I am as outraged and heartbroken over the Gulf oil spill but media, get over yourselves! The other day, BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said "I hear comments sometimes that large oil companies are greedy companies or don’t care, but that is not the case with BP. We care about the small people.”

I never thought he meant "small people" in a derogatory way. He meant small businesses as opposed to big oil. The media needs to be more objective and stop fanning the flames. BP's in enough s^#% as it is.

Practice---noun. repetition of an exercise or activity to acquire, learn or perfect a skill and achieve mastery.

The human experience is a complicated one. Man's eternal questions: why are we here? what is the meaning of it all? We've tried to make sense of it all by creating religion and spirituality. Over the years, the seeker in me has come to believe that we are energy. We're here to reconnect with our holy selves, to find our divinity through our humanity. And we do that through spiritual practice, through prayers or rituals that change our mind-sets or ways we respond to events in our lives. Along the way, we meet people who will help, test, hinder, or teach us things about ourselves and human nature.

I am (as are all of us) faced daily with challenges of difficult clients or colleagues at work, squabbling family members and friends, bad traffic on the road, rainy weather, whatever trivial annoyances that get my goat. I'm fully aware that certain people just rub me the wrong way. I know that nobody's perfect. I do not need to be reminded of my grand plan to become a better person, or worse, to be accused of failing in this struggle. I don't claim to be superior to anybody. I know that we can't control or change other people, but we can control how we react to a situation or person. And some days, I just can't get into a proper state of mind that will keep me from getting more steamed.

It's not easy to take the high road. If I choose to be perturbed, then let me stew for a while until I no longer have to. I know who or what my dementors are, but getting rid of them isn't as easy as conjuring your patronus with a magic wand. And yes, it is easier to forgive strangers or acquaintances. Who cares if that teenage driver cut you off? Or a customer was rude to you? Or that housewife took your parking spot? Wounds run deeper when a trusted friend disappoints you, a parent fails you, or some other loved one betrays you.

One of my favorite quotes is to never be afraid of shadows, because it only means there's a light shining somewhere. There will be plenty of missteps in a trip of self-discovery and enlightenment. So if one has to go through the valley to get to the top of the mountain, then that's a journey that must be taken. We wouldn't need to practice if we're automatically fluent in the language of kindness. Or if we're accomplished do-gooders, or naturally openhearted and loving creatures. Humans are supposed to be messy, chaotic, joyous, sad, angry, confused beings. If only spiritual practice was as easy as training to become a classically trained pianist, or million dollar athlete, or a brilliant scientist.

repeated per proficiency.

Nobody said spiritual practice is easy.

Most days I truly believe in Divine Providence. But this week proved that we are always exactly where we need to be and that our inner voices are always right. To give a long-winded introduction, I've been wanting to exercise regularly other than my own private yoga practice, intermittent walks around the apartment complex and the occasional weight lifting at home. Since I don't really enjoy going to the gym, I figured I'd return to what I always enjoyed: yoga and martial arts. I've been thinking about resuming martial arts, spurred by the release of The Karate Kid remake, believe it or not.

Monday I got out of work early and it was a nice day, so I thought I'd drive through this one road where I thought I had seen a martial arts studio. I found not one, but two. I went ahead and got some information about enrolling. I noticed that one of the studios is across a yoga school. I stopped by but it was closed. I went on their website, and looked up the schedule. All week, I had been antsy to try a class. I finally made it there on Friday, also because I got to leave work early. (The supposedly gentle session kicked my butt by the way. I didn't get too much correction from the instructor so I guess I did OK.) I knew they had a free Sunday morning 45 minute meditation session so I was planning to attend that also. Instead, I found a sign in sheet for a special healing meditation class scheduled for today. The class was going to be an hour and 15 minutes, which I found daunting. The longest I had probably meditated was at a Buddhist monastery, for 45 minutes. On my own, I can only go 15-20 minutes.

