Monday, 27 July 2015

Yogi Mono Fast: Day 39

Tomorrow I will reach 40 days straight of eating mung bean soup for all my meals each day with the addition of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and some dairy.

The experience has been eye-opening. Food and eating is so intrinsically connected to the mind, body and spirit, and I have really enjoyed learning that first hand.

At first, I was hungry all the time. Some days I would get hungry again less than an hour after eating a meal or substantial snack. I believe this was because my body was so starved for nutrients, that when I finally started giving myself healthy options, I was desperate for more. After about two weeks of feeling like this, my body was finally satisfied and slowed down on the hunger cues. I never restricted calories, but I was eating fewer calories overall - it's hard to overeat fresh fruits and vegetables, but very easy to do with crisps, cakes and chocolate!

My black blob of addiction and trapped emotions lost its grip on me and is now completely gone. I don't feel the pull of addictive eating, although I am treating myself like a life-long addict and will not eat refined sugar (or any of its other names) again for the rest of my life. I don't plan on eating white bread again, either. Well, bread in general. I have a thing for bread; it's a trigger food and I will happily eat tons of it which displaces room for vital nutrients in other foods.

Sugar and bread are out - but so many other foods are in! A friend of mine laughingly said that I eat like a monk, but I don't feel that way at all! I am eating amazing fruits and vegetables, full of wonderful nutrients that uplift and support my body's functions. I feel light and clear-headed. I don't wake up groggy and "hungover" after a late-night sugar binge. (a common occurrence only 2 months ago)

I don't feel restricted by my new eating habits; I feel free. There are many, many recipes out there I plan to try and with my cleansed palate I will enjoy them all the more.

Forty days eating the same main meal is quite a long time. At the beginning, I thought I would carry on for 80 days, maybe even longer. But now? I am not so sure. I am not getting bored of mung bean soup as such; I add different veggies every time I make a new batch and I really enjoy the spices in it. But living as part of a family and making two meals each day, it gets a bit tricky. Having such a restricted diet in the long-term is probably not a good example to my children and certainly limits where we can go out to eat (hint: nowhere)!

Because I feel like my black blob is completely gone, it does seem like overkill to carry on with the fast. I think that if I do, the monofast will devolve into disordered eating rather than something uplifting and helpful (which it certainly has been so far). The more I consider it, the stronger I feel about ending it at 40 days and moving on to eating more variety in my daily meals. If things go wrong, at least now I know what works for me!

It has been a wonderful journey. I highly recommend it to anyone trying to reset their health, break food addictions, or recover from illness or injury. The soup itself is highly nutritious and I have lost nothing but addictions, weight and unhealthy habits. What I've gained has been priceless.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

You are magical

As I was doing my leg lifts during Nabhi Kriya this morning, I was thinking about the Harry Potter series. There is a lot of interesting symbolism in the story, and I will tell you about my own cloak of invisibility another day. :) But today I was thinking about the difference between Muggles, Squibs and Witches/Wizards.

Witches and Wizards are magical humans who, in most circumstances, grow up learning how to control their innate powers. They require the use of a wand, made of magical wood and other ingredients, in order to harness their powers and make good use of them (or bad, depending on their personality!). The magic is within them, but they can't purposefully use it without an external tool.

Squibs are people born in magical families, but for whatever reason, do not have much or any innate magical skill/talent/ability. They know about the magical world and live within it, but cannot use magic for themselves. They are dependent on other magical people or creatures or inventions to live alongside witches and wizards.

Muggles are humans with no magical ability, and no knowledge of the magical world. An entire universe is blocked to them forever.

What does this have to do with meditation? Well, you are magical! So am I - the entire human race has innate power within him/herself that is more powerful than any witch or wizard in Harry Potter's world. We don't require wands or potions or powders to access the power within us, but we do require knowledge.

Most of us are like muggle-born witches and wizards, with a slight inkling of the power lying dormant within us, but without the tools necessary to access that power and use it for the good of ourselves and others.

We are creators; literally Gods in embryo. Everything within us, right this moment, is capable of growing and becoming like Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. Jesus Christ implored us in scripture to become perfect, as a God. But another translation of the word perfect is whole, or complete. 

