When I say not to think, I mean that if you have a thought, think nothing of it.
"the disease of the mind is to set mind against mind."
If sitting still means eliminating the thought of moving, you may find meditation difficult—because the way to remove thoughts is to tighten muscles, and this makes sitting quite painful. Holding on to a thought, such as, "I am not going to move," also tightens muscles. This is what you are busy doing a good deal of the time, so if you are serious about releasing and calming the body and the mind, thoughts are going to be popping up one after the other. The trick is not to mind.
There is also the koan of daily life: Ask your thinking, "What is it you really want?" or "What is the most important point?" Any one of these activities can keep thinking occupied. In a sense, what you are doing is inviting your thinking to join you in meditation rather than trying to exclude it.
Experiencing remarkable improvement on a continual basis, it turns out, is a temporary stage. Realizing this puts us in touch with the truth of impermanence; remaining attached to the practice of our past creates suffering in us.
its inherent acknowledgement of the impermanence of each stage of life. There is wisdom in this awareness—not just because our lives do obviously and unavoidably change but, more important, because when we accept this fact as truth, we suffer so much less.
Without having an awareness of impermanence, we typically fall into one of two patterns: denial or depression.
if denial isn't a good fit with our personality, we may unconsciously turn away from the truth by feeling depressed or withdrawn from life.
When we forget the truth of impermanence, we forget the truth of life. Spiritual practice is about remembering that truth and then embracing it. In the past, I kept doing the laundry so it would finally be "done." Of course, it never gets done. Now when I look into the laundry basket, whether it is full or empty, I try to see it as an expression of what life is all about: moving through the different stages, surrendering to impermanence, and remembering to embrace it all.
To see if you have this misalignment, stand barelegged in front of a mirror. If your alignment is healthy, your kneecaps will point straight out over the midline of your feet. But you may find that your thighbone rotates inward in relation to your shinbone and that your kneecap points slightly inward, too. This position is bad news: It torques your knee, putting uneven pressure on the cartilage and straining the supporting ligaments and tendons every time you bend it.
It's no secret that strong feelings and experiences carry a lot of energy. Why else would people go to raves, become war correspondents, or provoke their lovers into screaming matches? But there's a big difference between using strong energy to feel more alive or to get high, and consciously using it to move deeper into our own essence. That movement is what the inner life is all about.
The Tantras invite us instead to turn our gaze around and investigate the energetic material inside a thought. To do this, we need to take our attention away from the content of the thought, to stop following where it leads, and instead look into the energy that the thought is made of, the actual substance of the thought itself.
It's not passion or sentimentality; it's not laced with desire or possessiveness. Rather, metta is a kind of unconditional well-wishing, an openhearted nurturing of ourselves and others just as we all are. And--most crucially--it's a quality that can be methodically cultivated through formal practice.
consciously infusing my yoga practice with lovingkindness has given me greater access to it throughout my life--even when my life is not going precisely the way I'd like. Metta practice helps us not just understand but feel that we are woven into a great web of relationships, which we can light up through the power of our attention. And it helps us shift our focus from getting love to creating it, from improving our bodies to cherishing them, and from fixing life to embracing it.
the perception of stress was more important than whether one was under the strain of caregiving or not
you realize that you don't have to respond to every urge you feel
You can detect stressors—what Buddhists call the spark before the flame—earlier, then pause long enough to think, 'Well, maybe I don't need to respond.'
Learning to watch your thoughts, rather than reacting to them, provides a whole other level of freedom
Intention—the formulation of what you want to happen—is created in silence, through contemplation. It's refreshed each time you return to it. Then, often without your knowing how it happens, the subtle power of intention will guide your actions and words, and gradually, almost invisibly, create change. The key is to keep acting from that stillness out of which the intention was formed.
The first of these is Chaturanga Dandasana: Lowering from Plank, students who lack sufficient strength in the arms, legs, and lower belly commonly wind up in a heap on the floor.
stepping the foot forward from Downward-Facing Dog back into Lunge
When practicing backbends it's not the depth of your backbend that matters. It's more important to distribute the curve evenly along the full length of the spine. This is difficult to do in Upward Dog because you're supporting the weight of your entire torso with your arms and legs. But don't be discouraged—Upward Dog strengthens your shoulders, arms, and abdomen, even if it's not your deepest backbend.
the key to supporting your weight in Upward Dog is to use your belly and legs to hold the pelvis stable.
it expands into oneness when [individual consciousnesses] are able to reflect back on each other." This mutual self-reflection, he goes on to say, happens when a group focuses as one—particularly in spiritual practice, but also during a performance of music or dance.
Part one: Seven Ways to Peace and Happiness
Nobody is so miserable as he who longs to be somebody and something other than the person he is in body and mind.
The biggest mistake people make in applying for jobs is in not being themselves.
Let's not waste a second worrying because we are not like other people.
Be the best of whatever you are!
to take up one problem at a time and come to a decision
let's forget about what the boss wants. Think only of what getting interested in your job will do for you.
We seldom think of what we have but always of what we lack.
You can answer the man who answers you back, but what can you say to the man who "just laughs"?
"This pose does not do anything useful" (judging the pose). Or we may inwardly judge the teacher. Finally, and probably most commonly, we think, "What's wrong with me that I cannot do this pose?" (judging ourselves).
When we use speech that expresses judgment, we limit ourselves and others. In this case, we limit ourselves by putting the pose, the teacher, or ourselves in a box, a box labeled "bad." We lose track of the fact that it is not the pose which is bad, nor the teacher, nor us. Rather, "bad" is an interpretation that arises within us. Whether we speak them out loud or silently, such judgments are not satya.
An alternative way to speak to ourselves about a difficult pose is to say, "I am having trouble with this pose right now." When we use speech this way, whether silently or out loud, a very different atmosphere for learning is created.
Practicing ahimsa means we take responsibility for our own harmful behavior and attempt to stop the harm caused by others. Being neutral is not the point. Practicing true ahimsa springs from the clear intention to act with clarity and love.
Researchers have found that eyewitnesses to an event are notoriously unreliable. The more adamant the witnesses are, the more inaccurate they tend to be.
to have integrity is to act in an honest manner when others are not around and will never know about our actions.
nonstealing. While commonly understood as not taking what is not ours, it can also mean not taking more than we need.
One way to sidestep the trap of greed is to follow the advice of the sages: Be happy with what you have.