2nd chakra is orange

2nd chakra is orange

She was abused as a child. Everything she did was affected by the suffering she felt, consciously and subconsciously, from that day forward. The abuse happened when she was ten, but by the time she was a teenager she was deep into self-loathing as a result of what had happened to her. The details of her abuse aren’t important. What is, is that they were life-altering to her.

She grew to be a person who, in time, became aware of the spiritual energies that are part of being human. One day she found herself enrolling in a weeks-long chakra workshop (each week, a different chakra) not even knowing what that was, exactly.

When the day the second charka workshop began, she was chosen to be the volunteer who would be “worked on” while two others in the workshop would be “the healers.” The workshop, with around thirty in attendance, was split into teams of three each. Each team chose the person to be worked on, who was asked to lie down comfortably on the thick carpet, while the two healers knelled on either side of her. They would be doing “the work.” One healer was positioned at the head, the other at the foot of the person being worked on.

What “the work” was, entailed both healers’ concentration of their spiritual energies directed toward that area of the volunteer’s 2nd chakra, the area below the navel and above the groin, deep inside the body.

The room was quiet. All ten sets of healing trios were quietly doing the work, sending their own personal power, concentrating it toward that particular chakra’s energy center.

Suddenly the woman who was gently holding the head of our subject, let’s call her Linda, yelled, “Oh my God! Do you see that!?” while at the same moment the woman who was holding Linda’s feet yelled simultaneously, “Shit yes! What the hell is that?!”

Linda popped up her head, “What? What? What is it? What’s going on?”

Both healers at Linda’s head and feet, remained stunned for a moment, looking at something that Linda couldn’t see. Linda remained prostrate as the two women gasped and silently made noises of alarm back and forth. Others in the room had turned to look at the commotion. Nobody could see anything out of the ordinary, except for the two healers at Linda’s head and feet. Then the two women spoke quietly to Linda while continuing to hold onto her body.

“I just saw a huge orange ball with a big black hole in it rise up from your 2nd chakra!” one woman said.

“I saw exactly the same orange ball, it was all lit up except the big black hole in it,” the other said. “Then it went whoooosh — and disappeared somewhere away from you!”

“That’s exactly what I saw, too!” the other one said.

“What on earth could that be?” both asked Linda as she continued lying down.

“I know exactly what that was,” Linda said. She clearly was not in any doubt about this. “I was sexually molested as a child, and I’ve been carrying around so much pain, agony, and desperation all my life. I felt like my life was condemned to unhappiness, forever. That black hole you saw — that’s the way I’ve been feeling since it happened to me twenty-five years ago!”

The workshop members had already learned that the color associated with the 2nd chakra is orange, and its mantra is Wam. They had already had discussions about the level of consciousness that represents this rising-up of human potential. The 2nd chakra is about feelings (see previous post of LordFlea for more info about the 2nd chakra).

Linda reported back to her workshop friends in the weeks and months to come, that she felt absolutely released from the psychic pain she’d been trapped in, before this 2nd chakra healing took place.

Years later, up to this day, Linda continued saying, “After that healing session, I never felt sorry for myself at all. I just felt like what happened, happened. I began to realize that the abuse I suffered, instead of ruining my life, had pushed me into being a spiritual seeker. Maybe I would never have known such heights of happiness, as I do today, if I hadn’t been abused? I don’t know. But today, I just accept that this happened to me and I no longer feel a victim, or shattered, or confused about sex, all of which I felt before the day of that incredible healing.”

I hope you, my reader, know that healing can take place any time you set your mind to it. If you feel that you have suffered any kind of hardship, remember this story. And set aside some time to devote to sending your own spiritual energy (called intention) to that part of your self that feels injured, harmed, not right. You don’t have to be specific about which chakra, or even know what specific event might have caused you discomfort. All you have to know is that you want to be happier than you are.

Please leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you! I want you to know that I’m soon sending out “audio clips” of helping to still the mind as a FREE gift of my appreciation for your interest in my work. Stay in touch! Leave me your email below. Thanks.

Wishing you all my love and Light, your pal,

LordFlea aka teZa Lord

 

 

Origins, mixed media, 23“x44”

2nd chakra: it is “I feel” and the color orange and … it’s complicated!

Every single human being alive experiences consciousness in not only the first chakra — which is survival mode, experienced as long as one breathes, even in a coma — but also the second chakra.

The 2nd chakra is the seat of our emotional energies, where we experience the creative thrust of our Beingness.  In yogic scriptures this thrust of creative energy in the world is called spanda. The 2nd energy center is where we experience this thrust, the wanting to make things, our ability to feel things.

If you observe a very young child you’ll see them wanting to touch every single thing around them. Pick it up, feel it, squeeze it, roll it in their hands, maybe even bite it, smell it. They naturally want to feel and explore every single thing they can. Sometimes, of course, as parents and caretakers, we have to limit our child’s explorations. “Don’t touch the fire!” “Don’t go near that rattlesnake!” “Stop kicking your sister!”

As a parent, I was obliged to guide and direct my children. If I didn’t point out to them what was dangerous, and “off limits” — no touching, kicking, biting, bad words, etc — I would be negligent. I’ve written an entire book about this that will soon be available. Leave your email here and I’ll keep you posted!

angelmom

we teach our children right from wrong

Every person, with the exception of those in comas or deemed “brain dead” are experiencing the 2nd chakra on pretty much a constant basis. And when a young child who has received proper guidance (love, compassion, nutrition) reaches adolescence … the energy in this chakra really starts to become activated even more than in childhood.

Like I said, the 2nd chakra is about feeling. This is the seat of our emotions. The 2nd chakra explains why our Feelings are connected to our Creativity. Young children want to make and play and do everything. They create games out of sticks, leaves, spoons, dust bunnies, anything! if they have nothing else. Kids can play with mud puddles, or … just the dirt. I remember myself, eating dirt when I was a kid. I thought it tasted yummy (??). I was also into eating tiny balls of paper (hmmm?). I also wanted to draw, paint, build, play, try and DO everything! I’d climb trees, recklessly so, and now have severe scoliosis (remedied with my yoga practice) as a result of a bad fall.

This need-to-know-and-feel-everything! is 2nd chakra energy, folks. We all have it. This is our human desire, our birthright: to create, to do, to feel, to explore. To dive into, and off of, climb to the top of every mountain we can. At least while we have the energy to. That’s why some of us exercise as much as we do, to maintain our energy levels just so we can keep up our explorations as long as we can.

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this is yogini LordFlea today, at 70!

As an artist I’ve thought a lot about this chakra, the root of all creativity. After my basic training (learning materials, colors, forms, etc.), I learned to trust the impulses that arise from all I’ve been exposed to, and … when I make a work of art I don’t doubt for a second when my mind says, “use blue” instead of another color; or “put a beach here” instead of a horizon. When my 2nd chakra says, “Do this, creatively” — I do it! When you want to create, as an artist does, we go with our feelings. We have trained ourselves to trust our feelings. Those of us who are into “original thought concepts” as opposed to derivative art, allow this creative thrust full reign during the creative process. Likewise, when I see other artists’ works, one artist  will “excite” my feelings while another does nothing. This is 2nd chakra energy. I don’t intellectualize it. I just trust my feelings. Can you relate? Most people rely upon how they feel to “judge” art. Unless you study art history it’s hard to know much more about art other than, “I like it” or “It leaves me cold.”

