Morning Self-Practice Retreats in June & July!

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Get pumped for summer! ūüėČ

INTRODUCTION–

Wishing you could go on a tropical yoga retreat, but have to stay home and work?  Join the club.  Get more benefit and less food poisoning by joining Jiyu (the teacher) and me (your dedicated fellow practitioner) for one or more 5-weekday morning self-practice retreats at our home in Denver!  (Can’t pull off 5 days in a row? Jiyu and I still want you to have a taste of the delicious nectar of this experience, so we have devised drop-in or 5-pack experiences for students we have worked with in the past. We just ask that you thoroughly familiarize yourself with the protocol laid out here so that the flow is not interrupted for those of us already in the groove.)

I was listening to neuroscientist Richie Davidson in an interview lately, and he mentioned how much more potent retreat practice is for making modifications to brain structure and function.  I have felt this on my many extended retreats.  Although we will not be secluding ourselves for long periods, we will nonetheless propel ourselves into full potential mode with this amazing morning routine, providing a combination of the most potent practices plus a warm and friendly community vibe that we feel is essential for most of us to experience optimal benefit. 

The mini-retreats will take place weekdays from Monday June 3rd through Friday July 12th.  Start your day with a brief puja and shamanic invocations to sanctify and empower the space for healing, then dedicated time for kriya and asana, tea with friends, 3 kinds of meditation and pranayama! I have developed this schedule based on recommendations from my principal teachers Richard Freeman, Mary Taylor, Jennifer Hinton & Patrice Bazile as well as my own long-term practice and the scientific research on healing and neuroplasticity.

I am looking so forward to doing this that I am sure it will be my best summer ever! And Jiyu is sure it will be his best yet as well (after all it is his first)! Be prepared to relish some puppy kisses as Jiyu matures in his teaching role. In that regard, his ideas of trauma-informed adjustments are a little different than mine, and once in a while you might end up with a dog and/or bone on your mat, but he gives paws-on assists (like those in the photos) only with your explicit consent and very careful direction! Usually he aids you by his fantastic demonstrations of care-free relaxation. ūüôā

DATES–

The 6 available self-practice retreats are Monday-Friday (no moon days observed). If you are not able to make it every day that is up to you, though I would encourage you to think of this as a special opportunity to practice more consistently and intensely than you may normally be able to do. You may sign up for any number of weeks:

  1. June 3-7
  2. June 10-14
  3. June 17-21
  4. June 24-28
  5. July 1-5
  6. July 8-12

DETAILED SCHEDULE–

  • 5:55am Morning Puja
  • 6:00am Pranayama
  • 6:30am Zazen Meditation*
  • 6:45 Metta Meditation*
  • 6:55 Competent Protector Meditation*
  • 7:00 Ashtanga Invocation, Kriya & Asana
  • 8:57am 4-minute Quiet Meditation*
  • 9:01am Utplutih & Group Savasana*
  • 9:15am Closing Chant & Tea with Friends

*Please do not come or go during the silent periods (6:30-7:00 or after 8:55).

PRACTICES–

Morning Puja: We will delineate our sacred space through the invocation of the King of the Nagas, the ultimate support, invite Ganesh to have a seat in our sacred space, and then call in benevolent spirits from the 4 directions and 3 realms to be with us and bring their wisdom, compassion, skillful means, guidance, help, healing and curative energies while we practice together.

Pranayama: If you have been given a breathing practice by a competent teacher, please feel free to do it. If not, you can schedule a private lesson with me live or on Skype to develop one, or you could download Richard Freeman’s Yoga Breathing (2 CD/ MP3 set) onto your phone and bring earphones to do CD 1 or 2 with him. (The first 3 practices take about 30 minutes and would be a great start for anybody who is new to pranayama. You can do them sitting up or laying down.)

Zazen Meditation (15 min): This is seated (or standing if needed) meditation on breath and posture. If you have your own silent meditation practice, you are welcome to do that during this time.

Metta Meditation (10 min): This is compassion meditation, which has the potential to very deeply change our way of relating in the world. If you are familiar with this practice, implement your favorite method. Otherwise a script will be included in the chant download.

