New Year’s Tantric Dance

Hot and cold. Tired and Awake. Weak and Strong.
Past, present, future and the Eternal Moment.
This is the reconciliation of opposites.

I am a rainbow of infinite awareness
stretching out in and as all the worlds.
I am the mind focusing on and experiencing
God and soul.
I am you. I am me.
I am everyone. I am no one.

I hear the screams of carrots ripped from
their cozy earthen beds.
I hear the belly of the body
rumble with hunger.
Everything eats.
Yet no one is eating.

The pain of being finite
Leads to the ecstasy of infinity
If we let go of Me
Then the dance
Guides the dancer
Now Free.

waterdancing

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Jenna

 

20 Second Meditation Technique

When I visited my family over Thanksgiving, my 12-year old niece wanted to learn how to meditate. The morning before our little class, she was having a rough day. Although she was feeling grumpy, she still was excited to learn. I shared with her this very simple 3 breath meditation technique. Her face lit up with a big smile and her mind was completely blown by the concept that she could shift so rapidly and with such ease. My wish is this technique do the same for you.

Enjoy the video!

Peace Within

Abandon ill-will and hate
Abandon envy and greed
Abandon anger and sorrow
Abandon ignorance and delusion
Abandon all these like a sinking ship
For that’s what they are
Bloated with self-importance
They will drag you down to
the depths of suffering.

Cultivate Gratitude and Loving-Kindness
Be neither attracted nor repulsed
And rest in equanimity
Develop altruistic joy and compassion
Move beyond pleasure and pain
And discover Peace within

buddhas-670573_1920

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THANK YOU!

Jenna

 

Meeting the Master – An Excerpt from Worlds of Power, Worlds of Light

On Friday night, I discovered the Mark Hopkins is one of San Francisco’s most glorious hotels. It sits on top of Nob Hill, rising above the city lights like a castle. The 19th century architecture, with the intricate carvings on the archways, appeared like an entrance to a fairy tale land. The grand doorway towered above me; never before had I been invited to a place so magnificent.

As Katey and I turned the corner into the banquet hall, my self-confidence dropped at the sight of hundreds of elegantly dressed people. None of the weddings or other dinner parties I had attended had ever been this fancy. My long flowered skirt and cheap blazer stood out in the crowd, but I was too confused to feel embarrassed. I couldn’t understand why a bunch of rich business people were attending a lecture on meditation. The overwhelming wealth of the hotel made me suspicious. I kept asking myself weren’t spiritual people supposed to use their money to help the poor, not on fancy dinners? Tara’s black ball gown seemed like a bit much even for this banquet room, but she was paying for my dinner, so what could I say?

Katey started off to meet the others, so I followed, listening to snatches of the conversations. I had expected to hear a roomful of miserable people looking for the answers to all of life’s problems. Instead, the business people in this room were discussing one exciting project or another, smiling as if they had touched ecstasy.

Katey and I met the other students from Tara’s class, and we sat down together at a table in the back of the room. I was disappointed that we were so far from the stage. I wanted to get a good look at Rama, since everyone was so excited to see him but refused to tell me anything about him when I asked. While eating dinner, we chatted about the weather and the classes some of us were taking at college. I couldn’t help noticing the tension in the room; it was like waiting for a bomb to go off.

The waiters were clearing the dessert dishes when Rama strolled in, with a briefcase in one hand and a long leather coat draped over the other. Although Tara had not mentioned what he looked like, I had expected an elderly Japanese man wearing an ocher robe. Instead Rama turned out to be a middle-aged Caucasian man, just over six feet tall, with blond curly hair and dressed in an Armani suit. As he stepped onto the platform stage set up at the far end of the banquet hall, everyone turned their chairs to face him. When I turned towards him, there was a clear aisle from my chair straight to center stage.

I watched Rama closely as he crossed his legs into the lotus position. A grace and ease accompanied his motions, as if he had performed this ritual thousands of times. My gaze kept returning to his eyes. I was positive I had never seen him before, but there was something about him that was strangely familiar.

