3 Ways to Heal Guilt with Yoga
by Susan Ni Rahilly
Posted November 23rd 2011

A religion, a belief system or a way of life will not necessarily suit all those born into it.  For some it will work.  For others it will be damaging. And you'll feel worse than a “fish out of water” - you'll feel, or be made to feel, guilty about it.

The lonely legacy of CATHOLIC guilt  is what I call the left-over loneliness that comes from low self-esteem, the pain and hurt from the damage of the catholic way (that's the family way, schooling community etc) and also the confusion and conflict from the twistings in the teaching – especially about our origins as humans.  It leaves you lost as to how the world works – and to how people really behave and why.

But nothing stays the same forever, and everything is constantly changing. There's compensation in everything.  In every 'wrong' there is the potential for 'right', if you look for it.  And Yoga gave me the way to find the 'right' in my life when I was healing from CATHOLIC guilt.

Healing with yoga is profound, deep and lasting.  It helps, in my experience, with a new stronger outlook, with your identity, values and lifestyle changes. Here are 3 ways I found to heal guilt with Yoga:

Letting Go
Awareness and acceptance of what has happened is the first step. For that you usually need quiet downtime. Releasing the past and letting go takes time and it also takes a certain state of mind . Relaxation in yoga is one of the most profound ways of reaching a state of deep contemplation for the letting go to happen.

Try this for free:  Relax from the  Help I Need Yoga free downloads in the ASHRAM

Flushing Out The Sadness
Letting the feelings of sadness or loneliness come up, the emotions to surface and flow and allowing them to wash through are all deeply therapeutic techniques of Yoga. Stillness and breath flow really help.   Simply learning to slow down enough to be still and silent is a powerful thing to give yourself.  Allowing your emotions to do the work for you, allowing the breath to breathe you is an amazing gift to yourself and it's a gift that you control.

Try this for free:  Breath from the  Help I Need Yoga free downloads in the ASHRAM

Wipe The Slate Clean
Contemplation is one of the steps on the path to meditation – it allows the mind to settle down into the state of silence necessary for meditation – it allows your thoughts to come up into awareness for your mind, body and emotional system to heal,  for you to make sense of your experiences and put them into some place on your soul's path.  Then you can wipe the slate clean and face the future. Contemplation in Yoga is an ancient practice of learning from the teacher's truths. You may have been told forgiveness is the way to healing?  Well, this is how you start . . .

Try this for free:  Forgive  from the  Help I Need Yoga free downloads in the ASHRAM

Remember what I said about origins? Well, growing what I understood about the origins of Yoga, some of the fascinating stories about the Yogis, gave me a  frame in my head to think about how life can be better and vital.  It's an amazingly powerful legacy – better than guilt any day.

And, related to nothing really to do with guilt and Catholic guilt (thank god!) I'm delighted that we've had Chris from Silencio's agreement to include the ZenZen music track as a download from our site – this is the beautiful backing music to Susan's Zen Sun DVD and we'll get it on sale  in the Storefront just as soon as we can get the technicalities taken care of!

Susan Ni Rahilly's book Daddy's Girl's Guilty as Hell is now on release again as an eBook – and published for the first time in Ireland – available as download from the Storefront. (go to the Sutras of Shopping area) and information is in the Cafe “Books” section

Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation).  She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.
23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan’s Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people. Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and my yoga developed with my experience of life:  exactly what it’s supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.


The Culture of Tomorrow
by Susan Ni Rahilly
Posted May 13th 2011

The Culture of Tomorrow

At a time when the world seems to be at a loss, rejecting past values
without being able to establish new ones, Yoga is the most valuable
inheritance of the present.  It is the essential need of today.....and
the culture of tomorrow.....

Swami Satyananda

We can each one of us only ever be of the generation we're born into. The culture of tomorrow in our world will be experienced by each generation differently. For myself, I see this experience of tomorrow in helping shaping the new culture, the new values.  Practice for many years has proved to me and other teachers, that the values of practice, time and dedication work for us very beneficially.

If the global consciousness is going to make a leap shortly – we, as teachers, are here to say you will be making quantum leaps forward in your own consciousness and we are also here to say, cope with it by doing this and this and this.

Lao Tzu said:  “I have only 3 things to teach: simplicity, patience and compassion – and with these 3 you can go a long way.”  As a teacher, I think I too have only 3 things to teach:   meditate, exercise the body-mind,  live simply.

My own appreciation of the qualities of my own generation and the teacher I've become as a result, has brought me to conclude that a quantum leap in our consciousness as human beings is probably more imminent than we think – and it will change our thinking entirely.  However, the generation that will change this world vastly for the future, will not be mine, nor the parents of the present, but the children. Only they have the minds that are capable of evolving to be able to think of new solutions for our future.

I'm shaping my values for the culture of tomorrow, by believing that I'm here as a teacher to teach the children well, and to teach their parents and assorted grown-ups in awareness to guide them. And of course, as ever, here for the new wave of aspirants and hungry seekers of consciousness.

SuZenYoga is about Zen, Meditation and Yoga, it stands for spirituality, understanding, Zen, energy and nutrition through Yoga. I'm delighted to be your teacher and guide during these exciting times in human existence: a time when we are so close to a new dawn of re-balancing our world - and I aim to teach simply and with inspiration and hope. Practice may not be easy, but it's the only Way for some of us.

I hope the following will uplift and inspire you on your path:

When asked by Alan Watts what his Yoga was, Joseph Campbell replied:  “My Yoga is underlining sentences in books!”

Sheldon Kopp:  We must live within the ambiguity of partial freedom, partial power, and partial knowledge of life . . .  but every so often it all seems so worth it.

I like this from one of the astrologers I've followed since the '80's, Jonathan Cainer:  “ 'The reason why the universe is eternal is that it does not live for itself; it gives life to others as it transforms.' So said philosopher Lao Tzu, who lived a long time ago by our standards. But by the standards of the Universe, he was here just a moment ago. Time takes on a very different meaning if we stop to think about our existence in relationship with the Universe as a whole. So does hope. And happiness. “

I'm precis-ing Deepak Chopra here;  . . . countless generations have cared deeply for the future of the world that you now experience, and it's now up to us in turn to care for the future of humanity,

And, finally Dainin Katagiri says: Zazen is to realise exactly who you are. This is all you have to do. You will know true peace and tranquillity. This helps not just you but others as well. Just experience zazen as perfect harmony – harmony that must be shared with all beings.

Oh God
I have discovered love!
How marvelous, how good, how beautiful it is! . . .
I offer my salutation
To the spirit of passion that aroused and excited this whole universe
And all it contains.
Rumi

I hadn't checked out Marina's perfume blog recently, so I've just done that and this is an uplifting gem of hers:  Eau de Gucci, the venomous butteriness of the flower meets you right in the top notes, aided by dry, chilly citruses. Her perfume blogs are worth reading for her writing alone! http://perfumesmellinthings.blogspot.com/2011/05/eau-de-gucci.html
Please give yourself some tlc and self-care with this free relaxation download Relax  from  Help I Need Yoga in the Ashram:  http://suzenyoga.com/ashram_help.html

namaste susan
Sources:  Swami Satyananda Saraswati: Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha;  Sheldon B. Kopp:  If you meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!;  C. Alexander and Annellen Simpkins:  Simple Zen;     Dainin Katagiri:  You have to Say Something; Deepak Chopra:  How to Know God;

Our picture this week is  “ bamboo and incense 2”

Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation).  She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.
23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan’s Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people. Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and my yoga developed with my experience of life:  exactly what it’s supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.


The Whole, The One, The Way
by Susan Ni Rahilly
Posted May 6th 2011

The Whole, The One, The Way

The reason why the universe is eternal is that it does not live for itself; it gives life to others as it transforms.
Lao Tzu


More about the influence of the Tao on Zen . . . and how “The Regarder of the Cries of the World” became a Goddess.
As Zen travelled through Oriental Asia with the patriarchs, mysticism, deeply rooted in the ethics and discipline of Yoga and India, merged with the spirit of emptiness of Buddhism, the mystery of the One-ness of the true nature of the Tao – the way of Heaven that permeates and guides everything – and the earthiness of Confucionism – the way of Earth, into a deep spirit that is Zen . .  . the Way.
As the Bodhidharma taught, everyone has a buddha mind, part of the One-ness and uncovered in meditation, there is no hierarchy or superiority and anyone can become a Buddha through meditation's transformation. The foundation for learning Zen, direct transmission, mind to mind with the teacher, became the spirit of Zen.
Korea's greatest Zen Master, Chinul (1158 -1210) taught that there is a sentient intelligence within each person, the principle behind seeing and hearing:  the individual mind, the buddha-nature.  This principle is what makes it possible for human beings to become enlightened – human beings are capable of using all aspects of their intelligence for enlightened living.  Each has its place in the grand scheme of buddha nature.
Master Chinul also taught that all external sign-oriented phenomena are invitations to experience a truer, deeper understanding at the absolute level of wisdom.  The path of enlightenment is here and now, through symbols and words, as well as through experience.
And, experientially, by the time Zen reached Korea, via China, the mythical Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara had changed gender.  By now the god had become a “she”. 
That the Gods of Yoga could be both male and female, and there being no sanskrit male/female pronoun for divinity in India, was a strange concept when Buddhism arrived in China.  But as usually happened with myth in culture, benign deities could be easily assimilated, and so when the Buddhists imported statues of Avalokiteshvara to China, the Chinese didn't have a tradition of bisexual gods containing all the divine male/female energy of creation, they understood the figure to be female.  He/she became the “Goddess of Compassion” Kwan Yin, and “The Regarder of the Cries of the World” in the Zen tradition became “she”.
 There is an ancient Taoist story of the separation of the yin and yang, which seems to be an origin for the Tao version of the Avolokiteshvara myth, The Regarder of the Cries of the World, and it's about the origin of  The Cry:  tens of thousands of years ago just as humankind was beginning to be able to think, we were also beginning our separation from the One, in order to evolve and develop. The Yin and the Yang separated and the pain of separation was expressed in the deep cry of the heart of mankind – a hunger and a yearning. In the story, our cries are always heard and our yearning to return to the whole is watched over with great compassion.  And in order to return to the whole, we must learn to surrender our thinking-mind back to the One Reality, consciousness.

