My Saving Grace

My Saving Grace

The greatest treasure I have found in life is learning to turn within to experience the healing balm of the Innermost Self.

Universal Consciousness. The Divinity within. Inner Peace. God’s Grace. Whatever we wish to call it, I am pointing to the wellspring of existential, divine, inherent grace which resides at the very depth of our human existence. The place of our truest being, inner substance, or essential source. The treasure I’m talking about is the experience of learning how to turn within. In a word, it’s called meditation.

Sages, mystics, and saints from across world cultures and religions have written and taught volumes about this one practice… meditation. Christian mystic, Thomas Merton, spoke of it as the Centering Prayer. Zen students sit in “emptiness,” and Islamic and Jewish practices include spiritual practices of turning within.

Modern yoga practices are based on the ancient Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a great sage from a millennium past, whose verses teach of meditation (dhyana) as, the stilling of the thought waves in the mind.

Quite prevalent across our modern society, “Mindfulness” practice is making its way into education, business, advertisements, and everyday life. Even the renowned Mayo Clinic, promotes mindfulness meditation for its healing benefits.

Perhaps it is best summed up by the Muslim, poet-saint Malwānā Rumi, who was quoted to have said, “Christian, Jew, Muslim, shaman, Zoroastrian, stone, ground, mountain, river, each has a secret way of being with the mystery, unique and not to be judged.”2

Meditation is perhaps my #1 “tool” and saving grace to live a life of connectedness, health, and blessings. Even more important, is that it’s available to everyone!

In his book, Meditate, the much beloved Siddha Yoga Guru, Baba Muktananda, explained that meditation was as natural as sleep to the human being. In order to access it, we have to learn to turn our attention within. Despite the fact that most of us in western culture were never taught how to actually meditate, the truth is that every one of us can learn to go within.

The BEST TOOL I’ve ever learned for immediate relief, composure, centering, and more, is ALSO the most simple and natural entry point for meditation. All it requires is our attention.

sweet child with eyes closed in backdrop of cosmos

The most natural “tool” to turn within is our very own breath.

Near and dear, the most precious of friends, the breath is a magnificent and wonderful treasure available to each and every one of us alive today. It is our connection to existence, here and now.

Breathing in, we are accepting the gift of life in the form of oxygen, sunlight, and prana (energy).

Breathing out, we share our presence in the here-now, ready to accept the next breath anew.

With this simple action of respiration, we acknowledge our participation in the great play of life.

In my study of yoga and meditation, I learned that when the breath becomes steady and even, we begin to naturally experience a state of calmness, presence, and inner peacefulness. By learning to make the in breath and outgoing breath the same length, we naturally begin to turn within. And this is the first step in cultivating a meditation practice. Breathing.

By watching the breath, even for a moment, we begin to tune in to an inner wellspring that offers immediate renewal and calm.

Through repeated practice, our minds begin to enjoy the feeling of going within, and we are naturally drawn to repeat actions that feel good! By cultivating a loving relationship with our own breath, we begin to cultivate a practice of turning within.

All it takes is one breath.

Try this whenever you have need of solace, healing, calmness, or comfort.

Simply stop, for just a moment, and turn your attention to your own breath. Watch the miracle of life as it unfolds naturally, easefully, and of its own accord.

Breathe in deeply and exhale fully, one, two, or three times, watching the breath rise and fall with your full attention. Then allow your breath to return to it’s own, gentle pattern.

Notice how it feels, or how it affects your body and inner state. Is there a sense of relaxation, reset, or renewal, even just a tiny morsel?

Finish with a little smile for giving yourself just a moment to breathe, and consider this old Tasmanian proverb, “Little by little, a little becomes a lot!”

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A final thought. A dear friend and Speech and Language Pathologist used to teach my special needs students that we could actually make a mental “Note to Self” (imagine pointer finger touching side of forehead), to remind ourselves of something important at anytime and anywhere. So, let us make a note! Say this out loud with me:

Note to Self…….. Remember to BREATHE!

And for just that one little moment, anywhere, anytime, we can bathe ourselves in the loving, magnificent rejuvenation of our own Inner Being.

All it takes is one breath.

The breath is our own treasure for life. It can comfort and restore well-being. Allow it to carry you through all the days to come, with deep joy and equanimity. Namasté!

All blessings and love,

Jeannie Arunimā

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Note to Reader: If you or a dear one would like more information on learning meditation and mindfulness strategies, you are most welcome to contact me here.

