Loving Yoga for its Spirit … 3 reasons why

You ask me why I dwell in the green mountain;
I smile and make no reply for my heart is free of care.
As the peach-blossom flows down stream and is gone into the unknown,
I have a world apart that is not among men.

Conversation in the Mountains” Li Bai . . .

(pure adventure for the spirit)

Spirit is Adventure … and in the spirit of “the shift” that is imminent in our human evolution, this article is about adventure and loving Yoga for its Spirit (and attempting to attain a lightness about our collective shift in consciousness).

I fell in love with Yoga in its entirety because I was constantly told early on in my development to “jump in” – and that it would be an adventure. And that has always been true for me, for the self-discovery, the joy of the new, and the promise fulfilled … As a teacher now, I can assure you that even in shifting times, Yoga never lets your Spirit down!

So if you’re taking time out from the the intelligence-sapping mindset of consumerism, and the demands/desire energy drag of daily life and hopefully enjoying some precious moments in just “being” here are 3 ways to find the Spirit of Yoga and enjoy its adventures!

Meditate:

Be At-one and experience Samadhi – even if it takes you another few years to “get there”. It’s actually totally non-sensicle to try and give an essence of the ultimate state of Meditation in the short streams and downloads that we’re expected as teachers to deliver on the internet today. However, my lovely old meditation teacher Sam always told me just to go out and teach, everything helps, and all the threads in the tapestry eventually come together as realisation of the self.

Yoga is described as “the many threaded tapestry” in the sacred text of Yoga, the Upanishads

Grow your Heartspace

As teachers, we’re taught to inspire our students and practitioners with the beautiful truths, prose and poetry of the masters, teachers and mystics. I love what the Sufi poet Rumi infers with these words: what good is your heart unless you go out into the wide, wild wonder of the world?

Better said than done, I know, when you’re confined in small spaces, or uninspiring living conditions. But, in the Yogic tradition, hearts need independence for transformative love to flow . . . so, before or after trying any new practice, take a walk if you can and tell someone what they do is important to you.

Take your heart out into fields of light” – Rumi

Focus on your Mindbody

Give yourself a massage! Bring your mind down into your body and focus completely on putting something back into your mindbody system for half an hour. Self-massage with oil in a special space you’ve prepared as your sanctuary used to be the weekly bliss “bath” ritual in Yoga in India: the oil massage is the ritual, the “bath” is absorption in the essence of meditation. It keeps the bodymind in a balanced place for all the experiences of Meditation, making it a more comfortable for the Spirit to “dwell”.

“This very body, this is Buddha” – Muso, 12th-13th century Zen teacher

And, in the spirit of growing your awareness with Yoga to shift your consciousness, why don’t you try a few short practices.

Walk. The walking meditation has always been an essence of Zen. Take 5 minutes and a regular route, focus on your breath, evening out the inbreaths and the outbreaths, and simply be conscious of your step, your body, the air you breathe. Be conscious of your heart and take your heart out for a walk.

Free Yoga practice. Why not just try some of the short practices that are free on Youtube: it’s the adventure of practice that’s important, and with enough dedication to practice you’ll probably eventually experience the wonders of At-one-ment! Meditation is free on my Youtube channel.

Self mindbody care. Try self-massage at the end of the week in the Ayurvedic tradition: try to make it last for half an hour in a warm bath/shower room, use olive or sesame oil (not the toasted variety!) and have a warm bath or shower afterwards.

Enjoy your practice: practice is enlightenment!

Namaste, Susan

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

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Harmony In The Universe . . . How Does My Intention Help?

Be present yoga_edited

I’m revisiting a book I published 15 years ago, a wellness book for women, with a view to a re-write and a re-publish. It was such a positive book, and it’s a pleasure to read to myself now how important my intentions were at that time. Here’s an extract:

You have to know exactly where you are right now – what you are changing. So that’s why I ask you to start becoming aware of what is wrong and what you are going to change, in what order and when. You can’t change anything without being aware what you are changing.

You need a clear picture so you can change that picture. Then, when you can see clearly what is ahead of you, and what it is going to entail, then you can start making some informed decisions about how to start. Once you have started you will take control . . . You’ll know what to expect, because I’ve told you. Then you can start thinking about how as you change, other things around you will change – and how do you feel about that ?