The early Chinese Zen patriarchs were well versed in the Chinese classics, and they integrated Zen with the accepted philosophies of China, particularly Taoism. Each of the patriarchs contributed in their own way to integrating Buddhism and Taoism to form the uniqueness that is Zen: Taoism sees all phenomena in the world as yin and yang opposites, whilst Buddhism views all as emptiness, and Zen blends the two in the “vast Great Way that is neither easy or difficult” (Seng-ts'an).

As usual, Zen changed with the culture and the culture changed with Zen.

And so, compassionately and non-judgementally, caring for the Whole and all the while watching over the innumerable, countless numbers of humanity . . . .  the goddess/god of compassion had made her way through India, through the lands of the Tao and Confucious, to Zen in Japan and, in listening to our cries of hunger . . . to us in the West.

In one of the elegant, completing-the-circle brushstrokes of Zen, we in the West heard the deep-heart cries of those in difficulty in the land of Zen, Japan.

As a final aside, Master Eisai (see the blog strand below over the last few weeks) also brought the tea ceremony with him from China to Japan –  he brought tea seeds back with him and planted the first tea garden on monastery grounds which eventually lead to the tea Way, tea drinking as a Zen Art. Elements of the tea Way are to accept, appreciate and revere what naturally occurs, exactly as it is – in an atmosphere of  harmony, tranquillity, purity and reverence: we are all equal when we take time out for tea, with the concerns of the world temporarily distant.

I'm leaving with you with my own words that the light dancing in the dark brought to me this week:

Our lives are so fleeting, floating motes
dust on the light of the Universe's dark canvass
that is the night of the soul
and still, we dance in the mystery
Susan (d. 20??)

The Simpkins, joint authors of Simple Zen have also written Simple Taoismsource below.

And you might like this free download: my reading of the Cavafys poem, Ithaka, one of the most beautiful “journey” poems: http://www.lulu.com/product/media-download/ithaka/5200325

namaste susan
Sources:  Sheldon B. Kopp:  If you meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!;  C. Alexander and Annellen Simpkins:  Simple Zen;  Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance;   Dainin Katagiri:  You have to Say Something; The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara:  The Myth of the Great Secret: An appreciation of Joseph Campbell (Celestial Arts, 1990);  Barbara Shoshanna: Zen Miracles: Finding Peace in an Insane World.

Our picture this week is  “ bamboo and incense”

Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation).  She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.
23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan’s Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people. Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and my yoga developed with my experience of life:  exactly what it’s supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.


The Zenity of Being Human
Eat Your Shadow
by Susan Ni Rahilly
Posted 29th  April 2011

The Zenity of Being Human

'At the centre of your being you have the answer;
you know who you are and you know what you want.'
Lao Tzu (philosopher and teacher c. 500 AD?)

The Zenity of Being Human is about living in the experience of the moment – and sometimes living with zen means practising Eating Your Shadow.

This is Sheldon Kopp on Being Human: Hope is one of the most important qualities that a human being posesses for the challenge of making a life of significance and value;  "We will call out to each other in the darkness of the Great Forest, so that we may not be lost to one another. Then, like the innocent Forest People, for a moment we will live in a world created by a God so benevolent that, when there is trouble, we will know that He must be asleep. And, like the Hasidim, just when life is heaviest with pain and anguish, that is the time when we will dance and sing together to waken the sleeping God of our own lost hope."

In Eastern philosophies and cultural ways of being, the light, the energy, the hope has been found in dealing with the Shadow.  As far as I know, this self-growth practice and process pre-dated Hinduism in India – moving from the dark to the light has always been the soul's path in Yoga, with the soul power manifesting right at the moment you discern what the choice before you is.  Ancient Ayurvedic diagnosis of pain and dis-ease in the human being used the actual Shadow cast by the diseased person:  if the Shadow has no lower right leg, look to the liver (for example).

And along with the individual's Shadow, every nation has its Shadow side also – so for example, the Japanese formidable dinity and strength of character played against massive crime and social disease.

And this is Katagiri:  “If you just sit down in the midst of the quiet suffering of the human world, you become Avalokiteshvara, The Regarder of the Cries of the World, and you can listen to the voiceless voice of the world. You can open yourself to whatever situation you may be in. It's no use saying that the suffering out there in the world is foreign, that it doesn't belong to you. You have to take care of it every day, because it has already appeared. Just keep yourself open to it.  This is true compassion. This is living with a kind, pure heart in Zen.”

And we acknowledge this regularly by chanting the Bodhisattvas vows ritually (we do this after Sunday morning zazen practice here in our Baltimore Zen Sangha).  These are the vows:

However innumerable beings are: I vow to save them;
However inexhaustible the passions are:  I vow to extinguish them;
However immeasurable the Dharmas are: I vow to master them;
However incomparable the Buddha-truth is: I vow to attain it.

So, how do you Eat Your Shadow?

First, Make Friends with the Unacceptable:  Become aware of the qualities you find ugly or unacceptable in others, writing down a list if that helps. Then, realise that these are qualities that also exist within yourself. Make peace with these qualities, both within and without.

The more we repress aspects of ourselves, hiding from them and ignoring them, and project them onto others, the more power these qualities have over us, and the greater likelihood they will appear in our lives as symptoms, bad dream, or repetitive situations which we feel we have no control over. This has been called the shadow of a human being since ancient times. Carl Jung did much good work on the way we dump all the unacceptable parts of ourselves into our unconscious, and let it fester there as we hide from it.  We then see these qualities in those people and situations that are around us.

Eat Your Shadow:  In order to be free of this process, we “eat our shadow”.  This means we must reclaim and own these hidden qualities, realise they are part of us, and welcome them into our lives.  The very act of welcoming certain qualities or people takes the steam out of them.  We can then absorb the energy and transform them into something constructive. (from Zen Miracles)

Zen practice is the practice of doing this - “eating the shadow”, sitting and knowing that we ourselves contain the entire world.

Freeing ourselves to be human.

And finally, continuing the strand from last week, on the context of Zen's introduction to Japan by Dogen:  Dogen's Enlightenment.

Unsatisfied with his pilgrimage to Eisai's temple of enlightenment in China, Dogen went next to the T'ien-t'ung temple seeking deeper understanding from the abbot Ju-ching who was considered to be a master of pure Zen, and who valued sitting awarely in meditation above everything. Dogen experienced enlightenment one day when Ju-ching shouted at a student for dozing during practice.  Suddenly he understood what the old Chinese tenzo monk had meant:  the quality of practice is most important. And this became one of his primary teachings:  Practice is not separate from enlightenment:  Enlightenment and practice are one. And so the cornerstone of Dogen's Soto Zen which he brought back to Japan was to sit in zazen.

The Zenity of Being Human is my term for living with zen in your life as a human being with being-nature, on this planet that has its own planet-nature, and in a world which has its own world-nature – and in time-space that only the One-ness knows the nature of.  See the blog strand below over the last few weeks on the Zenity of Humanity.
You might be interested in this version of the Bodhisattvas vows, issued by the San Francisco-based Gay Buddhist Fellowship in their newsletter 1998, and I found this on Toby Johnson's website: http://www.tobyjohnson.com/heroes.html#modernvows
I vow to celebrate for all sentient beings.
I vow to enjoy my delusions in vivid and wonderful ways without being attached.
I vow to dance through the Dharma Gates I am presented with
and fully experience them.
I vow to appreciate the fullness and emptiness of all my senses and be with them

without attachment as Buddha taught.

And what indeed is life, if we can't vow to “Dance through the Dharma Gates” for everyone else?  As Sheldon Kopp said in his “laundry list”:  This Is It.

