Upgrading of Essence, An Alchemical Approach

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Upgrading of Essence, An Alchemical Approach

This past weekend, I spent teaching 5 Elements and 5 Spirits, Wu Shen to an incredible group of yogis at the world-class Science of Self yoga teaching training held in NYC’s East Village www.scienceofselfytt.com.  

With each layer that we were able to unfold, of the Tao, the Elements, the Spirits and the relationship we have with the world around us, we got into a deep discussion of how we can upgrade our Essence, or Consciousness in our daily lives. What were small changes or rituals that we can make to engender big shifts in ourselves and the world around us?

Each time I teach this material, it becomes clear to me - how deeply humans are suffering in how we are living. We are living more affluently with access to greater knowledge and resources than most of mankind throughout history has had access to, and yet we suffer.  Some of it is conscious suffering, some of it is buried so deeply within ourSelves - we need to unearth it with mindfulness, care, and guidance.

I wanted to share with you a couple of simple steps that you can incorporate in your daily life to start building your awareness.

Keep a Daily Sadhana

Wake, Meditate, Nourish, Move, Work, Move, Nourish, Meditate, Sleep

You may be saying: I don’t have time to live like this! These practices are in no way radical, but are basic care for the Self. These steps are not optional to a life that strives to be more mindful and progressive in caring for the Self. It may feel overwhelming at first, but keeping a strict schedule is the first step. It will become second nature. It will feed your soul at a deep level and allow you to deeply connect with those you care for most. Eventually it will allow time for creativity and meaningful growth. Like any new skill, keeping a daily sadhana requires practice. With time, you will do it with ease and joy.

Turn to Nature, Observe and Listen

Spend time observing the Elements. See how Water feeds the Wood. Wood feeds Fire. Fire feeds Earth. Earth feeds Metal. We saw this last week when our Mother Water dumped her last breath of winter heavily on our doorsteps, only to awaken the woody sprouts of Spring. We see the sun bursting forth and seed sprouts making their way, pushing through topsoil to greet us. Observe for yourself the interaction of the natural world everyday. How the grass grows in your yard, how the birds speak to each other, how the sun feels warming your face and the wind passing through your clothing. Stop and smell the Roses.

Let the Magic Happen

Once you connect to yourSelf and with Nature, the world around us opens. Just let the magic happen. There is nothing to do. We often talk in my office about letting the body heal through Wu Wei - or Doing by Not Doing. Just getting out of our own way and letting all that is good and whole shine through. It is simple.

“Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu”

“May all beings everywhere be happy and free from suffering. And may my thoughts, words and actions be of benefit to those around me.”

And as always our office is here for your support. Please reach out with any questions on using these practices to support your growth and process.

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Caring for your Self in the Year of the Earth Dog

Caring for your Self in the Year of the Earth Dog

In our day to day grind, we often find ourselves triage the care of others, prioritize the tasks of running a household, and somewhere in these fast paced, whirlwind days - it is so easy for our Self (big S) to get lost. That creative, vibrant spark of ourselves that gets lost in the day to day ‘should haves’ and ‘would haves’.

With the transition of the New Moon last week into Aquarius we welcomed in the Chinese Lunar New Year - into the glorious year of the Earth Dog. This is an opportunity to align our intentions with the cosmic energies around us. As you start paying attention to both the sun and moon cycles as it relates to the elemental cycles, you’ll notice a beautiful synchronicity sprout forth in your life. Understanding the energies of the earth and the universe around us - can bring both an understanding of struggle and an opening of opportunity.

First a little about the year of the Earth Dog:

Many of us share deep and nurturing relationships with our furry friends. We see the unconditional love and protection dogs bring to our family lives. This is a very similar energy to our Mother Earth. Despite years of abuse - she still welcomes humankind with unconditional love and protection. This next year is about knowing the great Mother’s love, realizing there are forces greater than ourselves to love and guide us through difficult and tumultuous times. It is our responsibility as self-evolving humans to fight for these cosmic rights, during our time on the grounded Earth. With the way the world spins so quickly, we must sink into the Earth and start small - just like planting one tiny seed in the vast soil to see how it will sprout. To tend our gardens of Self with intention, ability, and responsibility.

3 small steps to align your Self with the cosmos:

1. Observe and Commune with Nature.

This is an amazing practice to do with children. They open a sense of wonder, many of us lose along the way. Look with childlike eyes - notice what the birds are up to? What plants do you see peeking through the Earth, beginning to sprout? How violent are the ocean waves today? Or are they docile and welcoming? Feel the sun shining or moon beaming on your skin. Notice how your body feels after. These practices feed our bodies. We can integrate the qi and prana of the sun, earth, moon, water and wood into our beings.

2. Eat Food Mindfully.

Our foods begin as seeds. There is a tremendous amount of lifeforce, qi or prana that goes into food production. Any gardeners out there will know how rewarding and time consuming tending plants can be. Most of us buy our foods from stores nowadays, which removes us a few steps from establishing our relationship with our food as healing fuel. Take a moment before you eat and give thanks - visualizing how many hands, what resources must have gone into bringing your food to your table. A simple mantra before eating (modify to what suits you): I thank all the Mother Earth and all the hands that went into making this food. May it nourish my heart, mind, body, and soul.

3. Pay it forward.

The mantra of the Earth energy is: ‘I nurture.’ Notice where the Earth energies in our self, family or community may be stuck or stagnant. Do you have an elderly neighbor who needs company? A sick friend in need to cooked meals? A polluted park or neighborhood? This is where our canine energy emerges - to actively help, soothe, and sort with unconditional love and ferocity.