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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

An Inquiry Into Disturbances

The soul searching process in India has led me to looking more deeply into disturbances.  What are they?  Are they personal? Do they need to exist?  Are they part of the architecture of the Earth’s lesson plan?  Are they what motivates us to eventually look inward?  What happens if one ignores them? Do they go away on their own?  Can we change our relationship to them?  Do we need help to shift our relationship to them?  Are they useful? Are they hurtful? Will there be more?  Can one evolve to a point of inner peace that they appear, but don’t create an inward stirring?

Aren’t these a few of the basic questions we ask while doing a self inquiry?  An invaluable step to examining the apparent outward disturbance from an inner perspective; starting with myself as the point of disturbance, since that is who I am most familiar.  Changing the reflex from blame to inward examination.  Do I need to react?   What is my part in the disturbance?  Is the disturbance purposeful in what is transpiring?  Do I understand the whole story unfolding?  Is there an assumption or judgement?  Is it physical, emotional, or mental in nature? Is there something to be learned? Is there something to be shared?

Over and over and over this is the play that unfolds on the Earth Playground.  Enjoy the gentleness and thoughtfulness of the following article.  Suggestions to live by, so the inner perspective can move towards peacefulness

Five Keys to Mindful Communication (blog)
When you use gentle speech, you are communicating acceptance to the other person and saying what is true, not an interpretation or an exaggeration or a minimization. The key to mindful relationships is unconditional friendliness. Unconditional 



The first key of mindful communication, according to Chapman (2012), is having amindful presence. This means having an open mind, awake body and a tender heart. When you have a mindful presence, you give up expectations, stories about yourself and others, and acting on emotions.

You are fully in the present moment; your communication isn’t focused on the “me” and what the “me” needs, but the we.

Mindful listening is the second key to mindful communication. Mindful listening is about encouraging the other person. This means looking through the masks and pretense and seeing the value in the person and the strengths he or she possesses. It’s looking past the human frailties and flaws that we all have to see the authentic person and the truth in what that person is attempting to say.

Mindful speech, the third key, is about gentleness. Speaking gently means being effective in what you say. It’s about speaking in a way that you can be heard. To be gentle with our speech means being aware of when our own insecurities and fears are aroused to the point we are acting out of fear rather than acceptance.

Practicing self-compassion for our fear, envy, jealousy and self-doubts is more effective than focusing on others as being a threat or attempting to change them. When you use gentle speech, you are communicating acceptance to the other person and saying what is true, not an interpretation or an exaggeration or a minimization.

The key to mindful relationships is unconditional friendliness. Unconditional friendliness means accepting the ebb and flow of relationships. Sometimes you meet new friends, sometimes friends move on, sometimes there is joy and sometimes there is pain. Sometimes you’ll feel lonely, sometimes you’ll feel cherished and connected, and then you’ll feel lonely again.

Unconditional friendliness means that your acceptance of others is not dependent on them staying with you or agreeing with you. You don’t cling to relationships to avoid loss.

Mindful responsiveness is like playfulness.  Playfulness is the openness that you can have when you let go of preconceived ideas and strategies. It’s like creating something new. Imagine two skilled dancers who alternatively lead each other in creating a new dance in every interaction, never doing the same complete dance over and over. They respond in the moment to the message sent by the other. There are no rules or expectations and yet they both bring skillful behavior.

Mindful communication requires practice. If you choose to practice the keys, you might choose to focus on one at a time. Being willing to regulate your emotions is a prerequisite to mindful communication and mindfulness of your emotions is necessary for emotion regulation.

Mindfulness is a core skill for the emotionally sensitive.



Chapman, Susan Gillis. The Five Keys to Mindful Communication:  Using Deep Listening and Mindful Speech to Strengthen Relationships, Heal Conflicts and Acceomplish Your Goals. Boston: Shambhala, 2012.

Category: Emotions, Partnering, Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: disturbances, mindfulness, peacefulness, self inquiry, spiritual path, thoughtfulness

Relief From The Restlessness

Direct your mind inward and allow it to contemplate its primary quality, which is simply knowing, being aware. This faculty of awareness-which is mindfulness in its pure state-illuminates all thoughts and all perceptions. It is a constant and fundamental quality of the flow of consciousness. You can experience it even in the absence of thoughts and mental images. Try to identify this primordial aspect of all experience, and then let your mind rest a few moments in this nondual awareness that is clear, lucid, and devoid of concepts and discursive thoughts.

Hay House – Daily Meditations – August 12, 2012 – Heal Your Life

What a love collection of words.  How to find relief from the restlessness of living life on the Earth?  Going deeper to find the ground of being and truth of who we are.  Who Am I?  One of the oldest spiritual questions known to man.

