Book of teZ

The Importance of Being

France Chagall Exhibit

I love Chagall’s work, so mystical, so symbolic


People say “This is the most important!” and others say, “That’s the most important!” I’m guilty of this myself ( see last post ) What I’m feeling today is even more basic than what I wrote here last, this place where I get to share random thoughts and find others who relate to my opened door of perception.

More than anything else, to let my awakened consciousness melt into my heart chamber, where Love feels the most expansive — is how I connect to my very existence. This is how I practice simple awareness. Also called, simply, “Presence.”

Really, there’s nothing more simple. To just “Be” … is there? As long as we’re breathing, we’re alive, we are “Be-ing.” Even if one is in a coma, people who come back out of them, say they are “aware” of what’s going on around them. They hear, smell, and sense, people in their presence, shows being played on TV, conversations taking place between others. The people who are incapacitated are still Be-ing. Their Being-ness has pretty much been limited to just observing, true. But still, they are Being.

Think about that for a second. Are you aware that each breath — is a gift?

Tell me how this makes you feel. I’d love to hear from you.

In Light, with lots of love, teZa aka LordFlea

if you wish, please leave me your contact info and I’ll add you to my author info-e list, and we can stay connected even more. And don’t forget — I love you!

Book of teZ

Ask mySelf, “How Am I Doing?

getting help with handstand

with each body movement, be aware!

I love picking a different theme for the weekly Santosha (contentment!) yoga class I teach at Discovery Yoga in St. Augustine. It inspires me to write a post about the subject, here on LordFlea. This past week I chose “Self Inquiry” and during our class we already explored how this topic applies to when we’re doing a yoga practice. I’ll share a little about that, and our next post will be … how to use Self-inquiry to deepen our spiritual practice.

First … in hatha yoga (the general all-encompassing Sanskrit term for the physical side of yoga, including positions (asanas) and anything related to body wellness … it’s extremely helpful to always ask our Self whenever we get into a position, “How Am I Doing?”

The reason I use the capital “S” Self for this question, is because most folks who aren’t already in a state of awakened consciousness don’t bother asking themselves the question, “How am I doing?” If I were to ask someone who’s not yet interested in awakening their spiritual side, the question would be more like, “How are you feeling today? Are you interested in getting to know that higher Self of yours, that you keep hearing about in the mindfulness world? Or are you happy staying in your little self, safe and … well, in denial of your higher spiritual side — your Self?”

A person who has not yet asked themselves the question: “What is the difference between my little self and my so-called higher Self?” might want to start right now. Let’s apply this question specifically to … how we’re sitting (or standing if you happen to be). Because I’m talking about using this Self-inquiry in a yoga class, we can start with the position your body is in right now when you’re reading it. Even if you’re sitting at your computer, or riding a bus.

An aware and awake person (their higher Self, that is) is conscious of many things. The more we open our consciousness, our awareness, to what’s around us, the more details and nuances of life become accessible. So let’s focus on our body’s position. That’s easy, and it’s fun! If you’re sitting (or reading) take a moment as you read this and check these things:

  • is your spine straight?
  • is your neck aligned with the spine (not too far forward or backward?
  • are you breathing through your nose? If not, close your mouth, please.
  • are your opened eyes resting on one spot? (please stop reading for a second, and do this now, thanks)
  • is your core engaged, or not? look below for how to engage the core, anytime!

I like to teach basic yogic principles, even to a first-timer. Here’s how I’ve come to make it easy to remember.

LordFlea’s (teZa’s) ABCDs of an aware and awakened yoga approach to the physical practice of hatha yoga:

  • Always, I suggest a student remembers their
  • Breath, their
  • Core (the inner lock called the mulabandha, engaged or ready-to-be) and their
  • Drishti, the easy focus of the eyes and a relaxed, pleasant-looking smile

If we focus on these simple things in any pose, we will benefit much more from each and every thing our bodies are tasked to do. So, let’s start with our position right now, shall we?

If you’re sitting, Always remember to focus on your Breath. You can do this in-between your tasks, or as a constant walking-meditation. Once you focus on your breath you won’t be wasting time on day-dreaming, worry, guilt, or any worthless waste of precious energy, not to mention time.

Next, think about your Core. Whether you’re sitting or standing right now, squeeze that inner lock right now! Go ahead, give it a squeeze! (to engage the “inner core, the true core of every person, pretend you have to pee really badly, but you have to hold it till later. That’s right! Go ahead! You know how to engage those muscles deep inside that no one but you knows you’re engaging. Yes, that is the mula (root) bandha (lock) that we use in yoga to stabalize any pose. Without this internal lock, balance especially is next to impossible. With some poses the core is not engaged. Awareness makes us know when to engage our core, or relax it. 

