Full Moon

Posted: January 8th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: meditation, random | Tags: , | Comments Off on Full Moon

Cold lovely full moon
O, why must you make me weep


Posted: February 24th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: meditation | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Karma

Last night I went to the final dharma talk of a series that David Nichtern gave at OM Yoga. It was about Karma – how to recognize our habitual tendencies and how to shift those habits with a dedicated meditation practice. I’ve always thought a lot about karma as a kid (and heard it about it frequently during dharma talks at temples, with Dad, etc). The whole idea of cause and effect was somehow reassuring to me since I felt empowered to control the future in a way.   And if you believe in lifetimes, then you can affect future lives.  It’s all so simple.  I think of it as a credit/debt system. You build up good credit or you build up debt.  And then you’ll have to pay up or redeem your good fortune. Sometimes, I feel funny about paying money to listen to dharma talks since I’ve always had free access to them. But I find David’s talks enjoyable and enlightening and filled with good reminders.  (Will be going to another one next Monday).   During the discussion, I asked David to talk about linkages and why there’s seemingly an uneven distribution of “karma.”  Since he made an analogy to washing dishes (if you don’t do the dishes today, they’ll be there tomorrow), I asked why it seems like we have to do other people’s dishes sometimes.   He thought I was dealing with a personal issue but I was really just thinking of the world at a macro level. Why does it seem like some people are just always down and out and others have good fortune even though it doesn’t seem like they deserve it? As an adult, I’ve often wondered why some people don’t “get what’s coming to them.”  Or maybe I just don’t see it. If I could have one superpower, it would be to see the inner workings of karma.  Like maybe there’s an app that let’s you see the direct effects of certain actions.  But I know it’s not a one to one relationship.  It’s just that when you hurt in some way or you see a group of people hurt (through no visible fault of their own), you want that hurt to happen to the perpretrator.

Meditation helps us to slow down and see what’s going on before reacting, and therefore shift “karma”.  It’s definitely something I need to work on.  Having a practice would probably have prevented the numerous battles I’ve had with family members and loved ones.   Yesterday, I hurt V because I unconsciously rolled my eyes as he was telling me something.   During the talk, I kept reflecting back to that moment.  Because of my action, I caused a bunch of negative emotions which didn’t have to happen. Yeah, karma.

Meditation session #1 on January 10, 2010

Posted: January 12th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: doing it, meditation, yoga | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Meditation session #1 on January 10, 2010

We’re required to do two meditation sessions per week and make entries in our diary.   This is the very first entry for meditation.

I thought that I should probably go to some group sessions to ease into this practice.  It’s just so hard to sit still by yourself.  There’s always something to do.  Luckily, two yoga buddies from the OM Costa Rica retreat last year invited me to a talk at The Interdependence Project that would include a brief meditation session.  I’ve been curious about the ID Project and so I decided to check it out with them Monday night.

The meditation session was 7 minutes and included a combination of body scanning and contemplation.  I also did some Shamatha meditation.  For the contemplation portion, we were asked to think about our names.  My mind went first to the fact that Cindy is not my “official” name and how I think my real name sounds too masculine and oh! how I wished my parents gave me an easy to pronounce/easy to spell name.  And then, how my name means something like continuous happiness or joy.  I looked up ‘Cindy’ once and I think it means moonchild.   Next, I contemplated how the middle character in my Chinese name looked like a fish skeleton with wings.  All the while, the right side of my body was feeling achy.

OM TT Day 3 – Jan 8 (9-6pm)

Posted: January 9th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: doing it, meditation, yoga | Tags: , , | Comments Off on OM TT Day 3 – Jan 8 (9-6pm)

It’s only Day 3 but it actually feels like I’ve been at teacher training for a while now.  I started the day at 6:30am and left my apt at 7:15am after having my usual oatmeal and coffee.  I didn’t want to be late and tried to arrive at OM Yoga earlier to continue reading.  But it only took me 45 min door to door.  As I was walking towards the PATH, there was no one else on the streets except for a man who was disheveled and walking a bit oddly.  My yogi sense led me to cross the street since I knew that when I passed him, I would feel really uncomfortable having him behind me.  At the same time, I just couldn’t help feeling bad that he must have known I crossed the street to avoid him.  How do you balance having no adversion in your heart but still performing an action that is the very meaning of the word simply because you care about your physical well-being?  :\  As I approached the Hudson, the cold winter morning’s colorful hues greeted me.

I was the first to arrive at the yoga center but the front door was locked.  So I went to Grey Dog’s to get some coffee.  First lesson of the day: Don’t drink that much coffee right before class.  I needed to use the restroom when class was about to start but there wasn’t time to go.  About 30 min into class, I had to pee like a racehorse but waited and held it in.  When we were about to move into the opening OM and warm-up vinyasa, I couldn’t hold anymore and quickly told Cyndi.  She simply said, “Please go.”  And so I went.  Apparently, most of the other students had to too!  Which made me realize that if you’re thinking or feeling something, chances are that at least 50% of the other people in the room think or feel the same way.  Everyone is nervous or scared or have to use the little ladies’ (or boy’s) room.

We began with some mindfulness (Shamatha) meditation (also known as loving-kindness or metta).    Now I understand what Dad was saying when he was teaching us Vipassana meditation!  I used to think Vipassana = Shamatha …that the method was the same.  It’s similar but different.  We practice yoga in order to gain strength, stability, and clarity and meditation is a critical part of that.  So that’s why we are required to sit for 30 min every week and write in our journals about the experience. The parts of meditation are Ground, Path, and Fruition.

“We are not meditating to get somewhere…”

One of the reasons I love learning from Cyndi is because she often pulls personal snippets or anecdotes to frame a lesson.  While she was teaching us meditation, she mentioned something about how there are household meditators and monastic meditators, which she will become “later in life” …I thought that was very interesting.  We sit, not to shut down our thoughts, but to slow down in order to become aware of those thoughts.  Whenever a thought arises, label it “thinking.”  As Cyndi says, our mind is like a James Joyce novel (full on stream of consciousness) or like Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound.  Some people didn’t know who/what that was so one of our homework assignments was to Google him.  There you go.  Something I learned today (or perhaps I’ve learned it but just forgot) is “dot” meditation.  The idea that something would focus you and bring you to the present.

Today we focused on plank pose, chaturanga dandasana, and upward facing dog.  We covered the Step Back Surya Namaskar as well as Surya Namaskar A.  Whew.  Now I have to practice saying the instructions until it becomes part of my DNA.  😛  But in all seriousness, I feel so fortunate to be learning all this.  Even if I don’t become a yoga teacher as a profession, it’s helping me so much in my personal practice.   During the lunch break, I took Frank’s intermediate class.  We received 45 asana classes with the tuition and are required to make a journal entry for each session.  I’m going to do all my journaling on this blog.

After lunch, my body was sore and I can feel my energy ebb.  Fortunately, instead of more asana practices, we did an exercise in our study groups (btw, my group is called New Jershree) where we came up with 5 verbs for each letter of the alphabet to use in future yoga instructions.  I was so amazed by what people came up with and at the same time, excited by all the creative possiblities.   This training really pulls the creativity out of you!  🙂  After more lessons and taking turns being the person adjusting and being the person getting adjustments, the room grew hotter and hotter and it was becoming hard to retain what I was learning.  Pretty soon, the class came to an end…one hour later than planned!  It went by so fast.  At least we get to sleep in a bit now.

Quote of the day:

I always try to do an adjustment that teaches opposition

-Cyndi Lee