And as you change you will be aware of what you are leaving behind and why – and how do you feel about that? Which means that there’s an emotional process you are going through too . . .”

So, obviously this was a book about improving wellness through lifestyle changes, using intention for a more balanced self. And the steps for balancing our physical being are the same steps we take for any intention to bring harmony. What are you starting with, what is your intention, how are you going to plant the seed and make it grow, what are you going to experience on the way: how does your change affect other changes?

What do I think now? 15 years down the road, I can see what my intentions have brought about. And my experiences have brought an amazing knowledge: the Universe is continually creating by manifesting an infinite number of possibilities as at any given moment: in the “gestalt”, the story of the whole Universe in the moment. And to do this it relies on synchronicity to bring order out of chaos. Synchronicity is our destiny . . .

When we create an intention, for our life, our practice, anything, we are affiriming that our individual intentions are part of this great big scheme of things – we’re part of the whole, our minds are part of the universal mind. Our small, individual intentions are important in the amazing process of synchronicity – our change makes other change.

We are part of this great creative process with the Divine intelligence, and how intelligent exactly, leaves me in awe. Part of our minds, in the psyche, is engaged in the spontaneous ordering, or creative process, and it took me years to learn this and experience it as I understood my own creative process as a writer and teacher. What helps the process is trust. And what hinders it is our mis-placed sense of the importance of our small illusions about life. Our individual intention may well just be premonition of our part in the whole of humanity evolving.

In Yoga we know that our hearts are always in silent communication with the Divine, and especially in Meditation we know that our minds are continually linked to the Universal mind, through Bindu Chakra (back of the head), both sending and receiving information to and from  the Universe. How absolutely miraculous we are as human beings, how potentially Divine we all are.

Once we’ve understood, usually through practice or some process of change as we make our way along the path of life, that there is a part of our mind that is about experience versus illusion, then we are open to the understanding that the Divine Intelligence is basically just waiting for us to “call home”. And we do this by intention. Right now, many, many of us are sending our intentions out to the Universe, calling home for some harmony for humanity.

So how can you start this process and practice of harmonising your thoughts, by calling on your power of intention?

You can start by taking time out for contemplation, taking regular time to look deep within. You will find inner beauties and love you may have overlooked or forgotten about. A simple intention for harmony for humanity could be one of the Zen noble truths: May all beings know happiness.

Spend time appreciating beauty and inspiration and music. These all raise our vibrations because they take us momentarily to a Divine, sacred place . . . and then return us to our normality, bringing that sense of the sacred back with us into daily life, leaving us somehow changed for ever for the better.

There was a lovely, still and almost quiet moment at lunch the other day in what is normally a busy lunchtime (and breakfast)  Irish bar. Myself, another woman and an old feller sat at separate tables. It was like a “movie moment” as we listened to the Phil Collins track we became aware was playing: Against All Odds. As it ended, we were all in a private, personal space and the old feller wiped away a tear. Songs can provide special messages just for you. A very simple intention for harmony for all of humanity could be: May all beings know peace.

I’ll leave with a quote from man to whom harmony in the Universe was of prime importance, something Albert Einstein said with great beauty and lucidity:

The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mystical. It is the sower of all true art and science. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself with the highest wisdom and most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms – this knowledge, this feeling is at the centre of true religiousness and art.”

Namaste, Susan

And as inspiration helps with inner harmony, you might like this – it’s just a demo download on my server as I haven’t managed to check out the copyright on using Pablo Neruda’s poetry (so it’s free in other words!).

Healing with Bliss

The powerful, transformational healing of Yoga, is the healing of the Bliss or the unconditional love and creative, positive energy of the Universe. There is nothing more healing in our existence as human beings.

With Yoga we heal by restoring balance to the bodymind and life.. . … today we understand so much about diseases: even dread diseases are epigenetic – an individual’s response to the world, and caused by three things: nutrition or malnutrition, elimination (or lack of) and toxicity, and of course, stress. And we understand that the way to healing and often complete cure, is with simple and effective lifestyle changes: with Yoga this is healing with Bliss, the positive energy of the Divine higher Consciousness which restores balance and health to the physical body, the vital body of the breath, the mind, thoughts and emotions and of course our energetic body.

