Author Archive for GuruMeher Khalsa

More Relationship Busters: Power Struggles

 

Partnership is when two people are on the same ship, rowing in the same direction, for mutual benefit.

When getting what we want is threatened it’s easy to start rowing hard in our own direction, rowing against each other. A power struggle often develops. I’d say it is always there beneath the surface unless and until…. What is the resolution?

First, identify power struggles. Lots of arguments. Who did what to whom, or did not do what was expected, Keeping score of the same. Unless one or both parties struggles in silence, then there is resentment, manipulations, passive aggression, withholding and sabotaging. Love is withheld and eventually believed to be gone.

And it’s ultimately still all happening when needs aren’t met (see blog) and agreements aren’t kept (see blog), these power struggles break out in desperate and less effective attempts to get what we need. When we go into reactive survival mode, the all-for-one spirit of partnership is lost and becomes us-versus-them. The I, Me, Mine mandate of the ego wins out. This is why relationships are great spiritual teachers, an opportunity to test both personal empowerment and its compliment, surrender.

What are the underlying personal development lessons?  I’ll discuss the two I see most often.

Not understanding and therefore trusting one’s own power, the ability – and responsibility – we all have to take care of ourselves, to do what we can to handle any situation as well as possible. We are all born self-contained units with our own version of capability to succeed. Not knowing or using this will leave us lacking or hurting; then we struggle. Just as abundant energy can have you climb a hill with ease, with power realized and utilized one doesn’t struggle. (Come back to Trust.)

The other side of this coin is your relationship to the power of your partner. It need not matter who has more – which is the constant fight in a power struggle. The underlying doubt and fear is, “Will they use their power for me or against me?” I am in partnership to benefit from their strength, I come to depend on that, I need to know I am safe and loved. But we have different ways and different wants sometimes. Other times they are distant, preoccupied, busy, stressed and seem to be looking out only for their interests. I lose trust in them and figure I better do them same now that I am on my own.

What’s the thought/ principal/ consciousness by which I  can feel safe and relax, get back from competition to cooperation? This is for you to answer, but will offer a suggestion, a place to look. And that is Trust

My suggestion does not resolve these issues for you. You must find your way to that trust of self, trust in another person, and in the way people and the Universe work. But it is a great quest, one I believe we are all on and working out in our closest relationships.

Sweden, Copenhagen & CT – A Mind and Meditation Journey

Hej hej – that’s hello in Swedish,
I recently returned from teaching Mind and Meditation in Sweden, Copenhagen and Connecticut and I want to share my incredible experience with you through the pictures below.
My first stop is a Swedish bakery!  
Mangalam, a sacred space to teach Mind and Meditation.

 

Live music for early morning meditation.

Hearty Scandinavians meditating outdoors at 40 degrees. 

My cozy cottage; I sat here working on my next book. 

Sunset with swans on my last evening in Sweden.

Then a train to Dalgas Yoga Copenhagen to teach M&M again. 

On the way home, a stop at Yoga4Everybody in Fairfield, Connecticut to join Hari NYC for more Mind and Meditation!  

A kayak adventure on the Long Island Sound.brought me to a sweet reminder of what teaching is all about.

“You are a lighthouse, so nobody else can wreck near you. That is the one thing in life you have to do. Spread the light. Be the lighthouse. So every journey, every destiny, every distance will be safe.”        Yogi Bhajan 11/1987
Blessings, GuruMeher

Relationship Busters – Agree or Not Agree – That is the Question!

Agreements are the glue that helps us stick together.  The contracts of what we expect to get and to give in order to get along. Our agreements are the contracts we write to try to ensure that we get what we need. (See last week’s article on needs here.) The problem is they are seldom written but rather assumed and unspoken. That makes it an expectation. We expect a lot from our relationships and when we don’t get what we expect, what we get upset!

In fact, every conflict in a relationship comes from a lack of an agreement or the breaking of an agreement. This does not refute my assertion that beneath every conflict is an unmet need but rather reinforces it.

The very roles that people play in your life are defined by expectations. Whether you realize it or not you may expect that a mother is loving, that a husband is faithful, that a daughter is honest, that a professional has integrity. And when it comes to your closest relationships there are countless assumptions about what they will do and not do. Make an honest inventory. Don’t you expect your partner to come home every night or tell you where they are, clean up their own mess, have sex, be faithful, speak nicely to you? And again, wherever there’s an upset, you’ll find an expectation unmet.

That’s my unified-field theory: Wherever there is a conflict there is either a broken agreement or none at all. Here’s a story.

He and she had a big fight. It wasn’t clear what started it. They were just exchanging the usual hostile words and feelings that their arguments had devolved into. As I worked with them to deconstruct the conflict we found the source. He had made an online investment in cryptocurrency and gave it to her as a gift. She became very upset and he did not understand why but felt attacked and demeaned. It escalated into their usual fight pattern which I will not detail here.

Here’s a list of agreements that needed to replace unspoken assumptions in order to keep the peace.

-How much money can we both spend without asking the other? ($50, $500, $5000, $50,000?)

-Are there things that always need to be discussed? (Risky investments?)

-Does everything we do need to be disclosed?

Then there are deeper underlying issues that are seeking reassurance:

– How much do we trust each other?

– Do you believe in me?

– Will you abandon me?

These are matters of the heart and soul that are both difficult to ask for and harder to answer and be certain. Ultimately this is the level of existential questions that souls come together to answer. It’s a rich relationship that can plumb these depths; the spirituality of relationship. You can go there by asking the hard questions and challenging each other to live to high standards of word and deed. Make relationships noble again!

Meanwhile, practice making it clear what you expect and what you both actually agree to; who’s responsible for what in the finances, who is supposed to initiate romance, who takes out the trash? Have some fun working it out!

We’re All Needy! More Relationship Busters

What’s behind all those triggers we pull on each other? Test this out:

Under every fight, every fear, frustration, and sadness you have with anyone there is something you want and need that you are not getting! And the path to peace and harmony is the ability to identify and satisfy your needs in a mutually acceptable way.

Human life requires a million resources and conditions to survive and be happy, from oxygen to love, from shelter to purpose. Accept that you are very “needy”. But when you understand the needs that are driving you, take responsibility for them and then fulfill them as best you can – then you don’t seem needy at all. You are just taking good care of yourself.

We form relationships very much with the hope of filling many of our needs – for connection, intimacy, support, sex, fun, safety. Otherwise, why bother, right? The give-and-take of our needs with a willing partner makes life easier. When it flows there is harmony.

The trouble starts when we don’t get what we want. To see this, take any argument or lawsuit and then imagine you are a baby in a tantrum, mad and crying. Imagine a parent trying to help you. She/he determines what you want and what will satisfy, soothe and bring a smile back to your face. You have to know what you need and how to get it! Otherwise, you flail about mad or sad.

The all-too-common problems are that you either don’t know what you want, don’t know how to get it, or can’t accept what you are receiving. And in any relationship, you develop EXPECTATIONS. You just assume that if they love and care they will magically know what you want and give it to you. Your needs are yours; they always remain your responsibility. A good and healthy partner can help you with many, but never all, of your needs.

The simple – not always easy – formula for your satisfaction in life and in a relationship is:

– Get to clearly know your own needs.

– Take full responsibility for taking care of them, and of yourself.

– Discover how to fulfill them.

PS: It will never come from any one person or always when and how or exactly you want. Accept substitutes, be flexible, be grateful. You can get just about anything you want, but you will never have everything you want.

Be generous giving others what they need, too. You might even start with that. This makes your partner much more willing to give to you.

Relationship Busters – Mutual Triggers: A Perfect Match

Greetings People of Personal Growth!

Last week’s blog describes how our history can get in the way of our present-day efforts to find love. If you didn’t see it you might want to catch it here before or after reading this real-life example. Today I am sharing the story of a client who has been working with me and gave me permission to share anonymously. Let’s call the couple Amy and Rob.

Amy and Rob are a well-suited couple, attractive, successful and wanting partnership. They’re making a go of living together but seem to be constantly on the verge of ending it. Let’s look behind the psychological curtain to see why.

She was ignored by her father, he didn’t give her attention nor caring. From that, she came to believe she was unlovable. To cope with that awful belief, she began taking care of others to try to earn their love. She also found it easier to remain mostly out of any close relationship. Not having a loving relationship, in turn, confirms her belief, “I an unloveable.” To her, handling loneliness actually feels easier and better (being free and unencumbered by a relationship) than having to deal with the pains that come from trying to harmonize two lives.

He, by way of an unhappy relationship with his mother and a painful breakup as an adult, has a deep fear of abandonment, expects to be, and is quick to believe that another breakup is happening.

So the mutually assured triggering begins. Either may start the emotional cascade of feelings. She may work late or have a weekend business commitment. He is triggered to feel that she is leaving him. So he texts, “Where are you?” She feels he doesn’t really love her but is limiting her freedom, trapping her into a situation where she won’t be loved or will only be hurt in the end.

She feels controlled by his attempts to not be abandoned and wants to end the very thing she has been looking for. Meanwhile, he feels abandoned and tries to hold on tighter by further controlling behaviors. It escalates. This interlock will typically remain in a painful holding pattern or will reach a point where someone quits. Or……

Through an understanding of the triggers and the underlying needs, they can begin to stay off the triggers. It’s best if they both engage in this effort but either can initiate the healing cycle. For example, Amy could share all that she knows about the situation with Rob, what she is going to do, and ask for what she needs.

Specifically, she can reassure him that she cares and arrange a future get-together. A clear commitment to the relationship would help him, whatever that is. If she isn’t sure she’s in it forever, which is what he wants, she can offer whatever is certain: monogamy, or wanting to make it work, or giving it 6 months – something he can hold on to. Meanwhile, she can work on receiving the love he is giving and learning to feel loved and deserving of love while taking care of her need for independence.

Rob can similarly initiate healing from his side with patience, reassurance and extra care to show her that she is loved. Many examples of learning to love someone how they want to be loved can be found in the book: The 5 Love Languages. He must also do the personal work required to give her space and not grab desperately for her time and attention. When she wants to run, if he can provide patience and stability instead of giving up, then his kindness will help both of them stay calm rather than excite more reactions.

Ideally, if both can commit and stick through the ups and downs, the subconscious fears do find a basis for trust over time. Ultimately that trust must come from an inner relationship to oneself and the Universe, but a good partnership can help us get there!

Relationship Busters: Keep Your Finger Off the Trigger

Relationship Busters – Relationship Builders

I want to share with you some key issues that I have discovered to be at the heart of many relationship difficulties. These are disrupters to the love and happiness we all seek in companionship. I have seen couples so hurt and mad at each other, seeing their partner as a mean monster and understandably, trying to hurt them in return or get out and away.

All this can so often be the result of constructs – beliefs, behaviors and habits that produce confusion, misunderstanding and harm. Once created, they become normalized and invisible to those in the dance. Like a toothache, the pain reveals the problem. AND THE PROBLEM IS NOT YOUR PARTNER! Nor are you bad and wrong. It’s the behavior.

When you can see that there is a problem, and are willing to honestly find the source and then practice new behaviors, you will create connection, synchrony, and harmony in your relationships. In a series of upcoming newsletters, I will talk about these relationship busters and their remedies, relationship builders.

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Keep Your Finger Off the Trigger!

We are all walking wounded. I’m not calling you a zombie, exactly, but in our search for safety and love we have all been…. shall I say, surprised? Hurt, shocked, wounded. From these past experiences, we carry into the present automatic responses to anything that might put us in a position to be hurt again. These unconscious protective patterns disrupt an otherwise workable relationship.

A wound creates a hypersensitivity to any situation that might hurt you again. Your subconscious sets up a “trip lever,” an easily activated defensive response.  The subconscious is powerful but not very smart. It can’t tell the difference between ”then” and ”now,” between your father and your boyfriend. Nor does it realize you are no longer 3, 6, or 18 but an adult with greater strength, wisdom, and skills – and therefore more effective options to deal with the situation –  than you had when that earlier incident occurred. In fact, when this protective switch is ”triggered,” the consciousness and untrained reactions of that younger “you” come into play.

Imagine your 8-year-old self in a fight with your current spouse, or your 12-year-old self receiving criticism from your boss. When your mother says those same unloving things now that she said back when, you feel just as small and rejected though you are now loved and supported by others. You look all grown up, but when triggered, your scared child is arguing with your partner’s angry child. Not much gets worked out! Once either of you is upset you will react defensively and likely trigger the other person. Then your wounded self is attacking and defending itself from their wounded self. The person you love and respect has left the building. Sadly, this pretty much explains much of human history!

Solution? Stay off of each other’s triggers! Then the real you is present; your best and kindest present-day self can enjoy her real self.

How? First, you have to recognize triggers, yours and theirs. Be aware of their tender areas so you don’t hit them. Working together is best, but unilateral efforts can totally work as well.

First, watch the patterns of conflict that repeat themselves. As relationships mature, we find recurring issues that bring up anger and other emotions and result in arguments or distancing. Break down the steps in the cycle: there are times of relative peace, and then things go bad. What was said or done that got you or the other upset? You must specifically identify the things that trigger you.

Then, you must understand why that trigger is upsetting to you. What do those words or actions MEAN to you? What sensibility does it hurt? What does it take away; what do you need that you are not getting? The underlying reason will be something in the past that you needed, like love or safety, but did not get. All humans need these things and you still need them today. Underlying every triggered emotional reaction is a need that you are attempting–usually very unsuccessfully–to fulfill.

To see through the pattern, to the need, I recommend meditation. The Senses of the Soul Method combining Kundalini breath work and emotional mindfulness is a quick and accurate way to get to these personal truths. A therapist or similar assistance can also help you with this. It may become obvious where in your past this wound originated.

Underlying every trigger is a wound and within that is a deep, universal human need, like safety, security, support, respect, and love. This need is the wound’s remedy! Either one of you has the power to stop the cycle of exchanging pain. Ask them and experiment to find the many ways to give that need. Be patient and you’ll see them soften and eventually want to do the same for you.

From the soul’s view, this is why we come together; to heal each other. It’s normal that we have conflict in order to drive the pain to the surface. Don’t stop there. Get to the giving and healing so you can live in peace and harmony. Takes work; WORTH IT!

Summary: Stay off the trigger. Give them what they need. (And get the same in return).

Ageism Series (Articles 1-5)

Ageism Article #1 – The Prejudice You Are Perpetuator and Victim Of
As a white male, it’s been important for me to study racism and sexism, to understand how I unknowingly participate from the oppressors’ side. Now I want to talk about THE PREJUDICE WE ALL SHARE – AGE-ISM.
– Olders are the last group that it’s still okay for we/ the to ridicule: slow, stupid, smelly, useless…
– Statistics verify the harm age discrimination does to olders: economically, medically, socially, psychologically…
– All biases diminish, demote, reject, discount and serve an untruth: “they are not me, I am better.”
Despite the strides being made against racism, sexism, homophobia, Ageism remains the least recognized and most socially sanctioned prejudice! But here’s the crazy thing, in ageism, we are hating our future selves, for we are all aging and HOPE to join the group we now reject!
As an expert on emotions I recognize the all-important role of self-esteem. Your sense of self-value and place in society is shaped by how you are viewed and treated by others. When that input is negative it can break your heart and your will to be your best. So when you have even unconscious attitudes (intrinsic bias) – Wrinkles are ugly. Old people are incompetent. It’s sad to be old – you can’t avoid feeling bad about yourself when you become an older person.
Prejudice unrecognized is perpetuated, and it’s hard to recognize when you are doing it, but very obvious when it happens to you. My hope is that the prejudice, which everyone will feel and want to be free from, could bring an understanding and reduction of all prejudice. And the more immediate benefit to you is not to deny or fight the natural process of aging, but to accept its challenges and embrace its benefits.
Join me for the next few weeks to explore Ageism and help your future self to be happy at every stage. To adapt Yogi Bhajan’s sutra: Recognize that the older person is you!
To educate yourself along with this series, I suggest This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism by Ashton Applewhite.
Blessings, GuruMeher
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Ageism Article #2 –How Does OLD Make You Feel? Unlearn That Aging is Bad!
Does growing old fill you with anxiety or sadness? What do you feel about old people, disgust, pity or nothing at all? How do you feel about your age, mad or embarrassed? About getting old, dread or despair?
These common and nearly universal responses motivated author and activist Ashton Applewhite, to look at her own darkest thoughts of aging and found that her darkest fears were much worse than the facts:
 Only 4% of Americans over 65 live in nursing homes.
 Of people 85 and up, over half of them can go about their daily activities without assistance.
 The vast majority of older Americans live independently until they come down with whatever kills them.
 Dementia? Rates are dropping; fear of Alzheimer’s affects more people than the disease.
 Sexual activity tends to decrease with age yet retirement homes are full with romance.
 Depression? Older people enjoy better mental health than the young or middle-aged.
Why do so few know that statistically people are happiest early AND late in their lives? When Ashton found that the facts tell a very different story than our beliefs and feelings about aging, she went deep to unlearn her fear and loathing of aging. She can best explain her remarkable discoveries to you. Please take 12 minutes to begin turning around your own aging attitudes.
Keep pushing back on your own Ageism as this series continues.
Blessings, GuruMeher
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Ageism Article #3 – Get Real – Feeling Better & Dealing Better with Aging

Everyone worries about getting old. Will I have enough money? Will I be alone? Will I get sick? These fears are real. I’ve been sharing with you the facts about aging because the more you know the better you feel about the myths, and the better you can deal with the realities of the years ahead. The biggest fears and myths are: no more sex, loss of independence, loss of health, loss of mental capacity. Regarding the fear of forgetting, remember this:

– Serious mental decline is not a normal or inevitable part of aging.
– Most forgetfulness is not Alzheimer's or dementia and can be accommodated.
– About 20% of people in their nineties seem to escape any cognitive decline at all!

And even as the population ages, dementia rates are falling, significantly. And people are being diagnosed older and older.  So what can you do about normal brain aging?

We all know how important it is to stay physically fit. Move your body so blood goes to the brain. Walk frequently. Do yoga daily. Partner dancing tops the list for reducing mental and physical decline!
We must also do mental activity to fend off cognitive decline. Devote 3 hours a day to creative and
mentally engrossing activity. Novelty, complexity and problem solving are key! Learn a new language, play a musical instrument.

What about the positive aspects of aging on the brain?
A 2015 study in Psychological Science studied cognitive abilities in people of all ages and found that
four types of proficiencies didn’;t fully ripen until people were in their fifties: vocabulary, math, general knowledge and comprehension. Scientists, psychologists and geriatricians agree that the older brain holds potential for deep creativity and intellectual potential.

When it comes to emotions, older brains are more resilient. Frontal lobe changes improve our ability to deal with anger, envy and fear. The normal aging brain enables greater emotional maturity, adaptability to change, and levels of well-being. As you mature, you get more philosophical. Things don’t upset you as much. Think of all the knowledge and experience you gain as you age. Not allolder people are wise, but aging definitely offers the opportunity to develop wisdom.

What about the other standard myths about loss of sex, health, independence, etc.? The outcomes
are as varied as humans are. All age-related changes can be understood, anticipated, diminished,
embraced, accommodated so we can all enjoy the tremendous gifts that long life affords. See more
on these topics: Ashton Applewhite, This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism

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Ageism Article #4 – Hag Geezer Fogey Crone Bag Biddy Codger Coot

It takes one to know one! Ageism is a prejudice against our future selves. It doesn’t make sense to discriminate against a group that we hope to join! So put aside fear and ignorance and learn about the beauty of your older self.

In the 20th century we added an unprecedented number of years to our lifespans, but is the quality of life as good? Surprisingly, yes! In contrast to the doubts and insecurities of youth, growing older
enables us to become more self-aware and confident, less fearful of being judged, more authentically happy. Studies prove that aging isn’t a steady decent into misery; it’s a continuous process of personal development.
Maybe we do slow down, choose more carefully how we spend our time and with whom, but that is because we have finally figured out what matters most and feel free to follow that. Instead of the youthful and middle-aged obsession with doing, we gently segue into the immense value in being.
Sounds spiritual to me! But our culture prizes productivity and paychecks, it values doing over being. So if we choose to enjoy life, connection or quiet meditation we are seen as less “productive” and less valuable to society. Let us define successful ageing by recognizing these social expectations and choosing what feels right for us.
Psychologist Laura Carstensen says, “As we grow older our time horizons shorten and our goals change,” to live in the moment, know what’s important, invest in sure things, deepen relationships and savor life”. She shares her research that demonstrates that as people get older they become happier, more content, and have a more positive outlook on the world in this TedTalk. Watch her 12-minute video to update your view of aging:

If we embrace this natural process, we can be more realistic and optimistic about what lies ahead. The sooner growing older is stripped of dread and apprehension, the better equipped we are to
benefit from the countless ways it will enrich us.

Blessings, GuruMeher
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Ageism Article #5 – Push Back on Ageism: Be an Old Person in Training
If you think the topic of Ageism is just for older people, WRONG! Everyone is older than they were, and is constantly getting older. Aging has or will harm every person’s life and sense of self. Other
prejudices influence the effect: affluence buys more health and comfort, older women are currently valued less than older men, experience gained over years is ignored in hiring. Compounded biases
make poor, old women of color the most neglected people worldwide! Young people get it too; heard any attitudes about millennial?You may be in a dominant gender, race, sexual orientation, physical health, religion or social status and never have experienced oppression, but because everyone has or will experience negative,
socialized age-based attitudes and behaviors it can open our eyes to all unfair judgments and treatment. The common experience of aging unites us all. If we dismantle the fear and ignorance around aging we help our future selves and can tackle other forms of prejudice. And it starts with you.
When I was young, “Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud,” helped African-Americans to build self-esteem and push back against injustice. Embracing aging helps us accept and love ourselves with
pride at every age.
Geriatrician Joanne Lynn suggests that any age we become an “old person in training.” How? By ditching preconceptions, looking at and listening carefully to the olders around us, and re-envisioning our place among them. It means looking at older people instead of past them, remembering they were once our age, seeing resilience alongside infirmity, allowing for sensuality, enlarging our notion of beauty… “
See through the marketing campaigns that make you feel bad about your body, skin, hair, health to create billion dollar markets in beauty products, diets, pharmaceuticals. Your discontent makes them money. Embrace grey hair as a privilege, white hair as beautiful. Wrinkles as well earned. When you see yourself as natural and beautiful, no one can shame you and enough women feeling their hot, wise, graceful older elegance will make it the cool thing to do.
The less I fight the changes of aging and embrace the benefits, the more I love my life. It’s a process, takes time, and is SO worth it.
Serenity prayer says it all:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference. -Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971).

Some questions to help you understand and change:

  • What are some of the assumptions you hold about getting older?
  • Where have they come from and what purpose do they serve? Are they fact, myth, belief?
  • What are your fears and other feelings about older people and aging?
  • What about your age-related self do you reject?
  • What can you surrender to that you cannot control?
  • What can you do to plan for and take care of your future older self?
  • Make a list of all the great things about living long; the opportunities, experiences, and joys.
  • How can we make the world a better place to get old in?

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. -“Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann

Blessings, GuruMeher

Idolization or Inspiration: Who Is Your Hero?

Greetings All,

Who inspires you?

Today’s hero may be tomorrow’s villain. Columbus has his own holiday, for “discovering” America for Europeans. The conquerors always write history. But the story changes as truth comes to light.

LA recently joined several states and cities to remove Columbus Day as an official city holiday, replacing it with “Indigenous Peoples Day.”

“The historical record is unambiguous in documenting the horrors Christopher Columbus and his men exacted on the native peoples he encountered. As statues aggrandizing the Confederacy topple across the South, so too should this symbol of oppression and genocide,” said LA Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, a member of the Wyandotte Nation. Read Washington Post article here.

In my lifetime the very institution of hero has taken a well-deserved downgrading. All people are capable of greatness and yet all are fallible. But adoration of any object of worship was always an action to uplift the devotee to living to their own higher standards. We can aspire to and reach a higher state of behavior and consciousness by first recognizing it outside ourself.
Human heroes put on a pedestal continually disappoint. So we must not blindly follow but  rather draw out in ourselves the virtues we see in them, learn to follow lasting truths rather than individuals.
Today  we are celebrating the Birthday of Guru Ram Das who was born on this day in 1534. The poor orphan child rose, through devotion and service to become a saint who achieved the status of “the throne of Raj Yoga.”
His legacy inspires humility, kindness, compassionately helping others, deep meditation and healing. Sikhs and Kundalini Yogis call on his life and energy to feel and achieve these virtues.
My teacher, Yogi Bhajan, drew much of his inspiration and support from Guru Ram Das and called him a source of miracles. So if you would like to bring more of love, help and healing into your life, give him a try; not as a hero but a source of inspiration and awakening.
Here’s more info, some kirtan by Snatam singing a mantra in praise of Guru Ram Das with some instructions for chanting and ideas for serving your world.
Blessed are we who are able to bless others,
GuruMeher

I did it, made it through 40 days…

I did it, made it through 40 days…
What I learned from the Handle Your Heat 40-Day Practice that anger, like any of my emotions, can serve as an ally if I am willing to face it as a teacher and a trusted friend who has something important to tell me about myself – as opposed to some kind of character defect.
However, like any practice, the benefits are only maximized and sustained if I make sure it is a “daily” 40- day practice. Discipline and steadiness can be difficult, but daily discipline when it comes to my spiritual practice has been the key to my results and my growing freedom.
When I started out on this 40-day meditation, I would struggle to keep my arm up. When I started accepting the sadness, pain, frustration and rage that arose through my forceful breath, I heard my anger asking me to think about the many times in the past I have gotten angry. So angry at people, situations, perceived slights… And how I made myself – and sometimes others – so miserable and hurt through my outward reaction to the anger…
And then I heard anger say, “Yet, here you are, and you’re ok. So how bad could any of it really have been?”
After having this experience over the first few days of the practice, I realized my anger had taught me to feel it, learn from it, and utilize the energy for positive action – not rage or knee jerk reactions. Slowly but surely, my arm started staying up without me even thinking about it. I’m still learning, but day-by-daily practice, I’m becoming more peaceful.
There is a Ray Bradbury quote I love: “You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.” I agree, and also feel that it sure does help if you have some wing building materials when you jump! That is what a daily practice gives me. It allows me to live in the moment while being prepared to face the wonder and mystery of each of those moments as the spiritual being I long to be.
– Dan Erickson

Handle Your Heat

How Do You Handle Your Heat?
 Whether it’s from your mom, your own anger, or the summer sun?
Energy runs everything! And you have enough, but how do you manage it? Too much and someone gets burned; too little and you are left out in the cold. What is “Just Right” for you? Whether it’s body temperature, metabolism, hyperactivity and fatigue, power struggles or climate-change record temperatures, moderation is the sweet spot. And that requires control, handling heat to have the right amount to do the job. Anger as a source of power to skillfully manage will be a major topic.
Skillfully Handling Heat is a path to personal and world peace. Imagine Leaders, Governments, Countries and all people taking care of their needs and their business fully while doing no harm! It starts with you. Where are you too hot or too cold with your power, passion, compassion, motivation, ambition, mentation, emotion,.activity, productivity
Our mission at SOS is self management, self therapy, self love; learning to manage our life and resources to be happy. So let’s do this together.
Mark your calendars now to start on Tuesday August 15th!