“Tonight I’d like to talk with you about reincarnation,” said Rama, as a mischievous grin crossed his face, reminding me of the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland. “The good news is we live forever. And the bad news is, we live forever.” Rama looked around at the smiles in the audience, and began again with a more serious tone.

“Life is the joining of the infinite and the finite. The eternal part of us appears in the physical world, has experiences, and then the physical part falls away when we die. While in the body, the spirit plays out its karma. That is, it continues to follow the patterns of its previous lives, changing and growing until the body dies.

“At death, the material world falls away and the spirit takes a break. The spirit takes with it the awareness it has gained during the life experience. Whatever we become conscious of becomes embedded into our nature, and those skills carry from life to life.”

I relaxed in my chair, forgetting about my appearance for the first time that evening. I took a sip of my coffee as I concentrated on his words.

“For example, if you studied karate in a past life, you would probably be drawn to study it in this life. In the beginning, you would have to relearn the basics. Once you had the basics down, you would tap into your past life knowledge and you would progress much faster than someone who was new to the study of karate.

“The same is true in the study of self-discovery,” he continued, closing his eyes as his melodious voice spread through the room. “When you increase your awareness through meditation, or expand your consciousness through self-discovery, that knowledge travels with you from life to life. Karma propels us to continue with the actions we began in the previous moments. So most of you here have studied meditation in previous lives. By picking up the study again in this life, you can very quickly get back to where you left off and start exploring new areas.

“The process of reincarnation is very similar to going to school,” explained Rama, glancing around the banquet hall. “Someone in eighth grade is not any better than someone in third grade. It just means the student in eighth grade has had more experiences and hopefully knows more. In time, the third-grader will be in eighth grade. And also like school, there is a summer vacation, when the body dies and the spirit takes a break until it is born again.

“When you meditate, you may begin to remember your past lives. This generally happens to people in their twenties, but sometimes people are younger or older. It really depends on how open and aware you are. However, remembering the particulars of who you were or what you did in a previous life really isn’t very important.

“Buddhists use these recollections as a way to learn how to live better today. You can’t change the past; it doesn’t exist anymore. So it’s important not to get hung up on remembering your past lives. If you see stuff when you meditate, it’s best just to ignore it. Don’t let anything distract you from silencing your mind and seeking light.”

Rama pulled out a pair of sunglasses from his jacket and asked us to sit up straight so we could meditate. He put on a CD by Zazen, a band he had created with some of his students, and asked everyone to focus on him.

I gazed at him with half-closed eyes, letting the music fill my ears. The people in the room disappeared, and I could feel Rama’s energy inside my mind as if he was behind my forehead, in my third eye. At first, I tried to shut him out because I was afraid. I didn’t really like the idea of someone in my head, even if he was a respected spiritual teacher. Rama was persistent but not intrusive; instead he became like a vapor and slipped in through the cracks. I could feel him communicating with me telepathically. There were no words, only a soothing feeling, letting me know I was not in any danger. His energy, soft and delicate like a rose petal, shone before me like a rainbow. I knew this feeling of meditation with him, and felt a deeper love for this being, this essence, than I had ever felt for anything else in life.

We bowed after the meditation, and when I looked up, directly at Rama, he smiled back at me. From across the room his eyes sparkled like diamonds as they met mine, and I knew I would see him again as my teacher.

 

If you enjoyed this excerpt, you can read more about my adventures with Rama and the study of meditation in my book, Worlds of Power, Worlds of Light.

Worlds_of_Power,_Wor_Cover_for_Kindle

Four Buddhist Truths Learned from Chronic Pain

1. Everything is Transient

During my last pain flare, for over a week I lived with the feeling of two nails shoved in my eyes, causing an intense headache. It would be easy to say the pain was constant since it bothered me enough to interrupt my activity several times a day. However, if I remain fully present with my body during these times, I notice how the pain waxes and wanes, even during a full body pain flare.

I’ve found this to be true of all the types of pain and fatigue I experience. As I expand my awareness out from the body, I see the truth of impermanence in all aspects of life.

