Go with the Flow: Following Your Life's Purpose

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River.jpeg

It’s your life’s deepest work to discover, unlock, and share your heart’s gift with the world. And to know it requires a deep and regular turning inward, to learn to know your heart through regular practices like yoga and meditation.

Yoga and meditation are perfect mediums to help you reveal your heart’s gift because they simply reveal what already exists inside of you. These practices help you to come to know your True Self, and when you are aligned with this infinite part of you, the part that is tapped into your Universal blueprint, your purpose, your gift becomes clear to your conscious mind and so does the invitation to share it with the world.

As you begin to tap into your heart through meditation and yoga, you begin to hear it whisper its purpose. That message becomes clearer and clearer the more you listen. But it takes time and dedicated work to arrive. Likewise it takes work and inspiration to learn how to give this gift to the world. But when you abandon yourself to the work of discovering and offering your heart’s gift to the world, you’ll be amazed at what starts to align and proliferate in your life.

In part, this alignment happens because you’ve suddenly started swimming in tandem with the current of your life’s purpose, rather than against it. That’s not to say there won’t be obstacles in the way. It simply means that when obstacles do arrive, you’ll know that they are the ones that were meant for you and that will give you the courage and insight to surmount them.

 

Enter your email address to receive one of the most relaxing and profound methods of meditating I've ever experienced. This will help you to regularly listen to your heart. Then, I'll send you some of my best practices for meditation. Regular meditation will begin to uncover the jewel of your heart and teach you things about yourself you didn't know, namely it will refine or define your heart's gift for the world and will help you to learn how to share it with the world. 

Please join me for my next online Yoga Nidra, yoga, and optimization course beginning on February 12 2018

 

Sourcing Your Heart's Gift 

an online meditation and yoga course designed to help you to dive deep into your heart to discover and develop your purpose and courageously share it with the world.

February 12- March 25 2018

Would you mind sharing this?

I Have A Dream

I Have a Dream

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12 hours before the March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would deliver his iconic I Have a Dream speech, he still didn't know what he was going to say. But on that historical day, August 28th 1963, Dr. King lead the march, and on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial delivered one of the most important speeches in American history. 

 

In his speech, Dr. King references the opening lines of Shakespeare's Richard III's when he said, "This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn. . ." portending the change of season in America's social climate.

Free At Last!

But toward the end of his speech, something miraculous happened. The famous gospel singer Mahalia Jackson was nearby and used her commanding voice to shout, "Tell them about the dream, Martin."

At that point Dr. King stopped delivering his prepared speech. He stood powerfully and began preaching to the quarter of a million people in attendance on the lawn of the memorial, and prophetically to the millions and millions of people who have since heard his words, punctuating each point with "I Have a Dream."

According to U.S Representative John Lewis who also spoke that day, "Dr. King had the power, the ability, and the capacity to transform those steps on the Lincoln Memorial into a monumental area that will forever be recognized. . . he educated, he inspired, he informed not just the people there, but people throughout America and unborn generations." more than 50 years later, we are those generations.

 

Free at last!

Part of the power of Dr. King's I Have a Dream speech was his important references. In it, Dr. King references not only Shakespeare, the Bible, gospel spirituals, political and religious leaders, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Constitution, but also Dr. King's speech and entire social message was a strong, tacit reference to the principle of non-violent revolution for the sake of making lasting social change. This principle of non-violence was championed by the social revolution led by Mahatma Gandhi who referenced the ancient Yoga Sutras. In Sanskrit the word Ahimsa means non-violence. The Yoga Sutras state that in order to become one's highest self, one must embrace the seminal principle of non-violence which is truly the gateway of unconditional love.

In fact, Dr. King was so inspired by Gandhi that in 1959 he visited Gandhi's birthplace in Gujarat, India. This visit left a profound impression of the concept of non-violent civil disobedience and further strengthened Dr. King's commitment toward America's struggle for human rights. And just like in India, it was a non-violent revolution that drove lasting change in America's social attitudes.

Free at Last!

In his speech, Dr. King also references transformational heat. In the Yoga Sutras, Tapas is defined as the heat necessary for transformation, like pottery fired in a kiln. Yoga means union. In yoga, we practice implementing this transformational heat to bind body, mind, and heart in our own person to work toward our highest self. With this proverbial heat, we then direct and bind the larger body of our family, our community, our nation, and our world in the spirit of its highest self. Growing pains are evidence of Tapas. Certainly there were growing pains in the Human Rights Movement. This heat was Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on the bus. It was The Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. It was The March on Washington in 1963. It was Bloody Sunday in 1965. The heat that causes change can be necessarily uncomfortable, sometimes outright painful. Dr. King was on the burning tip of the spear of social transformation, a searing heat that would eventually take his life. But because of the heat of this social movement, The March on Washington and the I Have a Dream speech were two events that helped signal America's transformation of becoming a greater nation. That speech marked and catalyzed significant growth in this country. We are still growing. 

Transformation starts with an individual. Gandhi said,

"If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.... We need not wait to see what others do."

How are we willing to step into that heat of personal transformation? Are we willing to personally grow to ensure a strong body, bright mind, and open heart and grow into our highest potential? Are we willing to stand up for an injustice? And how do we make that change both as an individual and as a nation that allows all parts to grow stronger rather than being cut or compromised? Surely this is a difficult task. To ensure mutual growth, we change while practicing non-violence, Ahimsa. Like Gandhi and Dr. King discovered, Ahimsa is both the personal and global non-violent revolution that makes lasting change. Whether it's internal change like greater mindfulness or a more healthy body or external political or social change like gun control, same-sex marriage, political partisanship, undocumented immigrants, or anything else, the question is how can we instigate a change that invites all parts to grow in the process?   

 

We've grown as a nation since 1963 but we still have much more to do to honor all the beings who live here. It is because of leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. that we have a strong foothold on freedom, a firm platform where we can step into America's future and truly become the nation that our forefathers like Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Kennedy and leaders like Dr. King believed we could be, one where people dare to dream. We can't go back and we can never unlearn what we've learned.

We can move forward. We can grow individually and as a nation by referencing the past. We can reference both the failures of social inequality, and the inspiration of the I Have a Dream speech, as mile markers that will direct us toward protecting the freedoms that make us all grow closer to actualizing our highest potential, individually and as a nation.

And we can use the principles of non-violence (Ahimsa) through understanding the principle of heat necessary for transformation (Tapas) to help us in this practice. We can practice moving toward a future where, like Dr. King says, children of all races (and I believe given current social and political issues he would include people of all sexual orientation, documented and undocumented immigrants, gun lovers and gun haters, Republican and Democrats etc.) could all hold hands and with exuberance shout the refrain, "Free at last! free at last! thank God almighty, we are free at last!" 