Bliss, our personal bit of “heaven” that we’re born with, is the quality of energy of Divine Consciousness, your Source: pure and unconditional love, compassion, truth, creativity and intelligence. This blissful energetic quality is what I personally think we crave collectively as humanity and so it points the way to how we heal what I call “humanity’s heartbreak”.

As Yoga teachers – as in the genre I was taught, steeped in meditation – we’re here to heal, by loving unconditionally, practising acceptance and helping others to get some reprieve and release from the stresses and strains of life today, and making that as simple as possible by guiding people to getting the space and time necessary to connect regularly with our own little bit of heaven that is always with us, our Bliss.

We do this in Meditation practice. We transcend our physical flesh body, our mundane minds, daily life and connect with our Source in Meditation. What is common, as far as I can tell as a teacher, is that the benefits of regular practice are profound. And the healing is sometimes simply astonishing! Healing which can be mental, emotional, physical, spiritual as the bodymind of a human being responds to regular practice: recreating ourselves energetically.

Meditation can be a maturing and transformational process as the meditator ceases to see her/himself as separate from everything and begins to experience harmony, balance and inner peace: qualities of our own Bliss.

I’m always conscious of men and their needs for spiritual, social and psychological health. They’re kind of “lost”, many of them seeking a new role in these shifting times in our human evolution.

Finding access points to living consciously doesn’t alway come naturally to a man: although Meditation suits many men, deep self-nurturing can be an uncomfortable prospect! And yet we need to make the mindbody a more comfortable place for the spirit to dwell.

The home Ayurvedic “Bliss Bath” however, has a deep tradition of masculine spiritual ritual in the tradition of regular mindbody care, bringing the sacred into a grounding self-care routine: in making the Mindbody a more comfortable place for the Spirit to dwell, recognising and appreciating deeply sacred masculinity . . . for absorption of divine essence.

Skin, it’s cleanliness and care, were ritualised for an essential reason. Skin grounds you in your Mindbody. Skin is your connection with your Soul and the Divine. It is an integrally important part of your Yogic routine – uniting Mindbody Soul, your Divine Nature and Consciousness.

The “Bliss Bath” is a weekly Spiritual ritual. Inspired by the centuries old rituals in India which care very gently and regularly for the Mindbody . . . and which also prepare our bodyminds for Meditation and our Union with the Divine in practice.  Deep self-care for the Self brings the Sacred into making the Mindbody a more comfortable place for the Spirit to dwell. This is a ritualised grounding, practised thro skin-body care, the Ayurvedic oil self-massage, practised prior to a weekly Meditation to prepare us for our Union with Consciousness and absorbing Bliss Essence: the ritual “bath”.

Perhaps the best way to write about this ritualisation of self-care is to give you inspiration with this precis from Indian Philosopher Krishnamurti’s biography: “ . . . as Brahmins  . . . Ritual bathing preceded by an oil bath was a discipline closely followed.”  The young K’s mother  had a puja room for the gods in the house (where K was actually born, very rare in India), the rituals for devotional practice were observed . . . at a time in India when the South Indian man, woman and child, rich or poor, sat and slept on a mat on the floor, and when the joint family provided warmth and a sense of family rare in the West . . . **

Many of us, whether women or men, are currently in need of regenerating ourselves through practice, by coming to terms with our lives and accepting what we all need to do next in our current chapter of world history: we heal and grow when we realise that we are evolving the Universe.

The essence of the Self is universal. 

It is autonomy, bliss and consciousness.

Absorption in this essence is the ritual bath.” 

Meditation 152 from the Nirvana Tao, the Contemplative Techniques of Cha’an (Zen)

Namaste, Susan

**  Krishnamurti: A Biography Pupul Jayakar

Susan’s weekly meditation class in the yogic tradition is on her Youtube channel

3 simple and almost effortless ways to grow spiritually every day for budding buddhas . . .

We’ve just had the Spring Equinox and it’s the real start to the year, here in the Western world. I re-post this blog every year at this time, but this year we had the powerful solar eclipse just hours before the Equinox. For the world, this has meant the very end of the Age of Pisces, the end of the era of dominant religions, Patriarchy and Saviour/Messiahs. 