 

2. Suffering is caused by Attachment

When the pain forces my body to shut down and all I can do is lie on the couch, I watch my mind as it grapples with the situation. If I remain attached to getting up and being active, there is great suffering when the body refuses to cooperate. If I let go of the attachment and instead observe what is, there is pain and discomfort but no suffering. It is as if a large weight is removed and I can simply be with the pain as it changes form with every breath.

I watch how at times we all cling to ideas of how we think it should be – whatever the situation – and how this attachment blinds and separates us from what really is here now.

 

3. There is Always a Way Out

Intractable pain feels like being a tiny cage with no escape. It can overwhelm the attention to the point where there’s no other point of focus. At level 10 on the pain scale, the body collapses and the mind shuts down – the way out is the autonomic response beyond our conscious control. At any level below 10, we can find the way out by focusing our mind.

Once we realize this, we have many choices:
– increase our suffering by focusing on our attachment,
– escape through the power of imagination,
– distraction either physically by introducing different sensations or mentally through visual or auditory stimulation,
– or conscious observation of the qualities of pain through the lens of detachment.

Sensorial distraction may include a tens unit, massage, petting an animal, listening to music, or watching a movie. Conscious observation with detachment may include reminding ourselves I am not this fragile body and all of this is merely sensations passing through my awareness field. Throughout the years, I have applied all of these methods to find my way out of the tiny cage.

In my dealings with others, and in my own pre-pain personal experience, I’ve seen how we find ourselves feeling trapped by a situation over which we have no direct control, yet there is always a way out of that feeling of helplessness by taking control the one place we always can: the focus of the mind.

 

4. Meditation Makes Finding the Way Out Easier

Practicing meditation makes the mind stronger, and thus allows us to gain control of our focus in the most trying of circumstances. I could write paragraph after paragraph with examples of how myself and others have benefited from meditation and share many studies revealing the power of meditation, but this is the one Truth you’ll have to prove for yourself.

JennaDesertViewTower

 

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THANK YOU!

Jenna

 

Mammograms, Ropes, and Snakes

When your entire body hurts all the time, and the breast soreness becomes intense with each hormonal cycle, it’s natural to avoid things that increase pain. So I put off my mammogram for what I thought was 2 years, but turned out to be 3. The day after the test, I happened to have a follow up with my doctor, so she gave me a print out of the report and said the radiology department would be calling me back for more boob squishing. I didn’t think anything of it and focused on the more pressing issues of discussing options to treat the Endometriosis that has been getting progressively worse. We decided on another trial of Femara, this time taking the estrogen blocker for part of the month instead of every day and unleashing the dreaded hot flashes. (Ironically, Femara was originally sold as a breast cancer drug.)

As promised, the radiology department called in the morning to schedule the additional mammogram and breast ultrasound. I had looked up “new asymmetry on the right axillary tail” so I know there’s a good chance the abnormality is simply a shadow. I made the appointment for next week and told the woman on the phone, “it’s probably just a shadow.” She didn’t comment.

I finished getting dressed and thoughts about the upcoming test unleashed a wave of wistful sadness as I considered the potential changes to this body. Just then the wind howled and was answered by the baying of all the neighborhood dogs. They howled and yelped as if to say: “Don’t worry, you are not alone.” The sadness dissolved into gratitude for this body and the life it has lived.

Through my spiritual practice, I’ve become accustom to watching my mind. I notice the random thoughts that pass through, the moods and feelings, basically all the good, bad, ugly, and beautiful things that arise and fall away. Staying centered in the present moment, this practice of mindfulness has allowed me to both witness and fully experience the entire range of options available to humans.

rope-948677_640As I went on with my day, I watched my thoughts return to the abnormal mammogram. The classic example of Ignorance offered by Shankara played out in my head. In a dark corner, there is a coiled shape. We don’t know if it’s a rope or a snake. And if it is a snake, we don’t know if it’s a dangerous snake. If we pretend it’s a rope, then we could invite great danger through our mistake. If we pretend it’s a snake, then we could freak out in fear and waste energy over nothing. All we can do is remain calm and open while we seek more information.basilisk-rattlesnake-7303_640

I noticed over and over I kept telling myself, “it’s probably just a shadow.” Then it hit me: I was facing denial. I laughed and reminded myself I had no way of knowing until the next test. And at that time, I would deal with whatever needed to be done.