Trust the feelings that arise. This is your 2nd chakra helping you with life’s many challenges and choices. As we grow in maturity, most of us learn to trust our feelings. But if you don’t, read LordFlea next week when we will explore our feelings further. Because when we raise up our spiritual energy to the 3rd chakra, the seat of our personal power, that’s when we embrace, or deny, our feelings and others’, too.

So 2nd chakra energy is about … feelings. Everyone alive has feelings. Unless you have some spectrum of autism. In that case, it’s the obligation of we other humans who are compassionate enough, to send you our love and helpfulness in any way we can.

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many of us get “ambushed by our feelings” if we don’t learn to trust that feelings are … signals of consciousness … not intellectually figuring out things

One person wants to create a new way to explore space (Elon Musk) while another never even thinks about outer space. That person is happy to, say, never leave their little village in the Sahara, but enjoys creating a trap for an wild animal that will serve as dinner that night. Both are using their 2nd chakra energy. In very different ways, of course. One is using other faculties along with satisfying the urge to create. Elon is using other “awakened chakras” (the rising up of the energy of consciousness) because his creativity is geared for benefiting all of humankind; whereas the Sahara person is happy to make a meal for himself and his immediate family, and isn’t thinking about the rest of the world when he sets that trap. Both are equally using their 2nd chakra energies to full capacity, however.

When, as a young person, we start to realize we have more feeling about one thing than another, this is the awakening of our 2nd chakra energy. For me, I was absolutely gaga about God/Spirit when I was a kid. I couldn’t get enough of church rituals, prayers, feeling connected to the Mystery. I was raised by one parent who was religious and the other, an agnostic. So right from the start of my God-thing exploration I knew I had choices. I never felt confused; I felt excited! I saw the God-thing revealed in so many different ways of expression. I particularly felt close to the God-energy when I taught myself how to draw. I did this in secret because … it was my secret way to feel closer to God, by creating. That way I felt closer to the Creator Him/Her/Itself. I did this in secret when I was drawn to drawing nudes, which I found in my father’s hidden-away Playboy mags. To me the human nude has always been the ultimate in beauty, grace, and design.

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to me, nudity has always been about being in my spirit body, not about sex stuff

I’d clandestinely draw from my Dad’s secret nude-y mags in a closet, not wanting my art-ignorant parents to see how thrilled I was, copying, drawing images of things that were real life objects: naked ladies, pretty birds, people on streets, the hills and mountains and sea, and especially Superman comics. I drew quadrants upon a chosen image, and made similar quadrants on another, bigger piece of paper, and copied each quadrant, one by one quadrant. That’s how I learned to draw realistically.

By the time I was in the lower grades I was getting into trouble at school because I couldn’t help myself. If I saw a picture I felt I had to draw, I would do that old trick of copying: tracing. You fill a paper with a lead pencil’s dense coverings, and then press hard with your sharpened pencil on a top-sheet that has the image you want to copy. Basic tracing. Feels good when you’re a kid who wants to draw. So my frustrated parents, who didn’t have extra cash, had to pay to replace several volumes of the encyclopedia Britannica when I was caught tracing from them at school.

Time to change ... dive into IT

an artist can inspire … anyone, anytime, anywhere

Anything that inspires us, is 2nd chakra stuff. If you hear music that moves you, this is your 2nd chakra getting stimulated. If you want to visit Transylvania to see the birthplace of Bram Stoker, the original Dracula — this is 2nd chakra energy. If you want to play the drums, and not the violin that you were urged to, your 2nd chakra energy is the reason why.

“Follow your bliss,” said Joe Campbell. Of course, we learn how to distinguish what isn’t good for us from what is. We don’t want to eat a bucket of gummy bears, but maybe we had to, once, in order to see how sick it would make us. And we don’t want to drink ten bottles of wine, but again, maybe we had to, once, to see why. And we don’t want to hook up with every single person we see … because … that’ll give us STDs and a rotten reputation. The list goes on and on about how we learn, or discover, how to use the signals we get from our 2nd chakra.

So now let’s explore the other, and just as important, part of working with 2nd chakra energy: our sexuality.

the marvel of Nature

the marvel of Nature, Sex!

Just as naturally as human creativity is innately ours, the other aspect of this chakra’s most basic (coming right after the role of the 1st chakra’s survival consciousness) role is our sexuality. Our sexuality is part of human creativity, I’m sure you all agree. I pity the poor religious girls who are subjected to cliteroectomies in childhood, because they will never get to experience this God-given creative force, their own sexuality. I hope this heinous act will continue to be forbidden everywhere, and in time, this backward, primitive ritual, still practiced in some extreme Islamic sects, will be as long forgotten as women’s bound feet of ancient China are in our modern world.

The center of the 2nd chakra is located amid the area where the sexual organs are found in both males and females: between the pubic bone and the navel, inches deep within our outer physical structure. In ancient images, the 2nd chakra is always portrayed along the spine, but this is a generality. The actual center of the 2nd chakra is located around the sex organs (ovaries & prostate). This makes sense because  human creativity and sexuality are directly linked.

some of us were kings, others were plumbers in past lives

creativity & sexuality originate from the 2nd chakra

The 2nd chakra is activated when anyone, male or female, wants to “have sex” which is the same, energetically speaking, as “making new life.” This urge comes from the primordial necessity, or desire to carry on our species. Anyone who doesn’t understand this … is misunderstanding the 2nd chakra energy. And certainly, many of us experiment with this fun-to-arouse energy center. Because, after all, having sex is another way of experimenting, feeling, following the sensations of our body’s natural callings. But unless we associate the true meaning of sex with the act of having sex, or making love — that is, propagating the species — we’ve pretty much missed the whole point of what the sexual urge is all about.

Gene and Nat at their Harvard Mem Hall wedding

Gene and Nat at their wedding

I feel homosexuality follows the natural order of Universal Energy because its tendency is to keep human population in check. Humans follow plants and animals in behavior, in that sexual ambiguity is found among all types of species on Earth.

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this is one of LordFlea’s botanical studies, done early in my art career

We discover sex when we’re young, some younger than others. We all experiment. We explore. We feel aroused. Sex is among the strongest of human urges, or feelings, that’s for sure. So let’s go a bit further into the sexual energy part of the 2nd chakra energy, just as we explored the other, more creative forces that arise from the natural uplifting of human energy, our 2nd chakra energy.

Early adolescence is when both spiritual and sexual questions begin to gain importance in our lives. Remember? Do you recall asking yourself,  “I wonder who I am, where I came from, and what this is all about, this life here on Earth?” I certainly remember, vividly. Wondering, confused feelings about my true nature. What was the purpose of life? What is Being-ness? These questions arise around the same time as sexual energy arises — and both arise from the 2nd chakra. We are a biological species (with a spiritual energy system as well as a physical one) and we are supposed to not just live our lives, but to make sure our progeny carries on our species. So yes, propagation is a BIG deal. It comes right after survival, on the importance it takes in human existence.

If the spiritual energy that naturally arises at the very beginning of adolescence isn’t channeled into ways that a child can engage in, and understand, this energy will go dormant again (it’s called the kundalini, this spiritual energy, and I’ve talked about it a lot here on LordFlea). As a phenomenon, I’ve observed the rising of the kundalini within myself and many others. When the spiritual energy isn’t satisfactory (religion didn’t do it for me, I tried, but I still had too many unanswered questions) … this energy of wondering, pondering (called Self-inquiry) easily jumps into the sexual realm. And for some of us, it stays there, to the exclusion of developing a spiritual life. Until … way later.

