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.

Nurturing our Yoga Teachers – Remembering the Seeds of Samadhi



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

 

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

We are a Tribe.

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

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

My heart is usually right.

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

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

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

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

But mainly at a cost to our authority.

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

And the Divine is our source.

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

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

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

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

Namaste

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

A Return to Innocence

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

Our Perfect Innocence

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

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

Reclaiming Spiritual Heritage

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

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

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

The Yoga “Tribe”

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

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

Reclaiming Power

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

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

The practices I teach for awakening of Bindu Chakra are mainly on focussed concentration, and you can practice at your own pace in Class 25 of my Weekly Youtube Classes.

Namaste,  Susan

Facebook: SuZen @susannirahilly

Twitter: @furtherthanyoga

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

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.

 

Living Simply, Yoga and Balancing Your life . . .

I posted a former blog, Balancing Your Life by Living Simply with Yoga on my Speaking Tree India blog and had the most amazing responses asking for greater clarification of some of the steps to living simply (and to date the blog itself has had over 5900 views and 230-some responses): so the message was clear : simplify the teaching and elaborate on the writing. And I hope this is helpful.

Simple Living is about living consciously and in the moment. Consciousness is about awareness and this “Simple Living” process helps you to raise your awareness of how you’re living your life – and teaches you to live in the magic of life unfolding. An awakening to what is real in life.

As a teacher, I think I have only 3 things to teach: meditate, exercise the body-mind, live simply and with these 3 our health will go a long way.

And here are some of the steps:

Step One:

Meditate. Give yourself time for deep inner nurturing and nourishing.

Making time for our spiritual care is as, if not more, important as making time to eat, sleep, work, socialise. This can begin with 10 minutes a day.

It is the act of creating a “space” in time which is only for the spirit which begins to build an inner structure deep within the bodymind . . . and then this is the basis of our deep nourishing of the self with meditation.

So the simple steps here are: make time, make space. Focus on posture, breathing and silence. Practice regularly.

There are a couple of free downloads I offer, Seeds of Yoga Meditation Parts One and Two, and I would recommend downloading Part One and practising “Sit” and “Breath” to begin: you can download and save to your desktop for regular practice, here.

Step Two:

Go to the “sweetspot” regularly! Listen to meditative music. The Ancient Yogis believed we have a little sac of “Amber Nectar” (the nectar of the Gods) deep within our brains, at the pineal gland. The way to connect with our “sweetspot” is through relaxation and music, raising our vibrations.

There have been many pointers to us from the Ancients in many civilisations that the pineal gland is the point of access for us to our souls and the flow of Consciousness.

In Yoga we understand this as Bindhu Chakra (back of the head, midpoint of the brain). Where we are always receiving the flow of Consciousness . . .  we are in communication with the Divine through our Soul’s connection.

The Ancient Yogis had the beautiful concept of a sac of Amber Nectar here – our own individual nectar of the Gods.

In our Yogasana practice this is why we practice inverted postures, to replenish our Amber Nectar and to reverse the process of our precious “nectar” being burned out by the anger of the solar plexus.

The Ancients believed that, to open ourselves to this sweet nectar of the Gods, we listen to beautiful music and poetry, appreciate beauty in both art and poetry . . . anything that brings us the vibration of the Universe through our senses at a higher level.

One Meditation for this is “No-Mind” meditation through the Chakras, with Unmani Mudra which is the attitude of mindlessness: meaning the state beyond thought, no mind, meditation . . . a simple technique that brings us to a meditative state . . .

Step Three:

Practice Right Diet: Dietary control is very important in living your life with simplicity. We eat those foods which contain the most life force energy and which feed our bodymind emotions and spirits. Traditionally Vegetarianism suits the bodymind of a meditation and Yoga practitioner – but books such as “Eat Right 4 Your Typehave taught us that not everyone can be Vegetarian, Vegan or eat raw food diets. Understanding a little about the Ayurvedic Doshas can also be very illuminating!

Learn what you can about your body and what foods are going to bring you optimum health. Eating little and often suits the body when we are attempting to bring Balance and allow Consciousness to flow.

In the Yoga Diet we try to be aware of the Gunas, and incorporating knowledge of the gunas in our diet for our practice: a Vegetarian (or Vegan) diet is best for practitioners because we try to eat foods which incorporate the most life-force energy and which take the least amount of energy to digest. These are the Sattvic foods which are purest, and promote peace and calm in the bodymind. As the Gunas are qualities of the Universe, these foods are also putting us into harmony and balance.

And now some feedback from the original article: This was one of the comments on the Speaking Tree blog from Sudheindra:

“Being simple has become complex in a mind driven existence which makes every action and thought behind the action complicated. Living has become a chess game for most of us. Calculating every move, excessive caution in every step, a sense of insecurity, fear in relationships have all robbed life of all simplicity which it actually is. Complexity introduces stress & strain and takes away built-in resilience of any system.”

And now, for the heartwarming that this might bring to you, one of the Seekers in India asked:

At some point or other, when a seeker has progressed in practice it is natural for the seeker to ask ” . . . has it happened? What is the sure way to know?”

I replied: . . . the seeker knows because when you wake up in the middle of the night you can feel a calm silence in your heart and when you wake in the morning for the new day, there is a steady happiness present … I sincerely hope you find this.

Sudheindra later posted a PS to his comment, when prompted:

“I wish we can bring back simplicity to life at a collective level to resolve all our problems and conflicts and this can happen only when we make mind an instrument that it is and live from heart. The steps suggested here in this article are the steps to achieve this.”

My Namaskar to you all, and I hope this simplicity will bring you a way to live from the heart.

Namaste, Susan

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