The Mind Needs to Be Worked With First

To open the heart, first calm and happy the mind.

Some people say that first you have to open the heart, but after many years of studying this, I have come to understand that the mind needs to be worked with first, and then the heart naturally opens.

The human species has reached a state in which the human mind has become quite dense. Many people’s minds are tangled up by the anxieties and traumas of this fast-paced world. So, sitting and focusing on opening the heart may feel soothing temporarily, but it won’t be lasting unless the mind is calmed first.

When you work with your mind, calming it down and happy-ing it up, then your heart opens naturally, and you can relax into the sweetness in your heart.

Choosing to be happy is the first practice listed in my new book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life. Here is that practice:

Choosing to be happy ~ You really can choose to be happy. Per the Upanishads (a collection of wisdom by the ancient mystics of India), the mind is the means to happiness. You really can decide to be happy. This doesn’t necessarily happen immediately, but if you regularly tell yourself that you are choosing to be happy, then over time it will become true for you. So to apply this in your daily life, try this: anytime you have to wait in line or at a red light, think to yourself, “I am choosing to be happy.”

Focusing on calming your mind down, and also happy-ing it up, will open your heart, and then you will feel overwhelming love for everything and everyone!

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

If you haven’t already, please read my previous post, “23 Possible Benefits You May Gain Through Reading Reaching for Orange.”

TheMindNeedsToBeWorkedWithFirst_ReachingForOrange_StarFireTeja

 

The Bird who watches the bird eating the fruits

“Like two birds of golden plumage, inseparable companions, the individual self and the immortal Self are perched on the branches of the selfsame tree. The former tastes of the sweet and bitter fruits of the tree; the latter, tasting of neither, calmly observes. The individual self, deluded by forgetfulness of his identity with the divine Self, bewildered by his ego, grieves and is sad. But when he recognizes the worshipful Lord as his own true Self, and beholds his glory, he grieves no more.” ~ The Upanishads: Breath of Eternal Life, translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Frederick Manchester.

The ancient sages and mystics of India said the same thing that Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within.” One way to connect with the Divine inside you is to practice cultivating the Witness.

Cultivating the Witness Consciousness means attuning with the Bird who is watching the bird eating the fruits, which is to say aligning with your deepest self and observing all of your thoughts, words, feelings, and actions. Creating and nurturing this connection, between your deeper witnessing mind and your surface acting mind, can help you to feel more peaceful, loving, and kind towards yourself. The Bird who is watching the bird is like a compassionate friend who is always with you, showing you the truth of how things are with neutrality and wisdom.

Cultivating the Witness is a practice you can do anytime, anywhere by just simply stating the observable facts to yourself. For example, if you are waiting in line at the grocery store, you can witness your thoughts and feelings, and then think to yourself, “Some impatience and irritability are passing through me.” Once you witness what’s happening, then you can work with it skillfully by deciding to focus on gratitude, or to say a prayer, or to send blessings for goodness to all of the other people waiting in line. In this way, your deeper observer self can help your cranky surface self to transmute the frustration into loving kindness. So, cultivating the Witness is a great tool for working with difficult emotions.

In the tree of your life, can you see the Bird who is watching the bird eating the fruits? Do you take time to nourish a loving connection between these two birds?

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Photo of birds and blossoms by Zane Lee on Unsplash.

 

StarFire Teja’s Three Super Simple Spiritual Practices

The following practices are so simple that you can do them throughout the day: when you are waiting at a stoplight or waiting in line somewhere, or when you are using the toilet or washing your hands. It helps if you decide in advance when you are going to do these practices. For example, you might plan to do the first practice each time you have to wait and the second practice every time you wash your hands. You could also decide to do them when you are lying in bed, right before you fall asleep at night, or when you first wake up in the morning.

Super Simple Spiritual Practices You Can Do Throughout the Day:

1. Choose to be happy. ~ This one I keep repeating because it is so important. We really can choose to be happy. Per the Upanishads (a collection of wisdom by the ancient mystics of India), the mind is the means to happiness. We really can decide to be happy. This doesn’t usually happen immediately, but if you regularly tell yourself that you are choosing to be happy, then over time it will become true for you. So to apply this in your daily life, try this: every time you have to stop at a red light (or some other time you have to wait), think to yourself, “I am choosing to be happy.”

2. Mantras, affirmations, blessings. ~ Take some time to write out a few phrases that you want to focus on throughout the day, and then decide when you will think them to yourself. For example, you might decide that you want to silently bless each person you meet, so you could write a blessing, such as “May your life be blessed with goodness” and then throughout the day, as you meet people, you could silently think towards them, “May your life be blessed with goodness.” For another example, if you are feeling some depression, you might write an affirmation such as, “Every day in every way I am feeling better and better,” and then you could intend to think that affirmation to yourself each time you wash your hands (or some similar activity).

3. Cultivate a celebratory mindset. ~ Most people enjoy celebrations. When we celebrate our birthdays and other holidays it is as if we go out of ordinary time and into magical time. For this reason we look forward to celebrations and then feel a bit deflated when they’re over. So why not cultivate a celebratory mindset on a regular basis? Throughout the day, at previously decided times, think to yourself, “What can I celebrate about myself or my life in this moment?” Whatever comes to you, take a few seconds to visualize it surrounded by bright balloons, banners, and colorful lights. Remember that 1980 song “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang? That oldie-but-goodie sparks joy for sure! Enjoy it here: Celebrate Good Times, C’mon!