Finally, here's a link to some free ayurvedic content for your well-being:  it's a good source on Ayurveda, the ancient medical science of Natural Healing. This site has free educational content, videos, articles, and learning tools. This ayurvedic school has online videos of their classes for FREE! … to visit their website click on or copy: http://www.ayurvedaacademy.com

namaste susan
Sources:  Sheldon B. Kopp:  If you meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!;  C. Alexander and Annellen Simpkins:  Simple Zen;  Dainin Katagiri:  You have to Say Something; The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara:  The Myth of the Great Secret: An appreciation of Joseph Campbell (Celestial Arts, 1990);  Barbara Shoshanna: Zen Miracles: Finding Peace in an Insane World. 

Our picture this week is  “ pebble stack in the sky. . .”

Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation).  She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.
23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan’s Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people. Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and my yoga developed with my experience of life:  exactly what it’s supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.


Japan – the Zenity of Humanity Part 2
by Susan Ni Rahilly
Posted 22nd  April 2011

Japan – the Zenity of Humanity Part 2

Expanding on last week's blog,  here's another bit of vintage Sheldon Kopp, from his thoughts on the importance of Zen in the West:  if we want to live a life of significance and value, we have to live with the pain of the ambiguity of life . . .

. . .  and sitting now together, as I write and you read, with the power that is nature-being and humanity-nature-being that we are being taught at the moment on the planet.

As we in the West watched Japan and the Japanese people, in close-up, suffering immeasurably we also saw their national character of vast beauty and remarkable strength. Relief efforts took a long time, but there were no riots and only patience and order among the frustrated and hungry.

Shinrin mentioned that he'd seen and heard news reports of the Japanese handing in safes that had been recovered  to the authorities.

Zen is an incredibly optimistic and resourceful way of living, and the Japanese people have shown unflagging optimism and resourcefulness – but as always at times like these, when we can only watch the awesome power of nature helplessly, we ask why the Universe imposes such suffering?

And so, more now following on from last week's introduction from Katagiri on the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, The Regarder of the Cries of the World: “The Regarder of the Cries of the World never focuses on a particular person or situation.  We are all present in the middle of the human world at once, in the middle of good, bad, suffering, pleasure, emptiness, and kindness – according to Zen. She, Avalokiteshvara, does not pray for human desire to be satisfied . . . her concerns are always focussed on us all.
“We have to listen,” Katagiri goes on, “for the voice that she hears deep within us all – the cries of the world.  It is the basis of our existence.  Though we try to explain it logically or psychologically, or philosophically, all explanations are secondary.  The immediate Reality is that, day-by-day we are here, we are present. And so with our whole body and mind, we have to hear the voiceless voice, the cryless cry, which comes from very deep within the human world.  To hear it, all we have to do is be present.”
Apropos of all that, is this from Sheldon Kopp;  the pain of the ambiguity of life, and not being able to live with it, is the cause of escaping through alcoholism, drug abuse and suicide. . .

We've been moved and we've been inspired here in the West. Japan and their disasters has been a big teaching to us in what I call the “Zenity of Humanity”, but as we also heard from Shinrin, there's a dark side, the shadow of the Japanese – much alcoholism and suicide. And as I heard from a Criminologist acquaintance here, Japan has a massive crime rate. A nation, as well as individuals, has a shadow and more in the blog next week in living with Zen practice:  Eat your shadow.

And finally, for this week's blog, I'll finish with more on Dogen and his own enlightenment.

When Dogen was a young student of  Myozen, who had been Master Eisai's student, he went with his teacher on a pilgrimage back to the temple in China where Eisai had found the “true Zen” and also his own enlightenment.  Soon after landing in China, Dogen met a cook who opened his eyes to Zen.  The cook was an elderly monk in charge of the monastery cooking, the tenzo. Dogen had tried to persuade the old monk to stay and talk to him about Buddhism rather than go back to the monastery to cook - only to be told by the tenzo that Dogen did not undersand the true meaning of Zen.  Dogen had not yet understood that Zen is in everything we do, whether it's cooking, cleaning or sitting.

Dogen was so moved and inspired, that he always considered the position of cook at his monasteries a position of honour. And more on this in next week's blog, on Dogen's enlightenment and the Zen teaching he brought back from China to Japan.

“Zenity” is my term for the beneficial effects that a zen practice and a simple, regular routine have on us.  So, sanity by zen  - more in the blog next week on the Zenity of Being Human.  And if you would like to be present with yourself in a simple self-care practice, and build this into your weekly routine, you can download this demo for an Ayurvedic self-massage for free:  http://www.lulu.com/product/media-download/ayurveda-self-massage/5553451

And following our Joseph Campbell strand from last week, there's more vintage Joseph Campbell here: http://www.jcf.org/

And I'll leave you with one of the most influential Zen Masters, Rinzai's,  famous guidance to his students on turning the light of awareness inward to find the true Way.

Seeking outside for something
This hardly becomes you!
If you wish to know your original mind,
don't try to join with it, don't try to depart from it!
Lin-chi (Rinzai d. 866)

 

namaste, susan

Sources:  Sheldon B. Kopp:  If you meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!;  C. Alexander and Annellen Simpkins:  Simple Zen;  Dainin Katagiri:  You have to Say Something; The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara:  The Myth of the Great Secret: An appreciation of Joseph Campbell (Celestial Arts, 1990)

Our picture this week is “Mountain Pond Reflects . . .”  a cropped portion from the  www.suzenyoga.com  homepage image.

Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation).  She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.
23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan’s Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people. Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and my yoga developed with my experience of life:  exactly what it’s supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.


Japan – the Zenity of Humanity
by Susan Ni Rahilly
Posted 15th April 2011

Japan – the Zenity of Humanity

Sheldon Kopp, American writer and  Psychotherapist, firmly believed that the next center for the growth of Zen is in the West.  (source below)

I agree with him.  And if we needed teaching here in the West of the effects in life of living with Zen, we got that teaching from the Japanese people recently. As the West watched TV news reports unfolding on a daily basis of the unthinkable: earthquake, tsunami, nuclear reactor damage . . . we asked ourselves and each other how we would endure?  How are the Japanese enduring?

Talking about this after zazen practice, having offered our practice and the heart sutra prayers for the Japanese people, our monk Shinrin said:  “They live with impermanence.  They're a dignified people with a deep respect for the power of nature.”

Zen says: You are not alone, what happens to one happens to all, and we all evolve and grow. When we sit with the Sangha in silent meditation, we're sitting with the whole of humanity. We're also sitting with the power of nature's being.
That is such an incredibly powerful way of being, having total faith in the truth of Reality, that I would like to leave you with that until next week's blog . . .
. . . And merely, here,  give some understanding and background . . . . I'll precis Joseph Campbell:  if you don't have an understanding of origins, you won't have a psychological framework for concepts of the dynamics of human behaviour.
So here's some history.  Yoga was swallowed into Hinduism, probably between 800 and 600 BC – there had been a lot of abuse in religion, and Yoga offered the Hindu religion a practical way for the individual to merge with the “One”.  Buddhism was spawned from Hinduism, growing from the  vast, varied and broad philosophies – when Siddhartha Gautama (563-483 BC), became the Awakened One, the Buddha, and started teaching his “middle way”. This teaching travelled through Oriental Asia to Korea with the Bodhidharma . . . through China, picking up and integrating the threefold path, Buddhism, the Tao,  and Confucionism along the way, and steeped deeply, and rooted firmly, in the core that is Yoga. In my opinion, gathering along the path the deep spirit that became the “finger that points the way” . . .

Dogen lived from AD 1200 – 1253, and transmitted the Soto line of Zen to Japan -  bringing it from the Chinese temple where Master Eisai had found his enlightenment, and where Dogen had gone on pilgrimage with his teacher Myozen who had been a student of Eisai. Dogen's famous saying was “practice is enlightenment, enlightenment is practice” and he taught that practice was simply sitting zazen. 

The Chinese Master Wu-Men (Mumon in Japanese) lived from AD 1183 – 1260 and he wrote out and collected stories and wise sayings into a koan book, the Mumonkan, which was brought to Japan and used for teaching Zen, mostly in the Rinzai tradition – the line which continued to grow through the students of Eisai.

During this time, the Japanese Government helped organise schools in Zen Monasteries to teach people simple academic subjects along with religion. Zen Monks, at this time, had become part of the social, cultural and economic fabric of Japan and the Japanese rulers had given the monks the task of educating the people as the monasteries were centers for the arts and learning, as well as spiritual practice and guidance.

Zen was adopted into the Japanese education system during Dogen's lifetime, so the 13th century.  It now is very evidently deeply embedded into the Japanese nation's genetics and psyche. 

So, Zen travelled from China and  Sino-Japanese is the ancient language of Zen in Japan, and even our most contemporary Zen Masters – such as Deshimaru in France - have simply carried on the ancient traditions, chanting the prayers without understanding the language. They didn't need to understand language, there are deeper understandings in the way of Zen.

