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Retreats

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Long or short, increments of honoring the self wellness of a retreat. Even just 5 minutes.

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Category: Emotions, Personalize 5, Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: India, retreats, Selfseeds emotions, Selfseeds personalize 5, Selfseeds stillness

Fitbit Tracker

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I have wifi this trip to Jaipur, India, so I am having fun with my Fitbit tracker. Cool way to keep track of your daily motion.

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Category: Fitness, Selfseeds
Tag: fitbit, fitness, India, Selfseeds fitness, walking

Creativity While In Motion

 

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Destination

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Half way point…

Nothing like climbing the stairs of a fortress wall to get your heart pumping.  Running up to the fortress was less cardio than actually climbing the wall.  Balance was underlined as well.  Falling off the wall would not be pretty, so I needed to be aware of everything that involved not tripping, lurching, or losing balance. A couple of times I needed to do a little self talk when my mind wanted to scream, “What were you thinking!”   The best part of the exercise was the creativity while in motion.  I wasn’t just exercising, but it had a functional, integrative, real life survival flair to it.  Nice to take the actual conditioning and training and apply it in a real life situation.

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Amazing View

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Headed back

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Category: Balance, Emotions, Fitness, Weight Distribution
Tag: exercise, fitness, fortress walls, India, Selfeeds, stair master deluxe

Teachers Past and Present–Thank you!

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Jaz, the horse who led me to India. His intelligence and sensitivity left me without answers in the horseman’s world.

1. Horses have been the binding thread that have kept me in my heart and then led me to go deeper.

2. My teacher in Portugal (1989), Master Senor Luis Valenca, showed me a possibility for patience, humility, passion, and integrity towards training horses that I never found again.  Upon reflection, this may have been the beginning of what eventually led me to India.  I recently heard a video by him giving well wishes for 2014 and was struck by the same sense I experienced 25 years ago.  The spiral staircase working its magic of life–how lovely to visit this felt sense from a man with a passion and vision for horses.

(video below)

Christmas wishes from Master Luis Valença

3. The book project of Nancy Kasovich’s life growing up with a master horsemen in the US has answered the questions I left Portugal with. Yes, at one point, the US did house Master horsemen. Her husband, (Bob Smith who is not living) and Master Senor Valenca probably would have shared the same heart and passion for horses. Here is an excerpt from the book. What she learned from years with a master horseman and carried on with in her own walk.

 

WHAT MAKES A GOOD HORSEMAN? 
“Simplicity. So much today is based on devices, in order to train more quickly. Simplicity is a lost art.  Animals are very simplistic and a point for us to learn from.  The modern world provides us a constant challenge to stay in touch with this more simplistic aspect of being.  As humans, we need to move towards the horse’s frequency for contact and not expect them to reach towards the human frequency–a good horseman understands this instinctively.  He or she examines the core of the horse, takes the temper out without losing the spirit, builds trust so the horse goes to the rider for guidance as in a true partnership, and makes corrections without emotion, so the horse learns and accepts the corrections. Training is applied for the horse’s development and not for the sake of the trainer’s ego. A good horseman recognizes that the primary layer must be made of calmness, willingness, and obedience–and this takes time. The horse may go on to be trained for a more specialized purpose or event, but that is an additional layer added to the basic foundation. Short cuts just don’t work!” 
The book title “Through The Eyes Of The Horse,” is the epitome of what Nancy believes to be a doorway into the heart and soul of the horse. “To teach oneself to see life as horses do is a huge step forward in a lifelong quest to truly understand and be one with any horse you handle or ride. It doesn’t happen over night and possibly never for many. The old expression, “He/she can really read a horse,” refers to seeing things as they do and reading the body language which follows. To become one with the horse is a goal most people want to attain in whatever discipline is pursued, but it requires patience and observation that starts with quiet time on the ground. You are studying them and they are studying you. Again comes the word feel, you are reaching into the horse’s mind for that feeling of calmness and potential unity.  Riding is no different.”
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Bob Smith in action on the polo field
4. Gurudev. The Master of all masters–the Spiritual Master.  Fourth only in the chronology of my life, but probably not to be found in a form again.  What I have learned about life, humanity, and my self has been worth every step of pain and confusion. Will I return to horses? How remarkable is the journey.
Category: Selfseeds, Selfseeds Community
Tag: distance riding, dressage, horses, India, masters, path to Selfseeds, Portugal, riding, spiritual, teachers

Fitness Even For Spiritual Masters

 

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Ok, no excuses!  So awesome to find out my spiritual teacher in India has taken on an hour of fitness six days a week.  He likes to work out early and notices that it gives him more vitality for the day.  The bar is high now if a Spiritual Master in his seventies is even getting on the fitness bandwagon!