This is why, my friend, so many so-called “leaders” of all ilk, religious, spiritual, political and secular, get the two energies confused. And why there are so many scandals surrounding both male and female leaders. It’s a fact that the sexual and the spiritual energies are inextricably intertwined. When a so-called leader gets carried away with their power over people who look up to them, it is all too common, and human, and sad, for them to abuse this energy. I myself have witnessed the abuse of this 2nd chakra energy with several highly respected yoga teachers and Christian leaders (these are my own experiences). I have also read about many religious and political leaders who were “outed” for their unorthodox sexual promiscuities. I’m sure you, the reader, understand this mixed-up tendency I’m referring to. It even happened to a very popular sitting-president of ours here in America nearly twenty years ago — right in the Oval Office.

I’ll be sharing a very strong experience concerning the healing of a badly damaged 2nd chakra person in my next post. Please leave me your comments here, I love hearing from you! I will soon be sending out guided meditations for people on my email list, so make sure I have yours.

With great love,and respect,

your pal teZa aka LordFlea

 

chakras

Now that we’ve discussed “what” the first chakra is (see preceding post) let’s jump in and have its experience. Very different from learning about it, hearing of it.

This energy center is located at the base of your spine. Please focus your attention there. Sense the connectedness of your bony spine’s very end, not as bone though, but as if it’s made out of loose, moving, flexible “energy fibers” … tentacles, extensions of your very essence. These energy fibers grow when you focus on them.

(It would be even better if you could listen to what I’m saying, as if this were a guided meditation — and you do what I’m suggesting instead of just listening, or reading. I’m working on offering these listen-only sound bites, and they’ll be available soon.)

The invisible tentacles that come from your lower spine, its very tip, the coccyx, and the surrounding wider sacrum area (all are the 1st chakra area) — are like fibers or strings of energy that you see arising from bolts, or other sources of intensely accumulated electricity (another mostly invisible source of energy). These “imagined” glowing fibers emanating from your sacrum grow toward an attracting source. In this journey of understanding human spirituality that the chakras help us understand, your own body’s 1st chakra tentacles reach out for the very center of the Earth — from whence we came.

The word for “human” comes from the same etymological source as “humus” — which is defined as “the material of earth itself.” Humus is what is found on the floor of the forest or jungle, after plant material has fallen to the ground and accumulates in layers. Humus occurs, then, when living material is in the process of going back to the source from which it came: Earth itself.

In the same manner, you and I, we are children, offspring (like living plants are) of the Earth. We are as well, children of the Divine Energy toward which we all aspire to feel connected to (this will happen when we dwell in the 7th, the “crown chakra”). All humans originate from the Source Itself — Consciousness. This is why children are so much more open and magical than older humans. Because children are simply closer to the Source from whence we all come. And a person who is dying, likewise, if they are settled in their hearts, are filled with wondrous anticipation, not dread, when they have glimpsed where they are now headed — back to the Source of All. I know this from my own personal experience, having helped both my parents return to the Source.

Let’s continue experiencing this 1st chakra energy together, shall we?

Sit (or stand, or lie down, it doesn’t matter) anytime you wish, and focus on this energy that connects you to our home, planet Earth. Your 1st chakra’s energy fibers anchor you, always reminding you … who you are. This “I am” … is the mental thought that corresponds with 1st chakra awareness, or consciousness.

This “I am” awareness works independently of your intellect. Even if you find yourself in a coma (I hope never) you still experience this I am consciousness. A friend came to practice music with me yesterday and she told me:

“I was in a week-long coma when I had spinal meningitis a couple years ago. I knew everything that was happening all around me. I heard every word spoken in my presence. I knew who was there and what they were doing. I couldn’t open my eyes or move a muscle or blink or swallow — but I was fully, consciously, there.”

This awareness my friend described is the most basic of the great I am consciousness.

The awareness of Being.

The essence of being present, is called by some, Presence.”

To connect with this most basic of energy is easy and simple. All you have to do is want to experience your most essential “I am” quality — which is — that you are alive! And you are alive as long as you have breath in you. Breath, therefore, is key to consciousness.

The 1st chakra energy is about survival. Not only does this energy help us experience our very essence, our alive-ness, but it propels us to stay alive!

If you are in a coma, obviously you are dependent on others to feed you, keep you breathing, keep you comfortably warm or cool, and expel all the toxins from your system. I’ve seen the tubes containing these toxins that if modern medicine didn’t take care of, surely would kill a comatose patient within a short while.

When we’re in our normal consciousness, awake I mean, survival means various things to various people, but generally it’s about

  • eating properly (only when hungry) to maintain energy and fuel life itself
  • drinking water when thirsty
  • sleeping enough to be healthy
  • getting out of bad weather, seeking shelter during any kind of storm
  • not doing stupid stuff that endangers one’s very life (not jumping too impossibly wide a ravine, not swimming with hungry sharks, not ingesting poison, etc.)

Pretty basic stuff, eh?

As a yoga person who loves to chant, I can also increase my awareness of my 1st chakra energy by chanting this mantra using the sacred sound …  Lam

Here’s how: breathe in, and in a natural tone sound out … Lammmmm … as you slowly breathe out. Breath in, and again breathe out toning Lammmm, on and on.

As we journey up the chakras, each energy center has its own corresponding mantra. Where these ancient sacred sounds, like Lam, came from, I do not know. All I know is that my masterful spiritual teacher taught them to me, and … I’ve found them useful in my understanding of my own spirituality. Mantras are just tools by which we can focus our attention on certain aspects of our spiritual development. And the more ancient they are, the more a mantra contains the sacred energy called Shakti. That’s why I recommend using Lammmmm for additional help connecting to your 1st chakra.

If you’re a visual person as I am, it’s also useful to envision the color Red when you concentrate on the 1st chakra energy. Again, just another tool. As we ascend the chakras, we’ll be traveling the colors of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, indigo, and finally … white). It was the ancients who ascribed colors as well as mantras to these energy centers. They noticed everywhere, all around them, how light fragments into the prismatic colors, as rainbows do in the sky above us. As pure white light (the color of the crown, the uppermost chakra) separates, the prismatic colors of the rainbow become apparent. When all light is connected, we see white (or “clear” transparency). You can notice this in how every drop of rain water, every dew drop, every minuscule source of water breaks into its own tiny prism. Check it out. Go to a spider’s web on a dewy morning, and look closely at one drop of dew that’s been caught there. Go closer. You will see the rainbow within that drop.

I hope our experience of the 1st chakra is useful for your understanding of how to raise up our consciousness, the purpose of a person’s exploring their own level of awareness.

Please leave me a comment below, subscribe to my blog, and stay in touch! I’d love to hear from you, whether you agree or disagree with my offering. I cherish your opinion. If you wish, check out my visionary artbook “We Are ONE” at Amazon. Thanks.

love from your pal teZa Lord, aka Lord Flea.

 

 

 

 

 

chakra 2

I teach a hatha yoga class I call Santosha that translates from the Sanskrit as joy, contentment, equipoise, serenity. It’s one of the principles of living a yogic life, “to be content with what is.” We reach joy by many paths. Acceptance is the biggest highway, the fastest thoroughfare to get a person to joy. But if you’re just starting out, let’s first discuss how I teach basic yoga, the ABCDs … Always Breathe, engage the Core, and be aware of your Drishti. Then we’ll get to the chakras, the more “elevated” of the consciousness highways (or, as Elon Musk reveals now about his concept of deeply tunneled highways, “the boring way” haha! tunnels/boring, get it; and kudos to this brilliant mind, Elon!).

Here is a quick review of LordFlea’s (teZa Lord’s) ABCDs of living aware and awake.

