Category: Meditation

swami kripalu….where I do volunteer work at least three times a year.  This trip I worked as a facilitator and hatha yoga teacher.  The program was called the Inner Quest Intensive and I have been a part of this amazing ‘production’ since ’99.  Here’s a post I wrote after another such trip about 5 years ago.

The world really needs this program.  Those of us who facilitate transformation and healing for others know this.   I am completely filled with love, gratitude, and kindness once again as I continue to live and teach yoga.

This time I came home inspired to develop and deliver an experiential program with transformational possibilities of my own.  My plan is to use the natal chart as a launchpad.  We’ll address all the planets of our solar system with the intention of  expanding our self-awareness and self-knowledge. Interested ?  Contact me at idafae@gmail.com.

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Tomorrow is the first of a series of experiential workshops using the astrological natal chart as tool for self-inquiry and self-development.  It’s been quite a ride for me personally, as I have chosen to follow the stars for most of my life.

These days Uranus is conjunct my mid-heaven and moving in towards a conjunction with the  NN.  Neptune is conjunct SN natally. Obviously, things are changing.  Unknown territory looms ahead for me.  Thanks to the stars,  Pluto is finally past my moon.  Om shanti.

The outer planets, along with all things lunar, have captured my attention for decades.  As a working astrologer who reads charts for individuals, I am also particularly interested in Time, time-measurement, time-management, time-keeping, and what I call Time-Scaping, which is what happens once we have mastered our personal relationship with time and create a life-rhythm which is sustainable.  The cycles of the planets along with the orbit of the moon provide the raw data that is needed.

Anyway, I digress.  Tomorrow’s workshop will tackle the idea that the Lunar Nodes represent our Soul’s Purpose in this incarnation. We’ll look at the nodes in our respective natal charts and discuss it.  Then we’ll take our new found information and practice being our ‘true selves’ using various yogic techniques.

I’ve been doing this work for a lifetime already, and I still get excited when I see the look of “enlightenment” come over someone’s face.  That sudden expression brought on by the combination of insight, understanding, and joy is unmistakeable.

If you’re in or aound Asbury Park, NJ, find us!  The door is round and open  (rumi)

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The Sanctuary
Asbury Park, NJ
732.531.9013

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A beggar had been sitting by the side of the road for over thirty years. One day a stranger walked by.
“Spare some change?” mumbled the beggar, mechanically holding out his baseball cap.“I have nothing to give you,” said the stranger. Then he added, “What’s that you are sitting on?”
“Nothing,” replied the beggar, “Just an old box.I have been sitting on it for as long as I can remember.”
“Ever look inside?” asked the stranger.

“What’s the point? There’s nothing in there.”

“Have a look inside,” insisted the stranger.

The beggar managed to pry open the lid.  

With astonishment, disbelief, and elation, he saw the box was filled with gold.Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, Novato CA, 1999; p. 9

Let’s come together this Sunday, January 8 and resume our practices of loving-kindness.  We begin in silence, so please remove your shoes and place them on the rack before you enter.  Come in, find an empty space and sit down.  We sit silently from 3pm until approximately 3:30, at which time we will begin discourse & discussion. 

Metta (loving-kindness) practice will start around 4:15pm. 

We’ll close with the following chant:

असतो मा सद्गमय ।
तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।।
मृत्योर्मामृतं गमय ।
ॐ शान्ति शान्ति शान्ति ।। – बृहदारण्यक उपनिषद् 1.3.28.

om

asato mā sat gamaya
tamaso mā jyotir gamaya
mṛtyor mā amṛtaṁ gamaya
om śhānti śhānti śhāntihi – bṛhadāraṇyaka upaniṣada 1.3.28

Translation:

Lead Us From the Unreal To the Real,
Lead Us From Darkness To Light,
Lead Us From Death To Immortality,
Let There Be Peace Peace Peace. – Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.3.28.

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“My house says to me,

“Do not leave me, for here dwells your past.”
And the road says to me,

“Come and follow me, for I am your future.”
And I say to both my house and the road,

“I have no past, nor have I a future.

If I stay here, there is a going in my staying;

and if I go there is a staying in my going.

Only love and death will change all things.””

– Kahlil Gibran

 

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the t-shirt was black this year I  returned home from the 2009 Harper’s Escape on Sunday.  The tunes are still running thru my head, awake and asleep.  I am filled with joy and gladness that so much joy and gladness can be shared with harps.  Yes?

40 of us gathered strong under  gloomy, doomy October skies to learn a few tunes, in community with each other.  Angels as well as devils showed up. Spiritual energy/vibration allowed it to be all okay, just as it is.

Om shanti. Peace to all.

On Sunday, we performed as a sort of harp orchestra at the local public library.  We were quite the hit; a waiting line stood patiently outside the room for the entire performance hoping for a seat to open up.

I was relatively pleased and content with my own ‘performance’, noticing with every breath how the inner critic is still alive and well!

But, once again I was amazed and awed by the sheer diversity of our group.  The harp is what brought us together and held us in-common.  Regardless of color, creed, culture, or zodiac sign, we worked together for an entire weekend to create a concert for the public.  Peace is always possible.

Astrologically speaking it was a weekend of Neptune/Chiron/Jupiter & Moon energies.  Sweet, serious, and silly all together with lots of food, drink, and water…….it rained a lot.  The balsamic phase of the moon was occuring in Late degrees of Libra.  Read more about balsamic, it’s very important to understand our human need for deep rest.

 

Gotta go practice……I’m haunted by the Harris Dance.