It seemed within minutes, my mind switched gears and hit anger. I realized there was still some deep resentment I held towards my body. It became sick and disabled when I was 28 years old, right at the age when I was prepared to make millions as a computer consultant. My illness cost me friends, money, and endless adventures and instead gave me tears, exhaustion, and pain – lots of pain. It also gave me the motivation to work my spiritual practice on deeper levels than I could have imagined. I spent time sitting with my body, apologizing for my anger and showering it with gentle gratitude for the immense strength it has despite all its challenges. I also scanned my attention for any external resentment. Within my mind, I asked all those people for forgiveness for any harm caused by my anger and let it all drop away.

As I chopped green onions for lunch, I caught myself bargaining. “I’ll eat better, with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables,” I promised. Immediately my blatant honesty kicked in and said, “No you won’t. You’ll do what you do, and eat what you want. And that’s OK.” The bargaining stopped right there.

Later in the day, as if out of nowhere, the depression hit like an avalanche. Although I’m familiar with the stages of grief, I wasn’t expecting it. As first I was confused. I thought perhaps the sadness arose from all the horrific stories on Facebook I had been reading. But my practice demands that I look, and look deeply.

I watched the mind cycle through its thoughts. It wasn’t death that brought me to sorrow; to me death is a natural part of life and although I miss those who have gone, I feel no fear or sadness at the thought of the death of my own body. The sorrow that arose came about at the thought of the decisions to be made and all that my husband and I would have to go through if it does turn out to be cancer.

I thought of the unknown form coiled in the corner and smiled from the calm of the present moment. The appointment has been made, so there is nothing more to be done right now. The report says “Incomplete” and that is all I know for sure. The sun will set tonight, and it will most likely rise tomorrow. There are piles of projects on my desk, and I’m excited to see what I can accomplish in this beautiful body. And when the tests are done next week, then I’ll know whether the form in the dark corner is a rope or a snake and I will deal with it accordingly.

I’m sharing this with you today because I know there are millions of us waiting for the results that will tell us if the coiled shape in our dark corner is a harmless rope or a deadly snake. Once we have done everything we can to discover the information, we can only wait for the Light. And in these moments of being with the Unknown, we can let the wind and the howling dogs remind us we are not alone.

dog-moon-howl-647533_640

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7/12/16 – UPDATE

First, the news: It was a rope! The radiologist told me the change they spotted was a simple lymph node that did not appear on my previous scans, probably because of its position close to my armpit. They want me to come back in 6 months to make sure it doesn’t grow or change in any way, so there will be more squishing sooner than I like, but it is worth it.

Next, I want to say a big THANK YOU! to my sweet husband, who took time off from work to go with me for my tests. Having him there was a huge comfort, especially when I watched the ultrasound technician taking many pictures of a round blob. And a big THANK YOU! to those of you who left comments, sent emails and texts and phone calls and who inwardly sent beautiful healing energy. I feel so completely supported, and I am humbled by your kindness and your love.

I know sitting with the Unknown is a challenge to which many of us relate. While I was sitting with my own unknown this week, I was reading Stephen King’s The Colorado Kid and came across this line: “…we poor humans are wired up to always think the worst is gonna happen because it so rarely does. Then what’s only lousy seems okay – almost good, in fact – and we can cope just fine.” The truth of this strikes me even deeper now; I had hoped what they saw was a shadow and that would be the end of it and I could go back to skipping mammograms. But it being a lymph node in need of watching actually is good in scheme of things.