Or, you may sign up for a free consultation to talk about your journey, and talk about further resources for practice and study. Often in the course of healing sessions, clients learn strategies for turning within, along with guided meditation for stress relief, relaxation, and transformational self-healing.

Footnotes:

All references are hyper-linked to original source. For a list of references and further resources for meditation, please email me at jeannie.goldenlifehealing.com.

end blog

Witness Consciousness Relieves Negativity

Witness Consciousness Relieves Negativity

Can you remember the last time you found yourself stuck in a funk, feeling down? Did you notice a litany of accompanying thoughts, perhaps familiar old tapes? Perhaps you’ve experienced the seemingly endless mental quagmire of a negative, disgruntled story that’s so hard to shake? If so, try leveraging the power of witness consciousness into your daily experience.

As human beings, we have the capacity to observe our thoughts. We have an awareness that is not limited to just thinking words in our minds. In the study of meditation, this is referred to as witness consciousness.

Welcome to the fascinating workings of the human mind!  Indeed, the mind is a prolific thinker, generating thoughts, ideas, opinions…. sometimes around the clock! What a marvel! What a beast! But, where would we be without it? Fortunately, our mind is so much greater than just the thoughts we think. How do we know? Simple! Because we have the ability to observe-notice-witness that we are thinking!

If we can know and witness that we are thinking, then we naturally have the leverage to choose what we think about! This is the first step in flipping negative thinking into a positive mind set, which can uplift our entire experience of life.

Witness consciousness, or being the observer, is the human ability to witness thoughts, emotions, and inner states without being ensnared in the experience. Being able to stand it the place of the watcher of what is happening in our thoughts is the key to learning how to transform struggle into peacefulness.

Consider the following example.

Suddenly, a wave of deep sadness, depression, or anxiety arises from inside. How do you react? What does your mind talk say? Perhaps, like many of us, you get caught up in a wave of inner dialogue that goes something like this, “Oh no! Not this again. I hate this feeling. Why does it keep happening? What’s wrong with me? I’m so tired of this feeling! I’ll never feel better!” And on it goes.

As you can imaging, this kind of mental litany begets a downward spiral, even deeper into the depths of sadness and despair. It’s like a snowball rolling down the steep slope, gaining size and momentum as it rolls. However, when we begin to train our minds to watch these negative statements with an observer’s perspective, it provides us a greater vantage point from which we can avoid being unwittingly ensnared by a negative spiral of thoughts.

The amazingly good, and seemingly unbelievable news is, that we DO have power to observe, and therefore change, our mental talk! We can use witness consciousness to bring about peace of mind.

As an unbiased witness, we make observation, neutral comments. “Oh, there’s sadness.” “I see it.” “Huh, sadness.” The simple distance gained by observing the thought, instead of leaping to judgements and conclusions, drastically  alters the negative emotional impact.

By taking the stance of the witness a healthy pause is created, giving us the opportunity to choose how we would like to frame our thinking about the feeling or thought which has arisen. 

When we practice noticing what we are thinking, we can lovingly and gently reframe negative thoughts into more positive and hopeful ones. This gives us the power to immensely improve how we are feeling! Developing the healthy tool of witness consciousness offers us immediate relief and freedom from the snares and emotional pain created by negative thought patterns.

So, the next time you find yourself feeling down and out, become the witness and notice what thought patterns are running in your mind. By simply watching them, you gain distance, and have the choice to create a thought to uplift yourself instead!

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Try this Challenge: Watch the Watcher

While witness consciousness is often taught in the context of meditation, it doesn’t need to be limited to sitting time. Like all skills, practicing little by little adds up to a lot! Try this short exercise and see how it feels. Engage in these questions by reading the question, then pausing to close your eyes and bring your full awareness to answer the question.

Can you identify where your attention is directed?

1. Who is looking through your eyes right now to read these word? Can you turn your vision around to see the looker?

2. What do you hear right now? Who is it that is listening through your ears? Can you observe the listener listening? 

3. What are you thinking right now? Who is it that sees the thoughts in your own mind, the one that knows you are thinking?

When contemplating any of these questions, did you get a sense of being the witness?  Did you experience a mental lift or slightly different perception than usual? Keep contemplating! What question gives you a glimpse of seeing the seer?

As we continue to develop the skill of witness consciousness, we gain the ability to hold a healthy distance from negative thought patterns, and build a deeper peacefulness in our own experience of life.


If you find yourself beset by ongoing, negative thought patterns, or would like to learn more about meditation practices to create mental peacefulness, please contact me for a free inquiry call to see if Golden Life Healing services could be helpful for you.