Competent Protector Meditation (5 min): This exercise is meant to restore healthy attachment, which is a prerequisite for most all forms of healing. It has been recommended by neuroscientists, trauma therapists and shamanic healers alike. You will visualize a real or imaginary being capable of providing you with protection, support, companionship, wisdom, warmth, and all else that you need. You will bask in the feelings associated with that support in order to retrain the nervous system to feel safe and cared for, which will allow your own innate healing mechanisms and life talents to gain a stronger foothold in this universe.

Kriya & Asana: Kriyas you might want to practice before coming include skin brushing, oil pulling (swishing sesame or coconut oil in the mouth for 5-20min–do NOT swallow!) during your shower (possibly warm with a 30-second cold rinse at the very end to invigorate the nervous system), salt water flush, or while here, kapalabhati and uddiyana bandha kriya… (Need a brush-up or want to learn more? Schedule a lesson with me live or on Skype. For those signed up for a mini-retreat, I am offering a 50% discount on private lessons.)

You will be encouraged to enter finishing postures (following backbending) with 20 minutes remaining. These are some of the most detoxing and rejuvenating postures when we take our time with them. If not inverting, you are of course welcome to do restoratives, etc., just as you are welcome to make the rest of the practice your own. I have slings and every prop I’ve ever seen available for your enjoyment.

We will sit for 4 minutes following the yoga mudra/ujjayi postures prior to utplutih. At this point in the practice it feels most natural to sit quietly. We will then reap the benefits of a nice long savasana.

Tea with Friends (15 min): Time for satsang (spiritual company), a light snack if you want to bring one, and fun with the puppy. I will need to get ready for work by 9:30.

INVESTMENT & REGISTRATION–

Each week will cost $50, or if you want to go all-out, you can sign up for all 6 weeks for the discounted price of $250. There will be no refunds for missed days, and if you register but then cancel within 48 hours of your start date, you will still be responsible to pay for the week. You must register by reading and signing this form by Sunday 12-noon prior to the week you intend to practice in order to ensure that there is room. You will then get the exact address (near Water World, 84th & Pecos) and final details from me.

For those unable to book a full week, drop-ins are available for $25/day, 2x/week for $40, or if you plan on coming 5 or more times this summer, you may purchase a 5-pack for $85 upfront, good through July 12th. No refunds. Please follow the protocol above, registering by noon on Sunday before the week you first wish to attend so that I have time to plan and send you the infos.

Jiyu and I are looking forward to practicing with you!!! ūüôā

15-hour Intro to Trauma-Informed Ashtanga Yoga Training in Denver

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Early Bird Pricing until April 15th!

Awaken the healing potential of your practice by combining
ancient wisdom with modern neuroscience & psychotherapy.

I‚Äôm thrilled to be offering this training again this spring as a synthesis of my counseling MA project, my extensive background in neuroscience, 15 years of yoga teaching experience, and my own journey getting the most out of spiritual practices despite trauma and chronic illness.  This is an all-level workshop meant for Ashtangis looking to practice smart.    

Leading psychologists and neuroscientists agree that nearly all of us (whether we recognize it or not) are living with at least some degree of trauma, a condition stemming from overwhelm that has been linked to both distress and disease.  Fortunately, yoga interventions based on cutting-edge clinical treatments have been shown to significantly reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (Price et al., 2017), and as trauma resolves, people often find a redoubled sense of vitality and purpose.  As Ashtanga yoga practitioners, we have a potent set of techniques at our fingertips, but unless we inquire deeply into the theories, attitudes and interpersonal interactions surrounding these practices, we are not likely to reap maximal benefit from our daily efforts, especially when trauma is present.

In this workshop, we will explore key concepts in trauma healing and examine how we can immediately apply them to our practice.  We will consider how the practice environment and student-teacher relationships exert a tremendous impact on the nervous system.  We will study the fundamental features of trauma physiology and gain awareness of how our intentions and actions may be perpetuating or alleviating trauma in ourselves and others.  Most exciting of all, we will investigate where Ashtanga technologies (such as bandha, mudra and chanting) fit in alongside some of the most ground-breaking trauma theories available.

This workshop is best suited for curious vinyasa yoga practitioners and teachers with any level of experience and proficiency.  Clinicians who are looking to bring yoga into their practices in a deeper way are also welcome, though some familiarity with the Ashtanga Vinyasa method is recommended.  All asana work will be gentle and adaptable to individual circumstance.  Although sharing will never be forced, there will be opportunities to engage in partner exercises and group discussion.  Please note that this training is not intended to treat trauma, nor are participants encouraged to work outside of their professional Scope of Practice.  Resolution of severe trauma may require a multifaceted approach, a pivotal part of which may be a careful yoga practice.