Is Yoga Enough? Emotional Balance 2.0

Emotional Balance 2.0
When you feel bad, doing Kundalini Yoga makes you feel better. Stressed and upset? Do a strong set and you can become calm and peaceful. There are many kriyas and meditations specifically for emotional balance, to get rid of fear and anger, and to release negative thoughts. It is not unusual in class to cry spontaneously and then leave feeling good. Kundalini Yoga powerfully cleanses, strengthens and generates positive emotional states. This is Emotional Balance 1.0. It is wonderful. And it is not enough!
Seeking pleasure, even at this higher spiritual level, and avoiding pain is fundamentally what yoga advises us to transcend. The yogi lives beyond polarity in neutrality. Avoiding the dark side of our fears, negative thoughts and other heavy feelings leads to inauthenticity, pretention, spiritual bypassing, neurosis, and eventually physical and mental illness. The soul moves us steadily toward wholeness. So not dealing with our wounds and their emotional patterns causes cracks in any spiritual veneer, eventually.
A strong practice, serviceful acts and attitude, devotion and positive thinking are like getting on a great diet; they build mental/emotional strength and health quickly while detoxing us psychologically. Positive practice is the permanent foundation, but if there are cracks-unattended wounds in the psyche-they will show up and grow in time.
Call it “falling from grace,” freaking out, Shakti Pad or just falling apart, there is no lack of cautionary tales from great teachers, leaders and sincere spiritual practitioners who have lost their precious progress, stature and spiritual “capital” due to masking and avoidance.
When we seek and value only the comfortable “positive” emotions while ignoring or repressing the uncomfortable “negative” feelings as most yogas, therapies, spiritual paths and society in general do, we later find pain unavoidable as the soul pushes issues to the surface so they can be resolved. In the Aquarian Age there is no hiding, not even from one’s self. The times require us to face any darkness to accomplish union with our full self.
Darth Vader was right about one thing, there is power on the dark side. Dealing with perceived negatives to incorporate their benefits is also known as Shadow Work (see Debbie Ford’s work, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers). My book, Senses of the Soul, uses the tools of Kundalini Yoga to help us safely dive into difficult thoughts and emotions consciously for healing and guidance. This always brings a deeper level of peace and oneness. This is Emotional Balance 2.0: seeking the light without being afraid of the dark.
A student of Senses of the Soul recently said to me: “It dawned on me that I usually use meditate to escape my emotions. But this (SOS work) has a different angle, to acknowledge them and go deep inside to work WITH them. At first I had SO much resistance to facing my fear and anger, but doing so has brought great realization and change.”
Emotional Balance 2.0 is to trust and consciously work with the natural, intuitive wisdom of the sensory system, including the dark, uncomfortable and often disregarded emotions. When we think of Sadness, Depression or Anger as beneath us, we lose the gifts of Love, Renewal and Power they respectively bring. Yogi Bhajan’s use of Anger to awaken and motivate students is well known. When the Dalai Lama was asked if he ever got mad he laughed and said of course, but he also recovers quickly.
Emotions are not un-spiritual; they tell you when something is sending you away from your higher, happy, peaceful self. Conscious use of your heavy emotions and recurring triggers bring helpful gifts and guidance they are meant to give you. More commonly, we misuse emotions in two ways. At one end of the spectrum is Reactivity; feelings take over and we lose control. The opposite of Reaction is Repression, in which we override our true feelings to pretend nothing’s wrong, or worse, disassociate and not even know that we are in distress.
The key to skillful emotional work is the “middle way” between these two. Mindful awareness, neutral observation, meditative-mind-meets-the-emotional-body, and the somatic experience of feelings, all describe this new approach.
What I am saying is, bring emotions into your spiritual practice! How? First, get ready. Emotional activation fires up your limbic system and then your consciousness goes dark. So prepare with some strong pranayama or Kriya. This gives you nervous system strength, personal confidence, and mental clarity to face intimidating feelings.
In meditation the prefrontal cortex lights up, giving you the ability to remain present while fully feeling your emotions. This “peer dialogue” between intellect and emotion produces intuitive responses to resolve whatever is bothering you.
Digging into emotions to regain balance is simple and natural. It is a skill set that can take time to develop. Misinformation and misuse of emotion is the societal norm. But here’s the new standard, set it as a goal for yourself:
When you feel bad,
-You know what you are feeling (Naming the emotion is important to resolving it.)
-You know why you are feeling it. (Identify the real source of your upset.)
-You know how to return to well-being. (What to do or understand to feel better.)
-And, you do that so you can be at your best.
Yogi Bhajan called emotions the senses of the soul. Listen to soul not through words, but through feelings. Get clear and go inside. Explore this last frontier of self-awareness and get your emotional intelligence on!
GuruMeher Singh Khalsa is a professional Life Coach and Kundalini Teacher Trainer. His Kundalini-based work on using heavy emotions for inner guidance is in the KRI approved book Senses of the Soul at www.SensesOfTheSoul.com. In addition to his book, GuruMeher is a certified yoga therapist who offers private sessions by phone in support of your emotional well-being. A fully mentored 9-month training in the Senses of the Soul system begins each February online. For more see:

 https://sensesofthesoul.com/emotion-liberation-courses/

This article, written by GuruMeher, was reprinted from 3HO’s Yogic Living newsletter.

Adjusting to Our New Reality. Evolution Save Us!

Adjusting to Our New Reality. Evolution Save Us!
Take hope progressive thinkers! The steady march of progress continues despite what seem like temporary setbacks. The ancient yogis realized that underlying the evolution of life on earth is the evolution of consciousness. It is an unstoppable force of nature and though it may seem painfully slow at times like these, it is accelerating in this Aquarian Age.
Less than 50 years ago inter-racial marriage was a CRIME! (See the excellent movie Loving, of the couple who fought that for us all!!) And marriage was just recently advanced to include the gender of your choice. Women’s issues have accelerated in light of exposure of abuse. I know, I know an abuser was elected and his people want to roll back rights, but Google the map that shows how people under 30 voted if you want to see the future. As older white men (like me) move off the planet, Aquarian youth will rule with vision and intuition replacing fear-based beliefs.
Don’t let the messy details mess with your head. See the evolutionary pressure at work to force adaptation and change. The info-wars are a prime example. 44% of people use Facebook as their primary news source. That means we are tending to hear and believe only what our friends say. If we read it, it must be true. Ironically, unrestricted access to all information has made us gullible to conspiracy theories and believing comfortable opinions over facts. This is awakening in us a need for more than opinion and information alone, a need for truth. Aren’t you hungry for it? A way to know solidly what is right, whom to trust, what is best for you, which action to take, confident decision-making.
It’s called sensitivity, clarity, neutral mind, intuition, working from the heart. And it is awakening in all of us in response to info overload and rapid change. The power within each of us to know what is right, will be our salvation. (Arrival is another current movie that speaks to this future. And the hero is a sensitive woman who uses that quality to do what anger can’t. Okay, so I live in L.A. and see our evolution in movies too!)
The future belongs to those who live from their hearts and thus are guided by universal truths rather than personal or geographic prejudice. So live on that evolutionary forefront by honoring and cultivating sensitivity, Meditatively engage your mind. Contemplatively use your feelings as “feelers” to sense your way through the chaos. Trust not the face and words of a person, but the state of their consciousness. Study not just the world out there, but your inner equipment through which you perceive reality.

Let’s Not Be Brats

Let’s Not Be Brats
We live better today than kings and queens throughout history. We have better health, longer life spans and way better physical and mental living conditions than the royalty of past. Have you noticed that this abundance of ease is breeding a culture of entitlement?
How do you feel when you are stuck in traffic in your amazing modern vehicle? What do you think when the barista keeps you waiting in line for your latte? How do you feel when the love of your life doesn’t say or do what you want? When “customer service” keeps you on hold? When the miraculous internet or the super-computer in your pocket goes down for a bit?
See it in and around you: impatience, expectation, an assumption that you are inherently entitled to an undisturbed flow of satisfaction.
I’m not suggesting we lower our ever-rising standards. But quality of life has clearly become less about another convenience than about mental poise and emotional warmth. This is the new frontier of our rising wealth; growing our inner riches.
In the countless stories of privilege and power, there are those who fall into greed and abuse, contrasting with those who are gracious and kind. Today we are all in that position and must make that choice. Yes. It is a choice. Intention and effort toward your highest dreams are great. But when expectations are not balanced by acceptance, by surrender to the actual outcome, we suffer. (And inflict pain on others in our way!) So let’s not be spoiled brats, but gracious and grateful kings and queens ruling our domain with constant appreciation for what IS.
The practice of gratitude is popular and powerful. Make your list if you haven’t yet done so. Review it each day. But keep that attitude when you need it most, when you are not getting what you want, when you want it. When times are dark, look for what light there is. THE UNIVERSE IS ALWAYS 50/50. Your experience is determined by your focus, by what you are looking at. The waitress is slow, or, I am fortunate to be waiting for a nice meal. My lover is not _____, but I do have a lover. I don’t have a lover, but I can go find love by helping others. This year my situation is not as good as last year, but I am alive!
If you can do this, you will not dread the holidays nor feel sad and depressed. (Not that there is anything wrong with those feelings; if you use them as Senses of the Soul). You have enough, enough to be even-keeled, to wait for yours; you can afford grace and kindness. You will be thankful when others do that, and you will be grateful to be living in that consciousness. This is my Thanksgiving wish for all of us.

 

Blessings, GuruMeher

 

Meaning of Life – Interview with GuruMeher

Meaning of Life and Holding the Two Truths in Balance
Nicolae Tanase: GuruMeher, what is the meaning of life?
GuruMeher Khalsa: A question as big as this necessarily has more than one answer. These answers will seem contradictory or even paradoxical. In fact, the two answers I offer below illuminate why there are as many answers to this question as there are hearts and minds.
First, there is no meaning of life!
Life simply is. It needs no further meaning. Galaxies, bacteria and humans come and go in a constant flow. It just is what it is. Meaningful and meaningless are just inventions of the mind.
Meaningless sounds empty, void and dark – and we are scared of the dark! Mind strives to fill the fearful void of meaninglessness with busy, important thoughts and grand purposes. We build philosophies and theories and keep mind occupied. We feel safer this way.
But a busy mind also produces stress. We have to match up to the purpose we created; it’s up to us to fulfill our purpose. This drives great and horrible human actions. There is another way. When we face our fear of emptiness and death, sit with it and let life be what it is, watch, participate and enjoy creation and our own experience of life’s unfolding… it becomes very relaxing to be part of something vast and timeless and go along for its ride. To experience a magnificent sunset is fulfilling without words or meaning. The practice of meditation, to observe life without interfering, is deeply satisfying and peace-giving. We can let life be as it is.
This is only one side of the answer. Because eventually we get bored and want to DO something, have a new experience. Ancient wisdom gave this as the reason the gods created worlds. With action, contentment is balanced with striving; completeness is complimented with expansion. We create reasons to get going, be busy and productive. This urge to create is seen everywhere in the universe.
This urge is the source of the second answer, which completes the first: You must find the meaning of YOUR life. There is no meaning to life other than what you give it. You must find it. And then, to be happy you must fulfill it.
There are as many purposes and paths as there are human hearts. Some will selfishly spend their life in pleasure of the senses, others in service to others. Pleasure, austerity, noble deeds, quiet simplicity, love, building great things…any and all work IF THEY ARE YOURS! What is the purpose that gives your life meaning?
No one can answer this question for you. We get clues about our path by liking or disliking the options and choices others make. Often we grab some purpose to survive, or something is pushed on us. If it is not our truth, our youthful enthusiasm fades with age. So how to know?
A few seem to just slip right in, to easily know their destiny and pursue it. Most find it by degree, like feeling “warmer or colder” about life as they walk through it. And that is the apparatus we have to find our way – how we FEEL about ourselves and our situation. Our meaning comes not from satisfying ideas, but from feelings of contentment. Not complacency, but a deep knowing that all is well. It’s not about achievements and final outcomes. It is a process – fully engaged in life, without lack and striving. Life flows, and so with us when we accept the life we find ourselves in and fulfill it by embracing it as it unfolds.
When we can hold these two truths in balance, no meaning and our unique meaning, we are fulfilled without stress or any sense of failure. We can let our individual purpose be a small cog in the great machinery of life. Life can be a play we can be part of without the burden of making it happen.
And that is enough.
Blessings, GuruMeher

We Evolved to Solve Problems – So Why Do We Suffer?

We Evolved to Solve Problems – So Why Do We Suffer?
People have problems.  Make your mental checklist.  They range from small ones, like what to wear or eat, or how to get through your day’s tasks. To medium, like how to maintain health, desirable weight, get a better job and make money, who to date or how to get along with them.  To BIG, like addiction, anxiety, illness, depression, past traumas, major loss. Do you also have global worries like war, the environment, political issues, disease and death? What are your problems?
And how do your problems compare? To a mother in Mosul, a starving Syrian child, a 17th century slave, a primitive hominoid alone in the wild?  It is useful to put your modern first-world problems into perspective. The history of life on this planet has survived great hardship… and it has made us hardy! Plants, animals, humans have evolved and adapted over millions of years in symbiosis with hardship. The hardness of life developed in us the faculties to manage and handle problems.
We evolved with eyes because there is light. We evolved with fear because there is danger. We developed imagination because it helped us make something new and prepare for the future. We all have an elaborate and sophisticated sensory systemto detect and handle the problems life brings.
So if we survived the ice age, famine and tigers and we live in the safest and richest times in human history, Why Are We so Troubled? Did nature through millions of years of careful evolution not leave us with the ability to be happy and handle our modern problems? Of course it did.
Everyone has the ability to manage and resolve the situations that come to them and make the best of their life. Let’s call that their happiness. But we may not be fully using our ability, through mis-training and disuse, but the inborn equipment is there. Let’s work it.
First, let’s set the bar, our expected “normal” at the experience we prefer, some combination of security, connectedness, peacefulness and whatever constitutes your happiness and your definition of “I feel good”.
With this as baseline, you want to be on the alert for any invading “bad feelings”. Not that they ARE bad, but think of them as “fire alarms”, signals that something is disturbing your happiness. Does a fireman ignore the alarm and let the house burn? No, but we commonly disavow or acclimate to and ignore the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings that call us to detect and correct interruptions to our preferred home base of positive experience. (You might want to re-read that sentence!)
You have a highly evolved sensitivity, with “alarms” that go off when your peace is disturbed. Here is a little user’s guide to making sure your problem-solving system is online.
  1. Whenever you feel “bad” (not in your preferred positive experience, so-called happiness),
  2. You know WHAT you are feeling (can identify the emotion(s))
  3. You know WHY you are feeling it (can identify the true source of disturbance),
  4. You know WHAT to do about it to feel better (a solution that resolves it), and
  5. You DO that (or know that truth) which clears the block to your happiness.
Simple, yes. But not commonly fulfilled. If you stop at any of these steps your pain will continue; and hence all the problems go on living with.
Here is my hope for you and every human, and my challenge: Develop your pre-existing ability to do these 5 things.

Blessings, GuruMeher

Tears on a Plane

Hej Hej (Swedish for Hello!)

I am on a plane, for 12 hours. So I watched Collateral Beauty on the seat back screen in front of me. I like a good, sensitive movie with meaning. My wife and I call them girl movies. We say that I go to them with her and she comes to guy movies with me, just to mess with the stereotypes, cause we enjoy a nice emotional range.

But today I welled up and cried so much, so often. I wondered if my neighbors could tell. I was feeling so much more sadness and joy from the story than I would expect.  I love to feel, it was nice. I wondered why, and after, it was obvious.

I had just lead hundreds of person-hours of deep self-therapy in SOS workshops in Sweden. Now, these Swedes look pretty and sweet, but they come from the Vikings! And when they did their emotional healing, the roar from ages of Anger, the thrashing and wailing of decades of grief came out with such force I had never seen.  Had I finally gotten in over my head with this Senses of the Soul business? Would they be alright?

With trust in the technology of Kundalini Yoga we were using, and the sacred space of it’s patron saint, Guru Ram Das, we kept up. And there were breakthroughs you can call miracles; though far from unexplainable, no less welcomed with gratitude. I was amazed how steady and strong my training prepared me to be able to hold strong that safe space while they cried, so they might not get lost in the feelings.

Many of the kriyas have strong movements, some rhythmic, some erratic with instructions to “go wild”. They say animals shake violently when safe after escaping near death in the claws of a predator to release the trauma-induced endorphins and stress to the nervous system. That’s what these Vikings were doing, class after class.

 

And that’s what my system was doing there on the plane. I had done my job, I heard all the horror stories that happen to so many people inside nice homes, and the scars carried, the lives disrupted. Now, assisted by the movie, it was time for me to feel and let go of the pain I must.have absorbed. Nice.

I asked the local teacher why, as it seems to me, that these daughters of ancient Shield Maidens were so…. well, loud. Do they have more abuse here than in the States, generational pain from history, or just more willingness to express it? Yet it’s a culture that keeps it pretty polite? I liked her answer: Sweden has a fairly long history now of peace and prosperity, at least in the society at large. Perhaps the psyche feels it is safe enough to shake it out now. Add to that the circumstances: ashram, the teachings, the guidance.

Is the war over in your life? First we have to get ourselves out of the jaws of threatening situations – as much as we can. The rest of our protection in this wild world must be fortified from within, the inner work, the regular practice. With these conditions, trauma CAN be released. This is self-therapy, the ability of everyone.

Blessings, GuruMeher

You have ALL the Answers – If you will just listen

You have ALL the Answers – If you will just listen
I am claiming that you, everyone, can solve their problems, or at very least be at peace by way of the following method:
When anything is bothering you (you feel bad), ask and answer:
What am I feeling?
Why am I feeling this way?
What do I need to feel better?
And then act on this information.
If any step is incomplete, the discomfort persists. I invite anyone to test it out and prove it wrong!
But there is a twist, rather a skill needed to fulfill this simple solution. The skill involves where the answers come from.  Resolution of issues mundane to existential comes from a place deeper and truer than short-term facts. It comes not from the mind, which records and repeats what you have been taught. Yes it can create, compute and invent, amazing talents all, but still is limited by programmed prejudice, by trauma, by strong emotions. What is this truer source of answers?
You must find your own name for it, because it comes to people in different ways. Following the heart, intuition, gut instinct, the still small voice, voice of God, your angels, revelation, the “Aha!” moment, deep listening. It may come visually, in words, in a feeling or simply knowing without words.
However it comes to you, it IS available to all; it is part of your total sensory system which evolved over millions of years to deal with life and take care of yourself.  This wisdom is always available when we get a break, however brief, from the constant chatter of the know-it-all mind.  The skill to get our happiness-producing answers depends on the ability to quiet the mind. Thus we can truly listen and learn what we don’t yet know, rather than repeat what is already known – and may not be our truth.
So before the above questions are asked, one must prepare. The old way was to make a sacrifice or donation to the answer-knowing person. We now that that person is within yourself. So how do you prepare to meet that great source of wisdom? I call it Soul. By fasting, in nature, by drugs? I have found breath, Kriya and meditation to be quick and most effective. Even so, it is a re-training in how to use the mind that takes some time. I hope you will take the time to train your mind to listen to your heart so you can be happy.
If you want to try some simple practices to quiet your mind, try this breath practice for intuition. It is one of 52 exercises in my audiobook.
Take Care,  GuruMeher

Mind Is Not Enough to Solve Your Problems

Mind Is Not Enough to Solve Your Problems
Premises:
-You don’t want problems, you want happiness.
– You are equipped to know how to go from problems to happiness.
– Yet so many people live in pain. Why?
– Mind is not enough. It can’t do it alone and wasn’t designed to.
Here’s a little lite brain science-cum-yogic-knowledge to help you use your problem-solving, happiness-reaching equipment.
The part of your brain that makes you human is:
The cortex, includes the prefrontal cortex, cingulate and insula. These regions handle abstract reasoning and concepts, values, planning and the executive functions of organization, self-monitoring and impulse control.
– Rick Hanson, Buddha’s Brain.
This is the crowning achievement of evolution. It makes you the king/queen of the beasts. It calculates, organizes, designs, invents, and can imagine the future and distant dreams. When you think intensely, it is all “lit up” with activity. You are so smart, really!
These same skills can also fantasize and create its/your own reality. Wanted relationships are ended on assumptions and fears or, worse, clues are missed and positive thinking/denial leaves us open to betrayal. Suicide is an extreme example. All life in the Universe seeks to survive, yet a mind is convinced there is no use to it all, can’t see any positive way out. And when looking for answers to personal/ human issues as opposed to logistical/ logical tasks, the mind can default to old and false beliefs. So it needs assistance.
Another domain of the brain developed much earlier in evolutionary history is the limbic system.
The limbic system includes the amygdala, hippocampus and basal ganglia. It’s basically Grand Central Station for emotion.
– Rick Hanson, Buddha’s Brain.
If the prefrontal cortex makes us human and is about thoughts, the older brain is our animal nature (and is shared with our animal ancestors) and is all about feelings. This gives us rich information about our inner and outer world, AND HOW WE FEEL ABOUT IT ALL. The down side here is when it takes control, and we lose control of ourselves, our words and actions.
The prefrontal cortex is brilliant, can repress emotion and lose touch with reality. Limbic system is instinctively able to be alert and avoid harm but can react, can overtake you with emotion. They are made to work together! When they do, the limbic system brings you real-time information about harm and safety, what you need, how you are doing relative to your environment while the prefrontal cortex can modulate it’s impulsiveness and guide you to more subtle and modern-life appropriate responses to those emotions.
This is the underlying mechanics of Senses of the Soul, of a mindful use of emotions. Yoga, and, more specifically, meditation are scientifically proven to heighten activity in the prefrontal cortex, making you more aware, present, clear. In that state we can voluntarily use memories to invite emotion to arise (activating the limbic system). When both are in dialogue, instinct keeps you from losing touch mentally and intellect tames the beast. You can harness emotion for what it knows to be deeply, personally and intimately true about yourself and what you need to be okay, and translate that raw data into useable information and action to take care of yourself.


Blessings, GuruMeher

How Do You Know If You Have a Soul – Emotional Couriers

How Do You Know If You Have a Soul – Emotional Couriers
All of us cool Yoga people say we have a Body, Mind and Spirit. But how do you know? Like radio telescopes pointed into space waiting for a sign of life out there,  how do you pick up messages from your soul? What is the receptor? And what is the language? Words, images? Or would you taste, smell or feel soul? Feel, yes, but not with the fingers.
We perceive the subtle sensations of soul in a great variety of ways. Visions and voices are the most common ways that people try to articulate their experience of spirit. But emotions play a key role. They are like the invisible electro-magnetic waves that travel through space to earth.  Emotions carry subtle but data-rich information between people and in between the Body-Mind-Spirit systems.
Body talks to mind after a good meal and your food-seeking thoughts are satisfied. Mind can talk to body to relax muscle and even manage pain.
But without the feeling of fulfillment we may overeat when belly is in pain and mind is saying “stop”. Sex without love feels empty and eventually lonely. These emotions are full of information the body cannot know on its own. But the emotional courier registers an empty sensation in the chest tingling in the solar plexus when something is missing that doesn’t meet the eye. Emotional Couriers are more easliy received in the body and mind; we pay more attention to those two aspects of ourselves.
The most important role Emotional Couriers play is from Soul to Body/Mind and back. Like radio waves from the invisible to the tangible, from space to earth, they help us navigate the crowded and confusing street from a vast mountaintop view. If we learn to listen to our emotional messengers, they gnaw at our stomach when we’re about to be cheated, they make our mind race when danger is coming yet there is no evidence, they make our face hot when we are being rejected or ridiculed. They also “fill our hearts” when beauty inspires, when acts of courage give hope. They are the unique language by which we undoubtedly know the indescribable “feeling” of infinity.
So, it is not coincidence that both Soul and Emotion are currently the least understood realms of human life. Both are invisible, subtle, mysterious, misunderstood, disbelieved and even rejected and reviled.
Just so, emotions are a point of entry into awareness and familiarity, eventual acceptance as reality of the Spirit. Being more obvious and tangible, more scientifically explainable makes Emotions more approachable. And the growing talk and study of Emotions in society will result in more awareness and facility using and interpreting them. When the lines of communication are open, when we trust these Emotional Couriers to help us understand our physical reality, the bigger-picture wisdom from soul will get through more often.
Want to be “spiritual”? Want to hear from Soul (or debunk the notion)? Want to open up to the Infinite? Get your telescopic receivers to work. Feeling and dealing with the difficult emotions, getting to know what they know, what they are saying you need. This is a point of entry and connection, You may be digging through unresolved, very earthy issues for some time but there is much more out there. Dust off your mothballed Emotions and start getting those messages. Emotional Couriers will help you to know your Soul – by direct experience!

