In the words of the Buddha, awakening and freedom are found:
When sitting, standing, walking and lying down,
through right speech, right action, right livelihood,
inwardly and outwardly,
with the whole body, feelings, mind, and relationships;
in solitude and community;
in prison, hut, farm or palace,
in times of war or peace;
in sickness or health.
Today we are focusing on right speech or nonviolent communication. This refers both to the way you speak to yourself and others. Your speech needs to be congruent in your body, mind, feelings, and relationships. As yogis we are familiar with tuning into all these layers of our being – our physical body, our thoughts, our emotions, our energy and our spirit and noticing whether these layers of our being are in harmony with our speech and communication both with ourselves and others. Most importantly, as the Buddha points out the conditions of your life don’t need to be perfect for you to engage in this practice of right speech as he says you can be living in a prison, hut, farm or palace, at war or peace, sickness or health).
Our current culture of system sensory overload dulls our senses and overpowers our inner value system. Jack Kornfield says that Buddha taught that peace is possible both individually and collectively but it depends on skillful causes and conditions. Inner peace requires mindfulness, compassion and respect. Outwardly it grows from those same conditions. The practice of right speech creates an moral character that aligns with your inner values and the creation of harmony in the communities with which you are involved.
A spiritual life is not about sitting in blissful meditation high on a mountain top. Rather transformational consciousness requires a lot more discipline and practice on a day to day basis in our real lives. Spirituality requires an honest, courageous look at real-life situations, your family of origin and your place in your society around you.
As we mature in our spiritual practice we begin to give up idealistic notions of escaping our day to day life, saving ourselves or the world and realize that our relationships and the discipline of right speech can be a transformative, consciousness raising practice.
Eventually everything we seek to avoid must be included in our spiritual practice, nothing can be left behind. Your spiritual practice does not require you to go to India and meditate on a mountain top. When you practice finding peace in your heart, offering peace in your home through right speech, your practice becomes filled with maturity and integrity.
Right speech and non-violent communication means offering gratitude, loving kindness, compassion and forgiveness to those around us – and to ourselves.
Your life is your practice. In Jack Kornfield’s book, Bringing Home the Dharma, I read about the lives of early forest lineages in Thailand that included “soothsayers.” I can imagine that the soothsayers practiced right speech, compassionate communication and gratitude with their words. There are hundreds of ways to practice in your life. If you speak, in your day, bring awareness to how your speech reflects your practice.
Jerry Koch Gonzalez, a teacher of non-violent communication says that “when we express gratitude we celebrate how our life has been enriched by other people’s specific actions. When we express gratitude we reinforce our orientation to that which is life-giving. When we express gratitude we offer a gift to the giver – the knowledge that they have contributed to our needs being met.”
He also suggests that when we receive gratitude it is another opportunity to keep the celebration alive through our communication. You can say, “I am glad I was able to share something I was given that is useful to you.” If you try to deny the giver their gratitude, then the spirit of giving is broken. The words you use are less important than the energy of connection you create with the intention behind your words.
Yoga Postures/Asanas: Cat Pose or Marjaryasana, Chanting Om, Vishuddha Chakra Mudra, Four Movements of Your Neck, Shoulder Stand or Sarvangasana, Locust or Shalabhasana, Fish Pose Matsyasana, Matsyendrasana or Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, Lion’s Breath or Simhasana, Savasana or Corpse Pose
Yoga Props: 2 yoga blocks, Meditation Cushion, Chair or Folded Blanket.
Bringing Home the Dharma by Jack Kornfield
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Question to leave your comments about below: How will you express gratitude in your words this week to let others know that your needs have been met by their actions?
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If you would like the latest research and most innovative teaching to help you release your neck even more effectively then I highly recommend The Four Movements of Your Neck video which uses Connective Tissue Practices and Brain Yoga to release your neck.
This class will help relieve stiffness and pain in your neck. It can expand and preserve the range of motion in your cervical spine. It will help to prevent arthritis in your neck. It will bring awareness to and improve the postural alignment of your spine. By increasing blood flow and oxygen to your neck it will alleviate pain. It will also help with headaches, shoulder, hand, wrist and upper back pain since neck problems can exacerbate all these problems.
Sending you much love from beautiful British Columbia
May you experience the strength of our mountains
May you be as rooted as the trees in our forest
May your joy be as deep as our Pacific Ocean
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Yoga with Melissa 292 Photos of Yoga Poses