There are many ways to become whole, but using the Atonement is the key. The Atonement is a marvelous work and a wonder. Jesus Christ took on our sins, our pains, our afflictions and our sorrows. We can turn to Him with literally any problem and he will help us be healed.

For many years, I struggled with anger issues. I absorbed a lot of my dad's temper and it became part of my parenting style (having children definitely forces you to see your own true temperament). I would lose my temper and lash out at my sweet children, and feel awful afterwards. For many years, I would repent and attempt to contain my temper or desperately pray for it to just disappear. Over time, with herculean effort and rivers of tears, I got to the point where I felt like I was finally making headway. It was such a slow, painstaking process, but I didn't know another way. Pray, ready your scriptures, attend your meetings, repent, repent, repent.

The missing ingredient to my efforts was meditation. It was the key to unlock the potential of the Atonement in my life. I felt like God had been waiting all that time for me to open the door rather than trying to squeeze through a window. The power to access the Atonement - fully access it, and allow it to change me and my personality for the better - was within me, I just needed the right tool.

There are over 30 or 40 meditation types available to you. By all means, find one that works in your life, but it is my belief that Kundalini Yoga and Meditation is the fastest, simplest way to see amazing changes in yourself. You will be able to feel the Spirit and receive revelation on a scale you haven't experienced before. You will be able to break the chains of addiction, or anger, or abuse, or the other myriad of human sadness and pain that exist in this world. You will be purified.

You are not a muggle. You are not a squib! You are a witch or a wizard and you don't even need a wand. The power is within you and you can access it right now.

Love and light.

40 days and beyond

Practice a particular kriya or mantra every single day for the same amount of time. Based on the number of days you do this, here is how it will affect your habits.
40 Days: Practice every day for 40 days straight. This will break any negative habits that block you from the expansion possible through the kriya or mantra.
90 Days: Practice every day for 90 days straight. This will establish a new habit in your conscious and subconscious minds based on the effect of the kriya or mantra. It will change you in a very deep way.
120 Days: Practice every day for 120 days straight. This will confirm the new habit of consciousness created by the kriya or mantra. The positive benefits of the kriya get integrated permanently into your psyche.
1000 Days: Practice every day for 1000 days straight. This will allow you to master the new habit of consciousness that the kriya or mantra has promised. No matter what the challenge, you can call on this new habit to serve you.
Remember, a habit is a subconscious chain reaction between the mind, the glandular system and the nervous system. We develop habits at a very young age. Some of them serve our highest destiny. Some of them do not. By doing a 40, 90, 120 or 1000 day special sadhana, you can rewire that chain reaction. You can develop new, deeply ingrained habits that serve your highest good.
“One part of sadhana should stay constant long enough for you to master, or at least experience, the changes evoked by a single technique. Each kriya and mantra has its individual effects, although they all elevate you toward a cosmic consciousness. Learn to value the pricelessness of one kriya, and all others will be understood in a clearer light.”
–Yogi Bhajan, from The Aquarian Teacher, Level One Instructor. Page 150.

I am here to build new habits. Healthy habits that will benefit my body and soul for the rest of my mortal life.

I just recently reached 40 days of daily meditation (although I started Nabhi Kriya later than Kirtan Kriya) and I feel really pleased about it. I feel like I am breaking through those negative habits and blocks, and am now finally working on the subconscious mind. I am ready to change in a deeper way!

It's funny, because it wasn't until I reached 40 days that my children suddenly started becoming interested in joining my meditation - my 10 year old son did the entire set with me yesterday, although he needed to take a few breaks here and there. I am really proud of him! It was entirely his desire and I'm sure it helped him. My extended family members are becoming interested in meditating, or starting on their own and seeking out teachers for themselves. It's exciting!

My ultimate goal is 1000 days straight, which is nearly 3 years. I know things will change in that time, and I will likely need to add something to my daily sadhana, but I'm sure I can carry on with what I am doing now - the children will get older, I will get more sleep, and I will be able to carve out a bit more time to myself in the day. Right now, it is a real struggle to find an hour without any interruptions, especially since my toddler seems to have a sixth sense and know when I am trying to wake up early, so she wakes up early, too! Trying to do yoga moves and peacefully meditate with a needy toddler in your lap is not easy.

