Peace Is Every Step

“Breathing and smiling together — that is peace education…. Peace is available in every moment, in every breath, in every step.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh, in the closing paragraph of his book Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, originally published in 1991.

 

Dear reader,

Have you read any books by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh? If so, I welcome you to share your experiences in the comments below… If not, perhaps you will be inspired by this post to check him out… Here is a link to some of his 100 books: Plum Village Key Books.

For many years I had Nhat Hanh’s book Peace Is Every Step on my shelf, and from time to time I read a few random parts… But this Summer I was inspired to read it cover to cover, and now I have read it at least three times! It is so very good that I took eight pages of notes and now I am studying those notes daily. I highly recommend this book! In this post I will share a few of my favorite parts…

The book is organized into three parts, and I found the second part to be the most helpful because it is primarily about working with feelings. This is the best book I have ever read about how to skillfully work with difficult emotions. Nhat Hanh points out that our feelings are parts of us; that they are not separate from us. So he says, “Instead of acting as if we can dispose of parts of ourselves, we should learn the art of transformation.” He then goes on to explain, step by step, how to transform the energies of anger, fear, depression, anxiety, and so on. If this section of the book was taught in all of our schools and workplaces, the world would become happier, healthier, and more peaceful within one generation!

One of my very favorite parts is called “Nourishing Healthy Seeds” in which Nhat Hanh writes, “Consciousness exists on two levels: as seeds and as manifestations of these seeds. Suppose we have a seed of anger in us. When conditions are favorable, that seed may manifest as a zone of energy called anger. It is burning, and it makes us suffer a lot. It is very difficult for us to be joyful at the moment the seed of anger manifests.”

He continues, “Every time a seed has an occasion to manifest itself, it produces new seeds of the same kind. If we are angry for five minutes, new seeds of anger are produced and deposited in the soil of our unconscious mind during those five minutes. That is why we have to be careful in selecting the kind of life we lead and the emotions we express. When I smile, the seeds of smiling and joy have come up. As long as they manifest, new seeds of smiling and joy are planted.”

I believe this is a very important book. I want to give a copy to everyone I know! Have you read this book already? If so, what was your favorite part?

One last quote that really resonates with me:
“We all have the seeds of love and compassion in our minds, and we can develop these fine and wonderful sources of energy.”

May All Beings Know Peace, Love, and Compassion!

With great love and gratitude,
Teja

 

Photo of lone dandelion at sunset by Natalia Luchanko on Unsplash.

 

StarFire Teja’s StarFire Friday Blessing: May You Be Willing to Do the Work When the Work Shows Up

 

May you face difficult emotions with courage.

May you remember that emotions are just energies passing through.

May your weekend be blessed with authenticity and bravery and comfort.

May you be willing to do the work when the work shows up.*

 

Dear reader,

When difficult emotions arise, do you tend to run away from them and fill yourself with distractions? Or do you stop everything and tend to them?

In my experience, when difficult emotions arise, if I try to push through and carry on with my plans, I find that I cannot enjoy myself… So I think it is better to just stop and tend to the emotions first. That is called doing the work when the work shows up.

The thing is, our natural human tendency is to push away pain and seek pleasure. But, the things that really bother us are points of inquiry. Our triggers are actually very juicy and when we lean into them fully, by asking why and how questions, then they often will bear very sweet fruits!

So, my dear reader, my blessings for you this weekend are to face your juicy triggers. If you tend to run away from difficult emotions, make it a new practice to stop and tend to them. Surrender to the energies passing through you. If something is upsetting you, ask why and how, and then listen deep within for the answers.

If you currently do not have any difficult emotions passing through, thank your happy stars and enjoy your weekend plans!

This weekend my plan is to work on the final stages of publishing my new book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life… Well, that is my “plan” but since there have already been a few delays to publishing this book, I just have to trust that it will happen in “right timing” which I sure hope will be this weekend! 🙂

See you all back here on Monday…

With lots of love,
Teja

* Please see follow-up post on July 23rd: “What to Do with Difficult Emotions When You Cannot Stop to Tend to Them”

 

Oranges photo by Julie Aagaard on Pexels.

 

Riding a Grief Wave Successfully

In my post on Monday (“Writing a Book Strengthens Many Virtues”), I mentioned that while writing my next book (Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life), more than once I have witnessed myself applying a concept from the book in my life.

So this post is a story of how I rode a grief wave successfully by using some of the very tools I had already written about in the new book!

One evening last month I was suddenly overcome by a huge grief wave over something that happened in my past… I have experienced a lot of grief in my life, but this particular wave was incredibly painful, so much so that I was beginning to feel overwhelmed by the intensity… While I was crying really hard, as if by some Grace from Beyond, I spontaneously began speaking out loud to myself in a very soothing voice… Here is what I said:

“Remember that emotions are just energies… these are big energies, but they are just passing through you… soften, and give them space… allow them to flow through… remember that emotions rise and fall like ocean waves… they won’t take you out… relax into the pain… just let it go through you… you are stronger than the energies that are passing through you… you don’t need to be afraid of these energies… these energies will not overwhelm you if you just soften and allow them to move through… they will shift…”

After coaching myself like that for a while, I stopped crying, and the energies did shift… and I was okay… No, I was more than okay… I was triumphant!

I successfully rode that painful grief wave because I practiced what I preach, so to speak.

Perhaps you might like to print out those words that I spoke to myself, so the next time you feel grief, you can read them aloud to yourself. If you do so, please let me know how it goes…

May All Beings Be Free of Suffering.
May All Beings Be Happy!