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Category: Fitness, Selfseeds
Tag: fitness, India, Selfseeds, spiritual teacher

Stillness In Distraction

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How long do we navigate our lives without going inward?  How quickly do we want to back out of going inward once we go there?  What an interesting duality.  Can we find the solutions outwardly?  At this point, I would say temporarily. Relief by self medicating.  Take your pick–food, alcohol, drugs, retail therapy, etc. They can all be fun, but not lasting. What is the value of inner stillness?  Peace, calm, tranquility, alignment to right action, kindness, love, truth…  Is it our true nature?  Yes, so why is it so hard to find?  Living has provided a lot of opportunities for obscuring it.  The mind loves living with stories, creating stories, and finding jobs that aren’t required.

Meditating in India can provide part of the outer distractions that challenge attempts at going inward.  The good news is it provides contrast, so when you aren’t distracted than you have probably touched some aspect of inner stillness.   It becomes recognizably quiet as something different than being disturbed by the lack of a quiet practice zone. Don’t get me wrong, meditating in a quiet atmosphere is delicious and recommended.  I tend to migrate into a quieter corner of the ashram when I want to just go inward with less effort.  My mind is always available for providing effort, so it isn’t like I am getting a free pass.

The connection to horses and other animals have given me an access point and an awareness of this inner place. but learning to walk it alone is well worth the journey.  At the end of the day, the self is the access point for all aspects of being and doing. Life changing often.  Take 5 minutes and plant a Selfseed Stillness in your personal garden.

(short video below)

Category: Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: ashram environment, disturbances, India, meditation, quiet, Selfseeds, stillness

Getting To Know The Elephants

 

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Working

There were many unanswered questions about the elephants I watch, run by, and sometimes touch.  My last investigation of housing, lifestyle, training, etc. ended with me on my knees sobbing.  So back into the fire I go…  Ok, so they are chained, but are they always chained?  There is an elephant complex outside the of the city with a giant pond/wash station for elephants, an attendant for each elephant, their own house with a constant supply of sugar cane (they don’t appear to get diabetes) and cut grasses, but they do live chained except for when they are in work or being walked for exercise. A reality of the environment and the narrowed lifestyle for “natural living?” A way of keeping them tamed and controlled, since they are powerful and smart?

The attendants are from generations of elephant trainers. The families live with and for the elephants exclusively. Elephants are considered immature until 10 years old and at that point, they begin their official training. When I asked if I could watch the training they suggested I live in the complex for the next 20 years and then I will get my answer.  Giggle–perfect answer. Each attendant was thoughtful in showing me their elephant, but I was told that everyone took turns taking on all the duties of elephant management and that it was a real team effort.  Fun to learn the history and that trainers from outside of India were originally hired for training the elephants.  Need to do a little bit more research.  I did notice the very sharp stick they use to direct the elephant by engaging it on the back’s of their heads and that some of the chains had large spikes that point inward for further enhanced control.  Is this devastating to someone who has witnessed unfriendly training approaches–no.  *The heartache is in their predicament of no “free” time, but there was no heartache this time–only the realization of the human insanity plan and yet another variation.
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At home
(short movie below)
*The animals provide a constant opportunity for me to walk into the fire of self examination.  They are my biggest exterior connection to my heart and what led me to India in the first place.  I have nothing but gratitude for their presence and how they have given me motivation to understand the two-legged world from a place of spirit. love, and truth.  The quiet teachers–the animals.
Category: Emotions, Selfseeds
Tag: elephants, India, Jaipur, Selfseeds, tourism

Daily Selfseed #6 Touching Inner Stillness

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Can you have inner stillness without having outer stillness?  My experience is yes. Is it easier to find inner stillness in a quiet, safe environment?  Most likely in the beginning, but since it is an inner state, one can grow to experience it in all situations.

Wonderful article on bringing meditation into your daily life as a living practice.
By now, almost everyone is aware of the powerful benefits of meditation. When we become conscious of our breathing and direct our awareness inward, our body relaxes, our blood pressure and heart rate drop, and our brain state shifts from anxiety producing beta waves to the smoother experience of alpha waves.