I’m Too Spiritual To Be Angry

I’m Too Spiritual To Be Angry
There’s a thing I’ve seen that I’d like to name, with hopes we can all be sane! Call it a syndrome because it plagues many spiritual, self-improvement, yoga, meditation, religious and other communities of high-minded, well-meaning and good-hearted people.
“I’m too spiritual to be angry.”  There are many versions, in the form: “Good people (or your membership group here) don’t (bad thought/ feeling/ action here).”
Yogis don’t judge, liberals aren’t racist, priests aren’t lustful, Christians all love, friends don’t lie, soldiers aren’t scared. No one says it and most don’t even know they believe it. The real truth is humans think, feel and do EVERYTHING! This is a better place to start.
“I’m too____ to _____” is very harmful because it makes our emotional reactions invisible to us. And in denial there can be no honest dealing with the truth, no progress, no healing.
The assumption is that if I aspire to a higher state of consciousness, it is unbefitting, demeaning, inconsistent and not allowed to also sometimes be afraid, depressed, impassioned, mistaken and overtaken by a less conscious state which may seem the opposite of my commitment. It is a duality that arises from non-acceptance of polarities. So we may cover it up from others, and deny it in ourselves. When we mask that which we wish to transcend, it remains quite fixed, hidden from view yet fully active.
I am all for socially acceptable behavior! We know that people behave better when they know they can be seen. But in the quiet intimacy of our meditations we can be real with the darker parts, face the fears and work things out. Otherwise, repressed qualities work their way out from behind our polite façade and can tragically bring down the personal development we have long worked to achieve.
It is by comparative study that we learn. Embracing rather than ignoring whatever we fear or loathe in our psyche is the work. Let’s measure our work and worth not by how good and virtuous we are alone, but also by how much of the bad stuff we face, embrace and thereby are free to choose not to do.
A yoga teacher studying Emotional Liberation with me wrote:
“It dawned on me that usually I will meditate to escape my emotions. I think that is why I am having so much resistance to SOS. This course has a different angle, to acknowledge them, go deep and deal with them.”
And she found this from Yogi Bhajan to encourage her new approach:
“You have to confront yourself to become the sage. Anybody who cannot confront himself or herself shall never be wise, no matter if he is religious or if God Himself comes on the Earth to help, because God is bound by the law of nature. And the law of nature is that you are self in the beginning, you are self in the middle, and you are self in the end.” Yogi Bhajan 6/22/97
Blessings, GuruMeher

SOS Success Story: Hannah’s Self-Respect

Today I want to share a story with you about one of my students.

Hannah (we’ll call her) came to me with a problem that many parents face.  Her son had always been sweet and kind.  But now, at age 13, he’d become disrespectful and verbally abusive. This made her mad, and she didn’t like how she is angry she was getting right back at him!

Hanna had a big history with anger and outbursts stemming from childhood parental abuse.  She realized that her son was beginning to display the same behavior that she grew up with, and that she and her husband had also long related to each other with angry arguing.

She wanted help managing her anger, but I could tell there was a self-esteem issue stemming from being put down and yelled at as a kid.  How she felt about herself was a deeper issue, which the anger was trying to help by fighting to be respected.

So we went to work using Senses of the Soul. I love seeing the stunning results of using emotions consciously and this was a particularly powerful  example!

I had Hannah close her eyes and breathe deeply until she felt strong and clear.  Then we let Hannah’s anger arise while she maintained her clear self-awareness.  I asked her to ask her anger what it wanted?  She immediately felt the answer, RESPECT!

At this point tears were streaming down her face from both the burning need for respect and the life-long pain of not feeling it.  Bad enough she missed it from her parents, but now her son was joining the disrespect party.  Then, true to the SOS method, I asked her to ask her feelings what she needed.  She heard the answer immediately within herself, “Self-Respect”.

When she came out of the meditation, she explained what she had realized.  She didn’t need to fight with her son, which did not build respect at all.  “I just need to begin by respecting myself.”  Wow, she could give herself what she had been wanting from others! The benefits were obvious and immediate!

I love this story because it says so much about what we are really capable of when we let our emotions help us.  I hope you know and use your emotions whenever you need to.  There are lots of resources at Senses of the Soul.com to help you become more emotionally intelligent, including a full Emotional Liberation course, I hope you’ll join me.   If you are in pain of any kind or are looking for emotional upliftment, I encourage you to check it out.  The link is here and below.

Psychology Today Sounds Like Senses of the Soul

This excerpt is from Happiness? The Upside of Negative Emotions, the cover story in the February 2015 issue of Psychology Today. I can’t believe that what I’ve been working on for the past 20 years is finally hitting the main stream. I’m thrilled that more people will now be thinking about emotions usefully. See below, then read the full article on the Psychology Today website or from the newsstand.

Author Matthew Huston beautifully sets up the premise of Senses of the Soul.  While his knowledge comes from the field of psychology, and I discovered mine through meditation practice and coaching people through troubles, we have come to the same conclusion. So called “negative emotions,” are meant work as your friends! There’s just one place where we differ – how we use that information.

Senses of the Soul is based on EXPERIENCE. This is the next level of therapy and healing and why SOS exercises are so life-changing. We don’t think about these ideas, we practice them. It’s not enough to know that emotions are your friends. Just because I know that vegetables are good for me doesn’t mean I will eat them. I have to FEEL the difference in my health and YOU need to feel the difference with your emotions too.

That’s what Senses of the Soul is all about, and why I get so excited about the upcoming  Emotional Liberation training.  You may know that negative emotions can guide you to positive solutions. I might have told you or you might heard it from someone else. This Psychology Today article will most definitely confirm it for a lot of people. But have you ever experienced using your negative emotions for healing, strength and guidance? Do you know how it’s done? Does it actually feel like your pain will lead you to peace?

Call me a yogi (because I am!), but I think experience is more important that knowledge.

Senses of the Soul combines that emotional therapeutic model with my 15 years as a spiritual counselor and the ancient science of meditation, to take that next step from simply recognizing your emotions as friends, to really feeling that way. That’s why I carefully designed this Emotional Liberation Course that starts in March as an intensive immersion, designed to give you real, consistent practice and experience. You’ll not only know the use of each emotion, you’ll practice the uses of those emotions!

If you’ve been feeling stressed, scared, mad or run down, you need to check out the course and heal your whole life. I sure hope you do! Learn more HERE.
And read this article. The word is getting out, Feelings are your Friends!

Blessings,
GuruMeher

 From Psychology Today, January/February 2015

“Happiness? The Upside of Negative Emotions”

No one questions the value of feeling good. In fact, it seems that for the past 20 years, everyone in America has been on a relentless quest for a blue – sky state of mind, in pursuit of permanent residence on the spectrum between contentment and ecstasy.

Feeling bad is another matter entirely. Emotions that generate unpleasant feelings have been Called sins (wrath, envy), shunned in polite interaction (jealousy, frustration), or identified as unhealthy (sadness, shame). We suppress them, medicate them, and berate ourselves for feeling them.

Because such feelings are aversive, they are often called “negative” emotions, Although “negative” is a misnomer. Emotions are not inherently positive or negative. They are distinguished by much more than whether they feel good or bad. Beneath the surface, every emotion orchestrates a complex suite of changes in motivation, physiology, attention, perception, beliefs, and behaviors: sweating, laughing, desiring revenge, becoming optimistic, summoning specific memories. Each component of every emotion has a critical job to do – whether it’s preparing us to move toward what we want (anger), urging us to improve our standing (envy), or allowing us to undo a social gaffe (embarrassment).

We have the wrong idea about emotions. They’re very rational; Theiy’re means to help us achieve goals important to us, tools carved by eons of human experience that work beyond conscious awareness to direct us where we need to go. They identify trouble or opportunity and suggest methods of repair or gain. They are instruments of survival; in fact, we would have vanished long to go without them…

Make Good Use of A Mess

2015 is off to quite a start! Tragedies and fear continue to increase globally, and for many, personally. How to make sense of this mess? Better yet how to make use of it?

As a life coach I get very hopeful when a client is struggling with a problem they can’t ignore, because I know that growth is ready to happen. Very often my job is to help people leverage a break down into a break through.

Senses of the Soul is based on the principle that pain serves to stimulate awareness and action.
Some examples:

– In Selma, televised violence touched the national consciousness for fairness and voting rights.
– A tragedy in my community brought new love and unity.
– My sickness over the holidays helped me to slow down, rest, review and renew.
– A client was treated so poorly by her lover, she finally walked away, which got his attention and changed everything.
– After years of exhausting Anger and distancing after her father left her, a woman is feeling sad and depressed for the first time (breakdown). This is opening her heart to re-connecting and forgiveness (breakthrough).

When you are down and vulnerable, it can bring you honesty, humility, clarity, and resurrection. We need the ability to more quickly connect what happens to us with its cause – so we can avoid negative consequences – and with its purpose – so we can use everything to learn from. How long will it take us to align the outcome that we want with the actions that we take? This is the evolutionary push in our changing times to bring us intuition.

How can you use this idea in a practical way? Start with the premise that every pain, every trouble, every difficulty, every problem is the universe’s challenge for you to learn grow and improve. So when something is happening that you absolutely do not like or want, ask the following questions:
– How can I use the situation to become stronger, clearer, happier?
– How is this the perfect situation I need right now to grow?
– Looking from the perspective of the purpose of my life,  why did I/ my soul bring on this experience?

These are very difficult and provocative questions that assume total self-responsibility. But they work! The answer may come fast or it may take quite a bit of time to make sense and use of a challenge. Even of a tragedy. But that is the nature of life and of consciousness, to come through it and prevail. You’ve seen that grass growing through the asphalt. That is what got us out of the caves and out of the plagues and will bring us to peace. So keep up and carry on with consciousness in your individual situations. Make use of every mess. And we will all make it!

Victory Within Tragedy

A tragedy feels like defeat. Victory through it, paradoxically, requires some Surrender.

I do live what I teach, mostly. “Allow your awareness to guide you, even the ‘negative’ stuff like apathy or illness. Winter calls us to slow down, so don’t fight it. Surrender until rejuvenation naturally arises. Acceptance! ”

So when I felt a little sad and low here and there these last few weeks, I embraced it and it passed. But hey, now it’s the New Year, back to work, let’s get going. But wait… a tragic death in our community, right on New Year’s? Now I’m laid low and sick? Find myself intimidated by the very tasks I have set for myself this year? None of this was in my neat plan. Can I accept, as I ask others to do?

And what are my problems compared to my friend stuck in the hospital for months after a stroke, or my dharma-sister who just cremated her 25 year-old newlywed husband? Our tests to surrender and embrace where we’re at, who we are and what is happening come in all sizes.

There’s no comparing with others; we are all challenged to keep up under the events life brings us and be victorious. Victory is an attitude that includes acceptance, because Victory is seldom what we imagined.

When others prevail in difficulty, it strengthens us to do the same. I invite you to be inspired here by this young woman’s courage, speaking at her husband’s funeral. Move the time slider to 3:03:30 when Ad Purkh speaks of her husband Hari Simran. The young man’s parents speak before her. I hope you will be uplifted as I was by sharing this intimate moment, and feel the strength of spirit and the support of community! (If you are new to this story, he fell and died while hiking in Mexico on 12/30/14.)
As she said, “Don’t be afraid to cry, because he wasn’t afraid of anything.”

As I listen to his parents, friends of mine who raised their son with spiritual principles and practices, I am struck by the caliber of human being they created by those teachings. AND, how with those same teachings and with the support of spiritual community, they have molded their own consciousness to accept this tragedy and prevail in their elevation.

Bless yourself with strength and victory. We are in this human experience together. We can do this, whatever it is! Accept and Prevail!

Bring Joy To Your World

Joy: Does this Holiday mood elude you?

A client told me yesterday, “I’ve been busy socializing and going to a lot of parties lately. It’s fun, but I actually feel less Joy than when things were quieter, when I had time to meditate. I miss that and want it back.”

She was actually identifying the very nature of Joy. The pleasure we feel when stimulated by a thing can “spike” us into an experience of Joy, which is a very specific state of consciousness. It is wonderful but fleeting event that we naturally seek to sustain, yet may find to be transient and elusive.

That’s because true Joy “arises from within each moment of existence rather than from any outer source.”* Many things that come to us can give us a taste of it, but then they go. How to find a reliable source?

Start with Compassion. It opens the heart and leads to unconditional love. Love, free from fragile sources, teaches us that it is possible to separate how we are treated by people, and life, from how we feel about them. Read these lines a few times. It’s a tall order, but quite achievable.

Our physical world will never be without pain, but long ago it was discovered that we can live full of Love and Joy amidst the very muddy muck in this world. But just as my Joy-less client said, that requires something more than the “stuff” of life. We must go deeper into its essence. That requires getting quiet and still to look beneath acquisitions and actions; to listen below the noise of the mind. Call it contemplation, meditation, prayer, or devotion, it is a key to true Joy.

There’s pressure to be ‘out there” this time of year, but the season more naturally calls us inward to the Self. So light a simple candle and sit. Go in and find the Love and Joy that are inherent in your existence; available for you always. No one can buy it. And once found, nothing can take it away. You need not seek, nor give up, but allow it space to arise. In this way, practice bringing Comfort & Joy into your world.

Not Jolly Holidays? Turn Sadness Into Love

How do the Holidays make you feel? 

I asked folks to name their most frequent difficult feelings in a Holiday Emotions workshop last weekend.  50% named Fear(Anxiety, Overwhelm, etc.) as their #1. But when I asked what heavy emotions are most common in December, Sadness (Grief and Loneliness) was for most people #1 during the Holidays. (Anger/ frustration/ resentment was 2nd.)
You may not be in this majority, but many others are. If it is you that Grief visits like the Ghost of Christmas Past, you are NOT alone. But do you know where it’s coming from and how to use it to feel better?

Grief & Sadness arise to deal with loss and change. When you once had something that is gone. When you expect or want and hope for something that is not here. Or when you anticipate loss, that something will not last or will never happen… Sadness’ job is to help you adjust to change, change your expectations, and fill the hole that the loss has left in you.

The gifts of Grief are love and Reverence. It is a bittersweet feeling that clarifies what you want, need, and love. Sweet because it opens your awareness. (painfully, yes) to see your heart’s desire. With a bit of practice, the pain of sadness can guide you through the loss by opening your heart so it can lead you to fullness.

To make yourself whole is the goal. To see what the pain wants you to gain; to make the shift from what you don’t have to what you can get; to consciously fill that void… this takes a “critical mass” of energy and clarity. With it you can consciously navigate the bitter and get to the sweet.

Sadness calls you to sit quietly, get cozy, and go inside for a good heart-to-heart with your heart. If this time of year calls you to do that, listen! See the video below for a direct experience of working with Sadness.
If you would like hand’s-on help mastering your sadness, or would like to help others to do so, see the info on Emotional Liberation Training below.

Peace Be In You,

GuruMeher

Commit to Happiness 

Wherever you go, go with all your heart. ~ Confucius

I want to rally you to Engage in Change; to make this a year to end suffering.

Please know that we all have challenges. My recent survey showed your top issues are the many forms of:

Fear/ Anxiety/ Stress

Anger/ Aggression

Sadness/ Loss/ Loneliness

Shame/ Self-Esteem/ Self-love

Depression vs. Motivation

It is SO valuable to talk honestly and help each other. Remember that each of these has a job to do leads to Peace when used properly.

Now, once you see the pain, name the change(s) you want.
Next find and use the resources you need for growth:  Motivation, Information, Practice and Support.  Make a list, find, and use those assets to insure your success. (See ” 4 Pillars” article from 12/5.)

Now, let’s look at a last and trickiest hurdle that keeps many people from their wellness goals…
Sometimes you know what to do, have the tools and opportunities, and STILL STAY STUCK!

Some typical reasons:

I’m too busy, don’t have time or energy, it’s too hard, too big to deal with, it won’t work, I can’t. To postpone improvement is a CHOICE, actively engaged or, more often, unconsciously made. My teacher said, “It’s not that you can’t become great, it’s just… ‘Ugh’…that you don’t”. This is the most tragic of all.

Handle this block by making a commitment.  Commitment reflects a decision about what’s most important, creates focus. But it takes more than the mind, it comes from deep inside you. It takes more than the mind, which can change. Making a Commitment to Happiness that will carry you all the way through comes from the heart, the gut, your spirit. It is a solid knowing that it is true, it is time, it is YOU.

See if the Commitment is there:

– Get relaxed and quiet.  Go inside. Breathe deeply. When clarity comes…

Envision yourself transformed;

Contrast that with an unchanged future,

Ask your inner wisdom; let your Soul speak:

Am I ready to rise to a new level? Am I committed to it?

– Be real with what you find inside. Act on this inner guidance.

If you find a commitment just accept, agree, surrender to it as destiny. Then…

How will you do it? Make a plan to deliver it!Last week I sorted through your hundreds of ideas for the kind of support you’d like. Here are the top wishes:

-Clear info, specific steps, weekly reading/ videos/ practices.

-Supportive Community, safe peer sharing of real situations.

-Access to a coach for support; direct help with issues.

-Self-assessment questions for feedback on progress.

-Yoga/ meditation/ exercises specific to needs, issues and goals

-Tools and Certification to help others

If you are committed, set your structure in place. Click here to lay down your Commitment to Happiness and get ideas from others (Link to facebook.com/emotionsos and seed it!)

End Suffering – No More ‘no knows”

Make This Your Year of No “No know”

Aren’t you sick and tired of the suffering?  Your own, that of others, global human suffering!  Pain comes with having a body, but suffering – that long-term stuck-in-misery mental/ emotional torture we endure out of habit – is optional.  Enough is enough!

Let’s raise our standard of happiness, quit tolerating our patterns of self-created and avoidable drama!  There is a way through every block, right? So why do we live in stress, create and then tolerate troubles, and continue our patterns and pain-sustaining habits?

Buddha said suffering is caused by ignorance. What I’ve seen is that we stay stuck due to 3 forms of not knowing. You either:

●     don’t know that you’re suffering.  (you just get used to it)

●     don’t know it can be better. (lack of good models, settling for as it is)

●     don’t know how to break through.  (lack of guidance, quit trying)

The wise ones have always said that our answers are within us; that we do know! Yogi Bhajan challenged us to eliminate our use of the phrase, “I don’t know,” altogether because it’s just not true and is an excuse to quit penetrating the issue. As an exercise, simply try saying something that is more true and accurate than “I don’t know”.

Senses of the Soul offers powerful access to our vast inner-knowing by the use of difficult feelings to KNOW the real source of our problems and solutions to our suffering. The evidence that I’ve seen for this, the results of thousands of people using SOS techniques, gives me huge hope for what is incorrectly called the human condition.

But now that I see how simple it is to diminish troubles and increase joy, I feel greater sadness for the pain I see people living in.  I’m fired up, impatient and eager to raise expectations and standards for our quality of life.  My contribution to this is to teach Senses of the Soul and the tools of Kundalini Yoga that facilitate access to the strength and clarity needed to consciously confront challenges.

Do you know the simple principles of Senses of the Soul? Do you use them?

Here are 3 keys:

1.     “Bad” emotions are good things, friends, allies.

2.     Their Pain leads to Peace when used skillfully.

3.      The SOS Method is:

a.      get as clear and strong as possible. (This is where yoga helps)

b.      listen to emotions by feeling them, consciously. (Neutral mindfulness is essential)

c.       control by allowing emotions to tell you what you need. (Inner honesty, conscious soul-searching)

Don’t let emotions cause you problems.  Their pain is not the problem.  Your problems are not even your problem!  It’s your poor response, or lack of response to them that causes suffering. Using feelings as guides to handle life’s challenges is simple and natural.  It just takes some re-training of bad habits.  When used as intended it’s like this…

Just imagine that whenever you feel bad, less than happy:

1.       you always know it (you don’t just live with it), and know exactly what you are feeling.

2.       you clearly know why you’re feeling bad.

3.       you easily see what you need in order to feel better again.

4.       you do that, and return quickly to feeling safe, happy, and loved.

No more NOT KNOWING how to use emotions.  The information is here.  Let these discoveries sink in and change your paradigm of feelings.  Don’t believe it; prove it!  Learn and practice.

Next we’ll look at  “Knowing but not doing”; when we don’t use what we know, to grow.

Let me hear more from you about this.  What do you need to end your suffering in 2015?  Join the conversation at facebook.com/emotionsos, and let’s get fired up to feel better, together.

Feel Better!
– GuruMeher

When  Gratitude Eludes You – Awaken the Thanks-Giving Heart

I spoke with an old friend who’s having the hardest challenge of her life right now. Health crisis, money crisis, friends and family, living situation…by many measures the worst time of her life. It’s Thanksgiving, but what’s to be grateful for?

Many times we don’t feel what we are SUPPOSED to feel. You may find it difficult and yourself resentful to be thankful on command this Thursday, especially if there are some things you are definitely NOT thankful for. You have the ability to target and go to a positive experience. It’s a life-affirming skill to practice.

Since emotions are the Senses of the Soul, we know that the right thing to be feeling, is exactly what you are feeling. With SOS we accept a negative emotion completely so it can do its job to deliver us from trouble. You feel better when you work with, rather than against difficult feelings.

But you also have the ability to intend a positive emotion and enter that preferable experience. Having control over your ability to feel good is not to be confused with denial and not dealing with real feelings. We want a healthy balance between the ability to deal with real feelings as they arise, and the skill to lead yourself to a state you desire. So let’s practice that with Gratitude as our beautiful emotional goal and see if we can get there.

The amazing power of Gratitude, like every love-awakened feeling, is that it is impossible to feel it and to feel bad at the same moment.  An “open heart” is a way we describe a flow of energy that not only feels good, but also does tremendous life-sustaining good for us.

Try this.
(See “When Gratitude Eludes You” on Senses of the Soul’s YouTube channel for a quick practice to make this more powerful.)

Sit still, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
Remember a time in your life when you felt loved. It might have been from a parent, grandparent or a friend, a pet or a sunset; it may have been brief and long ago. A moment of wonderful love that someone gave you; that moved you. Recall it, vividly, with all your senses. Relax and let the pleasant sensations take over your body. Let loving kindness come in abundantly with every breath, and then gratitude for it flow back out with your exhale. Immerse and surround yourself. Enjoy this experience for as long as you wish. It is real, and you created it. Love has a lasting effect: once felt it is forever available.

If you find too much pain inside to open your heart, sadness is another way.

Focus within and feel your own sadness and suffering. It is painful but bittersweet. Let its purifying burn flow through you unrestricted.  Now expand awareness to remember all the suffering from your past. Now include the pain of all the people you have known, and so many that hear on the news, see in the streets and can imagine. Go ahead and let yourself feel the immense collective pain of humanity through all time. It all brings you “to your knees”. Our fragility is humbling. From what might start as sympathy, bring forth a desire to alleviate all of that suffering for yourself and everyone. Send out from your heart a burning desire for something better, stronger, higher.

Move your passion into compassion and caring. Once you feel that openness of the heart, love is awakened and available to you. Use it now as you wish; to be kind to yourself, to care about something, To be thankful. That feels good, and in turn does you good.

In Gratitude for You,
GuruMeher

Holidays – Happy or Heavy? Handling Holiday Emotions

In a recent workshop I asked how people were honestly feeling about the upcoming holidays. Here were the most popular responses: Anger, frustrations, irritations, resentments

Fear, anxiety, worried, “feeling trapped”

Grief, sadness, loneliness, regrets, longing/ missing

Good old Guilt and Shame (not approved of or good enough) Depression, apathy, uselessness, disempowered.
Need a cup of holiday “cheer” to get in the spirit anyone? When we can’t feel spirit, we may reach for ‘spirits’.

Problem: Winter and Holidays bring up a lot of heavy emotions.

Why this common phenomenon? Childhood, home and family are the formative source of our personality, beliefs and ongoing issue-lessons. When we were small, sensitive and vulnerable, difficult stuff happened.

Cause:
The winter and holidays both deal with and represent home and family, so “the ghosts of Christmas past” come to haunt us.

Why? This is the ingenious way that emotions work. When they HURT, they ALERT us to a situation in need of correction or healing. A current issue brings forth emotion to help inform and motivate you to resolve it. When a past event brought ups a similar emotion, you are being offered an opening to resolve the earlier unfinished business. Emotions are so infallibly in service of your growth, they stay around for decades awaiting the time you are ready, willing and able to deal and heal.

Deeper Cause:
Current issues open a door to learn and heal past issues

What to do? When that priceless door of self-salvation opens, go inside. Come to understand what you are feeling, why you are feeling it, and what you need to feel better. Then do that! It’s simple, if not always easy. But, don’t just push on through, feeling but not dealing, fighting but not finding victory, suffering without finding your way out.

Solution:
When you FEEL, be REAL, and DEAL with it all.

Need help getting started? Your innate intuitive intelligence is there to guide you. The entire Sense of the Soul body of work is to retrain us to use this equipment, this system of Emotional Self-Therapy.

Here are some succinct resources:

Main Point: Want HAPPY? Deal with HEAVY. When you address and resolve whatever is blocking your flow of peace, you return to that natural state of positive experience.

Zombies at the Gate – Stop Attacks Before They Eat You Up

Select What Affects You

Your heart is a sacred thing enshrined in your miraculous body. Dignity and Divinity are built into every cell of your being and realm of your psyche. But so often we feel small, defective, dirty, mean or lonely.

You are a precious treasure. But like fine china your value can be unnoticed, undervalued, mistreated, even shattered. Valuables, gold and gems are safeguarded, insured and protected. And so must each of us see the immense value and the great sensitivity of the self and defend our sensibilities from all careless or calculated attacks.

You have the power and choice to accept or reject incoming communications BEFORE you let them hit your heart. Some people have a “tough skin” and are less affected by negativity, but most of us will enjoy life more when we increase this ability to discern. And BTW, some of these attacks come from within your own mind!

Said more simply: Hurtful stuff comes at you every day. Learn to protect, and select what affects you!

Here’s a way to develop this habit. Each step may take training and practice.

1- When an attack is coming, or has come at you from your own mind or from someone/ something outside yourself;

2- Decide not to hear it, accept it, believe it, nor let it inside you yet. Don’t take it on.

3- Get yourself as strong and clear as possible. Learn to do this!

4- When YOU are ready, allow the thought/ words/ situation to come right up to you but not in, like a stranger at the door you are going to question before they qualify to enter with your permission.

5- Clearly, meditatively, from a place of as much neutrality as you can embody, decide that you are ready to examine the information. This shifts the power from the attacker to you. You CHOOSE to hear it now.

6- From neutrality you can assess the input (still from outside the door of your being!).

7- Ask, “What part of this is not about me but all about them and where they are in pain and confusion. You can learn to easily see what is not true for you. Just let this go. Release and discard it, drop it. Say out loud, like Gandolf, “You shall not pass!” The words may not enter nor stick with you. It may be 100% not about you, but then Ask:

8- “Is there any part of this message that I deem to have some truth, some valid information with which I can correct  or improve myself, learn and grow from?”

9- If and when YOU see that there is something of use in this communication, some Truth, then as an empowered and empowering act, you let it in the door of your heart. Consider it deeply and let it contribute to your consciousness. Use it, with gratitude to make your life even better.

10- And use this same practice with your own thoughts when they attack from within! Try it!