Dainin Katagiri expresses this so well in a way which explains it to us in the West, in context.  He says:  “If we observe the human world closely, we can hear a very deep sound.  It is a kind of voice, yet it is voiceless, a voice at the bottom of the human heart. It is the sound of life crying.  It is there and you are there too, but you can't evaluate it.  Whether you are in the middle of success or failure, your life cries . . . “  He goes on to tell the story of  “The Regarder of the Cries of the World”, the Bodhisattva  Avalokiteshvara, who is all of us but not any one of us in particular.

Again, this is a big sea change in thinking, culture and philosophy for most of us . . .  so more on that, also in next week's blog.

“Zenity” is my term for the beneficial effects that practice and a simple, regular routine have on us.  So, “sanity by zen”  - more in the blog next week on the Humanity of Zen.  And if you would like to sit in silence and be present with the whole of humanity you can download this practice for free:  Sit from : http://www.suzenyoga.com/help.http

There's more vintage Joseph Campbell here on my YouTube channel:  I have a couple of Joseph Campbell video shorts:     http://www.youtube.com/yogawithsusan

. . . and finally, using this  poem from Li Bai (Conversation in the Mountains) again is irresistible because of its sweetness:

You ask me why I dwell in the green mountain;
I smile and make no reply for my heart is serene and free of care.
As the peach-blossom flows wih water down stream and is gone into the unknown,
I have a world, another Heaven and Earth apart, that is not among men.

Li Bai

namaste, susan

Sources:  Sheldon B. Kopp:  If you meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!;  C. Alexander and Annellen Simpkins:  Simple Zen;  Dainin Katagiri:  You have to Say Something

Our picture this week is “Lotus in Meditation Garden”, part of “Meditation Garden” from Elena Ray's collection:  www.elenaray.com

Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation).  She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.
23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan’s Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people. Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and my yoga developed with my experience of life:  exactly what it’s supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.


Redating Yoga History 2
(Continuing our Another Bit of Yoga History theme)
By Susan Ni Rahilly
Posted 8 April 2011

Redating Yoga History

Resuming the blog theme this week, Redating Yoga History.  Apparently, “Mayan funerary vases show a woman (believed to be the Goddess Ix Chel) in various explicit yoga postures such as the “twist,” in congress with a giant serpent (who appears to be her alter ego) and a tantric male figure identified as the Old Fire God.

More from Vicki Noble's article (source below): “From prehistoric Crete, a serpent woman from 6000 B.C.E. is portrayed in a yogic meditation posture; she is clearly crowned. Such a crowned figure similarly seated in meditation can be seen in a small museum in Central Turkey, dated to approximately the same time period . . . the Crowned Snake Goddess the “Queen of the Snakes” or the “Mother of the Snakes” links to contemporary folk customs in Lithuania where snakes were still revered in the latter half of the 20th century. Many early yogic women are shown in trance states or ecstatically altered consciousness. Even the ones from the Greek islands, treated as “death Goddesses” could equally well be described as being in samadhi. And although such figures predate the formal codification of yoga in India by many thousands of years, each of them could be said to graphically depict the eight steps of yoga that lead to “progressively deeper levels of awareness and functioning until, finally, ordinary consciousness is transcended in the bliss of ecstasy.” The steps include “moral observances, self-discipline, posture, breath control, sensory inhibition, concentration, meditation, and ecstasy.”
Source: Did Women invent the Ancient Art of Yoga? By Vicki Noble at http://www.motherpeace.com

The picture this week is “Buddha Altar 2” taken looking out over the bay here a couple of mornings ago, the windows look onto my terrace here in Baltimore, West Cork, Ireland.

Completely off-topic, I'm reminding you about the daily inspirations on this website:   http://mysite.verizon.net/mitteldorf/Inspiration/  that I've written about in earlier blogs.

This week, I'll also remind you about the free guided-audio download for you:  Seeds of Yoga Meditation Part Two and it's intended to help you learn to take time in Meditation:  http://suzenyoga.com/ashram_medclass.html   Enjoy!

Namaste, Susan

Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation).  She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.
23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan’s Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people. Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and my yoga developed with my experience of life:  exactly what it’s supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.


Redating Yoga History
(Continuing our Another Bit of Yoga History theme)
By Susan Ni Rahilly
Posted 1 April 2011

Redating Yoga History

I've been researching and writing origins of Yoga for another project, continuing my fascination with history and our development as human beings.  I thought you might be interested in this: it's an excerpt from Vicki Noble at http://www.motherpeace.com

“ My research into Neolithic female figurines from around the Mediterranean and Old Europe suggests that women had invented yoga by the 7th millenium B.C.E. and that the varied poses shown in these early sculptures, as well as frescoes, murals, and rock art through the ages, are expressions of an ancient and widespread female-centered communal practice of yoga which was eventually codified into the formal schools that we recognize today.”
Over the last 5 years of teaching here in Baltimore, West Cork I've been talking about this concept of communal yoga practice, especially spontaneous practice of women and children, with the “yoga women” here, many of whom are mothers.  And we all agree that this makes, intuitive, emotional and spiritual “sense” - especially when the mothers have experienced their kids enthusiasm for yoga in my classes!
Part 2 of this in the blog next week, and meanwhile, remember Ramakrishna's mantra: Jiva is Shiva,  Each soul is potentially divine . . . .

The picture this week is “Buddha Altar 1”  taken in front of the windows overlooking my terrace here in Baltimore, West Cork, Ireland.

Completely off-topic, I'm reminding you about the daily quotations on the Krishnamurti website www.jkrishnamurti.org  that I've writeen about in earlier blogs.

This week, I'll remind you about the free guided-audio download:  Seeds of Yoga Meditation Part One (of two parts) and it's intended to help you learn to take time in Meditation:  http://suzenyoga.com/ashram_medclass.html   Enjoy!

Namaste, Susan

Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation).  She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.
23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan’s Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people. Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and my yoga developed with my experience of life:  exactly what it’s supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.


A Zen Story
“Two Moons”
By Susan Ni Rahilly
Posted 18 March 2011

Zen story

There are a few “two moons” stories in Zen – this is one of them, a very short one!  These stories are meant to illustrate the co-existence/no separation of Zen, or just taking care of life day by day, moment to moment.

Zen Master Ungan was hard at work, sweeping the temple yard.  Zen master Dogo came to him and said;  “You're working hard.”

“There's a name for people who don't work hard,” said Ungan.

“If so,” said Dogo, “there are two moons.”

“Two moons” refers to our dualistic notions of how we understand people and the world.  If we think like that there are two types of people – those who work hard and those who don't.  But sweeping the temple yard doesn't take place in that kind of thinking space.  All is still in Reality – there is no movement. 

So Ungan sweeps in movement that is no movement.  If you stand in a temple yard where there is no movement anyway, you are in the wisdom mind of knowing how the world goes from moment to moment.  Then your sweeping is only manifesting wisdom.

If you like Zen Stories and would like the versions for kids, you can get books and comics at: http://global.sotozen-net.or.jp/eng/

Our picture this week is “Meditation Garden” from Elena Ray's collection:  www.elenaray.com

Finally, my landlord's father went on a Fair Trade mission last month:  this is the blog http://costaricafairtrade.wordpress.com/

Here's the link for my free 10 minute yoga relaxation download: http://www.lulu.com/product/media-download/waves-10-minute-guided-relaxation/4549827  enjoy!

Namaste, Susan

Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation).  She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.
23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan’s Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people. Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and my yoga developed with my experience of life:  exactly what it’s supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.


Another Bit of Zenity
Posted by Susan Ni Rahilly
11 March 2011

Zenity

“Zenity” is my term for the beneficial effects that a zen practice and a regular routine have on us.  So, sanity by zen.

The beneficial effects for me are how the practice and living in the moment unleash the creative geniuses within us. And while I'm figuring out how to write my new “Zenity” program, what format to use for practice, how I'm going to practice it etc . .  . this blog contains a little more of  Dainin Katagiri's teaching from his book:  You Have to Say Something (source below).

“How can we live according to Zen teachings? First of all, we have to do zazen – sitting meditation – on a daily. The important thing is not how long we sit – five minutes, ten minutes, fifty minutes, even one minute is okay. The important point is to let everyday life start with zazen and end with zazen. That is the first step.

“Why do we have to do this? Because Zen is everyday life – to live day by day. And day by day is today – right now, right here. Right now, right here influences your whole life. To live life does not mean to live according to some spiritual or material idea. To live life – how you spend your life – means how you take care of life day by day.”

Source:  You Have to Say Something – Manifesting Zen Insight - Dainin Katagiri, author of Returning to Silence, edited by Steve Hagen, Shambala Publications Inc by Minnesota Zen Meditation Centre 1998 www.shambhala.com

Our picture this week is Mountain Rock Pool.

And you might like to start establishing a daily sitting practice with a free download “Sit” here:  http://www.suzenyoga.com/ashram/help.html

Namaste, Susan

Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation).  She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.
23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan’s Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people. Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and my yoga developed with my experience of life:  exactly what it’s supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.


