Love.

Love.

Imagine if you could magically step out of time and look back over your own lifetime. Which memories would rise, like rainbow-skinned soap bubbles, and float into your heart’s view?

Certainly the most poignant memories we have revolve around love. Feeling love, finding love, expressing love, losing love. When we are most in touch with life, the things we love, and those we love come sharply into view. And if you have had experiences that bring life and death into clear view, you too must feel that all that really matters the most, undoubtedly, is Love.

So what then, is love?

According to Merriam-Webster, to love is to hold dear, to cherish, to feel affection for, and to take pleasure in. For each of us, love holds its own meaning. So much has been said about love! Love is all. Love unites us. Love Heals. Love is all there is. Love is a many splendored thing. Indeed, love is probably the most mysterious, all pervasive, and multi-faceted treasure of our existence. What is love to you?

Love is the whole thing. We are only the pieces. -Rumi

When I was younger, before my first child was born, I thought I knew all about love. I loved deeply, and consider myself quite loving. If you would’ve asked me then, I would’ve told you that I knew all about love. When my first daughter was born, it had been a very difficult birth. But eventually, this swaddling baby was put into my arms. As I drew her close, and turned my head to first look up on her face, my entire universe literally exploded. A greater, more expansive love than I had ever imagined possible came over me, permanently changing the experience of life as I knew it. The love I’d known before was like a tiny egg whose shell had just cracked open into the light of a million suns, shining in the unending vastness of the Universe.

man facinggolden sun with arms open wide

Another time, when both my daughters were in their twenties, I was attending an Irish music event in Santa Fe with my two bandmates. We were seated in the highest balcony, looking down over the hall, enjoying the music. A slow feeling of pressure started to build up in my chest as I watched. At first I tried to ignore it, but it persisted. My breathing became rapid, and the squeezing feeling got worse. I began to panic as my heart started pounding. A shooting pain went down my arm, and I thought, “Oh my God, is this it? Am I having a heart attack?”

Fear escalated intensely, and just as it reached its peak, time stopped. I rose above myself, and could see myself sitting there, and hear the music in the distant background. I was keenly aware. Then tears began to flow down my face. I saw the faces of my beloved daughters, and then, one by one, faces of those I’d loved in my life appeared briefly. All I could think was, “Wait! Have I accomplished what I needed to? I haven’t got it right yet! Would my life matter? Did my girls know how much I loved them?”

Still immobile, in an altered state, I heard a benevolent voice. It assured me that not only my daughters, but everyone I’d loved, would absolutely know that I loved them. Somehow an inner knowing began to bubble up, replacing my fear. I knew with certainty that I definitely had loved. In fact, I had loved wholeheartedly, with a ferocity of conviction.

In that moment, I was assured that my life had been complete, because I had truly loved.

The doctors later said my symptoms were a complication of too much thyroid medication and exhaustion, not a heart attack. But in truth, my heart had been opened to a deeper appreciation and compassion for my own self.

These are but two beautiful bubbles of memories that rise when I look back over my life to think about what’s been most important. By the grace of God-Universe, I have been shown again and again that love itself is beyond my limited definition. It continues to expand in ever greater magnificence beyond the scope of words. It is there to hold me and reassure me in the most fearful of times. Love gives complete meaning to my life. I am finally learning to turn that love inside myself, and accept it. For 40 years I heard the wisdom from my Teacher that God lives within. That God manifests as myself. “Go inside and love yourself,” she said.

On this day honoring St. Valentine, I send this question out into the Universe as an act of…. love. So, I ask you again, whatever day this is for you:

What sweet memories of love arise when you look back at your own life from the place of deep stillness and compassion? Which lessons from love will you cherish and share?

I invite you to reflect on the gifts of love as you know it. Perhaps you will feel moved to write your experiences, as I’ve shared here? Or to sing, or dance, or laugh, or play. Perhaps you will offer your work with a lighter heart when you remember how much Love, loves you.

Wherever you are, whenever this is, I wish you Love.

All Blessings & Love,

Jeannie Arunimā

P.S. If you or someone you love wishes to develop more self-compassion and more self-love, please feel free to talk to me about strategies and practices that I’ve found really helpful! Schedule a FREE Welcome Call with me any time. You are a magnificent, unique manifestation of Love! Unveil this Truth, my friend!

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

Acceptance is Key for Healing

Acceptance is Key for Healing

“Accept!” I hear the word clearly in my mind, exactly as my late Japanese master, O Sensei, would have said it.

