path of Tantra . . . practices which respect the experience of the vibration of the Divine within the human bodymind. So if you’re used to Hatha Yoga teaching, and you’re concerned about the way you look and how you move, these practices will be very different for you.

Reclaiming Spiritual Heritage

Right now in our evolution, some of us are reclaiming our spiritual heritage: what it involves is change, badly needed change for our world and planet. And the way we can make the necessary space for change to happen is of course to let go, to adapt, to learn and work with a process to make this happen. When we speak of process, with Yoga, we speak of practice.

So, Bindu Chakra practices. What happens with this practice, this process? We re-set our buttons . . . wash our emotions . . . straighten out our heads . . . connect with our soul . . . ancient energies and ways.

You give yourself time and space to do this: to find parts of yourself, to put yourself together into the whole. This is time and space to talk to a purer part of yourself . . . it’s a return to innocence.

The Yoga “Tribe”

As you know I’m teaching you “further than yoga”, to accelerate your spiritual vision for those of you who want to walk the Divine path through practice. And if you are drawn to Yoga, the whole of Yoga, going back to ancient teachings to go beyond in your life, then you are one of the “Yoga Tribe” in my opinion.

We are the mediators, we are the sensitive souls reawakened in the West with consciousness hidden in our memories, here at a time when the world needs us for our power to balance.

Reclaiming Power

Many of us have been suffering from erosion of Spirit for years now, stopping this erosion means reclaiming power – this power in Yoga we call Yoga Shakti. I ask you to ask yourself some questions about adapting to the changes we need to make right now in our evolution to contribute towards re-balancing power:

So, let in some light and ask yourself: where in my life do I see the need for change? And how can I let go of those things that I thought were so important, so that I can affect the change I need?

Namaste, Susan

The practices I teach for awakening of Bindu Chakra are mainly on focused concentration in my Youtube class . . . Class 25 is here

Nurturing our Yoga Teachers – Remembering the Seeds of Samadhi



Balance is what happens when you know in your heart something is right

 

I had a very clear vision of a network . . . and it wasn’t a social network. This vision brought a deep inner relaxation. What was coming to me was, that Yoga Teachers today might start to do what we are here for – to bring a rest and reprieve for our students from the stresses and strains of our modern world.

We are a Tribe.

We have different psychological crises than we did 2,000 – 6,000 years ago. We have different needs of our inner world, to balance our emotions so that we can handle our environment – which means “Balance” . . . our needs for balance are different today from when yoga was codified, or structured, or put into “paths” and systematised by “lineages” by the yoga masters of the past.

My heart was telling me something was not right – and, truth be told, it has been telling me this for quite some time.

My heart is usually right.

A couple of things were troubling me: media is about images and content. Yoga is full of images and content – but that is the surface, as we know. The surface illusion of “Yoga” has taken over, it suits the media . . . and to an extent it has suited us as teachers for a while: coverage of world yoga day recently was vast.

In one way that was heartlifting and positive, and yet . . . ?

The other thing that has been troubling me, for quite some time, is the need to meet the expectations of this vast image of yoga by fitting in: we fit in with community activities, we fit in with expectations of our “image” – we blog for free, we dilute our classes to suit lifestyles: both our students’ and our own. We have to pay big hire fees for our practice spaces, and we can’t always control the noise/light/heat/cold of the environment. Classes are only viable in certain social times: we accommodate by reducing the amount of time spent in pranayama to 5 minutes in an hour and a half class – and the cost has been . . . ?

The cost has been, I consider, to our compassion and our wisdom as teachers.

But mainly at a cost to our authority.

The cost has also been in diluting the yoga teachers experience in nurturing and compassion . . . because what has happened is that in the end, what is a “mind-body-spirit” path to inner life and freedom has become body-oriented with some mind-practice and the spirit has been paid lip-service to. Because most of our yoga teachers today do not spend time and practice in meditation – a reversal has taken place since my time of training when meditation was the primary focus, with philosophy and yogasanas making up our 8-steps to Samadhi.

And the Divine is our source.

