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Are You the Director or the Actor in the Play that is Your Life? – Richard’s Commentary

October 16, 2014 Leave a comment

This is such a wonderful question Rosemary asks. It’s one of those questions that makes you go “hmmm”! It stops me and makes me think. And, it’s another one of those questions that take me inside, to examine, to evaluate, and maybe, just maybe to shift!

Here’s the key to Rosemary’s Exploration:

What did you used to believe about yourself, life, the world around you that might be holding you back today? Is it your unconscious mind that is the Director while you and your conscious mind are merely the Actors on the stage?

It’s those old beliefs, those old programs that run on automatic when our attention strays, when “unforeseen situations arise,” or when we simply get caught off guard in a moment of weakness.

Here’s a simple example that is trite but true, a cliché of our times: driving in traffic I still find myself getting upset by unconscious drivers who are in some way impeding my progress! Then I realize I am being unconscious myself in my angry reactions. I take a breath, go briefly inside to remember my impatience is getting in my own way, release frustration and then move along more smoothly – until the next inattentive driver annoys me!

This is a life-long habit. I probably learned it from my father, even though in rural Wisconsin he did not face the driving difficulties we have here in the East! I know I am being the Actor in my little stage play about driving in traffic and my unconscious mind is the Director in this play. It is a hard habit to break and I get plenty of opportunities to practice!

I find my breath work, as part of my Qigong and Yoga practices help me overcome, or at least recover from habits of a lifetime. As long as I remember to breathe intentionally I can short-circuit the old programming and my conscious mind can recover control and direct my life.

Here’s how that works: one of my practices is to employ the Hamsa mantra as taught by Swami Muktananda (ref: I Am That The Science of HAMSA from the Vignana Bhairava). This is probably the simplest yet most profound mantra in the Yogic tradition. “Ham” means “I am” and Sa means “that.” It may also be seen and pronounced or read as So’ham “that I am” depending on personal preference and breath flow.

Ham is the sound of the breath as you inhale. Sa or So is the sound of the breath as you exhale. My natural breath includes a more lengthy pause after exhaling so I use Hamsa as my breath mantra; in other words it seems more natural for me to inhale before I exhale. Practice both ways; if it seems more natural for you to exhale first then So’ham may be the better way for you to use this key mantra.

For that matter you can even use English here inhaling on the “I Am” and exhaling on the “That.” The real key is to become aware of the breath and then become intentional about breathing through the recovery from habitual action and reaction you are working to reprogram. As Rosemary writes:

You can’t just decide to do things differently and have your unconscious mind let go of those old beliefs. They are programs that are running all the time. They are beliefs that trump conscious decisions many times. 

The work is to go inside and uncover the programs and reprogram your mind.

Breath work is an excellent tool to aid you in the reprogramming effort.

Be Your Brightest Self! – Richard’s Commentary

September 4, 2014 Leave a comment

Rosemary’s article and post this week continues this conversation about “being the light.” I have heard her and the multiple “sources” she channels say many times “you are the light of the world.” This is an easy phrase. Many of us have heard it most of our lives as quotes from the New Testament of Christian Bibles. Jesus frequently said this about both himself and his followers.

But when that simple phrase is closely considered it is not necessarily the easiest concept to embrace! In particular here is one challenge Rosemary throws out:

And when you are having a bad day, do you seek the light within yourself or do you try to pull others into your bad mood to commiserate with you?

OK, I don’t think I try to pull others into my bad moods. But I do have them. And when I am in a mood that is not necessarily of the lightest variety, do I seek the light within? Not always! Do you know what I mean? Are there moods you experience that are dark but you want to stay there, to feel them, to wallow for just a bit? There’s a soothing quality to these moods sometimes.

But consider others around you. I have to pull this notion toward me first when I am in one of my moods. Now that I’m retired I “work” at home. And, yes, it is actual work to keep two businesses going. The point is I am home, with Rosemary, a lot. We do have a big enough house to spread out and go to separate rooms. However we are frequently and often together; our moods rub against each other. It is much easier and more pleasant to reach for the light, even when I am in the darkest of moods – it’s only fair!