So after a horrible night's sleep, I begrudgingly got out of bed on a cloudy Sunday morning and made my way to the studio. And boy was I glad I did. The facilitator Anu was a divine energy healer who gave me one of the most profound experiences in my life. (The closest I had come to feeling this way was at a yoga retreat a couple of years ago where we were chanting and I felt so at peace that tears were falling down on my face.) Today the main purpose was to ask divine beings (who or whatever you believe in, and she named them all) to release any negativity or issues you may have and to focus on opening up your heart to positive energy. Speaking of hearts, Friday was the Sacred Heart of Jesus,and today Sunday, was the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Coincidence? I think not. Anyway, Anu talked us through different phases of meditation, from the initial opening up and asking, to imagining a divine "suction", to manifesting peace, then to returning and integrating it all. The experience is hard to describe. The physical experience ranged from feeling like I needed to pee---though I used the restroom before we started and hadn't drank anything to avoid having to go again---did it mean I was already releasing stuff? To stomach grumblings---although I ate breakfast---was that hunger or digestive problems? To the usual discomfort of sitting although I did eventually lie down.

I never really went into a deep meditative state but that was alright. I'd get distracted by the sensation of the hard floor, someone moving, or coughing, but not to the point where I would get annoyed. What was fascinating was as I was doing my breathing, listening to the music, I kept getting an image of a plant or flower by a wall. I can't even identify what it was. And then of course I started trying to remember where I had seen it and then trying to stop myself from thinking. As we got to the end of the session, she said something about asking one last time something for ourselves, our families, for the world. So I asked for my usual wishes for good health, peace, love, harmony and happiness for me and my loved ones, for all sentient beings, nature, the world. Even those poor oil-drenched wildlife at the Gulf of Mexico. All of a sudden I got an image of this bright light on top of my head that ultimately--ahem--- "suffused" my whole body! Again, the part of my brain that was skeptical wondered if this was just from my eyes being closed, or the soft ceiling lights. Then everything seemed purple/lavender and black. Before we got up, I could hear birds chirping outside. When I sat up, the top of my head tingled, my muscles were relaxed. And for almost the entire session, I couldn't stop smiling. I realized why the Buddha is always smiling. The energy of the room was also different from when we started. She made us look at everyone in the room. Everybody looked genuinely happy instead of the group that schlepped their way in.

There was a little Q & A afterwards. Someone said she went to the safest, most peaceful place. Our healer said she just felt herself connect with everything, like she was being lifted up. She did sense that some of us were still in the room (probably us beginners). One lady was almost asleep, and the teacher said that was probably because most of us don't get enough sleep so during meditation, those people will hover above the delta phase of sleep. Another woman said she felt nauseous. Someone else said she felt vulnerable and raw, but not in a bad way. So we got our usual instructions to drink plenty of water to flush out anything, to just be in whatever emotion or thought that may come up. She said either we'll sleep better or be more restless as our minds and bodies try to process the experience. Some may feel angry, or just emotional. I was teary-eyed on the drive back home, but in a happy way. When I got home, I felt like I couldn't sit still. Everything that was bothering me on the way to the studio, poof! Gone.

I may sound like a kook, but meditation has been proven to be beneficial to health. The Divine is already inside ourselves and around us. We just need to tap into it more often. I highly recommend that people try it. It is a deeply personal and intense experience, so some people might actually want to shy away from it. But if you keep at it, the pay off is huge.

Namaste and God bless.

We were watching the South Africa v. Mexico World Cup game at work this morning. The lone female patient complained about us having it on so we switched the other TV to a channel of her liking. In the meantime, she argued that the game is soccer, not football. I couldn't resist so I helpfully pointed out that this most popular sport is known globally as football. Ya know, using ONLY the feet to play the game. She said something to the effect that since America's number one in the world, everybody else should follow suit and call it soccer.

Now there's nothing wrong with being patriotic, but this irrational narrow-mindedness is redonkulous. No wonder the rest of the world hates the United States.

Go England!

Do you know Mr. Clean's real name? Or the police officer in Monopoly? Well here they are, along with other popular fictional characters.

...eating a Dairy Queen blizzard, melting and dripping all over your hands.

Happy 25th Birthday Blizzard!

(photo from flickr)

Happy Birthday to my doggy nephew Zack!

I ♥ these two men, Seth Rudetsky and Norm Lewis.

Happy Birthday to our Mommy! May you always have good health, happiness, peace and love.

So I watched the Lost finale again yesterday. Here are the funny Lost-themed commercials during the show.


Copyright 2006| Blogger Templates by GeckoandFly modified and converted to Blogger Beta by Blogcrowds.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.