The Inner Sacred Sanctuary

Visionary Ruin

INNER SACRED SANCTUARY

Namaste and welcome,  I’ve been teaching this Inner Sanctuary Meditation for well over 20 years now, and I used to use this in a therapeutic way for healing with the deeply healing techniques of yoga meditation with individuals, and I know it’s power.

This is a long meditation, about 40 minutes,  which is a visualisation in the yogic way, and the power of visualisation is that your meditation will change as you progress and change. The change of course is in your inner world. I’ve included this meditation in my teaching, free Youtube classes, as an important part of your development and growth on the Yoga Path.

I’m teaching this in Class 24 of my classes for its power to take you to a place where you can bring an order and method to your inner world to attain balance and inner peace. Ultimately to take you to the inner silence, in the stillness, that we need to “go to temple” . . . I do explain that in more detail in the introduction to the meditation, we mean the “temple in man”.

And when we talk about energy . . . life force, vital energy or prana . . . remember we are also talking about the energy within the body . . . the power of nature, livingness . . . known as shakti, goddess, kundalini, divine feminine or mother energy . . . the force of creation.

I’ll remind you of what we know about earth energy . . . remember Einstein and that it’s not only gravity holding matter down on this planet, but a force which is upwards from the planet . . . earth energy, electromagnetic energy, telluric forces as Steiner named them:  of course in our system of yogic belief and understanding we know this is Prana within the earth, our planet, which is moved by the cosmic breath . . . the Mother of the Breath.

My job is simply to show you the way to practice in your daily life, with simplicity of Divinity: there’s no big training for our classes on my Youtube channel, but you can review the classes on my channel for technique and practice which will help with focus and concentration, breath awareness and more, for meditation in the yogic tradition . . .

. . . enjoy your practice, Namaste,
Susan

 

Essence of Yoga Meditation website is here

Twitter : @suzenyoga @furtherthanyoga

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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

Accepting Your Good – Healing is Revolution in Your Life

Healing is revolution. Healing is about change. Healing comes through “Accepting your own Good”.

The change that you bring about through healing, is in being able to accept yourself and your own good. You change from being guilty about your existence, to a state of accepting the goodness in just being your self.

Eastern Philosophy, especially Vedanta, teaches that every one of us is part of the Universal power. Meditation and practice confirm this. It’s like being a spark of a huge energy source. This source of energy, this power we have been taught to call ‘god’ as part of Western religion, is believed to be omni-present, omni-loving, omni-powerful (present in everything, all-loving and all-powerful). Those of us who experience this in practice know it to be true, because this energy source is so beyond the human imagination, the power of the love in everything can only be experienced by the higher parts of our minds and beings. This vast energy source, this concept of Divinity, is pure love, pure “good”.

And so are you. Because you come from the same source of Universal energy.

So if you are part of this ‘god’, you are naturally good. You were born good.

Basic goodness is our birthright. Accepting your own good is a principle of healing. We must start to trust ourselves and believe we are good. Then we can gradually become aware of all those things that hid this basic goodness from us because of out-dated conditioning. This process is often not easy. But by doing this, accepting basic goodness, you will set in motion a healing process.

Healing is not always easy. Accepting your own good is hard when you’ve always been told you are bad or wrong or shamed . . . or simply that because you are human you are guilty.

I am often asked why I use the word “good” instead of “goodness”, it’s not grammatical and I’m not making a point. I’m simply using “good” as opposed to “evil” or “bad”. Guilt in your own being often means you have been led to believe you are “bad” in some way . . . and very few of us are really, genuinely, evil as far as I have experienced.

Accepting your own good is strange when you’ve been badly damaged. But that acceptance is a place you have to get to if you are going to be healed and whole. The result is that your life changes completely, it turns around – like a revolution.

When I started healing my life, from Catholic Guilt and an abusive childhood, in my head I could accept absolutely that everyone of us must be good. My deepest belief is we are all part of the universe’s energy. It’s something I’ve always known intuitively – I’ve always looked for the spark of goodness in everyone I’ve ever met.

 I now know, through my fascination for the science of spirituality, that actually science can prove what practice always taught us intuitively, the centre of the Universe is in you and your life, and the centre of the Universe is everywhere because we are all connected in living in this whole power source of life. We are all sparks of goodness indeed.

But because of the guilt of being, deep inside myself I couldn’t accept the good until I healed all the damage. Little by little as I let the old rubbish fall away, like peeling away skins of an onion, I became more and more aware of goodness and what it means to a woman, or simply a human being. Until I finally understood, until I knew this is the way we were created. Our true self is good. When our souls are healed and free, then basically we are goodness itself.