But the real cost, as I have been seeing it for a good while now, is that we have surrendered our role of nurturers of the mind to a global industry in “Mindfulness” – and mindfulness does not accept the universal law of three (which is one of the abiding laws of karma) that there will always be polarities between negative and positive, “right and wrong”, “good and bad”, weak and strong – yet we grow spiritually through these because we recognise that the Divine is the source of vitality in our life: Mindfulness has become the new psychotherapy, attempting to cure imbalance with imbalance: a prescription.

Our yoga teachers need nurturing and developing, in our tradition of training the mind to train the soul . . . which is our purpose for being. Remembering the Seeds of our Samadhi is so important for us – and nurturing and growing these seeds.

If we don’t, as teachers: how do we do this for the world?

How else could we reach into our own hearts for balance, and know it is right to do this for our world?

Namaste

Susan Ni Rahilly, at the age of 63, is considered as a Master in India writing on Yoga and Meditation for Times of India, contributing as a Master to their global online community. Susan’s training and experience has been in Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga, both Iyengar and Satyananda style, and Zen. She works with deep inner listening in breathwork in practice, and trains teachers.

Yamas of Yoga . . . Mind Like Sky

This is taken from a Satsang, teaching, in one of my live meditation classes:

A SATSANG ON LIVING WITH THE YAMAS OF YOGA IN YOUR LIFE . . .

blue abstract painting.

.  mind like sky .

yamas of yoga

In 1957 Swami Sivananda sent Swami Vishnu Devananda from his Ashram at Rishikesh, India to San Francisco. He sent him West with the instruction “Go, people are waiting. Many souls from the East are incarnating now in the West . . . . go and reawaken the consciousness hidden in their memories and bring them back to the path of Yoga.”

As a Western teacher, I am asked all the time: “Why do I have to love and accept myself?” It’s as if the person questioning has been given a key, but somehow doesn’t trust it? Or maybe it’s that this consciousness is still hidden in memory.

I so wish these aspirants and seekers could have been present at the first session of my Meditation training with dear Sam Singh in Bradford (Yorkshire, England). Sam was a wonderful Kashmiri man . . . which means he came from an area of India with an old matriarchal culture and tradition . . . steeped in the Vedanta tradition, as he patiently told us why we start with self-acceptance . . .

. . . this is the hardest thing for a human being, because we are so far apart from our Divine source.

And so Yoga is about the union of opposites, Divinity and Humanity, and in Yoga we start with this hard concept of loving and accepting the Self first, and go on from there. My question to myself is, “Do we ever stop?” I don’t think so . . .

I am constantly amazed and filled with awe at the art, science, history and sheer beauty of Yoga . . . And the deep intuitive life-knowledge given by such devoted people, from the Ancient Yogis, down from the Rishis to the Gurus for our benefit today: brought to us here in the West and now being given back to the East in its new form as Enlightened Wisdom teachings . . .

The Yamas and Niyamas of Yoga are just such precious gifts, and there are five of each of these. They are the practices of self-controls that teach us how to wisely use our energies in living our daily lives . . . the Yamas clear our minds and the Niyamas teach us a wise approach to life, so that our souls can flow, bringing us vitality.

The Yamas and Niyamas of Yoga are the first 2 steps on Patanjali’s eightfold path of yoga – the path that is designed to take us all the way to a realisation of the wisdom of Divine Intelligence’s plan for us all being here in this life, on this planet.

So, “How do I live with this in my Life?” would be the natural next step, the next question. Well, exactly as I did over 25 years ago, let’s start at the beginning. And I’ve added inspirational quotations for our contemplation . . .

The practice of Yamas starts with Ahimsa: this is usually interpreted as Non-violence (Gandhi’s guiding principle). But in its most positive form, this is the principle of compassion and the highest vibration of this is self-compassion. With self-compassion we can love and accept ourselves totally, as it is the Self ,that is so close to being Divine, that we are actually accepting. With this acceptance it is an easy step for the mind to grasp how to be compassionate for all humanity, and from there non-violence is just a given.