I am working with a client, pausing with inner inquiry to discover how he might further healing of a very serious, chronic disease. We’ve been working together for a few months, seeing steady improvements in both energy and pain reduction. He has whole heartedly accepted and applied all the wellness strategies I’ve recommended, such as limiting work hours, scheduling rest, using visualization, meditation, self-talk exercises, targeted whole foods, and supplemental support, etc. In truth, his level of acceptance and implementation of healing strategies appears stellar! He’s accepted the disease, the doctors, the treatments, and every self-help strategy I’ve suggested with extraordinary graciousness, patience, and perseverance.

However, as many people who have suffered chronic illness discover, it’s not enough to simply go through the outward motions, and comply with (accept) treatment protocols and strategies for healing. No. In fact, there must exist a complete inner willingness in order to allow the condition to fully transform and heal. This bears repeating.

There must exist a complete, inner willingness in order to allow the condition to fully transform and heal.

Hearing that single word in my mind, with my teacher’s distinctive, thick Japanese accent, brought about a cascade of understandings about the healing process. I could see that although my client had exerted so much self-effort in his healing, there was still a place inside which was not quite ready to open up, and fully accept his recovery. There lingered a small shadow, seeming to whisper, “Ok, I’ll go through the motions, but, is it really worth the effort to struggle up the looming mountain ahead? I’m so tired.” This is the voice of utter fatigue brought about by chronic illness. It can affect our spirits, including our very will to live life.

 

Acceptance has many layers, all of which are quite “real” to the person suffering with a chronic illness.

 

There’s the physical reality of it. We take time out of our daily routine to go see our care givers. We may have to travel there, or set up remote access. We change our diet. We may start taking medications, herbs, remedies or supplements. Perhaps we change a behavior, like working too many hours. We implement strategies for healing. All these are physical and observable. 

There’s the mental reality we experience, often diving into research about our condition, and learning all we can to empower ourselves in healing. We think about, talk about it, read about it, rationalize it, try to figure it out, and hopefully, come to terms with the condition and make a plan for healing.

Then there’s the emotional reality, which is a too often neglected level in treatment of chronic illness. I’ve found that clients who’ve had a long battle with disease, or even just been unwell for a long time, go through the classic stages of grieving: denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and hopefully, acceptance. (For more on grieving, see The 5 Stages of Grieving.)

 Finally, there is the spiritual reality, which is usually the most subtle and unseen aspect of a client’s healing. It’s extremely personal, often private, and possibly “subconscious” to even the client himself. It is this aspect of our Inner Being which holds the key to successful recovery. The unspoken whisperings of the “subconscious mind,” the old patterns, ancestral-genetic code, and if you are of the mind to include “past lives,” are all embedded within what we may term the “inner spirit” or “individual soul” of each person. This vast and unseen reality has the potential to thwart, or support, all our actions toward healing on every other level, whether physical actions, mental stance, or emotional well-being. It is this level of inner work which we must not neglect in our efforts to heal the whole human being. Fortunately, it only requires turning within. (For more on Turning Within, sign up for my free course here.) For all who travel the healing journey, it is the spiritual level that is the key to inner strength and life will itself.

Healing chronic illness requires a holistic viewpoint and a complementary, team-based approach, with the most important team member being the patient’s own self.

The moment I heard the word, “Accept!” I immediately realized that my client must have a vestige of non-acceptance lingering in his spirit. After such a long, wearisome battle with disease, I could not blame him. In fact, I knew somewhat of how that felt, having dealt with some chronic issues in my own life. As I brought it up this concept, “Accept,” he nodded knowingly. Having recently done a lot of inner work to overcome that very same niggling shadow of doubt, whether it was worth it to continue to fight, he just smiled. He could see, as we often do, that there was just a little way further to go in fully accepting the goodness of the healing practices he was committed to, and saying, “YES!” to his own healing.

Pausing to accept the body’s satisfaction of the in-breath. Quieting the demands of the inner boss to accept the comfort of a deep rest. Slowing down to savor the flavors and accept the nourishment of great food. And regularily checking deep within to be certain we actually have our own inner blessings, and receptivity….. acceptance…. for healing.

When we deeply and completely accept the present moment and ourselves exactly as we are, we can experience incredible and exponential healing on all levels. Accepting life as it is, this moment, we can move on.

If you find yourself wanting a deeper level of acceptance and would like to explore it in a safe environment of healing and compassion, please contact me for free initial consultation, or to book a healing or coaching session.

 

All Blessings and Love,

Jeannie Arunimā ♡ 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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/