Jen-Mitsuke Peters holds a BA from Columbia University in Neuroscience & Behavior, an MA in Psychology/Neuroplasticity from Princeton University and an MA in Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling from Naropa University.  She has practiced with and assisted her principal Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga teachers Richard Freeman & Mary Taylor for over 2100 hours in addition to training extensively in other yoga styles and therapeutic modalities.  Her own experiences with trauma and chronic illness have awakened both her passion for healing and her deep trust in the transformative power of compassionate and mutually beneficial relationships.  She has been teaching yoga internationally since 2005 and is a registered psychotherapist and coach in private practice in Denver, CO.  Please contact Jen with any questions or concerns.

Schedule for the Weekend (May 17-19, 2019)
Location is near Water World at 84th & Pecos in Denver

Friday‚Äď 5:30pm-7:30pm
Saturday‚Äď 9am-12:30pm, 2:00pm-5:00pm
Sunday‚Äď 9am-12:30pm, 2:00pm-5:00pm

Each session will include a mix of theory, practice/experiential and discussion.  Check out Testimonials for an idea of what students gained during a similar training last summer.

Investment:  $325 (Early Bird Discount of $50 if paid in full by April 15th)

To register, please submit a registration email introducing yourself and your background and pay Jen through PayPal at jendpeters@gmail.com.  Once these steps are completed you will receive an email with further details.  Looking forward to this!

A Brief Introduction to Trauma-Informed Ashtanga Yoga

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Trauma affects us all in so many different ways. It might show up as an inability to perform a certain movement in our yoga practice or manifest as sleeplessness, headaches, or autoimmune disease… Trauma is not restricted to survivors of horrific atrocities. In fact, our nervous systems may become overwhelmed and we may begin to accumulate it anytime we feel a lack of support, even in everyday situations. By nature trauma is quite slippery: the body buries it when we lack the resources to digest it fully, and the latest research demonstrates that we also inherit it from previous generations, so many people are in complete denial even though they may be carrying a significant trauma load. I can’t think of ANYBODY I’ve ever met who would not benefit from possessing a better understanding of trauma. It is a pivotal and missing exploration, equally for people suffering from physical and/or mental afflictions to those looking to optimize their already-brilliant performance to super-human levels.

Further, I have come to believe that practicing yoga without an understanding of trauma is yet another inadvertent form of spiritual bypassing that can be quite dangerous. Although pure awareness dissolves many kinds of samskara (conditioning), research has demonstrated that traumatic conditioning often requires special treatment, including a safe environment and the compassionate presence of another being in order to allow the nervous system to rest in a particular zone of activation. Unfortunately, whether due to lack of informed consent, excessive use of force, well-intentioned ignorance, outright abuse, or techniques that can trigger dissociation, yoga classes are often very unsafe places that actually exacerbate trauma. How many times have we seen practitioners and teachers pass on their unresolved trauma to countless others through acts of gross or subtle violence? Our own trauma also puts us at greater risk of being manipulated and further harmed by such violence. It’s about time we all start taking trauma seriously and create a revolutionary space within which global healing can commence.

My main motivation for going back to school to earn my degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling was to develop a grounded Trauma-Informed Ashtanga Yoga, one that can evolve with my own learning and the experience of interdisciplinary practitioners, scientists and healers willing to look again and again at what really works. TIAyoga was the subject of my MA thesis, my all-consuming focus over the past 5 years, enriched by 9 years of previous study and research in Neuroscience at Columbia University, Princeton University, the National Institutes of Health & Max-Planck Institute, as well as 16 years of intense practicing and teaching around the world. The brilliant framework of Ashatanga Vinyasa Yoga adapted to the individual as I learned it from my principal teacher Richard Freeman forms a base from which additional therapeutic modalities can be implemented. For the first time in my own practice, I am getting to the bottom of trauma that has been disabling for me, and for the first time in my career, I am thrilled to teach, because I have finally found a way to share yoga that feels authentic, intelligent and nurturing for me and my students. 