Next, where are your eyes’ looking? Well that’s easy if you’re reading this. But when you’re not reading ask yourself, “Am I looking all around” and if you are, DON’T (unless walking in dangerous neighborhoods when you need eyes on the back of your head). Having your eyes focused on one exact spot is called the Drishti. Having a pleasant expression on the face is part of a yogi’s drishti, our outward facial appearance.

It’s a good way to nurture being in a better mood, to keep a little “buddha smile” on your face. Fake it till you make it. It works! If you “fake a smile” you will let go of feeling out of sorts. Try it.


Iyengar’s drishti … OmGuru!

Okay, getting back to Self-inquiry in a pose. You are standing or sitting, and you check that you’re aware of your breathing, and your core is either engaged or ready to be, upon need — and your drishti is nice and easy: eyes focused, lips gently upturned. Now … you check what’s happening with your spine.

It it aligned, not slouched or bent, and you remember the neck is the spine’s extension, nice and easy, it’s floating above the column of stacked vertebrae. And now, what about your arms? Are they engaged, or loose? If you’re carrying something, are you balanced? Not too much on left or right side? Distribute and re-adjust your body’s weight according to what you discover. Now be aware of your legs. Are your leg muscles engaged, or are you loose? Whichever you are, be “aware” of it! This body-mind exercise increases awareness in all other respects as well as posture-consciousness.

We start with the body, to gain awareness of greater things.

This is Self-inquiry … first to be applied to how our body is doing. At any given moment, especially before you go to sleep, ask yourself, “Am I in a good, healthy position?” Ask and your answer is, no, then make adjustments. Sometimes it’s simply a small movement of an inch or two. Or a hand turning outward instead of inward (the sign of rounded shoulders is hands that face backward, a real no-no for proper spinal alignment). You might want to engage your core, so that you have better balance (especially if you’re riding a bus or subway standing up).

Next post we’ll discuss how to apply Self-inquiry to our internal state, our psychological and spiritual well-being. Until then, make every attempt to be more aware of how your Body is doing by … asking yourSelf these simple questions.

Leave me a note and tell me how this post makes you FEEL. I love hearing from you! And visit my main site to sign up for my mailing list.

Love All Ways,

LordFlea aka teZa

For You or the Entire World to Change — Awareness-Acceptance-Action!

Family BLISS NOW--a spiritual guide

Family BLISS NOW–a spiritual guide

When an issue keeps popping up and bothering us, resulting in our disturbed feelings of some description (usually of the negative sort: mad-sad-bad), this is a clear sign that a change must happen, either in your own life, the way your family is functioning, or your role in the outside world. This is having Awareness that something needs correcting or adjusting, the first step toward change.

Trying to ignore those nagging negative symptoms, or feelings, is futile. They’ll keep coming back, and each time they reoccur, bad feelings only increase in intensity. So don’t kid yourself by thinking that if you ignore uncomfortable feelings (or numb them with drugs, alcohol, food, shopping, gambling, sex, etc.) they’ll go away.

Change happens only when you make it happen.

The nature of uncomfortable feelings is that they’re signs that psychic or spiritual work is needed in order to experience happiness and a holistic sense of well being.

Emotions, therefore—and working with them—are the most useful tools a person can have to achieve true fulfillment. So when a bad feeling arises, know that it is catalyzed from an outside source. When that feeling comes insistently, over and over—do your best to identify what triggers this sensation within your body and mind.

Trying to ignore the reappearance of a bad feeling fits the well-known description of—

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.

After trying several or countless times to ignore the situation (and getting nowhere), you will be ready to practice Acceptance. This simply means that you recognize the experience of pain as many times as it appears.

This is where we have the opportunity to start realizing in our deepest being (our Big Heart and our logical mind) that in order for real change to occur, something has to change. Accepting something as true might happen over and over, but eventually—you’ll be filled with so much acceptance that you’ll be bursting at the seams to get on with the next step. You resemble an eager racehorse chafing at its bit, beating its hoofs, ready to pounce out of the gate at the starter’s gun during a high-stakes race—ready and willing to change.

These first two steps might take only a few moments’ clear thinking through for some. For others the process might take weeks or months. For those reluctant to change, or who use mood-altering chemicals, the stage of Awareness-Acceptance could take years.

Next, after the two stages of Awareness­–Acceptance have been reached, real change can start to happen.

As soon as a person has truly accepted—and has had sufficient awareness that something indeed is amiss in life—now a person can take Action to make real change happen.

Action can be something as simple as the mere act of thinking how to change. This is the beginning step, because truly, all action begins with thought.

Learning to Live Spiritually from Nature

We are One with All

We are One with All

In many cultures the belief is firmly established (recorded first by ancient Eastern mystics in 1000-400 BCE yogic scriptures: the Vedas, the Upanishads; as well as core to the oral tradition of Native American beliefs and other indigenous People throughout the world) that all things in existence—everything, without exception—are Interconnected.