This Truth portion of any incoming attack may be anywhere from 0% to 100% of the original message. And only you know. You are the judge of Truth, and you are the protector of your honor. But it does take that elevated neutral view to see clearly. That is the thing most of us need to practice and strengthen.  Meditate to get there!
In time this becomes nearly automatic. You are safe and free, the decider about what you take in and how you use the mostly random and impersonal stuff that may get thrown in your direction each day.  And, you are open to input, flexible and constantly learning.

Analysis Paralysis

Does it ever happen to you? You are trying to decide something, figure out what happened, understand what you think, feel, or should do. There is a LOT on your mind. It distracts you, keeps you lying awake. Thoughts are churning, you can’t NOT think about it. You debate the same pro’s and con’s over and over without getting anywhere new. Meanwhile, nothing changes. You are stuck. You have a mild, medium or intense case of ANALYSIS PARALYSIS.

As powerful as the human mind is, we have another faculty for knowing things. It is less well-defined and, unfortunately, not very well trusted and utilized. It is still considered lame, bogus, even mystical. Our language is imprecise; we describe it as a gut feeling, following our heart, a hunch, “I don’t know how I know, I just know”, and (correctly) intuition. It is a key part of our total “sensory system”. And it’s time we quit suffering and live with the full benefits of this way of knowing truths directly from our own soul.

“Listening to soul” is nothing magical: Soul is simply the part of you that sees the big picture. And listening to it is extremely practical. The mind can compute a million details (content), while the heart can take in the entire situation (context) and “get it” in one impulse, without thinking at all.

The things that matter most to you are more easily known to the heart’s subtle, calm, “still, small voice”. Just as a parent can patiently listen to a child ranting in a tantrum, your higher awareness can calmly observe the frantic chatter of the monkey-like mind. Are you familiar with these two voices inside of you? Wouldn’t it be nice to reside in the clear and calm one?

Here are some concepts and practices to make the switch:

– When something is troubling, bothering, overwhelming, confusing…

– Don’t go after it, attack it, get wound up tight. Your first priority is to get clear.  When you do act, it will be from there.

– Instead, de-escalate. Calm your nervous system and relax the mind.

I hope you know at this point in your life what works fast and best for you to do this. Yoga and Kundalini meditations are the most effective methods I’ve found, but there as many ways as there are minds.

– When you get a bit of space in there, ask your mind to wait for further instruction. Reassure it that everything is okay; to sit and wait like a faithful dog until you give it the next “ball to chase”. Train your mind!

This might take minutes, days, or years! You may not trust at first that this is the most efficient way to “fix the problem” since we are trained to go after the symptom at the surface.

In yogic terms we say, be sure to listen BOTH to the negative and the positive sides (thoughts), but get to neutral before you speak or act. You can almost always buy some time, postpone a response until you are crystal clear, until you know you are acting in your best, long-term interest.

Folks ask me, “How do I know that I am hearing from the Soul and not the Mind?” I say, “Practice!” Practice what? When you see, hear, feel or sense and get the truth, it is totally, instantly clear, just like that light bulb in the cartoons. It is deeper, in your body, and surer than a thought. You feel certain, at peace, and at least momentarily willing to stand against all odds to pursue more of that same sensation.

So in a beautiful irony, the remedy for Analysis Paralysis is to not think. Rather, to solve the situation from your heart. Once you know what must be, throw the ball for that energetic dog. Say, “okay mind here’s the deal; go get it.” When you feel so much better, and also see that things work out better, you’ll learn to trust your Self.

Triage Your Challenges

“Don’t go outside yourself and become a victim, go inside and become a master.”

– Yogi Bhajan

We are fragile when we are born and can’t survive without getting food and care from “out there”. As we grow we seek our countless needs from the environment. So naturally, when someone or something bothers us, we “go after” the thing to “fix it.”  It’s a costly mistake we all make.

Shi* Happens. That great piece of modern wisdom reminds us that after we’ve done all we can to take care of ourselves, life often brings the unexpected and unwanted. When it does, don’t react or attack. Don’t take it any more personally than the weather. People act according to their nature and gravity moves stars in their own orbit. It’s not about you. But when it interacts with you, it does affect you. Focus on the effect it is having on YOU.

They didn’t do it “to” you. They were just being themselves. How it impacts you is all about you. And that is something you have more control over. Rather than fight the nature of things, focus FIRST on yourself. What’s really going on? How did this affect me? Why does it bother me? What do I need now? What could I do to make it right for myself, to move on happily?

Our feelings are critical equipment to help in this first step. The self-awareness inquiry is simple. Get as clear and neutral as you can, then ask:

-What am I feeling?

-Why am I feeling this way?

-What do I need to know or do to feel better?

With practice, you can do this quickly and accurately. THEN go “out there” when action is needed, to communicate, rearrange things, to handle it based on your clear desired outcome. This is conscious self-care. It is looking-before-you-leap. It reflects taking full responsibility for your own experience. Though the world won’t always conform and obey your wishes, there is ALWAYS something you can do in any situation to make it better for yourself. There is always a choice. And choice gives you power.

For huge, difficult, life-changing events there are seldom quick fixes. Getting clear can take years. You can be sure that this level of life-challenge is bringing you a major demand to learn, grow and to expand your consciousness. When you approach life from the vast perspective of the soul, you can ask, “Why did I invite this into my life? What will be its value to me long term? What do I not know now, the knowing of which will take me through the block?

These are confronting questions that leave no room for blame or helpless acceptance of fate. At first intimidating but ultimately empowering, this approach trains us to use our ability to create our reality.  Let’s keep learning from each challenge by looking at ourselves first for the pain, the cause and the remedy.

Become Un-Numb: Safely Recover Your Sensitivity

Difficult situations bring on uncomfortable emotions. Their purpose is to grab your attention, provoke you to take care of yourself,  and remedy the problem so you may return to feeling good.

When we don’t work with emotions to a resolution, they persist in a dedicated effort to help. This makes them seem like evil enemies, weaknesses, and a painful problem in themselves.

Not knowing their benefits, we try to avoid these emotional messages, to ignore, deny, resist, react, distract, disassociate, go numb, medicate… We invent countless creative ways to NOT FEEL and NOT DEAL with what we feel. When life brings loads of pain, this is a very natural response, but…

It never works.  Feelings are as constant as breath and thoughts; they flow with consciousness; they are a vital form of awareness. Heavy emotions will persist as long as there is a problem to solve. Ignoring them takes a heavy toll. The double whammy is that when you go numb, you feel less pleasure and joy as well. The temporary mirage of emotional avoidance is achieved, but at a great cost. Life goes grey, loses its juice.

So what to do? Safety first! When you feel safe in your experience with emotions you will be willing to feel them. And then they can start to work for you again, to guide you to well-being as designed.  How to have a new, positive experience with heavy emotions that have been avoided? Use The 4 Pillars of Growth and Change:

1) Information. You have to trust new ideas enough to test them. Take this article for example, or anything you find credible. But it doesn’t work to just believe something, you have to discover for yourself with…

2) Practice. Your own practical experience is essential. It is quite easy safely feel, I help people do it all the time. The YouTube video series Happy Solutions to Problem Emotions offers six 12-minute experiences you can try anytime. No one can learn for you; but you can help and heal yourself. The essence of the SOS Method is to create an inner environment of strength and clarity to then encounter the intensity of feelings consciously. Learning is faster and surer with…

3) Support. Get some feedback, understanding, encouragement. You are not weird, bad, crazy, stupid, nor alone. Sharing experiences with others with similar interests and experiences is vital to us social animals when we are on new ground!

4) Inspiration. Your own experiences will amaze you. Getting relief will motivate you to learn more. Then repeat the sequence with more info!

Once you know you can handle the voltage emotions bring, you can use it to find your way. Navigating present situations, upcoming challenges, and healing past traumas is the purpose or your emotional equipment. Using it well, you will be grateful to fully feel whatever life brings your way, and will have full access to all the joys as well. You can feel the richness of life, no matter what it brings.

If you would like to develop your emotional skills for personal growth and to help others, look for the upcoming launch of the Senses of the Soul Training. It is abundant with Information, Practice, support and Inspiration to take you emotional self-mastery.

A Sensitive Subject

Have you noticed that people getting more “touchy”, quicker to be upset. Or that you get overwhelmed with feelings, that the intensity of others’ disturbs you? From political movements to intimate relationships there is a lot of hyper-sensitivity that increases pressure and stress.

A lot of you tell me you feel too sensitive and that it is painful.  The trend will continue; this is an adaptation to the speed of life and amount of information coming at us. It’s a faster way of understanding complexity. So, I want you to experience that sensitivity, that empathy, that awareness as the GIFT that it is. You can enjoy it when you learn to use it. And, it is important that you do!

Why? To feel what is really going on is a form of awareness, and pain comes only from ignorance (per the Buddha). The world is full of tough harsh, insensitive, numb, uncaring abuse. If we could truly love the other person as yourself (Jesus), or better yet, Recognize that the other person IS you (Yogi Bhajan), we’d all be getting along better. Empathy is the human capacity access that level of wise compassion.

So for the sake of world peace we need “sensitives” to not hide from the pain that is really out there. No. Be willing to FEEL, learn to DEAL well with it, and that will HEAL you and others. Get skilled with this gift.

How?

1) Paradigm shift: Just the view that Sensitivity is a form of power, a feminine type of strength, begins the claiming of that power. Knowing that emotions are a source of strength and intuition has you begin to relate to them and approach them constructively.

2) Gain control of the floodgates of feeling.

– You also need to experience emotions as safe; that it is okay to feel. This you can do with guidance and practice.

– You have to know what feelings are yours, and which are coming at you from others; to first distinguish your feelings from theirs.

– Then you can begin to gain control of what you “let in”  from and “send out” to others.You have some control over what you chose to feel.

The learning curve is:

1) First you are subjected to whatever comes at you.

2) Then, you can hold out negative influences and energies at your choice.

3) Next, you can choose and maintain your own states of strength and positive feelings.

4) Finally, you can project your “good vibrations”, be it love or kindness, peace or happiness, to benefit others that are able to accept them.

NOW, you are the healers, bridge menders, nurturers that this wounded world needs.You sensitive people are the vanguard of an awakening, a balancing of the currently prevailing masculine with the receptive feminine forms of power. So don’t suffer and hide, take pride in your feelings. Don’t cower, own the power. It does take some retraining, and I hope this encouragement starts you on that process.

 EMOTIONAL WORKOUTS

Physical Fitness.  Everyone knows what that is and how important it is to achieve it.  Some take steps to get in shape; others decide that it’s not worth the effort.  But all people recognize the importance of keeping the physical body healthy.

This is because in the 1960’s, President Kennedy implemented programs in school for physical education.  It’s so practiced and understood at the national level and beyond because there was a federal mandate to get people aware about the health of their bodies.

But what about Emotional Wellness?  We know some things about Emotions.  We know that exercise can reduce stress – for instance.  But for the most part, we are still in an infancy of awareness when it comes to Emotional Wellness.

Mostly, there’s a lot unspoken pain in people’s lives.  Additionally, there isn’t adequate treatment.

We take care of anxiety and depression with pharmaceutical drugs.  We take care of drug abuse with cold, institutional rehab centers that have high relapse rates.  We take care of relationship problems with court ordered separations and divorces.

None of these are healthy treatments and they don’t come close to addressing prevention.   Emotional literacy is the next big thing we need.

We need to see that Emotions are our friends.  And while we many need to heal them, we don’t need to treat them.  We need to utilize them for understanding and empowerment.  We need to have healthy relationships with our Emotions, so they can guide and support us.  If we start relating to emotions in this way,we will all be a lot happier! I really believe this crucial skill can make the world a better place!

To achieve this goal, we can follow the curve of Physical Education, and implement similar strategies in promoting Emotional Education.

  1. See that there is a need for emotional education and research methods for children and adults.
  2. Encourage commitment and investment of time.   Just like you don’t start running a marathon after one day at the gym, emotional dexterity takes time and effort.
  3. Create clear exercises for Emotional Literacy and develop systems that accelerate growth in this area

I hope that one day, these programs are achieved in school, so that kids grow up knowing how to handle emotions for their betterment and success.  In the meantime, this is why I developed Senses of the Soul.

Senses of the Soul (SOS) is a system of self-therapy that uses Emotions for Strength, Healing and Guidance.  It’s a transformative technique that really changes the way you live your life! If you really want to improve your life, there is no better way to start.

THE CUPID PARADOX

The Romans had it right with Cupid, their god of Relationships. Cupid, the son of the Mercury (god of communication) and Venus (goddess of Love),  was a winged sprite that wore armor and shot love-arrows through the hearts of innocent victims. He perfectly represents the inherent paradox we all deal with in relationships –  we must open our hearts to receive love, but then we are vulnerable to being hurt.

No one wants to get hurt.  The urge to protect is a survival instinct – it’s a biological priority and a primary need.  But a truly, embodied, self-actualized life requires relationships.  You can live without meaningful connections, but you can’t realize your greatest self that way. There’s the rub that causes friction in every person.  You need safety to survive  –  You need connection to thrive.

In a healthy relationship, when problems arise you work through them and restore safety so that you can resume loving one another.  But when safety is not restored and every one keeps going as if nothing happened, the relationship can turn dysfunctional.  Whenever you consciously want love, but subconsciously feel unsafe, the love will not happen.  Survival instincts win out every time. You try and try but the relationship will either end, turn sour or never go into deep intimacy.

How can you resolve this hard-wired conflict?

First, understand the dilemma and observe the two urges in yourself. Meditate on memories of wanting relationship, of conflicts in relationship, and of the outcomes to those conflicts. Feel the pull of longing, then the push-away from difficulties that arise. Get the two kinds of emotional messages clearly: wanting love and then the feelings of anger, fear, sadness, giving up.

Next, achieve both!  Once you can decipher the purposes in all those feelings, align them to work together rather than against each other.  You desire a relationship of trust wherein you don’t need to be on guard.  But in order to open up to that degree, you need to establish your safety.  This requires some skill!

Unless you had great relationship models growing up, this skill-set is not automatic.  This is why there are so many relationships in need of support right now.  People believe that relationships should be like driving blind- but they aren’t.  Luckily, you can learn these skills and they can start to help you right away!

START HERE:

– Be in touch with your own needs. You have to know yourself, and what really makes you feel safe.

– Ask for it.  Get comfortable with asking for what you need, setting boundaries around your safety and taking care of yourself FIRST.

A lot of people have trouble with these simple, but important skills.  They often feel like they are being selfish or cutting the other person off.  Let’s be clear.  You want to open up and be in true relationship. That means you need to establish safety.  We know that love can’t happen without safety, so start making sure it happens.

Take these recommendations and see how incredibly deep your love can become!

EMOTIONAL ANOREXIA? FEED YOURSELF LOVE

Are you an Emotional Anorexic?  Do you live on dangerously low levels of love?

Most of us have a pattern of love set by our early life.  This early “diet” – created not only by our parents, but also by our peers and cultural environment – tends to dictate the amount, type, and conditions we expect and our actual love “metabolism” – what we can actually process.

When we are trained in a love-lean environment, we continue to find ourselves living off of similar proportions.  And though you may crave more, you actually subconsciously limit the love you allow yourself to receive.  This causes a lot of pain and sorrow.

Unfortunately, like most people with a withholding condition, that pain become a form of bittersweet fulfillment, a “next best” emotional state.  Most people tend to enter into a feedback loop of feeling pain but unconsciously seeking experiences that drive more of it- like an lonely Valentine’s Day, a date-less wedding event, or a solo Friday night – in order to feel “complete.” This is how Dante imagined purgatory (which is neither heaven nor hell): Starving people chained just out of reach of a table full of luscious food.

In order to perpetuate this pattern, in which we are comfortable, we tell ourselves that there is a scarcity of love.  There aren’t any good men or women out there.  Or your not a good man or woman.  Either way, we tell ourselves there isn’t enough.  But that just isn’t true.

Love is abundant, infinite and limitless. Love sometimes get’s expressed through people and things, but is actually boundless and has no exclusive source.  From this perspective, going without love is like standing in the all- you-can-eat buffet wondering why there is no food for you to eat.

Want out of that cycle? Everyone else is filling their plate.  You can too!

STEPS OF RECOVERY

 1- Recognize the Pattern – Just seeing the pattern will initiate change. By seeing this as a pattern but not the only reality, the mind knows there is another possibility and looks for a way out.

2- Be willing to leave the safety and comfort of a life without love – Never having closeness with anyone does avoid a lot of problems. Aloneness IS easier than dealing with a real person. But if you want a relationship, and most do, you have to be willing to move our of your comfort zone.  Some people decide, upon clear review, that they really do prefer living with themselves as partner.  This could be you, but don’t assume it is, do some soul-searching.

3- Don’t hold out for conditions – You don’t need a better partner, a perfect partner or even a partner at all.  If you are committed to experiencing love, you can start no matter where you are and what you have.  Don’t hold out.

4.  Start a Self-Love Makeover  – The best place to begin experiencing love is with yourself.  One of my favorite Rumi quote challenges, “Start a huge project. Like Noah!” A Self-Love Makeover is big endeavor, but can you think of any project more worthy?

For a lot of people, myself included, Self-Love is a hard place to jump to.  Self-meanness and negative self-talk is an all-too-common, extremely damaging habit.  Instead of trying to get to Self-Love right away and then getting mad at yourself when it doesn’t work, try starting with Self-Niceness.  Treat yourself graciously.  Do intentional acts of self-kindness like a taking simple walks in nature, presenting yourself with tokens of love, and praising yourself.  Give yourself time for rest, fun, money, friends, and meaningful work.  If you can manage just to be nice to yourself, you’ll be really far along in your journey!

Kick off your project on Valentine’s Day. Use the weekend to take some significant steps.

Then tell me on Facebook how your Self-Love Project is going!

Don’t Let Your History Confine Your Heart

Is this you, or have you ever seen anything like this?  You, or a someone you know, is in a perfectly loving relationship.  Everything is cozy and complete.  But you or your friend feel scared.  You’re not satisfied.  Everything is great, but it’s just not enough.  So you leave!

Meanwhile, your partner is giving with their whole being.  They are happy in the relationship and willing to work hard to make it grow.  Their only upset is that they are frustrated when all the love they give is rejected.

Be honest, are you been running this treadmill?  Do you feel dissatisfied, even when things are going great? History could be confining your heart.

We all have a habitual range and comfort zone of love based on what we’ve experienced in the past.  This history sets a minimum amount of love we rarely dip below.  You know your worth something and you won’t take anything less than that.
Curiously though, our history can also set maximums on love that are uncomfortable when exceeded.  It’s counter-intuitive and counter-productive, but we do it.  This is especially true if you grew up in a household that was cold.  Where there was a lot of neglect.  Where there was fighting.  Or where you felt lost and rejected.  You may be ready for more love and know you deserve more, but it’s hard to accept when historically you haven’t had a lot of love.

This month, many people are starting to think about relationships.  How they’d like to have one, or how they’d like to improve the one they are in.   More love is available right now.  Here’s a simple meditation to help you expand your capacity for love.

Expand Your Capacity to Let Love In:

Sit down comfortably in a quiet place.  Close your eyes and take several deep breaths. Tune into the warmth of your body, your heartbeat, the air in your lungs, and peaceful sounds around you.  Mentally talk nicely to yourself.

Now, imagine that you are inhaling, deep and steady, through the center of the chest.  Exhale and release through the sternum area.  Feel that this breath is love, easily coming and going.

Bring in memories of anytime you have loved or felt loved, past or present.  Bring to mind memories like kisses, hugs, smiles and sunlight. Search through your world and gather bits of support, coziness, acts of kindness given and received, anything that feels good. Bring it in from all sources into the heart, like a hummingbird drinking nectar. If you notice a feeling that it is “too much”, relax more and let it on in. Expand the breath and imagine the vast space in your chest growing. Take in as much love as you can.  See for yourself that your World and the Universe have an infinite supply of this energy.

This meditation helps you get accustomed to a higher level of love, even if you came from a past were love was scarce. Practice often.  When you get accustomed to feeling lots of love often, more starts coming to you from the outside.

If you did this meditation just now, let me know how it went on the SOS Facebook Page !

Your Year of Emotional Health

Was there anything about last year that you didn’t feel good about? Those feelings are your clues to what you want to improve this year.  The question is, do you pick up and follow the clues? That’s what Senses of the Soul is all about, listening to your emotions so that you know what you want and what you need to do to get it.  Do you know what will make you feel better about this year and your life?  Emotional Health!

Emotional Health is when you neither suppress your emotions nor let them overwhelm you and run your life. Instead, Emotional Health is when you feel your emotions in a neutral manner, and let them guide youth solutions. Your emotions have functions, they are guideposts for how you can get back to happiness.  For instance, the feeling of Fear encourages your to investigate your surroundings and see where you need more safety.  The feeling of Guilt leads you to investigate your ethics.  You’re best life happens when you listen to your deepest truth; your emotions will show you that truth.

Whatever intentions you made this year, you need a plan and a support structure to see them through.  That could be a gym and a trainer if you want to improve your fitness, a financial adviser, or taking a class to learn something new.

If you are planning to take your Emotional Health seriously this year, Senses of the Soul is the way to do it! SOS is a cutting edge system, support structure and personal training course all in one!

Here are some easy ways to stay on track with your SOS journey:

  • Purchase a copy of Senses of the Soul and do one meditation from the book a week.  There are 52 meditations in the book.  Committing to one a week is easy and will take you through the entire year!
  • Attend an SOS Workshop in your area.  The group energy really helps the process and there is nothing like a live-event.  Check out the schedule below!
  • Access any of the SOS Method materials.  There are Audio Downloads for all the meditations in the book.  A Video Course that will take you through the entire system.  And an eBook and an Audio Book..  All these tools are available to you to take your journey deeper.
  • Lastly, one-on-one coaching with me.  I’m always available to assist and support your work.  The expertise I bring comes from 15 years of coaching and 12 years of working with this method.
Have you suffered enough? Are you ready for a change? It’s this easy.  Don’t let this be another year you look back on with disappointment. I offer you all my resources and encouragement to help you on your path! Commit and get started now!

Even Yogis Get The Blues

Everybody always wants to feel cozy and bright as the weather turns cold and the days dark. In pursuit of that common goal, there is a lot of cultural prompting to do so, but little real support. You can’t be of good cheer on command, that comes only when you have truly taken care of yourself and all that would be blocking the flow of spirit. In the winter time, humans are naturally more reserved and inward looking, it’s a time more appropriate for us to burrow in, to rest, review and restore – just like many plants and animals are doing. No one can tell you how to feel, so please recognize the pressure to “be happy” this time of year. Rather, work with what is authentically happening inside yourself.

Our prevailing culture prizes behaviors that, when you think about it, are very artificial.  Life seeks balance. There is a time to laugh, a time  to cry; a time to sow, a time to reap.

A successful friend of mine was staying at our house a few years ago.  After she came in from a long day full of exciting meetings and shopping, she changed clothes got ready for a dinner date.  She flopped down on the couch in the minute she had while she waited for her date to pick her up.  She asked me, “What can I do for tiredness?”  She was hoping for a secret yoga tip or herb to keep her going.  I said to her, “Rest!”

I suggested to her  that  tiredness is her body’s way of asking her to relax and replenish her reserves.  This thought had never occurred to her.  It took a while, a full on collapse later on – for her to learn to balance her output of energy and her need for rest.  Now she enjoys being busy, but she knows to take a break when her body or spirit says, “Enough!”

This holiday season,  make sure to relax and nourish yourself.  There’s always pressure to have a great time, or to take care of your family.  Balance you extroverted activities with time spent just nurturing YOU! When your energy is contained, it can flow. Then the holidays can be truly enjoyable!

Embracing the Sacred Self

There is a lot of suffering out there, as well as within our own hearts and minds. But there’s reason for hope.  After five decades of searching, learning, and experiencing anything I could find that might help my happiness, I can say that what made the most difference was to calm down enough to pay attention, to talk nicely to myself and find out what was wrong.

I remember taking on the “project” of Self-Love. It sounded like a good idea. I thought it would be simple and would come automatically. But I found it surprisingly difficult, so I decided to start with an easier step: self-niceness.  As that left me in a world that treated me better, something deep inside me accepted that I must be worth it genuine.  The positive momentum continued from self-kindness to self-compassion and on into Self-Love. It took a long time and a lot of work, acceptance, and surrender. But it was worth every last drop of blood, sweat, and tears.

Sacred Self-Hug

Here is a simple thing to do as a daily practice or anytime you need it.

Sit calmly and take a few deep breaths. Cross your arms with your hands holding opposite shoulders; left arm higher and right arm below it. As the hands hold on, relax the rest of your body-your face, neck, shoulders, and arms. The body language is a self-hug. If you have ever loved anything, you know the feeling of a hug; call it forth now. Feel cozy and loved within yourself. Breathe long, full breaths that slowly become effortless as you settle in to the hug. Have some gentle uplifting music playing softly, if you wish. Think any positive thought and image and evoke every warm feeling. Let everything else disappear until there is no thought at all, just the feeling that you are safe and loved. Let that melt you away until what is left is beyond feeling. All is well, all is perfect. Behold this awe and reverence for the vastness. Be in pure experience. It is Divine, sacred, pure consciousness.

At some point you will be ready to “come back.” Breathe deeply, stretch, and relax. Can you invite this experience to influence and alter your activity? When you visit it often, it will not be forgotten.

A quote that really embodies this feeling is something my son said at his high school graduation: “I am exactly who I am supposed to be, and that is who I’ve always wanted to be, and I am completely in love with that person” – Har Narayan Khalsa, June 2012.

Happiness is Your Natural State

Want to feel happy? Happiness is not a distinct emotion, but rather the experience of one or more emotions that are enjoyed as positive. This can vary greatly from person to person and from time to time. I have come to enjoy sadness as a rich, bittersweet longing of my heart. Pain “for a purpose” like sacrificing for a greater goal can bring happiness.  More typically, security, tranquility, affection and most pleasurable sensations are the kinds of conditions in which people will say they feel happy. By this definition, finding happiness is a matter of experiencing these “positive emotions”. I don’t consider any emotion as “better” than another, but acknowledge that there are more painful ones that have a lower energy content, and others that are generally preferred and which have a higher degree of evident consciousness. The higher emotions naturally arise and flourish, are always available whenever the heavier emotions are resolved. Happiness is your default experience, your home base. It just takes some emotional skills and some re-training to get there.