First about awareness (being alive!), we connect to our Breath. Then we engage the Core, the mulabandha, the “lock” that’s internal that’s also called engaging the perineum, or pelvic floor (in medical terms). The core, in yoga, is NOT the external set of ab muscles. Those six-pack muscles (totally achievable in yoga — if you wish/need them) are not any indication whatsoever that a person has a strong core, believe me. A yogi/ni’s true core strength is invisible to others. But it’s strong as steel for any seasoned practitioner.

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Core strength engaged to … fly high in any situation

The Drishti is a person’s focus, exhibited outwardly by where your eyes focus, and how your expression looks to others. A little upturned corners of the mouth, buddha-like, helps make the face appear pleasant. If our face has a pleasant expression , we feel more relaxed, and respond inwardly, emotionally. A simple facial-shift (from unhappy to “fake” happy) expression works! Just think of how a person’s scowl or down-turned mouth turns us off.

I exchange yoga for Spanish lessons (me gusto mucho hablarnos la idioma con el maestro y todos mis amigos latinos y espanoles!). But my tutor grunts and scowls when I make an error, completely throwing me off my game.I freeze. I feel stupid. He doesn’t mean to. He’s just … not aware of how his “look affects me.” I hope he’s reading this … and stops, Thank you very much. There’s no need to make faces at one another unless we’re trying to scare our enemies. Like the Maoris do/did with their fierce looks.

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but … look what I, LordFlea did with the Maori “look” for my facial makeup in my consort’s eco-film “Lithium Springs” for my Mother Nature character. A bit more pleasant, wouldn’t you say?

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In Santosha yoga class I remind people to pick one exact spot (on floor, wall, even on my body if they want to look my way). This fixed place is the drishti point of the eyes. I remind them also to focus on their breath; this is the internal drishti point. So even if our eyes are closed, we have a connection going with our drishti when we’re in the “yoga groove.” We don’t have to be practicing poses to be there, of course not! Before an important event, for instance, I press my “third eye” — that spot between my brows, which to me is like a spiritual “button” that activates my connection to Higher Power, or Aum (Om). Or, as my indigenous brothers and sisters (yes, I am one, too) say — to honor Great Spirit in our lives.

Now we’re in the “yoga groove” as I call higher consciousness. Rooted to the earth (imagine fibers coming out of your spine, anchoring you to the ground (floor, or seat) you are upon, yet being lifted sky-high by an “invisible puppeteer” (I think of Great Spirit as I say these words to my class) who reaches down from the cosmos, and pulls pulls pulls up your spine, extending your posture as far as the muscles, ligaments, tendons will let your vertebrae stretch. Ahhhhh, the yoga groove.

One-armed Angel (view 1), mixed meida, 30“x15”x8“

rooted to Earth yet unlimited upward … consciously“

Now we’re ready to go into a deeper connection to what, exactly, is happening during a yoga practice.

You don’t have to be doing any poses to be living yogically, y’know. All you have to do is want to be more conscious. Don’t forget … Buddha himself (Prince Siddhartha of ancient times, 2,000 years before Christ) was a yogi. The religion of Buddhism is a formal carrying-on, dissemination, gathering of his teachings. But Buddha’s main purpose of performing asanas (poses) and meditation (dyana) was to … be one with, yup, you got it! Great Spirit! The cosmic puppeteer, so to speak.

my Inner Voice said, "Take Action!"

setting out being a “seeker” of life’s Mystery — Energy!

When we start becoming aware of energy within us, that gets naturally activated (as we live, or as we practice breathing, doing asanas, cooking our meals) we can start to “feel” how this energy changes us. I’ll give you an example of my own experience.

In early childhood I was plagued with scoliosis, probably the result of having fallen out of a very tall tree. I was a complete and utter daredevil tomboy, even back then, could you guess? My parents sent me to whatever doctors, chiropractors, they could. But nothing helped. By the time I got to college I was begging friends to pull my legs as hard as they could as I held onto a windowsill — anything! to stretch out my spine and lessen the teeth-grinding, debilitating (painful to even walk!) nerve crunching going on in my lower sacrum. And then ….

One day someone suggested “try yoga.” It was the late sixties. There were no yoga classes that I knew of. So I went and bought a book. From which I taught myself how to slowly do basic poses. The sun salute. All 12 poses in which I did, one by one, from looking at the book’s picture. And a headstand. From a book. Carefully. Hands here. Head here. Knees here, etc. Until … I could do a complete sun salute and a headstand without looking at the book.

salute to the sun

learn the sun salute — and you have a perfect yoga practice

And by the time I learned that, y’know what? My spinal pain had — magically! — disappeared. Completely and utterly.

This, my friends is how powerful, how real, how healing, and important it is to understand how energy works — and work with it — if you want to keep expanding your awareness.

So now let’s talk about the very first chakra (wheel) of energy in the science of yoga. This first center of energy is located at the base of the spine, in exactly the same area where my scoliosis was/is/always shall be located. My yoga practice just keeps the pain at bay. So I’m forced to (lucky me!) have a continued practice. Because if I let up with yoga poses for, say, two weeks — bam! — I’m right back in pain city. Once the bones have been thrown off their tracks, it’s the development of strong muscles and other fascia that keep them in proper working order, so nerves don’t get pinched. The sacrum is exactly where my scoliosis pain originates.

The first chakra, at the very base of the spine (the sacrum), is also called the “root chakra.” This is because it’s at the very beginning of the spine, and in yoga the spine represents the journey to enlightenment, from sacrum to the head, and even above the head. Energy of awareness travels upward in humans, from the bottom of the spine to the very top of the head, and as the energy of consciousness travels upward, it “awakens” (or unlocks) our different chakras (energy centers). So … we naturally become more aware when we do, for example, spine moving asanas. Until — yes, you got it! — we become enlightened.

Doesn’t that intrigue you? To be “en-lightened?” But even if you’re not interested in becoming enlightened (which I was/am and everyone with Scorpio rising, as I have, supposedly is, ask any astrologer) … it’s nice to live without pain. Let’s keep it simple, shall we, sweetheart. Do yoga, meditate, just to live pain-free (if you’re not concerned with enlightenment). If you’re a person who does yoga just to be “more fit” … this is a perfectly valid reason. Nonetheless …. things happen spontaneously, when we start to awaken our chakra, energy centers with moving our spine, twisting, pressing it as we do in yoga.

We’ll be exploring, here, together, this travel-upward of human consciousness-awakening in the next seven weeks. And in case you’re interested, I was inspired because I’m teaching the 7 energy-centers/chakras for the next 7 weeks in my Santosha class each Wednesday night at 6:30p at Discovery Yoga in St. Augustine, my hometown. C’mon down, as we say in the South.

The first chakra’s consciousness corresponds to the basic survival mechanism we mean when we say …

“I am … ”

When I announced I was teaching the chakras starting next week at our last class, and added in explanation, “even a person in a coma is experiencing the first chakra awareness of consciousness,” I was amazed that one of the two students there had actually just been in a coma a few months before!

She immediately knew what I was talking about. Because, even though I’ve never been in a coma myself, I’ve talked to others who have and they all say the same thing.

“Even when on the outside it looks like I’m unresponsive, I’m totally aware of everything that’s happening around me. I can hear, smell, sense what’s going on around me. I’m not in some kind of a blankness. I had awareness, even though to others, it looked like I wasn’t even there.”

