The Power of Appreciation – St Valentine’s Day Satsang With Swami Nishchalananda

 

In this special St Valentine’s Day satsang Swami Nishchalananda suggests that we might rename this day ‘Appreciation Day’. He then leads a beautiful mediation on the topic of unconditional love in the form of appreciation, guiding us to offer a flower of appreciation to everyone in our lives and our world who would benefit from a virtual hug at this time – including those who we dislike.

After the meditation comes a Q&A session dealing with questions on the challenges we might be facing in 2021, how to cope with increased work demands arising from the current situation, and how to be liberated from dukkha (frustration).

 

Three Pillars of Yoga By Swami Krishnapremananda

This short article draws from three pillars of Yoga that are directly pertinent to the present uncertain and changing times.

Firstly, yoga practice holds the promise of many things, but key amongst them at present is that of a refuge; finding some quality time and space daily in which we can gain some space from current affairs, family issues and responsibilities. Even a little time spent on the yoga mat and cushion can put us in touch with this sense of refuge. For example, by exploring yogic postures which bring the body back into alignment, harmonising our internal energy pathways; simple pranayama practices which can calm and energise our system, or simply bring us back home to the present moment through breath awareness; meditation and chanting bring more spaciousness to the mind, thereby releasing the heart; moments or times of relaxation/ Yoga Nidra offer the body and mind the blessing of deeply letting go. The problems of life do not just magically disappear, but our capacity to handle them is enhanced through releasing into such a refuge each day through simple yoga practice. 

As the Bhagavad Gita says – ‘No effort is ever lost and even a little practice can protect us from fear’ (2:40)

A second pillar is that of gratitude. We will always have ideas for how life can be improved. Yet consciously cultivating a sense of gratitude for what we have – time in nature, simple gifts of everyday life, the food on our plate and so on – helps to soften the heart and lift our spirits. The glass is seen as half full. We are often programmed to have a negativity bias, which puts more weight on what we do not have, or our problems in life. Gratitude counteracts this, shifting our perspective, and reminding us of the maybe small yet valuable blessings we already have. 

Alongside the previous two, the third pillar is simply the willingness to be of service in whatever small or practical way to those around us. Service, especially if offered selflessly (or as close to this as we can), connects us to the Oneness of Life, whether we know it or not. This connection is why we often feel uplifted through our intention to give. Whatever our present situation, can we offer something constructive through our words, our actions, our silence, or simply our centred presence?  Yes, we may forget and ‘fall down’ many times, yet this is not a problem if we are willing to stand up again, learning from experience, and being available in the service of life.  

Using our practice to find daily refuge, being open to gratitude for what we have, and the willingness to be of service to the situation we are in. These three pillars of yoga practice, amongst others, are readily available to us as we continue to navigate our way through the current uncertain waters.  

Satsang with Swami Nishchalananda

The latest in the series of the bi-weekly Friday evening Satsangs, given on 4th December 2020, and hosted by Mandala Yoga Ashram.

Swamiji delivered a thought-provoking Satsang highlighting that, whether we like it or not, the experience of change is a fundamental aspect of our embodied experience. He was also clear that as fundamental, if not more, is the ‘conscious presence’, the Reality that underlies all that appears to change. He challenged us to accept or to realise that fundamentally nothing changes, that fundamentally all that appears to change is a reflection or expression of That which Is.

He then moved on to discuss the ways in which human behaviour has negatively impacted Mother Earth/’Gaia’ and how this pandemic may help us in changing our behaviours towards the environment, how we travel, what we eat etc?

Ultimately Swamiji presented us with the paradox that whilst this planet is of vital importance, in terms of our place in the universe, it is also insignificant and that ultimately all that appears as form will change and pass.

Questions were asked and a guided meditation was given to finish.

Morning Meditations: Swami SatyaDaya 30 October

A meditation using the paradigm of the chakras to explore holding patterns within the ‘energetic space’ of the interior.

We often use the sense of interior Space, with reference to the areas related to specific chakras; the obvious example being the Heart Space, Hridayakasha, and the Anahata chakra. Holding of tension can be mental/emotional or even related to physical tension.

I am Conscious

A guided meditation with the potential to radically transform understanding. Swami Nishchalananda gave this meditation as part of the Advaita online course given over two days in October 2020, hosted by Mandala Yoga Ashram.

Appreciation…..
Appreciate how the merest thought allows this body to act, to do things, make movements.
Appreciate others around us.
Appreciate Life, especially the fact that we have been given tools to allow us to explore it more deeply.