Thankfully, intention is 90% of this work. If I'm doing my best, God will make up the difference. Isn't that wonderful? I feel like all truth, regardless of the source, points me back to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I feel like I have officially begun my journey, now. I have overcome resistance (some days it is REALLY HARD to get started for various reasons, but once I start, I marvel over how much I enjoy it) and am now firmly entrenching this new habit. Life is good!

Friday, 17 July 2015

Her Medicine

Last month, I blogged about releasing my fear. It was a wonderful experience and I'm very grateful to be able to live life without my previously mysterious swallowing issues.

All of my fear got stuck during my toddler's infancy (it centred around her having tongue tie and not being able to nurse, so me not being able to swallow was incredibly symbolic), and as she grew up, I started to notice that she had some fear issues of her own; the dark would always upset her, and whenever I left her with her father, she would get incredibly upset. Now, she's my fifth child, so I am very familiar with developmentally appropriate separation anxiety. This was different - she wouldn't even hug her daddy or give him a kiss, even when she saw her siblings do the same (babies are great imitators!).

I wondered if something was up with her, and thought back to my stressful time when she was small. I used to carry her around in a ring sling just like this:

Slings are great! I wouldn't have another baby without one, but in this instance, I felt that my fear that got lodged in my chest was influencing my baby who was held against me in that area for so long.

Let me back up. Everything is energy. Go down to the sub-atomic level, and you will soon find that you can't get any smaller; the constituent parts of all things is energy, vibrating at different frequencies. Thought and emotion are included in this, so what we think and what we feel can have a physical effect on the world around us. So, in a very real way, my fearful emotions were vibrating right next to my baby, who couldn't help but pick up on that.

How could I help her? She's basically pre-verbal, although she does understand a lot and communicate quite well. After praying and meditating on the issue, I had the strong impression to wear her in a sling again. Now that my fear was released, wearing her in a sling could sort of re-set her emotional frequency.

It was worth a try! I gave up all my slings a few months ago because she was adamantly against being worn in a sling and wanted to walk everywhere. I didn't have anything to "wear" her in! So I jumped on a website where I could rent slings, and started looking for something suitable.

After feeling indecisive and wondering what to choose, I came upon this Mei Tai:

If you can tell by the two pictures above, the Mei Tai is made from the exact same fabric as the ring sling! I thought that was really fitting and had a lovely symbolism to it, so I rented it for two weeks. I felt like it was all she needed, and it coincided perfectly with a camping weekend.

As soon as the sling arrived in the post, I opened the package and tried it on. My toddler, who hadn't seen a sling for months and wasn't even talking when she was last in one, pointed to it and said "uppies" (which is what I used to call it, or I would ask if she wanted up). My heart filled with excitement and joy! This was going to work!

The Spirit referred to this sling wearing exercise as her medicine, so that's what I explained to her. Riding in the sling would be temporary, just like most medicine, and it would give her health and joy. She protested a couple of times when I got it out, just like before, but unlike before, once she was in the sling she was happy and content.

I returned the sling a few weeks ago, and her relationship with her dad is definitely improving. She gives him hugs without him asking, and if I have to go out she is comfortable in his care (although she still doesn't like me leaving). Miracle of miracles, she even goes to bed for him! Before, she would stay up as long as possible, waiting for my return, but now he can tuck her into bed and she falls to sleep on her own. I'm in awe of that, I really am! Being in the dark doesn't upset her as much, either. It's fantastic.

But I am so grateful to God for inspiring me to administer an unconventional remedy. I now feel very confident that when I go on my Level 1 Kundalini Yoga teacher training weekends, she will feel happy, safe and content with her daddy (as she should have all along). All is well.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Break your sugar addiction with Knowledge

Knowledge is power. Get the facts, man.

(I realise that this isn't specifically about meditation, but I'll get there, I promise. Until next time.)

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

My recent youtube video - Break Your Sugar Addiction!

It's a long one - 18 minutes - but apparently I had a lot to say! Look out for more vlogs from me in the future.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Yogi Mono Fast: Day 23

Two weeks ago, I felt my addictions fading. I didn't feel a craving when I walked past the bakery and smelled cookies. I am not rummaging around the kitchen trying to satiate an unknown hunger. I wasn't obsessing over food, but starting to prepare it with joy. Things were looking up!