3 Men Who Changed My Yoga
By Susan Ni Rahilly
Posted 4 March 2011

A short blog this week and no apologies as I'm stuck into writing content for a new CD.

Of course, the whole of Yoga is so much more than Hatha Yoga, so these are the men who influenced my practice and attitudes to living with Yoga in my life.

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein  
I'm the woman by the pool on holiday in spain with her nose stuck into a book, and if I'm not reading Cosmology, Yoga and Advaita (that was a joke) then I'm reading “Who Got Einstein's Office” ( no, seriously!).

If it hadn't been for him I would never have had the interest I do in Cosmology and Quantum Mechanics – and I guess I sound like Marylin Monroe, but aren't men who wear glasses are so attactive?

Professor Joseph Campbell
What can you say about a man who has brought you from small little places in your mind to big, vast sources and open-ness of conceptual thinking?  Certain postures and meditations opened up for me with his teachings – like having a concept of your own eternal nature in the Sphinx practice. 

And when Joe Campbell was asked by colleague Alan Watts what his Yoga was, he replied, “My Yoga is underlining sentences in books . . . “

Swami Vivekananda
Swami Vivekenanda belonged to the Vedantic beliefs in India (the purpose of the sacred texts, Upanishads containing the vedic scripts) and practices of their philosophical goals:  that no-one person can be truly free until all of us are.  In the late 1800's Vivekananda was master Ramakrishna's most intellectual student, and as a great orator, carried on his teachings;  the mainstay of which is “Jiva is Shiva” . . . each individual is divinity itself.

I was walking down the road to the Hockney Gallery in Yorkshire one autumn day in 1994, I was  steeped in my Yoga training and the weekly meditation classes, with my teacher Sam Singh.  The 2nd hand book-shop had a couple of boxes of books on sale outside at 20p.  Luckily I came across Swami Vivekananda's definitive book on Raja Yoga, the 1913 edition, and luckily (well for  those days!)  I had 20 pence in my purse!  Heaven had opened up for me.

The next year I was writing a manuscript and using inspirational prose or poetry as the frontwords for each chapter.  Little did I know that I had chosen Vivekananda's key teachings, and I re-used them a few years later when I wrote my book on Catholic Guilt.

 

By the way, just in case you havent checked it out lately all of February's inspirations are here at Daily Inspirations: http://mysite.verizon.net/mitteldorf/Inspiration/in1102xx.htm

And the second part of Seeds of Yoga Meditations (learning the power of your mind in meditation) is available as a free download here in the Ashram's Meditation Room:  http://suzenyoga.com/ashram_medclass.html

Enjoy!
Namaste
Susan

Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation).  She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.
23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan’s Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people. Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and my yoga developed with my experience of life:  exactly what it’s supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.


Another Bit of Yoga History
(Continuing Some of our Buddhas are a Bit Bonkers theme)
By Susan Ni Rahilly
Posted 19 February 2011

I love Yoga

I've been researching and writing some of the final parts in my Foundations of Yoga Meditation series this last week or so, and I remembered the story Osho used to tell about Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna's student and author of the definitive book on Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation). I'm writing content for another guided-audio download practice in taking Satsang.  I think this little bit of insight into Yoga History and our Gurus/Buddhas should continue the theme of Some of Our Buddhas are a bit Bonkers (see my Blog February 4th in the blogs below).

Personally, I actually think the blog theme that is panning out is a bit of insight into the difficulties we all have to work through in our lives even if we choose to be a celibate student of a master as Vivekananda did.  And I although I have just said that he wrote a definitive piece of work on Yoga Meditation (I found a copy of the book dated 1913-ish) – there was at the time a culture of a lot of “rules” in Yoga.  Also, there was a lot of bickery back-biting in his circles in India, in Yoga publishing, and he came in for a lot of critiscism and caught a lot of flack for his approach – you can Google it, there's loads of it:  Raja Yoga Swami Vivekenanda.

Back to the story the way Osho used to tell it:  Vivekananda was Ramakrishna's senior student at his Ashram – the most dedicated, the most diligent etc etc. And, as it turned out, the most judgemental and bad tempered. He absolutely adhered to and followed his Guru's teaching “Jiva is Shiva”: the individual soul is the divine.

There was another student in the Ashram.  This man was quite simple, both in his approach to life and also in his mental capacities being quite simple-minded.  In his cell in the Ashram he had many little icons, dolls and sacred statue-ettes which he worshipped regularly throughout the day, and to which his living space was a shrine.

For some reason, this scenario got Vivekananda's back up, getting more and more angry with the man's flagrant disregard for the master's pre-eminant teaching “Jiva is Shiva” - the individual soul is the divine and to be worshipped, not little icons and copies of minor deities (of which India has multitudes!). So, one day, this finally got his goat so much that he stormed into the man's cell in a rage and destroyed the little shrine, throwing out and breaking up all the dolls and icons.

Ramakrishna summoned Vivekananda on hearing of this.  Certain of being congratulated and maybe being promoted to Swami for his strict adherence to his master's teaching and for taking such decisive action, Vivekananda himself was crushed at the guru's pronouncement.  In no uncertain terms, Ramakrishna pronounced that for his lack of compassion and judgementalism of a kind simple man and his harmless little life of devotion and prayer, Vivekanada would never reach enlightenment.

And, as Osho told the story, Vivekanada never did get Enlightenment.  But he became an exceptional teacher and writer and his diligence in passing down to us what he learned from a master still survives and thrives to this day.  I used quote from his teachings from the 1913 version of Raja Yoga in one of my books; and I'm using them in the meditation piece I'm writing this week on the Satangs of Yoga.

Each soul is potentially divine . . . .

The picture this week is the February Sunset from my terrace here in Baltimore, West Cork, Ireland  looking out over the bay a couple of evenings ago.

Completely off-topic, I'm reminding you about the daily quotations on the Krishnamurti website www.jkrishnamurti.org that I wrote about last week.

This week, I have a new free guided-audio download for you:  Seeds of Yoga Meditation Part One (of two parts) and it's intended to help you learn to take time in Meditation:  http://suzenyoga.com/ashram_medclass.html  Enjoy!

Namaste, Susan

Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation).  She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.

23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan’s Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people. Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and my yoga developed with my experience of life:  exactly what it’s supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.


3 Reasons Why I Love Yoga
by Susan Ni Rahilly
Posted 11 February 2011

I love Yoga

“Before I loved you, nothing was my own
It all belonged to someone else -- to no one. “

Pablo Neruda wrote these beautiful words to his lover in one of his sonnets.

For this Valentine's weekend I thought the blog should be about love.  For those of us who don't have an intimate love relationship in our lives, we can still be intimately in love.  And loved by something.

Pablo Neruda's beautiful sonnet says it all just right now.  It is how I feel about Yoga, how I love it, how it has loved me and how I feel such love for life now because of Yoga that I never would have guessed existed. 

So, 3 reasons why I love Yoga:

Yoga loves me. 
Before Yoga in my life, nothing was my own and it all belonged to someone else,  just as Pablo said:  it makes me feel possessed and owned by something – my life belongs to me because of Yoga. Yoga has given me a way of being.

Yoga gives me reasons to breathe.
And of course Yoga taught me how to breathe – and gave me reasons to be here on this planet still breathing.

(February's theme on the website is “practice” and I'm hoping to get a download up of my “Breathing for Your Back” CD which is on sale this month with New World Music.)

Yoga has trained my soul.
And . . . it gave me a mature connection with life and nurtured my connection with eternity. Yoga taught me to ask how and why and why not?  Yoga has been about enquiry and discovery for nearly 6,000 years since the ancient yogis, of the Vedic people in India, got up every morning and asked themselves:  what happens if we do this?  And this could be, stand on your head, breathe in a certain way, meditate, etc, etc . . . or, act grown-up and get values (the yamas and niyamas of Yoga).

. . . “trained my soul”  is a reference to: “I am the life in all living beings and the striving of those who train their souls  . . . “ from the Bhagavad  Gita (the “Song of God”). And the “values” reference is to Satyananda: “At a time when the world seems to be at a loss, rejecting past values without being able to establish new ones, Yoga is the most valuable inheritance of the present.  It is the essential need of today . . . and the culture of tomorrow.” (Swami Satyananda Saraswati:  Asana Pranayama  Mudra Bandha).

All these people who came before you deeply cared that you live your life to the full, that you love your life.

Finally, appropos of nothing related to this blog:  you might like the daily quotations on www.jkrishnamurti.org  – daily excerpts from the master Krishnamurti's teachings. I like the daily inspirations so much I think I might embed them in the Satsang page on the www.suzenyoga.com website! And just because we can never have enough masters in our lives, and also because historical snippets of information help us nurture our connection between past and present:  I have a couple of Joseph Campbell video shorts on my YouTube channel;  http://www.youtube.com/yogawithsusan – Joseph Campbell met J Krishnamurti on board ship when he was sailing from New York to India as a young anthropologist in the 1930's.  And for those of you who are Joseph Campbell devotees you'll also find there tai ji video shorts with Al Huang – Joe's tai ji teacher and “dancing partner” and another of my inspirations. What bliss!!