For further reading

1 Poem on Witness Consciousness by Gurumayi Chidvilasananda

2 Exposé on Witness Consciousness by Dr. H.K. Luthar

3 Yoga International: Become Your Own Inner Witness

Hopelessness & Recognition

Hopelessness & Recognition

                                                 Hopelessness is an alert beacon and a natural human response.

 

Recognition Brings us Power to Heal

 

Have you been faced with persistent pain, symptoms, or illness? Or perhaps a situation that’s really gotten you down? Has your sense hopefulness or happiness been compromised by a persistent difficulty that’s not resolving as you wish? Hopelessness is an alert beacon, and a natural human response.

 

At this critical time on our planet, everyone’s lives have come under a dark cloud of persistent stress. With the threat of a deadly virus, the absurd political situation in the U.S., and the extreme economic repercussions felt by so many, the resulting mental and emotional effects are similar to those who suffer from long term pain or illness.

 

In both cases, regardless of the cause or severity, chronic stressors can easily result in a deep sense of hopelessness and loss, bringing about a spiral of emotions, diminished energy, loss of sleep, and even physical symptoms.

 

Hopelessness can lead to loss of joy, deep depression, and cause us to even question if being on Earth is what we want to do. This reaction is a completely normal human response. However, when there is an ongoing persistence of hopelessness, this is truly a call to action. What can we do about it? Start at the beginning.

 

Recognize it.

 

The first step in finding a solution is seeing the problem. Simple as it sounds, it’s actually not always apparent to those suffering from stress-inducing situations exactly what is going on inside. Life may appear “normal,” and seem like everything is basically “fine.”

 

I recently experienced this anew. When the pandemic first began, I buckled down like everyone else, invigorated my spiritual practices, and kept abreast of the breaking news. After a few weeks of repeating horror stories, I distanced myself from social media in order to create a bubble for my mind to find some peace. Instead I turned to reading titles and captions, to get the gist, before delving into journalistic sensationalism and public fear mongering, both which exacerbated an already critical situation, and played havoc with my nervous system. This worked really well, and I was able to find a balance between current events and being able to live daily life in order to try and make a difference.

 

Recently, I visited my daughter who is very active in social justice and the current political climate. She views engagement with current news feeds as a civic responsibility, and as a measure of safety in being aware of what’s happening. While I applaud her stance, it brought me back into the daily details of the crisis, upfront and personal. Over the visit, we spoke about much of the absurdities and suffering due to current world events, and how hard it was for humanity.

 

Without my realizing it, delving back into the disturbing details brought about an insidious inner anxiety, fear, and unrest , similar to that which occurred at the beginning of the pandemic. But I didn’t recognize it at first. I pushed it away. It seemed that my life was the new “normal” and I was certainly “fine.” I had work, loved ones, health, food. All was “well” and I was grateful.

 

Never-the-less, there was a growing sense of unrest within. Over the week, I began to doubt myself. I felt myself losing courage. Eventually, hopelessness arose. At first, I ignored it. When it persisted, I rationalized it away, explaining to myself why I shouldn’t feel it. Finally, I fought with it, arguing that I knew better than to feel this way. But it still didn’t go away. (I knew better tactics for handling emotions, but apparently had forgotten.)

 

After a solid week of trying to ignore and push away the hopelessness, like an unnoticed water leak flooding the basement, it seeped into my entire being.

 

Fortunately, I have a dear friend who knows me so well, that even when I won’t admit something to myself, she is able to draw it to the surface where we can look at it together, in the light of loving awareness. Empowered to express the recent feeling of hopelessness and self-doubt, I was able to recognize it for what it was. I was overwhelmed by unrecognized stressors. She quoted a member of her church who coined it beautifully, “I feel like I’m living in the most beautiful nightmare.” Everything appears fine on the outside, but there remains the nightmarish reality of the global pandemic, threatening everyone.

 

I realized my feelings were a valid reaction to the pandemic and political-social devastation going on in our world. It was a perfectly normal human response.

 

By pushing the feelings away, I had not given myself the opportunity to really validate and understand where they were coming from. I thought it was about me. My exposure to the detailed news, and discussions with my daughter, had elicited a normal human response. But I didn’t recognize it for what it was, so I was unable to resolve it. Having this important conversation with my dear friend helped me to put hopelessness into a larger perspective. I was able to accept the emotion, integrate it into my being, and stop blaming myself for feeling some way I didn’t think I was supposed to.