The brain cancer my friend has is no “accident.” No dis-ease, any good or bad occurrence for that matter, is an accident, but rather the direct response, or consequence, of invisible forces at work. In the case of cancer it could be defective, inherited genes, or—as I suspect is true in my friend’s use of the toxic process she unwisely chose to make her astounding woven copper sculpture—the horrific results of one’s own actions. Or another’s action, or lack of, upon us. Certainly we all know stories of how people fall deathly ill from society’s lack: Chernobyl, for instance; Love Canal, another; the list goes on sadly, ad infinitum.

We do have the ability to reverse ill effects inherited from defective genes as well as we can choose to be smart, and more aware of how to take precautions about the ills spuming from our toxic world. The Wise Ones have always shown us how we can burn off bad karma by doing good deeds (performing tapasya, as described in yogic scriptures) or making amends. However, the process must begin with awareness. Nothing changes unless we, each one of us, decides to Wake Up!

In other words, we can transform bad things into being catalysts for good things by awakening to a higher understanding, by committing to acting more consciously, more aware, instead of closing our minds and our hearts to life’s infinite possibilities all around us.

Only when we’re closed to the possibilities of change do we succumb to negative forces like fear, depression, dis-ease, anger, judgment, and other distraught, nonproductive states.

Whether my friend Maya will be able to overcome the challenge of her terminally diagnosed illness or not, remains to be seen. Many of us working with the concept of choosing to perceive life as a spiritual journey, not just a worldly, physical and intellectual one, we firmly believe in the impossible happening: miracles if you will, happen in even the most dire of circumstances. Wouldn’t you want to believe in a miracle, if faced with the terminal diagnosis Maya does?

What has already been done can be used to create new and better possibilities. We can choose to work hard to balance negatives with positives. Look to Nature as proof positive of how perfectly the world mirrors the cause and effect of positive versus negative actions. Tsunamis and earthquakes kill and plunder, yet they create space for renewal and regeneration in every instance. The evolution of the world’s countless species, scientists tell us, happens by adapting to conditions that are harsh, deadly, toxic. Without change, everything faces extinction, even hope.

Nothing ends. Everything keeps evolving, recycling, metamorphing.

Nature balances Herself. This occurs time and again. Storms. Droughts, Floods. Wild Fires. Ice Ages. Plagues. Species’ Extinction or Evolution. All these headline events are completely natural happenings of Nature’s cyclic patterns. Spurts of growth, overpopulation, human-produced pollution—similar age-old, manmade patterns that result in equally devastating cycles that mirror Nature’s own.

Cycles of life are constantly in motion. Birth, Life on Earth, Death. The part in between Death-and-Life we don’t know too much about—yet. Even if you believe in an afterlife, whether you trust or fear you’re heading for heaven or hell, these concepts I share here will greatly enhance your current happiness factor in spite of, or in addition to, your preferred beliefs. Religion is not being discussed here; spiritualizing the planet is. It’s that simple.

What I wish to share is offered as a proven, tested belief system. All ideas I write about are supported by personal experiences, both mine and others beside me, who help to light the path-of-the-seeker. Many of us choose to set out on our own personal quests to answer life’s big questions. I believe life is filled with magical, mysterious happenings—right here on Earth, in this country, this town, this street, this house where I live, at this desk from where I’m writing. I believe in unlimited possibilities starting with wherever we are, right now.

While reading these words, please try to approach these concepts from another angle than you ordinarily allow your beliefs to roam. Why not? What have you got to lose by trying on some new way of thinking? It’s as easy as experimenting with a new style of clothing that just might spark up your self-image and bring heretofore unknown joy to your life.

the flip side of Taking Action outwardly: Going Within, Waking Up!

the flip side of Taking Action outwardly: Going Within, Waking Up!

(this is the 2nd installment of a continuous series “Maya’s Book of Change” that begins with July 7, ’11 post “As We Think … So We Are”)

Newness: we all have it, we all can make it happen, anytime

Starting over. A new life. A new wife. A new car. New job. New religion? Why not? People always looking for something better, something more fulfilling. The old “grass is greener on the other side of the fence” syndrome. Today I’m wondering how I can renew my enthusiasm. Each day I feel this excitement of new just by doing  incredibly simple things like: looking at a cloud change its shape, watching the sea as it bounces onto the shore so rhythmically, so easefully, so differently with each new wave. Regarding a bird’s flight, always changing, never the same. And here, visiting our daughter’s firstborn, the best and surest way to feel newness: a baby just born. Upon is face is sheer wonder. Every sensation, sound, whisper, or whisp of air is new. How can we all make our lives as if we’re seeing life, and this world, for the very first time? We have to be incredibly aware, don’t we. The baby, of course, just IS. Our job of receiving things as if they are brand new, is to open our minds, our hearts, to the magic of life. Let it flow. The magic is here. It’s all around us. We have to just be open to IT.

in love and light, your pal lordflea