 We can let our souls out of the prisons they’ve been in since the moment we were born into the life circumstances that damaged us – knowing this was not accidental but that it was part of the plan for our life and spiritual growth. And, then, truly start treating ourselves as though we were those perfect sparks of life energy. We can start to value ourselves highly.

From: Daddy’s Girl’s Guilty as Hell, Susan Ni Rahilly

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

On the Path of the Heart . . . Emerging from Negative Emotions

You think you’re a mountain, but you’re a sleepy camel.” Osho

My own personal Yoga practice this Sunday morning was on the Camel Posture – I’m re-working a workshop on this posture which is  about power and energy, and creating space for personal inner power.  I use the Osho quote “You think you’re a mountain . . .”  in the workshop teaching. It makes such a good introduction to practice in Contemplation.

Especially if you’re emerging from negative emotions like guilt affecting you and moving into a healing phase in your life.

This is my direction at the moment, teaching the sweet, gentle path to healing from guilt-residue as I write the companion to Daddy’s Girl’s Guilty as Hell  my book on Catholic Guilt and its effects on women’s lives. I’m working at the more Universal experience of guilt and hopefully offering transformation from the awfully lonely legacy that guilt is for a human being using Yoga as the process?

Emerging is the word I use for the step in the healing process just after awakening when you’ve woken up and you see the light.

As Sivananda said: “consciousness is hidden in their memories . . .” So, maybe this is like the light at the end of a tunnel. But you’ve been in darkness – any place in your life that has not been healthy for you because of guilt – and now you emerge into the daylight.  You may be shell-shocked and bruised and now you need a little time to adjust to the change. You need a bit of space to determine your surroundings, this is new open terrain.

It’s natural to be cautious and to take stock when you’ve  been stuck in your life and affected by guilt, whether from trans-generational religous or spiritual tensions, and especially if your wake-up call came after a disaster. But we don’t stay too long in this place as now is the time to keep moving forward along the healing path. Even moving slowly is better than not moving at all!

This can take some courage, and support. There is much on offer. There are many good people out there supporting you.

So, here is a practice in Contemplation for this Emerging stage. You can use visualisation or journaling or both.

This is how I teach it:  Sit quietly, paying attention to your breath for a moment or so, bringing yourself to stillness and silence. Centre yourself by breathing from the solar plexus, the centre.

You think you are a Mountain, but you really are a sleepy Camel“. Visualise this.  Where is the Mountain, where is the Camel?  Under the hump, where has the Camel’s body been buried all this time?  As the sleepy Camel wakes up, what does s/he see?  What burdons and baggage have you been carrying in your hump for others – you can start your journaling with this awareness.

Then make lists under these headings:

–  Emotional Wellbeing  –  Physical Wellbeing  –  Mental Wellbeing  –  Sexual Wellbeing  –  Financial Wellbeing  –  Spiritual Wellbeing.

In your first effort at Emerging, it’s probably enough just to set the scene as I have described it. Contemplation is effective as a weekly practice so set time aside to continue this on a regular basis.

Your next session could take you deeper into awareness of what has made you feel most dull, bored, unhappy, tired, sick and lacking in energy. Followed by awareness of what gives you most joy, happiness, health, interest, enthusiasm, dynamic energy. As you register your inner emotional state, so you are giving yourself an inner register of  what blocks and what frees you. In Yoga, this is checking into you inner bahava or mood, discovering sukha or your inner contentment.

As soon as you understand this stage of awareness, you’re already onto the healing path.  I will call it the Path of The Heart – emerging and healing from guilt or any negative emotions in your life.

A final word from the heart of a teacher: don’t forget to breathe consciously every day, be present maybe by noticing how the sunlight and the dew alter the colours of  nature. Wash up, tidy up, keep a regular routine. Be with good people!

And if you don’t know how to breathe consciously here is a free short guided download from our website’s Help I Need Yoga section: Breath.

Namaste, this is for your healing.

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

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

Whilst I’m focussed on writing “the Men’s version” of my Guilt book, I thought it was worth re-posting this blog (with some revisions to make it suitable also for my Indian Speaking Tree Master’s Blog). My astrology this week tells me that:

We live, we learn, we carry on living… and carry on learning. You suspect you were wrong to feel afraid of a particular situation or possibility. You didn’t need to fight against it – or try to escape it – or kick up half as much fuss as you did. If that’s how you feel, you have learned only half the lesson. You did need to do all you did, if only to learn, the only way you could, how much you didn’t need to do it!

