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Once we heal our inside, everything else will heal!

Picture of 13 Grandmothers
Had an inkling that this would be a very good idea, an evening with the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers at Urban Zen, and that it would be an even better idea to bring Jonah, my almost 5-year old son. To see his face, full of awe, watching these women speak; to see his body move when the music and blessings commenced, was affirmation enough. The 13 Grandmothers, a Council of women from all over the world who descend every six months on one of their homelands, sink into every culture, honour it fully, and encourage the preservation of its wisdom. These women stand for our future, for the environment, for our children. They urge us to harvest good relations, so that we can experience love for our Creator and love for the beauty all around us.

Bernadette Ribenot, a grandmother from Gabon, said “Once we heal our inside, everything else will heal; I remain optimistic. Even when I think of the difficulties, I just face them. We speak for the cause of our children and grandchildren who are born into a world very different from the one we were once born into.”

Maria Alice Campos Freire, one of two grandmothers speaking remotely from the Brazilian Amazon, said “The prophecy of the 13 grandmothers is to shake the world awake. We might be late, but we are here. My hope is that a seed has been planted in everyone here tonight, watered and cultivated, ready to fight for something.”

Speaking of what she hoped people would take away from the event, Jyoti, a traveling ambassador for the Grandmothers and a co-founder of the Council, said, “I am always relieved to see people attending these events and learning from these women. I hope people take with them what the grandmothers are trying to tell us:

“We need to wake up and stand up for ourselves.”

For more details on the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers click here.

This article was originally posted by Elena Brower here. Reposted with permission.

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Delicious Cycle

Delicious Cycle

http://xkcd.com/140/

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You Are Free!

Picture of Sophie Herbert

Sophie Herbert


Your smile proves that you are not a colony, that you have sovereignty over yourself, that you are doing your best… Events carry us away, and we lose ourselves. Walking meditation helps us regain our sovereignty, our liberty as a human being. We walk with grace and dignity, like an emperor, like a lion. Each step is life. —Thich Nhat Hanh

Every few days, I share a favorite quote on my Facebook page. Recently, I posted a quote about the gift of sitting in stillness by Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Soon after, a friend recommended his book The Long Road Turns to Joy. Ironically, this beautiful little book had been sitting on my shelf unread for years. It resurfaced during my recent move only days before. While this brilliant work is a guide to walking meditation, much of it’s content can be applied to almost all aspects of life.

I rediscovered this book at a perfect time. Over the past month, I’ve been moving forward after having to end a long-term relationship that meant very much to me. Throughout this transition, I’ve been actively contemplating personal sovereignty.

How can I continue to work towards this centered, autonomous state where one is less dependent on external factors for happiness (people/relationships, objects, substances, you name it!)? How do we maintain this independent place where we become more effective and fulfilled by grasping less and less? How do we remember our self-worth and infinite source of inner satisfaction? How do we find the strength to say, “This soon will pass” when things don’t go according to plan?

I know! These are big questions! What we must remind ourselves of, however, is that great change and growth comes slowly but surely, through working in gradual yet consistent increments. Here are a few simple techniques that everyone can do to begin to work towards greater personal sovereignty.

Daily seated meditation or walking meditation help us tap into our inner wisdom bit by bit. All that takes is a few minutes, commitment, and enthusiasm. A simple gratitude practice each morning can also be transformative. Give thanks for your breath, body, mind, and social/physical opportunity. You can even do this as your make your morning cup of joe or tea…

Something else that has been invaluable to me? Smiling… even just a tiny bit, anywhere, at anytime. To share one more quote of Thich Nhat Hanh’s, “As you make the effort to let go of your worries and anxieties, please smile. It may be just the beginning of a smile, but keep it there on your lips… The half-smile is the fruit of your awareness that you are here, alive, walking. At the same time, it nurtures more peace and joy within you.”

Remember, there is no overnight metamorphosis. Likewise, the path towards self-investigation is far from level. We must embrace the challenges and remember, to the best of our advantage, that clarity and happiness will ensue.

I hope Thich Nhat Hanh’s wise quotes help shape your day!

Sophie Herbert is an alignment focused yoga teacher (and perpetual student), a singer-songwriter, and a visual artist. She has lived, studied, and volunteered extensively in India; teaches yoga in Brooklyn and Manhattan; and recently released her first full-length album, “Take a Clear Look.” Please visit her website at SophieHerbert.com.

Reposted with permission. This is the original post.

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Yoga gives substance abusers a way to reconnect with their bodies

Nikki Meyer

Nikki Meyer


For many local yoga enthusiasts, Nikki Myers is the woman who helps them live balanced, more fulfilled lives. Life for Myers, however, hasn’t always been so harmonious.

The fast life, including drugs, alcohol and mismatched relationships with men, kept her from finding the balance that yoga now provides for a significant portion of her life.

Myers, 57, owner and executive director of CITYOGA, believes that yoga — the union between mind, body and spirit — was a miracle that kept waiting to happen for her.