Join me this week as we continue Dr. Kings legacy by practicing transformation through non-violence and growing individually as the first step to continuing our growth as a nation.

Mindful-Mojo for 2018

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New Years Resolutions 2018

Friends,

It's 2018, we made it!!

2017 was quite a year . . . (let me catch my breath)!

A few big events that stand out for me were: 

  • Moving to New York (that was a big one)
  • Co-raising a 2-year-old (that's an even bigger one)
  • Learning to be a yoga teacher in NYC and learning how to take my yoga online
  • Some incredible yoga retreats, including my San Francisco Yoga Tour, Dream & Write with Nan Seymour in Idaho.
  • Mentoring some incredible yoga teachers
  • Co-teaching a Restore Yoga Immersion
  • An incredible vacation to London
  • A wonderful trip to D.C.
  • Some great writing opportunities, including writing with Conscious Life News, regarded as one of the top 3 consciously-minded online journals on the web, as well as having my blog considered for the top 25 yoga blogs in the country by Thoroughly Reviewed. 

 

But that was so 2017 . . .

 


2018 is going to be really, really good for me, I can feel it, and I feel like 2018 is also going to be good for you, full of possibilities and opportunities. And with a little mindful-mojo, you and I can shape this year to be our best year yet.

There is immense power at the beginning of any year. There's energy to create and build, there's power of clarity and insight, and there's a determination to continue moving forward, driven by hope and the human spirit of growth and evolution.

Open your body, mind, and spirit to untold possibilities in 2018!

Like I mentioned last week in my message about The Cosmic Taco, there's untold power in simply knowing what you want, even if you're not sure how to get there.

A mentor once told me, "First, figure out what you want, then you'll figure out how you'll do it." Both understanding what you want and setting the intentions for possibilities in the new year takes practice.

So, I've created a special Yoga Nidra practice designed to help you sow the seeds of intention deep within in your mind and heart. Visualization is very effective for outcomes and performance because if you can see it, you can achieve it.

This recording will help you become very relaxed, while helping you to define what amazing things you want for yourself in this new year and then visualize what your life is going to look like when this thing happens.

Get ready to rock and roll because it's going to be good!

The meditation is about 31 minutes long, so plan on setting aside just a little bit of time take care of yourself in this way. 

I invite you to do it today. What are you doing right now? Can you give yourself the next 31 minutes to set in motion an incredible year?

Don't worry if you fall asleep, the part of you that I'm speaking to is still paying attention. Plus you can always do it again, refining your vision and intentions. 

I've made two versions, one with background music, and one without. I like the one with the music (a drone) in the background. It's light and nice. You can stream or download them by clicking the buttons below. 

Please share it with anyone you can think of. Consider practicing it regularly, maybe daily for a week or so, then at least once or twice a week after that. Come back to it regularly to keep your mind and heart honed to your forward motion of 2018. Then, tell me about it. I'd love to hear what happens as you do this practice. 

Speaking of what's to come, SOMETHING AWESOME THIS WAY COMES. In January, I'll be unveiling something that has everything to do with understanding and sourcing your gifts to be an extraordinary presence in this world. Stay tuned . . . 

Lastly, I love hearing from you! If you have literally 60 seconds, would you mind replying to this email and telling me two things:
1. Why do you practice yoga and or meditation?
2. What do you feel you need most in your life? 

Happy New Year! 
Tell me how the New Year Yoga Nidra goes

Namaste

 

Yoga Poses for Sleep

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Sometimes, getting to sleep is a process, one that involves a conscious winding down and changing of energy from waking to sleeping. One excellent way to wind down is by doing a few gentle yoga poses for sleep which take any frenetic or awake energy and helps change that to relaxing and sleep energy.

These yoga postures promote grounding, calming, and drawing inward. As with every pose, listen carefully to your body and never stretch beyond what feels comfortable. The goal of these poses is not to become flexible per se, but rather to flip the energy in your muscles from tension, which nags your nervous system and can prevent you from sleep, to a sleep-conducive feeling of ease, lightness, and vitality.

Hold each pose for at least 10 breaths (or 10 breaths per side) using ujjayi breathing (whisper breath). Aim to inhale for 5 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds. Refer to the Pre-Sleep Breathing Exercises to learn more about ujjayi breath and the importance of the 5 to 8 ratio of inhale to exhale. You may also watch my friend, Matt explain it here. Regular, deep breath, combined with visualizing your breath moving into your lower-back, pelvis, and legs, will decrease the energy moving to the awakening, upper chakras (energy centers), and will instead help you to become grounded and rooted in the lower chakras.

 

Yoga Poses for Sleep

Janusirsasana: Head toward Knee Pose

Yoga Poses for Sleep Janushirshasana.jpeg

This posture draws body, mind, and spirit inward to prepare for sleep while releasing tension in legs and back that can radiate into emotional or mental tension.

If you are tight in your hamstrings, feel free to bend your extended leg (the one receiving the stretch). Visualize your breath and energy moving into the area you are stretching and if you are feeling a sharp pull behind your knee or high in you butt (the attachments of this muscle), bend your extended knee.

 

 

Paschimottanasana: Westward Stretch

Yoga Poses for Sleep Pachimotanasana.jpeg

This posture also draws body, mind, and spirit inward to prepare for sleep by releasing tension both in the legs and the lower back. This pose evokes a personal solace, retiring, and quietness. It’s nice to close your eyes in this posture and direct your breath and energy to move into your low-back and legs. Bend your knees if you need to.

 

 

 

Suptakapatasana: Supine Pigeon Pose

Yoga Poses for Sleep Suptakapatasana.jpeg

This is one of my favorite poses. This grounding posture relaxes and supports your back by lying flat while stretching some of the muscles that largely contribute to tight hips and lower-back, including the Piriformis muscle, deep under your glutes in your butt.

 

 

 

 

Jathara Parivartanasana: Supine Twist

Yoga Poses for Sleep Jathraparivartanasana.jpeg

This pose is excellent for wringing out tension from the nervous system as well as the deep and superficial muscles in the back. Italso gives a gentle twist to the abdomen, helping digestion and releasing the Serotonin (feel good chemical) which is activated by your gut.

It’s important to ground both shoulder blades, even if you need to put a pillow between your knees or under your bottom leg.

 

 

Suptabaddhakonasana: Supine Cobbler’s Pose

Yoga Poses for Sleep Suptabadakonasana.jpeg

This relaxing pose passively stretches the inner-thigh muscles (adductors) and grounds your energy for good sleep. Be certain to support both knees with cushions. You may choose not to lie on a cushion if it makes your lower-back hurt.