Remembering Shankara’s example of the rope and the snake allowed me to let go of that tendency to think about the worst, and saved me from wasting hours of doing research on things I don’t need to know about right now. It let me avoid being sucked into fear and instead, I worked on the projects I wanted to focus on out of love.

My wish is for those of you who are reading this is that with whatever issue has taken on the form of a coiled shape in a dark corner, you also are able to remember that it is safe to let the Unknown be Unknown for however long it takes to get a light shining in that corner. You are not alone with the Unknown, and while you are waiting, you are allowed to go on with your life, having fun exploring this magical world.

Please continue to share this post with anyone who may benefit.

This beautiful butterfly enjoying the flowers greeted us as we came out of the hospital; a wonderful reminder of the endless transformations we all experience each day!

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THANK YOU!

Jenna

Always More in Arches and Enlightenment

 

Enlightenment goes on forever. There is always more to explore in the endless play of consciousness. During my second trip to Arches National Park, this became even more evident.

Three years ago on my first visit to this special place of power, Enlightenment awakened and I was reborn as Isis. The energy of the Mother flowed through me and I dissolved, and along with it all doubt and any need for validation. The infinite Happiness and Peace I had chased for most of my life became a permanent state of being. Even when annoyed with the trials and tribulations of daily living, unreasonable joy permeates through my mind as if teasing my ego, constantly revealing the truth of non-dual Reality.

On this year’s retreat, a group of fellow students on the Path met me in Utah. Opposition greeted each of us on our journey; however we all made it to the little town of Moab by sunset. Over the course of the weekend, we explored Arches, discovering places I had not found on my first visit. Even now there are many more areas to visit; like Enlightenment, there is always more in Arches!

On our first walk to Broken Arch, dozens of blooming prickly pear cacti greeted us withBrokenArch yellow and ppurple-flower-cactusurple flowers. At the Arch, we sat on a shaded flat area as the wind began the first of many sand-blasting
purifications. The stress of the opposition we faced in our travels disappeared, leaving only shining joy. The world, with all of its worries and plans and schemes fell away from each of us. The energy of the Mother supported us, hugging and cradling us in her arms, fully accepting all aspects of our being.

That night, we visited what I call the Temple of the Eye. Steps lead up to a massive Arch overlooking the valley and facing another Arch, which appears like a portal with a river of pure creation pouring forth from its opening. As we began our walk up, I asked if the others were ready to see God. We meditated well past midnight as the clouds played with the moon and stars. At one point, the clouds parted, leaving a hole the same shape as the Arch we sat under. Stars twinkled through this sky eye like tiny pupils reacting to light.EyeSteps

As I focused on each chakra, I observed the movement from unity to individuality and back to unity. When I had trouble observing the third eye, I realized the eye cannot see itself. The earth, moon, and stars were my body and the wind my breath. Without a mirror, I could not see Myself, so I moved on to the crown. Waves of emotion pulsated through me, bringing tears of joy to my eyes as I felt all of this as me; I was being reborn thousands of times in an instant.

At some point during all of this, God appeared in the form of four women who were laughing and giggling at first, but grew quiet as they approached. Startled yet relieved, one of them spoke with me about how they were feeling some fear about being there alone in the dark. I told them we were meditating and enjoying the wind. One of them apologized for disturbing the peace and I laughed, saying “not at all.” We were one, and I loved the play of creation standing before me. Some in our party were a bit cranky about being disturbed, especially when the women started taking selfies around the one student who most wanted them to leave. Soon they went on their way and we returned to the silence within the roaring of the wind.

This new level of connection to this powerful place continued to grow within me the next day. We returned to the temple area, but this time we went to the portal arch. I sat outside, waiting for an invitation to enter this most holy space. When the time was right, I climbed up the rocks and passed through into another world. At the top, the most beautiful puddle puddleI have ever seen greeted me like a precious gift from God. A tourist walked by, so rather than let the emotion overpower me, I stifled a sob. I laughed at this new awareness of the exquisite beauty of this world that pulled such uncharacteristic sappiness from me.