 

Photo by Mathias Reding on Unsplash.

 

3 Ways to Transmute Anger into its Highest Vibrations

Anger is a Fire Energy that can be extremely destructive in its lowest vibrations, but it can be very beneficial when it is transmuted into its highest vibrations.

The lowest vibrations of anger include rage, yelling at others, being abusive to others, foul language, and slamming doors or breaking objects.

Many spiritual teachers caution against anger because it is so damaging to the person who is angry and to the people around the person. When someone gets very angry it releases the stress hormone cortisol, which then pulses through the body for up to eight hours. If cortisol is released often, in the long-term it can cause many stress-related diseases.

Anger is also harmful on emotional, mental, and spiritual levels. Some saints in India have even advised drinking very cold water or eating sweets to calm anger as soon as possible.

However, even though anger can be very detrimental to your health, you need not be afraid of it. All emotions are just different kinds of energies passing through your system. It is not healthy to repress emotions, because then they get stuck in the tissues of your muscles.

So, when you feel anger arise, first cultivate the witness. Watch the anger and understand what caused it. Next, remember that anger is a Fire Energy, and in its highest vibrations it can be very useful.

The highest vibrations of anger include assertiveness, action, clarity, and creativity. Here are 3 ways to transmute anger into these high vibrations:

1. Get pro-active. Take assertive action.

2. Get inspired. Get creative.

3. Practice a visualization with guided imagery.

To illustrate the first 2 ways, I will share a personal story that happened to me one day last week. On that particular day, I was feeling irritation and anger, oh my! After making a list of everything that was upsetting me, I asked for help in softening. I asked the Divine to help me soften and surrender into the humility vibration. I set an intention to bow to what is.

Later that afternoon I went out on my walk in the neighborhood, and at first all I could think about was everything I felt angry about. I thought, “Wow, I am feeling really snarkley.”

Funny aside: later I googled the word “snarkley” and found out that even though more than one thousand people have googled “snarkley” it is not actually a word, not even in Scrabble. The approved word is “snarky” which means crabby, grouchy, cranky, or irritable.

Anyhow, when I set out on my walk it was very cloudy and gloomy, but then, just as I was really getting into indulging my snarky mood, the Sun came out! My anger instantly went high vibe. I could feel the anger transmuting into assertiveness and action, and I thought, “Forget soften and surrender… I’m all about my keywords for the month of May: Possibility, Pro-activity, and Prosperity.”

As my vibration went higher I felt super inspired and I received a download for a blog post (my previous article, “Which Tribe Do You Belong To?”). When I got home I felt inspired to put on some jewelry and I took this photo of myself. In that high vibe state I wrote that post about the blue love beings.

Teja_Jewelry_StarFireTeja

So, remembering your goals, taking action, and doing something creative can all really help to shift your anger up into higher vibes. (And some sunshine is often good for uplifting the mood as well!)

For the third way, take some time to sit quietly with your eyes closed and watch your natural breathing. Then read the following visualization out loud. After reading the guided imagery, close your eyes again, and notice your thoughts and feelings. Feel free to share your experiences with me, either down in the comments below, or in a private message via the Contact tab up in the top right corner of this website.

 

Visualization with guided imagery to transmute anger into its highest vibrations:

Beginning to settle in… and beginning to settle down… letting go of the outer world for a while… and bringing your awareness to your breathing… noticing the in-breath… and noticing the out-breath… relaxing your shoulders… relaxing your mind… drifting down, into your inner world…

… and bringing your awareness to your heart and belly centers… placing one hand on your heart… and the other hand on your belly… and just noticing any sensations in your heart and belly… breathing in… and breathing out… and imagining the warm rays of the Sun shining into your mind… and allowing that warmth to spread down through your whole body… effortless relaxation moving all the way down to your feet and toes… 

… and just letting your hands relax down… and bringing your awareness to your emotions… noticing how you are feeling… allowing the feelings… allowing the energies… just watching the feelings… and following them to their roots… like the roots of a tree… spreading down into the Earth…

… and drifting down to the center of the Deep Earth… seeing the bright ball of hot iron glowing in the center… and allowing that light to illuminate your mind… reminding you of who you truly are… deep in your center… receiving the gift of clarity from that incredible light…

… bringing that clarity with you… back up through the surface of the Earth… reaching up towards the sunlight… like the green branches of a tree… growing… stretching towards the light… eager for what nourishes them… absorbing the sunlight into all of your 37.2 trillion cells… and taking a deep breath in… and releasing the breath… anchoring this experience…

… and when you feel ready, moving your fingers and toes, and stretching… coming back to the outer world… feeling calm, refreshed, and ready for what is next in your life…

 

I hope that this article was helpful to you or to someone you love.

May All Beings Be Free of Suffering.
May All Beings Be Happy!

 

Fire photo by Maxim Tajer on Unsplash.

 

Become the Master of Your Emotions by Focusing on Witness Consciousness

Some people are afraid of their emotions. Are you afraid of your emotions?

When people are afraid of their emotions, it is typically because they fear that the feelings will be too big for them to handle. They fear that the emotions will overwhelm them.

Focusing on Witness Consciousness can help you to become the master of your emotions. If a feeling arises that feels scary, say to yourself, “I am the Witness who is watching this emotion pass through my system.” You are not the emotion, but rather, the emotion is an energy that is passing through you.

I hope this post is helpful to you or to someone you love.

May All Beings Be Free of Suffering.
May All Beings Be Happy!

 

 

image Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech