Friday, November 26, 2010

asana-Lotus/Bound Lotus

Here is a cool diary written by someone else that is participating in the 40-day Bound Lotus Global Sadhana Circle. She writes about how each day has gone for her. Only the first few days are up, but there is promise of more. Here's the link.

My own experience is coming along nicely. I do full lotus (with a towel under my bottom ankle to keep it from bending painfully) a couple of times a week, depending upon how warmed up I am. I have not done the binding at all with my arms. I'm okay with that. I have some weirdness going on with my shoulders and have no desire to even try to do something like that. Instead I grasp my opposite elbows. The 11 minutes is quite doable, as well. About the time it starts getting hard the timer goes off. Wednesday I was in an hour-long meditation class, so did my lotus during part of that. Yesterday I had Centering Prayer & Meditation so I set an interval bell for that and started in lotus. So it's been easy enough to incorporate it into my daily life.

I still do not do the chant or even listen to it. It seems distracting. It's been more meaningful for me to just think of myself as bowing before the God's feet.

I am aware that I have not posted the last meditation from the dhyana group. I wrote it at work and have technical difficulties getting it emailed to my laptop so I can post it. There is only one from last week. I did not do a meditation last night.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I've had trouble with a little muscle above the back of my left hip. It's been going on and on for months and I keep trying to stretch it out and strengthen it.

My massage therapist observed that my body sometimes is twisted. Not up one side but more twisted on its' axis. The right side seems to want to be further forward than the left. She suggested I see my chiropractor. He confirmed. He said that the left hip is hurting because the right side is weaker and it puts more work on the left. "Strengthen that right side more," was his advice.

If I lay off asana for a bit, the hip hurts less. The more asana I do, the more it hurts and ends up not just hurting for a while and fading, but it will then start just hurting all the time. And so I keep doing poses and stretches designed to bring more right/left balance to my body.

Then suddenly last night, as we lay in svasana, I had an SBI (scathingly brilliant idea)! I realized that, in asana, I tend to allow the left-ward stretching to go further because that side is stronger! I need to push more on the right but also to back off a little more on the left.

I can be so slow sometimes.
Centering Prayer & Meditation
November 18, 2010

Are you awake?

This meditation is excerpted from the book “Present Perfect: Finding God in the Now,” by Gregory A. Boyd.

Chasing the Sun

We are all dying. Each day, each moment, our bodies decay a little more. When we are young, we think we have all the time in the world. We can be whatever we want to be. We can cook up grand schemes for what we’ll do sometime during our lifetime. But as we get older and older, some of those things are not possible for us anymore. We have responsibilities, maybe even infirmities, which prevent us from doing some of the things we want to do.  And we fear that we’ll never really live our lives to the fullest before we pass from this earth.

But in 2 Corinthians 5: 17 we are told of God’s promise that we will not be defeated by death:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
Boyd says “…we experience fear and dread over the decay of our body and our impending death only because we are in fact viewing our present preciously short life as though it were our total life…When God’s love becomes our sole source of Life moment-by-moment, we will have no regrets about the past and no fears about the future, for we are fulfilled and are trusting God in the present.”

If we live each moment aware of God’s presence, then we are released from all that anxiety! 

Furthermore, we’ll find we have different motivations for what we do. We no longer are working to stave off death. Instead we are working to express the fullness of the Life we already have. We’ll tend to be more successful this way, too.

Boyd suggests the “palms down, palms up” method of prayer to help us cultivate a habit of letting go of things that keep us mired in the past or anxious for the future.

Now we are going to try an exercise to help us to realize that we are situated in the middle of a vast universe…infinitely larger than we are, and infinitely smaller than we are.

Sit in a comfortable place and just try to be aware of how vast the universe is…how you are just a speck in the cosmos. And then at the same time, think about how large you are in comparison to the other things. Think about how God is present as far out as we can think, and as far IN as we can think. Out to the largest possible scenario and in to the smallest possible particle…God is present.

Boyd ends the chapter with this: “Though we are microscopic in size next to the vastness of the universe, the Creator loves each of us as if we were the only being he created. For a God of unlimited love, size does not matter.”

Thursday, November 11, 2010

dhyana-the group

Centering Prayer & Meditation
November 11, 2010

Are you awake?
This meditation is excerpted from the book “Present Perfect: Finding God in the Now,” by Gregory A. Boyd.

Finding Home

This is the title of Boyd’s second chapter. God created us with a hunger for LIFE. A hunger for feeling like we matter. Animals really only care about biological needs: shelter and food. After that, they are satisfied. But humans are not satisfied with just those things. We feel empty unless we sense that our lives serve an “ultimate purpose.”

God wants to share Himself with us. He wants us to participate in his divine nature. Boyd says it’s like we have a sort of “homing-device” built into our being that keeps dragging us toward communion with our creator. But He also has given us a choice. And often we push God away.

When we push Him away, it does not turn off the homing device. It just gets redirected and we end up trying to satisfy our longing for meaning by looking in other directions: affluence, fame, maybe earthly relationships.

Boyd get a little controversial, I think, when he talks about our beliefs. He says we tend to place great importance on beliefs but don’t really seem to internalize those beliefs. He stops just short of calling us idolaters. Believing Jesus is Lord doesn’t make Him so. It’s what we do with that belief. It’s the conscious act of submitting our lives to Him and making him Lord of our lives. By chasing after things other than our relationship with God, we fail to become full and complete citizens of heaven.