This is a beautiful quotation from Swami Vivekananda:

In one word, this ideal is that you are divine. “

Next, we move on to Satya: interpreted as Truth. In its most positive form, this principle is about expressing yourself with integrity – and being sincere. It means being kind when you have to speak the truth. At it’s highest, this is the principle of speaking from the heart when you communicate.

And this quotation is from John Lennon:

I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong. “

The third Yama is Asteya: commonly interpreted as Non-stealing. In its highest, positive form this is the principle which teaches us to only take what we need and that which is freely given. At its highest vibration it is about being generous: giving, sharing – especially giving and sharing your joy for life.

And this is from Mahatma Gandhi:

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.”

Next is Brahmacharya: the interpretation of this is Transforming a vital force (normally translated as sexual energy) to a spiritual level. It is about containing sexual energy, but not necessarily about celibacy. In Yoga we work with this powerful, vital force so that it can be positively and constructively directed. In this way you respect this force for life within . . . for at its highest vibration this is the merging of divine masculine and feminine within . . . We work with it in Yoga and we train it so that it does not rule us, either our minds or our senses. In this way we transform this energy to a spiritual level.

Here is a quotation from the Buddha:

Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.”

And finally, Aparigraha: usually interpreted as Greedlessness, this is the principle that teaches us to break the never ending cycle of wanting what we don’t have. In its most positive form, this Yama teaches us to relax and release the grasping of the mind, detaching and observing so that we can be aware of the small world our personal desires want to create.


And this quotation is from Mother Teresa:

Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”

So, the first 2 steps on Patanjali’s path – that path which will reawaken consciousness hidden in your memory – are about the way we think, having a “Mind Like Sky” and the way we act, when your “Soul Flows Sweetly”. The second step, the Niyamas, is about the codes for Purity, Contentment, Self-Discipline, Self-Study and Surrender to the Flow.

The Yamas are like a cool spring breeze wafting through the fog of the mundane mind. They are guidelines to help us purify our minds, reawakening consciousness and helping us to live to our full potential.

After all, Yoga teaches that life is a creative process. The creative process isn’t always smooth, and there can be a lot of discomfort until the final product materialises (writers of the world unite!) but what is key, is that unless you go through the process you would just never know what is going to manifest.

And I had this insight the other day while creating some video clips: we’re in this creative process of life along with the Divine Intelligence. So, is this what the Universal Mind is doing with Humanity – going through the process of co-creating with us to find out what actually will manifest? To discover our potential along with us?

How wise of the Divine. How sweet is the Universal Mind. That thought grows my mind and feeds my soul.

I’ll leave you with this from Rumi:

Divine Wisdom created the world in order that all things in its knowledge should be revealed.”

Namaste, Susan

Video of this teaching from the live class is here on Youtube

And if you are in need of some beauty to heal your heart go here for Susan’s free-to-download audio readings of love poems of Pablo Neruda and Rumi, enjoy!

Ancient Steps to Mystery, Nonsense of Order . . .

Nonsense of Order
It may seem a bit nonsensical in our seemingly ordered, logical and linear world that we could jump into something as vast as self-realisation through at-one-ment with the ultimate mystery in maybe only 10 minutes of meditation. But Yoga has been described as a many threaded tapestry, all threads of which ultimately lead us to our Union, Samadhi . . . and on this Ancient path, we learn that the sacred place is where we are, and what we are doing is opening our spiritual vision to see our life in that way. This is a path of practice that is further than the Yoga that many of you know.

As I teach it, Yoga is the practice which enables us to live with Divine Communication in our lives . . .

Initiation and Transmission
In our practice of yoga meditation we follow ancient steps taking us from self-acceptance to the necessary inner peace and balance for our conversations with the Divine . . . Yoga, your Union with the Divine . . .

Yoga as we know translates as “union” or “communion” but it also means discipline – the discipline in our practice. So we’re bringing a form to our meditation practice through discipline . . . the path which leads us to the At-One-Ment, or transcending to the mystery. And it is a process of inititation, opening and growing our consciousness individually so that the vastness of the Ancient knowledge can be transmitted to us.