How do I do this? As I’ve written many times I have lots of practices to move my moods around: body practices include Yoga and Qigong and I do one or both almost daily. My mental practices include reading, research and my “morning pages.” My “pages” are the quickest way to shift my mood. I enjoy writing anyway; to write about my moods is a sure way to dig in to them, sift through them and finally shift them. Some of my page writing begins quite negatively. But by the end of the third page they always end on high notes! I don’t even know how this works, but it is true. It’s a wonderful practice, for me, and the reason I’ve been doing it for years now.

My spiritual practices include several forms of meditation. But it is difficult, for me, to meditate when I am in a mood. The mood needs to be shifted first. I need to “seek the light within” first and be in that space of light in order to still my mind. But there is one Koan meditation practice that does work; I’ve written about it here before. It is to simply ask the question “what is this?” when the mood insinuates itself enough to be recognized as “a mood.” The question is answered and then repeated several times until the root cause is revealed. It works. You might wonder at first if this is more like a mental practice, but as the questioning and answers move deeper the process does become meditative.

You may ask “why go through all this; moods change eventually.” Hopefully for most of us this is true enough. But here’s what Rosemary says about the “why”:

Your purpose on Planet Earth is to be your own Sun, to shine your light. Those around you are looking to you to shine. They need the light of your love and warmth as much as they need the Sun’s. Who are you to withhold that light from them?

It starts inside. We need ourselves to be lights for ourselves! And this radiates out to those closest to us. And it continues to radiate out to the neighborhood, the community, everyone we encounter from store clerks to friends, from family to strangers (friends we just haven’t met yet). Imagine if we all knew this purpose and became “suns” for everyone else on the planet!

For one thing we’d all have shining eyes – and that would be something to smile about!

MONDAY’S POEM: Connection

August 4, 2014 Leave a comment

The theme I started today’s poem with is “Connection.” I am feeling connected. The last several days have been all about connection: from our trip south, connecting along with way with family and friends, to the event we attended with Red Elephant and connecting with the “herd” at the Stand, Speak and Profit program, to the Ashram, Amrit Yoga Institute and yoga practice, and now prepared to return “home” – to reconnect. The Big Connect for these days is to the future – our newest grandson, Tristan, who brings a new light into the world! Can I summarize all of these delicious feelings in a poem?

Connection

I like the feeling of the word.
I like the sense of it –
The two “ns” in the middle
Are connectors –
Like twins holding hands
Across the word.

I like the feel of the “co”
Within the breath –
A catch in the throat and
A soft exhalation.

Across the “ns” we connect
With the click
In the throat and
With the tongue.

Another quieting sound
Of the breath moving to the close
Of the word
With the trailing n.

Connection.

We are all looking for connection.
And as with all things conscious
The connection begins within.
There is no outer; we create with
The connection within.

It is all inside.
And from there the connection
With breath begins
The connection with the All.

It is deep, inside.
It grows there expanding
Ever deeper and higher and wider
Taking in the totality of it all.

Connection can only expand
From the inside.
Just as all love flows
From self-love,
So too does all connection flow
From inner connection.

Breath
Body
Vibration
Prana
Yoga
Union
Connection.

It is all right here.

©2014 Richard W. Bredeson. All rights reserved.

Awareness

June 28, 2013 1 comment

I often use this word, awareness, as a key word for both my blogs and Rosemary’s. It is a good synonym for “consciousness” and, I’m sure you know by now, we are all about increasing our level of consciousness, our awareness! I don’t think I have ever written about this subject specifically, but several events lately have caused me to pause and wonder just how developed my awareness is!