When I first started this mono fast, I had a picture in my head of what my addiction would look like if it were visible. It was a black blob of negative energy, attached to my back with tentacles spread all through my body. As I felt that blob losing its grip on me, I also felt that it was struggling to hold on tighter, like you would hold on to the edge of a cliff with your fingertips. It was desperate to stay!

A few days after I noticed this fading addiction (and its desire to keep a grip on me), I started getting horrible stomach cramps. I first thought it was a virus, but I felt fine otherwise. The cramping would come on suddenly, and then slowly fade after an hour or two. I then wondered if it was due to the rice in my soup (rice can cause food poisoning if not handled properly), but there weren't any other symptoms. I then wondered if it was from eating too much fruit, so decided to cut out fruit and just eat vegetables along with my soup. Nothing really fit - I would get the cramping at random times: before meals, after meals, no fruit, no soup; it just didn't make any sense.

Several days ago, I was feeling slightly discouraged and meditated on the issue. A very clear picture came to me in my mind of the black energy wrapping itself around my stomach and squeeeeezing it very hard. There was a malicious intent behind the action, and I recognised this as a true representation of what was happening to my body. I also immediately recognised that I could do something about it! So as I carried on meditating (Kirtan Kriya, fyi), I envisioned the black energy dissipating into atoms and being absorbed by my body. After the atoms were absorbed, I imagined a white light surrounding my stomach, and I knew without any doubt that I wouldn't have any more stomach cramps. I also felt prompted to banish any and all demons who were hanging around me, feeding and encouraging my food addictions. After I finished meditating, I did so.

So these cramps were happening every day, at least once, with no obvious physical cause. The cause was spiritual! Since I deleted the black energy from my body, I have not suffered from a single stomach cramp, regardless of how much fruit/vegetable/soup I've eaten, or when I've eaten it. Bliss!

The black energy (my addiction) is still hanging around in the background, but it isn't attached to me anymore. I am confident that I will be able to get rid of it for good, and soon.

This experience has been utterly fascinating to me. I totally believe in the power of the mind, and what I engaged in was a pretty awesome power of the mind experience. But I also believe in the spiritual realm, and I know that Satan and his followers are out to destroy our mortal experience, by whatever means possible. I believe that I had a few evil spirits hanging out, trying to get me to ruin my health and block out the Spirit through unhealthy eating choices. God wants me to treat my holy temple body with love, respect and enjoy it! God wants me to break this addiction, and I am doing it with His help. I have tried and tried to break my sugar and food addictions, but this is the first and only time I have called upon Him in every way possible for help - and it is working. 

Light conquers darkness, always. Shadows cannot exist in the same space as light. I am a being of light: Happy, Healthy and Holy. With the tools God has given me, and with the power of the Atonement, I can conquer addictions. I will stand in His light, and the darkness will flee. Every time.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Fleshy Tabernacles

In the words of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin:

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience.
We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

 As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe someday I will be resurrected, "the reuniting of the spirit with the body in an immortal state, no longer subject to disease or death."

I can remember the first time I viewed my body as a separate entity from myself. I was probably 11 years old, sitting cross-legged on the floor at school. I looked down at my legs and thought "My thighs are fat."

Whether they were or not is unimportant; I had begun to look at my body with a critical eye and denigrate it.

But I grew up attending church, where I was taught time and time again that my body is sacred. It is a gift from God the Father, and I should love it, respect it, and treat it well.

In fact, the human body is quite literally a temple; a fleshy tabernacle. We Mormons take our temples seriously. They are built to the highest of standards, and decorated with the most intricate and beautiful of ornaments. They are portals to a heavenly realm, wherein we learn gospel truths and become closer to our Father in heaven. We perform sacred ordinances therein on behalf of those who have passed on to the next life without having the opportunity to learn about the gospel themselves. We mortals who still have the privilege of our bodies are able to do eternal work for those who cannot.

If our temple buildings are so precious - something built by man and subject to decay - how much more precious are our physical bodies - built by God, and once resurrected, will last into the eternities!