In one of my friends’ case, who was declared brain dead!— He awoke and is now back to almost-normal! With his family crying all around his bed saying their good-byes several hours after the plug had been pulled, he turned his head and said, “Hey, how are ya, Bob?” to his brother. Bob and his entire family were literally gathered, praying, resigned to their saying farewell to my friend, and now, a full year later, he’s living back where he was before he went into the coma during his hip-replacement operation. He’s back on Facebook saying how great it is to be alive! Every moment counts, and yes, he knew everything that was going on when they said he was, supposedly, brain dead.

The first chakra is about staying alive. Doing whatever one must do to survive. Eat. Stay out of harm, seek shelter during storms, sleep, heal.

we are One

we are One — 1st chakra “I am” in plural

I think most of us who are reading this would benefit from being reminded how powerful that first chakra energy is. If you’re sick — go to bed! If you’re lonely — go be around others! If you’re angry — don’t take it out on yourself. And if you’ve ever been near dead (called an NDE, a “near death experience,” been in a coma, or know anyone who has — know that even if you’re only in that first chakra, the energy is powerful enough, healing enough, and guiding you (listen!) sufficiently, on its own, just by breathing … so all you have to do is keep breathing and you will stay alive. Never give up!

Always know that as long as your first chakra is working (you’re breathing, in other words) you are an aware, awake, and yes, on your way to being an enlightened individual. To the best of your ability, you’re as enlightened right then, as you need to be. You, my reader today, are right NOW, enlightened as much as you need, as well.

Accept where you are. And join me as we travel up the energy centers together.

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I’ll be sending out guided meditations soon, as a sound bite, my friends.

In the meantime, breathe …. engage your core …. remember to show a pleasant drishti to the world around you … start with the ABCDs of LordFlea’s Santosha Yoga. And come back to see me real soon. I love you!

Your pal, LordFlea, aka tezalord.me

check out my visionary art book at Amazon: amzn.to/2gGzk7G

 

Plant/Animal/Spirit---I Am

What’s going on? Open your mind! Be child-like!

One of my most treasured spiritual books is Suzuki Roshi’s “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.” It has inspired millions, and truly is one of my go-to references about establishing the connection between our individual (smaller) self and universal (Higher) Self. In Roshi’s landmark book, which I try to re-read as often as I can (as well as the classic, Herman Hesse’s “Siddhartha”) I’m forever reminded to keep things fresh. To approach learning, especially about higher-consciousness, as if we are a beginner, each and every time we sit for meditation. What exactly does this mean, to be a beginner?

In today’s divided world especially, people are sure about how they feel. Whether the topic is politics or environment, or religious or spiritual, people are sure they are on the side of right and others who don’t speak the same doctrine are on the side of wrong. Sound familiar? I guess another way of saying “be a beginner” always, is to check to make sure you have an open mind and an open heart, always.

In my mixed-bag circle I hear some pretty strong stuff, and tend to overlook people’s hardcore emotionalism as a need to vent. I give plenty of leeway to those who have such strong opinions that their voices raise and their eyes widen. I watch these symptoms as indicators. Of what? That the person before me is closed to any discussion other than pats on their back that they’re right, right, right.

Sure, lots of people are in distress about the state of the world. When I was younger I even left America because I was so unforgiving about the Vietnam war, and didn’t return for a full decade. Today however, I am grateful to call the USA my home country. Even though it’s in a time of tumultuous cross-fires, this is the greatest country I’ve ever known, and I’ve traveled around lots. So bear with me as I share, from experience, how I learned that being set in my opinions only got me in deeper waters, than even the longstanding wars America fights in far off countries.

Baby Steps fisher

from one continent to the next … stretch out … learn from others …

Put aside your need “to be right” for just a moment and try following my thinking about how the need to be open is a spiritual practice. And how approaching things from a fresh, new angle (whether practicing a yoga pose or determining how bad things are in the public arena), sharing Roshi’s viewpoint on “Beginner’s Mind” just might add some bright sunshine on anyone’s dark and gloomy spots.

When Roshi wrote his book waaaay back in the sixties, he was mostly referring to the Zen Buddhist “art of meditation” when he spoke of having a Beginner’s Mind. I love his use of a waterfall to demonstrate the meaning of universal consciousness (the Self, Divine Mind, “God”) the continuous contacting of which is the supreme aim of practicing meditation. I’m going to paraphrase Roshi’s imagery here, but if anyone wants a real treat, I urge you to read the entire book for yourself.

The waterfall is Roshi’s metaphor for how our singular mind is connected to the infinite vastness, the ineffable Mystery of nothing less than — cosmic consciousness. Or Higher Power, or God, if you want to keep it simple. Although Zen Buddhists such as Suzuki Roshi never use the “G” word. And really, that’s a good idea in speaking of spiritual matters because that little bitty word has way too many stigmas attached to it. Many people either freak out if they hear it (those who are anti-G, calling themselves humanists or atheists, or maybe they’re traumatized from too-religious of an upbringing). Or, as one of my spiritual teachers (a wise old Christian monk) recently noted as he began his talk on mindful Presence:  “For every single one of you, there’s a different definition of God.” So he doesn’t use the G-word either, preferring, as I do too, to use Spirit (or Aum, Om) as readers of LordFlea know already.

In referring to the subject of how to tap into the spiritual side of life, the metaphor of Suzuki Roshi’s waterfall is the best analogy I’ve ever heard. He describes the state of connecting to this higher state — the universal consciousness that is all present — as this:

We, each one of us humans, is a tiny cell of consciousness that is connected to the whole, just as a drop of ocean water is still part of the unlimited ocean. If we came to a waterfall (or a stream, a river, an ocean) and took in our cupped hands, a tiny bit of the vastness before us, think of what you’re imagining holding in your hands, as you take it from the flowing waterfall to look at, and perhaps drink of — that this handful of water is symbolic of your human life. You are a separate being, but you are also part of the wholeness from which you came. You are both at the same time, even though some people never choose to experience this state of Oneness.

the waterfall of Life

the waterfall of Life

Even though you have been born in your human form (yoga scriptures calls this one-person connection to All, the Atman), you are still spiritually connected, and part of the whole spiritual consciousness (yogic Oneness, is Brahman, also called “the Self”) that permeates this existence, this universe …. the multiverse, as all of space discoveries is now more commonly called.

When I read Suzuki Roshi’s words for the first time many moons ago, I was struck about how similar his description of the waterfall was to my own inexplicable experiences of meditation. The Stillness. The Oneness. Totality. Yet, I was still me. How, after learning to follow a mantra and having trained my bad-ass monkey-mind to STOP obsessing, and keep it focused on a sound, and witness my thoughts, not engage in them —- how I felt connected to all that is.

And yet, when I came out of meditation and looked in the mirror, yes, I could verify that I was still this one same person named teZa (aka LordFlea, here). I have one body, not an endless array of cosmic-ness, yet my mind felt unlimited to any barrier, whether of skin or mental gymnastics. Even more deeply I felt this Oneness as my meditation practice grew stronger, as I went through layers of impurities. As my teacher told me I would. Until — I arrived at the place where each and every time I press my third eye (even for a breath or two, only!) I can jump into that state of Oneness, like a dog who’s learned to stand up on its hind legs for its tasty treat. I love the depth, the connected-ness of meditation.

Of course this took years of practice. But the payoff the stilling of the mind, is going deep inside Self, like sticking a finger into the CHARGED SOCKET of the Big Brain Itself (ha! it’s that shocking at first, so electrifying!). This place, state of mind, is beyond thought, and even if for just a glimpse that lasts only a few seconds, and eventually becomes longer in time and deeper in connection — all this amounts to cultivating a spiritual connected-ness. This, my friends, is Oneness consciousness.