Just as your five senses relate to the body, emotions relate to the soul. They tell you what your heart longs for, and they convey pain when you don’t get it. They bring fierce energy when your peace is disturbed so that you can protect your sanctity. All the big yet invisible experiences that determine your quality of life-Love, Peace, Contentment, Beauty, Grandeur, Hope, Inspiration-are felt inside. These inner experiences are known through the same sensory system that brings you anxiety and hate. “Negative” emotions are in fact warning signals pointing to whatever it is that is interfering with your preferred “positive” states. Emotions are the Senses of the Soul. They lead you to light. They let you know where you are on the pain-to-peace scale, alerting you away from pain and toward deep and sustainable pleasure.

As you begin to use emotions to clear up trouble rather than cause it, you spend more time feeling good and happy. This will become your new normal, and inner peace, your natural home. Suffering arises to awaken you to whatever has blocked it or knocked you off your game. You are then rewarded for handling those blocks by feeling better. Deep and constant peace is constantly available to you. However, due to its soft and subtle nature, it cannot be felt over the “noise” of those exciting and painful emotions.

Love, Soul and God are only known by feeling them. Perhaps they are just words that attempt to describe the ultimate “felt” experience. Religions all began with the purpose of attaining and living that highest possible human experience. Someone felt that feeling inside and tried to teach or train others to enjoy it. Religions don’t always achieve that goal-it’s a tricky job-but the desire and ability to achieve it is built into each of us. How to feel it? It’s just there like breathing. Go inside, get intimate, be willing to see and feel what is real in you, to face it and resolve. You have been already doing that. Don’t give up. It is worth it!

Quench the Fire of Craving and Desire

Do you ever feel needy, hungry, cranky, insatiable and out of control or empty no matter what you get? You know the feelings well: an emptiness in the belly, a burning in the groin, or a longing in the heart. Your pulse, thoughts and energies grow from mild to wild the longer you go without the object of your desire. When Desire dominates your consciousness you will be needy, always hungry, ever on the hunt, lustful, insatiable, obsessive, addictive; you will never get enough.

Desire is just trying to do its tireless work to keep you fed and happy on all levels When you are emotional, can’t get it together, and maybe you  don’t even know why you’re upset, there is most likely an unmet need behind it. You have natural needs that should and can be met; we all have a million ongoing conditions to satisfy in order to live and thrive. We are all equally needful. Being “needy” means you don’t know what you need, or can’t get what you need.

But you are self contained: you have the need, the sense to detect it and the energy to get it. These are learnable skills you may have not yet fully developed. Neither you nor the need are the problem; you can get better at taking care of yourself. Strong self-secure people have the same basic “neediness” , they are just better able to get their needs met and thus enjoy more satisfaction. I remember the first time my son could navigate food into his mouth by himself – it was a banana. It’s that same type of learning, more than luck or inherited privilege that brings success in love and money.  You can learn to get what you want, but first you have to know the real need. You must know where the fire is coming from, use the right “quencher” (water works, not gas), and then still make sure you hit the fire with it. Those mistakes are easy to make, and lead to what appears to be an unquenchable fire.

Examine your behavior under the pressures you feel, seeing the immediate need and your reaction to it. Does your “busy”-ness generate anxiety in a way that drains you of energy instead of propelling to satisfaction? Do you shut down, or blame others? Do you busily pursue  non-solutions?

You have to name the water to your flame, and get it there if you are going to quench it. When you feel weak, dissatisfied, or your special form of neediness, get in touch with the true Desire.

1-Stop and feel. get quiet for a while and let the sensations flow as you observe them.

2-Ask the feelings, not your mind, to get to the heart of the matter. Go deeper than the person, object or situation that started all this. Deep down there is some feeling of safety, connectedness,  love or the like that you crave.

3-From that same depth see – or rather feel- what could satisfy you and fill your soul. I’ll bet you there is no limit to its availability! You can probably take care of it right their within yourself.

4-Take what you learned and do something about it. It’s your fire and you are in charge of quenching it.

We are actually all self-contained units, capable of contentment at all times. 

Solve Your Problems

The time has come to solve your problems. We all have the ability to do so, yet we live with too many. In just a few short years we have put all the information that humans have gathered onto one web that is accessible to everyone. But until knowledge is used wisely it does nothing to increase human happiness. For that we need more than information and knowledge, we need wisdom. Not just answers, but the right solutions for each situation, which are then put into action.

You can’t fix the world, but you can fix your life to make it work well, so that you love it.  You can do that, and you must. One bit at a time. You are a self-contained unit. Yes you have your history, faults and issues, but you also come with the resources to discover and handle everything life brings.
The internet has shown what the sages have always known. We can tap into all knowledge. But to solve your problems the answers are not out there somewhere. Your answers are already within you.Throughout history most cultures, and certainly those that wrote history, were autocratic. Someone held the power, knew the answers and might give them to you if you paid the price.  We still each begin our life depending on the power of others, whether they have our best interest in mind or not. Times are changing, first to grant individual autonomy and then to demand it. Autocracy once meant the power of one over all; the new autocracy is your complete power over your own life. IF you have that, wouldn’t your life be awesome by now? How do you know where to start?
For the things that matter most to you, matters of the heart, what will give your life purpose, meaning and fulfillment no one knows better than you and you’re the only one that can answer these questions. So the future of health is self-help. The future of therapy is self-therapy, and the source of all this wisdom is built inside of you just waiting to be heard. Once you gain access to this “Innernet” you will begin to correct everything in your life today that isn’t working for you, clear the past things that have harmed you, make peace with your future – even your death – and enjoy lifetime ability to handle yourself.
Continued next week: 
“The Innernet – Your Source for Solutions”

Sensitivity is a Strength

Last weeks’ article “Make a Space to be Fragile” generated many responses which I was very happy to receive. A lot of gratitude was expressed for the permission or validation and support, and I would say almost a hunger for the time and place in our lives to be soft. Most came from women, but I was especially happy to hear from some men. One of which, I have his permission to share with you below.
We are seeing the trend that the human population is becoming more sensitive. It’s an evolutionary increase in our level of awareness with the result that people are both more easily hurt and more intensely reactive to each other. We feel more, we know more, and it can be very overwhelming. It is in part an adaptive response to the intensity of information and change.
This sensitivity is not a weakness. More like a gift, a skill that we must learn to master. The first up is to recognize the ability to sense more deeply and clearly stimulation from inside and outside of yourself, and to see this happening with other people as well. Then to accept and begin to manage the information to your advantage rather than resist, judge it or let it crush you.
You will need rest and physical strength, strong nervous and glandular system just to handle the voltage. For this I recommend Kundalini yoga and the entire yogic lifestyle. And create the time and space, that safe space to be fragile so you can work with and process what you are feeling.

Find a Space to be Fragile

These thoughts continue the theme of valuing and embracing the power of becoming softer. We looked at creating space for satisfaction and contentment in this ambitious world. Just like fish which may not distinguish water because it is all that they know, I don’t think we realize the extent to which we live in a very aggressive survival-of-the fittest world.There is tenderness to be found but it’s not what gets you to the top, what makes winners, right? The world wouldn’t exist without the dual power of the feminine, but it is certainly has been marginalized and under utilized.
So I was deeply touched by an interview on NPR of a female singing duo named My Bubba. The artists speak so softly about the need for us to have a space in our life to be fragile and silent. Their tender speaking voices and sweet  music embody the truth of their message better than I can describe.(link below).

So many of us face constant incredible pressure of our job: deadlines, put-downs, demands, competition and fear of all kinds of threats and aggression. For many there’s no relief at home where stress is high, overwhelm is the rule. There is no safe harbor in what ought to be a safe sanctuary. Too often our closest connections are the most painful.

Kindness, understanding, love, support, tenderness and the ability to relax and feel safe, both alone and with others are very real human needs. We are incredibly resilient to stress, but we also do have a very fragile side physically and psychologically. Think of it not as weakness but rather that there is part of you that’s more like fine china, beautiful and deserving of care.  Like a snowflake, timelessly perfect while easily ruined. Or like one of those Tibetan sand mandalas, exquisitely sacred but easily blown away. Like you, these deserve to be valued, honored, treasured and cherished, not carelessly or cruelly neglected.

Do you have places in which you are treated like that? Enough time for it? People who give you that? I hope so. If not, you can create it now. It’s important to train others to treat you well but it all starts with you. Self-value, self-respect, self care.

Please, please, please find the conditions you need to feel safe and relaxed enough to unwind and un-hide your soft and gentle side. Suggestion: wake up early in the morning when it’s still dark, or perhaps you find early evening or late night most peaceful. Sit in a sweet space and meditate with yourself. Create that inner space where you can be fragile, feel your heart, talk tenderly to your soul, and feel the love. Do this often and see how very strong you become!

Getting Life Juuust Right – Your Sweet Spot

We are all a lot like Goldilocks. We sample to discover what we like by experiencing a lot of what we DON’T like. We learn compassion by being hurt and by hurting. We (hopefully) come to moderation by experimenting with excess or scarcity. Life is a comparative study in which getting it wrong is as important to our progress as getting it right. We explore between extremes to find our sweet spot.
This can be intentional, but is more often more like stumbling around bumping into people and things rather randomly. So right now, today, you find yourself in a mixture of situations. Some are too passionate and involve things getting broken, like Goldilocks’ porridge and chair. Or you learn how it is to go cold and passive, withdraw, and allow mistreatment. We have enough days and experiences in a lifetime to try EVERYTHING.
But most of us specialize; we get stuck in one extreme for a long time rather than moving on toward a more suitable equilibrium. Some remain habitual givers and become exhausted and resentful. Others make a permanent niche as takers, demanding and ungrateful which leaves them empty and lonely. Any imbalance will cause a fall.  THE GIFT OF EVERY BAD EXPERIENCE IS TO MOTIVATE YOU TO FIND A BETTER ONE.
SO DON’T GET STUCK. When you feel bad, let that open your awareness to what is not working. Is the problem about too much or too little of a thing? Too fast, busy and overwhelmed? Slow down, take time, and make space to live. Stuck, sad, bored, unmotivated? How can you bring their opposites: heat, stimulation, energy, spirit? See for yourself that behind each problem are some excesses or shortages. Food, sleep, time, skills, ego, love… Once you ID the resource, look to both external and inner means to increase/ decrease it. When balanced, the problem will begin to resolve.
That shift to center may feel foreign, extreme, uncomfortable, risky and even impossible from where you have been operating. Don’t run back to safe but ineffective ways. Try this stretch into new thinking and behavioral territory awhile and compare how it works. Don’t give up too soon in the early “getting used to it” stage, which can be clumsy and uncertain. Software upgrades take some time to get used to, but worth it to have a better operating system.
Every life, great or small, has it’s own Sweet Spot.
Use the nature of polarities:  Too Hot – Too Cold – Juuust Right …
to find the life you love.

it’s crazy out there. Make Your SELF Safe

If you’re following any source of news media (and I fully recommend carefully managing your intake) you know it’s just getting crazier out there. The speed and intensity of huge changes is creating fear and overwhelm. Our collective inability to handle that is causing a second tier of problems like epidemic opioid use.
Is it getting to you? What to do?
Don’t take it on! The world is not yours to manage. It is your world that you must handle.You can make a safe space in and around yourself.
As for your external surroundings and relationships, there are very clear-cut practical processes you can undertake to be free of unnecessary stressors. These include:
Clearing up unresolved issues
Eliminating bother some things that you have been tolerating
Setting strong healthy boundaries to protect yourself.
Learning to speak up and get support to get your needs met.
Raising your standards
Living your valuesAny life coach and many self-improvement books can help you with these programs.

The other side of creating peace in your world is the inside job, your body mind and emotions. If it is not a beautiful world when you were sitting quiet and still with no X ternal pressures how can you be peaceful under normal activity? Heaven is in your mind. So, as simple and small as it may seem, sitting still for a while every day and creating your own personal oasis, Building it day by day, is the most effective thing you can do to live in a world peace. It will certainly affect your immediate experience, and if enough of us do this this world really can live as one.
PS: if you need some more concrete suggestions to create your safe space, just let me know. It’s what I do!

Seeking Stimulation? Try the Sublime Kind

Emocionante in Spanish translates into English as “exciting.” Just count the ways, from morning coffee to evening news, that you seek stimulation. Like any addiction, ever-greater doses are needed to reach the same high and to block out all pain, but the damage also increases. In this love/hate relationship with feelings, “ups” are followed by and matched with “downs;” you fatigue from both, and pain persists.

But there is a higher octave of pleasure that is subtler and more sustaining. The experiences at this higher level are considered spiritual goals: Peace, Joy, Bliss, Unconditional Love. These are boring when compared with action movies and family fights, but they become more appealing as we detox from living in constant motion and commotion. These subtler excitements become more enticing as we refine our sensitivity; these sublime feelings are experiences that we all deeply long for once the noise and chaos recede.

Just as your five senses help you attend to the body, emotions are a way to relate to your soul. They tell you what your heart longs for, and they convey pain when you don’t get it. They bring fierce energy when your peace is disturbed so that you can protect your sanctity.

All the big yet invisible experiences that determine your quality of life—Love, Peace, Contentment, Beauty, Grandeur, Hope, Inspiration—are felt inside. These inner experiences are known through the same sensory system that brings you Anxiety and Hate. “Negative” emotions are, in fact, warning signals pointing to whatever it is that is interfering with your preferred “positive” states.

Emotions are the Senses of the Soul. They lead you to light. They let you know where you are on your path from pain-to-peace, alerting you away from suffering and toward deep and sustainable pleasure.

As you begin to use emotions to clear up trouble rather than cause it, you will spend more time feeling good and happy. This will become your new normal, and inner peace will become your natural home.                                             

from Senses of the Soul

Resilience and Energy Management, Part 2: Learning to Let Go

Last week we looked at the inflow and outflow of energy in our lives, which the yogis call Prana and Apana. (Click here to read it.) Since our mental, emotional and physical health depend on managing our energy to have the right amount needed, I suggested reviewing your use of this most essential resource. Again, take some time to clear away situations that are unnecessarily draining you.

Another way to prevent fatigue and despair and restore vitality is to work better with the out-flowing Apana. We naturally prefer the influx of energy. We mostly want more! Time, energy, enthusiasm, activity and achievement. Our busyness is very exciting. But try holding your breath for over a minute and see how much you come to value letting go of that breath. So instead of just thinking of Apana as elimination or losing something, think of it as a letting go, resting, relaxing, not having to do anything; just being. You can’t have more of anything if there is no space for it to fit into. Everything you want needs room.

Just as much is we get attached to gaining not losing, we fear the dark, the void, emptiness, nothingness, the unknown, death. Yet, we know how wonderful it is to exhale and to fall asleep. Both make way for a revival, for the inrushing of new life. Evaluate for yourself how common valued, and practiced these space creating practices are, in proportion to all of your “go, gain and get” activities.

Silence

All the sleep you want

Frequent vacations

Naps

No plans

Quiet time

A still mind

Letting others win/ be right

Only one thing on your to do list and it is your favorite thing in the world

Closets, drawers and garages with lots of empty space

A humble ego

Contentment

Patience

World peace

All of these things are examples of the beauty of emptiness and nothingness. So don’t be afraid of your own outflow; it keeps the Universe in balance and you happy. Increase your Apana activities: rest up rather than pushing when you want more energy and want to feel more optimistic. Create some space and allow nature to fill you up.

Bouncing Back: Resilience and Energy Management

Are you rising or falling, upbeat or downtrodden, enthused or burnt out? Fierce winds blow, followed by calm. But we seem to just push on and on. When we feel depleted physically, mentally and creatively, get sick or depressed, we think something is wrong. Often it is the wisdom of our system creating a balance when we don’t know how. The ability to rise and recover – from anything – is called Resilience and it is woven into every life. But we do have a choice to ignore, resist, or work with nature’s rejuvenating way.

We were all born with an energy “trust fund”, a personal store of life force that is used and replenished like interest earned. Some people have more and some less as a baseline. But learning to be good stewards or energy managers of this precious gift of “prana” is each living being’s privilege and responsibility. Each day you have a certain amount of incoming energy available. Yogis understand this as Prana. As it is spent, it leaves you. This is Apana.

A breath comes in to give your cells life, then the breath carries away the by products of metabolism that you don’t need; exhaust fumes. THAT ONE BREATH IS USED AND GONE! What did you buy with it; did you gain or lose from the trade? You got a few seconds of living. At the end of the day you are tired. You sleep and your energy bank account is refilled. What did you get back from your day’s efforts? Over many decades there is a collective depletion we call aging. The “bank account” of physical energy is not longer replenished as fully as before. Net loss? Not necessarily!

Consider that air, food, water, sunlight all bring you prana, but so do environments, people, attitudes, thoughts and emotions. Prana is subtler than electricity and calories; it spans the non-physical worlds; it is vibrational. If you are spending your energy to increase peace and beauty around you, wisdom and mental fortitude within, neutrality and emotional resilience as a habit… this is a good trade! Like good financial planning, wise energy management can afford you a growing body of all the happiness you need. The first step is to review how you are spending your life force. What are you investing in? What are you getting in return?

Examples of poor investments that deplete you:

Spending time with people that bring you down.

All work and no play.

Blaming and complaining without working to resolve problems.

Allowing yourself to be mistreated.

Negative self-talk.

Worry, doubt, confusion, despair and depression, unresolved anger.

Thoughts and feelings can gain or lose LOTS of life force. But remember these “Senses of the Soul” can also be used to guide you out of trouble; that is their purpose! Allowing these energy drains to go unresolved is the source of greatest exhaustion for modern people. When you live close to the “edge”, it is like bankruptcy, struggle and suffering. Time for an energy-management makeover?

Take a year to clean up, retrain or change the environments, relationships, personal habits and behaviors that drain you, stress you, don’t uplift you. Just make a list of the all that bothers you. Then, a list of fanciful ideas; what you can do to stop the energy bleeding and switch over to healthy feeding off good vibes.

More on managing your Prana and Apana for resilience next week….

Emotional Contagion – Choose Your Moods

emotional contagion. noun. the tendency to feel and express emotions similar to and influenced by those of others; also, the phenomenon of one person’s negative thoughts or anxiety affecting another’s mood. It is less conscious and more automatic, while there are also the more cognitive, sophisticated, and “socially beneficial” processes of empathy and sympathy.

It’s the idea that we really can and do “catch” emotions from the people around us; their emotions will actually rub off on you. (See the paper on Emotional Contagion by Elaine Hatfield et. als. http://www.elainehatfield.com/ch50.pdf)
As social creatures it is essential to feel and bond with others. Problem is when they bring you down. And that started early, at home, when your family set your emotional “thermostat”. Were you instilled with the habits of Anxiety? Anger? Sadness and Depression? Shame and low Self Esteem? Once you spend a lot of time in these emotional vibratory patterns, you are easily triggered to return there again and again by people around you. It can seem that you are helpless and trapped by the troubled emotions of others.
Solutions? Awareness! Observe and discover:
– Know your “go to” emotional states. I facetiously call them our “favorite emotions” because we spend a lot of time with them.
– Then notice the influences that bring you into and back out of them. When, with whom, where and why you find yourself with those feelings?
– Equally important is to identify the preferred “positive” emotional states you have and would like to dwell in.
– List and find the people, places and activities that “trigger” you into these states, and hang out there! If that sounds simple, it is! By choosing your friends, environments, actions and thoughts that help you feel good, in this way you can “choose your mood”. It may take time to change habits, not to mention a job, but the improvement will follow incrementally with your choices.
Kundalini Yoga is the single most effective mood-changer that I have ever found. The teacher, the classroom, music, lighting all have an uplifting effect. Then the exercises change your vibration, allowing you to release negativity (sometimes by feeling it in the exercise), and access very positive feelings that simply come to you. In time you find that these “higher vibrations” are truly your natural defaults. (May take time to get there, but you can!)
The next step is to become a teacher. In this context I mean a person who, while able to feel and merge with others, is not pulled into negativity, despair or any other vibratory frequency unwillingly. Rather, you are able to hold and share a positive feeling that uplifts, or “raises the vibration” of the other person. Simply said, people feel better by being around you.
So Emotional Contagion is real, but you can learn to choose how you want to feel.

Principles of Happiness

Hi folks,

How’s your happiness going? I want to share some thoughts and tools on the subject. I spend my life helping others to find more of it through the tools that I have acquired: Kundalini yoga, life coaching and working with the emotions. And ultimately those came to me for selfish reasons; they are the product of my own search for happiness. So when I was thinking of the story of the many people I have helped from which to draw some examples and conclusions, I realize that there’s no one I know more about in their search for happiness than myself. And I am very, very happy.

In the review of my process I realize that it has been a project and continues to be a process. So I want to share a list of principles and practices, all of which are important and any of which will help. As you look through them you will be naturally drawn to some as most needed and effective for you right now. Please do read the final few points in summation.

PRINCIPLES OF HAPPINESS

  • Believe that it is possible, no matter the circumstances nor the past.
  • Commit to the pursuit of it. Be steady, it takes work.
  • Be patient, it takes time.
  • Have courage, to face and deal with obstacles.
  • Be flexible, happiness may not be what you think.
  • Be smart, figure out what you need, what makes you happy.
  • Make good choices. Every day you make hundreds of micro choices that lead you closer or further to your happiness.
  • Be adaptable, the sources and nature of your happiness changes with time.
  • Acceptance, work with what you have right now to create happiness.
  • Let go, end attachments in situations that bring you down.
  • Take care of yourself, health and energy help a lot.
  • Start where you are, there’s nothing so wrong or bad that you can’t make incremental improvements.
  • It’s not an all or nothing game, it’s about making steady gains.
  • Don’t compare and compete in the happiness game. Be inspired by what you see but don’t be fooled into thinking that anyone has a better chance at happiness than you.
  • Hardships are obstacles but not obstructions, they can serve to motivate and help you find happiness.
  • Happiness is served by temporary enjoyments but it is much deeper and more substantial, more like a healthy diet then a single dessert. It includes body mind and emotions, but is impossible without a deep spiritual component. Giving it is an essential part of getting it.
  • It is your birthright. Only you can do it. But get help and support. Humans need connection.
  • Get started, keep going. It’s a continual process that can increase in up times and down.

 

What to do About Super Sensitivity

Feel Your Soul

How do you know you have a Soul? We’re done with the days when someone tells you and you just believe it, or don’t believe. That’s just not satisfying anymore. This is the age of knowledge which comes by your own direct experience. But you can’t see Soul, and “seeing is believing,” right? Well, you can’t see love either; how do you know it exists? You can feel it! Feelings are a subtler sense, part of your sixth sense. When used consciously, our Emotions are the Senses of the Soul.

You use your five physical senses to go get what you need and avoid harm.  Emotional feelings are also sensors. They bring subtler information, the “flavor” of a situation. I may see you smiling at me, but how do you really “feel” about me?  Something tells me that you are actually very upset with me. That information is more important to our relationship than what my eyes tell me. But most of us don’t have trust and skill in using our emotions intuitively. We often ignore and override this vital source of guidance. Or, we become slave to our feelings without mindful interpretation of their messages.

You can use all your emotions – the pleasant and the painful ones — to feel your depths and heights. When you want to listen to your soul – always a good thing to do – feelings help you understand it. They are part of the intimate, intuitive language of the soul. Sadness, despair and fear can put you in touch with your heart and soul just as much as joy and bliss.

The benefit that all emotions share is that they can get you focused on your body and your immediate “felt experience” rather than only listening to the mind. When focusing well on emotions, one is in the present – where you need to be to deal with life- rather than in the world of past and future that your mind escapes to.  Feelings get us listening and learning not from mind, which can only remember, imagine and believe. They take us into direct experience of the here and now which is where intuition lives.
Of course we prefer to feel good and don’t like those “bad” feelings, but they all lead to Soul. A Sikh master wrote, “pain is the remedy.” How so? Pain humbles us, opens our hearts and motivates change. It brings the surrender necessary to help you find new solutions. Pain makes you pay attention! When you listen to your emotions in a mindful and meditative way, when you approach them consciously — not as a slave nor as a controlling suppressor but as a partner – you are indeed listening to the wisdom of your Soul. Soul knows exactly what’s interrupting your flow of happiness and what you need to do to restore it.

What does Soul feel like? It varies from person to person and time to time, but it always includes clarity and vastness. That opening comes sometimes from highs, sometimes from lows. Emotions can be just as chaotic and confusing as thoughts, so most of us need some training to be their partner instead of their slave. Learn to consciously work with your feelings to FEEL YOUR SOUL.  This is the mission of Senses of the Soul. It’s simple to learn, and I am happy to send you “The SOS Method” and a short video series to learn it. Just email me at gurumeher@SensesOfTheSoul.com.

If you are ready to truly master your emotions…

Each year, I work with a small group of people to thoroughly train them in the use of emotions for healing, personal growth, spiritual transformation and self-mastery. That full training, Emotional Liberation, is starting now! This is advanced self-therapy. A proven structure to work through issues, heal traumas and make long-awaited changes. Self study, personal coaching and group support in weekly calls create a safe place to gain a lifetime skillset for emotional wellbeing. You are warmly invited to find out more about this method, the book and the upcoming course, Emotional Liberation, at www.SensesoftheSoul.com.

“I entered this course with high expectations. I was surprised when the first thing I learned was that I don’t really work with my feelings. I do a lot of self-help courses and do all the work from my head in a way that actually make me feel worse about myself because I’m not what I’m supposed to be. But this work let me feel whatever I was feeling, and from that I could heal. It is a lifetime of work that I now have the tools to do.

It’s been amazing all the things that I’ve learned in nine months. I’ve learned to surrender to what I’m actually feeling and what is happening to me without beating myself up. I have so much more self-love and ability to take care of myself than I had before. I want to thank everyone in the class for supporting my process through this year of listening, sharing and support. It was a very important part of the process for me, to know that I’m not crazy and other people are dealing with the same things.” – Kerri

The following article has been reprinted courtesy of:
Copyright Siri-Gian Kaur Khalsa, Soul Answer, Inc., 2015
www.SoulAnswer.com/wisdom_marketplace.html & www.SoulAnswer.org/good-reads

Be Happier This Year, One Feeling at a Time

Today’s SOS thoughts come from Lisa! She is my assistant, protégé, and the person one person who understands, practices and teaches this emotional guidance work better than anyone. You have seen her on some videos, and will be seeing more of her around Senses of the Soul, especially at the Live LA event weekends, coming soon.

Be Happier This Year, One Feeling at a Time

How much of your time is spent being happy? And how much time do you spend feeling bad? Seeking pleasure and avoiding pain drive us, and happiness is something we all seek. But look at how much suffering there is. Why aren’t we better at solving this by now? No one has solved world hunger, war, disease and poverty; but why can’t we each solve the pain in our own lives? Emotions, especially those “unhappy” ones, are the least understood and most poorly managed area of self-awareness. Surprisingly, pain contains the remedy to your suffering?