Although I had visited this place three years before, it was completely different than I or my companion at the time remembered. Before, there had been only a large boulder with steep drop-offs on all sides. Now there was a path leading down to the valley and a stone bridge crossing to the huge formation marking the other side of the valley.

Despite a latent fear of heights, I was drawn to cross the narrow bridge. As I sat in meditation on the other side, I merged into the womb of the Mother. Energy flowed into my heart – everything: the light, the dark, the fear, the anguish and sorrow, and the joy of IMG_3876everyone and everything streamed into my chest. The energy passed through the channels and gathered at my second chakra, building and building until it connected with the kundalini in the first chakra and burst. It flowed up the central channel and exploded out my third eye as the river of creation I had seen the night before. At the same time, energy poured out the crown like a fountain, returning the energy to my heart keeping the cycle going. Ecstasy beyond bliss fails to express what it felt like to be that cycle of creation and destruction. The feeling remains with me even now as I write these words.

Later that day, we moved over to the Cathedral; a complex of Double Arches which creates the sense of being in an ancient church. We climbed over the rocks, as some of our party scaled a wall to perch inside a smaller Arch. Children scampered around, delighting us with their ability to pick the lines of travel up and down the rock walls without hesitation. As the sun set, we sat like Buddhas inside a mandala, each on our own private throne in the Cathedral, while the remaining tourists took pictures. With the descent of darkness, we meditated and waited for the moon.

Sliver light appeared behind a large rock formation that reminded me of a giant Ganesh. The clouds parted just behind his right ear as the moon began to shine. The wisps of cloud remaining took on ethereal shapes: a phoenix, a baby dinosaur, then a huge wolf with piercing eyes surveying us. The moon and clouds danced, revealing a peek of the silver orb, then hiding her in the shadows. She revealed her full light as we readied to leave, as a parting gift, before dark storm clouds swallowed her whole.

Following the path back to the cars, we walked in complete darkness with just flashlights to guide us. Only a few feet of the path could be seen in front of me, reminding me of how life is like that: we don’t usually get to see very far from where we are; all we are given is a light to show us where to step next.

At the retreat house we took a moment to express one thing we were thankful for during the trip. To my surprise, the student who had objected to the selfie-taking women said he was grateful for their presence. The experienced allowed him to shave off a bit more of the bondage to the ego, letting him be more at ease with things that disturb his peace. This change provided an excellent example of the sense of friendliness and openness I hoped we would all bring back to the world.  Each of the students grew a little deeper into Light over our short four day trip. I feel enormous gratitude to have been honored to be with these remarkable students of Light and share this beloved space.

While I have left Arches, Arches has not left me. The wind is my breath; the earth, moon, and stars are my body. As the play of consciousness continues, there is always more to explore. And for my next adventure, there’s a body to rest after all the over-exertion, dishes to wash and laundry to fold.

yellow-flower-cactus

 

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Dealing with Other People – Excerpt from Peace with Pain

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Dealing with Other People – Excerpt from Peace with Pain

A friend of mine often recommends my book, Peace with Pain: Your Guide to Life in a Malfunctioning Body, to clients in her counseling practice. It’s helped those with physical pain, as well as those who suffer from mental and emotional pain. There’s one chapter in particular that she points out: Dealing with Other People.

To make it easier for people to access, I’ve created a video reading of this chapter. You’re welcome to listen and share this page with anyone who may benefit. If you watch it, the cats provide a little entertainment about halfway through the video. 😀

At the end of most chapters, there’s a Take Action section. Here’s the Take Actions steps for Dealing with Other People:

PWP-DealingWithOthers

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Jenna

The Hidden Trap of Mind States

While two people may be in the same circumstances, each one will experience those circumstances differently. This is because our experience of life is determined by the state of our mind. We cannot always change the events we face in life; however we can always change the mind state from which we view these events.

The good news is all states of mind have the same essential structure. The bad news is mind states contain the illusion they are all-encompassing. When you are in a particular state, especially those very uncomfortable dark mind states such as fear, frustration, guilt, and sorrow, it feels as if there is no other option from which to view the world.