Join me for the retreat of a lifetime Along Italy's Amalfi Coast May 26-June 2 2018. Spots are limited!

(Teddybear optional)

 

I'd love to hear from you about what helps YOU to fall asleep. Are there any poses you love that help you to fall asleep?

Guided Meditations for Sleep: It's Finally Here!

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Guided Meditations for Sleep



I’ve been teaching yoga and meditation for more than 15 years and one of the needs I hear most from my students is the need for better sleep. I hear that need literally by the many snores in savasana. So many of you have asked me to put something like this together and I'm so happy to tell you that finally, it's here!

As a culture that values productivity above almost everything else, the one things we seem to sacrifice most is our need for good sleep.

I don't have to tell you that good sleep promotes wellness in body, mind, and spirit, and helps you to be alert, productive, and fulfill your purpose for being on the planet. So much is riding on your ability for good sleep, so let’s learn how to do it well.

This week, I've shared with you the ways that meditation helps us to quiet our minds to get that good sleep we really need. Now, the theory is over and it's time to put this into action.

I've incorporated my 15+ years of experience teaching meditation and yoga, and I've put a lot of time and energy, into creating Guided Meditations for Sleep™. My intention with this product is to help people be at their best because they have learned the yoga of how to get really, really, solid sleep. 

Guided Meditations for Sleep™ is a complete system designed to promote deep, nourishing, and peaceful sleep. It incorporates body, mind, and spirit to relax the nervous system, still the body, and quiet the mind, to train yourself to get excellent sleep. It also gives you productive ways to help you get back to sleep in case you're someone who wakes up a lot during the night. 

Check out everything contained in Guided Meditations for Sleep:

  • Welcome Letter & How To Use This PDF
  • 5 Guided Meditations for Sleep audio recordings
  • Body Scan with Deep Relaxation (31:15)
  • Body Scan with Deep Relaxation with background music (31:15)
  • Dream imagery Relaxation (28:25)
  • Dream Imagery Relaxation with background music (28:25)
  • Sanctuary Practice (10:21) Awesome!
  • Pre-sleep Breathing Techniques audio recording (10:02)
  • Pre-sleep Gentle Yoga Stretches PDF
  • Pre-sleep General Guidelines for Good Sleep PDF
  • Pre-sleep Checklist PDF
  • Why Mindfulness Helps You Sleep PDF
  • Tech Tips PDF

Check out what people are saying about Guided Meditations for Sleep™

Check out what people are saying about Guided Meditations for Sleep™:

"Best sleep I've had in weeks!"~ Nan

"Scott's calming voice helped me to first focus, then relax and meditate. The next thing I knew I woke up, having drifted off." ~Chris

"Your voice was perfect. It was calm, relaxing and inviting me to relax and get myself ready for sleep.  When I finished the tape I immediately fell asleep.  When I woke up I felt like I had experienced a deep sleep." ~Carol

"These relaxation visualizations really work! I can sleep much better now." ~Steve

"Scott has the ability to nurture and empower at once, connecting you with your own heart to find that which you need the most. Scott is a humble loving guide." ~Marit

And for everyone who buys Guided Meditations for Sleep™ this weekend, I'm including a bonus recording of original music, the profoundly relaxing Clarinet Lullaby with Ocean Soundscape (30 minutes.) You're going to love this! 

You might find other recordings out there that use meditation to help you sleep but nothing is as effective, extensive, and enjoyable as Guided Meditations for Sleep™. In fact, you’ll most likely never know what is in the last several minutes of each recording because you won’t be able to stay awake.

Plus, Guided Meditations for Sleep™ is a digital download so you will get it even faster than Amazon Prime! You'll be able to download it immediately and use it tonight for an incredible night's sleep! 

I want to make this affordable so I'm only charging,


$29.


Guided Meditations for Sleep™ is second only to hiring me to personally come and tuck you in...now there's an idea. 

I absolutely loved putting this together and I hope you love it too. I really wanted to spend the time and effort to make this great because I understand how important it is and wanted to give it my best.

So, you can buy a different guided meditation CD online for $15, or go to iTunes and download something for cheap. Hell, you can even go to YouTube and watch a video for free. But what I've created, I feel, is something special which is hugely valuable and I designed it with YOU in mind. You'll have this in your digital library for years to come. 

There's so much content here that I think you'll agree that is well worth the price.

Plus, I stand behind my work so if you're not completely satisfied with it, I'll refund your money, no questions.

You're going to want to check out these samples (click below) and buy Guided Meditations for Sleep™ today.

Remember that if you buy it this weekend, you'll get the mellifluous sounds of Clarinet Lullaby with Ocean Soundscape (30 minutes).

Namaste and nighty-night,



Scott
Ommmzzzzzz

You'll love the visualizations, the detailed and easy-to-follow pre-sleep breathing practices and yoga poses, as well as essential sleep information to cultivate your stellar sleep habits. This is so much more than just a recording.

This system even guides you through the process of creating your optimal sleeping environment, then you slip into bed and listen to me lull you to sleep. It's so nice!

One thing I've learned in my many years of teaching is that everyone has a beautiful life to live and that everyone's pathway to wholeness is different. Nobody knows what you need better than you. So I've built Guided Meditations for Sleep™ to work with all kinds of brains: the analytical, visual, musical, instructional, etc. Surely there's something in here for you. 
 


Guided Meditations for Sleep

 
 

Take Me To The River: Yoga Nidra Meets + River Writing Makes Dream and Write

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Yoga Nidra

I have a notebook full of words I will only read once.

It's dedicated to my River Writing practice. River Writing is a beautifully generative writing group that my good friend, Nan Seymour, hosts. She does so in intimate groups around a warm, wooden table, at her writing studio, in Salt Lake City.

I teach Yoga Nidra, a very relaxing form of guided meditation. Nan has been as profoundly affected by my Yoga Nidra as I have been by her River Writing. So we decided to combine the two practices and call it Dream and Write. 

The purpose is to create a writing practice of inviting words to flow, unobstructed from a river of inner-narrative. Paired together, this practice creates a unique mindfulness writing experience that taps profound Awareness for clarity and flow of writing. 

Over the past two years, Nan and Scott have offered several Dream and Write workshop, classes, and retreats. The intention of Dream and Write is to use mindfulness, poetry, and gentle encouragement to source the words that are within you in. We insist on a judgement-free, non-editing, and mutually supportive environment.