 

Recognizing the problem was the first step to the solution. In this case, my emotions reset just with the simple recognition and sharing, and the hopelessness dissolved. At other times, deeper work may well be needed, along with outside support.

 

In chronic disease and persistent stress, it is only natural for our human selves to experience mental and emotional distress. But when that distress turns to hopelessness and persists, it is time to reach in and reach out to fully recognize what it happening.

 

Hopelessness is an alert beacon, a warning sign, and natural human response. It offers us a chance to turn around and take stock of what’s happening, inside and out. When we fully face these kinds of warning beacons, and allow ourselves to enlist help of others, we can move forward into a greater sense of peaceful acceptance even amidst the suffering in our world.

 

Recognition. To “re-cognize,” “re-think,” or “put into a new order.” It is the act of turning within to deeply consider and realize what is actually happening, and that has been known before; a kind of waking up.

 

Recognition brings us power to heal. Identifying the problem is the first step to solving it.

 

May we each experience the powerful grace of recognition to guide us through unexpected storms.

 

All Blessings & Love,

 

Jeannie Arunimā ♡

 

IMPORTANT Note: if you or a loved one is experiencing a continuing sense of despair, hopelessness, sadness, or depression, please talk to a trusted loved one, seek professional help, and don’t let it continue to fester. You can overcome it, but it’s so much easier to do when shared. Contact me for a free consultation to help make a plan for healing.

Honor the Stomach, Taste the Divine

Honor the Stomach, Taste the Divine

Healthy hunger is key to delicious taste and revitalized energy!

The guacamole exploded in my mouth, with flavor so unexpectedly exquisite, my eyes rolled shut to savor it’s delectable palate. The creamy comfort of a perfectly ripe avocado. A hint of tomato’s sweetness. The savory warmth, and spicy tang of green chili, garlic, and lime. And, the palpable satisfaction from the just-right amount of sea salt. Ah! Wow!

I marveled. What caused this rare moment of salivary delight? I reflected.

Hunger. Honest, healthy hunger of the stomach. Indeed, in the recent months I’d been working on increasing my stomach chi and vitality in order to increase my depleted energy. Day in and day out, for months searching for the just-right diet to satisfy the mind, body, and season. I “knew” so much, but what was I missing? 

For the past few months I’d wrestled with competing interests of a wanna-be vegetarian’s energy needs and weight loss promises from the meat-heavy, Paleo perspective. I was so caught up in meat vs. no-meat, that I lost sight of my stomach’s whispers, and fed it what I thought was best, including the “right” animal-based protein and gluten free, whole grains. Even so, it (and I) became sluggish, dull, tired.

In springtime, my stomach had been whispering, “Plants! Plant food! Plants! Eat gentle plants! You don’t need grains and so much meat!”  But my stubborn mental stance thought otherwise, citing research for whole grains, lean meats, moderate dairy.

I’d forgotten to tune in to the divine knowing, the natural desire of the stomach!

My diet had been “perfect,” according to what is “known,” however, my stomach was too tired to digest it. Without even realizing it, I’d lost my sense of real sense of hunger and apatite, along with that exquisite explosion of ecstatic tastiness when the stomach truly welcomes and relishes the right foods!

Finally, in an epiphany of surrender to trying anything, I changed my mind and gave up the knowledge-only based diet. I gave my stomach a literal break. I let go of grains and meat proportions I’d faithfully eaten over the winter. I began listening to the whisperings of the stomach, and began eating mostly plants. Bowls of gently cooked veggies. The right fats, fibers, and protein portions for my body at the time. It only took a few days.

After less that a week of this new plant-mostly eating, life changed. Because I started listening to the whispering wisdom of my own body, my energy “mysteriously” started rising.

I awoke earlier each day, full of life, and ready to go!

 One particular night, I popped an entire head of cauliflower into my Instant Pot, and soon sat down for dinner- no grains, only a very small portion of perfectly steamed chicken, and a major bowl full of veggies topped with a drizzle of olive oil, nutritional yeast, and sea salt. And, yes, added a fresh spoonful of New Mexican guacamole to top the chicken.

My stomach was literally growling, in a rumbly, Winnie-the-Pooh-happy kind of way, that I’d not felt in recent memory. Then it happened. The guacamole exploded in my mouth, with flavor so unexpectedly exquisite, my eyes rolled shut to savor it’s delectable palate. Ah. A taste of the divine!

