Follow those thoughts, and step on it!

In yoga, we often talk about non-attachment, particularly when it comes to our thoughts. But, sometimes it’s great to do some investigative reporting.

As is customary, I am reading several books at once.  One of them is Buddhist Bootcamp, by Timber Hawkeye.  As is also customary, I often highlight or capture in a journal those statements or quotes that I find compelling and transformative.

I find it refreshing that he suggests we f0llow our thoughts out of curiosity.

“Habitually contemplate whether your thoughts stem from love or from fear. If your thoughts originate in love, then follow them. If they originate from a place of fear, then dig deep to find the root of your fear.  Only then will you be able to finally let go, so fear no longer limits your possibilities.”

It’s quite fascinating when you follow your thoughts, judgements and emotional responses like a curious cat.  You may find that what you think may be a root cause for a preconception or fear, isn’t at all.

I’ve been trying to take Timber’s challenge a step further, and I pass that onto you.  Rather than stopping at finding out the source of your fear, continue your journey and see if you can find the source below the source.  See if you can illuminate the darkness with compassion.

For example, if you find yourself glowering at someone who’s annoying you, dig deep to find out what that feeling is really about.  Have the courage to look into how you may possess those qualities, accept them and find a wellspring of compassion.

It’s there.  I promise.

(Photo: Flickr / Dominique LaTour)

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

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Would you die for your dream?

martin luther king jr quote

Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream — a life of freedom and equality for every citizen born of love, not violence. He believed that only light could drive out the darkness, and only love could banish hate. His faith guided him throughout his life, and asked others to have faith to take the first step even if they couldn’t see the staircase.

At the age of 35, Martin Luther King, Jr. was the youngest man to win the Nobel Peace Prize and donated his $54K prize money to the civil rights movement, a dream he believed in, a passion and compassion for which he paid the ultimate price.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Do you have a dream? What would you give up for your dream?

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

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(Photo: Pinterest)

Love the weeds in your life


eyore ahimsa

In yoga, ahimsa or non-judgement, refers to the state of living in loving kindness toward all beings including ourselves.   And yet, sometimes it’s the hardest thing to do.  Let’s face it extending compassion in every situation — particularly conflict — can be hard. Why dispense love to the guy who cut you off in line when you don’t owe him anything?  Because you owe it to yourself to find the love and beauty everywhere.

As A.A. Milne — Winnie the Pooh author — once said, weeds are flowers too once you get to know them. You never know who’s going to come into your life and present you the opportunity to find love.  In fact, sometimes the universe sends us challenging people and situations for just that reason.

The next time someone really gets under your skin, rather than building up toxic emotion asking “why me”, ask yourself, “How can I extend compassion here? What am I supposed to offer? What am I supposed to learn?”

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

(Photo: Pinterest)

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Look with eyes that you want upon you

eye with a heart iris

Have you ever caught yourself being more compassionate than you thought capable? If there are people near you right now, look around and take note of any feelings or emotions that arise. Do you feel irritated, amused, loved, angry, happy, empathetic, unimpressed, or maybe something else?

I recently flew home for the holidays from the busiest airport in the world. While there were flecks of a short temper that wanted to rear itself, I found myself more often trying to empathize with all of the people that make up the holiday hustle and bustle. We all had the same goal: to get home and see our families. And, we all had similar challenges: reassemble ourselves after the security check; find our seats on the plane; stow our carry ons; wait to deplane. I was tired and irritable, but when I looked around I saw a mix of emotions. I saw some people who looked like I felt, and I softened. I realized that we’re all in this together and that extending a little compassion goes a long way.

It’s easy to cast our frustrations onto someone or something else rather than sit with them, but OUR frustrations rarely have anything to do with the person with whom we’re frustrated. In fact, when you put your irritability and ego out into the world, that tends to be what you receive. Conversely, when you extend kindness, you get kindness. It’s really as simple as that. So why is it so hard?

Let’s let that go. It doesn’t have to be hard. The next time you find yourself rearing up for battle, do the opposite and see what happens. Look through a lense of love.

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

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(Photo: Wikispaces)

Being nice feels nice (most of the time)

it's nice to be nice plaqueAs part of the #26ActsofKindness campaign that Ann Curry conceptualized to commemorate the 26 victims of the Newtown shooting by paying kindness forward, I decided to participate. It always feels…well… nice to be nice. If you’re there to receive someone’s thanks, gratitude is a warm hug, but even if you aren’t it still feels pretty darn good to be kind (most of the time.)

I started a personal tradition years ago in which I always pay for the car behind me when going through a toll booth.  I stole this simple act from a car that did it for me once.  So, I decided to expand on the concept and paid for the gentleman’s lunch behind me in line in my office cafeteria.  I don’t bring this up for any kind of recognition, but because I was taken aback for a moment by his reaction.

Dazed and confused when the cashier told him I’d paid for his lunch, he yelled for me — almost in an accusatory tone.  He then proceeded to interrogate me as I walked away, “Why did you do this?”  His tone more irritated than I’d expected.  My answer, “Just ’cause.  Merry Christmas.” His face changed when he realized that I didn’t buy his lunch as retribution for something he didn’t even realize he’d done, and simply said, “Thank you.”

When I’ve done this in the past, I prefer to slink off and just let the person enjoy a pleasant surprise.  But I couldn’t get away that quickly this time.  I really don’t honestly don’t do it because I want to be heralded, I just do it because of all of the times someone has done something nice for me and I wasn’t even paying attention.  I also hope that it changes someone’s day enough, that the kindness grows.

It’s a bit troubling that we, as a society, enter each day braced for battle as if life were a combat zone.   When we’re shocked more by acts of kindness than by criminality or day-to-day insensitivities, it’s time to re-evaluate.

Take a step back today, and evaluate (without judgement) how you face the world each day. Are you ready for battle? If so, can you shift perspective?  Karma  is the concept of “action” or “deed”, understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect.  Why not change you Karma and put out goodness for goodness sake.

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

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(Photo: Pinterest)