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading all of that and following the links.  I'm sending you “victorious kisses of our riotous hunger for love” as Pablo Neruda would say, just in case you don't get any from anyone else this Valentines! Om . . .

namaste
susan

PS: Do forgive me, I forgot your Valentine's gift:  try this for free on me:  Breath from the site's Help I Need Yoga section:  http://suzenyoga.com/ashram_help.html

Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation).  She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.
23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan's Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people.  Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and 'my yoga' developed with my experience of life: exactly what it's supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.”

 

 


Some Of Our Buddhas Are A Bit Bonkers
by Susan Ni Rahilly
Posted 4 February 2010

buddhas are bonkers

This week's blog is about an editorial decision I thought it was about time I made about including Osho, the Zen Master's Satsangs (teachings) on the www.suzenyoga.com website.

I'm not a great fan of gurus – everyone should be their own guru as far as I'm concerned (see my Guru Within audio download in the Ashram's Meditation Room) – but there is definitely a guru mentality and they often draw heavily on certain archetypes to get reactions and give us zen thwacks upside our heads.  I mean of course, for example,  the typical trickster antics designed to shock us out of our little mental ruts. Something that Osho, the master was good at even when he was a plain “Shree” . . . . (Sri Baghwan Rajneesh)

When guru energy is good energy it is powerful.  It's the energy that keeps the Ashram (work and living place for practice) alive and thriving positively.  It's the teacher that brings light out of darkness and seeringly illuminates everything with “truth” . . . . (Gu - darkness; Ru – light).

For instance, I love this vintage Osho – “be Zorba the Buddha” . . . and:  “your buddha mind, your buddha heart, your buddha nature are all there just waiting to be revealed . .  . and existence needs every drop of you.”  As the master,  he knew that we could all be the buddhas we truly are but that we might need our butts kicking every so often to just sit down and meditate and stop being neurotic.

But . . .  if being your true buddha nature means being a bit bonkers  . . . then what?  And he certainly was insistent in that guru-type no-messing way, that we shouldn't try to be gurus, gurus are self-gratifiers . . .  and promptly guru-ified himself.  What a contradiction . . . but as Shinrin says: “unique”.

Because Osho certainly knew that everyone is still human – that the weeds of co-emergent energy (the crap) come up with the blossoms of living in the magic;  that if you spend your day meditating as your medicine then you can't be watching what the entourage are up to . . . and chaos can break out, because chaos does, and as long as you're alert and watchful and mindful, then it's just an experience. But if the leader's finger is off the button, chaos can get scary.

Shinrin gave us an insight last zen weekend here in Baltimore.  He'd been an Osho sanyasin, there at the last in America when things were getting crazy. Osho had given him his orange-people sanyasin name and then turned him onto zen.

They grew up in such poverty in India. They had so many barriers, personal, psychological, emotional, spiritual to break through as young sanyasins themselves, during the epoch Shri Bagwan Rajneesh (later Osho) and his cohorts were steeped in their Yoga training. I have an old book by one of Satyananda's students, written from the view point of a yogi, and he poignantly points out that they were trying themselves to break through Victorian values imposed on them by the authoritarianism of an obsolete empire.

This is something I totally empathise with, having grown up in Bradford in Yorkshire, England – and its mixed Asian population (Pakistani, Indian, Muslim, Hindu) – and from the never-to-be-forgotten experience of training there with my meditation teacher, Sam Singh.  They would be clueless, these young bloods of brahminism – and uncomprehending as to why the followers weren't just deep in sadhana and discipline: too much into ahimsa and samadhi and motivating us all into living in intoxicating bliss.

So, when he was kicked out of America for causing stink, someone lent Osho a plane and he circled the planet, unwelcome in most countries (I'm not going to touch on politics at all here).  Ireland let him land and he spent a short time here.  Apparently, he'd got on the plane clutching a handful of gold watches – still the young Indian brahmin suffering from compulsions caused by the spiritual riches and material poverty of the East he so often spoke about?

He thought he was dying then.  One of his transcribed discourses reminded me when I was deep in my own grief and feeling country-less in England following my husband's death – that there are “skies upon skies to be experienced”.  And, as it turned out, a few years from his own death he spent months in the skies with no country to take him in, until eventually India had to as he had an Indian passport.

Too much consciousness and not enough grounding? Not enough living in reality, and in the moment of zen?

Or just a result of gurus of his generation not really having to deal with practicalities? As Gandhi had to learn in 6 years of imprisonment, there are consequences to the minutae of physical existence here and now . . .

Anyway, Shinrin said that Osho had said that he was “only here to point the finger”.  And now, they teach his style in University Communications courses:  the use of silence;  speaking for 3 hours at a time;  storytelling to pick up the energy when people were falling asleep . . .  (I have a short video of his on my YouTube channel “Almost Drunk with Emotional Wellness” an Osho classic and a concept which just fills my heart with laughter!  http://www.youtube.com/yogawithsusan )

As Shinrin told us again – we were all cosy by the stove here, after our Saturday evening sit and one of my “Bradford curries” (Sag Paneer), deep in storytelling and conversation - “Osho was unique”.

So . . .  my editorial decision, and also the voice of my heart, is;  Yes.  I will continue to pass on his discourses and to be inspired myself by some of the truly “bonkers” nature of the teachings of a man who was uniquely a “zorba” (reference to the film Zorba the Greek) and a buddha.  And out of respect for a consumate communicator,  treat him as a master (though fallen guru) for his Satsangs . . .

. . . because that's what he believed his purpose was . . . and so he fulfilled the seventh and final law of spiritual success. . . .

At the moment on the website, Satsangs are here: http://suzenyoga.com/yama_satsang.html . You can find more vintage Osho here:  www.osho.com  and my health warning is: be responsible and grown up, use your own discretion and the guru wisdom within you.

And if you do experience your own buddha nature is a bit bonkers and feel off the page when you strive to follow your bliss . . .  I guess communing with like-minded spirits is the only way to go . . . either that or all the pain and trouble and dulling down of yourself that comes with denial and not being who you were born to be? Om.

Namaste, susan

PS: After all that . . .  why not try a free guided Ayurvedic self-massage on us?  It's only the demo and you can tell I recorded this in the bathroom in action as partly practice, partly research and development – but I think you'll like it! http://www.lulu.com/product/media-download/ayurveda-self-massage/5553451 .

Our picture this week is something I used to use as a backdrop to the live-streamed meditation classes on the yogawithsusan.com site and I don't know the artist's name, so if anyone recognises it I'd be delighted to give credit and bio details etc.  It always reminds me of the seemingly mad nature of following your bliss!

And, off topic, as Adrian says I have to be sometimes in the blogs – I'm particularly excited about using photographer Elena Ray's images on the site and the products cover art: www.elenaray.com  . . .  ah well, so it wasn't that off topic and I sneaked it in but what can you say to a Meditation/Yoga teacher with Aquarius moon and who's a wood horse in chinese astrology? I guess the title of this blog says it all.

 

Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation).  She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.
23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan’s Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people. Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and my yoga developed with my experience of life:  exactly what it’s supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.


 

The Zenity of Daily Routine
Posted by Susan Ni Rahilly
28th January 2011

zenity

Sharing this blog with you is an absolute pleasure this week -  our Baltimore Zen Sangha met this weekend and Shinrin our monk left You Have to Say Something Dainin Katagiri's book  with me.  We had been chatting about “Beginner's Mind” again which is a constant topic of conversation for us. And Shinrin's opinion is that master Katagiri talked so well with the beginner in mind.

“Zenity” is my term for the beneficial effects that a zen practice and a regular routine have on us.  So, sanity by zen.

So here is the essence of what Katagiri says:  “Getting up is only a tiny activity.  It is not unusual – everyone does it. Although there is nothing outstanding about it, the goldenness of the earth is found in just such activities in everyday life.  But instead of attending to such details, we form habitual ways of behaviour by attending to our desires.  This is no way to live.  We will never satisfy ourselves through such means.  If you really want to please yourself, just forget your longing and attend to your daily life.  In this we find goldenness. 

Taking hold of the tiller of the boat of life, grabbing an oar, is called living in vow – aspiring to awaken each moment. To live in vow is to take care of all the little details of life.  Like getting up in the morning.  When it is time to get up, just get up. Free your mind from the thinking about having to get up.  This is the way to enter the doors of a golden, peaceful world.

When you sit in zazen.  Just sit.  But you sit and how many thoughts, and emotions, memories, physical sensations appear from moment to moment and sit with you? Yet this moment is very simple. So why not take care of it with all your heart? To live our lives simply from moment to moment is zazen . . .  the essence of zen.  The manifestation of ultimate Reality.”

