Archives for category: surrender

During a time of great transition how do you preserve your peace of mind?

This period in my life seems to be asking me this question. Here is my answer.

I have meditated every morning since I have been back in Brooklyn. Most days I have practiced pranayama and asana. I practice a variety of techniques to uplift and focus my thoughts and emotions. I have stayed connected and have reconnected with people and groups of people who feel supportive to me and who focus on the positive and finding solutions. To overcome both joint and emotional pain I have been taking supplements and eating foods that I find balance my body and brain chemistry.

I spend a lot of time researching various subjects on the computer and keep myself entertained nightly on a budget with Netflix streaming.

I continue to read to acquire the knowledge needed to make changes in my life in the arenas of spirit and matter, and in matters financial. I ask for help from those who have more experience than me.

I surrender to the “What Is” of my life on a daily basis, offering gratitude in thought and feeling for all that is there to support me.

How is it working?

Emotions are settling down and thoughts arrive more slowly which allows time for processing.

This is the time of the Turtle in my life: slow, un-rushed with a lot of pauses and very little looking backwards, lest I lose my way forward.

For more about the qualities and virtues of the Turtle and times of transition go to:

http://morningstar.netfirms.com/turtle.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXvzoH3aYZs

Peace

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Today I rode my new-used bike in Prospect Park to go to the bank. As of June 12, 2012 I am officially car-free! The other day to get my feline Bebe’s records, I rode to the Vet in a neighborhood that I would always drive to and suffer looking for parking. Riding on one of the many bike paths to get there was a joy! Bikes create sukha (good space) in Brooklyn!

Getting around on a bike is soooooo much more enjoyable than driving a car. On a late Spring, June day like today, it is positively heaven. There are the smells of fresh mown grass in the park and the sweet scent of trees in blossom all around.

Right now I am sitting at my favorite spot near some water falls right off the path near Long Meadow in the park. There is a new bench (dedicated to Sara E. Campbell, 1975-2010) in the perfect spot to hear the water falling and the birds singing. I am watching a small red cardinal and a red breasted robin forage for food.

At the ashram I felt very connected to the many birds that lived there including two chickens. Crazy Henrietta and baby Chick Chick must have escaped from their coop on the property next door. They must have figured out they were safe at an ashram where all be meals are vegetarian. Safe and well-fed! Besides lots of left over homemade bread crumbs, we gave Chick Chick grain from the kitchen.

There are other ways i have become more green since the return to Brooklyn. I have not bought any paper towels. In the kitchen at the ashram we used cloths for clean up. Throwing a few cloths into the laundry I would already be washing seems much more Earth-friendly. Not to mention more cost effective.

There is still a lot more I can do. One of the biggest personal consumptions I became aware of while living in a tent was electricity. I used very little there: a lamp, a fan, a laptop. Back at home as I was clearing out “stuff” I found a large assortment of no longer used electrical devices and a box of orphaned adapters. I notice how many electrical outlets there are in my home. And how many things are plugged into them. And where does the power come from? Basically oil.

So though riding a bike instead of driving a car is one giant step for the return of green on the planet, I have many miles to go to becoming the deep shade of green that I like.

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Teresa Durga Divadas Schoendorf

Since I have been back in my Brooklyn apartment I have meditated and chanted and done pranayama and asana as a first priority, daily. The responsibility of owning an apartment in a coop in New York City and being on the coop Board can feel very heavy. Before I left Brooklyn last January to live in the ashram I wanted to meditate and chant and do pranayama and asana daily, but I could not. I was not connected. I did not have the inner strength. I did not have the support. I did not feel any power.

In my mind the choice to live in the Bahamas for an extended time was financial and spiritual. I wanted to lower my cost of living–thereby lightening the load in order to be able to deepen my yoga practice. I also wanted to learn how to do service, to understand what it means to do service.

While living in the ashram doing Karma Yoga I realized just how hard it is to do service. I found out in my first Karma Yoga position that doing service can mean giving up control–to someone else who has the power (and the right) to tell you what to do.Yikes! And just how did this person get the power and the right? Because she had given up control to be of service on a larger scale in service of the ashram. No one who lives in the ashram gets paid any money. Everyone from the top down is doing service to keep the ashram running. That means offering satsanga twice daily, offering programs with international lectures and performers year-round, offering accommodations that include two vegetarian meals daily. An ashram is run by people who are doing service as spiritual practice.

I began to understand that doing service meant acting from a place without any thought of personal gain. To “do” not in order to get something like approval or money or favors or goodies. Just to “do” because someone has asked you to “do”. Doing service is about letting go of your own sense of “doership.” It is about “doing” as a part of a spiritual practice, i.e. doing for the the greater good of all. To serve you must rid yourself of all personal preference. It is not about you. It is about what is needed. And when you do this, it is easy. When you stop trying to control and just be with whatever is happening each moment, to the best of your ability, a certain weight falls away. There are no decisions to be made beyond each moment so a lot of thinking subsides. The mind gets quieter. The breath calms. The body becomes more at ease.

Each time I meditate I honor the spiritual initiation I accepted at the ashram. Meditation is in itself an act of surrender. I surrender to each moment to be with whatever is in my own mind,  with loving kindness in every breath–even when the vrittis (thoughts) are running wild!

Power, I am discovering, comes from letting go, from surrendering to what is happening in my life–in each moment. And to having an attitude to be of service to the duties that are being presented. We think we have chosen. Actually, it has all been chosen for us in order to help us awaken to who we really are: eternal existence, knowledge and bliss.

PS The first coop Board meeting of the 2012-13 term went very well. I followed my own directive as the new President and presiding chair to begin with a moment of silence (my heart was pounding in this moment and I had to gather all of my strength to focus on the Om Tryambakam mantra). I facilitated by keeping order and listening to the other members of the Board, only speaking at the end of discussion on each issue. We accomplished what we needed to and ended only 10 minutes over the hour time frame we had established. Jaya! (Victory)

Peace