River Writing

Nan's true gift is creating a safe and inviting space to write. She nurtures a judgement-free environment, both from other writers but most especially from that harshest of critics, you.

She opens a session, sets the guidelines, and then reads a prompt to inspire or begin your writing ideas. Then, she starts a timer as asks you to write without stopping for 12 minutes. 

Yoga Nidra

Your job is to keep your pen moving across your paper the entire time without edits, whether you're gushing words or simply repeating, "I don't know what to write. I don't know what to write. I don't know what to write," just to keep the pen moving. And if ever you feel really stuck, there's a life-saving phrase you  can write, "What I really want to say is . . .," and magically the words start to flow again. More often than not, it's astounding what River Writing coaxes onto the page.

After the timer has rung, you're encouraged, but not forced, to read to the group what's on your page, without qualifiers, without apology. No one is allowed to offer any critique or praise to your work other than a simple, "Thank you." We are simple witnesses to ourselves and each other, something which is much more abiding than praise.

Through River Writing, I've written some incredibly profound words, words that I didn't know were inside of me. This process has also helped me to generate brilliant ideas for my work that have literally changed my career. I owe it to the genius of River Writing and Nan's  warmth and skill of facilitation.

 

Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra

I'm passionate about Yoga Nidra because simply put, it's a revelation. It's also incredibly relaxing. I love it because through Yoga Nidra, I've learned more about myself and the Universe than any other practice.

Yoga Nidra is simple: You lie down, close your eyes, relax, and listen to me guide you toward acute Awareness,  of yourself and everything around you. That's it. It's actually quite a bit more sophisticated than it sounds but the results can't be quantified. I'm telling you, after the clarity you gain through Yoga Nidra, your whole life feels like it makes sense. After, you feel energized and alert, like you took a satisfying nap while learning the meaning of the Universe. I'm not over selling this.

But I'm rambling, what I really want to say is . . . Since the birth of Dream and Write, we have hosted a suite of workshops and two multi-day Dream and Write retreats and the results have been nothing less than beautiful and inspiring.

Sadly, I moved 2,600 miles away from Nan and that warm, wood writing table to NYC. But thanks to the internet, we are closer than we appear.

What I really want to say is it would be our honor to invite you to experience our first ever Virtual Dream and Write Workshop, happening in YOUR living room, on YOUR computer, smartphone, or tablet, on December 2nd 2017.

This will be a unique opportunity to gather with people all over the country and world to meditate, write, and share in real time. Every Dream and Write have been touching, inspiring, and affirming. I have every confidence that this will be likewise. And, because on this internet meeting space we'll only see your upper half, you don't even have to wear pants!

Also, get this: Nan discovered a truly brilliant and accomplished poet named Anders Carlson-Wee who agreed to join us as our poet-in-residence for our Dream and Write Retreat. Anders is a very gifted but down-to-earth poet who read several of his poems as prompts for our writing and taught us about poetry and its embodiment.

Well, Anders has also agreed to attend our Virtual Dream and Write Workshop to share with us some of his sublime poetry as fodder for our own creative juices to flow. Anders Carlson-Wee's poetry, from his own mouth, in real time. Damn, you can't get better than this! Run don't walk, friends. (Read his poem Dynamite)

Even if you don't consider yourself a writer, there are words or a stories inside of you that need to get out. This workshop is the opportunity to do free those words in a supportive and nurturing environment with kind and experienced facilitators.

Oh, did I mention it's fun?

Please join us for this truly unique workshop.

We only have 20 spots available.

When: Saturday, December 2nd 2017 from 12-3 pm ET, 11 am-2 pm CT, 10 am-1 pm MT, 9am-12pm PT. (There will be pee breaks)

Where: Your house, via the internet

Price: $57

Yoga Nidra
 
Yoga Nidra
 

Dynamite

Anders Carlson-Wee

Anders Carlson-Wee

by Anders Carlson-Wee

 

My brother hits me hard with a stick
so I whip a choke-chain

across his face. We’re playing
a game called Dynamite

where everything you throw
is a stick of dynamite,

unless it’s pine. Pine sticks
are rifles and pinecones are grenades,

but everything else is dynamite.
I run down the driveway

and back behind the garage
where we keep the leopard frogs

in buckets of water
with logs and rock islands.

When he comes around the corner
the blood is pouring

out of his nose and down his neck
and he has a hammer in his hand.

I pick up his favorite frog
and say If you come any closer

I’ll squeeze. He tells me I won’t.
He starts coming closer.

I say a hammer isn’t dynamite.
He reminds me that everything is dynamite.

 

“Dynamite” originally appeared in Ninth Letter

Magic Words for Happiness

Magic words for happiness

Throughout time there have been stories, myths, and legends where people merely have to utter some magic words, a spell, or mantra, and POOF! their desires manifest magically before their eyes.

Even if you don’t believe in “magic words,” I’ve discovered a real-life mantra which are magic words for unfettered happiness. Well, almost. Actually it’s even better than it sounds.

I don’t know how I discovered this mantra, perhaps it found me.
A few weeks ago, I was running around Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York, pushing my snoozing two-year-old son in the jog stroller. The autumn temperature was beautiful and crisp, ideal for a run. The diffuse afternoon sunlight was filtering through the rice-paper sky of wispy clouds making the panoply of fall colors practically burst each tree into flames. My lungs were breathing deeply and effortlessly in sync with my footsteps making my head feel clear and my body feel alive.
 

Magic Words for Happiness

That’s when these magic words just popped out of my mouth: “This is EXACTLY what I want to be doing in this moment!” I repeated it a few times, feeling ever more enthralled with each repetition.
A few days later, while at the playground watching my kid play with all the other kids, I stepped back and repeated that same magic phrase, “This is EXACTLY what I want to be doing in this moment.”

Again, a week or so later,  I was taking an ordinary walk and not really feeling much of anything and decided to try the phrase again to see what would happen.  “This is EXACTLY what I want to be doing in this moment.” Again, almost instantly a wave of happiness and contentment washed over me.

Then, I decided to really put this mantra to the test. A few days later, when I was feeling particularly crabby, and despite my own momentary cynicism about this mantra, I somehow found the fortitude to whip out these magic words, “This is EXACTLY what I want to be doing in this moment,” even though suffering these tight, constricted feelings in my chest caused by crabbiness wasn’t what I wanted to be doing in this moment.

I’ll admit, crabbiness didn’t disappear instantly: I didn’t immediately start dancing and singing around the streets of Brooklyn, like the Maria von Trapp. But it did have a remarkable effect on me by pulling me into the present moment and my crabbiness did subside by substantial degrees. The presence this mantra gave me was to look objectively at the emotions in the moment as physical sensation and adopt the vantage point of observer rather than victim of the circumstances which led me to being crabby.

