Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Dealing with adversity and disturbing emotions by looking at the notion of impermanence.


Finding ourselves in difficult times or facing emotions that seem overwhelming can be shocking and scary.  If we can know that these times will not last; that they will pass and try to stand back and observe we can manage ourselves much better.  Here is a contemplation that will help in these times.

1.    In a comfortable seated position with the spine held straight bring the awareness to your body starting at the toes and feet and working upwards to the top of the head.  Then close your eyes.
2.    Start to feel and observe your natural flow of breath.  Then once you feel a little more settled and your mind begins to slow a little breathe deeply – longer inhalations and longer exhalations without force.  Try to breathe into the belly and draw in the belly on the out breath.
3.    Start to be aware of the outer sounds that surround you, notice how they are impermanent, they don’t last, how they come and go.  Concentrate on one sound then move to another and another etc. 
4.    Bring the attention through the senses – smell; are there any smells, do they last?  Is there any taste within the mouth; is it cool, warm or dry?  Any patterns or colours behind the closed eyes?  Then any feelings through the body any sensations?  Try to feel your energy by concentrating at the palms of your hands and hold the energy within your hands, becoming grateful for that energy.  You can also move on to the souls of your feet.  Watch any thoughts that come into your mind, do they last?  Observe them, see they are swift and come and go, they shift from one thought to another thought, just observe them like you are watching a movie of your thoughts.
5.    Contemplate on an object of desire that you can remember from time back or even your child hood, something you really wanted.  Something you may have worked hard for or saved for.  Think – where is it now?  Do you even remember?
6.    Contemplate on the impermanence of this object – does it bring you happiness now?  Contemplate on the impermanence of all things, time, experiences and feelings.  Think about trying to start to let go of the current feelings that are disturbing you or on material things that have passed, jobs, friends people that have come and gone from your life, places that you have lived.  Nothing is permanent.
7.    Observe once again your current situation or feelings and know that this too is not permanent, let go let go let go. 
8.    Once you have observed and know that this will pass lie back in savasana and relax through the whole body, the whole body, the whole body relax.
9.    Stay there for 10 minutes or even longer if you can.  When you are ready gently wake up the body by moving the toes and fingers and gently sit up.
10. Either silently or out loud start the Dhyana on OM – repeating Om for as long as you feel you need.  Tune yourself to OM.  Let Om comfort you and bring security and stability.

We all go through times of adversity at some stage – and there is nothing wrong with asking for help if you need it, in fact this shows strength and not a weakness.  Here are some valuable sites that can help.

Also please listen and join in with the chanting of OM here - https://soundcloud.com/nicola-zammit

Know that you are strong and you have courage and that you are a beautiful being.
Wishing you all shanti shanti shanti
Mangala / Nicky.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Life after Life.


‘Swami Vishnudevananda was known as the “flying swami,” not only because he was a peace missionary famous for his peace flights over borders and zones of conflict, but also because he flew to great heights in consciousness and delivered sublime teachings.

Swamiji’s teachings are alive and imprinted deeply in the consciousness of millions.  May his blessings always be upon us and that peace be unto the hearts of all.’       True World Order.

Swami Vishnudevananda was a very joyful being; he had conquered the afflictions of the mind, the things that bother us.  These being the fear of being unhappy, the fear of ignorance, the fear of death and our likes and dislikes.  Here are some of his teachings concerning life after life, to help us gain knowledge and understand concepts about loosing our body!

“This is the mistake we make in the West.  You think you are the body.  If that is so, what happens after death?  You’re buried.  I eat tomatoes.  What becomes of the tomatoes?  They change into my body.  And when I die you bury me and the tomato plant grows over me.  The tomato plant says, ‘You ate me once upon a time, so now I’m going to eat you,’ and you get a good tomato sauce from Swami Vishnu!
Now the next point is that we all worry about living.  But is there any life after death?  How do you know?  You haven’t been dead yet (chuckles).  But our life exists.  Now, would you like to die?  No.  Eventually.  But most people who died and were brought back, what did they say?  They’re happy to come back?  No.  A man who was struck by a lightning bolt had a good time on the other side, and was very angry when they brought him back.  He had a nice time.  He didn’t have to pay taxes; he didn’t have to worry about anything.  Now that they have brought him back he has to worry about the doctor’s medical bills.  Well, I almost died in Marbella in an accident.  I also didn’t want them to bring me back.