This blog is the result of my insights into how much a year can change your life . . . and this year really is the first year for the growth of the individual and our enlightenment through our own integrity and handling our own issues . . .

. . .  simplicity and grounding will be key, I feel, and so my suggestions below are for those of you who’d like to evolve and grow on a daily basis throughout the coming year: may the buds of your buddha-hood open and blossom.

But, first a bit of a story: I was living in Saltaire, Yorkshire (UK) in the mid-90’s, intensely into my Yoga and Meditation training and dreaming of the day when I could be independent as a Meditation Teacher. I had made my bathroom in my apartment very soothing and beautiful. I had a few Meditation “clients” coming on a regular basis. By 1995 I had found a few simple ways to incorporate zen into my daily life.  And I had been given a little book for xmas 1994 – Daily Meditations for 1995 by Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov.

I put the little book in my bathroom, made a lovely bookmark, and started 1995 with the intention of reading my meditations every morning for the year so that I would be the sincere and dedicated student my teachers deserved. I resolved to grow and evolve steadily and patiently and to look back through the book every two or three months to assess my progress.

What I didn’t expect was that everyone who visited me in my apartment during that year, was enjoying doing the same thing! I got used to people asking if the bathroom was free as soon as they arrived and disappearing for 5 minutes or so quiet time on their own . . . .

Before I give you my 3 simple insights for (almost) effortless spiritual growth, I’d like you to know one very important and fundamental thing to guide and support you on your path of development.

And it is this: Your teacher, guru or your master knows you are not neurotic. Your teacher knows that all you have to do is sit . . . . meditate, sit in stillness or contemplation, practice with honesty and integrity and your buddha nature will awaken – your divine self will shine through. And you must be sincere in your practice, for you do not come to your guru on your ground . . . you come to the teacher or master on his or her ground. And they will allow you to have evolved a little more every time they see you.

So, 3 very simple ways to grow and evolve on a daily basis.

Read daily inspirations:

Choose a source of inspiration that you can draw on consistently: you could follow one or two poets – my suggestions would be Rumi, Pablo Neruda or Kahlil Gibran.

To introduce you to Neruda and Rumi: go here for my free-to-download readings of their love poems.

Give up one weakness and grow one strength every day:

You were born with wisdom. You are a being of energy. You were also born with “shadows”. Your shadows are your weakness or neuroses – we all have them. You can consciously take control of your self and keep moving from the shadow to the light by strengthening the good stuff and letting the weaknesses wither away and die.

This practice takes a few minutes contemplation every day and keeping a journal helps to see what makes you bigger and what makes you smaller. An example of wisdom energy would be: having a profound sense of spaciousness; and the opposite weakness would be: getting very absorbed in a small world. Another wisdom would be: seeing the big picture and having a largeview; and the corresponding weakness would be: being rigid and tight and dogmatic.

Give up one expectation – especially about relationships – every day!

As you now know, you are a buddha with the potential to awaken, and not a neurotic to your teacher in Zen as long as you are sitting in Meditation regularly. Your friend, “other” partner, lover etc is also a buddha . . . give up one expectation in your relationships every day and give the people in your life the respect your teacher gives you in allowing them to have evolved a little every time you see them.

So, I’ll leave you with this thought: evolving and growing spiritually creates magic in our lives, so that we can know the miracle of setting ourselves free . . . and here’s one of those Daily Meditations I told you about to set you on your path for the coming year,  . . . enjoy!

Knowledge must be lived if it is to remain with you for all eternity.

The only thing that will not disappear, the only thing that you can take with you into the next world, is the knowledge that you have proved for yourself in your own life; the knowledge that has become an integral part of your being.” Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov, Daily Meditations, February 19th 1995.

If you are setting out on the path to opening up spiritually, HERE is a free-to-download introduction to Yoga Meditation in the SuZen teaching style.