Many people find that emotions bog them down. They think if only they could live without emotions, life would be so much easier! Unfortunately, I found that when people try to eliminate their emotions, those emotions just get worse. Suppressing emotions does not work, and ignoring how you feel eventually makes you feel worse, where you remain stuck too long. It’s time to learn how to use your emotions as they were intended – to help you see the source of pain and guide you into peace.

Although it can be a bit scary to allow and work with strong feelings, I assure you, you can handle it all. You are greater than your feelings and they will serve you when you take conscious control of them. The goal is complete safety to be you and to handle all that this world brings you. Central to this work are listening to yourself and trusting what you hear. That’s the only way to know your own limits while engaging yourself fully in transcending them. You alone can monitor and protect your sense of safety.

Thankfully, the age of blindly following anyone or anything is coming to an end. Taking responsibility for our circumstances and taking initiative to improve those circumstances are vital steps to take better care of ourselves. You can do it, one feeling at a time.

Here are some situations you can overcome by working mindfully with your emotions:

  • You may have the occasional bad day or bothersome incident and want to get over it.
  • You may have persistent unpleasant emotions that seem inescapable.
  • You may have shut down your feeling to survive.
  • Maybe a desire for love and joy requires that you awaken.
  • You may have suffered trauma, and that pain holds you back.
  • You may have already worked on your past but want to get to a higher well-being.
  • Perhaps you’d like a powerful set of tools to help others with their pain.

No one can do the work for you but the information and is now available. Meditate! And include your emotions in your meditation. Get present and clear using any technique you know (Kundalini Yoga works fast!). Then invite emotions in by allowing whatever is troubling you to surface. It will feel bad at first, but soon you find a balance you can handle. Now the truth and soul’s wisdom can be heard when you simply as your intuition for answers.

That’s the SOS Method! Simple, straight and always available within you. I can’t wait to share the incredible depths of this healing system with you this year, so we can all be in control of our happiness – one feeling at a time! If you want to really get it, join me and GuruMeher for the annual Emotional Liberation 2016 Courses beginning Feb 3rd (online) and 6th (live).

Live or Online, support yourself with this powerful and proven structure of professional coaching, rich self-study and meditation practice, and friendly peer support to unlock the therapeutic power of your emotions.

The 4 Pillars of Growth, Change and Healing

The 4 Pillars of Growth, Change and Healing

The future of therapy is self-therapy, the future of psychological healing is self-healing. Because we each have all the information about a situation, our needs and unique solutions already inside, we ourselves are in the best position to consciously correct. The job of therapists, counselors and healers is shifting to teaching us how to use our self-healing system.

We are all recovering from something that life brings, always learning to rebound from challenge and chance. So in this new partnership between you and those who help, the responsibility is shifted to you, and with it, all the power to access the answers unique to you. Training is still needed. Teachers can help you obtain the four things you will need on your journey:  Information, Practice, Support, and Inspiration

Information: Until we are all trained from birth to trust ourselves and use our intuitive knowing, we need to know what others have discovered through their own journey, trial and error. “Learn through time, or learn through a teacher.” They come in many forms: Self- Improvement books, spiritual books ancient and modern, classes, the vast Web.  Your upbringing, even the best environments, brought you a narrow and biased slice of reality. Sometimes just one powerful quote opens the doors.

Practice: Once you find some truth, you have to use it, apply it, make it come alive in you as direct experience. That gym membership card in your wallet, and great books on your shelf can’t do the work.  Putting your focus and effort over time to polish away the cloudiness and pain, build resilience and strength… it’s a workout. Assets like Will, Discipline, Willingness are needed. But Courage, Love and Compassion may be more your avenue. Some of both are best. A regular, rhythmic personal practice is part of every path to skill and mastery. Don Juan said there are many different paths; find a path with heart, and follow it to the very end.

Support: Steady constant development can be a challenge until a healthy habit is set. We all need structure, just like the timbers that hold up a house. You need to find the support that makes it all work and keep on working for you. Your own commitment is the foundation. That can come from pain or a driving desire for something good, or a simple knowing that something is right and must be done. Then you need clear actions, the actual “to do’s”. Next comes the time and place to do it. How do you fit it into your day? Sometimes hard choices are required to prioritize your well-being investments. To keep it all together you need outside support too: people who get you and what you are doing, who practice with you or cheer you on, who recognize your efforts and can see your gains. All of these elements can be found together in classes, courses and meetings whether private with a buddy, in local live groups, or virtual and recorded formats. Support groups are one of the best self-improvement tools discovered in the last century and are now in the web. Find what works for you, then work it!

Inspiration: Some spark will have started all of this for you, and you will need to renew your motivation if you are to reach your self-promised land.  The hero’s journey has many low moments that can derail the entire thing, or serve to refresh and renew. Inspiration can come from internal and external sources. At times your progress inspires and energizes, and sometimes you need some outside encouragement to keep up. You can have these known and ready in ample supply so you know where to go when you are low.

Information, Practice, Support and Inspiration…

They are constantly interwoven and may ebb and flow in changing proportion. Which of these 4 are strong in your life, and which are needed in greater measure? Assess where you are and how you are going to grow. When these are in place and working, you will see your self-healing power flourish.

“All therapies, and all help, and all knowledge are going to be absolutely obsolete. People need immediately self-exalted experience. And that is what the whole essence of human life is.”    –  Yogi Bhajan

Resolve Not to Resolve

Resolve Not to Resolve

It wouldn’t be New Year’s without resolutions, right? But how did you fare last year when you resolved to stop a bad habit? Sometimes, the more you try to deny a desire, the more it increases, the more you want the thing (a drink, food, an unhealthy relationship). On top of that, unfilled “wants” can bring up Anger, and judgement of desires creates Shame. So, this year, instead of trying more and pushing harder, try  a softer approach: resolve not to resolve!

Think about the great masters who enjoy freedom from the constant seeking of pleasure that drive most of us. They have desire but it is for things as they are. When there is no striving for or resistance to things, life flows. Peace is possible under any circumstance.

Most regular folks do have desires and we do need them! Every day there are a million things we need just to stay alive, plus a whole lot more to thrive. Desire can lead to contentment and fulfillment, but what do you do when you can’t move forward on a resolution or a promise to yourself or someone else? Sometimes the best strategy is surrender.

If you don’t think you can, you don’t know how, you can’t find the power or the way, if you are stuck or frustrated, this is the time to stop everything. When you lose energy, interest, motivation, you can reevaluate your beliefs and approaches, an even break old patterns. Letting go of the old restores your energy and allows you to see life with new clarity.

So if you are feeling the blahs, the blues or lethargy about the past year and anxiety or frustration about prospects for the year ahead, don’t resist or grasp. Honor and allow it all. This brings release and relaxation. As with all low energy emotions, there is a fear of being engulfed if you surrender. But emotion is energy in motion, it moves things and then moves on. The SOS Method is about learning to trust your emotions. By being willing to feel bad things, you gain confidence to go into the darkness. We find the light that always rises.

If you are ready to find out what you really want, or don’t want, in 2016, then try this: Get peaceful, do some long deep breathing, then allow yourself to really feel what you are feeling. You can ask the emotion the following questions:

  • What do I need to know or do?
  • Is there something I could let go of that would help me?
  • Am I ready to deal with or change something about my circumstances that will bring me relief?
  • Do I just need to relax and restore?
  • Can I feel a sense of confidence that everything will be taken care of?

Remember, Surrender breaks you free from attachments and outdated ambitions that no longer serve you. It brings rest and renewal. Ultimately, it connects you to the source of all power. It teaches you to let go and let the universe do the work.

In the pursuit of knowledge, every day something is added.

In the practice of the Tao (the Way), every day something is dropped.

Less and less do you need to force things, until finally you arrive at non-action.

When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.

True mastery can be gained by letting things go their own way.

It cannot be gained by interfering.

-Tao Te Ching, 16

The Holiday un-Checklist

This is NOT a list of things to buy, clean, cook, prepare or even do for the holidays. This is a list for YOU and by YOU of sanity-saving Self-Care tips for the season. It doesn’t matter if you were naughty or nice. Feel free to get creative and add even more. Then print, post where you can see it frequently, and pass it along!

____Remember Your Breath. If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed by family obligations and holiday parties, then turn to your breath. It is always there for you like a loyal, unwavering friend. From the very first moment of your life, your next breath is provided for you, without a thought. Be greedy with your breath and take in as much as you need to calm, clear and nourish yourself.  You can also invite a friend, colleague, or spouse to take a few deep breaths with you!

____Be Generous to Yourself. During this season of giving, don’t forget about what YOU need. This does not necessarily mean to go buy yourself an expensive gift. For every external wish, there is an internal want. So take a moment and tune out all the external voices and non-stop holiday music. Get quiet, maybe meditate, then ask yourself, what do I really NEED? Listen for the voice inside of you. The answer may surprise you. Then take action and do what the voice says!

____Feed your Spirit.  With all the socializing combined with stress, sometimes we self-sooth by overeating, drinking and indulging. So when you experience Hunger, Desire, Cravings or even Addiction this season, be sure to feed yourself with what you really need. So before you stuff yourself, see what Soul wants. Is it a hug, a phone call with a friend, to pet your dog or cat, or perhaps a moment alone?

____Get Conscious About Your Emotions. Spending time with family can be amazing but also challenging. No one can press buttons like the ones you love! If heavy emotions arise for you, like Anger, Fear, or Guilt, don’t suppress them, trust them. Of course, you don’t want to explode either. This may feel good for a few minutes but will not bring the results you want.  So take a walk, do some yoga, and get conscious. This way you have the choice, and your voice, to use your emotions effectively.

____Take the Pressure Off. Sometimes our minds can conjure up what the perfect holiday should look like. Or maybe we saw it in a movie.  Or we see someone else and imagine she has the perfect tree, haircut, family and life. But if we compare, we are doomed. This is the time to focus on what we have rather than what we feel we may lack. Take a moment right now to acknowledge the gifts in your life. You probably have more than you think! Perfectionism can be punishing and life is an ever-changing cycle. This Christmas or Hanukkah will be different than last and will definitely be different than next. The key to contentment is accepting exactly what is, right now.

My Self-Care tips:  ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Happy Holidays..?

Here’s the problem with the holidays, and an invitation to solve it.

There is a basic conflict in the way we have come to celebrate these winter holidays that creates stress and problems for a lot of people. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to understand this phenomena, with the goal being to find your own true way to the peace and joy we all need so much.

Bio-Rhythmic Balance

All of non-equatorial life on this planet evolved to the cycle of summer and winter energies. When the sun is hot and the day is long, living things are busy and productive with the business of sustenance. When the nights are cold and long, living things survived by going inside, underground and dormant. This was a time to embrace the darkness, rest and conserve one’s resources to emerge with the returning of the light, restored and ready for the business of the warm months.

This urge to hibernate also serves an important role in emotional cleansing and spiritual awakening. The slow, dark elements urge us to inner exploration, to release and resolve the many pressures of life for which there’s little time to process in times of great activity. 

But we are by nature afraid of the dark, and therefore of the depth’s of our psyche in the invisible world of all that we feel but cannot see. Our comfort zone is in the external, the physical, the busy and the bright. So human cultures developed traditions to keep spirits bright during the dark winter months with fire, lights, food, family, heightened by elevating stories and conversations of love all to feed the spirit.

But maybe we went too far. We developed electric lights and 24/7 Walmart shopping opportunities, in other words, the resources to avoid the darkness. We find ourselves getting super busy when nature is inviting us to be quiet. Social coziness becomes social demands. Simple sharing becomes lists of stuff to do and to buy. Gratitude becomes obligation. And exhaustion replaces restoration. Any interest was lost, stress is the cost.

Love and joy need a source of fuel just as your body needs calories. When a person is tired and at the end of their resources – physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually – she or he is in a survival mode in which generosity of the heart runs out of juice. When emotional batteries are drained, we can’t force and artificially create good will. Rather, it must flow naturally.

So my challenge to you is to examine this conflict within yourself, this misuse of resources. How will you find your balance this winter in this holiday season so that your spirit shines forth warmly and naturally?

Please send me your ideas about how you can, or begin to, find your natural rhythm and restoration of the Spirit. Next week I will share your ideas with everyone along with my own. Together we can forge our own spiritual traditions to create, at least for ourselves, peace on earth.

Working Out Conflicts is an Inside Job

Working Out Conflicts is an Inside Job

“When you feel beautiful inside, fulfilled inside, inside your own inside, wow, it’s so good.”

– Yogi Bhajan

Wow, life just never stops coming at us. We have responsibilities, current and ongoing challenges to handle daily. Then there are past incomplete issues weighing in, and anticipation of the future and attempting to control it. There’s a lot to work out.

Here’s a life-coaching strategy for dealing with all of your worldly conflicts:

Work things out from the INSIDE.

Our impulse is to go out there and gather some praise and love. This is sketchy because: 1) People may not be available, willing or capable to give you what you need. But mainly, 2) It’s hard or impossible to get enough external praise to truly overcome your internal perceptions once they are set in place. It’s like light passing back through the colored lens doesn’t change the coloring.  So handling life’s challenges begins with mending the very source of your perceptions and expectations – your sense of self.

When you are not at peace with yourself, not in total supportive love with yourself, there is no unified force to meet life head on. Rather, you join in with the forces that challenge you. An internal mutiny ends in abandoning your own (relation)ship of the self

So how to start this interior remodeling? How to resolve the primary conflict with yourself, with which there is no peace with others?

Start at the top and progress as each stage is realized. And be advised, some steps take years, but all progress brings benefits.

-I recognize my inner conflicts.

-I intend to love myself.

-I have compassion for even the worst about me.

-I no longer criticize or put myself down.

-I see and accept the failings in others, and protect myself from them as needed.

-I no longer do things that make me feel bad.

-I actively do what furthers my long-term wellbeing.

-I take such good care of myself that there are no old issues; new ones are quickly addressed.

-I have no envy, jealousy or fear of others. My contentment brings enjoyment of others’ success.

-I feel really beautiful and good about myself for no reason.

-I love easily and fully without conditions.

-I observe that my presence brings out more love in those around me.

-It is no longer about Me. Now it’s all about Thee.

You may notice that this path of Personal Development in Self-Love is also a psycho-spiritual progression. So I’ll say it: Self-Love is the single most important and impactful work you can do for all levels of happiness.

“When you feel beautiful inside, fulfilled inside, inside your own inside, wow, it’s so good.”

– Yogi Bhajan

9 Survival Skills for the Holidays

I hope you get along great with your family, but in that crucible of survival many habit-forming harms happened. Even if outright abuse was avoided (and the statistics are sad), our subconscious holds the shocks and shapes our lives to react like tsunami survivors.

Many of us return to ground zero this time of year, so gear up for those triggers and know how to become immune. That is, to live as you, free of the fear and smallness you once (and may still) live with.

Studies of disaster survivors reveal the 9 key traits and abilities that determine who dies, who survives, and why. These apply to all of us. It turns out that all of them are skills we practice in Senses of the Soul! You are a survivor of your own history. Here are the factors proven to be essential for survival and recovery.

– Be present and self-aware in your body and senses versus checked out and lost in thought and emotion.

In order to take care of yourself, you need to be mindfully in touch with what is really happening and what you need. Awareness precedes effective remedy.

Humbly respect the powerful forces in and around you and respond accordingly versus careless, arrogant, ignorant, naïvete.

When you don’t underestimate or ignore the impact of events and your own feelings by trying to muster on like nothing’s wrong,  then you can be honest about the harm, the pain and the desire to be strong.

– High level of Self-care, kindly & compassionately attending to our own well-being versus neglectful, care-taking-of-others, doormat or martyr behavior.

Enough said. Take care of yourself. Compassionately know what you feel, what you need and figure out how to get it. Catch up with neglected needs, then take care of new situations in real time.

– Take Responsibility for your situation, taking initiative to solve versus blaming, complaining or waiting helplessly for someone to save, fix, or take care of you.

When you sit still, go inside, allow and confront consciously the darkness and pain inside, do all that you can to deal and heal yourself…you are always rewarded with relief and elevation.

– Resilience and Hardiness.

By practicing yoga and meditative exercises that challenge our body and confront our imagined weaknesses, we proactively take on a body/mind fitness training that repeatedly shows we can handle ourselves. This builds strength of will, trust in ourselves, and reserve capacity to call upon when hard times hit.

Hope and Purpose; a reason to live which will sustain us and give extra energy when times are tough.

When you are in touch with your deepest longings and needs and your highest aspirations – the soul’s purpose – you will never be without motivation and hope. This take patience, practice and subtlety to go deeper that the many daily emergencies of the earth.

– Connectedness versus isolation and loneliness.

Our primary work is to be connected to ourselves for emotions and soul. This is the most reliable and highest form of connection, and makes it easier to connect to everything outside ourselves.

– Locating our self, Knowing that we have a place and where we are in relation to everything else.

With SOS we do this continually, to know what we’re feeling and why, and we discover a greater sense of the vastness of the universe and our very important place in it. We create a sense of safety not from the world alone but within ourselves.

– Managing emotions versus getting lost in them.

Well, this is our entire Senses of the Soul skill set.

So for your holiday survival and healing, practice these, starting with what ever is most missing from your repertoire. Stand strong at ground zero and heal thyself!

 If you would like a hand’s-on results-guaranteed training in these skills, join me for Emotional Liberation 2016.

And be happy these holidays by removing whatever is blocking it!

In gratitude, GuruMeher

Define and Defy Your Trauma

We all have our history of hurts. What happened to you? Your story shapes your life for better or worse. Your recovery process from life’s traumas leads you to suffer or thrive. We either learn and grow or remain hurt and damaged. So let’s understand this natural, lifelong process, and do it with skill. Yes, Survival and Recovery are learnable skills, and we all need them!

You were born with all the equipment you need to heal, to become strong and whole in any circumstance. Your emotions, especially the heavy ones that don’t feel good, are essential partners in the healing process.

“On the occasion of every accident that befalls you, remember to turn to yourself and inquire what power you have for turning it to use.”  – Epictetus, c.100 AD

There is no one who doesn’t have this work to do; so let’s be compassionate and patient, but get to it. Even if the accident happened long ago, it’s never too late to learn.

Let’s define Trauma: it is both the event that harms and the mark left upon us from the event. Both the blow and the mark it leaves may be physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

Now, a working definition of successful healing: I am safer, stronger, wiser or more conscious in some way than I was before.

How? The physical body heals itself under supportive conditions. Our emotions are designed to do the same for our mental/emotional health – when we work well with them. That is, when we consciously feel and intuitively follow their guidance.

The same emotions you had at the time of the trauma recur or persist for your healing. So, the emotions you feel now in regard to any current or past event open an opportunity, like a portal to the past, to heal all previous events that brought up similar feelings. When you know now what you didn’t know then, and can handle now what you couldn’t handle before, the purpose of the event has been fulfilled. In this way pain is a remedy. No one is forever damaged!

Here is a practical trauma and recovery model to work with:

-We begin life clear, innocent and fresh, but vulnerable and impressionable to whatever may come.

-The impact of harmful events leaves impressions on us about how life is here on earth.

-These survival-based, adaptive assumptions create deep beliefs we are not aware of, but which rule our actions.

-In response to those deep beliefs, we adopt coping mechanisms (much like grabbing the first floating object to save us after a shipwreck) in unconscious attempts to stay safe and manage life.

-These behaviors work to get through life, but their negative affects accumulate.

-When we can no longer take the collateral damage to our lives, something breaks down. That is the call for recovery, an opportunity to change.

-When informed support for an upgraded strategy is available, we can change!

-The earlier beliefs and behavioral habits are tenacious in their primitive attempt to save us, but they can be replaced through conscious effort.

Now you try. Here is a worksheet to map your own trauma-based behaviors. Replace the (example) with your own.

– Memory of your innocence before trauma hit:

(Really happy at 5 years old, remember playing with Mom.)

– Traumatic events:

(Mother was stressed and under attentive to my needs. There was a lack of care that I received.)

– Beliefs about yourself and the world:

(I figured that I don’t matter, I am unwanted. I am on my own here.)

– Your belief- based behaviors (Coping mechanisms you adopted to survive, given your belief):

(My coping was to withdraw, be silent sweet and take care of everyone else.)

– The cumulative effects of the long term behavior originating from these beliefs:

(The effect is that I have little time, health, money or love for myself. This confirms my belief that I don’t matter/ no one cares, which locks in the limiting behavior.)

See it now? Next week we’ll look at the 9 essential factors in recovery!

Finding my Light: Connie’s Shame-to-Self-Love Diary

Week 1

I can think of times where I compare myself to others and if it seems that there is someone better at what I want to do, then I don’t try at all. It’s sometimes an arbitrary, snap judgement I make. I have been in new situations where my self-talk has kept me from meeting new people. I would hang back and wait for people to come to me. It brings to mind school dances where you’re waiting to be asked, but then there’s that one person that just doesn’t care and just goes out and dances by themselves and soon everyone is just dancing and having a good time. I was never that person.

I remember riding the school bus and being very shy. My brother would come back and sit behind me and whisper to me – “nobody likes you”. It made me cry and would make me even more shy. Even now, I assume in any group situation that no one really likes me, I’m forgettable and will be passed over or abandoned.

Recently, I decided to leave a volunteer situation. I assumed no one would really miss me and that I didn’t make that much of an impact. As I was leaving for the last time, people were coming up to me and telling me how I made a difference to them, how they wished they had gotten to know me better. I was surprised because in my mind, I was forgettable and passed over. That was part of the reason I was leaving. I didn’t really feel like I mattered. In some ways it was gratifying, but in some ways frustrating that I only was told as I was walking out the door. It also made me wonder how I assess my impact and assume certain things that maybe aren’t true. What if the shoe were on the other foot. Are there other people in my life that I appreciate but have never told them and they are feeling unloved and passed over?

Other memories that shaped me:

Being picked last for sports teams

Being laughed at when singing

Being invited to an outing and when the plans changed, I wasn’t told. I showed up to what I thought was the location and no one was there.

My shyness (not being talkative or outgoing), I was overweight and clumsy as a kid.

I felt I would never be accepted or loved. When I did have positive attention, I felt normal. I remember when I would feel rejected being confused and not knowing why someone was picking on me or laughing at me. I was just being me. I didn’t see that I was any different than anyone else, I was doing the same things.

I remember being very young and being happy and content. I would follow my brother around and do whatever he did. I didn’t understand why he didn’t want me around and he would tease me and would say mean things to me. It was weird to not feel safe around someone I was around all the time. I was quiet and took on the opinion that it was a bad thing. I ended up trying really hard and probably came off as awkward.

I think the more I meditate and learn to hear my own soul voice, the better I feel.

Week 2

I remember being laughed at for trying on different things, or speaking up in a new or different way. That experience usually put me back to just fitting in. If I said or did something unusual or wanted to do something that was not approved of, it was a source of ridicule until I gave it up. I’m learning to be more courageous and OK with being myself. I’m learning to listen to my own inner voice, but it’s not as loud yet as the voices in my head of my parents. I find myself teasing myself if I dream of doing something else.

In the SOS meditation I had a never ending supply of things to beat myself up about, but I’m finding that I get bored with it after a while. Maybe that’s the point. I’m finding that I’m more inclined to take action, more than I have in the past, instead of waiting for something outside of me to present an opportunity or give me permission somehow. Instead of waiting until I get invited to participate in something, I just jump in a little quicker.

Now that I understand Shame as something we all carry around, I see it everywhere. It seems that most of what goes on in the world, the wars, politics, even the art and music expressed seems to be expressing different forms of this. It really is apparent the great healing that is needed. I guess first, the awareness is needed before the healing can take place. Are people open to seeing something that they are trying so hard to cover up?

How can we bring more awareness and let people feel safe to see and heal what is there?

Week 3

I see how I have held up a perfect image of what I think I should be and have been self-judgmental against myself for not living up to a pretty unrealistic ideal. I’ve also tried to fit in to a mold that I’ve realized just isn’t me. At work, for example, I’ve not been inspired and have judged myself as lazy when it’s just not something I believe in and have been trying to live up to someone else’s expectations that I bought in to in order to fit in and be “acceptable” or “normal”.

Now I’m much more mindful about the expectations I have, when I think I’m not measuring up, to take stock to see if it’s my expectation and heart’s desire or something that I’ve bought into from someone else’s, or society’s messages of what I think I should be or want.

I’m learning to just sit and listen and get to know myself. It’s a process and it’s been quiet and enjoyable, and cozy. I think learning that it’s OK to do what I want and be OK potentially not fitting in. That’s a new thing for me. I see the hustle and hassle now that we get caught up in – the rat race and pursuit of some outer reward. I’m contemplating a much simpler, slower lifestyle now that I can choose what pleases ME!

I want to help others, and will use this freedom to find a way.

Week 4

I realize I have placed so much emphasis on external feedback – how I perceive how others treat me or I project how they are treating me to how they think of me, whether they respect me, like me or don’t even notice me.

This Shame chapter has opened me up to see things in a new way, to touch on a more universal sense of myself. 

-Connie L.

Emotional Liberation student 2015 Course

A Better Recipe for Self-Esteem: The Purpose of Shame

A Better Recipe for Self-Esteem: The Purpose of Shame

In “YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED! (…until you love yourself)”, we identified the family of feelings that are Shame, because knowing WHAT you are feeling is the first step to transforming it. We looked at its origins and a bit about reclaiming Self-Esteem, which is Shame’s gift.

The Higher Purpose and Use of Shame

– Self-Image is initially formed by external impressions – levels of caring or abuse from others.

When that input leads us to believe something is wrong with us, not good enough, unwanted, unlovable, it’s a horrible to live life from that belief. So we adapt to this perceived defective self, become a chameleon to fit in and conform to what others think about and want from us.

As we grow, we begin to internalize these incoming messages; they begin to define us by our own account. We abandon our original senses of self. We must shift the balance of power in our favor, to be able to internally validate ourselves – self-determination! Though we resist, we too often end up internalizing the story dished out earlier, which was rather random and very limiting. So, Self-Worth is simply a story that we tell ourselves, a story initially told to us by others.

The only sustainable approval comes from that one person you live with 24/7 all your life YOU!  To help you get that vital self-support, Shame shines a painful light – in the form of feeling bad about yourself – in response to any attack on your worthiness – whether it comes from you or others. Shame is the gauge of your self worth at any moment.