We are seeing epic levels of devastation, from the tiniest microbes to Planet Earth as a whole. We are being faced with dark and frightening truths about members of our species and even those teachers and sangha members we have most admired, trusted and loved. It is up to us to do the difficult yet not impossible personal work that they have not done, despite whatever technical prowess or philosophical clarity they may possess. Although many of the practices we have inherited may be enormously valuable, they do not stand alone and must be done in the right contexts with conscious intentions and a richer understanding of how our bodies and nervous systems work. Our generation has access to ground-breaking discoveries that can only add to the wisdom and skillful means accumulated from the lineage of practitioners in the past. 

Our best selves are needed. How do we want to show up in this world? Have we fallen into a rut of wishful thinking with our spiritual practices or are we truly doing what most touches our hearts and uplifts others? Is it possible that in following a guru or system we have forgotten our powerful ability to lead? We could perpetuate a privileged patriarchal culture or we could look into the truth about the harm it has caused and find out how to aid in the healing process. If our practices do not shed direct light on our interconnectedness and immediately begin to positively impact our interactions with all beings around us, then they contribute to the downward spiral that certainly affects our quality of life and in fact threatens our very survival. Let’s investigate how to prevent future suffering as Patanjali, Buddha and so many others have recommended, and use our talents and intelligence to change the course of history for the better!

3-Workshop Polarity Series in Denver Fall 2018!

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3-Workshop Ashtanga Vinyasa Polarity Series
Saturdays 8:30am-11:00am in Denver

  1. October 27, 2018 — Krama/Vikrama:  Standing, Balancing & Inverting
  2. November 3, 2018 — Prana/Apana:  Forward Bending & Hip Opening
  3. November 10, 2018 — Ida/Pingala:  Twisting & Backbending

Investment:  $135 for the series
Please pay in full via PayPal to jendpeters@gmail.com to reserve your spot!  

I’m excited to offer this series of 3 Saturday morning workshops in Denver (location disclosed after registration), each detailing a different set of yogic polarities and focusing on a different category of asana.  Each class will build on the previous one and address methodologies that are difficult to learn in other class formats, including basic pranayama in support of the theme of the day.

This series is intended for students with a vinyasa yoga practice, who are interested in deepening their understanding of external forms, the internal forms of breath and bandha, yoga philosophy and its intersection with psychology and neuroscience.  Students can expect to gain skill, confidence and benefit from practice like never before.  So get your yoga on early and have the rest of your Saturday to enjoy other fall activities!

In case you’re considering enrolling in one of my 200-hour teacher trainings in 2019 (more details coming soon), this would be a great way to sample my teaching style, and as an added incentive, those taking this series can apply $50 towards tuition!

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.  Looking forward to seeing you there ūüôā

Exciting new classes begin 9/4!

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Samanasana

I’m thrilled to be offering a weekly mini-workshop followed by¬†satsang as well as¬†2 new¬†Mysore classes! ¬†I’ve been looking forward to sharing in this kind of teaching format for years and feel so grateful for the opportunity. ¬†Please see Group Classes for schedules. ¬†See you there — Ashtanga Yoga Denver¬† ūüôā ¬†Class descriptions:

Ashtanga Smorgasbord¬†is a detail- and fun-oriented mini-workshop with a unique focus every week featuring¬†postures with relevant variations drawn from the traditional¬†series for exploration¬†and adventure. ¬†Each well-rounded session will delve into breath, bandha, alignment and attitude that together open the door to an asana practice that increasingly encompasses all 8¬†limbs of the Ashtanga system.¬† Ancient yoga scriptures assert¬†that when we keep our attention in the core of the body mixing¬†technique and counter-technique ‚Äúto taste,‚ÄĚ we unleash nothing short of a¬†flood of nectar, so come on an empty stomach, ready for feasting! ¬†This is a perfect way to reinvigorate and intensify your existing Mysore or other vinyasa practice while tailoring it intelligently and compassionately to your body and life circumstances. ¬†Some experience recommended.

Satsang is a gathering intended to foster a sense of community and provide space for inquiry into contemplative practices, their contexts and their integration into our everyday lives.  We will begin each session with some silence followed by chanting, kirtan and/or instruction and discussion based on pertinent texts and topics brought up by the group.  Practice takes us into realms where interdisciplinary study can be enriching, venturing anywhere from Neuroscience to Psychotherapy to the Arts.  Keeping good company is said to be one of the most powerful means to deepen spiritual practice.  By sharing our enthusiasm as well as our challenges, we will build skills and discover support to access our most authentic Self and bring that realization into the world.  All are welcome, free of charge.