Cuz, I think this is the thing, here: the magic of this phrase is that it locks me into presence. It wakes me up from projecting to past or future and opens my eyes to HERE.
 

We stop blackmailing our happiness by insisting that we will only feel happy when the circumstances in our lives align to ways we think they ought to be.

When we take a good look at HERE, we realize that this moment is not only void of the stressors or worries that past and future want to impose on our minds, but most often, this practiced attention to the present helps us to see all the beauty that surrounds us at all moments, perfection which is often masked by momentary emotions that cloud our vision.

The Yoga Sutras point to a foundational pillar of our own evolution called Santosha, which means the practice of personal contentment. When we practice this mantra, we are practicing Santosha in a practical and real way.

Taking it one step deeper, ancient yoga wisdom also states that our most natural comportment is that of boundless equanimity, a joy that exists despite the events or circumstances of our lives. 
 
By dialing in to the perfection of this moment, we cultivate our own capacity for contentment. Soon, we train ourselves to experience this natural contentment as the underlying natural way of being, which is always present, despite events and circumstances.

Warning: Crabbiness, and all the other negative emotions will continue to surface. But with practiced presence, we cultivate Santosha, contentment, and these emotions will have less and less power to pull you away from presence. In fact, with practice we can use those negative emotions, and all temporary emotions, as a way of feeling into this moment and becoming more present.

This may be a lifelong practice to perfect. Just take it moment by moment.

I invite you to practice these magic words, “This is EXACTLY what I want to be doing in this moment. ” Starting today, cultivate your own capacity for deep, lasting contentment and a happiness that isn’t dependent on events or circumstances.

I’ve recorded a Yoga Nidra (guided meditation) that feels amazing by cultivating this joy beyond events or circumstance. It takes about 30 minutes.
 


If you use social media maybe capture the moment with #thismoment

 

Join me for the yoga retreat of a lifetime along Souther Italy's Amalfi Coast, May 26-June2

The World Needs YOU to Teach Yoga

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Yoga Teachers Workshop

Can you remember a yoga class that really changed you?


This email is for my everybody, but especially my yoga teaching friends or those who might be interested in teaching Yoga.

Have you had a yoga class that for some reason really moved you? What was it about that class that made such a difference? What did that teacher do that moved you so much?

If you're a teacher, do you realize that YOU have the power to powerfully touch people's lives like no one else can? It's true. Your unique, gifts, interests and talents make you uniquely qualified to touch people in a way that only you can. 

Ever wonder why your yoga classes aren't thriving, or you're feeling a little burned out with teaching, or questioning whether or not you even want to teach anymore? Do you wish you were making more money teaching yoga so you could quit your day job and only teach yoga?

One reason your teaching and opportunities aren't thriving could be because you're not tapped into and teaching from your own authenticity.

When you're teaching what you love, what interests you, and what you're not only passionate about but what you know a helluva lot about, teaching is not only effortless, it is abundant. 

If you read my 2nd to last blog post, I spelled out the formula for success as given me by my favorite business prof in college, which I live by, and truly believe. He said:

Interest breeds excellence. Excellence breeds opportunities.

When you are teaching what interests you, what you're passionate about, your excellence, your natural talent for teaching, rises to the surface. Opportunities arise as you attract the people who are pickin' up what you're puttin' down. 

Don't worry about the rest of the people who aren't interested in your offering. Other teachers with other gifts will teach them.  

If you're interested in optimizing your teaching and learning how to grow your opportunities to teach yoga, and get paid what you're worth, I'd like to invite you to attend my live and online Yoga Teachers Workshop this Saturday, November 11th at 2 pm ET, 1 pm CT, 12 pm MT, 11 am PT.

It's virtual so you can do it from your own home. Besides learning key principles about teaching and the biz of yoga, you will meet with teachers from all over the country for discussion and networking.

Also, if you can't make the time, I'm recording the audio/video so you can still register and watch it later. 

In this workshop, I want to share with you some of the invaluable things I've learned over 17 years of teaching yoga, not only about leveraging your gifts for extraordinary teaching, but also about some of the industry secrets to make a living which I've learned over in the past 17 years.

There's a good chance you can write this off on your taxes, plus it counts as hours for continuing education for Yoga Alliance.

This could be the most valuable workshop you will ever attend for you yoga teaching and your career.

Plus, I'll give you your money back if you don't think it was worth your time.

Join me!
 

Check out what one of my Mentor Students said about my yoga teachers coaching:

“I have followed Scott’s career for years. He is someone who walks his talk and shows his deep knowledge for all things yoga in every class or conversation. He is extremely grounded and dedicated to this work. As a mentor, Scott was literally “an all things” coach to me. He helped me overcome mindset of owning this soul calling of teaching and supported me in times of doubt. He helped me discover my strengths as a teacher, ways to make this into a thriving business and conceptualize an idea into a breathing business. From technical help on my website to marketing and deepening the mechanics of teaching, he helped me with all of it. He is extremely professional with a very personal approach. He truly cares about his clients and the integrity of this work. I am so grateful for this program to work one on one with such a well-rounded leader in the yoga space. ” J.J.

Details

How much: $45

When: Saturday, November 11th 2-4 pm ET, 1-3 pm CT, 12-2 pm MT, 11 am to 1 pm PT

Where: Your house, via our virtual learning space. You'll need a laptop, computer, iPad, or smart device with an internet connection. 

Nothing But My Underwear

In September of 2011,

I participated in Salt Lake City’s first ever Undie Run. The concept is simple: run with thousands of other people . . . in nothing but your underwear.
 
Why? Some people tried to make the Undie Run, this display of flagrant deviance, of wanton exhibitionism, demonstrate some deeper meaning. They tried to assign it as a protest by uncapping Sharpies and scrawling half-hearted grievances on their nearly-naked bodies. But it was clear by the gayety and silliness of everyone involved that this was really about simply letting your hair down in a city known for its tight-laced morals and demur etiquette.
 
I had agreed to meet a friend of mine at the starting line of the Undie Run, at a place called The Gallivan Center. The Gallivan Center is a large public space, in downtown Salt Lake City, perfect for concerts, festivals, and as fate would have it, thousands of people dressed in nothing but their bras ‘n panties or tighty whities ready to run to the State Capitol and back.
 
I’m not normally prone to public nakedness but thought the Undie Run might put me a little out of my comfort zone and be a lot of fun. I know that getting out of my comfort zone is often the key ingredient to personal growth. Little did I know, however, just how much out of my comfort zone this would put me and how much personal growth I’d experience.
 
