StarFire Friday Blessing: May You Embody Gentleness

 

May you feel the warmth of the divine sparks within you.

May you cultivate gratefulness for the small joys of your life.

May your weekend be blessed with kindness.

May you embody gentleness.

 

Colorful Autumn photo by MabelAmber on Pixabay.

 

Reaching for Orange, Decorated

Dear readers,

Recently I decided that it was time for me to decorate and write in my copy of my new book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life, so I spent several mornings working through the book like that, and it was such fun! In this post I will share a few things that I wrote in response to the questions and exercises in the book…

In the section about practicing death meditations, here are my answers to the first two questions ~

~ How do you want to die? ~ Consciously and peacefully.

~ What does a good death look like to you? ~ I’m awake, aware, conscious. I’m listening to chanting music, with chants to Shiva and Rama (aspects of God in Hinduism). I’m feeling peaceful about letting go into Whatever Is Next.

In the visualization with guided imagery to meet your mystic, I especially loved imagining the bright light inside the vibrant flower in my heart… “this light is the size of a candle flame… and it is glowing like a billion golden suns… this golden flame is shining so bright that the flower petals are glowing… and this light is radiating out from the center of your flower… out through your heart… and into your whole body… warm golden light moving into all of your 37.2 trillion cells… and feeling how that flame is your inner mystic… your deepest self… your highest mind… the Divine within you…”

Here are my answers to the questions after that visualization ~

~ How do you experience your inner mystic? ~ Do you catch glimpses of your mystic during your daily life? ~ My inner mystic sees and feels things deeply — and feels very connected to everything: to trees, rocks, birds, and creatures on Earth, and to unseen forces out in the stars and planets. So in my daily life there are lots of glimpses through the vehicles of depth and connectivity.

As you can see in the photo with this post, I also enjoyed decorating my copy of the book. I placed jewel stickers all over the cover, and pasted lots of images throughout the pages. Many of the images I selected were of the orange and red rocks of Arizona and Utah, because those holy rocks are my happy places… Hiking barefoot on the warm rocks is such a high vibration joy for me!

So what arose for you when reading this post? Have you thought about what a good death looks like to you? Do you experience your inner mystic?

I hope you enjoyed reading this post…

May you feel happy! 🙂

With great love,
Teja

 

My new book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life, is available on Lulu and Amazon!! 🙂

 

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.

 

Two Simple Healing Practices

“There are many refreshing and healing elements in nature around us and in us… get in touch with these healing elements to get the nourishment and healing you need… nourish yourself with joy and happiness so then you are able to help people around you.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh, in a video in which he answers a question from his one million Facebook friends: “How can I fight the injustices of this world without being consumed with anger, bitterness, outrage, and resentment?”

Here are two simple ways to practice getting in touch with the healing elements around you and in you ~

~ Each time you see simple beauty, think to yourself, “There are refreshing and healing elements all around me and inside me.” ~ For example, each time I see the sunlight on the fresh green leaves outside our bathroom window, I am reminded of the refreshing and healing elements that are available all the time.

~ When you drink water, use your pure drinking water as a bell of mindfulness. Let the water be a refreshing and healing element that you bring into your body as you sip it throughout the day.

I hope this post was helpful to you!

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

 

Photo by John Jennings on Unsplash.

 

Transforming Difficult Emotions Through Singing

“The Name repeated with either good or evil intentions, in an angry mood or even while yawning, diffuses joy in all the ten directions.”
~ Tulsidas (1532–1623), Indian poet-saint. (Quote shared by Krishna Das in the jacket cover of his CD, “Greatest Hits of the Kali Yuga.”)

Chanting (singing) has been one of my daily practices for more than fifteen years, and I have been chanting a forty-verse prayer called the Hanuman Chalisa for more than ten years. Each day when I sit down to sing along with a CD by Krishna Das, I acknowledge whatever is present in me in that moment, and then ask for help as needed.

One morning last month I got really triggered by something right before I was going to do my chanting practice. I was in an utterly reactive state, so I wasn’t sure if I was even going to be able to do the practice, but I sat down anyway, feeling angry and depressed. I said a prayer, asking that my difficult emotions could be transformed into love…

Well, it took the entire forty verses for that transformation to happen! This was the first time I had this experience: I chanted the forty verses in a gruff angry non-singing voice with clenched teeth, and felt like I was possessed. And in fact, I was possessed, by my own toxic angry reaction… After chanting the forty verses that way, as I began the after prayers, suddenly I was singing in my normal singing voice! The healing, transformative power of the chants is so miraculous! I felt so incredibly grateful to be softened into love again.

Sometimes when we get angry we have to do the mental work of searching for the root cause and then consciously transforming and releasing the anger through understanding… But sometimes we can just simply sit and sing, allowing the healing sound vibrations to melt the anger into love and joy.

Can you relate to this experience? Have you ever dissolved anger through singing?

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

May our singing diffuse joy in all directions!

 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.