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.

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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.