May All Beings Be Happy!
May Your Life Be Blessed With Goodness.

Protection Prayer When Grieving

Did you know that you need a little extra protection when you are feeling sad? Your energy field and your immune system are more susceptible to outer influences when you are grieving.

Jacob Liberman, in his book Take Off Your Glasses and See, writes “When we are happy, our immune system feels happy and works with relish, and when we are sad, our immune system is depressed and far less energetic…. prolonged depression can weaken the immune system, and… happiness can be a powerful healing agent.”

As I have written in previous blog articles, we can choose to be happy. Per the Upanishads (a collection of wisdom by the ancient mystics of India), the mind is the means to happiness. We really can decide to be happy. This doesn’t necessarily happen immediately, but if you regularly tell yourself that you are choosing to be happy, then over time it will become true for you.

And, even the happiest people still have sad times. Grief is an integral part of the human condition. It is the inevitable reality of life that other people die and anything may change unexpectedly at anytime. So, knowing that happiness is better for the immune system, and also knowing that some sadness is inevitable, my solution is to pray for protection when grieving. This prayer that I say might be helpful to you also the next time you are grieving.

“Dear God, Please protect me from all harm while this grief is passing through me. May this grief purify my mind and my heart. Through this sadness may I be healed on every level. May I be open to more Love and Compassion.”

May you be protected when grieving. May you be open to the Love and Compassion that sadness can bring.

 

image courtesy NASA Goddard

StarFire Teja’s Ten Tips for Happy-ing Up During the Wintertime Blues

Whether or not you officially have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), you may sometimes feel down-in-the-dumps on dreary winter days. Try out some of these tips to cheer your mind…

1. Regular use of a light therapy energy lamp. I love my Happy Light! Each morning while I’m eating oatmeal and checking emails and online accounts, I have the Verilux Happy Light turned on, shining into my eyes, for about 10-15 minutes.

2. Walk Anyway: Rain or shine or cold! Even when it’s raining, I bundle up with lots of layers, including long underwear, a good rain suit, and sturdy waterproof boots, and I go for a brisk 30-minute walk. Rather than feeling bummed that it’s too cold to walk, I take charge and feel triumphant over the weather!

3. Regular use of an Amethyst Crystal Biomat. If you have the money, treat yourself to this amazing spa in a mat. It is definitely worth the expense. The amethyst crystals transfer Far Infrared Rays into your body, so it’s like you have your own private sauna in a pad! It comes in a regular full size and also in a mini size. The mini is ideal for using in any chair or even while driving. Learn more about this amazing health tool in my next blog article. (And if you order one by clicking on the link here, please tell Amoraea that Teja sent you!)

4. Bright, colorful, sparkly decorations. If you haven’t yet taken down your holiday decorations, the simplest option is to just leave them up until later in February! But, if you did not decorate this year, or if you very efficiently packed away those decorations already, then you could purchase some new ones. The brighter and more colorful the better, because the bright colors counterbalance the grey skies outside. I still have my red and green sparkly holiday decorations up and they are really helping me to keep my merry on and to Happy Up my mind!

5. Read uplifting and inspiring articles and books. To really elevate your consciousness big-time, order my new book today! Click on the title here: The Tejaswini Ramayana: The Way of Rama in the Shakahara StarFire Universes. This book is a new version of a very old story from India. The Ramayana is one of the two major epics in India, and it is loved and adored by millions of people. This ancient tale is very fantastical and I’ve added some sacred science fiction spins that make it really fun to read. I hope you will enjoy it!

6. Himalayan Salt Lamps. These amazing little purifiers are not just chiseled salt with a light bulb inside them. Rather, they are like little healers who create a warm nourishing glow in your environment.

7. Gratitude lists. When you are feeling really low, try writing down everything you feel grateful for. Include every little thing you can think of. Save these lists, and then on days when you feel too bad to write, go back and re-read a gratitude list that you wrote on a happier day.

8. A cup of hot coffee or tea. Recently I posted a blog about the benefits of coffee. You can read it here: “Coffee Is Good Medicine.” If you can’t drink coffee, then green tea is a great alternative. If your system cannot tolerate any caffeine, then try these teas: rooibos chai, tulsi, chicory, and peppermint.

9. Sing. There is something so primal and so healing about singing. I love to sing along with chanting music. One of my favorite CDs is Trust in the Heart, by an American kirtan artist named Krishna Das.

10. Choose to be happy. Per the Upanishads (a collection of wisdom by the ancient mystics of India), the mind is the means to happiness. We really can decide to be happy. This doesn’t usually happen immediately, but if you regularly tell yourself that you are choosing to be happy, then over time it will become true for you.

After trying out some of these tips, please share (in the comments below) about your Happy-ing Up experiences!

May All Beings Be Happy!

 

Disclaimer for the above list of tips:

Please note that Teja Shankara is not a licensed physician. She is not qualified to prescribe medication, diagnose medical or psychological conditions, or treat mental disorders. Any suggestions here are alternative or complementary to standard medical care services. If you have any questions about any of these tips, please consult your primary care physician.