Why Orange?

Dear readers,

In response to the title of my book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life, some have asked, “Why Orange?” So in this post I will share the section from the beginning of the book in which I answer that question…

Why Orange?

The color Orange represents Happiness, Joy, Enthusiasm, Warmth, Fire, Sun, Heat, Sunshine, Creativity, Courage, Vibrancy, Playfulness, Cheerfulness, Encouragement, Optimism, Radiance, Confidence, Success, Fun, and Fascination.

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.

When you were born into your earthly body, you began experiencing desires and attachments right away, and pretty soon you became identified with your body and all of the sensations, thoughts, and feelings that arise in your body-mind. Those desires, attachments, and identifications have caused your cycles of joy and sorrow… all those waves of happiness and misery…

Consciously deciding to renounce those external causes of suffering does not mean you have to leave the worldly life and become a hermit in the woods. Rather, it means that you intend for those external causes to burn in the Orange Fire of Awareness, so that you can enjoy the Happy Orange place inside your own being.

I have been doing daily spiritual practices for more than fifteen years, and those practices have helped me tremendously with my own growth, healing, and happiness. I feel passionate about sharing do-able spiritual practices with you, because I want to help you to also heal yourself and to find your own happy place inside.

I grew up Catholic, then I practiced Judaism for ten years, while also studying other religions, and then at age thirty-three I found the Raja Yoga Path, which includes meditation, chanting (singing sacred mantras), studying spiritual teachings, and serving others. I have always loved religion and ritual, and I respect all religions and other cosmic belief systems. The practices in this book are for you to incorporate into your own individual spiritual path.

During a particularly dark and difficult time in my life, I visited a beautiful ashram (spiritual center), and the daily practices there re-kindled my inner happiness and took me to a new level of self-love and healing. It is my deepest wish that this book will take you to a new level of healing and help you to happy up your life.

Every day we are all reaching: reaching for a cup of coffee, reaching for a snack, reaching to hug someone, reaching out to a friend or neighbor in need, and so on. Most of our reaching is reaching outside of ourselves.

Reaching for Orange is reaching *inside*: doing practices that burn the external causes of misery and take us to that Happy State inside our own beings.

The ancient sages of India taught the same thing that Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within.” That Divine Source of healing energies is inside of you already, so take a little time each day to connect with your inner being. May the practices, visualizations, and blessings in this book help you to reach your Happy Orange place inside!

 

So, that is why Orange!

With hopes for your happiness,
StarFire Teja

 

 

Background image of the Sun courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.

 

I Want to Warn Others!

Dear readers,

It is with a certain degree of agony that I am writing this post. If you have experienced the death of a parent, then perhaps you can relate to my anguish…

If you have not yet experienced the death of a parent, I want to warn you! But what can I say to prepare you? All I can do is share my story and hope that it may be helpful to some people who read it…

My Dad died four months ago today, and it is truly the worst thing that has ever happened to me. At fifty years old, I thought I had experienced a lot of grief already in my life, but now I see that the griefs over unions-with-earthguys-gone-bad and the griefs over my health and financial issues were nothing compared with the grief over losing my Dad…

The pain is just terrible! But, in the days following his death, I received an overwhelming amount of comments and private messages from friends on Facebook, and that helped me so much. I printed out all of those helpful words, and I read them again and again as I sobbed. One friend, who had lost her father the year before, wrote, “There is nothing like it; It is cellular.” I could so relate, because I felt the pain in all of my cells, fibers, and bones!

Another friend, who also lost her father, shared that she didn’t realize how unbelievable the territory was. She wrote, “We can’t know until we arrive at it, that’s for sure.”

I cried so much during the first couple of months, while I continued doing all of my spiritual practices each day. Gradually I gained more inner strength and stopped crying so much, but still, every evening when it gets dark my “witching hour” begins and the questions and answers replay in my mind as they have hundreds of times before… The journey through disbelief, trauma, and shock is rocky, but hopefully I’m steadily working my way towards acceptance, healing, and peace…

One friend said that we don’t ever really get over the grief when a parent dies, but rather, it just becomes a familiar part of us… That idea brings me a strange comfort.

Fortunately I am by nature a grateful person, and I have a strong base of happiness in me… So, even during these terribly painful months, I have been able to create happy moments each day.

When the time comes for you to experience the death of a parent, I hope you will also be able to access the inner resources you need in order to love yourself through the pain.

With grief and gratitude in equal portions,
StarFire Teja

 

Something to Ponder: Lambs are Babies

 

Dear People of Earth,

This is No April Fool’s Day joke!