Mysore combines the very best aspects of private instruction (individualized attention and customization of the practice to meet your needs and goals), group classes (energy and inspiration gained from practicing in the companionship of others), and home practice (focused attention and personal accountability for your own path).  Students go at their own pace under the supervision of the instructor, arriving when they wish and finishing by the end time listed.  Six series entice us with unending challenges glimmering on the horizon while real life intervenes with plenty of opportunities to let go and learn to work with the inevitable obstacles and beautiful realities of embodiment.  No experience necessary.

Trauma, Relationship, Guru

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Richard assisting me in laghu vajrasana in 2011. Photo by Chris Croft

‚ÄúThe core experiences of psychological trauma are disempowerment and disconnection from others. Recovery, therefore, is based upon the empowerment of the survivor and the creation of new connections. Recovery can take place only in the context of relationships; it cannot occur in isolation. In her renewed connections with other people, the survivor re-creates the psychological faculties that were damaged or deformed by the traumatic experience. These faculties include the basic capacities for trust, autonomy, initiative, competence, identity, and intimacy. Just as these capabilities are originally formed in relationships with other people, they must be reformed in such relationships.‚Ä̬†‚ÄĒ Judith Herman in¬†Trauma and Recovery¬†

The importance of the therapeutic relationship in psychotherapy has long been recognized.  It has been purported to be the single biggest factor (or even the only necessary and sufficient factor) contributing to positive treatment outcomes for a variety of problems and disorders.  How many of us feel a bit disempowered and disconnected from others?  This is often why we turn to therapy or to yoga.  We could all benefit from profound and selfless relationship, which is not so easy to come by in this world.

Such relationships seem to be growing more and more scarce in the yoga world as it becomes less and less ‚Äúcool‚ÄĚ to accept a guru or make any commitment to study with somebody who is truly qualified to teach. ¬†In its popularized form yoga is seen as yet another fitness and fashion craze, and its ultimate goal (Self-realization and rediscovery of interconnectedness, the very opposite of disempowerment and disconnection) is forgotten. ¬†Considerable disillusionment comes from having watched so many apparently advanced teachers succumb to the basest scandals. ¬†However, instead of jumping on board and behaving abhorrently or losing faith altogether, teachers and students might deeply ponder the gravity of the role and do their best to uphold the highest standards.

It is well-established that memories are stored somatically, so when we work with the body in yoga, we have the potential, to a greater or lesser extent, to re-awaken traumatic experiences and relive them to some degree.  Even if we consider ourselves to be in the fortunate minority of people who have experienced no dramatic or excruciating trauma, we still carry with us whatever we have encountered throughout our development during at least one lifetime!  The choice of who will share this very intimate practice space with us while we undergo these processes is quite a sacred one.

When you fold into that hip-opener and associations with your X or difficult family members bubble up (explicitly or not), it would be ideal if the teacher would not reenact those old pathological scenarios and behavior patterns, reinforcing them in your system!  How terrible (and re-traumatizing) is it to feel unsafe, abandoned or subject to compounded injury and negativity in times of vulnerability…?!  How incredible would it be to share with somebody who supports you and sees your highest potential and reminds you of it in that moment?  A present being can often help us to face difficult feelings with more mindfulness than we can alone.  What a gift, to progressively work out ticks and misconceptions that we have adopted strategically in order to survive, but which build up those very barriers that alienate us from what we truly desire!  Sharing even one instant in true relationship with a genuinely compassionate being can reconfigure how we respond in analogous cases (or overall) for the rest of our lives (and perhaps beyond)!  Then, we learn how to be there for ourselves and others in that same nurturing way.

The necessity and therapeutic-transformative potential of the student-teacher relationship is stressed again and again in the shastras.  Through relationship we either drive ourselves further back into our shells or melt away resistances to states of fullness that we generally feel are too nice and therefore not possible for us.  I would like to beseech everybody to reconsider what is possible in relationship, whether in the shala or on the street (and hopefully here on this blog)!  We can practice this all the time…

New Yoga & Singing Workshops with Jen & Karen!