“Money, praise, poverty, opposition, these make no difference, for they will all alike be forgotten in a thousand years, but this spirit which comes to a mind set upon continuous surrender, this spirit is timeless life.” ~Frank Laubach

Live in the Present Moment

Chasing our worth outside of God’s kingdom takes us out of the present moment:
“If you doubt this, investigate your own soul. How much of your thought-life is spent in the past or future, and what is the purpose for this nonpresent thinking? You may be so accustomed to living in the past and the future that you find it difficult to notice how much of your thought-life is spent there, let alone why you spend so much of your thought-life there. But if you are completely honest with yourself, you’ll probably find that most of your past and future-orientated thoughts revolve around you and are centered on your attempts to feel worthwhile and significant.
When we feel perpetually hungry in the flesh, we spend a great deal of our thought-life savoring past experiences or possible future experiences that make us feel more worthwhile and significant. We also spend a great deal of time ruminating over past experiences or worrying about possible future experiences that will make us feel less worthwhile and significant. All the while we are strategizing over how to position ourselves to have more of the worth-giving  experiences and how to better avoid the worth-detracting experiences.”
“The very process of trying to acquire Life on our own forces us to miss most of life, for real life is always in the present moment.

Boyd talks about finding “home,” or “reorienting the homing device,” by practicing the presence of God. So tonight I’m going to read an exercise from his book that he says helped him to experience God’s closeness and helped him feel “at home.”

“Think for a moment about the way God designed the world and the laws of nature to support you. Unless you’re living in a zero-gravity environment, your body is always in contact with something and is always being supported in multiple ways. At this moment, your feet are probably being supported by the floor and your body is probably resting on a chair or sofa. When you lie down tonight, your body will be supported by your bed. Your skin is always touching some other part of the physical world, and that touch can be transformed into a little signal from the Father that he is watching over you and caring for you.
In this moment, turn your attention to the points of contact between your body and the things that are supporting your weight. Become aware of the weight of your body against the chair, your feet against the floor, and so on… Allow yourself to rest in that support and realize that every point of contact reflects the truth that you are held in existence each and every moment by the perfect love of God.
God is personally holding you securely in the world. He cares that you have places to rest. Throughout your day, turn your attention over and over again to these physical points of contact and transform these physical sensations into a deeper awareness of the great love of God.”

Peter 1: 3 – 4: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Great Svasana

A couple of weeks ago, a yoga friend's mother passed away. She was 101 and my friend was her caregiver for something like 15 years. My friend said she'd gone on a "great svasana."

Then this past Tuesday my Mother-in-Law passed. She was found around 9 or 9:30 p.m, so she must have stopped breathing pretty quickly after falling asleep.

My Mother-in-Law never liked being old. She started saying 25 years ago that she was ready to die. She didn't like being tired. Being achy, having all the gastro-intestinal issues that she did. She was tired of people, food, and going places. She used to say regularly that she just wanted to die. Not in a whiny sort of way. Just that it was time to check out. We actually had to ask her to stop saying it in front of the children. When they were little they would hear her say it and wonder about it. No little kid wants to hear their beloved grandparent say she doesn't want to live anymore.

So I think passing away was truly a great svasana for her. She is finally at complete rest.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

dhyana-the group

Are you awake?

This meditation is excerpted from the book “Present Perfect: Finding God in the Now,” by Gregory A. Boyd.

Last week we looked at Frank Laubach’s book, “Letters by a Modern Mystic.” For a few moments we considered Laubach’s method of thinking of God at least once every minute of the day. At the end of the book is his pamphlet “The Game of Minutes,” in which he gives strategies for helping us to achieve that goal.

And so I guess what I’m doing now is trying to take the practice of meditation and contemplation outside of this little, 40-minute period of time one a week, and offering to you that we can do this every day, virtually all day to a small degree.

Boyd’s book is about his own journey into awareness. He shows how easy it is for us Christians to think that a life of unending prayer is only for the “Super Holy.” Boyd says that our perception of this has allowed us to develop what he calls a “secular worldview.” Out of habit, we tend to exclude God from our awareness. We still believe, he says, but God is not real to us most of the time. He says this makes us essentially “functional atheists.”  We box God into certain periods of the day or the week, isolating God’s existence from our day-to-day lives.

In doing so, we are not allowing ourselves to experience the full, transforming power of God.

Throughout Boyd’s book, he has little gray boxes scattered in the margins. Made to look like post-it notes, these boxes simply say “Are you awake?”

Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” To seek first the Kingdom means we need to seek the Kingdom in each of the present moments that comprise our actual life. I have to admit I'd never looked at this verse so immediately. I always have thought of the long view. That we seek God, accept His presence in our life, and then move on to living. I hadn't thought of seeking over and over with each moment.

Take Every Thought Captive I think this is my favorite phrase in the first chapter of Boyd’s book. And even better…it’s a phrase from the New International Version of the Bible:

2 Corinthians 10:5:  “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

The brain never shuts up. In order to submit every thought to God, we’re going to need to have God on our mind all the time. Don’t go overboard, though, and start trying to analyze every thought to be sure it’s turned over to God! If you do that, you’ll just end up focusing completely on yourself and ultimately drive yourself crazy! Just try to remain aware that God is ever-present and surrender your life and work to Him.