For many years, I have struggled to take that teaching truly to heart. Although I knew and believed that my physical body was important, special, and even divine, I couldn't fully drown out the noise from the Deceiver who whispered in my ear about how important it was to be beautiful, thin, tanned, hairless (apart from the long flowing perfect hair on my head, of course), adorned and painted upon. My self worth as a daughter of God was intertwined with how others perceived me, which was a recipe for disaster.

The only time of my life that I felt closely connected with my body and truly appreciated its divine attributes was during pregnancy. I was in awe of what my body was capable of doing, without influence or control from my conscious mind. Even so, I was subjected to much scrutiny from others, which was hard for me to cope with at times.

When I discovered Kundalini Yoga, my feelings toward my body slowly changed. The exercises and kriyas are all designed to align the spirit and the body together, in order to more fully receive divine inspiration. As I exercise daily, I feel more grounded into myself. After years of feeling like my body and spirit were separate entities, only to be united after my resurrection, I have come to feel them as they are- intertwined, and in need of each other.

There is a dusty, worn-out, supposedly jokey way of describing a so-called "ugly" woman: she has a sweet spirit. I have heard women say that their spirits are thin/beautiful/etc but it's just their bodies that are the problem. Through the power of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, I have come to truly understand that my spirit and body are BOTH who I am. I am not waiting for the resurrection for my pretty body to materialise. This body is me; it is mine, forever. It can do many physical things, and it can do many spiritual things. It can worship God through prayer, scripture study, fasting, meditation and yoga. It can attend the temple and perform ordinances. It is not taking me along for the ride; it is me!

When I die and am temporarily separated from my temple body, I will miss it terribly. I am only just beginning to understand how vital this body is to my existence. I praise God for this beautiful gift. It is precious to me.

Instead of saying my body, I will say my temple body. Or my sacred body. Instead of thinking about foods being unhealthy, I will remember that certain food-like substances will distance me from feeling the Spirit. They are unhealthy in a mortal sense, but they are even more unhealthy for my soul.

The human body is a sacred temple of God. Let us all treat our temple bodies as such!

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

My daily sadhana

I've been meditating daily for a month now (after a long break), and it's been wonderful to get back into it. I don't ever want to stop again!

But I have to admit, it takes a fair amount of discipline. I am not at the stage where I can wake up early before everyone else does in order to meditate. It's just too hard - I have a young toddler that doesn't sleep through the night consistently, and even if I am awake early enough, she seems to have a sixth sense and wakes up alongside me - grumpy and needy to boot! So right now, here's what my daily practice looks like...

Wake up, get the children ready for the day, husband and school child leave. Settle any arguments, take toddler to the potty, do a small amount of housework like putting a load of laundry on. It's nearly 9am at this point.

Use the tv as a babysitter - sneak upstairs to my bedroom where I unroll my yoga mat and get to work.

Right now my daily yoga and meditation routine is as follows:

Tune In: Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo x 3

Protection Mantra: Aad Guray Nameh, Jugaad Guray Nameh, Sat Guray Nameh, Siri Guru  Dayvay Nameh x 3

Nabhi Kriya: This is an exercise to help digestion, which is what I'm working on right now with my mono fast. I've started with the minimum times on each exercise, and am working up. I have seen an improvement in my strength, which is exciting, but it does mean that eventually this part of my day will take nearly an hour to complete! (I really need to start waking up early...) I find it very interesting how different I feel mentally when I do a kriya vs an exercise programme. Kriyas do more than just strengthen the body - there is a spiritual element to it that makes me feel so happy! I find myself smiling as I am doing these exercises. It's wonderful, and I don't like missing a single day (unlike when I used to go to the gym!).

Kirtan Kriya: This is the meditative portion of my morning. I usually opt for the shortened version that lasts 11 minutes, because by this point my children have finished with the tv and come looking for me. They climb on me, poke me, ask me questions, pull on me, sit on me, cry at me, play in the toilet water, etc etc. Good times!

Tune Out: Sing the song, "Long time sun". So beautiful!

I try to pray and read scriptures after this, but it often gets relegated to later in the day, over lunch or while the toddler is napping. I am working on consistency with all aspects of my daily worship.