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IMG_4636Hi friends, check out our new demo teaser and my Featured Guide Page at Truth in Singing! ¬†I will be collaborating with my new friend and voice pedagog extraordinaire Karen Tucker Patterson on her new holistic approach to finding your authentic voice. ¬†I will teach¬†yoga at the beginning of the sessions and she will then lead some revolutionary¬†voice work. ¬†We are offering two more workshops this year, November 15th and December 13th in Lafayette, CO. ¬†Please click here to register. ¬†We are hoping to offer additional workshops next year in Denver and Boulder so stay tuned…

Fall Fun Posing in Nature!

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Om gam ganapataye namah!

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sri nerd ganesh

Greetings, everyone!  Thank you for visiting my blog.  I hope it will contribute in some way to true happiness and freedom for all beings.

Ganesha is here to get us off to an auspicious start. ¬†He blesses beginnings and is often said to be the remover of obstacles. ¬†Our material on this blog will address many issues that tend to be seen as hindrances: ¬†sickness, physical limitations, modern worldly commitments, relationship¬†complexities, change and loss, character flaws, habits or addictions that appear to get in the way of our practice or¬†ability to live fully… ¬†They say the trick is to regard the “problem” as Ganesh himself, giving us the chance to behold it with greater respect and allowing for the possibility of learning and growing from it with humility and gratitude.

In this photo Ganesh¬†is looking quite studious, and in fact he is said to be Intelligence itself. ¬†We could all use more of that! ¬†Or perhaps I should just speak for myself… ¬†Well, even in his case, this lesson was hard-won as is illustrated by the following story, a version of which is often told by my teacher:

Shiva (Ganesha’s father) was needing¬†to go out to perform some godly¬†duties and didn’t want to leave his wife, Parvati (Ganesha’s mother) unattended. ¬†He asked Ganesh to guard the door and be sure not to let anybody in. ¬†As a test, he came¬†disguised a few different ways and was very pleased to find Ganesh unrelenting in this task. ¬†Shiva then felt reassured that everything was taken care of¬†and was gone for quite a while. ¬†Upon arriving back home excited to see his wife, he found that Ganesh refused to let¬†him¬†in! ¬†No matter what he tried (entreaties, subterfuge, force…), he could not gain entry. ¬†In a fit of frustrated fury, he sliced the boy’s (human) head off. ¬†Needless to say, this did not go over well with Parvati and the homecoming festivities were further delayed. ¬†Eventually they found an elephant, and Ganesh was outfitted with a new head. ¬†After that he learned to get to the heart of the matter and not take things so literally (or seriously).

It’s astonishing to see how easy it is to develop fundamentalist attitudes and adhere to them¬†even when they don’t apply. ¬†We see this happening in the yoga world all the time when we¬†hear a¬†certain¬†instruction meant for a particular person in a specific situation and we turn it into a universal rule and try to impose it on everybody. ¬†Without understanding that the external posture¬†is there to serve¬†internal processes that can¬†lead to open awareness and¬†end all suffering, we try to cram¬†our¬†bodies into forms fabricated from fantasy¬†and inflict¬†more suffering on¬†ourselves and others. ¬†We then waffle¬†to the opposite extreme, telling our entire¬†social media network¬†that this style of asana is injurious, nonsensical and definitely not meant for me… ¬†We are¬†forgetting its (and our) ultimate purpose (and potential). ¬†Even the best technique will fall short unless we take it in,¬†digest and assimilate it in a way that is appropriate for us. ¬†It is far more challenging to look at our individual circumstances critically and use our own capacities to respond creatively and adaptively to them…

This brings me to Ganesha’s ears, which are quite large for divine listening. ¬†Listening (with any of our senses) brings us into the present moment and our unique reality.¬†¬†Rehashing the past, dreading or hankering after imagined scenarios in the future, and tugging at¬†our experience¬†right now wishing for it to be other than it is (or as other people tell us it ought to be) are all recipes for distraction and dissatisfaction. ¬†When we listen (be it to our bodies, other beings or our environment), we can act in skillful or even enlightened ways that¬†ultimately benefit us all.

We all want to be happy and discover the real cause of happiness.  The more I study various long-standing and apparently legitimate practice/wisdom traditions and interact with those who have truly immersed themselves in them, the more convinced I become that this goal is realizable and not some New Age magical thinking.  When we inquire deeply and sincerely, guidance comes, whether we see it as such or not.  May we explore together and find our own ways.  May we perceive bumps in the road as little jabs from the tusk of Ganesh and continue on the path with a more open heart and better sense of humor!