That's All Good and All But . . .
Applying Yoga Nidra to your Everyday Life: Ananda
Welcome to Module 6! This module is about applying your Nidra knowledge to your everyday life. By doing so regularly you will Source Your True Power and live an extraordinary life.
In this module we discuss Ananda, uncovering and living in your True Nature witch is . . . . bliss that is beyond happiness. It's a bliss that is always there, even when life is difficult. Stay with me, this is exciting.
In this module I offer a wonderful, life-changing pranayama (breathing) practice to stimulate gratitude, happiness, and joy as a way of building the foundation for an amazing day, every day. I also offer a beautiful Tibetan prayer that acknowledges the "happiness which is beyond sorrow."
The real-life application of Nidra is this: As you practice Yoga Nidra regularly, you'll find yourself living into your inheritance of a truly amazing life. You'll be more aware, more tolerant, more present to your relationships, jobs, and passions. You'll love more. You'll cry more. You'll see the entire world with brighter colors, sweeter sounds, and richer flavors. New and exciting things will seem to pop out of the woodwork, things that have always been there but which you had never noticed before. You'll notice all this because you understand who you are: Awareness.
The real life application means Sourcing Your True Power to understand that your body, emotions, thoughts, beliefs and even your perceived limits are opportunities to practice Awareness. No longer will you feel controlled by your emotions but rather that they are messengers that point to your True Nature, Awareness. You'll see problems that arise in life for what they are. You'll have a powerful use of intentions and visualizations to help expand and live into the life that you've always dreamed of . . . and more!
In short, you will live an extraordinary life because you're living your True Nature, Awareness. Watch out world!
WANT A PERSONAL, VERY POWERFUL, ONE-ON-ONE YOGA NIDRA SESSION?
Break through barriers to healing
Find immense joy and satisfaction in life
Understand your images and dreams and hear the message they are speaking to your conscious mind
Expose then transcend self-limiting beliefs
Supercharge your athletic training
Learn where your "turbo" button is for your job, relationships, passions, and turn it on
YOGA NIDRA DIAD
There are a few different ways to practice Yoga Nidra. One particularly effective way is with a Yoga Nidra diad.
How this works: either in person, or via phone, or Skype, you and I will have a real-time conversation where you experience Yoga Nidra in the form of a meditative conversation.
I will ask you questions and invite you to be aware of certain things. I will invite you to ponder, feel, and increase your Awareness then respond to my questions. This will lead me to help direct you to deeper and deeper Awareness. This personal approach to Yoga Nidra is particularly effective and has been instrumental in major breakthroughs, both for me and my students.
Sessions last between 40-60 minutes. And, you can do it from anywhere where you have a phone or internet connection. In person works wonderful too.
Outline of Discussion Module 6
That's good and all but . . . How do I apply Nidra to my everyday life?
Ananda: The Our Natural State of Being
So now that we know all this stuff about Yoga Nidra and have a relatively fluent practice in lying down and fighting sleep for 30-minute intervals, how is this really going to help me in my life? Great question! That has always been the question that drives my practice and my work: So what!?
Well first of all, hopefully you are beginning to see that all the changeable things in your life--you emotions, thoughts, feeling, memories, etc.--are not you but rather all part of what unveils who you are, your Awareness. What you are is Awareness and as such you'll now start to see the world in more vivid colors.
Like I said, as the result of this practice, you'll see the world more brightly. You'll laugh more, cry more, be more present to EVERYTHING. It'll be like having a near-death experience and coming back to life only to live vibrantly and amazingly but without the trauma of almost dying. Or better said, the old you just died. The new you is looking at the world they way my 7-month old son does--with constant amazement. Again, let me hammer this in One. More. Time . . . because that what you are is Awareness.
So right there, seeing the world and your life more vibrantly, with greater Awareness, that's the biggest take away. Bad news, you can't go back to your old way of not really noticing the world. Good news, your life is amazing beyond belief and you won't want to. Here's a poem by David Whyte that expresses this perfectly:
Revelation Must Be Terrible by David Whyte
Ok, so I'm Awareness and there are rainbows everywhere, really what is the big take away from this?
So, what sages and practice will reveal to you is that your True Nature is also synonymous with unyielding happiness, bliss, pleasure, and equanimity. It's a happiness that always is, regardless of the challenges that comes up in your life. This unchanging bliss is called Ananda, or greater than happiness.
Wait, I thought that those were all part of what is changeable about me. Well, there are two parts to this: there's the relative joy, what we experience when we watch puppy videos on YouTube, and there's the unchanging happiness that is the underlying state of our True Nature.
The cool thing is that by inviting the relative state of happiness, joy, bliss, pleasure, equanimity, etc., into our lives, we begin to remember what our True Nature's state is and find ourselves resting in that permanent state more and more. Even when the RELATIVE emotions of sadness, grief, and illness, etc., come knocking at our door. Takes practice but that's exactly what you've been doing for the last 6 modules.
There's a beautiful Tibetan benediction that speaks to this unchanging happiness. It's something that one of my dearest teachers taught me. It essentially goes like this:
Through the sincerity and truth of our simple practice:
May we and all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May we and all beings be free from sorrow and any causes of sorrow.
May we and all beings never be separated from that sacred happiness which is beyond sorrow.
And may we and all beings live in equanimity, without too much attachment and too much aversion.
And may we live recognizing and honoring the equality of all that lives.
Sarva Mangalam (May the greatest goodness unfold.)
One of our most profound koshas (those changeable parts of us) is the Ananda Maya Kosha. It's the part that experiences all the joys, etc. in the relative sense and transitions those relative emotions into the absolute quality of our own Natural State of constant happiness.
If we are SEARCHING for happiness we are missing the mark. We are missing it because like the Gayatri Mantra suggests that if we truly understood our True Nature, we would realize that who we are is peace, joy, bliss, etc. Be happiness rather than search for it.
Now, sadness, illness, depression, anxiety are all real parts of us. They just aren't as constant as our realest part--Ananda. When you learn to identify with Ananda, you will weather these relative emotions with so much more clarity.
Of course, the mind will resist this notion. It's job is to try to make things rational, to make sense. But remember that our brains aren't the be best judge as to what is "real." Your Andanda state is beyond your rational being. Remember that your rational being is still part of that changeable part of you. So the fact that it doesn't make sense actually lends it more credibility.
Stop the searching and collapse into the heart of BEING. In yoga philosophy this principle is called Ishvarapranidhana. A mouthful. Means "to lay it down at the feet of the divine." It means to just let go of the identifying with the changeable parts of you, the things you can try to control or which you feel control you, and simply BE that which you already are and always have been, unchangeable joy. Like a lamb to the slaughter, calm in the face of adversity.
Start to see the tragedies and challenges in you life for what they are: opportunities to practice presence, the texture of a beautiful life. No longer identify with tragedies of your life. They are just interesting facets. Give up the desire to be simply happy (a relative emotion). Instead, settle on only the best, the full tapestry of an incredible life with all it's joys and pains, all of which help uncover the unchangeable you that is simply equanimity incarnate.
Truly this is the manifestation of the marriage of our own consciousness and the dynamic dance of the vicissitudes of life: The changeable nature of our lives revealing the unchangeable nature of our Awareness, our Being.
One last poem:
Mindful by Mary Oliver
Do this breathing and gratitude practice EVERY DAY (2 minutes long) for the rest of your life.
Yoga Nidra Practice
Connect with each other! If you "do the Facebook," I encourage you to join the Facebook group to stay connected with your fellow students and to offer comments and questions, to have conversations with the group and see what others are saying.
iRest with Dr. Richard Miller