Reaching for Orange to Happy Up… And Centering in Brown to Calm Down…

Hello dear readers!

The rain is falling and I am cozy in my tree-house temple, making the best of a migraine morning. I lit a few candles and I’m sipping hot black coffee in my happy orange mug! Despite feeling sick, I am delighted to be here writing for you.

In my new book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life, I write: “On the Hindu Yoga Path, Orange symbolizes the Fire of Renunciation, the Orange Fire that burns all the external desires, attachments, and expectations that cause suffering. Once those external causes burn, the internal happiness is experienced.”

Daily spiritual practices help to burn away those external causes of suffering… And spiritual practices do not have to be complicated or take a lot of your precious time. I have been doing daily practices for more than fifteen years, and I have found that being relaxed and flexible with the practices is what enables me to keep doing them.

Some of the practices I do daily to happy up are from the Hindu Yoga Path, but others come from other traditions. This Summer I embarked on a study of the mindfulness teachings of Zen Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hanh (see my previous post, “Peace Is Every Step”), and those teachings are helping me tremendously in working more skillfully with my mind as I deal with the debilitating symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

At Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village monastery in France, the monks and nuns wear dark brown robes, and I find that color to be very soothing. Do you also feel calmed by the color brown?

(You can see their brown robes in this video: “Namo Avalokiteshvara Chant”)

Somewhere along the studies, it came to me that I am Reaching for Orange to Happy Up… And Centering in Brown to Calm Down!

In his book Peace Is Every Step, Thich Nhat Hahn suggests a simple breathing practice: “Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile.”

Here are two more simple breathing practices that you might enjoy doing, especially in stressful or tense moments ~

~ With the in-breath, think “Happy Up” and with the out-breath, think “Calm Down”.

~ Breathing in, think “Calm” and breathing out, think “Down” and as you think “Down” imagine breathing down into your legs and feet… And then imagine your energy flowing down into the ground… Imagine breathing down into the sacred Earth… And feel your entire being calming down…

I hope you found this post helpful!

With boundless love,
Teja

Photo of orange leaves on brown ground by Aaron Burden 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.

 

StarFire Friday Blessing: May You Enjoy Practicing Mindfulness

 

May you notice the beauty around you and within you.

May you be nourished by mindful breathing and smiling.

May your weekend be blessed with many little happinesses.

May you enjoy practicing mindfulness.

 

Dear readers, these blessings were inspired by the mindfulness teachings of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, who is 93 years old today!

Happy Birthday, Thich Nhat Hanh!

Love to All Beings!
Teja

 

Photo by Anita Austvika on Unsplash.

October Keywords

Can you believe it is already the 5th of October? In a few more breaths, we will be deciding what to wear for the holidays! Isn’t it funny how time seems to speed up at different times of the year?

As I contemplated my intentions for the month of October, the following keywords arose: Curiosity, Mindfulness, and Aspiration.

Curiosity ~ Do you ever feel despair and/or judgment about what you see happening in the world? I sure do, so this keyword is to help me watch the Consciousness moving through Everything with not only neutrality, but with curiosity. My intention is to ask questions like, “Isn’t that interesting the way the consciousness is working in that situation?” and “I wonder why the consciousness is doing that over there, through those people?” Perhaps you might like to ask these kinds of questions also!

Mindfulness ~ Since sharing my post “Bells of Mindfulness,” I have been noticing that Bells of Mindfulness Abound! There is no shortage of small irritations to teach me to cultivate the qualities of Lord Shiva: Calm and UN-Attached!! Can you relate?

Aspiration ~ Recently I finished watching a video of a dharma talk (“Wake Up Earth: Engaged Action & Aspiration”) with Sister True Dedication, a monastic disciple of Thich Nhat Hanh, who ordained as a nun at Plum Village in 2008. Towards the end of her talk she explained why we have to have Aspiration, saying that Aspiration gives us energy that can help us through difficult times. She said that we have to figure out how we will help others and what our contribution will be… That really struck a deep place in me, because during the last two months I have been dealing with a Fibromyalgia flare-up that stopped me in my happy tracks, and I have had to work hard to accept that my plans fell apart. Now I need to dig deep to find what my contribution will be, given the limitations of my body.

What is your Aspiration in life? What will your contribution be?

Do you have any keywords for October?

 

Photo by Dan Freeman on Unsplash.

 

Bells of Mindfulness

It was a lovely autumn evening and all was well… It felt wonderful to breathe in the cool fresh air… But then, once again the neighbors’ cigarette smoke began wafting in on the breeze… With anger I closed my window… and then, once again the toilet paper holder fell to the floor… and then, I stepped in water in my socks… and with each small frustration, I felt my angst growing stronger…

And once again the negative thinking swirl began, with the primary question surfacing, “Why is life so hard?” But just then, a small gentle voice asked quietly, “Umm, could we reframe that?” So I tried and tried to think of a more positive spin on my view of life (in that frustrated moment), but all I could come up with was “life is challenging” and “life is not fun.”

Well the small gentle voice was not having those negative reframes, so she dug deeper into the situation, and then she shared this insightful reframe:

“Life is filled with bells of mindfulness.”

Yes! All parts of me agreed, and the toxic angry vibes lay down to rest with the cranky despairing energies…

So then the small gentle voice said calmly, “When you closed the window in anger, that was a bell of mindfulness to show you where you need to cultivate more peace, understanding, compassion, and kindness… And, when the holder fell down and you stepped in water in your socks, those were bells of mindfulness to show you where you need to generate more calm inside yourself. So remember, life is filled with bells of mindfulness.”

Dear readers, this experience arose in me because I have been studying the teachings of the Zen Buddhist Master, Thich Nhat Hanh… His teachings on mindfulness are so simple to grasp, integrate, and practice in daily life… Soon I will write a post about his book Peace is Every Step.

And so what about you… Can you relate to my experience here? Can you also see many bells of mindfulness in your life?

I hope this post was helpful to you!

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

 

Photo of bells cropped from original photo by Az Aay Chhetri on Pexels.