I drove to the Gallivan Center and parked in the parking garage. Nervous, I got out of my truck, and with a brave and bold resolve, stripped down to nothing but my favorite pair of unds, running shoes, and just to play it safe, my hands-free device—you know, in case I got an important call while on my run.
 
Feeling very exposed, nervous, and alone, I walked by myself through the parking structure toward the entrance point of the Undie Run. Once at the Galiivan Center, I’d luckily be met by the thousands of other people also in their underwear and I’d feel a little less conspicuous.
 
But to my horror, there was a police officer blocking the gate between the parking garage and the Gallivan Center who instructed me that I couldn’t enter the event from this gate and would have to walk two and a half city blocks, long blocks mind you, around the Gallivan Center to enter the event at a different gate. I saw no reason for this detour but when pressed and the cop didn’t budge nor so much as even grace me with an explanation.
 
So out into the crowded city streets I went. Alone and wearing only my underwear (and hands-free device).
 
I knew I would soon enough join several others in a similar state of undress, but for now it was just me.
 
Longest.
Walk.
Of my life.

Fortunately, after only a few steps down that lonely sidewalk, I remembered one of my deepest values. No, not the value of modesty, but a value I believe to be much more important which is:

It doesn’t matter what your wearing, what you look like, or what your circumstances as long as you OWN IT.
 
So, own it I did.
 
With no other choice, I strutted down Salt Lake City’s prim and proper streets with my head held high, looking people in the face and saying hello like it was any other day. I fucking owned those streets in my Calvin Kleins and hands-free device!
 
After several long minutes of walking solo, I eventually met the thousands of other Undie Runners and felt relieved not to be so singularly exposed.
 
Isn’t it funny how what seems so scandalous, like walking down the streets alone in your underwear, changes to something completely ordinary when you’re surrounded by the social proof of thousands of other people doing likewise?
 

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Notice the hands-free device. Very hot!

Notice the hands-free device. Very hot!

 
Nothing but my underwear
 
In Nothing but my underwear
 
In Nothing But My Underwear

The lesson I learned by walking alone down the street in my underwear was this: There will be moments in your life when you will be all alone, subject to scrutiny, doubt, ridicule, and judgement, when you’re completely exposed, vulnerable, and with nowhere to hide. And at times like these, you have to simply “own it,” hold your head up high, and keep walking.
 
So, whether you’re embarking upon an unknown chapter of your life, or busting out a yoga pose that seems to defy you, or strutting down the street in your underwear, hold your head up high, do your best and keep going. Whatever you’ve got, wherever you’re at, just own it.
 
Most of the time you won’t be met with throngs of people who are in a similar situation or even understand your situation. That doesn’t matter.  Simply keep your head high and your feet beneath you, grounded in a sure knowing of Self.
 
And in such moments, if you don’t have pockets, consider a hands-free device.
 
Namaste


Join me for an unforgettable yoga retreat along Italy's Amalfi Coast. May 26-June 2 2018


The Gayatri Mantra: A Love Supreme

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The Gayatri Mantra

Oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ

tát savitúr váreṇ(i)yaṃ

bhárgo devásya dhīmahi

dhíyo yó naḥ pracodáyāt

Watch a short video about understanding the Gayatri Mantra by looking at John Coltrane’s masterpiece, ALove Supreme.

Translation:

Everything on the Earth and in the sky and in between is arising from one effulgent source. If my thoughts, words, and deeds reflected a complete understanding of this, I would be the peace I am seeking in this moment.


The Gayatri Mantra: A Love Supreme

I've been working on understanding the The Gayatri Mantra for several years. It's one of the oldest mantras in existence, more than 12 thousand years old, and comes from the Rigveda, an ancient Sanskrit text containing hymns and mantras that are mythological and poetic accounts of the origin of the world.

I struggle to understand it because it suggests that when I’m feeling freaked out by something, I already have peace or am the peace that I feel I lack. Likewise, this mantra suggests that somehow through one Source, we are everything else. And to any mind that is caught up in limited a conception of Self, this is hard to understand at best and ridiculous at worst.

Join me for an unforgettable yoga retreat along the Amalfi Coast Italy May 26-June 2 2018

One experience I had that helped me to understand this mantra a little better happened several years ago while I was on an early-morning run in Hawaii. Because my body was used to a different time zone, I was up and running early while most of everybody else was sleeping. On that beautiful morning, I ran along a paved trail that contours the ocean and stretched for miles.


All the elements were harmonized to make a perfect storm of physical, mental, and spiritual bliss. My mind was clear, the weather, temperature, altitude and humidity were all perfect. As I ran, my mind opened up to incredible clarity. In this clarity, I began processing some of the jazz improve theory that my sax teacher had been teaching me, specifically regarding works by John Coltrane. My feet tapped along the trail and my lungs bellowed the humid ocean-air while my mind thought about scales, intervals, harmonics, chords, and all of the underlying structure of jazz.

My sax teacher tells me that if I want to find those notes coming out of my horn, I have to not only feel them in my soul, but I also gotta know what is possible to feel and that takes a little head work. With all this mental clarity some fairly complex music theory simply started to make sense to me. Deeper musical ideas began to percolate to my mental surface causing new lights to go on. I was figuring it out and it was happening without any teacher or even the reference of my sax or even music paper.

I was amazed to realize that somehow, a lot of this understanding was already in there. Astounded by these musical revelations, an immense thought dawned upon me: even if it’s waaaay down there, there is a John Coltrane in me somewhere.

The perfect run with all the harmony of elements connected me in some way to Source which led me somehow to understand Coltrane a little better. If I truly understood the connection of all things, if I were truly tapped into Source like the Gayatri Mantra suggests, I’d be able to access that same power, soul, and knowledge that John Coltrane did. Me! John Coltrane! Ultimately, I'd see that I'm no different than John Coltrane.

Coltrane was connected to Source. He demonstrates this plainly in his most spiritual work, some say the most spiritual of all of jazz, his album called A Love Supreme. In it he makes circles both in the arc of the sound in music as well as in its form; this chord and this phrase makes a logical, mathematical, and aurally pleasing transition to the next, and the next until the formula causes it to arrive back to where it started.

Just as you might hear Brahman priests chanting the Gayatri Mantra from the Rigveda, in this recording you hear these priests of jazz chant, “A Love Supreme” repeatedly in the background evoking Source.

In certain disciplines initiates get a new name. In yoga your name might become Yogananda, or Ram Das. Jazz is no different. It might be Trane or Bird or Fathead. I believe that another name for God, like God's own moniker, could be, A Love Supreme. I think God uses it as a social handle, or something.