Namaste, Susan

Note:  As of today, and whilst I am writing my book on the Spirit of Zen in our lives, the suzenyoga website is inactive . . . after the eclipse, I went through an exercise of reclaiming my power from the invisible “master” of the internet*: My LinkedIn and SpeakingTree profiles are now private, My Twitter and Facebooks are on private alerts. This blog and the FreedomToFlow Twitter still feed my Amazon Author page.

* I didn’t choose for the internet to be my “master” or my Patriarch, but somehow I got told as did most of us, that we had to be subservient to it, give them all our free creative content and be grateful for the little they give us. I’m enjoying the liberation this little gap of freedom is giving me for my own creativity – a small act of power-reclaiming but a big step for liberation.

The 5 Wisdoms of Preparation for Practice

Practice, whether it’s yogasanas, meditation or simply sitting quietly breathing, is how we show our Soul that we are sincere and persistent about our intentions. Intention for practice is where the power lies for transformation, so that’s personal growth, health, self discovery, potential.

It’ll soon be spring in the non-Eastern world, our energies pick up, and many of you will have intentions of introducing some form of regular practice into your life. Home practice is a wonderful way of supporting and re-affirming whatever you do in classes. So welcome to this guide on the wisdoms of preparation for practice, which answers some frequently asked questions, and in particular includes guidance for making your own sanctuary space.

But first, a little more about intention: intention is what brings about physical, mental, emotional and spiritual change in our lives as we re-align ourselves with our Soul and it’s eternal journey, the Supreme Soul and Consciousness. The free flow of Consciousness through every level of our being is what brings health, harmony and joy into our lives.

There are 5 Wisdoms of Preparation for Practice

First Wisdom:

Preparation is a fundamental part of any process or ritual. It signifies to your minbody/spirit that you have commenced and are sincere about your process and practice. So we prepare our environment.

Second Wisdom:

Dedication and intention are the essence of profound healing through practice.

When we make a space dedicated with the intention of growing and evolving spiritually, we make a Sanctuary – a sacred place, a Temple if you like in your inner and outer worlds. The actual size of the space is totally unimportant as long as it is adequate for your practice.

Third Wisdom:

Inner peace is the path to personal empowerment. The Temple in your inner world requires quietness in your outer world – and, needless to say, you don’t want to be disturbed in your Temple.

Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Obviously you don’t want to be disturbed by noise or interruptions whilst in your practice.

Fourth Wisdom:

Energy comes from energy. This is a Universal and spiritual law: that energy doesn’t come from nothing, but it transforms from one state or quality into another – which is the basis for profound healing transformations in our mindbody, and life.

Whatever size of space you have available, it’s really surprising how quickly a calming, peaceful environment can build up in the spot you have chosen. When you enter your space, it’s a sort of energy that builds up – very similar to the energy you feel when you enter a sacred place of holy worship. The atmosphere of your Sanctuary Space will reflect the energy you produce by your meditation and yogasanas. This energy will build up and eventually anybody who is sensitive enough would walk into the room or the space and feel this washing over them like waves of peace and comfort.

Fifth Wisdom:

The mindbody needs to be a comfortable place for the Spirit to dwell. Caring for and nourishing our spiritual body requires care and nourishment of our basic subtle bodies – in Yoga we have 5 subtle bodies: the flesh, the lower mind/emotions, body of the breath, higher wisdom-mind or intellect and intuition, and the Cosmic or bliss body.

So soft lighting is preferable, it provides a peaceful ambience. Candle-light is the best form of lighting for an otherwise darkened room.

Make sure that, especially during meditation, you feel yourself to be in a warm and moderate temperature. Whatever you do choose to wear should be loose fitting. We don’t usually wear shoes while meditating – we usually use our yoga blankets for our meditation or you might like to choose a blanket which you are going to use just solely for your meditation practice.

And finally, of course, be sensible with your diet – incorporating as many fresh fruits, vegetables and carbohydrates but not sugar. If you need to drink then have your water with you, or juice. In our practice of Yoga we believe as the Yogies taught us, that fresh foods with the highest content of life force energy are the most suitable for the Yoga practitioner because in our Saddhana, our practice, we are continually in the process of refining our energy and vibrations as we aspire to live at the level of the Soul

Enjoy your practice, I hope this guide has helped you . . .