Are we listening to the wisdom of our own bodies, even though it may only be a whisper? Or just the shouting of our minds?

And here’s “food for thought” (heh heh, sorry, couldn’t resist!)- Just as a healthy stomach hunger opens our ability to relish exquisite flavors, so too the hunger of our soul creates an opening for us to taste the ecstasy of Divine Love. Does this ring true for you?

All Blessings & Love,

Jeannie Arunimā  ♡

 P.S. If you or a loved one struggles with chronic digestive problems, please consider an intuitive reading with Energy Therapy or Wellness Coaching to address the underlying causes and add more self-help strategies to empower your healing! Please contact me for more information!

 

P.S. Does your digestive system need a boost? Nirmana Healing can help. Contact us to schedule a free, 15 minute consult to find out how. Happy eating!

 

Gratitude Renews Life Energy

Gratitude Renews Life Energy

Gratitude. What’s in your cup?

If you are like me, the first drink of the morning is a sacred event! As I swim to the surface of wakefulness in the quiet morning light, the routine of preparing my drink grounds me. Boil the water, grind the beans, rinse the pot. I could do this with my eyes closed. It’s such a familiar comfort. I smile at the thought, “If only my meditation practice [enter your own words] was so unfailingly stable!”

While the water heats, my eyes are drawn to a picture of the Hindu Goddess Annapurna, which I placed above my stove years ago, as a reminder to honor the gift of nourishment. I pause to recall the bountiful blessings of Mother Earth in providing sustenance for all her creatures.

The gift of gratitude arises inside. In this quiet, brief moment, I am drawn naturally to offer my prayers and good wishes for all beings to have their share of sweetness, as do I, in the blessing of a nourishing, morning drink.

Research shows us that gratitude practice has remarkable effects on our brain and body! Gratitude reduces fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Gratitude promotes restful sleep, positive mindset, mood, and emotions. And, gratitude even increases motivation! (See references and resources for further reading below.)

Gratitude connects me to appreciation for my daily life, my loved ones, and my entire world. When I pause to consciously offer thoughts and feelings of gratitude, reverence ensues. I am reset, renewed, and ready to meet life whole heartedly.

Gratitude practice, acknowledging and verbalizing what we appreciate in life, activates physiological and psychological benefits which will help us create a more joyful and positive experience of life!

Interested in learning more about manifesting gratitude as a way to empower your own healing, transformation, and personal growth? Contact me for a free, 20 minute phone consultation and let’s be thankful together! 

All Blessings & Love, 

Jeannie Arunimā 

REFERENCES & RESOURCES

https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier

https://achnews.org/2019/12/16/study-gratitude-literally-rewires-your-brain/

https://www.mindful.org/what-the-brain-reveals-about-gratitude/

https://www.mindful.org/a-simple-mindful-gratitude-exercise/

 

Nature’s Reassurance

Nature’s Reassurance

Amidst the Pandemic, springtime gives us hope.

 

As I write, springtime is blossoming in New Mexico. Despite the world-wide pandemic, nature goes on. Abundant birdlife noisily proclaims courtship and renewal. Blooms of yellow, red, and purple push up from beneath the earth, and all around, the newness of greenery tips the tree branches is soft growth. Renewal.

I look, I see, and I think, “Even though the world as we knew it is gone, nature surges forth in her glorious springtime regalia none the less!”

I am awed. Humbled. Grateful. And, deeply reassured.

My life-long girlfriend shared her grandmother’s story with me of growing up in Nazi Germany during the war. Even though the entire city of Berlin had been devastated, buildings demolished, every edible plant picked bare, and even birdlife vanquished in order to feed starving children, when the war ended, springtime came anyway. She quoted her grandmother saying, “We looked around and couldn’t believe it. The flowers came. The grass grew up quickly over the devastation. And life went on.” Amazing. Nature, and the human spirit.

Spring came anyway!

In the face of this, or any, global devastation, we can take refuge and deep assurance in nature. In the rising and setting of our dear sun and moon. In the unswerving timeliness of the changing seasons. And, I dare say, in the eyes of each other, where the nature of the human heart, is love.

In our own lives, sometimes we too feel the need for renewal. If your energy has been low, and you could use a whiff of restoration, practice self-care. Give yourself the gift of renewal.

Golden Life Healing Energy Therapy brings restoration, refreshement, and revitalization. Schedule a healing or coaching session to empower your own renewal, whatever the season in our world. We’re all in this together. Please let me know if I can help.

All Blessings and Love,

Jeannie Arunimā ♡