In part, Coltrane’s message was that everything is inscribed within A Love Supreme. A Love Supreme is The Effulgent Source mentioned in the Gayatri Mantra and to fully comprehend this Source means to understand everything, including peace, including jazz, including yourself. This is enlightenment and whether your path there incorporated practicing either poses or jazz theory or anything else, you still end up at the same place.

Alice Coltrane, J.C.’s wife at the time, said that one day Trane locked himself in the attic and didn’t come down for three days. He spent the entire time meditating (understand that Coltrane meditated with his horn in his mouth) and when he came down, I imagine that it was like Moses coming down from the mountain after talking to God, he looked at his wife and said, “I’ve got it!” A few days later he was in the studio with a few hand-picked musicians to record A Love Supreme, which quickly became one of the greatest pieces of music ever conceived.

We are still chanting the Gayatri Mantra 12 thousand years later. I hope people are chanting A Love Supreme, or at lease spinning the record, 12 thousand years from now.

Understanding, even theoretically, that knowing Source means to know everything, doesn’t discount the hours, weeks, years, and lifetimes of work and practice necessary to get there, but still the idea is provocative that our work isn’t to build or gain anything new, rather to dismantle that which prevents us from seeing what’s already there.

What we practice in yoga is paying attention and we use breath, poses, and mediation to open our eyes and to take off the bandages to reveal what’s underneath.

Another reference to understanding this universal Source comes from the story about the day Zen came to be. It is said that long ago an assembly gathered to hear the Buddha’s Dharma talk. Instead of a discourse, The Buddha simply held up a flower saying nothing. He stayed like that for a long time much to the confusion of most everyone.

Only the sage Mahakashyapa understood, and noted it with a wry smile. With his flower, the Buddha was saying that which could not be spoken by words. He was showing the assembly that Being or Reality had no boundaries and was found in everything, including a flower, and to even try to define Being or Reality by words would create a boundary for something that had none. Anything defined would have been a contradiction yet at the same time he was revealing that which was everywhere, if your understanding would allow you to see.

“If my thoughts words and deeds reflected a complete understanding of this unity,” . . . I would realize that I’m no different than this flower, or my sax, my music, or you, and I would understand that peace is already within me. And yet to understand this, like myriad myths throughout history also suggest, it might take me traveling the entire world to realize that what I was searching for was at home all along, locked within the vault of my heart.

I invite you to practice understanding the Gayatri Mantra better and practice unraveling anything within yourself that would prevent the world from seeing your own manifestation of the Effulgent Source, your True Nature, your Love Supreme.

And since it is said that Visvamitra was the one who gave us the Gayatri Mantra, we’ll work on exploring Reality through Visvamitrasana. Speaking of “getting Real,” once I start working on my inflexible hamstrings, something necessary for that pose, things get real, really fast.

Might I suggest listening to A Love Supreme this week.

 

Headaches Stink!

Do you ever get headaches? Do you get regular headaches and not even know why? Did you know that headaches can sometimes be the result of unconscious tension in your hips, back, neck and shoulders?

Don't hate me, but I'm the kind of guy who almost never gets headaches. Well, not unless there's something really wrong with me. So when I do get a headache, it's an automatic red flag and I pay close attention to what's going on with me. Even having a headache is an opportunity for mindfulness.

There are a bunch of reasons for headaches, like dehydration, sinus congestions, and viruses. But like I said, sometimes, headaches are caused by unconscious tension, especially if your headaches are chronic.

Here are a few of my favorite techniques to remedy a headache. I use these myself and teach them to my students. 

First, check in and listen. Try hearing your headache as a message from your body. Close your eyes and give yourself a few slow rounds of deep ujjayi breaths. This technique is often powerful enough to remedy a headache all by itself because of the ujjayi breath's ability to calm the nervous system. 

As your breathe, bring your attention directly to your headache and see what you can learn from it. Where exactly do you feel it? What is the quality of your headache. What are the emotions, thoughts, or sensations which correspond to your headache? If your headache were a message, what might it be? 

And then try these three yoga poses to see if they help your headache.

Quick info before you do any yoga poses: remember that you are aiming for quality over quantity. You don’t get better results by doing a pose more intensely. Keep your stretches at the quality of I call “comfortably intense.” Aim for duration and feeling a solid, sustained stretch rather than a quick fix.  And always with every yoga pose maintain your ujjayi breaths.


Pose #1

Eagle Arms.jpg

Eagle Arms: to stretch upper-trapezius, lateral deltoids, triceps

This posture stretches a few of the most pernicious muscles when it comes to tension headaches. The upper-traps, the big muscles right at the top of your shoulders which connect to your head, are particularly responsible for causing tension headaches. When these muscles get tight, they pull on the tension balance of your upper skeleton as well as the muscles in your neck and scalp resulting in headaches. These muscles, as well as the lateral deltoids and triceps, tighten if you are prone to doing repetitive actions with hands and arms such as typing on a keyboard, driving, or texting (hopefully not all at the same time. I LOVE this pose.

Try wrapping your arms and then lifting your elbows slightly above your shoulders. Do this with your deep ujjayi breaths flowing. I like to slowly turn my head side to side. Oh, and makesure you’re not clenching your jaw. Sometimes when I'm trying to release tension in my body, I clench because I'm pushing too hard and this is an unconscious tension response.

Try this pose for 10 breaths on each side.


Pose #2

side neck stretch.jpg

Side Neck Stretch: to stretch the scalenes and sternocleidomastoid (SCM)

Other muscles that sometimes contribute to headaches are the SCMs and the scalenes. These muscles run along the sides of your neck.

To stretch these muscles, put your left hand on your head and tilt your left ear toward your left shoulder. Reach your right arm toward the floor but several inches away from your hip so that your middle finger almost touches the floor but not quite. It's like you're trying to get your right jaw and right fingertips as far away from each other as possible.

Do your ujjayi breathing.

Visualize your breath moving down into your fingertips and releasing any tension that exists from your head to your fingers. I'll visualize my tension dripping out my fingers like drops of water and pooling onto the floor.

Again, don't clench your jaw.


Pose #3

Seated Twist: to stretch the paraspinal and piriformis

ardha matsyandrasana.jpg

Sometimes the pain you feel in your head originate from a place entirely different than your head, like your back or even your hips. The paraspinal muscles are the vertical  muscles that run along either side of your spine and the piriformis muscle run deep under your glutes and connect your legs to your sacrum. Again, when either of these muscles are tight, they add to an imbalance in the skeletal tension and can radiate tension into your head. Plus, since your spine houses our spinal chord, the primary conduit for information moving via the nerves to the brain, by gently twisting the spine, you wring out our nervous system. Twists are great to release tension!