So how does this meditative approach to “Fresh” apply to practicing yoga poses? And what, for goddess’ sake, does Oneness have to do with political or environmental angst? Bear with me, reader, a little longer.

Spread the Word: LOVE

approach each pose (downward dog here) as if it’s just you and the world around you

The same fresh electric jolt that Oneness brought me (at the beginning of my journey) is exactly the same, each and every time! — when approaching anything with a Beginner’s Mind. If I think, “I’m a lifelong yoga person, I know this pose” instead of “ahhh, try to feel it as if for the very first time I’m going into this pose” — then I am in Beginner’s Mind. To do this means I have to be more aware. The key here: Awareness. I must remind myself to think as a beginner, and not as a Know-It-All adept. Each time I start a yogic practice session, or just want to do a quick back stretch, but yogically, mindfully, I must remind myself that … “I know nothing! I am a beginner. I may know where to put my feet, my arms, my gaze .. but I am going to let this pose here and NOW teach me as if I’ve never had any experience of this same pose, before. Ever.”

This takes discipline. To let go of our “knowing”. This also requires humility. Some people have a hard time letting go of “thinking they know.” Why? Because they’re insecure. Without knowing something SURELY, they feel impotent, less than, and likely afraid of feeling vulnerable. Many people I know in the spiritual/mindful world (yes, as much in this tribe as in the political circles I skirt these days) are filled with self aggrandizement. Many yoga teachers I see being pumped out of the yoga-mills these days tend to think of themselves as so advanced and knowledgeable, so sure they have all the information they need after they’ve gotten their relatively easy-to-get certification. Suddenly they’re experts about breath, asana, stilling mind, opening heart — that many in the “extreme yoga world” only end up losing the opportunity to experience the electrifying delight of a beginner’s approach. And sadly, they end up shortchanging themselves (and their students) of having an incredible experience each and every time they begin their yoga session.

To have a beginner’s mind takes great humility. Want to try it? I encourage you to, the next time you hit the mat, or just sit to stretch for a few breaths holding a pose, and feel the connected-ness of your being a handful-of-water you’ve just pulled from the Waterfall of Existence. Feel this, yourself before you share it with others.

Let your mind go still. Focus on your breath. Let your breath show you what’s happening. Each yoga pose, each opportunity to grow from understanding another’s point-of-view is different, each day. Each and every time you move your body, it’s a new experience! Subtle changes occur. Awareness becomes more expanded as you scan your body and sense how today … is different. You may learn something new if you just open your mind … one breath at a time.

Try it.

For those whose breath gets choked up thinking about the state of the environment and other politically charged, topics, try this same kind of awareness exercise. The next time a news item, or a distressing topic arises, allow your breath to become your main focus, not the immediacy of this topic. And … as you focus on your breath … listen to those around you. Listen with something more than your ears, your eyes, your intellect. Listen to the sound of the universe that pulsates through your veins, in the form of your blood’s circulatory system, for instance. And remember: just as the moon and the sun and the stars are held in place, and don’t fall out of their orbits — you, too, and everyone here on Earth, is being taken care of by this Oneness consciousness that unites us all. And let go of any pre-determined judgement you have about this disturbing subject.  Open your mind and your heart and allow the possibility of — something happening that you might not be aware of, a bigger plan, a higher meaning — and practice complete trust. In what? That we are all One, and no politician, no human talking head can ever destroy that true, inexorable connection. It all starts with YOU, your mind, your heart — keep it open!

opening people's frozen hearts

remind yourSelf to keep your heart/mind OPEN

And let me know how these suggestions work for you.

Share your thoughts with me here, and let’s get a dialogue going, shall we?

I wish each and everyone of you a blessed and Beginner’s Mind kind of brand new day, each and every moment. May your outlook about the world’s events, and your own private life, be filled with the Light of higher understanding. May you be able to better discern what to do, and what to not do. It could be something as simple as not spending quite so much time on social media today. Spending more time in quiet contemplation about who to spend your time with, where to focus your life’s efforts — nurturing a challenging relationship. Or … do some yoga!

Each day is a new beginning. Each breath — a new you!

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Your pal, LordFlea, aka teZa Lord

see her? you think you're overwhelmed!

no matter what BIG upset comes along — Trust and you won’t suffer!

One of my most respected spiritual teachers said the other day, “Everything that’s happening right here, right now, is the accumulation of every single choice made up to this point —in your personal life and out in the world around us. Trust that this present moment is happening for all the right reasons. You may not know what those reasons are … yet! … but in time, more shall be revealed. Trust is what a child first learns from good parentage and upbringing. If you don’t have it, look back and fill in the cracks. Repair your trust leaks.”Because I want to have a pure approach to Trust, at this moment I’m going to (for the first time here on Lord Flea!) “tune “out” of my ordinary, rational mind … and go within. To that still, deep place within … where I connect with my inner Self. Because I want “him” (I call my special Spirit Guide Noname — and yes long ago “he” told me that’s his name, so yeah laugh if you want because I, LordFlea — am female!) and I want Noname to speak about this, not me. I invite Noname, whom I have been contacting for special messages, to talk today, and not me, about this pivotal topic: Trust.

The way I connect (and you can, too) is to get quiet, breathe deeply, and ask Noname to “take over” … and then I simply (after having trained myself to) trust what comes out … as I sit at my keyboard (I type as fast as I think, as swiftly as the flow of receiving is). I’ve been doing this exercise — tapping Noname’s wisdom — for years. So … here we go! Allow me to introduce you to our guest blogger today, my very own spirit guide … Noname!

flies-at-beach

relax, listen, here’s what Noname has to say!

Noname says:

Without trust, life on earth is miserable, at best; and bearable, at most. Those aren’t such great choices, are they?

If a person can let go of their pre-determined ideas about how things should be: their worry, fears, apprehensions, expectations — they have a chance of experiencing the real prize of being born a human — and that is:

to marry the mind with the soul.

In other words, when a grown person brings issues leftover from, say, their childhood, or even another lifetime, into their present, they will never experience the full glory of each moment’s possibility. That’s the only sure thing: that without trust, the present moment will forever be tainted, judged, or compared to others. And that’s no fun.

For instance, when people are young they live in the flow of life, experiencing each moment as it arises, fully, completely, without Yeses or Nos. Kids relate through the filters of their immediate surroundings, their parents, their caregivers, what they are taught and demonstrated from the earliest possible moment of life. All humans arrive at adolescence, and probably way before that, as early as four years of age, with already set parameters cemented into their little psyches by their parents, their culture, their religion or lack thereof, their influences from all around them.

For an awakened person, which I’m sure all of you are who choose to read this, wanting to experience the heights of your humanhood — it is crucial to be conscious of every bit of judging/setness/childhood impressions leftover in your beingness … and get ready to eradicate any source of unsettledness. Bit by bit. Judgement by judgement. Because anything that stops you from experiencing the present moment is holding you back. From what?

From being One with All.

That’s the payoff, the grand slam prize, of being able to Trust.

It’s not some momentary relief. It’s not some jovial haha I’ve “got it!” … No! I’m here to tell you that Trust is the key that fits nicely into the lock that allows all living creatures to experience the fullest of their existence. And for humans, that’s to truly know the state of consciousness some call God-within, others call Cosmic consciousness. Some just call inner peace and calm.

A happy life. Who doesn’t want that?

But without trust, and recognizing how not being able to trust pops up in myriads of ways … this creates the iron bars of a person’s spiritual prison.

So now that we’ve defined what it is, this mistrust that keeps us from ever experiencing true happiness as a human being — what can we do to achieve Trust?