Susan's note;  I have precis'd the above but in essence what Katagiri was referring to is a saying of Dogen Zenjo, the founder of the Soto Zen school in Japan:  “the wind of Buddhism makes manifest the great Earth's goldenness, and makes ripen the sweet  milk of the long rivers.”  Dogen likened life to riding in a boat.  Most people just ride the boat of the universe, but this is actually just drifting. And in order to sail across the ocean of human life, we must see the earth as golden and taste the rivers as sweet milk.

Source:  You Have to Say Something – Manifesting Zen Insight - Dainin Katagiri, author of Returning to Silence, edited by Steve Hagen, Shambala Publications Inc by Minnesota Zen Meditation Centre 1998 www.shambhala.com

The essence of truth of the teachers and masters – Satsang - is an essential element to follow in our Sadhana, our path of practice in Yoga.  Taking Satsang is the element of our path which makes our meditation practice manifest as beneficial to all humanity and not just the individual ego. Satsangs are here: http://suzenyoga.com/yama_satsang.html  on the website.

More about truth and teachers and masters in the blog next week, following what I think is a tough but necessary editorial decision I need to make this week on using elements of Osho's discourses.

Our picture is:  Zen Stones.

And you might like to start establishing a daily sitting practice with a free download “Sit” here:  http://www.suzenyoga.com/ashram/help.html

Namaste, Susan

Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation).  She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.
23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan’s Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people. Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and my yoga developed with my experience of life:  exactly what it’s supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.


Reasons to Breathe
by Susan Ni Rahilly
Posted 21 January 2011

reasons to breathe

The theme for January on the www.suzenyoga.com website is Foundations of Meditation in Yoga, and I've been working on creating content for the Meditation Room – focusing on teaching gentle breath awareness has been wonderful . . .  and mainly, awe and wonder come as always in remembering and entering into the beginner's mind as we are continually supposed to as teachers.

Personally, I love the Yoga concepts of the Bliss State, the stillness of the Ultimate Mind of the Divine which accepts us totally – and the Mother of the Breath which breathes all of us and breathes life force energy into us.  And Ayurveda in its practice of  elements, guides us that air needs space to move in - so  breath needs to flow into us to fill the spaces within . . . breath and joy co-exist in Yoga. A relaxation with slow breathing as in a Yoga Nidra,  is a relaxation of the mundane, conscious mind and  intended to bring the sweetness of relaxation to your mind and body so you can experience the joy in your practice.

So, reasons to breathe are:

Breathing in takes no effort . . .  that is so Zen. So in tune with Osho, the Zen Master's contribution to Yoga – relaxed effortlessness! The inbreath just happens as the breath breathes you – atmosphere makes it happen as air has to flow in to fill space within.  And as the Buddha said: you can just let short breaths be short breaths, and long breaths be long . . . one of the most powerful reasons to learn to breathe with Yoga as far as I'm concerned, is for the relaxation because this builds so much inner confidence. 

You can try the Breath short guided audio introduction  for free as a download from the Help I Need Yoga section in the Ashram.

Breathing makes you feel light . . . because you're breathing in light – and it makes you feel happy enough if you do enough controlled practice of it  . . . and focus on heart chakra breathing.  And controlled use of the outbreaths releases toxins, helping you balance your inner subtle energies.

Breathing makes you feel strong . . . and of course, I'm talking about controlled breathing practice with awareness on the breath and breath flow.  The ancient Yogis learned that they could control and master the emotions with the breath. . . and you will need to control your own tidal waves of emotions to follow your bliss with your spirit!   While I was writing and producing SIMPLE POWER, STRUCTURE WITHIN (in the Ashram's Meditation Room) I thought I should include and teach you some of this strengthening practice for you to experience.

Breathing may be simple, but it's powerful – and our new product for January's Foundations of Meditation month is SIMPLE POWER, STRUCTURE WITHIN, an audio download of guided practices in the Thunderbolt, the kneeling meditation posture as a foundational building block for your meditations.  More information go here: http://www.suzenyoga.com/med_class.html

And just as an insight, I've just finished writing and recording a guided Chakra Meditation for our Foundations of Meditation month – THE HEALER WITHIN -  and I am inspired by the fact that knowledge of the Chakras is still a living tradition of the Hopi Indians in North America whose tradition of meditation is as old as that of the South American Indians and the Yogis of India.

. . .  so absolute,
it is no other than
happiness itself,
a breathing
too quiet to hear
The Breathing,
Denise Levertov

Namaste, Susan
Our picture this week is Anne Marie McInerney's “Baltimore Al Fresco” (and that's Baltimore, West Cork) - this painting of hers is my favourite and the view is looking out to the harbour from Jacobs Bar in the square.  You can see more of Anne Marie's work at: www.annemariemcinerney.wordpress.com
Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation).  She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.
23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan’s Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people. Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and my yoga developed with my experience of life:  exactly what it’s supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.


 

2 Appealing Elements of Zen

Posted 14 January 2011

blog

Our Zen monk Shinrin was with us this Sunday for our sit.  He'd done an interview a while ago and brought the newspaper article with him as I'd said I would do a precis for the website blog.  I didn't have to read very far into the piece at all to find out his thoughts on how Zen appeals.

“Meditation and taking time out to find a deeper meaning in life are elements of Zen that are appealing to many.” said Shinrin.

I so wished as a writer, that I had been conducting the interview!  And this probably won't be one of my longer blogs as being spare and to the point seems so much more illuminating this week. We had been talking over the past few months about how to “sell” Zen, as it's a practice that takes discipline – I've been thinking that through for a while and wondering how we can incorporate more Zen in the website. Getting right to the essence seems right.

Zen Element number One:
Meditation:
Shinrin said, when asked about the practice: “In Zen, all we do is a very simple meditative practice where we sit still and concentrate on being present to ourselves.  We focus on the posture, sitting straight and still. Then there's breathing, and how that in turn determines the state of mind. It's all a process.”

Zen Element number Two:
Taking time out to find a deeper meaning in life:
I particularly love this quote of Shinrin's: “Everybody comes looking for something from meditation but it's really about what you can give rather than what you are looking for or what you are going to get.”

It's one of my mantras at the moment – if I think I'm giving too much,  I ask myself how can I give more? The release that follows in the mind and the heart is amazing.  As one master said:  Zen is a big rest and a big joy . . . 

I'm going to leave it there this week . . . that seems about right.  If you'd like to try some sitting practice, morning and evenings are good times for that.  You can download for free Sit from the Ashram's Help I Need Yoga section.

Our picture this week is Zazen hands – they're my hands in meditation mudra.

And this is only because it's so inspiring and redolent of sensual beauty and because Marina loves quoting Pablo Neruda as much as I do; http://perfumesmellinthings.blogspot.com/2011/01/xerjoff-oesel.html

 

Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation).  She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.
23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan’s Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people. Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and my yoga developed with my experience of life:  exactly what it’s supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.


 

3 Reasons to Meditate
by Susan Ni Rahilly
Posted 7 January 2011

suzen yoga

January on the www.suzenyoga.com website is about Foundations of Meditation in Yoga.  Last week's blog is below for those of you who haven't been online over the past week or so.

Personally, I love what Osho the Zen Master said . . .  Meditation is your medication, once it has worked for you – you throw away the medication, throw away the Meditation and get a new one . . .  and in the tradition of the Zen Masters they never say anything to fullness, but leave much unsaid . . . for US to meditate on!

So, reasons to meditate:

You find your own inner wisdom . . .  one of the most powerful reasons to meditate as far as I'm concerned because this builds so much inner confidence.  Our new product for January's Foundations of Meditation month is THE GURU WITHIN, a download of guided colour meditations.  More information go here: http://www.suzenyoga.com/med_class.html

Meditation transforms . . . meditation was the final journey of the ancient vedic yogis – they mastered and controlled the body with asanas, the physical postures of Yoga.  Then they mastered and controlled the emotions with Pranayama, the breathing techniques. And finally, they mastered and controlled the mind with meditation . . . but more than that, they spent their time then in meditation exploring the quality of “man's” relationship with god or the divine.  And so the legacy was passed down to us, that we are born with the seeds of divinity within us – or, as my interpretation goes . . . we're potential creative geniuses just waiting to be transformed!

And this is a bit nonsensical, but you could jump right in with the At-One-Ment Meditation short for free download from the Ashram's Help I Need Yoga section:  http://www.suzenyoga.com/ashram_help.html

Meditation takes you out into vast spaces of light – in other words, it releases you from tight, little small worlds of being.  Your spirit might be wild and on an adventure of its own . . . and you will need to control your own small, little mundane mind to follow your bliss with your spirit!  I love the fact that knowledge of the Chakras is still a living tradition of the Hopi Indians in North America whose tradition of meditation is as old as that of the South American Indians and the Yogis of India.