She recently shared details of her personal journey to peace and prosperity. (The original interview is reposted below with permission.)

You’re very passionate about yoga. Where does that come from?

I was first attracted to yoga in the early ’70s when it was going through one of the first waves of popularity, and I immediately fell in love with it. (Then) I became distracted with men, alcohol and drugs, and I lived an at-risk (lifestyle) from the ages of 16 to 34.

I’ve been married multiple times, first when I very young (at 17). There was abuse and domestic violence and ultimately, I ended up raising my children as a single mother.

I was drawn back to yoga in the early ’90s during a battle with . . . sciatica, which affects your back and mobility. My physician treated the illness with pain-relieving drugs, but she recommended that I practice yoga as a long-term solution. From there, I found a good yoga teacher and class (when I lived in) Boston, and I’ve been able to manage the pain ever since.

I wanted to learn more about the spiritual and philosophical parts of yoga. And my teacher, who taught yoga in inner-city schools, used to go to India to study, and I would sub her classes while she was gone. The students were of the at-risk population, and yoga made them relaxed and attentive.When I saw the effects that yoga had on the kids, I got really into it and wanted to share yoga with more minorities.

What is CITYOGA? Continue reading

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Two Faces Of Reality

Picture of two faces We are at war with ourselves and with each other. Because of this conflict human potential is not reached. So the question becomes: what is the root of our conflict? Understanding this will help us become more successful in the long run both as individuals and as a society.

Some of our inner conflict can be traced to the war between the scientific world-view and the spiritual world-view. The scientific view is based on verifiable facts that exist in space and time. Things in this realm are measurable and describable, and amenable to logic or logos. The spiritual view on the other hand is based on a deeper reality that is not accessible to language and logic. This is not directly describable and poetry and myths or mythos are used to talk about it.

It is almost as if reality is split into two independent sections. One aspect is in space-time and describable by logos while another aspect is deeper and beyond space-time and mythos is used to describe it. Reality itself is not split. It is whole. It is our ability to comprehend that has limitations. This makes it appear as if some parts of reality are unreachable. It is as if evolution has fashioned a filter that takes as “useful” only those aspects of reality that are directly relevant for survival. This filter blinds us to all other aspects of reality that evolution found irrelevant to survival. This means that the reality referred to by logos is a small subset of the greater reality that is the domain of mythos.

Since reality is one and not split we cannot just rely on either just mythos or just logos. We need both. Mythos gives us meaning. It also provides us with tools to understand via poetry, metaphors, and myths, deeper aspects of reality that would otherwise be unreachable. Mythos provides us the means to survive as a species in the face of what appears on the surface as a cold and uncaring universe.

Logos provides us with tools that help our immediate survival and provide us with material comforts. Logos provides us with language and logic to fashion rules that take the deeper spiritual insights provided by mythos and turn these into laws that drive our daily conduct. Logos provides us with an ability to create evidence based, verifiable, non-subjective systems.

Logos is cold hearted and sees nothing special in life or love. Mythos on the other hand sees these to be the very vital aspects of reality. Logos puts us in an ego-centered selfish mode. Mythos turns us into selfless and loving creatures looking out for the greater good. Logos gives us material comfort while mythos helps end suffering. Logos takes care of our physical well-being while mythos does the same for our spiritual well-being. Logos creates conditions for our short term survival as a species while mythos ensures our long-term survival. This is because mythos provides us insight into deeper spiritual truths. Our moral and ethical codes arise from these deeper truths. These are what allow us to function as a society and on whom our long term survival depends. The collapse of mythos can lead to collapse of societies and threaten our very survival as a successful species.

Since we are immersed in space-time reality, it is easy to give more emphasis to logos over mythos. When this happen we either take our myths too literally or we dismiss them as meaningless. This either leads to dogma and fundamentalism, or to atheism. This is at the heart of our problems. The tilt towards relying too much on logos is at the root of our inability to solve the challenges we face today, in spite of the technological progress we have made. Over-reliance on logos cuts us off from mythos and creates ego-driven individuals and societies. Instead of love and cooperation, our lives are filled with disconnected individualism that drives us to dominate and is the cause of discord. All our scientific progress now becomes dangerous and destabilizing rather than a source of solution and peace.

Saints and prophets, both ancient and modern, have warned us against this. Every verse of the Quran is called an ayah (or parable) for this reason. Similarly St. Augustine insisted that aspects of Bible that seemed improbable from the literal sense should be interpreted allegorically. Lord Buddha refused to even talk about God for this reason as he was not willing to take God’s transcendence and bring it down into the domain of logos, only to be misunderstood or misinterpreted.

The challenge before humans is not economical, nor is it scientific or technological. Our challenge is to find the balance between mythos and logos. If we are able to strike this balance, humans will not only be able to enjoy the material comfort provided by our advances in science and other fields, but we shall also be able to gain new spiritual insights and live our lives in the bliss and joy deep spiritual communion with our deeper essence.

Credits:This has been written by Raj Shah and edited by Ketna Shah.

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