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 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

Facebook: SuZen

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 Language of The Heart

Sacred Heart

Language of the Heart Youtube Meditation Class

The heart has its own language, it’s a silent language of devotion, compassion, kindness and trust. In our Yoga practice we have many, many practices to work with this energy center, the space of the heart, and so I usually teach these over a few classes or workshops.

Our yogic practices help us in opening to our spiritual vision through the silent language of the heart . . . and through dedication to our yoga practice we open, activate and accelerate our spiritual vision so we can work with the divine in our lives. So essentially what this means is learning to recognise our signs, symbols and messages from the Universe about existence flowing through our lives. Most of these are silent, non-verbal communications from the divine and the divine mother . . . then through dedication to our practice we turn intuitions, feelings, fleeting inspirations into enduring behaviour supported by values and meaning.

This is what we are doing right now in our evolution, bringing all the wisdom from our ancient practice together so that we can aspire to the highest creative values for the future.

The language of the heart is silent . . . we call it the “unstruck sound” in the Heart Chakra. And the essence of all that is, is in the heart centre . . . the essence of Divinity within you. So, you are what you ARE not what you do.

In Yoga we know what we are made of, through experience of the koshas, our subtle bodies, which surround the germ of the Self . . . and we say “I AM THAT I AM . . .” in silence and self-awareness for clearer, deeper self-knowledge.

I usually start my teaching by introducing the meditator to the inner relaxation process, so we can start on inner listening. We have heart chakra meditation practice with the hridaya heart hand mudra to subtly and powerfully direct Prana to the space of the heart . . . and bringing together pranayama and breath awareness in the So Ham meditation which means “I AM THAT, THAT I AM . . “

When the Heart Chakra is opened and activated, communicating in its silent language in your inner world of the self, then we understand how it “talks” to our other Chakras especially Guru Chakra, the center of our Wisdom.

namaste, enjoy, Susan

From my heart to yours: a free-to-download audio of Susan reading the Love Poems of Pablo Neruda and Rumi. Enjoy

First Steps in Walking the Divine Path with Equality

Exotic eye of goddess woman. Elena Ray

Exotic eye of goddess woman. Elena Ray

 

This is taken from my Satsang in Class 12 of my weekly Youtube meditation class in the Yogic tradition, and it is part 2 of my teaching on Spiritual Vision and our need to accelerate it through our practice and dedication to Yoga . . . bringing together a few principles of practice which take us on our first steps to opening, and expanding our awareness so that with practice, and dedication to our practice, our Sadhana, with Yoga we can accelerate our spiritual vision to live with Divine Communication in our lives as we walk the Divine Path . . .

With Yoga, we balance in posture and relaxation with samastitihi, equal standing . . . bringing balance to our consciousness with physical balance and bodymind awareness . . . which is also a coming into the present and being in the now of our practice, aware that all things are equal in this moment . . .

With Pranayama and breath flow with Sama Vritti practice to bring equal flow of breaths, or fluctuations in our breathing, for balance in consciousness at the level of the breath and energy in our subtle bodies . . . bringing a balance to the inner and outer experience . . . life flowing in and life within us flowing . . . in this constant dance of energy . . . balance being the self-control we can bring to this constant dance . . .

And with Samadrishti in contemplation, as we will practice now in Satsang, for our understanding of expectation in expanding our spiritual vision . . . the enlightened awareness practice of equality for balance . . .

So . . . Samadrishti . . . the Drishtis in Yoga are the gazes . . such as nose-tip gazing, focus on the eyebrow centre . . . or horizon gazes. There are 9 of these physical focussing gazes . . . but there is also the drishti which focuses our consciousness on the concept, and our belief in Yoga, that as the Divine is in all things, we see all things as equal . . . and especially, all people are equal and we practice this equality of vision by honouring the spirit that dwells within each and every one of us . . . our practice of Namaste . . .

We use our belief in Samdrishti, equality, equal vision to bring equanimity, the quality of steadiness of mind and also nobility of character . . . seeing that as the divine is in all things, all things are equal . . . and balance is in all things.

Which ultimately means we can let go of expectations which are not our own, and which aren’t serving us positively . . . expectations based on life choices of parents, family or community or circumstances now outdated and outgrown . . . expectations based on old fears or outworn images for our lives . . . because the dance of energy which is the Divine and Divine Mother flowing through all things is constantly balancing and moving us forward along the path chosen by our souls . . . and, chosen by us all collectively at this moment in our history and evolution.

Letting go of expectations means growing, expanding, moving . . . always into balance . . . living with expectation of divine communication in all things . . . spiritual vision . . .

With our dedication and devotion to practice in Yoga, the whole of Yoga, we’re expanding our spiritual vision, seeing the Divine action in all things, with practices which bring balance to our bodymind, our character and actions, and our consciousness . . .

. . . in our lives this means . . . we have the inner strength, and wisdom to support the transformative flow of energy and love from our heart chakra . . . and we can, with balance, transform this into SOMETHING that positively affects us, our lives, our planet, our future . . . and our Sadhana, our practice when we merge with the Divine consciously and with total devotion, then can meet our lives . . .

. . . because we see “the one” in everything around us, Spiritual Vision, we can live with Divine Communication in our lives . . . which primarily means listening . . . watching . . . observing . . . interpreting meaning and direction . . . then we can expand and accelerate our Spiritual Vision and work with it in our lives as we walk the Divine path.

Namaste, Susan

Credit: Image is Exotic eye of goddess woman. Elena Ray @OldChineseMan

Eating your Shadow – a way to balance

In Eastern philosophies and cultural ways of being, the light, the energy, personal hope and inner freedom has been found in dealing with the Shadow.

As far as I know, this self-growth practice and process pre-dated Hinduism in India – moving from the dark to the light has always been the soul’s path in Yoga, with the soul power manifesting right at the moment you discern what the choice before you is.

This is my way of teaching the practice – there’s more in Brenda Shoshanna’s book Zen Miracles: Finding Peace in an Insane World:  see the Books page.

So, how do you Eat Your Shadow?

First, Make Friends with the Unacceptable:  Become aware of the qualities you find ugly or unacceptable in others, writing down a list if that helps. Then, realise that these are qualities that also exist within yourself. Make peace with these qualities, both within and without.

The more we repress aspects of ourselves, hiding from them and ignoring them, and project them onto others, the more power these qualities have over us, and the greater likelihood they will appear in our lives as symptoms, bad dreams, or repetitive situations which we feel we have no control over. This has been called the shadow of a human being since ancient times. Carl Jung did much good work on the way we dump all the unacceptable parts of ourselves into our unconscious, and let it fester there as we hide from it.  We then see these qualities in those people and situations that are around us.

Eat Your Shadow:  In order to be free of this process, we “eat our shadow”.  This means we must reclaim and own these hidden qualities, realise they are part of us, and welcome them into our lives.  The very act of welcoming certain qualities or people takes the steam out of them.  We can then “digest” and absorb the energy and transform them into something constructive. (from Zen Miracles)

Zen practice is the practice of doing this – “eating the shadow”, sitting and knowing that we ourselves contain the entire world.

Freeing ourselves to be human.

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.