Lambs are babies, and when they are separated from their Mama Sheep they feel fear and grief. They suffer.

Please vow to never eat lamb again (not even on Easter, if you celebrate that holy day), and please consider sharing this post with everyone you know!

Something to Ponder: Lambs are babies

With great compassion for all beings,
StarFire Teja

 

Photo by MabelAmber on Pixabay.

 

Deep Realizations and States Inspired by a Virus Pandemic

Dear readers,

Greetings from my tree-house temple, where I am sipping hot black coffee in my happy orange mug, whilst listening to birds of many kinds singing quite cheerfully to the Sun. Those feathered love-beings have no awareness of social distancing and quarantines! Ahhh, ignorance looks like bliss!

And speaking of bliss, during this time of virus-induced staycations, are you doing any daily practices to help yourself be calm? Do you sit in meditation or go for meditative walks?

One day last week I went out for a walk and in the first block I saw a dead squirrel in the street… A little bit later, I saw a live squirrel and I said out loud, in my Dad’s voice, “Be careful there buddy… and don’t take any wooden nickels!” (If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you know that my Dad died in January… Well, “Don’t take any wooden nickels” one of my Dad’s classic sayings!)

After that spontaneous connection with my Inner Dad, I remembered what my psychologist had reminded me recently, when I was expressing fear of more loved ones dying: “You have yourself.” As I walked on, I realized that I really need to cultivate inner strength… And then my sense of humor came back, and I found myself laughing at my thoughts…

That evening when I sat in meditation, I was focusing on the Atman (my Spirit) in union with the Brahman (the Great Spirit), which I wrote about in my post “It’s All One Air,” and then I started contemplating my attachment to the ideas I have for my own burial, and I realized that they were uncannily similar to the ideas I had for childbirth the first time…

In 1997, when I was pregnant for the first time, we took a childbirth preparation class, which was all about visualizations and artsy, spiritual notions of giving birth. Totally naïve to what the physical pain would be like, I prepared for childbirth as if we were throwing a dinner party: I bought colorful flowers, candles, fresh fruits, inspiring music, and beautiful jewelry!

Well, when the labor actually got going and I experienced the searing, excruciating pain of the contractions, I did not care one bit about flowers and fruit! I was completely incapable of doing any spiritual practices like imagining my “special place.”

During my second pregnancy in 2000, we took a very different class with our midwife. She was quite real and basically said, “It’s going to hurt like hell, and how are you going to cope?”

Anyway, during my meditation last week, I realized that the attachment I have about being buried (in a green burial) in a pine box, wearing a red shroud and orange shawl, with sunflowers, red roses, orange marigolds, cedar, sage, pinecones, and amethyst crystals around my body, is pretty similar to the attachment I had to giving birth with glowing candles and gorgeous fruits.

But when death actually comes, I probably won’t care about what kind of flowers are buried with me. My mind still holds those preferences dear, but the Spirit probably doesn’t have such desires… And, if I die during this virus pandemic, there probably wouldn’t even be a proper funeral and burial for me. (If my Mom died before me, that is.) Who knows, I might even be thrown into a mass grave!

And, the most important part of that meditation – and of my whole life, really – was/is the deep peace I felt/feel when tuning in to Atman-Brahman, and experiencing how the air in the jar is one with the air everywhere

… I could really feel the Oneness of all energies, inside me and all throughout everything. I felt like I was in Brahman-Sukha, the Supreme Happiness while being absorbed in the Supreme Being… I felt/feel like I am closer than ever to experiencing the deep state that I have been reading about for so many years!

Can you relate to my experiences? Is this virus pandemic bringing you to any deep realizations or deep states?

My dear ones, it brings me such joy to create this online StarFire Temple of Happiness! I hope my posts help you to Happy Up your life.

With depth, strength, and even a little bliss,
StarFire Teja

 

Photo by Bru-nO on Pixabay.

 

Connect With the Watcher!

Dear readers,

Anytime you feel those branching anxieties, one thing that really helps is to connect with the Watcher… you know, that deep part of yourself that is always watching all of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations…

Watching, witnessing, and observing… without attaching, desiring, and reacting…

Just watching.

Even for just ten minutes.

My dear ones, this practice is helping me so much and I hope it will also help you…

Stay calm, stay safe, and stay healthy!

With much love,
StarFire Teja

 

Image by KELLEPICS (Stefan Keller) on Pixabay.