The above paragraph is with reverential reference (to vast spaces of light) to the poet RUMI – and although this is a short blog this week, as I'm writing our new Chakra Meditations download THE HEALER WITHIN, I feel I should share this with you from PABLO NERUDA:

I LOVE YOU BECAUSE I LOVE YOU: I love you between shadow and soul , I love you as the plant that hasn't bloomed yet, and carries within it, the light of flowers.  I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where . . . because of you the dense fragrance that rises from the earth, lives within my body, rioting with hunger for the eternity of our victorious kisses.
I also use the term “the light of flowers” for the beautiful state of being that follows when our seeds of potential have blossomed as we follow the paths of our hearts and spirits.
Namaste, Susan

PS: Oops, sorry, Adrian our content manager won't forgive me if I don't give you something free: so here  http://www.lulu.com/product/media-download/ithaka/5200325  is me reading “ITHAKA” the most beautiful “journey” poem from the Greek poet CAVAFYS.
Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation).  She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.

23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan’s Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people. Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and my yoga developed with my experience of life:  exactly what it’s supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.

3 very simple and (almost) effortless ways to grow spiritually every day.
By Susan Ni Rahilly

Posted 31st December 2010

suzen yoga blog

 
Another year gone! I'm wishing you all the happiness you wish for yourself for 2011. It's a long blog this week – you might like some extra reading and practice if, like me, you don't really buy into the general festivities at this time of the year. This blog is the result of my insights into how much a year can change your life . . .  and my suggestions for those of you who'd like to evolve and grow on a daily basis throughout the coming year.

I was living in Saltaire, Yorkshire (UK) in the mid-90's, intensely into my Yoga and Meditation training and dreaming of the day when I could be independent as a Meditation Teacher.  I had made my bathroom in my apartment very soothing and beautiful.  I had a few Meditation “clients” coming on a regular basis.  I was given a little book for xmas 1994 -  Daily Meditations for 1995 by Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov.  I put the little book in my bathroom, made a lovely bookmark, and started 1995 with the intention of reading my meditations every morning for the year so that I would be the sincere and dedicated student my teachers deserved.  I resolved to grow and evolve steadily and patiently and to look back through the book every two or three months to assess my progress.  What I didn't expect was that everyone who visited me in my apartment during that year, was enjoying doing the same thing! I got used to people asking if the bathroom was free as soon as they arrived and disappearing for 5 minutes or so quiet time on their own . . .  .

Before I give you my 3 simple insights for (almost) effortless spiritual growth, I'd like you to know one very important and fundamental thing to guide and support you on your path of development. And it is this: Your guru or your master knows you are not neurotic.  Your teacher knows that all you have to do is sit . . . . meditate, sit in stillness or contemplation, and your buddha nature will awaken – your divine self will shine through.  And you must be sincere in your practice, for you do not come to your guru on your ground . . . you come to the teacher or master on his or her ground. And they will allow you to have evolved a little more every time they see you.

3 very simple ways to grow and evolve on a daily basis.

Read daily inspirations:
Choose a source of  inspiration that you can draw on consistently:  our Karma Cafe area on the website has a daily quotation for your inspiration http://suzenyoga.com/karma.html. We also have Satsangs which I update regularly here: http://suzenyoga.com/yama_satsang.html. Or you could follow one or two poets – my suggestions would be Rumi, Pablo Neruda or Kahlil Gibran. I also like this site: http://mysite.verizon.net/mitteldorf/Inspiration/

Give up one weakness and grow one strength every day:
You were born with wisdom. You are a being of energy. You were also born with “shadows”. Your shadows are your weakness or neuroses – we all have them. You can consciously take control of your self and keep moving from the shadow to the light by strengthening the good stuff and letting the weaknesses wither away and die. This practice takes a few minutes contemplation every day and keeping a journal helps to see what makes you bigger and what makes you smaller. An example of wisdom energy would be:  having a profound sense of spaciousness;  and the opposite weakness would be: getting very absorbed in a small world.  Another wisdom would be:  seeing the big picture and having a largeview; and the corresponding weakness would be: being rigid and tight and dogmatic.

You could use the free guided Quiet Room Meditation below to help you make a quiet place in your inner world and give yourself an inner mental framework for this process.

Give up one expectation – especially about relationships – every day!
As you now know, you are potentially a buddha and not a neurotic to your teacher in Zen as long as you are sitting in Meditation regularly. Your friend, “other” partner, lover etc is also a buddha . . .  give up one expectation in your relationships every day and give the people in your life the respect your teacher gives you in allowing them to have evolved a little every time you see them.

This is what I'm giving you this week: The Quiet Room Meditation (the first visit). This was from an experimental section of the old website for teenagers which is still in development– and as we have no development money at the moment, it's still a demo. But I was practising it this morning and thought that, although it was originally intended for teenagers sadly with suicidal thoughts, for us as grown ups it's supportive and soothing . . . I came upon this meditation in an old book about 16 years ago and it took me a long way in bringing order to the chaos of my own inner world. I think it will help you with the practices I've suggested in this blog. It's free to download, it's a 25 minute meditation and, please do burn a CD for anyone you think would benefit – especially any teenagers and in-betweeners you know who might be struggling with life at the moment. Here's the link: http://www.lulu.com/content/6588573

So, I'll leave you with this thought:  evolving and growing spiritually creates magic in our lives, so that we can know the miracle of setting ourselves free . . . and here's one of those Daily Meditations I told you about to set you on your path for this coming year, namaste . . . enjoy!

“Knowledge must be lived if it is to remain with you for all eternity.

The only thing that will not disappear, the only thing that you can take with you into the next world, is the knowledge that you have proved for yourself in your own life; the knowledge that has become an integral part of your being.” Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov, Daily Meditations, February 19th 1995.

. . . . and our picture is the Solstice Sunset from my terrace overlooking the channel from Baltimore, West Cork.
 

Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation).  She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.
23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan’s Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people. Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and my Yoga developed with my experience of life:  exactly what it’s supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.”


 

3 reasons why adventure is more important than lists of things to do in Yoga . . .  and the reason why I love Yoga for that!

Posted:  24 December 2010

yoga suzen

This Blog has a very long title and totally flies in the face of what our content manager advises me to include in blogs. However, it's true . . . I fell in love with Yoga in its entirety because I was constantly told early on in my development to “jump in” - and that it would be an adventure. And that has always been true for me, for the self-discovery, the joy of the new, the promise fulfilled. . . .   So below is not a list of  “things to do”,  but rather 3 adventures to have.

And in this festive season, I'm mindful of all of us who “don't do xmas”. So if you're taking time out from the the intelligence-sapping mindset of consumerism  . . .  we're giving away the yoga product content we currently offer on the website until January 4th 2011: go to the Sutras of Shopping Storefront for free downloads of my Breathing for Your Back  CD, Zen Sun Yoga DVD including our Wellbeing mini-Yoga class, there's a 25 minute guided Yoga Relaxation, and a 25  minute and 10 minute versions of the ever popular “Waves” Relaxation music downloads.

Happy New Year, and January 's theme will be Foundations of Meditation – a series of simple practices to give a grounding to your Yoga Meditation practice for the new year.

So, dear reader, on with our 3 steps to adventure in Yoga:

1.   Yoga is described  as “the many threaded tapestry” in the sacred text of Yoga, the Upanishads:  it's actually totally non-sensicle to try and give an essence of the ultimate state of meditation in a short download on the internet.  However, my lovely old meditation teacher Sam always told me just to go out and teach, everything helps, and all the threads in the tapestry eventually come together as realisation of the self.

And, in that spirit, why don't you try this short practice for free:  At-one-ment from the Ashram's  Help I Need Yoga section.

2.   “Take your heart out into fields of light” – Rumi :  As teachers, we're taught to inspire our students and practitioners with the beautiful truths, prose and poetry of the masters, teachers and mystics.  I love what the Sufi poet Rumi infers with these words: what good is your heart unless you go out into the wide, wild wonder of the world?  Better said than done, I know, when you're confined in small spaces, or uninspiring living conditions.  But, in the Yogic tradition, hearts need independence for transformative love to flow . . .  so, before or after trying the practice below, take a walk if you can and tell someone what they do is important to you.

And, in that spirit, why don't you try this short practice for free:  Walk, the walking meditation from the Ashram's Help I Need Yoga section.

3.   This very body is the buddha:  give yourself an Ayurvedic massage! Bring your mind down into your body and focus completely on putting something back into your mind-body system for half an hour. This is only a demo, and I didn't quite (but nearly did)  record it in the bathroom – but it works and I'll re-record it when I can, and by the way kids love this if you helps them with the instructions!

Go to the Sutras of Shopping Storefront for  the free download of the demo of Susan's guided Ayurvedic self-massage.

 
. . .  and completely off-topic, I wish I could write poetry like “Conversation in the Mountains” by Li Bai . . . this is pure adventure to my spirit:
You ask me why I dwell in the green mountain;
I smile and make no reply for my heart is free of care.
As the peach-blossom flows down stream and is gone into the unknown,
I have a world apart that is not among men.

. . . . and our picture is the lunar eclipse from Baltimore with thanks to Ger Murphy.
 

Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation).  She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.
23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan’s Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people. Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and my yoga developed with my experience of life:  exactly what it’s supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.

 

 

 

 

 
 
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