Thursday, December 17, 2015

Gaining a quiet, calm and peaceful mind in all situations.

“Man searches for happiness and shuns pain.  Even the most refined physical existence cannot guarantee everlasting happiness or a life without pain.  The root of all wellbeing lies in the mind.  Once the root is cared for, each leaf of the tree will grow.”  Swami Sivadasananda.

For all of us pain is coming at different stages of our lives and this can be in many shapes and forms, the mind can be in a constant battle with the body and with our Intellect, our emotions in constant battle with our wisdom.  The mind can be furiously quick to react to situations that occur around us without giving our intellect the opportunity to think about how best to react or indeed even to not react at all.  Words form quickly and sometimes we regret them coming out, the mind is buffeted by agitations.  To overcome our pains we must learn to quiet the mind, to be able to be contented in all situations the mind must be calm and peaceful, to find our true nature that of pure joy; the mind has to be tamed.  Many of us see that all our problems are the fault of others or of situations that surround us, thinking if only I lived in a different place things would be better, if only I had a different job, things would be better etc., this is wrong thinking.  Outside situations and objects will not bring lasting happiness only fleeting moments the real issue is with our own minds, and if we can learn to deal with it then we can find what is rightfully ours – lasting peace and contentment no matter what.  That sounds all well and good but how do we do that?  Lord Krishna gives us values as a means to this knowledge outlined within the Bhagavad Gita, a beautiful scripture for all of humanity that gives us the solutions to all the problems within this life.  Analysis of each one of these values shows that each one leads to the same – to attain a quiet, abiding, and peaceful mind;
Absence of pride – if you are happy with yourself then happiness does not depend on how others perceive you.
Unpretentiousness – presenting yourself as other than what you are will only bring problems.
Non-injury – respecting all life forms and causing no intentional injury to anything in deed, word and in our thoughts.
Accommodation – Accept and accommodate for your situation and those that surround you, take people and places for what they are, you will be disappointed if you want them to change.
Straightforwardness – bringing your hands, heart and tongue into harmony with each other will make you straightforward with no complications, simplicity can be so beautiful.
Service to your teachers – readiness to serve creates space to reduce the ego and emptying oneself allows you fill yourself with knowledge from a higher source. Knowledge brings light and peace.
Purity – having cleanliness both inwardly and outwardly brings alertness, alertness enables us to watch our lower emotions (jealousy etc.) and nip it in the bud!
Dispassion towards objects – not being a slave to something, for example if you like to have a coffee, then ok, but don’t become a slave to it.
Absence of Egoism – know that we never achieve anything completely by ourselves, recognize this and we become more humble.
Equanimity – being equal in mind to both success and failure, actually we could sometimes say that sometimes we have success and sometimes we learn.

When problems arise around us then I think the only way to resolve those problems is look within ourselves, or as Sadhguru states ‘The only way out is the way in!’  Even if the problem is coming form another person, that person is not going to change, but we can certainly change how we think and feel about that person, place or situation.  A wise man looks at everything as an opportunity. 

Wishing you all a beautiful festive season full of happiness, joy, love and Peace, finding all the sparkles that lie within you and that surround you.
Peace to all living entities and to Mother Earth.
Always Shanti OM Shanti Shanti.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Scrumptious Fruit Crumble and a Pose to aid Digestion

Serves 4
For the Filling –
4 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 large bananas peeled and sliced
4 tbsp raisens
1 tsp ground cinnamon
zest of ½ a lemon
For the topping –
100g rolled oats
75g wholewheat flour
50g organic butter
100ml of good organic honey or maple syrup  

1.    Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C, butter an ovenproof dish
2.    Mix all the filling ingredients together and place in the baking dish
3.    To make the topping, combine the oats and flour, heat the butter and honey until melted, stir the mixture into the oats and mix well and spoon the topping over the filling.
4.    Place in the oven and bake for about 50 minutes until the filling is soft but not too runny and topping is golden brown.
5.    Can serve with pure organic coconut milk for an added bonus!

We all love some sweet treats from time to time and this one is a pretty healthy one.  Eat with your friends and family and celebrate food together with this tasty and satisfying desert that is good for the soul.  Denying ourselves something sweet from time to time can be more damaging to our spirits than helpful, although we should try not to rely on these sweet moments to bring a smile to our hearts, that smile is already there, the sweetness of food may bring a fleeting moment of happiness but it is not lasting, true happiness is already within us and too much yummy sweetness just makes us feel unwell, but for now go on treat yourself with a little scrumptiousness!