The answer is simpler than one might expect. It starts with that famous saying that makes me smile whenever I hear it … “If you spot it, you got it!”

That means that if you sense an unease within yourself, whatever or however it arises, from whichever source imaginable, that’s your particular distrust of being alive. It may be about the present administration (so many mistrust the new Pres, I know I know, but bear with me here), or it may be as simple as not trusting you can do a simple back-bend, or a headstand in a yoga practice, afraid you’re going to hurt yourself, and not trusting a teacher who tells you — you won’t.

Whenever you feel the uneasiness of being out of sorts, uncomfortable, not able to breathe easily, a kicking, unsettled sensation in the gut, a wanting to shout NO! to something you hear or see … or feel suspicion that people are doing something behind your back, your girlfriend looking at that guy because she likes him better than you, or you think a spider will lurch out of that dark closet and bite you, inflicting woe and misery on your life forever — stop and ask yourself:

“Am I bringing my mind’s mistrust into this situation? Or … should I just stop a moment and practice discernment, and weigh whatever’s making me uncomfortable?”

Let’s take the first situation: the one of mistrusting the present administration. Lots of Americans feel their neck hairs raise on this one. But ask yourself, “Have I given Trump a chance? Have I reached beyond my disappointments and anger, put aside my honest belief that he’s ruining all our lives — to ask myself: Am I willing to trust that maybe, just maybe, the Universe allowed this person to become President of the United States for a purpose that little ol’ me just can’t fathom?” Have you taken the time to ask yourself this question? Well, this is a good place to start.

Things are never what they appear to be.

getting lost along The Way

sometimes the Lighthouse is a pile of rocks!

Let’s look at the scenario of the young hunk sitting at a table watching his beautiful new girlfriend glance around the room. And the hunk says to himself, “What! She’s looking at that guy over there, and thinking she wants to be with him more than me! How dare she! She’s just like Suzybelle, my last girlfriend, who did the same damn thing to me. Suzy ruined my life! So I’m outta here, NOW!”

Only to find out — many long hours of back-and-forthing, endless texts, beggings, pleadings on the behalf of the girlfriend who swears she was just innocently “looking around the room” — that she hadn’t even one person in her eye’s focus in the restaurant, and that whatever Mr. hunk was imagining, came from within himself, not from what was really happening. Hunk judged beauty’s actions based on his own fears, not on what she was actually doing. And when hunk “saw” her looking with desire at another guy across the room and accused her of being unfaithful (already!) this only made beauty afraid to go any further with hunk (who was perfect in every other respect) — because he exhibited the killer of all great loves — jealousy.

Maybe the two situations seem unrelated to you, but really, they are the same. A person objecting to Trump before letting him have a chance to be a president, and hunk assuming beauty to be the same fickle bitch Suzy was. The sour-grapes political disser and the sure-of-himself jealous boyfriend: both make judgements based on their past experiences, not on what’s happening right there, right then, in the present moment before them.

With the hunk/beauty situation, they spoke their peace, they decided to practice trusting each other. Their immediate attraction to each other was strong enough, special enough for each to weigh the pros and cons of continuing their newly formed bond … and they mutually decided to work on their “issues.” The hunk claims he wants to let go of jealousy, and is willing to admit that it’s his baggage that caused the scene in the restaurant, not beauty’s wandering eye. Hunk wants to grow. He wants to be trustful. He doesn’t want to be like his parents (ahhh, herein lies his misfitting key) who are experiencing marital problems after thirty some years together.

The hunk is now in a place where he wants to see with his own eyes, hear with his own heart. He feels his spirit drawn to this woman who sits before him. To move forward though, he has to let go of his fears. He knows he must learn to trust. Especially her. But of course once mistrust has been spotted somewhere in a person’s life, it’s usually spread all over the spectrum, like veins going deep inside a hunk of blue cheese.

But the good news is … once a person learns to “spot it” … if they want to be happy people, they certainly are also ready now to admit they “got it.” And once this recognition occurs,  called “Awareness” … a person then reaches the threshold of being able to choose.

If we want to be happy, we must be willing to let go of fear and choose to let goodness into our lives. We must be willing to replace mistrust with trust.

How?

Ahhh, here comes the leap of faith stuff we keep hearing about.

earth energy with yo#19151E

one by one, we need to take that Leap!

Pretend you’re at the edge of a very high, very dangerous cliff, and behind you there’s a stampeding herd of demons spread out in all directions — coming straight for you! There’s no escape! You will die if you don’t do something quick. The angry, vicious monsters (mistrust, judgement, fear of all sorts) are closing in on you. You can see the mob, huffing and puffing fire and murderous intent streams from their flared nostrils. You can see them tightly packed as they rampage right toward you, their hoofs pounding the ground making the earth shake beneath your feet, now just thirty yards away! You have only a few seconds to decide what to do before you die! You glance down. There’s nothing but a canyon far far below you. But … you have come to believe in the Spirit, the eternal Spirit of your humanness, and this is your saving grace. In fact, you have even had glimpses of yourself, before this moment, when you knew you were something more than a mere blood and guts human. Before, in more quiet moments, you remembered. So now you flash-recall that memory! Now you have to choose! Stay stuck and die by fear-raging monsters who’ll destroy you — or — leap off the cliff and spread those spiritual wings of your Higher Self that you’ve suspected yourself having … since first sensing them in early childhood.

If you’re smart you’ll leap. If you’re not, you’ll die. Of course you’re smart! Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this!

Congratulate yourself! You’ve just taken that leap of faith you need to let go of everything holding you back, destroying your chance at real happiness.

Now … as you jump from the cliff the monsters are far behind you. You look upward, spread those wings of freedom (metaphor here, dear ones) and fly high. Higher than you’ve ever been. You certainly may come back to earth whenever you need to. But once you’ve experienced this release of unfounded fear — you’re truly free!

I hope you get an opportunity to have this leap of faith very soon.

Noname over and out.

***

And also me, your loving pal, Lordflea, aka teZa Lord

Please, if you like what I offer, please send me a note and let me add you to my email list of upcoming posts and NOW — books! I’m publishing books! Wheeeee! I’m spreading my wings, like you, too.

Playing, working, living, hunting -- we get what we put into it

Playing, working, living, hunting — we get what we put into it

When I first heard this phrase “Right Effort” from my meditation teacher a couple decades ago, my ears pointed up sky-high. What did she mean? What could possibly be more expected of me than … just showing up? I was there, wasn’t I? I was sitting on my cushion, spending time with a great master of mindfulness — wasn’t that enough?

Well, according to the Teacher, no.

Just showing up ain’t enough, sorry to say. Don’t be discouraged. Just let me explain. I learned this from the greatest spiritual teacher I could find, and I searched high and low until I found her. I’ll explain using the same approach that I currently teach my students how to achieve a balanced and beautiful yoga pose.