How zen …. how amazing life is.  As I sit down to write for my alotted 2 hours every afternoon, after a morning swim in the (very special) sea here followed by yoga practice and a relaxed lunch, I ask myself if I did need to kick up such a fuss both for the Catholic Guilt book and the Women’s wellness book I’m talking about below …. could I not have just sat zazen everyday for the last 20 years and gained my freedom in that way? But as my astrology says, I had to learn, the only way I could. I hope this blog helps you on your journey.

I’m revisiting a book I published 12 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. Then 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 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? 12 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.

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.

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 Bindhu Chakra (back of the head), both sending to and receiving information 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 fogotten 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 bar. Myself, another woman and an older man 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 man 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 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.”

Namaste, Susan

And as inspiration helps with inner harmony, you might like this – it’s just a demo download on my website as I haven’t managed to check out the copyright on using Pablo Neruda’s poetry (so it’s free in other words!). And it includes readings by me of some of Rumi’s love poems. I hope you enjoy it.

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

Emptiness and Spirituality

“Emptiness which is conceptually liable to be mistaken for sheer nothingness is in fact the reservoir of infinite possibilities.” D.T. Suzuki, author of “An Introduction to Zen Buddhism”

This will be a short blog, and no apologies: I’m focussed now and deep in the writing of my “men’s guilt” book – the quotation marks are merely because I and those around me have called it that for the 12 years since I wrote the book on women’s experiences of Catholic guilt and the effects on their lives. This book is intended as a focus on a more universal experience of guilt. I think this might be quite a long haul!

So …. emptiness. Creating space, and creating an emptiness in your life is a very positive and powerful thing to do, as Suzuki says above in the quote. However:

As far as I believe, a human being’s emptiness comes from lacking something in our life, from what I call being lost in our own life.

But something else is going on here, as I now understand from researching about men’s archetypes and the energies of the masculine which actually drive us all unconsciously.

I now understand that “being lost” is how the immature masculine energy of loving actually materialises in a man’s life …. I won’t comment or offer any examples or stories here as I am still “processing” this understanding. However, the person who is empty and “lost” – probably due to a lack of a mature male figure in their life – will have chased women, chased sensual experiences and is more often than not a spiritual seeker who is always “searching”. The search is for the “one thing” that will bring the fragments of self together. This is of course impossible. But when you are spiritually empty, lost and lacking I’m guessing it seems on the surface the only path to take.

So lack is to need, to want, to miss something. Emptiness is experienced when we feel at a loss about understanding life, about the way the world works – and the meaning of it all.

There is a sense of shame that goes along with being lost in life.

When you’re lost, often you’re not being successful, not being seen to achieve very much. And achieving success in work, or relationships, or sports and other interests is highly valued in the world we live in. So I see people who are lost and empty trying to fill up the spaces in their lives with sex, alcohol or drugs, shopping or food, and maybe illness.

Those of us who don’t feel this emptiness, who are fulfilled and have made sense of what we can in our lives, believe that the empty space gets filled up with spirituality.

This spirituality we sense, or feel or see, or know or understand in many ways: it is often an acceptance of who we are and our place in the scheme of things. Everything (as in “not nothing”) seems to settle into some kind of centred experience of a wholeness in ourself and life.

So, we experience spirituality as a knowing that we are more than a body, a lump of skin and bone – a knowledge that we have a mind, a spirit, a soul; it can be an understanding that a human life has a purpose and all the lives and all the purposes are important; it’s an experience of a connection with the world, the rest of humanity, nature, the universe, the powers that be, ‘god’ or the gods and goddesses – and whatever else your belief system may call them.

I’ll leave you with this from Dainin Katagiri, Zen master as it so beautiful:

Life is crying

If we observe the human world closely, we can hear a very deep sound. 

It is a kind of voice, yet it is voiceless, a voice at the bottom of the human heart.

It is the sound of life crying. 

It is there and you are there too, but you can’t evaluate it. 

Whether you are in the middle of success or failure, your life cries . . . “

The Regarder of the Cries of the World

is all of us but not any one of us in particular

Dainin Katagiri

.

Namaste, Susan

An edited version From: Daddy’s Girl’s Guilty as Hell, Susan Ni Rahilly

Susan Ni Rahilly is founder of suZenYoga: Spirituality, Understanding, Zen, Energy and Nutrition through dedication to Yoga. SuZenYoga Daily News is here. Susan’s Speaking Tree India master’s blog is here.