Meditating for long periods of time has challenged my inner restlessness on a mental and physical level.  At the ashram, we sit with a thin rug, so adjusting to using my core/back muscles, stretching my knees, opening my hips, finding the balance point, so I can relax into the posture and narrowing my mind wandering have all been part of the path again.  I don’t get frustrated when my mind pulls something up on the rolodex that appears out of alignment with “spiritual” thinking.  I just view it and then move on–acknowledging it but not getting caught in the web of analysis.  When my body gets fatigued in one position, I shift but I don’t get caught in the distraction of it–I just adjust and move on.

After only 24 days of meditating, my body and mine are adapting remarkably.  I can have my legs folded in a cross-legged position for longer periods of time with more comfort, but if the pain sets in then I move them to the side with the focus on my spine straightness. My mind doesn’t want to stay involved in the distraction of the outer sounds as my soul is pulling me inward.

At this point, the vessel is both the mind and the physical boundary of the body, so I try to embrace and work with both as partners on the path while I move to unveil the presence of the soul.

Category: Emotions, Flexibility, Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: body, focusing, meditation, mind, sitting, soul, spiritual path

Inspiring World Peace Through Meditation And Yoga

Flower Presence

What would it be like to exist in a world without wars, violence, and hatred?  Even if you are not directly touched by one of these conditions on the planet, you are indirectly affected.  The world is now a giant, global net, so internet, television, magazines and more keep us in the loop.  Periodically, there is news on a spiritual leader, but it is usually sharing something dark rather than a recount of an illuminating speech or living practice.  They are often shrouded in mystery, since most of the world operates from a religious point of view rather than a spiritual one.  A fundamental principle is not to combat violence with violence, but this requires an understanding of the ego and a lot of discipline.  In one way or another, we are all working on this principle with the growth of consciousness.

The following story is remarkable and inspiring what one person is taking on as a step towards world peace.

Can yoga and meditation help bring peace to Afghans?

By Daniel Magnowski

(Reuters) – As the Afghan government’s Western backers pour in cash, and tens of thousands of foreign soldiers patrol the country, a French human rights activist is trying a new way to break the cycle of violence in Afghanistan: yoga and meditation.

“In thirty years of war, we’ve tried everything and nothing has worked,” said Amandine Roche, who believes it is better to try to rid the mind of vengeful thoughts than to disarm a fighter at gunpoint.

Her organization, the Amanuddin Foundation, aims to promote nonviolence by teaching techniques of calm.

Volunteering since February as she searches for funds, she has given classes at which she demonstrates yoga and meditation to men, women, children, police officers, soldiers and former Taliban insurgents.

“It’s a new solution to an old problem. War starts in the minds of men, so peace starts in the minds of men. You cannot bring peace with the means of war, it’s as simple of that.”

The most recent conflict, which started with the U.S.-led overthrow of the Taliban government in 2001, has killed thousands of soldiers and civilians, and cost tens of billions of dollars. According to United Nations figures, 2011 is the most violent year since the war began: all signs, Roche argues, that the Western military and diplomatic effort isn’t working.

“My project might look crazy, but what is more crazy?”

Key to her work is the idea that peace cannot be imposed from outside, but must come from within an individual, she said.

“I’ve become firmly convinced that nonviolence is not the best way for Afghanistan, it’s the only way.”

The young Afghans who have tried yoga and meditation have been receptive.

“When I do yoga exercise I forget all of my pains and I feel comfortable,” said Masoda, a 12 year old schoolgirl at one of Roche’s classes for children in the capital Kabul.


It might be quite a leap from working with children to bringing that same peace of mind to the gunmen of Afghanistan, but Roche, who was detained by the Taliban in 2001, says they are human too.

“My vision is to teach meditation to all the insurgents, to organize vocational training for them to become mediation teachers, so … they can go back to society, they have a job, they can reintegrate, and they will become peaceful.”

“Meditation is like an inner shower,” she said. “You feel dirty when you don’t take a shower for one week, you feel the same with your mind when you don’t meditate. It helps you to purify your mind, be rid of all the negativity, frustration.”

On Monday, the German city of Bonn is hosting a major international conference about the future of Afghanistan, at which the West will signal its long-term support for the country.

But evidence of the damage done by the cycle of attack and revenge is everywhere in Afghanistan. This week, in reaction to a NATO raid along the Afghan-Pakistan border that killed 24 of its soldiers, Pakistan pulled out of a major international conference on the future of the country.

“You look at the story of Afghanistan — from the British to the Russians to the Mujahideen, the Taliban, now democracy — it’s always revenge for the past war,” Roche said. “It’s never ended. If once, one day someone says ‘I stop, and you stop, and let’s stop together’ … let’s see.”

Still, Roche, who has worked on peace-building projects in Asia, Africa and South America, knows there are no easy fixes for the troubles of Afghanistan.

“I’m not a prophet, I don’t want to convert people. It’s not even a solution, it’s a tool. I don’t pretend I’m going to save Afghanistan.”




Category: Partnering, Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: Afghan, ego, meditation, spiritual path, world peace, yoga