A mind state’s structure causes everything you see to become a reflection of that mind state. When you are angry, the mind highlights all the things you come across that trigger carousel-689338_640anger for you and filters out everything else. So of course, you believe the world to be an angry place and you can show any reasonable person your proof with lots of examples, because that is your experience of it.

The reality is your mind state is no more permanent than the clothes you are wearing right now. Just as you can change your clothes, you can alter the filter through which you perceive the world. There’s a certain amount of energy required to take off one outfit and put on another; so expect to exert some effort when you change to a new mind state.

Before you can change your view, you first must become aware of your current mind state. This can be tricky, because of the hidden trap of mind states. Your ego craves continuity,
even when it is painful, so it hides the variations of our mind states from our
consciousness by creating the illusion that things have always been like this. Even our memories of prior moments are colored by the filter based on the current mind state, and this only strengthens the ego’s trap.

Just for this moment, take a leap of faith and examine your thought patterns and give your mind state a label. You might be thinking about the injustices of the world or how someone hurt you. You may call this mind state “Anger” or “Frustration” or “Sorrow.” For a moment, sit with this label and observe how it feels in your mind and body.

Now that you know where you are, you can move to a new state. Remember, this will take a bit of effort. However, you also know how uncomfortable your this mind state really is, so it is well worth the investment.

Focus on something in your current environment that appears beautiful to you. Or, if you cannot see any beauty from where you’re sitting, focus on one thing you are grateful for right now. It can be something as simple as the beauty of a certain color or as small as gratitude for being able to breathe.

This is the point where the ego begins to fight, so be prepared. Keep focusing on beauty or gratitude, no matter what your thoughts tell you. Sometimes the thoughts become very convincing as they try to keep you in that old mind state of anger or frustration or sorrow. Just for a few minutes, let those thoughts go. Return once again to the object of beauty or gratitude. Stay focused until you feel a shift within your mind.

Congratulations, you’ve proven to yourself that a mind state can be changed!

As you return to whatever tasks you have before you, notice how this state of beauty or gratitude feels in your body and mind. Perhaps you may even notice that everything looks bright and beautiful: you might call this mind state “happiness” or “peace.” Enjoy it and continue to watch your mind as you delve into your projects and interactions. Whenever your mind begins to slip into a downward spin, stop and pull it back up again. With practice, you’ll find it becomes easier and easier to tip towards a higher view and you’ll no longer be caught by the hidden trap of mind states.

What things lift you into beauty? What are you grateful for right now?

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THANK YOU!

Jenna

 

Tools for Empaths

An increasingly large number of people of people are becoming highly sensitive. They feel things others simply don’t – perhaps you are one of them. If you notice the emotional state of others without even looking at them, or your senses can detect the slightest light, sound, taste, smell, or touch, or you feel the energy left behind in a room, you are an Empath. Some may call you a Highly Sensitive Person and look at you with reverence. Others may think you’re exaggerating when you complain about being overwhelmed by everything around you. Some days you may celebrate your intuitive power, while other days you hide in your bedroom.

Power and sensitivity go hand in hand. If you are an Empath, one who feels deeply, then you have great power. When we understand that power is the ability to perceive, it can make it easier to accept what we are. Once we accept our power completely, then we can learn how to navigate the world without being pummeled by it.

The first energetic tool we learn is to shield ourselves. Through the use of our imagination, we picture an egg-shaped light encircling our entire body, extending out by an arm’s length. Using our breath, we inhale our energy and keep it inside this protective egg. Our subtle-physical body, made of fibers of energy, is the part of us that feels. It’s what makes an Empath an Empath. (We all have a subtle body, but not everyone is fully conscious of it like an Empath.) By keeping the subtle body tucked in close, we reduce our exposure to the myriad of sensations. The shield, this thick egg shell around us, stops the energy we touch at the outer limits of our subtle body. At that moment of contact, we can decide to let the sensation in all the way, or to let it go around us.