We must each learn to balance what it means to be our self with what it takes to get along with others. Anything that is externally generated, temporary and changeable, when used to define you, will create a perpetually vacillating sense of self-worth.

Shame is the sensor that guides you when you forget your intrinsic value; its function is to transform feelings of “worthless” to “priceless.” As dark and uncomfortable as feelings of Shame are, doubts from within and attacks from outside constantly challenge you to connect and strengthen the trust in yourself. Shame’s pain drives us to remove the illusion of a limited or defective Self and to see the totality of our worth.

To reach our full potential – AND ENJOY EXISTENCE- we must learn to see ourselves beyond momentary events and history; to self-assess from a neutral place, from our heart. In this way we can clearly see our inherent worth as a living being, as a creation of universe, no less glorious than the oceans and stars… with nothing to prove. Call this eternal or universal impressions of our self. When the eternal and unchanging defines you, when you see yourself as timeless and universal, you are set and stable at your highest level. Find the infinity within thee! Let the universe validate you. (It already does!)

Life is a journey from initial innocence, through self-alienation, and on to union. The “antidotes” for Shame are acceptance and love of self and others. Every time Shame speaks, embrace your perfect imperfection and love who you are.

YOU ARE PERFECTLY CREATED TO BE HERE AND HANDLE YOUR LIFE.

We normally base most of our self-worth on what others think. Here is…

A Better Recipe for Self-Esteem:

60% universal validation. This is realized beyond the mind. It is the truth about yourself that is beyond time and space beyond success and failure.

30% internal validation. Here you claim as yourself what you hear from your heart and soul.  

10% external feedback. This keeps you in sync and flow with others, prevents getting lost in arrogance and ego, a reality check.

How to get that eternal sense? Any way you can! After all it is unlimited and everywhere. What inspires you? Great beauty, wisdom, saints and heroes, love? I suggest meditation.  Go find your universal sense of self, and next I’ll share one of many meditations to help.

 

YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED! (…until you love yourself)

YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED! (…until you love yourself)

Things to know about Shame…

What it is:

– Embarrassment, Humiliation, Not good enough, Low self-worth, Perfectionism, Inferiority

– Shame deals with what you think of yourself, and how you are affected by what others think.

– It deals with the conflict between fitting in and being true to yourself.

– There is a lot of Comparing and Competing.

We have all been treated poorly at times to a greater or lesser degree. The greater the abuse or neglect, the lower our self-image. Think about your highest or lowest memories of how you were treated, especially when you very young. Do you have memories of being abused, laughed at, ridiculed, ostracized, despised, left out, picked last, unwanted, neglected, abandoned, rejected, attacked personally, embarrassed?

It’s bad when these things assail your sense of self, but the deeper damage occurs when you take it on, internalize the hazing, identify with it. When you join in on the attack on yourself, agree with the critique, abandon your own good graces, when YOU attack the only thing you have – yourself- you lose the #1 source of love and support it takes to make it through life. This makes Shame the most debilitating of all emotions.

How It Happens

When you are young or vulnerable, you desperately need food, warmth, touch, care, acceptance, approval and love. This dependence requires you to accept what the powers-that-be, your presumptive care-givers dish out – both the goods and their attitudes. If they are suffering you will feel it, and it will feel like there is something wrong with you to be treated poorly. You will go along with  what they think and feel about you. They are big and powerful so you stand with them and against yourself – to survive. Then you look back at yourself from their point with disgust. With that image, it won’t take much in the way of further negative attention to validate this poor self-image. You shrink, play small, hang back, hide out, feel bad. Low self-esteem seems to prove itself true in a cycle that can spiral downward into despair.

Yikes, right? It happens to everyone to a greater or lesser degree. It may have happened very early. You may not even remember it. Someone looked at you with disapproval. In that moment it all changed. You could no longer just be you. You became self-conscious and had to quickly figure out how to get them relaxed and smiling again. Depending on the intensity and duration of the attack, it changed how you felt about yourself – from happy and normal to some level of miserable, humiliated, unsafe, unclean, unworthy, unloved, unwanted.

As social animals, our survival depends on our acceptance by others, to fit in with various groups versus being an outcast. But the random and  fickle opinions of others are no reliable foundation by which to know ourselves.

How to Reclaim Self-Esteem?

Paradoxically, the debilitating feelings and energies that come with the Shame family of emotions have the ability and express purpose to lift Self-Esteem.  Feeling bad is a stimulus  to find your way out. In the case of Shame, the only way out is through those feelings. To go deep inside, get real with yourself, see what is there, who you really are, and make peace with yourself. This involves self-compassion, acceptance, self-love, and sometimes some tough love when you find yourself living below your own standards.

Once you know the true purpose of Shame, and work well WITH it, It can bring you from worthless to priceless. It’s your image. And someone famously claimed you were made in the image of GOD/ GODDESS! Do you feel me?
Keep learning from your own experiences. See the next article: The Higher  Purpose and Use of Shame

Burned Out? Sadness & Depression Want to Help

Burned Out? Sadness & Depression Want to Help

Problem: Feeling Sadness, Depression, or Burn Out.
SOS Solution: Let these emotions help you to let go and renew.

Many of us are living at wit’s end, and just can’t stop. We live in a very ambitious caffeine-driven stimulus-intense time. Many feel guilty, lazy or unworthy when they are not busy and productive. We all want to be happy and full of energy, but life requires a balance of up time and downtime.

Depression and Sadness (Grief) come to bring some much-needed letting go. To let them help you, first you must know the difference.

The high-energy emotions, Fear, Anger and Desire dominate our cultural presentation with (masculine) power and push. When we live out of balance, our system overrides that drive with low-energy emotions like Sadness (Grief) and Depression.

These two feel similar at first and are commonly mistaken. Both take away energy, to help you look inside yourself for answers rather than outside. To allow their help, first accept rather than resist them and the low energy they bring. Trusting heavy emotions takes time, but give it a try. Next, you must know the difference in the two.

Depression arises when something is not working and demands that you not care, not even feel for a while so you can surrender and gather rest and renewal. When you do, hope and the will to go on based on your true motivations naturally return. The ultimate gift of Depression is to let Life take care of everything, the spiritual status of Surrender (as distinct from giving up).

Sadness arises from loss and change and demands that you go deep into your heart. Penetrate the pain to find the deepest longing of your heart as a basis of your motivation. It’s gifts are to reveal love and reverence, what’s truly important to fill your heart.

Both will come when you are off your path. Both take away your outer ambition and drive you inward to find what’s essential and important. Both ask you to let go of something smaller in order to find something greater. Both require you to be real, see your truth and let go of anything that prevents you from living true to what really matters to you.

You can easily check which of these is needed. In your low-energy state, relax and focus. Try truly not caring, giving up, not as a weakness but as a choice, as a path to freedom. Freefalling brings fear until you find that you can fly. You’ll be able to tell if this work with Depression is what is needed.

Or, go deep into the pain in your heart. You can handle it. Beneath the hurt you’ll find a sweet longing. Listen in the heart. It will achingly tell you its demands for your fulfillment. Again, you will know if this process of working with Grief is the way you need to go.

Both of these emotions bring messages from your soul, offering to take you beyond your enslaving thoughts to find your truth. There you will find a place full of Peace, Love and completeness. It’s no struggle to be you. The key is trust in these feelings, in yourself, and in the universe…one step at a time.

The Purpose of Grief

The Purpose of Grief

When things change; When something is lost or dies; When you are heartbroken, sad, and lonely, pining for the past, longing for what you miss; When the hopes and dreams you have set your heart on look like they won’t happen; Or when you need to get cozy and quiet to get in touch with your heart, to mend your wounds and care for yourself . . .

Grief and Sadness slow you down and bring a soft energy that allows you to look deep inside and feel what is most important; to know what you need to be complete and full; to move forward to getting it; to be able to adapt, change, and flow; to constantly renew and grow. Grief ultimately opens your consciousness to love and reverence for all things that come and go.

Impermanence: Change Is the Only Constant
In the time it takes you to read this sentence, about 5,000,000 cells throughout your body will die, while new ones are being born. After you die, other lives will be created and destroyed. Coming and going is the continuous, unavoidable nature of this universe. Yet the urge of any individual life is to be permanent and survive. We seek safety and stability in the known and unchanging, therefore we cling to what was. Grief is the gift we are given to make peace with this conflict between what is and what we want.

Adjusting to Change and Gaining from Loss
Your ability to let go of what was, adapt to change and move forward is a vital life skill. To love fully and then let go when it’s time; to accept the vulnerability of an open heart; to find completeness when that which awakened your heart departs… these are the bittersweet lessons life demands. Thankfully, we have Sadness and Grief to teach us. How to listen to these feelings to and find love within loss?

There is a natural process to work WITH the wise, natural energies of Grief. It starts with an attention-getting pain that focuses you on what was lost; in this way, Sadness reveals what is important to you. Realizing the effect on YOU and what you gained from the object of your loss allow you to continue to enjoy the gifts it brought you. You can’t keep people and things, but you can live with the permanent imprints they leave on your heart.

Specialness of All Things – Not Just One
When you identify and relate to the underlying impact an object has on your experience, those feelings are available to you in countless other things. A flower has beauty, fragility, freshness;  it might also bring you Hope or Love. These qualities are not just held in that one flower, but in all flowers, in all  things if you are open to feeling them.

With the loss of a close loved one, you may think that all love and joy are gone with them. It’s true that you’ll never have those exact experiences again, but effective grieving will leave you grateful for and enriched by the person. You will be able to enjoy the same level of happiness that the person helped you rise to, while going on to find new and different- and possibly even better-ways to experience joy.

Next week I’ll invite to to try this out in a guided meditation. Please ponder these things, then we’ll “Get to the Heart of Grief.”

Good Grief!

Good Grief!

Grief is good. When you feel sadness, loneliness, regret, your heart is open, strong and caring. It hurts, yes, and you don’t like that pain. But have the courage to dive deep into that heartache which is demanding your attention. Hidden beneath the bitter feeling is a bittersweet longing that reveals what matters most. Your awakened heart can then show you where to find it. When you listen.

Every person you ever see has felt and will often feel their heart pierced by the loss of things held dear. Nothing can stop CHANGE on the physical plane! Sadness is terribly humbling; we feel weak and vulnerable in our need for love and connection, even embarrassed by our longing. But take heart and be proud of your tender hearted, big hearted, broken hearted self. Otherwise you’ll be cold hearted, dark hearted or closed hearted.

We live in a world largely lost to the art of heart-directed guidance. We normally let the wandering mind lead us through life, comparing and competing, following its changing whims. But the heart is the Searchlight, beaming out to illuminate the source of our individual contentment.

You can’t stop the painful pull of your soul when it, through loss, points to the naked truth, its demands your fulfillment. What you can do is tearfully follow where it leads, find your way to gratitude for the gift that was given and taken away. Recognize the life-enhancing qualities it brought you, and that how it enriched you remains ever with you. Then it’s safe to release it as the temporary one-and-only source of your satisfaction. This is the process called Grief.

Will you take 15 minutes to dive in and try it?

Follow this simple guided meditation to experience the Good in Grief.

Exercise: Get to the Heart of Grief

What We Found in Grief

What We Found in Grief

The online Emotional Liberation Class has spent the month of August finding the gifts of Grief. Here are some of their stories to help you do the same:

Quite a week! I didn’t realize how big Grief and Sadness are for me. In this week’s meditation good memories that I had forgotten arose first. There WAS some good in my hard childhood. I reclaimed some beautiful parts of myself that were buried. Then I faced the pain. I broke down with sadness and crying for the losses, Since they occurred i just never stopped and allowed myself to go into that, deal with it and clear it . This is the biggest thing I’ve needed to address to be happy. Hard, but I Trust this work.  I wasn’t wanting to let go of some treasured pain. When I did? Overwhelming love and empathy for myself! It was beautiful, warm and painful all at the same time. It’s okay to let go of it now. – D. S.

I’m still exploring this emotion and don’t think I’ve really come to terms with it yet. It seems so much bigger than I would have thought at first. I wouldn’t have even thought that I was living with that much grief, but every loss experienced in my life has left a mark. I have been avoiding acknowledging that. It occurs to me that because I assume everyone has experienced loss and so my loss is not “special”, that I have somehow tried to dismiss it thinking it’s not that important. But the more I get into it I realize the sweetness within it, the happy memories, the cracking open of the heart space. Even though there is a longing of things that are missed, at the same time there is gratitude of having made a connection at one time and how connected we all are. C.L.

I did this week’s grief meditation yesterday – WOW! I think I actually cleared up the grief and anger surrounding my religious upbringing and my relationship to God and all religions in one fell swoop. I had a major, major, breakthrough. I am absolutely taking this on as a 40 day practice. These last few weeks have seen HUGE breakthroughs and shifts and I am so, so grateful.  – Kerri

Wow – this meditation on Grief had such an impact. I went into unresolved issues with my parent’s divorce – i left the session lighter than ever. I decided to see the positive; to bear the pain, feel it as joy. The pain is love. Enjoy the pleaseure and the pain life brings. So wonderful to feel. I have noticed that once I got facile with sadness, whenever I feel sadness coming on, I just breathe, relax, open my heart, and just start feeling love and at times reverence. The feeling of sadness is showing up to allow me to experience love – so why not just go there and enjoy it. Is this cool, or what?  – Cliff

This week lots of losses in my life came up during meditation. I didn’t know that I’m so sad. There is till the sadness about losing my job, and my family being distant. But I noticed that I’m now enjoying cooking and gardening which were such a burden when I was working. Something was lost and something else gained. My grief was so big, I went to all the seven stages; from disbelief through anger and hope. Now I noticed that I’m not fighting my sadness, I just stay in it and observe it. I’m feeling stronger and more in to my teaching and personal practice – Barbara

Trust Truth! Who’s Truth?

Trust Truth! Who’s Truth?

If you want to live with confidence and clarity to move through life’s many choices, you need an unwavering source of guidance. Lucky for you it is built in. The feelings of Guilt are meant to guide you. Where? To your truth, the decider of your actions. But how to sort through all the noise of thoughts and opinions inside and out, that chaos called duality that causes conflict?

The simple answer is, quiet the mind and listen to your heart. When you feel that downward pressure like the ground falling away from beneath you, taking your legs and stomach with it, Guilt is demanding that you tune in, find your truth and follow it. Listening from neutrality, as any good judge must do, is the way.

How to find Neutral Mind? Meditation is the best way. Vigorous exercise, being deeply relaxed, even exhausted surrender are some of the many means. Getting to that peace from the push and pull takes time, especially when feelings run high. Learn to do this in peacetime so you can find it in emergency.

In addition to indispensible neutrality, it’s helpful to know that there are 3 types of truth vying for your attention. Knowing the difference, you can more easily choose which one to follow.

The 3 Types of Truth

1- Personal truth: instinctive, individual, self-serving, survival, needs driven, neurotic, no room for any other truth. Name some of yours.

2- Circumstantial truth: others in your group agree with you- giving it more clout, imposed by some on others, basis of wars, changes with time, confronts and stimulates change. What do your people all agree upon that the “others” are so misguided about?

3- Universal Truth, stands test of time, not always recognized and valued by all, attacked when threatens lesser truths, reveals and coincides with the way of the universe. Can you name some of these you resonate with?

By personal experience with all of these truths, by discovering how you like the effects of following each one, you slowly get sick of bad consequences and find fondness for Universal Truths. We all live and learn in Universe University. Whether by a burning bush, a personal tragedy, a peak experience, the voice of a teacher or your own still moment, we all get glimpses of Universal Truth.

Upon knowing Truth, the next life-defining choice is whether or not to follow it! At first you don’t trust “It”. But give it a try. You learn that aligning with it, living to it, always brings the best overall long-term outcome. When Universal Truth becomes Your truth, the basis of your choices and actions, you are free; you are beyond blame and claims. Beyond duality, you feel strong and clear: it’s easy to know what is right. Your inner compass is working. Life may not always be easy, but it becomes simple and straight; you know what is right because you are the judge!

To review:

  • When you feel confused, conflicted about what to do, guilty or caught in the act, don’t react.
  • Find your Neutral mind.
  • Ask your self/ heart/ body/ soul, “What is the Truth, the Way to be light?” Listen by feeling, not thinking. Truth will be revealed. If not, back to #2.
  • Obey that Truth. In time you will trust It and trust yourself to follow it.

Such is the identification with Truth, it makes you pure. When you agree to agree to it, your mind becomes sure. – Guru Nanak

Guilt – Your Right to Choose

Guilt – Your Right to Choose

How do you know what’s right? Plenty of people want to tell you what’s right and wrong, what you should do. But there are always at least two sides, and they are usually in conflict with each other. When that conflict is inside your own head that’s a war that can wear you out.

There are so many choices. Everybody wants to sell you their beliefs, convince you, win you over or force you to take their political stance, religious belief, opinion or way of doing things. You can’t decide and you live with an internal conflict without conviction. You hold one viewpoint or follow a law then popular opinion and even the law changes. We feel bad when enough people say we’re wrong, and it’s worse when we tell ourselves we are bad. What’s a truth seeker to do?

The only way through and decision and moral dilemma is to find YOUR truth. Happily, it is always accessible. You have an internal compass to know what’s right and wrong, and it is called Guilt. You don’t like or trust Guilt because it has historically been hijacked by others to manipulate you into following their beliefs and their truths. But you can reclaim Guilt and it’s pure original purpose: to let you no when you strayed from your integrity so you can follow the only truth that will set you free.

Conscious Guilt serves as an internal judge, so we can evaluate our actions and align with our true character. Working mindfully with Guilt we will reclaim our ability to know our own highest truth, and learn to live it.

Conscious Guilt is an opportunity for honest self-review. When you make a mistake, Guilt illuminates a chance to review your behavior and find what works for you and what doesn’t. You can then correct your behavior to prevent those undesirable consequences in the future. You are the only judge!

“Old” Guilt judges, attacks and tries to actually eliminate whatever is considered “bad” in oneself or others. But we are always a blend of all possibilities. Conscious Guilt helps us navigate and work with our intrinsic and inevitable opposites like good and bad. Taking responsibility for our mistakes, the “weak” or “evil” within our imperfect selves, brings us to integrity – the ability to stand strong and confidently in all that we do. Without clear convictions we are conflicted and can be convicted.

Be done with sin and suffering. When you feel bad the first job is to get to neutral, and use that clarity to honestly assess the decision or action. Your gut will tell you if it was/ is okay with you. If not, take responsibility to mend your ways. Feeling good about yourself is the reward.

More about getting neutral and sorting out Truth next time in: Tell the Truth! Who’s Truth?

When the healing influences of free-flowing guilt and shame flow gracefully through your psyche, you won’t be painfully shame-ridden or guilt-laden; instead you’ll have a com passionate sense of ethics, the courage to judge and supervise your own conduct, and the strength to amend your behaviors without inflating or deflating your ego unnecessarily. …you’ll feel proud of yourself… Karla McLaren

Depressions Gifts

Chances are you or somebody you know is or has been Depressed. 350 million people globally and 7% of Americans are diagnosed with major depression. But 50% of all people with major depression go without diagnosis or treatment.

Women are 70% more likely to be depressed than men, 11% of children by age 18, 30% of college students report it, and 11% of 65+ yr. elders. Why so? What is our problem?

Let’s ask a different question. What if depression isn’t the problem but is our innate intelligence working on a solution? I have helped many people with depression from this one change of perspective: Depression is not a weakness or a failure, but rather a catalyst. Let’s see if we can find the wisdom in Depression by looking at its symptoms to reveal what it’s trying to do for us.

There’s a loss of energy so you can’t run around and do what you did or how you did it before. There’s a sense of giving up, of not caring, that has us not do anything at all. You become unproductive; you just sit there with your hopeless thoughts and dark helpless feelings.
So what are these qualities in response to; what are our prevailing energies? Mostly we are very busy, stimulated, pressured and overwhelmed. We are very competitive and everything is moving fast. There’s a lot we have to accomplish and get done. It’s hard keeping up with all of that. And maybe we never even stop to think about what we really want and need and how we want to spend our time. Maybe the treadmill we are on is no longer satisfying or what we really wanted in the first place. There are a lot of expectations for stimulation, excitement and emotion. We are often plagued with many constant emotions and don’t know what to do with them. Sometimes we just get tired and want to take a break from running, striving, caring or feeling anything at all… but are afraid we’ll lose out and get further behind.

When there is a No Win, Depression Will Come In! You can begin to see that Depression is a brilliant natural remedy to our high-speed, hard-charging modern world. Depression is a brilliant safety mechanism when we are in these conditions and don’t know how to manage them. it takes over and takes away our energy and our drive so we can rest, reflect and even give up on some game that we are not winning. When we surrender and work with it consciously. We can let go of what’s not working and begin a new rejuvenated approach to something more in line with our deepest needs and desires.

But in our ambitious culture, surrender means giving up and giving in. In our very driven masculine culture the feminine qualities patience, acceptance, yielding and introspective self-awareness are under-appreciated and under-utilized. Depression is slow, dark, interior and empty, but so is the creative void where new life begins!

Now I know that the deeper or more long-lasting depression has been, the more frightening the idea to let it have its way with you. But whether you consciously work with depression or just indulge and let it take over makes all the difference in the world. As with all emotions, we need openness and inquisitive awareness to work WITH feelings and benefit from their wisdom.

Next week I’ll look more at how to work intelligently with Depression. For now I hope this fresh perspective can help you turn a corner with your ingenious Apathy.

Work with Anger to Find your Power

ANGER – A Senses of the Soul Definition

Lisa on DESIRE

SOS Toolkit

Greetings!

We’ve talked about how to the SOS method is done, I’ve given you a PDF printout of exercises that help build the emotional connection, and I sent you a video that goes over the SOS Method all together. Today, I’m sharing a meditation that will give you the SOS experience!  Watch the video, practice the meditation and then email me to let me know how it goes! If you still need one-on-one coaching, email me!

Blessings,

GuruMeher

Emotional Healing Zone #1

Video Meditation: Overcome Anxiety – Be Clear When You Feel Fear

Lisa On Fear

SOS Workshop Experience

SOS DESIRE Meditation – Create Contentment

The Bliss Point

Do you know about the “Bliss Point”? It is a combination of sugar, fat and salt that food scientists have found to be totally satisfying to the human tongue.  Every fantastic meal you’ve ever had in your life, from the Salmon en Papillote at that five-star restaurant to your grandmother’s Thanksgiving stuffing, was crafted on that special Bliss Point balance.  If feels good to be fed in this combination!

There is another kind of Bliss Point in this life.  Yes, you know the kind I mean- Spiritual Bliss. Just as you are wired to crave sugar, salt and fat, you also have a deep longing for that ultimate sense of well-being, that feeling of being totally at HOME in the Universe: Bliss.

As a term, Bliss has been used so casually it may be thought of as something trite.  Phrases like “Follow your Bliss,” or, “Blissed out,” make the experience sound like something you can find while flipping through a magazine.  Let’s get clear on what Bliss really is.

Bliss is a well-defined State of Consciousness (See Power vs. Force by David Hawkins).  Described classically in spiritual literature, Bliss is physical-mental-emotional- spiritual experience of Peace, Love, Clarity, and Vastness.  Beautiful, isn’t it?

The achievement of Bliss is possible but it is, in fact, a relatively rare in human experience. True Bliss isn’t as easy as the food chemist would have you believe.  You can’t just grab a snickers and call it a day!

Spiritual disciplines provide methods to achieving bliss and we have all felt the clues leading us there. The hard work part is to remove all obstacles to Bliss. Many spiritual disciplines ask you to develop self-awareness and self-control.  No matter how you chose to get there, you will definitely need to deal with things like:

·  Fear and Insecurity

·  Guilt and Low-Self-esteem

·  Anger, Depression and Grief.

Which is what we do in Senses of the Soul.  Most real Bliss methods take time and the short-term experience may be more uncomfortable than pleasant.

If all of this sounds like a big project, it is!  But taking on the “project” to achieve bliss has a huge payoff.  And as Rumi said, “Take on a huge, foolish project. It makes absolutely no difference what others think!”

So start a spiritual practice, deal with unresolved issues, work with your emotions, heal relationships, practice self-love, serve others, get your finances in order, clean your clutter. All self-improvement are steps on this path toward the real bliss. This requires discipline and commitment over time but it will give you the experience you seek.

When, through deep commitment, you can go beyond the focus on the self to transcend the limitations of personality, the experience of unlimited Vastness and Freedom become very available.

Your mind becomes quiet.  You listen deeply.  You gain clarity.  You become neutral.  And as these elements become stable and deeply grounded as your predominant and unshakeable experience, they mature into Bliss.

That alluring blend of Peace, Love, Clarity, and Vastness: Bliss!

When Your Emotions Are Out Of Control

Here’s a closely held belief about emotions: they get out of control. Every felt that way?  Who hasn’t?
Whether it’s having a blow-out with a family member over something that, on the surface, seems all too insignificant.  Or harboring deep hurt and resentment in the workplace for personal some slight you perceived.  It can sometimes, or even often, feel like emotions take over and start running the show.
If your a conscious person, this experience can be pretty uncomfortable. You regret the way you behave when you have strong emotions.  You feel shameful of the way you lashed out at your partner, or the way your depression is spilling into your friendships.  So that you don’t have to have these overwhelming outbursts,  you cut your feelings off.  What else can you do?  They are out of control!
Here’s the truth of it: Emotions have a primitive nature. They arise automatically from our instinctual selves.  But they don’t have to overpower you.  In fact, when you learn to relate to and direct your intense feelings, you can actually harness great power.
To be the master of your feelings, you must understand their job and let them do it.  Just like you don’t want your Emotions ruling you, they don’t want you ruling them.  Nobody likes a tyrant.  Your feelings have a message for you.  Sitting,  Breathing, Listening,  Consciously Cooperating and the Guiding your feelings is the way to emotional healing, clarity and purpose.   Because with the right fines, your feelings become workhorses for your wellness.
So here’t the real truth – you may think emotions can control you, but really emotions are controlled by your Awareness!