If apples and bananas aren’t your thing then you can use any fruit either your favourite or what is in season is best, eating foods out of season isn’t good for the balance and harmony of the body with the earth.
Recipe from Yoga Your Home Companion printed by the Sivananda Vedanta Centre.

After eating sit in Vajrasana the thunderbolt pose, kneel on the floor with the knees together, the big toes are touching and the heels a little separated.  Lower the buttocks onto the inside surface of your feet, place the hands onto your thighs, the back and head should be straight but not tense, close the eyes and relax the arms and the whole body.  Breathe normally and fix your attention on your breath.  Sit for as long as you are comfortable, this posture increases the efficiency of the whole digestive system as well as other benefits but will aid the process of digestion after you have eaten.

 A little bit of soul food for beautiful shinning hearts!
With love and OM Shanti
Mangala / Nicky.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Forget this argument of not having time- Wonderful Words from Sadhguru.

I hear this oh so often - here is a wonderful response from SadhGuru; a realized master and yogi and one we should all listen to.
Question – ‘ I get up at 6.00am, hurry cooking, get the children ready, start by 8.30am to the office, come back from the office at 6.30pm.  Then freshen up the children, myself, cook food, homework and sleep.  In this hectic schedule where can I fit yoga into my life?’
SadhGuru – ‘ You get up at 6.00am and whatever time you go to bed, you have a busy day – where is the time for yoga?  You have time to eat, you have time to gossip, you have time to work and time to take care of everything but you have no time to take care of yourself, this is what you are telling me.  Now this attitude is like you are trying to act like a martyr and all the time saying I have no time for myself, I am giving myself totally to everybody, but what is it you are giving?  Your agitations, irritations, anxieties – passing it on to the children.  If you are really really concerned about your children, truly concerned about your children, creating a joyful and loving atmosphere for them is most important.  Not providing them with shiny boots or providing them better clothes or video games, not providing them with something else.  You creating an atmosphere for them of joy and love on a daily basis, moment-by-moment is more important than all the nonsense you are providing – isn’t it so?  Yes or No?  So what is your focus about life if you are able to manage your work, your children and everything then do it?  If you are unable to, then do what you can do, everybody can only do that much isn’t it.  You want to do everything in the world and that is the problem, you do everything in the world you will definitely go insane, how much you can do, each individual has to decide.  Somebody may be able to get up at 6am and do all those things joyfully, somebody else may not be able to; accordingly they have to adjust their life isn’t it.  You have gotten into all of this because it’s not what you want to do but you are trying to be like somebody else and that is your whole problem.  You want to have what others have got, you don’t know if you really need it or not, with all this work what you have earned, your children, you husband your wife or whatever are no more enjoying it - then why do you do all this?  All these things you created because you thought this is the source of your joy isn’t it, but right now that has become the source of your anxiety and misery – then you had better look at the fundamentals of your life.  You got educated, you found a job, you married, you produced children – all this for what?  Because you thought all this is going to be the source of your happiness and wellbeing, but now that is taking your life – if that is so, then you must look at it.  Now if you invest let us say even 30 minutes a day to do your yoga, you will see you will gain immensely even in the terms of time.  One first thing that will happen is your sleep requirement will come down, now if you are sleeping 8 hours a day, that means a 1/3rd of your life you are sleeping it off.  If your body and your mind are more energized and active your sleep quota will naturally come down, so if you gain 3-4 hours a day just in terms of wakefulness that is a huge thing.  Apart from that if your body and mind were more organized you would see - what I have found with people is with the simplest process of yoga within 6-8 weeks of practice that what they were able to achieve in 8 hours they can easily achieve in much less time, simply because if you observe yourself through the day; suppose we take a video of your whole day without you knowing you will notice how much unnecessary movement and unnecessary words and activities are happening in your life.  Do it one day, hire a cameraman and ask him to shoot you without you knowing about it.  You will see how many unnecessary things you are doing in one day.  If your mind becomes more organized these unnecessary actions and things will disappear, then once they go away you have a lot of time.  Then you have a whole 24 hours, we can do a lot in 24 hours if we are organized and focused human beings, we can do plenty in 24 hours.  If you are disorganized and unfocused you think there is no time – most of you are not busy you are just pre-occupied – isn’t it so?  There is too much pre-occupation in the mind.  Please invest this half an hour in a day, so get up at 5.30am and you will see the quality of your life will be very different, don’t go on with this argument “I have no time.”  Make time and see, it will make a huge difference.’

So get that old mat out, blow off the dust and get started, let us not waste any more time, the benefits are too delicious to miss! 
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti
Find your peace within
Mangala / Nicky.