Modern neuroscience now confirms what yogis, monks, and saints have known for years – meditation is good for the mind, body, and soul.

But here’s the problem – who has the time? It would be great to spend two hours each day at an ashram or a retreat center, sitting on a meditation pillow in serene silence. But most of us have jobs to go to, families to care for, and errands to run. In the midst of the chaos of daily life, we simply don’t have the luxury of meditating all day like monks in a monastery.
There is, however, a simple solution to this problem. It requires that we rethink the very nature of meditation. It requires a shift from “monk-style meditation” – where meditation occurs in isolation from the rest of our day – to “anywhere meditation” – where it occurs in the midst of life’s chaos.

We don’t need more time to meditate. We just need to learn to meditate in any situation – not just at a yoga studio or on a mountain retreat but in a traffic jam or an airport security line.

This is the kind of practice that Ralph Waldo Emerson describes in “Self-Reliance.” As he says, “It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”

How do you bring meditation into the chaos of daily life?

It’s All About the Breath
You can get lost in the details of meditation. You can become obsessed with posture, mantras (repeated phrases), and mudras (finger locks). But reduced to its essence, meditation is all about the breath. We always breathe, but, when we meditate, we breathe consciously. We bring our awareness to each inhale and exhale. So while you may not be able to sit in lotus pose during a board meeting, that doesn’t mean that you can’t meditate.

No matter what the situation, you can always bring attention to your breath and work toward lengthening each inhale and exhale. No one else even needs to know you’re doing it.

Finding the Gaps
All of us, no matter how busy, have small gaps in our day that are perfect for meditation. It might be the five-minute wait in line at the grocery store, the 10-minutes you spend stuck in traffic, or the two minutes you spend waiting for your computer to start up. In these moments, try shifting from frustration to meditation. Try bringing your attention to the breath and using these gaps as unexpected opportunities for calming the mind and body.

Meditative Multitasking
Finding gaps in the day gives you a time to go fully into meditation. But you can also bring meditation into almost any workday task.

Take meetings. In my experience, most meetings only require about 50% of our attention. You need to keep tabs on the flow of the conversation and offer your input when needed. But this leaves about 50% of your attention open for meditation. So rather than getting bored, try meditating. Experiment with bringing your attention to the breath as you follow the flow of the meeting. With practice, you can learn to meditate while doing just about any task – while checking emails, talking on the phone, or commuting to work.

You may never have a two-hour chunk of each day to devote to meditating. You may never have the time to sit cross-legged on the banks of a river or on the beach for hours each morning.

But if you master the art of “anywhere meditation,” that shouldn’t stop you from spending hours each day deep in meditation. The key is to shift from meditation as a separate activity performed in serene settings to meditation as a moment-to-moment way of being.

What do you think? Have you experimented with this shift from “monk-style meditation” to “anywhere meditation”? It’s super simple so why not give it a shot?

Written on 4/28/2011 by Nate Klemp. Nate earned his PhD at Princeton and is a professor at Pepperdine University. He founded LifeBeyondLogic.com, a website dedicated to exploring philosophy as an art of living. You can follow him on Twitter @LifeBeyondLogic and on Facebook. Download a free copy of his new ebook, Finding Reality: Thoreau’s Lessons for Life in the Digital Age.

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Category: Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: 5 minutes, India, inner peace, living inner stillness, meditation, Selfseeds

All One And The Same

Ramakrishna Temple, Jaipur India

Ramakrishna Temple, Jaipur India

My early morning has been spent meditating at the Ramakrishna Temple in Jaipur and then I head over to the Mother Teresa House to volunteer.   One is sitting in the stillness of the Divine and the second is working in the presence of service through the Divine.  I have never been a religious person, but I have been searching for inner peace.  The path has involved examining different practices.  

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Category: Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: contemplation, India, inner peace, meditation, Mother Teresa, prayer, Ramakrishna, spiritual path, stillness

Selfseeds Personalize 5 Sacred Cows (short video) www.Selfse...

Selfseeds Personalize 5 Sacred Cows (short video) www.Selfseeds.com

The sacred cows of India and their varied states of being.

Category: Personalize 5, Selfseeds
Tag: India, life as free cows, Sacred cows