The other day I went to Radio Shack to replace a power supply for Rosemary’s portable DVD player. I took the player with me to be sure I got the right one with the correct tip to plug it in. I purchased the adapter which we tested in the store; it worked perfectly and even brought up the DVD in the player. I left the store with my purchase and drove off in the car for the next errand. When I got to my next stop I looked around for the DVD player and it was gone. I ransacked the car thinking it had slid off the seat or under a seat. It was nowhere to be found. I went back to the store in case I had left it there. No one had seen it. I retraced my route in case I had left it on the car roof and driven off with it there. No sign of it! Now I was frustrated, confused and upset; how could a DVD player simply disappear. I returned the power adapter to the store. The player has never shown up!

Awareness. My awareness shifted focus at some point in this transaction and I lost a DVD player. I was distracted by my next errand and failed to successfully complete the current errand.

And then again, the other day, I was preparing for my Qigong class. I have this delightful alarm-clock, Zen meditation timer that I began using a couple of weeks ago to gently remind me with a very pleasant chime where I am within the schedule of the class and practice. The timer was not in the bag I use to carry things back and forth to class. I looked everywhere, even the car in case it had fallen out of the bag in transit. A day or so later I decided to look for it in the place I used to keep it before I started using it for Qigong; and there it was! I have no recollection of putting it back in its old place!

These two stories remind me of an old favorite Zen story of mine; in this version it’s called “Full Awareness” and goes like this:

After ten years of apprenticeship, Tenno achieved the rank of Zen teacher. One rainy day, he went to visit the famous master Nan-in. When he walked in, the master greeted him with a question, “Did you leave your wooden clogs and umbrella on the porch?”

“Yes,” Tenno replied.

“Tell me,” the master continued, “did you place your umbrella to the left of your shoes, or to the right?”

Tenno did not know the answer, and realized that he had not yet attained full awareness. So he became Nan-in’s apprentice and studied under him for ten more years.

Yes, I can easily say I have, at least, 10 more years of practice to reach “full awareness.”

I am finishing this post just after returning from my Svaroopa Yoga practice. The opening and closing Shavasana focuses on body awareness; whole body awareness from the tips of the toes to the crown of the head. The guided meditation is a wonderful practice of total relaxation and yet a heightened sense of awareness. Ten years more is not such a long time!

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PS: The contemplation for my yoga practice this week speaks pointedly to this subject of awareness:

Real happiness abides in Self-knowledge alone. All else is fleeting. To know one’s Self is to be blissful always. – Ramana Maharshi

The Cycles of Life

June 21, 2013 Leave a comment

This week’s theme in Rosemary’s blog was Cycles beginning with her video message on Tuesday. Yesterday I wrote about the primary cycle in human life, human consciousness: Death. And as we move now into the energy of the Summer Solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere I am once again reminded of all the cycles that occur in our lives, from the most minute, the life and death of a single cell (we lose more than 50 billion a day to apoptosis!) to the solar cycle through solstices and equinoxes and all the solar holidays in-between, to human death.

As I thought about Glenn Smith, his early-in-life transition (he was only 55) I drew two divination cards (a daily practice, usually with the intention of divining the energy for the day); I wanted to tap in and see if Glenn had any messages for me through the cards.Butterfly Maiden

First I drew Butterfly Maiden from the Doreen Virtue Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards. No surprise as this card is all about “transformation.” This is what I wrote about the card, pictured here:

Death is the big transformation for humans, only rivaled in grandeur and trauma by birth. And in a sense these largest of events in our experience of consciousness are one and the same. They are each part of the human cycle, a circle which has no end nor beginning. Birth, Life, Death, around we go always becoming, renewing, rejoicing in the knowing! And not knowing!

 

The second card I drew was from the Aleister Crowley Thoth Tarot Deck; it was the 10 of Disks, “wealth.” This is what I wrote about the 10, pictured here:Thoth 10 of Disks

Wealth. Fulfillment. The completion of human goals. Another “end-vibration” card showing me that endings are not only OK but need to be expected. We can never be sure when a life is fulfilled. Too often endings are abrupt and unexpected. A greater cycle, beyond human consciousness and understanding – the mystery – is playing out. We are but cycles within cycles adding our ounce of Oneness to the tidal ocean of consciousness. Rest, Glenn. We hold your ounce as precious!

