Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.~Chinese Proverb
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omaha yoga path | Readings from the 2019 Winter Immersion

Omaha Yoga Path Post

Readings from the 2019 Winter Immersion

Awakened Mind, Quiet Life

Meditating Zombie

Sometimes we travel through our day on a kind of auto-pilot. Gliding to where we’re going, at times, forgetting what we are doing. Meanwhile our mind is  in a cloud of ruminations about past regrets or future worries. Yet these states of mind are tumultuous, scattered, and dispersed. There is no quiet stability for us to listen.

This year for the Year-end immersion workshop, we will explore ways  to practice Awakening the Mind with Mindful Yoga. And learn ways to offer ourselves the gift of a Quiet Life in midst of a noisy world. In doing so we will touch the wondrous, refreshing, and healing elements that are in us and around us in every situation

“Then the soul is a lamp whose light is steady, for it burns in a shelter where no winds come.” 
Bhagavad Gita Ch.VI.v.19

The Essence of Stillness

When we release our ideas, thoughts, and concepts, we
make space for our true mind. Our true mind is silent of all
words and all notions, and is so much vaster than limited
mental constructs. Only when the ocean is calm and quiet
can we see the moon reflected in it.
Silence is ultimately something that comes from the heart,
not from any set of conditions outside us. Living from a
place of silence doesn’t mean never talking, never
engaging or doing things; it simply means that we are not
disturbed inside; there isn’t constant internal chatter. If
we’re truly silent, then no matter what situation we find
ourselves in, we can enjoy the sweet spaciousness of
silence.
There are moments when we think we’re being silent
because all around us there’s no sound, but unless we
calm our mind, talking is still going on all the time inside
our head. That’s not true silence. The practice is learning
how to find silence in the midst of all the activities we do.

Try to change your way of thinking and your way of
looking. Sitting down to eat your lunch may be an
opportune time for you to offer yourself the sweetness of
silence. Even though others may be speaking, you have
the ability to disengage from habitual thinking and be very
silent inside. You can be in a crowded space, yet still enjoy
silence and even solitude.
from the book Silence, Thich Nhat Hanh  p. 76 

White-Eyes
Mary Oliver
 
In winter 
    all the singing is in 
         the tops of the trees 
             where the wind-bird 
 
with its white eyes 
    shoves and pushes 
         among the branches. 
             Like any of us 
 
he wants to go to sleep, 
    but he’s restless— 
         he has an idea, 
             and slowly it unfolds 
 
from under his beating wings 
    as long as he stays awake. 
         But his big, round music, after all, 
             is too breathy to last. 
 
So, it’s over. 
    In the pine-crown 
         he makes his nest, 
             he’s done all he can. 
 
I don’t know the name of this bird, 
    I only imagine his glittering beak 
         tucked in a white wing 
             while the clouds— 
 
which he has summoned 
    from the north— 
         which he has taught 
             to be mild, and silent— 
 
thicken, and begin to fall 
    into the world below 
         like stars, or the feathers 
               of some unimaginable bird 
 
that loves us, 
    that is asleep now, and silent— 
         that has turned itself 
             into snow.

Theresa de Avila

“Today may there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. 
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. 
May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. 
May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”
BREATH  
Kabir 
 
Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
You will not find me in stupas, not in Indian shrine rooms, nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals;
Not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding around your own neck, nor in eating nothing but vegetables.
When you really look for me you will see me instantly – you will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Student, tell me, What is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.

Winter Is the Best Time
David Budbill

Winter is the best time
to find out who you are.
 
Quiet, contemplation time,
away from the rushing world,
 
cold time, dark time, holed-up
pulled-in time and space
 
to see that inner landscape,
that place hidden and within
“Real solitude comes from a stable heart that does not get carried away by the pull of the crowd, nor by sorrows of the past, worries about the future, or excitement or stress about the present.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

Thinking Less

While we practice conscious breathing, our thinking will slow down, and we can give ourselves a real rest. Most of the time, we think too much, and mindful breathing helps us to be calm, relaxed, and peaceful. It helps us stop thinking so much and stop being possessed by sorrows of the past and worries about the future. It enables us to be in touch with life, which is wonderful in the present moment.

 Of course, thinking is important, but quite a lot of our thinking is useless. It is as if, in our head, each of us has a cassette tape that is always running, day and night. We think of this and we think of that, and it is difficult to stop. With a cassette, we can just press the stop button. But with our thinking, we do not have any button. We may think and worry so much that we cannot sleep. If we go to the doctor for some sleeping pills or tranquilizers, these may make the situation worse, because we do not really rest during that kind of sleep, and if we continue using these drugs, we may become addicted. We continue to live tensely, and we may have nightmares.

 According to the method of conscious breathing, when we breathe in and out, we stop thinking, because saying “In” and “Out” is not thinking—

“In” and “Out” are only words to help us concentrate on our breathing. If we keep breathing in and out this way for a few minutes, we become quite refreshed. We recover ourselves, and we can encounter the beautiful things around us in the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not yet here. If we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.

 When we are in touch with the refreshing, peaceful, and healing elements within ourselves and around us, we learn how to cherish and protect these things and make them grow. These elements of peace are available to us anytime.

Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh

“The mind is restless, impetuous, self-willed, hard to train: to master the mind seems as difficult as to master the mighty winds.”
Bhagavad Gita Ch.VI.v34