When we first learn how to move our body, the temple of our soul, into a new position for the purpose of strengthening and stretching, a good enough reason to start a yoga practice, I start with a simple approach. I teach the ABCDs, and this automatically develops mindfulness. Whether you’re interested in the physical, mental, or spiritual aspects of life, I hope you check out yoga (which means, simply, “union”), Right Effort, no matter what your approach to life, is easiest to achieve if we remember  …

Always, the BREATH, the CORE, and the DRISHTI — these are my ABCDs! Always comes first the …

Guardian of the People, protecting us

How I depicted Breath as a Spirit-Guardian of all Humankind

BREATH — naturally, it’s the easiest to do because without breathing, we’re dead. So our job as aware and awakened individuals (and those who are just starting out, wanting to be more conscious of life’s great mysteries) is to watch ourselves breathing. Nothing more. Just focus your attention as you breathe In, mindfully, fully, with the intention that this is the “key” to developing an uplifted perception of life (the goal of meditation/mindfulness). And as you breathe out, continue to maintain that same watchfulness, witnessing yourself breathing. Until, after many breaths In and Out you discover — your breath is breathing YOU. I know that sounds funny, but once you get used to working with your full awareness riveted on your breathing, nothing else is in there, your mind I mean, where your thoughts and distractions originate. Everything becomes stilled through breathing, and you, in cohoots with your breath, become … calm. This is crucial to any practice. Whether you’re training as a singer, an athlete, having a baby, or … driving a car. If your focus is diverted (hello, text and phone addicts!) you will never have the pleasure of inner peace. Period. Just won’t happen until you shift that need of yours to divert attention every which way — and focus it on the breath. Next … comes the need to be aware of your …

 

One Life---each of ours, amounting to the total of all our decisions

Your CORE is your body’s essence, the axis upon which you spin your life

CORE — by this great teachers, in yoga especially, mean the mulabandha, the “root lock.” In the gym world, the core is what people think is what you see on the outside, which is, in reality, only the outside set of abs, the abdominal muscles. This is just superficial stuff. This is NOT the core. A six-pack of abs means just that. It doesn’t mean that core strength is engaged. When the core is engaged, there’s an interior engagement of the entire pelvic floor, known in the medical world as the perineum. This engagement of the entire internal structure of many combined muscles, ligaments and connective tissue and fascia — this is your core. How does one know it’s there, and how can you “engage” it? The best way to explain is a little childish, but, hey, anything to get a person more interested, focused, and on their way to attaining a higher perspective of life. The best way to engage the core is to pretend you have to pee, and you squeeze “down there” inside, like we’ve done since we were kids, controlling the pee from not leaking out. This is the core. This is the mulabanda. In hatha yoga, the physical aspect of yoga, a balancing pose is impossible to do without the mulabanda engaged. In meditation, after focusing on the breath, being mindful of the core adds to the “effort” one makes, and increases your focus (helping thoughts to dissolve). So engage the core, just to say “hello core!” if nothing else. It doesn’t have to be a big engagement. It could just be a mindful, thoughtful awareness of the core being there. Squeeze it a few times as one settles into a comfortable meditating pose. Or … just feel your ability to engage an invisible, internal “lock.” These bandhas, or locks, are important to yogis, and there are at least two others that are useful for maintaining more active, steadier poses. The second lock (coming UP from the root one, the mulabandha) is around the navel. The other, ascending the spine, happens when the chin meets the throat. But … the mulabandha is the most important. And if you at least have an awareness of it, your efforts will be greatly rewarded. That, by the way, is the payoff, the benefit, the great grace of practicing Right Effort in the first place. Sort of a spiritual “more bang for the buck” philosophy. The last focusing tool I’m sharing today is …

DRISHTI — the “gaze.” This final crucial engagement of one’s spiritual/mental/physical abilities is most evident when you look at a person’s face. For a seasoned yogi/ini (he/she) has their eyes fixed on one spot at a time, even during a vinyasa (continuous movement) series. Along with the “fixed-eyes” is a pleasant expression, and a slight upturn of the mouth into what is known as “the buddha smile.” If you walk into a gym you can see right away the basic difference between yoga and weight training. The people who use machines or weights are looking all over, wincing, grimacing, grunting, high-fiving, butt-slapping, sometimes making more primeval sounds (although most high-quality gyms have signs saying “no grunting” so that at least limits the jungle-like noises that weight-training individuals like to do; I know because I’ve indulged). If you walk into a much quieter yoga studio there’s usually only the sound of a soothing chant, and maybe everyone’s combined breathing, especially if the instructor has urged people to use the ujjayi breath, engaging the muscle used for whispering/candle-blowing located at the base of the throat that results in what’s called “ocean breathing.” When you’re in a room full of individuals doing the ocean breath you feel like you’re in the middle of a meditative beach walk, even though everyone is holding seriously challenging physical poses (asanas) … Their breath is regular (same amount of In breath and same amount of Out breath) … And, most stunningly different from the weight-lifters, their faces look unstressed. In yoga we focus on a point, called a drishti point, that can be a speck on the floor, the ceiling, a wall, a leaf outside. And if a pose changes direction, so does our drishti point. In meditation and in more restorative poses (held for longer times, in a relaxed manner) the drishti point is held inside. With eyes closed, our “gaze” is internal. But still, we have a steady gaze. We’re not “looking” all around even if our eyes are shut.

Stillness, the inner drama

Stillness, the inner drama of internal drishti

When a person remembers these ABCDs, Always the Breath, Core, Drishti — Right Effort comes naturally. Without remembering these focusing tools, a person will have a much harder time stilling the mind, balancing the body, and “becoming one” with a pose. Using these tools, also makes one’s practice a lot of fun!

Because sometimes a pose is a mental challenge (how many times I’ve heard “I can’t do a headstand, I’m too scared my neck will get injured!” A good teacher can show that in headstand there’s no pressure on the neck at all, that the triangle formed from the forearms takes the weight of the upside-down body). Sometimes a certain pose presents a spiritual hurdle a person is not ready for, yet (heart-opening back bends are especially challenging for people who have emotional issues they’re not ready to address). And sometimes, a pose presents a real physical challenge (such as a person with extremely tight hamstrings, tight hips, tight shoulders, all of which un-tighten if anyone decides to, little by little, continue with their yoga practice).

Little by little, the body opens. When a muscle, or a group of muscles, or a tendon has become tight, it slowly unloosens from stretching. A seasoned yogi has kept their body as loose as they were when they were a child, that’s all. Or … they began with a once-tightened body and slowly unloosened it, little by little. Anybody can, if they make that choice.

Right Effort, by the way, is also about not going too far in the opposite direction. In a recent workshop about the fascia I learned, from a real scholarly yoga teacher, that once a person’s fascia has been over-stretched (such as happens with all the extreme poses yogis are doing these days, my goodness!) there is real danger that, later in life, injuries will happen. Why? Because if there’s too much stretching, the fascia — the interlocking channel of connective tissue that literally holds our skeleton in place, and our entire physiology together — will get over-stretched. And if that happens, it never comes back to “normal.” Think of your favorite sweater that got stretched out at the neck, or the elbows, and how the individual knitted loops just won’t go back to that sweater’s original shape that you adored. Well, the body’s interlocking fascia (the myofascia) is just like a sweater that encompasses everything within our physical structure. Including our organs. If an extreme yogi goes too far in their stretching, they are risking the danger of over-stretching their fascia — and that wrong effort will endanger their physical health later in life.

Right Effort, like so much in a mindful practice, is making our lives balanced. We don’t want to put SO much effort into things that we become OCD, or … our fascia gets permanently over-stretched, and woefully damaged. Or, like I have done in the past, by going too far in a pose: experienced vertigo when my neck nerves got pinched from a too-deep side-or-back neck stretch pose. Today, I’m mindful about putting my ABCDs into practice, and … thankfully not killing myself by going beyond my body’s limitations.

Hope this post is helpful.

Please tell me your experience about Right Effort. I’d love to hear from you.

Your pal sending much love to ALL, Lord Flea, aka teZa Lord

ps. Watch for my Right Effort now underway in social media, and other internet communications. I’m readying to indie-publish my first book and I’m practicing all that I’ve spoken about above.