We can measure so many cycles: the cycle of a cell’s life, the cycle of the sun as it appears to spin around the earth. But how do we measure the cycle of a man’s life? The span of time from birth to death, to fulfillment of one life, remains in the mystery. Yet there is so much to learn from each precious life.

I learned many things from Glenn in our too short friendship. He was such a gentle man and yet so deeply conscious. Read about him in the blog we wrote together: powerfulsensitivemen.com. And here’s something he wrote for Rosemary I want to share:

Having always thought I was a bit odd and different from the regular crowd, I was overjoyed to receive a message passed to me through Rosemary Bredeson that I was indeed ‘different’, during a group session I attended. In fact every message she passed to the twelve people gathered had some impact on me. The message I received could not have been more relevant for me even though I have had many readings by many different psychics over many years. Her joyful way of expressing heartfelt messages from The Other Side was a delight to witness.

This is how Glenn was in life; he always seemed overjoyed and delighted!

I went to my Svaroopa Yoga class tonight energized as I often am to take respite in my body, to bring my consciousness to my physical being rooted as I am in this life for now on the planet. For the evening’s contemplation my teacher used a quote from Aristotle:

Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.

Glenn was a happy man, passing to another phase of consciousness having fulfilled his purpose in this cycle on Planet Earth.

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Are You Ready? – Richard’s Commentary

May 9, 2013 Leave a comment

Rosemary’s opening to her MuseLetter article this week was certainly provocative:

Did you think you could relax because you made it through December 21, 2012?  Think again!

The Shift has begun.  Time has been speeding up for years and we’re moving ahead at an amazing pace.  It’s time to grow, to transform, to evolve.  Hold onto your hat!

Yes, the time is now. And I can certainly feel the urgency of the moment. I have been impacted a lot this week as we are in this very old moon energy in Taurus. My body hurts, my mind isn’t functioning at peak performance and my emotions tend to rule my tongue more often than I’d like! Is it just this old moon, impending new moon and solar eclipse coming our way that has me in such a state? And what can I do to “be ready”?

Then we came across this from one of our astrologer friends; we have trusted Steve Nelson’s readings for us and his deep writing for years! Here’s what Steve says about this time in May:

Karma is fate, dharma is destiny. Karma is in the body as chronic muscle tension that holds encoded past emotional memory. Dharma is our divine purpose to be revealed and realized as karma is let go. Past world patterning or karma can be released through exercise (especially yoga), deep breathing and ritual celebration. Collective karma, the shadow of the age, is up for clearing now. As we clear personal karma we clear world karma. Karma is cleared cosmically by New Moons and by eclipses of the Sun and Moon.

A solar eclipse is Mother Nature’s most powerful instrument for transformation. When an eclipse occurs above, things get eclipsed and are transformed here below. Whatever needs eclipsing comes up in the days/weeks before a solar eclipse. An eclipse is an opportunity to eliminate patterns of thought and behavior that trouble our world. This is an ideal time to clear away what stands in the way of dreams being realized. The May 9/10 solar eclipse is the subject of another prophecy by Nostradamus in Century 9 Quatrain 83: ”Sun twentieth of Taurus, the Earth will tremble mightily; It will ruin the great theater filled: And so darken and trouble air, sky and land, the unbeliever will call upon God and the saints.”

The May 9/10 solar eclipse in the 20th degree of Taurus may bring a great earthquake as Nostradamus predicted. We’re advised to stay away from crowded theaters on this day. Our old world patterns are broken one way or another; we can hope and pray for the kinder gentler way.

It sounds to me that all the energy I’m feeling is definitely part of this New Moon/Solar Eclipse energy. It may be a doozy. I’ll definitely “hold on to my hat”!

But what does this mean; how do we prepare and “be ready” for major events that may occur? Steve Nelson recommends ritual work. Ritual is a wonderful way to heighten our awareness and bring consciousness and intention to our plans and actions.