Namaste, Susan

Susan Ni Rahilly is founder and guide at suZenYoga: spirituality, understanding, zen, energy and nutrition thro dedication to Yoga practice. The SuZen Ashram site is the home for Susan’s online teaching and practices.

 

17 Ways to Find Balance for 2017

I publish my list in January every year, and have done since 2012! This is the list of ways for 2017:

Balance in your life, as far as I know it as a teacher, comes with the steps to life-freedom, which is the philosophy of Yoga, together with practice, and values for your life . . . but, there have been so many wise teachers, with much wisdom to share with us and many of us are seeking balance in our lives. It’s an approach to living that can go a long way in a year.

For 2017 I wanted to write about a lasting approach to getting balance. I couldn’t get to interview the people I would have liked to for this article, and so this is a roundup of what I think they would have answered to my question “How do you get Balance?” based on their famous quotations.

1. Your Meditation is your medication … once it has worked for you, you throw away the medication, throw away the Meditation and get a new one. Osho.

2. If you can’t let it go, let it in. Dainin Katagiri

3. You can’t get there from here, and besides there is no place to go. Sheldon Kopp

4. Nothing is missing, Zen Master Lin-Chi ….. the ordinary person probably does already live with zen values.

5. Appreciate happiness: happiness seems like such a small thing when you have it, but when it’s gone you realise how big it really is. Gorky

6. I have only 3 things to teach: simplicity, patience and compassion. Lao Tzu 7th Century Zen master

7. Know Joy, as in … May all beings know joy … (from the 4 Noble Truths of Zen)

8. Anywhere you are is a sacred place. Joseph Campbell

9. Learn to forgive yourself, again, and again, and again . . . (I couldn’t resist getting another wisdom in from Sheldon Kopp’s Laundry List)

10. Religion is not realisation; not talk, nor doctrine, not theories, however beautiful they may be. It is being and becoming, not hearing or acknowledging; it is the whole soul becoming changed into what it believes, into knowledge. That is religion. Swami Vivekananda

11. Spend some time alone every day. (from the Dalai Lama’s 18 Rules To Live By)

12. This is from Astrologer Rob Brezny:  Cultivate mental and emotional states that ripen us to be ready for anything:  form a strategy to avoid being enthralled with the hypnotic lure of painful emotions, past events, and worries about the future;

13. Don’t forget to break the rules ….. Dalai Lama, Sheldon Kopp, Zen, suZen

14. All teachers make a contribution to Yoga. My contribution is Gibberish – every day talk meaningless Gibberish for a few minutes to clear the mundane mind. Swami Vivekananda

15. Balance is what happens when you know in your heart something is right …. from suZen.

16. Be in awe of the mystery . . . this quote from a man to whom harmony in the Universe was of prime importance, something Albert Einstein said with great beauty and lucidity:

“The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mystical. It is the sower of all true art and science. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself with the highest wisdom and most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms – this knowledge, this feeling is at the centre of true religiousness and art.”

17. All is Well. The ultimate life-lesson of Bhagavad Gita, Krishna to Arjuna.

Namaste, Susan

The Astonishing Power of Meditation to Heal

There are so many, many definitions of what Meditation is, and of course there are many systems of teaching Meditation technique. The Yoga approach is one of the most well known and structured ways to learn. The Zen way, of sitting zazen, is one of the least structured meditation practices.

What is common, as far as I can tell as a teacher, is that the benefits of regular practice are profound. And the healing is sometimes simply astonishing! Healing which can be mental, emotional, physical, spiritual as the bodymind of a human being responds to regular practice. Meditation can be a maturing and transformational process as the meditator ceases to see her/himself as separate from everything and begins to experience harmony, balance and inner peace.

Meditation was the final journey, a journey of discovery through Yoga, of the ancient Vedic Yogis of India. They had learned to master and control the body with Asanas, the physical postures of Yoga. Then they mastered and controlled the emotions with Pranayama, the breathing techniques. And finally, they mastered and controlled the mind with Meditation . . . but more than that, they spent their time then in meditation exploring the quality of “man’s” relationship with god or the divine. And they did this for hundreds of years, thousands of years ago And so the legacy of their knowledge and experience was passed down to us, that we are born with the seeds of divinity within us – or, as my interpretation goes . . . we’re potential creative geniuses just waiting to be transformed!