Obviously it takes energy to create and maintain the shield. We have to feed our body well, we need to exercise, and we need to take time away in rest and meditation to allow ourselves to rejuvenate. We also need to spend time in water in each day, washing away and neutralizing all that we’ve come into contact with. However, this work is well worth the effort when compared to how drained we feel when we don’t take this special care.

The next technique we learn is Grounding. There are hundreds of chakras, or energy centers, within the subtle body. These are points where the fibers come together, and energy can be directed through them. For the Empath, four are of special interest: the base of the spine, the arch of each foot, and the crown. From the chakras on the feet and at the base of the spine, a line can be connected to the center of the Earth by simply imagining it. The molten center of our home is the ultimate recycling plant. We can dump anything there, and it will be transformed into pure energy, ready to take its next form. By imagining a line at each of these three points, we can then direct any unwanted energy, feelings, or sensations to those chakras and let gravity to the work of disposing of it. In daisyfeet-319695_640order to prevent a vacuum that will suck in whatever’s closest, we also open the crown chakra and imagine pure gold light pouring into us at the same time.

A wonderful place to get a feel for Grounding is to find a patch of grass or sand on a sunny day and take off your shoes. Feel the sun energizing you as you breathe in through the top of your head, and with each exhale, allow all the heaviness you picked up flow out through your feet and the base of your spine. Once you get the hang of it, you can ground anytime in any place, even with your shoes on.

These two practices of Shielding and Grounding are enough for most people to have a balanced life in the midst of average people. Instead of constantly feeling run over, the hardest part of the day becomes the maintenance of remembering to put up our shield before we go out and grounding out what we no longer need at the end of each day when we get home. And of course, we have to remember to keep doing this throughout the day whenever we get knocked off balance.

For many Empaths, however, living an ordinary life is not enough. We want to grow, explore, and discover the limits of our awareness. For those of us who want more, we must learn to live without the bubble of protection.

Remember, power is the ability to perceive. If we keep our shield shut tight, we don’t experience all that we could. We limit ourselves to our own small comfort zone.

If we want an extraordinary life, then we must open up. By opening completely, without pushing out any of our own preferences, we feel everything as it passes through. Our awareness stretches, and we grow even more. The possibilities are infinite. The key is not to judge any sensation as good or bad. The moment we push our opinion onto the experience, we celebrate-EarthSuncreate a block in the flow. That particular strand of energy gets stuck as if on a hook, and it pulls us into the mind state or sensation we were hoping to avoid.

These hooks are attachments. In our subconscious, we decide we cannot be happy if a certain condition is not met. For example, if we are on the bus and someone gets on who is very angry, we might be knocked off balance. We feel the anger, with its prickly sharpness and heaviness and we think that person should not be so angry. We don’t like the anger because it’s painful. In this moment of judgement, we’ve attached our peace of mind to the condition that people not be angry around us. The hook then collects all the sensations associated with anger and pulls our mind into it. By recognizing what has happened, we can unhook ourselves, and the energy flows through us once again unimpeded.

For those of us who want to be able to go anywhere and feel everything, our practice becomes one of self-examination and spiritual growth. When we are knocked off balance, instead of looking outside to blame circumstances or pointing at ourselves with guilt for being too sensitive, we objectively examine the situation. We identify the attachment, and recognition becomes liberation.

At times when we cannot open completely, we continue to use the Grounding technique to let go of anything we no longer need, and we pick up our Shield whenever the world becomes too much. And of course, the basic care that’s good for everyone of eating well, exercising, rejuvenating with meditation, rest, and water is a daily gift to our being. With practice, these actions become second nature.

As Empaths, we are uniquely suited to advanced spiritual development, which comes about when we stretch our awareness to the limits and beyond. Welcome to the highest, happiest, brightest adventure of your life!

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To be notified of new blog posts, please join my Happy News Mailing List.

My work is entirely funded by my readers – by you. If you like what you have read, if you find insight or inspiration in these words, please visit my Support page to learn how you can help keep the work going with a one-time gift, or as an ongoing Patron.

THANK YOU!

Jenna