How to Solve Your Problems

 How have you been feeling lately? What are you feeling right now?
Anxious about a job?  Sad or Depressed about a fight you had with a loved one recently?  Frustrated by a problem you can’t seem to solve?
The flow of emotions is constant, up and down, mild and intense. But know this: The painful is ALWAYS your guide to the pleasant.
Just yesterday I heard, “Emotions wreak havoc on my energy.  Fear make me run around crazy.  Next I’m hot and angry, picking fights with everyone. Then really low, feeling hopeless about it all. It’s a roller coaster to hell with no clear way out.”  Yes, Emotions bring you very specific qualities of energy; and that is a key to putting them to work solving your problems.
As I mentioned in the last newsletter, emotions have primitive energy that, without awareness, can take over and run you ragged. The testimonial above from a client of mine is common.  And have you ever noticed that when the problem you are facing gets bigger, your emotions around it get more intense? It can be a draining and confusing experience.  But I’m here to tell you that you need not disintegrate into an emotional mess!
If you want to solve your problems – big, small, or larger than life – you have to know this one thing:
Emotions bring you the right energy of the job.
Need to look for a new job?  You bet your anxiety is going to get larger as the problem persists.  Youneed that amount of intensity to motivate and support your search!  Need to take some time for self-care after an intense confrontation with a loved one?  Your sadness creates a quiet, inward-looking space conducive to reflection and healing before moving forward.
You can solve everything in your world – literally everything – when you feel your feelings and understand them as a source of information and energy you require to change the circumstances that created those feelings.
Fear gives you the energy to wake up to danger.  Sadness slows you down so you can let go.  Anger brings the intensity to act with integrity and intention.  To heal and resolve you troubles, these are the best and most immediate tools you have. So begin to work with the type and amount of energy in your emotions. they will always be just what you need, when you can read and utilize them.

 

How To Deal with Boredom and Apathy

Here’s a question I got in an email last week:

Hi, GuruMeher. I’m curious. I’ve noticed that the dominant thing I’m  feeling today seems to be “boredom.” But I don’t think boredom is an emotion. How can I dig deeper and find the emotion?

I’m sure a lot of you feel this way sometimes. You’re not exactly sad or discouraged, but you feel uninspired by life.  This concerns you because you believe that you should feel more joyful, engaged and excited by things.  I understand.

Boredom isn’t an actual emotion so to speak. Boredom could be more classified as an energy.  It’s is a slow, inward reaching vibration that has elements of apathy (commonly called Depression), sadness (Grief) and inadequacy (Fear). Unaddressed, boredom can progress into actual Depression.   However, on it’s own, boredom is actually quire useful!

When approached with awareness, Boredom leads to Peace.

I spent years working with a coach to help me with what I like to term a “raging workaholic” problem. After a working together for some time, we were successful in reducing my workload and “unhooking” from the subconscious drivers of my need to work endlessly.  It felt great!  But then came the day I felt bored.

“Boredom is the Gatekeeper of Peace,” the coach had said.  That notion made no sense to me at the time. Feeling bored was scary.  What if I never achieved anything again?  I’d been so amped in my workaholic mode that this neutral energy I was now living in felt dangerous.  I was tempted to throw out all the progress I had made and go back to my old ways.  But I decided to try this idea of Boredom leading to Peace and see where it took me. It worked out!

When I allowed Boredom to become Peace, I got comfortable moving more slowly. The feeling boredom actually lead me to deep clarity about what was most important to me and how I really wanted to spend my time. Tasks became manageable and I was even able to accomplish more than I had before. In place of adrenaline rushes, I began to experience tranquil satisfaction.

Now you may come to boredom through another story such as a lack of meaningful purpose, unachieved dreams, delayed fulfillment, or an unclear or blocked path, to name a few.  The key is not to fear this state as something wrong, but accept it.  Not every day is a carnival.  But if you can stay neutral and calm during these “bored periods” you too can experience a deeper more complete kind of satisfaction, one that has true meaning for you.  So, I say, “Fear not Boredom; make it your friend!”

Fall Blues or Blessing

ARTICLE: FALL BLUES OR BLESSING?

Seasonal changes. Have they hit you this week? Or does your mood begin to swing with the first cold snap, shorter days, and back-to-school memories? As the vibrant, high energy of summer fades, the quiet, subdued tone of fall can come with some melancholy.

You may have had a fun summer, enjoyed adventure and expansion. You may prefer your freer lifestyle activities to the busy focus of the fall. You miss those good times and want them to continue, and that can bring a tinge of sadness.

Time moves on, and this “bummer” experience is actually natural and meant to help you grow.  The bittersweet feelings of the transition into fall help us to do something wonderful.  They help us to recognize our values!

Maybe you valued the time you had to engage in self-care activities like sleeping in or going to the beach. Perhaps it’s that element of adventure that’s really meaningful.  It could be the time you got to spend with friends and family.  Heck, maybe you just like the quality of summer sunlight more!

Whatever it is that you really loved about the summer time, let that love be a permanent imprint on your heart.  Then let that heart-based value system flow into the fall.

When you identify and relate to the underlying qualities in experiences-their inner essences-those essences are abundantly available within other experiences too!

A great practice would be to spend some time going over your favorite summer memories, dwelling and enjoying each one.  Then, take that joyous energy and apply it to the fall. How can you enjoy the soft, cozy mood of fall, even though it was such a contrast to your energetic, extroverted summer?

What I love about this process is that it’s the same for any change.  Whether that be the change from one job to another, from living in one city and then moving or even the change of going from single to in a relationship, or back to single!.  It’s the process of enjoying life on both ends!

Nothing lasts forever except for the soul. Even the most delicious meal only tastes good when we’re hungry. The only way to get enough is to relate to life from the soul perspective.  Then every experience is a treat!

You Have All The Answers: An SOS Success Story

FEELING, HEALING AND GLOBAL PEACE

I recently received an email that blew me out of the water.  It reminded me of why I created SOS .
We all have the ability to use our heavy emotions for strength and healing, but most people don’t know it yet.  My mission for SOS is that whenever we feel bad, we can know 1. What we are feeling, 2. Why we are feeling it, and 3. What to do about it to feel better.  I want to contribute to people’s emotional wellness as well as to the health and well-being to the world.
I have a very specific vision for world peace – that we all take control of our own happiness. That requires thoughts and emotions – our inner life – to serve us.  When we create the circumstances where our emotions serve us, rather than sabotage us, we eliminate suffering.  How can you truly suffer if every bit of pain actually serves to bring you to your highest happiness? That’s what SOS is all about.
So it is encouraging and makes me happy to hear that people are gaining these skills through the SOS method.  I received the incredible message below in response to last week’s video.
Hi GuruMeher,
I did last weeks Google+ Hangout video for the 
third time. I am using it whenever I feel a 
strong emotion or a difficult emotion 
to bring me insight, clarity, and peace.
Following the steps of the video I learned that
some depression I felt was in response to my
perceptions of someone close to me trying to
control my behavior. I further learned that the depression
was showing me that I needed to find my voice
and speak up, most importantly be true to my self and my
needs. I did not feel much of this depression following
the realization.
Tonight I am feeling a lot of anxiety. I learned 
that the anxiety was telling me that I did not have to be a certain
way or even a certain person for my mother. I just need to be myself.
I also don’t need to have an immaculate home or prepare
extravagant meals. I am tired and I want to just be, to just be me.
I still am experiencing some anxiety, so I am going to
now try and go deeper through additional meditation
to see if there is anything further I need to learn before
I can feel more peaceful. 
 
I love the simplicity with which we can know how to find peace.. Do you see how this SOS practitioner 1. Stopped to feel, 2. Discovered why she was feeling that way and 3. Discovered what to do about it?  The 4th step in the healing process is to take action on that inner guidance and I’ll be talking about that in this week’s Google+ Hangout.  This Friday’s hangout is the fifth in a series that together are a total introduction to the SOS method.
I hope that this message inspires and encourages you as it did me. In just 12 minutes, with this simple SOS practice, our friend was able to deal with deep feelings of depression and anxiety, some of which stemmed back all the way to her childhood relationship to her mother.  It’s pretty wonderful how healing can happen so fast and be so profound. Imagine the impact that will have on the planet when enough of us know how to move quickly from upset to peaceful.

How to Be Happy: An Inside Job

You are not subject to circumstances. You are not a victim. But amidst substantial abundance, there is still so much suffering. Here’s a quote that sums up why I have spent 35 years practicing and teaching yoga and meditation:

Sometimes we operate under the misconception that we can control the circumstances
of the outside world. What we can do is control our inside worlds. That is a gift given
to us. And that is where we must start.

    – Yogi Bhajan
This means that, come what may, a person can create a good life, can find peace and happiness.
Yoga is the art of gaining control of the inner world of body, thoughts and, yes, even our feelings. We can all learn to do that. Granted, the more traumatized we’ve been and the more stressed we are, the more practice it takes.  The key is in the old Serenity Prayer:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”
You can’t change a traumatic past, but you can use it to heal and grow.
Having some control over HOW YOU FEEL is a vital skill  to being happy in this very random world. I would like to see  every human have this basic skill – When you feel bad, you know:
  • What you are feeling.
  • Why you are feeling it.
  • What to do to feel better.
  • How to take that action.
  • …So that you feel bertter.
Repeated often enough, you will be in good shape… happy within the past or present that you cannot change, having acted to change what you can. This is why I am so eager to bring Senses of the Soul to all who will use it. It gives you so much control of that inner life, BUT we control emotions by allowing them to work – not repressing them.
Here is another quote. It so simply describes this Senses of the Soul work:
“Working by your heart means using your feelings and emotions to lead you to your
spiritual sense of existence.”

 – Yogi Bhajan, February 15, 1984
Putting these three ideas together, we see that we can find our way to happiness through our feelings.
Here is an example from an SOS workshop here in L.A. just last weekend.  A woman shared this after a simple 11 minute exercise and guided meditation
“In my meditation…
I felt a great sadness from the recent death of my grandmother.
Then came suddenly a memory of feeling abandoned in my crib as a baby, and crying.
I felt so unwanted and unloved. I saw that it has seemed that way ever since, whether in or out of an intimate relationship.
So sad to realize I never found the love I needed.
I realized that my grandmother was the only person in my life that I ever felt loved by.
I traveled back as my current self and held my infant self. I just gave myself the love I had been wanting for so long.
So simple, now I know I can give that to myself all the time.

(The meditation was Replay and Roleplay with Paranoia Flush, pg. 95-96 In Senses of the Soul book and audiobook.)

The woman above couldn’t change the past, and can’t make anyone love her. But by the smile and peace on her face. I can tell you, she was able to get the love she needed. Love was within her inner control.

This is how trauma is healed: when you can do for yourself now what you couldn’t  do then.  When you can get what you need now that you couldn’t get then.
We can create happiness, get what we need, regardless of circumstances. How? Take responsibility. Know it is possible. Sit and be real and deal with it, and BE with yourself. Work on happiness like a fitness plan. Spend time daily creating happiness, because…
“Happiness is your birthright.”  – Yogi Bhajan

 

4 Easy Methods of Personal Growth

The future of therapy is self-therapy, the future of psychological healing is self-healing. Because we each have all the information about a situation, our needs and unique solutions already inside, we ourselves are in the best position to consciously correct.   The job of therapists, counselors and healers is shifting to teaching us how to use our self-healing system.

We are all recovering from something that life brings, always learning to rebound from challenge and change. So in this new partnership between you and those who help, the responsibility is shifted to you, and with it, all the power to access the answers unique to you. Training is still needed. Teachers can help you obtain the four things you will need on your journey:  Information, Practice, Support, and Inspiration.

Information: Until we are all trained from birth to trust ourselves and use our intuitive knowing, we need to know what others have discovered through their own journey, trial and error. “Learn through time, or learn through a teacher.” They come in many forms: Self- Improvement books, spiritual books ancient and modern, classes, the vast Web.   Your upbringing, even the best environments, brought you a narrow and biased slice of reality. Sometimes just one powerful quote opens the doors.

Practice: Once you find some truth, you have to use it, apply it, make it come alive in you as direct experience. That gym membership card in your wallet, and great books on your shelf can’t do the work.  Putting your focus and effort over time to polish away the cloudiness and pain, build resilience and strength… it’s a workout. Assets like Will, Discipline, Willingness are needed. But Courage, Love and Compassion may be more your avenue. Some of both are best. A regular, rhythmic personal practice is part of every path to skill and mastery. Don Juan said there are many different paths; find a path with heart, and follow it to the very end.

Support: Steady constant development can be a challenge until a healthy habit is set. We all need structure, just like the timbers that hold up a house. You need to find the support that makes it all work and keep on working for you. Your own commitment is the foundation. That can come from pain or a driving desire for something good, or a simple knowing that something is right and must be done. Then you need clear actions, that actual “to do’s”. Next comes the time and place to do it. How do you fit it into your day? Sometimes hard choices are required to prioritize your well-being investments. To keep it all together you need outside support too: people who get you and what you are doing, who practice with you or cheer you on, who recognize your efforts and can see your gains. All of these elements can be found together in classes, courses and meetings whether private with a buddy, in local live groups, or virtual and recorded formats. Support groups are one of the best self-improvement tools discovered in the last century and are now in the web. Find what works for you, then work it!

Inspiration: Some spark will have started all of this for you, and you will need to renew your motivation if you are to reach your self-promised land.  The hero’s journey has many low moments that can derail the entire thing, or serve to refresh and renew. Inspiration can come from internal and external sources. At times your progress inspires and energizes, and sometimes you need some outside encouragement to keep up. You can have these known and ready in ample supply so you know where to go when you are low.

Information, Practice, Support and Inspiration…They are constantly interwoven and may ebb and flow in changing proportion. Which of these 4 are strong in your life, and which are needed in greater measure? Assess where you are and how you are going to grow. When these are in place and working,you will see your self-healing power flourish.

“All therapies, and all help, and all knowledge are going to be absolutely  obsolete. People need immediately self-exalted experience. And that is  what the whole essence of human life is.”    –  Yogi Bhajan

THE END OF SUFFERING – You Have The Power

Pain is a certainty; suffering is optional.

You may have heard this; I’d like to help you live it. As a birthday gift to myself I went snowboarding yesterday. After a beautiful morning on the slopes I crashed and injured my head, wrist and ankle – ski patrol toboggan-ride down the mountain and all.

An afternoon in the emergency room for x-rays didn’t ruin my day, it just changed it. My body hurt/s and I lost the expected fun, but I chose to be grateful for an afternoon of love and care from friends, nurses and doctors. Too late to avoid the pain; s*** happens… and it did! But rather than beating myself up over my bad luck or how I could have avoided it (no longer an option), I did have a choice to love my body even with its injury, and appreciate how it works so well and is already healing itself.

Emotional hurt works the same as physical trauma. Life will bring events that evoke fear that shrinks you, cravings with their pleasure and pain, anger that can hurt and isolate you or others – and they are painful. But they are not meant to make you suffer.

Just like the nerves in my leg, emotions bring your attention to the source of pain so you can relieve it. Fear alerts you to danger, cravings to a need, and anger serves to protect you or get what you need. Suffering occurs when you don’t understand the source, or heed the call, or respond. So don’t just endure painful situations, disturbing patterns, unsatisfying relations, or any uncomfortable emotion. Use them to guide you to healing, strength and happiness.

It’s your natural sensory system; simple to learn to use it well. Find out for yourself that Pain is part of life, but you have a choice about the suffering.

Here is a simple technique to help you: Emotional Balance by Listening

Hallmark Emotions – Love On Demand

No sooner have the Holidays passed than the next commercial holiday rushes in with red hearts and flowers. Like it or not there’s a message: you should be in a wonderful relationship feeling all the good stuff.  I’m all for love and intimacy, but what if your situation doesn’t meet expectations and feelings don’t conform to the February 14th schedule? You might feel a little empty, like something’s wrong with you.

 

Hallmark Cards and FTD Florists are not to blame; they just bring to light our hungers and our hunter instinct. We all have physical needs like water and warmth which train us to go out in search of survival and satisfaction. But if you have time to read this, those survival needs are handled well enough to be pursuing subtler inner needs like your sense of security, support, confidence and purpose. These mental and emotional needs are internal conditions and can be met with your own resources. You have reached a point in your own evolution that you can feed yourself; in fact, you must.

 

We may as easily feel unloved within relationships or happy alone: the outer situation doesn’t guarantee the desired inner condition. Those all-important happiness-defining variables within your head and heart are – or can be – under your control. That includes love. When you don’t know how to give and receive love as a self-contained unit you feel dependent, small and weak. Then you go looking and start bargaining and sacrificing pieces of your sanctity in exchange for what you can get.

 

You don’t have to wander hoping for love like a beggar, vulnerable to random generosity and changing mood and of passers-by. It’s not that you have to steel up and go it alone. But pause that go-out-there-and-get-‘em chase and start at home. Search your heart; sit still and patiently explore the vast inner universe. When you experience your ability to give yourself what you most want, that you are a self-contained, self-fulfilling system, you never go begging again. You enjoy being the master of your domain.

 

Whether your relationships fit the Hallmark standard – or even your own – or not, send yourself some flowers and a nice card of appreciation well before Valentine’s Day. Sit before these gifts as acts of your own love and let it feed your heart and spirit. Want guaranteed, reliable and sustainable love and intimacy? Learn what you want most, then generously give and receive it directly. Be the one you’ve always longed for.

Address Your Feelings – You’ll be Rewarded

Use and Misuse of Emotions: Address, Express, or Repress
Most of the trouble and bad reputation of emotions comes from improper use.  The two main forms of misuse are opposites: to Express and Repress.

Expression means “to come out” and implies here that the emotion is in charge.  It takes control of your words and actions; IT expresses itself through you, while the real you is lost.  You react instinctively and instantly with no filter.  Desire is acted upon no matter what the consequences.  You lash out at those you love, pushing them further away.  Fear has you run and hide from the opportunities you find.  This automatic behavior evolved with your animal nature to survive by immediate action.  When you believe survival is at stake, you don’t think. You are irrational, beyond reason, out of touch with any reality beyond attack or escape now.  Using the unprocessed information of the emotions as a direct basis for action is like using the raw data in an experiment as a final conclusion.

The information brought to you by emotions requires interpretation, which also comes very naturally, but requires a conscious awareness.  This book will show you how to do that for yourself.  Warnings against emotion in spiritual literature refer to their misuse in this primitive way, and are well deserved as the source of much human suffering.

This leads us to the much more civilized and religiously promoted misuse: repression.  Since emotions are both uncomfortable and create trouble, it was naturally discovered that you could: 1) hide them from others that disapproved, 2) distract yourself with some other great pleasure or pain in an attempt to elude and ignore them or, 3) become truly numb. These ingenious methods to “not feel” are as numerous as humans; do you know yours?  But all repression ultimately fails because your mind is a thought-and-feeling producing machine. Or if you do become numb, then all of life’s joy goes grey as well.  Repression then leads to hidden agendas, manipulation, unresolved issues, elaborate coping mechanisms, addictions and obsessions, or medication.  You cannot not feel.  Nor would you want to once you find the valuable role emotions play to create well-being.

So what’s the healthy alternative to expression and repression? Address your emotions. (Definition: v. uh-dréss: skillful and expeditious management; ready skill.)  Emotions will serve you when you learn to understand their messages.  They are signals to guide you to what your body, mind, and/or soul want. But you must interpret the information.  Conscious use of emotion involves all the definitions of the word Conscious: aware of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings; sensitive to something; having the mental faculties fully active; known to oneself; felt; aware of what one is doing.
The basic method for this is similar to meditation.  In fact, it is meditation which includes observation of thoughts AND feelings.  Since these are detected “inside” and subtler than messages from the 5 senses, it helps to reduce distracting sensory input, sitting still in silence with eyes closed.  Focusing on sensations increases awareness.  And the mind is encouraged to serve a supporting role; to understand that it is not the originator but the interpreter of these deeper messages.
Despite years of excessive or repressive use of emotion, most people learn to listen to their emotions quickly and easily with a little instruction and reassurance.  This is because proper use of emotion is an essential, always-ready part of our natural sensory system. The many techniques of Kundalini Yoga serve to create these conditions.  There are techniques to move from repression to safe expression, and to re-awaken sensitivity from numbness, and to build the strength to handle strong or heavy emotions.

I offer courses which share many such techniques, and you can email me for a specific request for your situation.

Dealing with Feelings

Happiness depends on feeling good. Beyond being well-fed and pain free, your well-being requires peaceful thoughts and flourishing emotions. Yogis know that every thought generates a feeling. That’s a lot of emotions!

After years of yoga practice and working as a life coach, I have come to understand that the emotions are a vital part of our body-mind-spirit sensory equipment. Just as your five physical senses serve to navigate your body, you have emotions to explore and understand how life is going for you here on earth. Your emotions are allies and guides, leading you toward feeling Divine amidst the challenges life brings.

Skillfully navigating the dark, yet rich world of feelings brings freedom from early trauma, unresolved issues, nagging doubts, confusion, anxiety and frustration. With awareness, you can gain control over what you are feeling and learn more about what you need to be happy. Think of emotions as the Senses of the Soul, serving your spirit to flourish.

In this series of articles we will help you discover the profound benefits of using emotions skillfully. As with any friend, you can build your relationship to them with some quality time – attention and communication. Start right now!

Sit comfortably and set a timer for 11 minutes. Close your eyes and breathe deeply and slowly. Create a clarity and stability by feeling support by the earth below, then vast and expansive through your mental/ spiritual self above. Shift your attention to emotional sensations. Let any and all feelings flow through your body without resisting or trying to make anything happen. Be in rapport. You will discover that difficult feelings actually ease up when you allow them to just “be.” Equally allow positive feelings. Play with evoking all kinds of emotional sensations by calling on thoughts and memories.

Don’t be surprised if you feel uncomfortable. Keep breathing as you work with your emotions until peace comes. Try asking them what they want you to know. Ask if there is something you can do to feel better. Take note of answers, which may be more of a feeling than a thought. Inhale deeply, and finish your session with the most uplifting thoughts and feelings you can create.

Mastery comes with small steps and repetition. Practice this exercise daily and watch how your life improves. Know that you have taken the first step on the road to learning about your emotions and their relationship to your Soul. 

Use this posture to process difficult feelings: Emotional Balance Meditation (With thanks to YogaMint.com and KRI)

Fear is Your Friend

Everyone wants to be comfortable, safe, and enjoy life. Yet most people spend a lot of time struggling with worry, anxiety and uncertainty. These are all forms of fear, which create stress. Yoga offers many tools like posture, breath and meditation to calm the body, mind, and emotions. But you can go beyond just managing stress to resolving it at its source, by simply sitting down and talking to your fear.

As uncomfortable as tense muscles and churning thoughts can be, they are not the problem. Anxiety is a wise friend, simply bringing your attention to the problem. Ignoring anxiety or just living with it keep you from seeing whatever it is that has disturbed your well-being. Whether that is immediate physical danger, the threat of a past trauma, or the anticipation of future harm, fear gives you access to the wisdom and inner-guidance needed to bring you to peace.

So spend some quality time in the counsel of this friend.

-Sit still and breathe deeply.

-Let all bothersome worries and concerns come forth. Calmly feel it all.

-Ask the feelings what the exact threat is. Ask again until it is specific and clear.

-Then ask this inner wisdom what will take care of this for you.

This simple way of working with your fear usually brings immediate relief, just by paying attention to the sensations. Try it regularly as a form of meditation, or as part of your practice.

You may discover stress-releasing truths such as, “I see that actually everything is just fine right now”; the fear was leftover or habitual. Permanent peace requires remembering and using this “updated” information.

Other times you may see something that needs to be said or done to regain or remain in your comfort zone. Take action on that valuable information, then your fear will leave you alone until it is needed again.  In this way you will one-at-a-time clear up all the accumulated disturbing situations in your life. When they are clear, you experience a deep peace called Soul.

Human life will always bring challenge and change. Consciously use your natural fear response as a message to come back to inner peace. It will help you solve all the small stuff. And from the vast perspective of Soul, IT’S ALL SMALL STUFF!

Sadness Opens the Heart

 
Sadness opens the Heart
Grief developed early in our evolutionary history along with our instincts to acquire
for survival. It is part of the drive to go get, hold on to, and protect something that is
needed. But since impermanence and change are the nature of creation, things will
always come and go. The seasons pass, youth moves into aging, good times end,
memories and friends fade, pets and loved ones die and are gone. All are recycled,
reborn, renewed or replaced, but grief doesn’t see that.
Healthy sadness and grieving are useful and needed to say goodbye, let go, move on,
heal and become whole again, When the process is blocked, we remain stuck “in the past”
and cannot move on, be present, and enjoy “what is.”
By longing for what is lost, grief and sadness make clear what is important to us. With
that clarity, we can move on to find more of the same from other sources, or adapt by
focusing on other important values.
For a self-guided meditation on grieving and loss, go to:
http://sensesofthesoul.com/grief-sadness/

Anger – Without Getting Burned

Anger- it’s how you stay safe and handle everything this big world brings. You’d be dead without it! Anger is a form of personal power, it’s the fire in the belly that burns food into movement and gets things done. Anger isn’t good or bad, it’s how you use it. History, including yours, is an education in the use of anger/power, which we experience in 3 forms: weakness, force, and flow.

Weakness:  Repressed Anger

You first learn about anger through its absence. Believing you have no power, you are taken advantage of and unable to take care of yourself. Without the energy of anger you’ll feel weak, incapable, helpless, victimized, and hopeless. But this lifeforce is always present. When repressed it emerges as resentment, passive aggression, and self-defeating behavior.

Safely access anger-power by strengthening your navel center with yoga, martial arts, exercise. Befriend it in therapy and meditation. Use it to express needs, make requests, and set healthy boundaries. Power and protection lie in using your voice, making choices, and taking action.

Force: Expressed Anger

From the first “No!” in the “terrible two’s” to the cruelty of tyrants, the discovery of Force is followed by the learning process of its use and abuse. Expressed as rage and violence, it damages and destroys. But harnessed as determination and drive it motivates effective action and accomplishment. By trial and error we learn that anger channeled into empowerment brings protection and peace. Learn to process it consciously by understanding what is bothering you, what you need, then taking action to handle it.

Flow: Higher Power

Conscious use of power brings high levels of wellbeing, contentment, and generosity to serve others.  Gratitude and humility follow, leading to the experience that power is not yours, but moves through you. Allowing the universe to take care of things brings access to the power that moves the galaxies. It cannot be gained by force, but is awakened by acceptance and trust in life’s flow.

What have you learned about anger/power in your life’s study? Using it ever more skillfully brings the ability to thrive within life’s challenges, and the ability to fulfill your purpose. That freedom is the magnificent gift of Anger. Use it wisely!

Do it Now! – Meditation for Eliminating Deep Inner Anger

Recommended reading: Power vs. Force by David R. Hawkins