What is astonishing to me as a teacher is that the Yogis knew what to do for healing. They tapped into a natural inner wisdom deep within the human experience of “self” and they were able to understand this, interpret it and teach it by turning this wellspring of inner power into a codified system which could be passed down through generations.

In our Zen sangha (the group that comes together to sit zazen meditation) we often talk about healing and Meditation. And one of our group, David, is an artist and Master Potter, a retired art lecturer with experience in Jungian psychology and brain physiology (what makes brains work!) David’s insight into the Yogi’s experiences and knowledge was that they probably could “see” light. Much more sensitive than we are nowadays, after centuries of closing ourselves down energetically, the ancient Vedic Yogis could probably see energy, see the light in the breath, see blocks in the chakras, and knew the healing power of self-mastery and unification with the divine. And this sensitivity meant they could probably see and feel bliss.

My own Meditation teacher, Sam Singh, had a traditional Indian training in Vedanta (liberation is oneness) himself and he taught the esoteric healing principles of Yoga. A fabulous education that I will always be grateful for.

And this is what the teaching is: Meditation is a state of higher consciousness in which we find ourselves after much practice of inwardness and awareness.  It takes you to the state where you can dwell in the essence of yourself, the bliss state. In Yoga, each soul is potentially Divine (Jiva is Shiva), and you carry within you the Seeds of Divinity. In Meditation practice you are actively realising your Divine Self . . . your own true creative nature.

As for systems and styles or forms of practice, this is what my teacher said to me: stick with one thing. As a teacher myself, I have always interpreted that as meaning: find the way that suits you, learn and stay with it. You’re already on the journey . . . and there is no goal, only being and being well.

And my approach to pain and the journey to healing with Meditation is “Jiva is Shiva” – each of our individual souls is potentially Divine. We are far more powerful than we think we are, and far stronger as human beings, we just need self-understanding and self-mastery and healing will happen.

Physically, one of the ways Meditation heals is with the deep breathing, breath floods the brain with oxygen and starving the body of oxygen by the brain results in pain. In Meditation, deep breathing floods the body with extra energy that it needs, life force energy, together with the oxygen surplus which helps to calm the mind. The brain can be trained to direct this healing energy and oxygen to any part of the bodymind system. One astonishingly powerful way to heal in this way is to focus the light we sense in the divine, or the ultimate mind, in our mind and then direct it to the bodymind. The sensation of the light in the brain, positively affects glands and a healing process is set in motion.

By focusing awareness on the higher parts of our human nature, we change our self-image from “sick” to healthy. We learn self-control, thereby changing awareness and personal power. We find our own inner wisdom . . . one of the most powerful reasons to meditate as far as I’m concerned because this builds so much inner confidence. We connect with “The Guru” within. And this, indeed, was my own personal journey through pain to healing.

Of course, there are other healing processes associated with Meditation, emotional and hormonal, as well as mental and spiritual. And, of course, many people turn to Yoga for wellbeing and this is because we have a deeper spiritual need.  What we all seek ultimately is freedom, acceptance to be ourselves, and to be loved for who we are. Quite often the healing in the bodymind is activated by the unconditional acceptance that the meditator experiences, both from the teacher and of course, the Universe. It is this acceptance which is so healing to us as human beings.

The path of Yoga Meditation is a path leading towards Self-Realization – to YOUR “self” . . . . your true nature, and you “train” your Soul in your practice.

The power of Meditation to heal and transform comes from the fact that it is working on a holistic (whole person) principle of harmony and unification. We harmonise the body and the mind with the breath, the emotions, and the spirit. And of course our unification with the whole, the whole of humanity, the cosmos, our universe and universal life force is so important for our wellbeing, as a human being.

As a teacher of many years experience now, I know very deeply that if you teach a person self-understanding and self-control, give them positive guidance, and let them feel the amazing benefits of wellbeing resulting from Meditation you give a person health and vitality for life – to enjoy life as we’re supposed to, to our full potential, our shining self.

Susan Ni Rahilly is founder of suZenYoga: Spirituality, Understanding, Zen, Energy and Nutrition through dedication to Yoga.