The yogi masters thousands of years ago realized that there is no such thing as death.  It is only a change of environment and consciousness.  Just like going from the waking state suddenly to dream state.  What did you change in the dream?  Just the experience of the body.  It’s not the physical body.  You can see, you can hear, you can taste, you can smell, you can eat, you can relax.  You have all the experiences, is it not so?  So after death also the environment is very similar.  For the house you want, naturally you don’t have to find the money for the mortgage.  You just concentrate on the things you want and then the building comes.”        Swami Vishnudevananda.

A bit like one day you may sit in one car and then the next day you may sit in another.

Have beautiful days everyone, 
Om Lokha Somastha Sukhino Bavantu
May all beings find balance, harmony and peace.
Om Shanti

Mangala / Nicky

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Powerful words, listen I try to listen.


I’m not sure of the author of these words but I know I needed to hear them today so thought I would share them here.
Om Namah Sivaya –

“You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you.  True power is sitting back and observing things with logic.  True power is restraint.  If words control you that means everyone else can control you.  Breathe and allow things to pass.”

“Whenever you can’t understand little Fawzia, then just wait and let it be.  You will find out that the answer will grow in you, just like desert flowers do.  They stay hidden beneath the sand for a long time and when the rains come, they suddenly sprout and the whole landscape becomes filled with their blossoming pride.  Everything grows effortlessly at the right time, one needs only to pay attention and listen carefully to recognize this moment.” 

No more words – just listen – prayers are for talking, meditation is for listening.  I am trying to listen listen and listen, no matter how painful the answers, I am trying to listen.

Om Namah Sivaya
Have beautiful times of listening

Mangala / Nicky

Friday, May 25, 2018

Trikonasana - my asana of the month


Trikonasana – the triangle pose is the last of the 12 basic asana practiced within the Sivananda sequence, and I love finishing with it and its variations.  This asana targets the areas that take the brunt of our insecurities strengthening our physical but also our emotional body.  It enables us to find space through the side of the body whilst firmly grounding us to the earth through our legs and feet.  We push downwards through the lower body whilst reaching to the side giving extension that encourages us to release emotions and encourage healing.  We can start to address the pain we might be carrying in the back as we also extend through the shoulders and neck, which are two other places we can accumulate tension.  We can start to combat unsteadiness by focusing on concentrated breathing and as we push into the earth more thus bringing stability.  Many of us live in various states of high frequency stress and these vibrations can build up in the hips, trikonasana is a very powerful tool to open up the hips and strengthen both physically, emotionally and energetically.
I love the variation of parvita trikonasana or revolved triangle as you can really feel that force of opposition as one hand is grounded to the earth and the other is lifting up to the sky through the fingertips.  In every posture it is possible to feel that opposition of forces but for me this really becomes powerful here as I breathe.  This variation brings more flexibility and increases our capabilities of balance.
In a nutshell I love Trikonasana and it is my chosen asana of the month, it helps me to stay calmer and more in control of emotions, it reaches out to the moon making her steady and increases self-awareness making us more mindful.  Through finding the space in this pose through the body, I also find space for the mind, a gap, a breath that deepens, a pause and a time for stillness in alignment with the universal energy both internally and externally.  To me through the practice and from the feeling I can fully understand why Sri Swami Sivananda places this asana at the end before final relaxation.  It grounds me and lifts me, allows the space I need to find to release me from the bondage of my mind before lying down into savasana.
Trikonasana – I love you!

Physical benefits –
1.The spinal nerves and abdominal organs are toned.
2.The digestive organs are stimulated giving better working condition of the bowels, assists digestion and improves on appetite.
3.The chest expands, opens and relaxes.
4.The liver and spleen are massaged and secrete more abundantly.
5.It keeps the spine elastic and amplifies the half spinal twist.
6.Promotes hip and leg flexibility.
7.General circulation will increase and be invigorated.
8.The body becomes lighter and you will find that if you practice this pose with integrity and determination your other asana will also improve.

Watch out for common mistakes such as bent knees, the head not in line with the spine and the upper arm is bent.

Practice with deep focused breathing, with mindfulness and slowly, the longer you hold the greater the benefits you will feel.  Become able to handle challenges whilst staying calm and relaxed.
Enjoy your beautiful triangles and become aligned to the stars.
Love from the heart
Mangala / Nicky