And Steve mentions yoga and deep breathing – no surprise here! As you know from my previous posts I am all about yoga, qigong and breath-work!

I am doing everything in my power to be ready for this New Moon/Eclipse this evening (it occurs here on the east coast at 8:29 pm). Here’s what Rosemary has said about it:

This Solar Eclipse ends a cycle and begins a new one.  Look back at what was happening in your life on May 10, 1994 for some clues about your personal evolution.  We are being invited to release the past, clear negative thought patterns and whatever else might be holding us back from expanded consciousness and evolution.  According to The Mountain Astrologer magazineEclipses also affect cellular memory, facilitating our awakening and remembrance of our soul’s blueprint. 

Karma and dharma: release the past and awaken to your soul’s blueprint!

With Steve I wish you a “kinder and gentler” experience of this powerful energy. May you use it for growth!

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Yoga and Diet

January 18, 2013 Leave a comment

I worked with a new yoga teacher tonight using a style unfamiliar to me. This teacher, (whom I’ve known for 30 years!) has been studying, practicing and teaching Svaroopa® Yoga for the past nine years. He is a gentle teacher and the yoga is a somehow gentle and at the same time strenuous approach to “strengthening the core” and aligning the spine. And the real result is a “stilling of the mind” – the goal of any yoga and certainly one of the reasons I am interested in continuing to study this style and approach.

I have practiced yoga off and on for more than 30 years. And I have been more disciplined recently working through a morning routine which also includes Qigong. These practices are enjoyable; I am feeling good about the stretching of my sometimes tight body and the easy motions through the Qi-field as I move through the 5-element form of qigong. So, why a new practice?

Do you ever feel stuck in a routine? Do you sometimes wish things would change, that something new would come in to shake things up? Or maybe you are reaching to take a next, deeper step. I’m feeling like this at the beginning of 2013; and this year is all about the process of the transformation, right? How do we expect to transform by sticking with our customary routines?

I may have found a practice that is going to take me deeper. Even in this first introduction I felt my body release, relax and go deep. More importantly, I felt my mind quiet. I don’t think I have experienced such a rapid alignment of body and mind into that space of peace and silence since I was first initiated into TM (transcendental meditation) in 1969!

And here’s where diet comes in and links back to my post yesterday about that mirror my vegan friends hold up for me!

Before my class tonight Rosemary and I had a quick bite, early dinner, at a Chinese bistro. One of my favorite dishes there is a spicy Korean dish that I usually get with beef. True to form I ordered that about two hours before class. And it was delicious. I didn’t even finish the serving, packing up the last bit for a snack later, maybe after yoga. On our way home I remarked to Rosemary that I had thought to eat light, remain vegan for the whole day leading up to this new class. But habit tripped me up as I ordered my usual.

And it was OK. But I did wonder as I relaxed into the asanas if I could have released even more if my early dinner had been lighter. Next week I’ll be more conscious of my food intake before class!

But is it only before class and other similar activities that I’ll be “more conscious”? Isn’t my goal in life to grow in consciousness at all times? Isn’t this the goal for humanity? That mirror is reflecting some serious thought-forms that are beginning to press back, hard.

Rosemary and I have discussed vegetarianism over many of our 40 years of knowing one another. We have both curtailed our meat intake but we have not eliminated it; and we both enjoy a moderate level of dairy. Rosemary, as an incredible intuitive, looks for the “light content” in the food she prepares and eats. If I take this literally I would choose foods as close to the sunlight as possible. This would mean eating a lot of green vegetables, right? And I do love the greens! But isn’t grass-fed beef only one step removed from the sunlight of green grass?

My dilemma remains. I am not ready to go vegan. But I am certainly thinking about it. I have a lot to think about!

I do know I like Svaroopa Yoga. And I do know that I can go deeper in that practice if my digestive tract is clearer and lighter. So, at least one day a week I’ll be vegan.

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