Sit down and cross one leg, bent at the knee, over the other leg, also bent at the knee. Bring opposite elbow across opposite leg. Sit up tall with your spine erect and buttocks grounded firmly on the floor. If one of your buttocks lifts, try extending your bottom leg straight. As you initiate the posture, breath in deeply and sit tall. As you exhale, gently twist to a comfortable level. Hold each side for 10-15 long breaths.


If you get headaches, try first checking in, listening to your body, and doing a few rounds of ujjayi breath. Then bust out these three poses and see if they help. If you do them regularly, you'll most likely find that your headaches will come less frequently and will be less severe when they do.

And remember, sometimes your headache is trying to tell you something so practice listening. 

Do you get headaches? Use the comment section to tell me what you do to help remedy headaches?

Lionel Richie is My Guru

Lionel Richie Plaque.jpg

A few years ago, my wife and I were driving home from dinner at my Dad’s house.

During dinner my dad was playing what I felt was some god-awful, nails-on-the-chalkboard, Soft Rock musical desecration on the stereo, Lionel Richie’s Greatest hits or something, I can’t remember, but on the drive home, I couldn’t stop going off about how terrible the music was and why was it that my dad even like that shit in the first place, and bla bla bla.

After several long minutes of spewing my terrible opinions about the music I felt I’d been subjected to, it was suddenly as if the Universe had heard enough of my verbal vomiting and pushed mute on my mouth. With a stroke of sudden self-awareness, I heard myself blathering on about something so inconsequential and for no reason other than to satisfy some habitual downward spiral of negativity. With clarion insight, I checked my complaining mid-sentence and the next words that came out of my mouth changed my life: “I don’t need to have an opinion about that.”

This phrase immediately canonized into my mind as my new mantra. At that moment, I saw both how useless my ranting was as well as the immense energy I was putting into spewing my acrid opinions all over those unfortunate enough to be in my company. God bless my wife, Seneca, who said nothing the entire car ride home but who, I’m sure, was enduring every Soft Rock epithet with thinning patience.

“I don’t need to have an opinion about that. Who cares if my dad listens to Lionel Richie’s Greatest Hits?!” From that moment forward, I decided that Lionel Richie was something I simply didn’t need to waste calories criticizing. And more importantly, I discovered the magical truth that I have the choice to turn my opinions off and that when I do, I feel empowered, unperturbed, and frankly happier. So simple!

Can I suggest that you begin using this mantra immediately for massive and astounding results for not only your attitude toward the world but also the world’s attitude toward you? I’m really not over selling this.

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The people with whom I’ve shared this mantra are loving it. I shared it at a meditation event I cohosted a few weeks before the holidays last year. A few weeks later I received a message from a couple who had attended the event and who said that the mantra, “I don’t need to have an opinion about that,” had single-handedly saved Christmas. Another woman wrote me recently to say that as she was driving to do be interviewed on television, she confronted the nervous knots in her stomach with “I don’t need to have an opinion about that,” and watched her nervousness completely dissolve. These people are not alone. In fact, since I’ve been sharing this mantra, I’ve received such a preponderance of positive feedback from it that I’ve decided this mantra deserves its own post.

Simple mantra. Profound implications. One reason it’s profound is because it provokes us to change our identity from one that defines itself by the mosaic of our ever-changing opinions, to one that identifies with the unchangeable Observer Self.

The credo of the Opinionator is “I critique therefore I am.” But the Opinionator fundamentally misunderstands their identity. Despite the fact that negative opinions are insidious, addictive, and low-vibration, opinions are fundamentally changeable so identifying with opinions and indulging in their fleeting existence sets us up for a massive existential disappointment.

Instead, identifying as an observer, even momentarily by doing something like repeating this mantra, is identifying with something much more real, what sages and spiritual traditions like yoga call the Observer Self, or True Self. The Observer Self is larger than our opinions and has the presence to pause and watch an opinion form and perhaps even choose to let it float on by down the river of consciousness.

This practice of merely observing something rather than reacting to it with an opinion is what Krishnamurti meant when he said, “The highest form of intelligence is observation without assessment.” Practicing this kind of intelligence leads us toward experiencing the state of our true inheritance, that of boundless equanimity, a state that can’t be shaken, not even by the immense weight of Lionel Richie’s Greatest Hits. Boundless equanimity is the natural comportment of our Observer Self and practicing identifying as the Observer Self rather than the Opinionator not only feels better but will also lead us to deeper stages of consciousness that can only come by deep observation.  

As your consciousness develops by practicing and living this mantra, you’ll feel more at one with the world and it will feel more at one with you. You’ll be surprised to see new and old friends materialize around you, friends who maybe shied away from the cantankerous person you used to be. Suddenly you’ll have friends again, and together you can talk about Lionel Richie!

Since Lionel Richie was the guru to bring me to this practice of objectivity, then perhaps I should be dancin’ on the ceiling . . . or place a shrine for him on my alter . . . or at least not be such a hater.  

Truly at the end of the day, I realize that with a little distance and some objectivity about my opinions, I actually really like Lionel Richie’s music. He’s a happenin’ soul artist whose work has endured for decades. My previous opinions were undoubtedly wrapped up myriad other things that had nothing to do with Lionel. Once I could get some breathing distance from my opinions, I could recognize that.

Yes, yes, yes. It is true that we do need some of our opinions. It’s true that we must very deliberately add our conscious opinion and deliberate action to help make a better world for everyone. I would proffer nonetheless that the more we practice the no-opinion mantra about small stuff, especially stuff around our family (man, that’s a difficult practice!), the more we will be able to apply our energies toward those issues that truly deserve an opinion and action. And we will act from a conscious place of response rather than unconscious reaction.

Plus, as practiced Observers, we will gain the compassionate ground to discuss and even debate important issues from our highest nature, with respect for those who have different opinions. And as practiced listeners and not reactionary opinion-spewers, maybe we’ll be able to inspire a similar respect from others.

May we learn first to listen, to our hearts as well as those of others, and then respond to the call to action and not be pulled off our compassionate ground by circumstances, the rash opinions of others, or the incendiary sounds of Soft Rock. Practicing the no-opinion mantra is a powerful practice to that end.

I invite you to start using “I don’t need to have an opinion about that,” today, at least for the small stuff.

And if after all this, you decide that you’re really happy with your tired menagerie of opinions. . . well, I don’t need to have an opinion about that. 

Meditation