Simple Practice
Simple practice is important: so, for example, practice in breath flow through the subtle bodies, our Koshas, and perhaps with an ancient centering meditation, as centering brings us into the balance we need to open awareness of consciousness, and the inner peace we need for our Conversations with God . . . keeping the channel for Divine Communication open.

Contemplation
And, for contemplation, mainly for Westerners not familiar with this from the Upanishads, there are a few lines here which I’ll leave you with:

I do not know god
nor can I say that I don’t know it

If you understand the meaning of . . .
“I neither know nor don’t know . . . “
you understand god

Those who realise
that god cannot be known
truly know

Those who claim that they know
know nothing

This is Susan’s teaching in her Youtube Class

Namaste, Susan

Social Media Resources: Facebook: Freedom To Flow @FreedomFromKarma Twitter: @FreedomToFlow

3 Ways to Heal Guilt with Yoga

A religion, a belief system or a way of life will not necessarily suit all those born into it.

For some it will work.  For others it will be damaging. And you’ll feel worse than a “fish out of water” – you’ll feel, or be made to feel, guilty about it.  From personal experience I can only write about my own past and the healing I was able to do with the help of the whole of Yoga.

The lonely legacy of Catholic guilt  is what I call the left-over loneliness that comes from low self-esteem, the pain and hurt from the damage of the catholic way (that’s the family way, schooling community etc) and also the confusion and conflict from the twistings in the teaching – especially about our origins as humans.  It leaves you lost as to how the world works – and to how people really behave and why.

But nothing stays the same forever, and everything is constantly changing. There’s compensation in everything.  In every ‘wrong’ there is the potential for ‘right’, if you look for it.  And Yoga gave me the way to find the ‘right’ in my life when I was healing from Catholic guilt.  Many people have shared with me that my writing of the experience of guilt and the healing from it has helped enormously:  Asian women and men also associate with the family and community stuff, along with Presbyterians and Jehovah’s Witnesses. The need for healing seems to be Universal.

Healing with Yoga is profound, deep and lasting.  It helps, in my experience, with a new stronger outlook, with your identity, values and lifestyle changes. Here are 3 ways I found to heal guilt with Yoga:

Letting Go
Awareness and acceptance of what has happened is the first step. For that you usually need quiet downtime. Releasing the past and letting go takes time and it also takes a certain state of mind . Relaxation in Yoga is one of the most profound ways of reaching a state of deep contemplation for the letting go to happen.

Try this for free:  Relaxing from  Seeds of Yoga Meditation Part 2 [ free downloads audio guided meditations link below].

Flushing Out The Sadness
Letting the feelings of sadness or loneliness come up, the emotions to surface and flow and allowing them to wash through are all deeply therapeutic techniques of Yoga. Stillness and breath flow really help.   Simply learning to slow down enough to be still and silent is a powerful thing to give yourself.  Allowing your emotions to do the work for you, allowing the breath to breathe you is an amazing gift to yourself and it’s a gift that you control.

Try this for free:  Breathing from Seeds of Yoga Meditation Part 1  [free downloads audio guided meditations link below].

Wipe The Slate Clean
Contemplation is one of the steps on the path to meditation – it allows the mind to settle down into the state of silence necessary for meditation – it allows your thoughts to come up into awareness for your mind, body and emotional system to heal,  for you to make sense of your experiences and put them into some place on your soul’s path.  Then you can wipe the slate clean and face the future. Contemplation in Yoga is an ancient practice of learning from the teacher’s truths. You may have been told forgiveness is the way to healing?  Well, this is how you start . . .

Try this for free:  Forgiving  from Seeds of Yoga Meditation Part 2  [free downloads audio guided meditations link below].

Remember what I said about origins? Well, growing what I understood about the origins of Yoga, some of the fascinating stories about the Yogis, gave me a  frame in my head to think about how life can be better and vital.  It’s an amazingly powerful legacy – better than guilt any day.

Namaste,

Susan

Seeds of Yoga Meditation parts 1 and 2 Free Audio Guided Meditations link is here.

Note: And if you do have healing to do with guilt and Catholic guilt you can read more about Susan’s healing approach here and/or listen to video podcasts here.