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Let the mind be the mind.

Behind its restless activity,

just one layer deeper

is stillness, and beneath

even that, is an ocean of mystery and truth.

Swim in this eternal sea

until you know yourself

to be infinity, and bring

that knowing back into

your day.  Why struggle

to be what you are already?

Let the mind be the mind

but don’t bind yourself

to its limited reality.

Trust your experience of

vastnes.  Trust the truth

that never loses potency

or disappears in fear.

Let the mind be the mind

and identify not with

thought, but silence.

…from Limitless by Danna Faulds.

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The moon returns to darkness once again. Perhaps you can see the slightest sliver of light remaining. Sigh. We’re tired. Something inside is calling for rest, retreat, and rejuvenation. The balsamic phase is the time when we need to honor that feeling, and honor ourselves for all the work and effort we have expended during the previous cycles. This phase of the moon beckons us to turn our attention inward, to the deepest parts of ourselves. It is the time to connect with spirit and the divine energy that lies within. And, if we are not in touch with those aspects of ourselves then perhaps this is the time to search for it.

Many of the eastern philosophies speak of the light that resides within. God is to be found on the inside, deep within oneself. Our disconnection from that source of light within may indeed be part of the problem that permeates society today. Many times when I tell my clients and students to use this balsamic time for meditation, contemplation, soul-searching or prayer they look at me like I’m crazy. “I don’t have time for that” is a common response. There’s “too much to do, too much work, too many responsibilities”.

“But, I wish I could”, is a communal sad song. Well, this is the time to take the time for inward-oriented activities. And, the amazing, magical result of pursuing this inward journey at this particular time is the reduction of stress and the feeling & experience of having more time throughout the rest of the cycle.

The Balsamic Phase of the Moon is when our system is crying for psychic detoxification. It’s the perfect time to pause and reflect on all events and activities of the recent past. A ‘letting go’ time, when we acknowledge ourselves for doing the best we could. Or, if we weren’t able to do our best, we acknowledge ourselves for trying and then let it go.

What does it mean to let go of something? One hears this expression a lot these days. On one level I think it means to not worry or be concerned with outcome. Replace the energy spent on mental/emotional anguish and instead practice cultivating the energy of faith, trust and stillness. The Bhagava Gita gives very explicit instructions for how to do this and the balsamic phase is the time to practice more intently.

During the balsamic period the veil between the conscious and the unconscious is thin. Therefore, it is also a good time to pay more attention to our dreams. Dreams come from the Vijananamaya Kosha, one of our subtle bodies according to Yogic Philosophy. Our higher mind usually has some very important information and dreams are a way of communicating with ourselves. Sometimes they may even take on a prophetic tone. Our need to daydream, fantasize or simply escape our everyday realities is a natural tendency that requires attention just like any other health routine me might employ. We all need time to be alone and connect with ourselves. Long walks or drives, frequent naps, listening to music, connecting with nature, journaling, painting, dancing, practicing yoga, tai chi, chi gong, reading, or just sitting staring out a window are all befitting activities for these days.

In psychological terms this lunar phase is when we are more connected to the collective unconscious. This is a term used most frequently within the Jungian tradition of psychology. Freudians might refer to it as the unconscious or supra-conscious mind. People have created different words for the same concepts for eons. The point is that there is a part of our mind that works from a different operating system than the rest of our mind. And this ‘hidden file’ is very busy connecting to the ethereal WWW all the time.

So, perhaps the most important thing to really understand is that if you do not honor this time, if you continue your daily life and your routine without including “downtime’, then you will not feel energized and refreshed when the next cycle begins. At first the effects of this may not be apparent. However, over time, if you continue to ignore your inner world and focus only on the external the stresses will accumulate and can create obstacles, dis-ease, and crisis in your life.

Without adequate time for pause and reflection, the body/mind/spirit will rebel and hopefully send you some clear signals that things are out of balance. When that happens our lives begin to spin seemingly out of control. We find ourselves in dysfunction, dis-ease, and disarray. And as a result something may happen by which we are then forced (by some external factor?) to give up our routine. Either we land in a hospital, or we are down-sized, laid-off or fired. Either way, we are now forced to use our time to reflect because now we have no other choice. Fate or Free Will……..make your choice.

It’s so much easier to voluntarily step back from our routines then to have them forcibly removed from us. This is the gift of the Balsamic Phase of the Moon. Two days out of every 28 day cycle can go really far in preventing & healing accumulated stress.

©Time & Space Consulting. All rights reserved. This article is an excerpt of my book in progress.

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What happens when you integrate astrology into the yogic practice of self-observation without judgement?

Self-inquiry is a spiritual practice that directs our energy and our attention inward. It’s a particular form of self-discovery that encourages one to first recognize and then drop the social mask (also known as the persona, personality, or ascendant) and practice authenticity in every moment. (rather than productivity or some other external goal). In, The Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield, he describes a Buddhist practice of sitting quietly and repeatedly path with heartasking yourself, “Who am I”, over and over until you reach a point where something in the body/mind relaxes (?) and a subtle shift in consciousness happens. It’s one of those things that you have to experience for yourself and hard to describe.

Svadhyaya is one of the niyamas (from Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga) that encourages us to look at ourselves, clearly, without prejudice. It’s a challenging task and requires constant practice. Kripalu Yoga is the methodology that i practice. It brings the physical and energetic bodies into the mix by developing a heightened sense of awareness to sensations, breath, thought patterns, and spontaneous emotional expression.

man-astrologyAstrology attempts to find meaning in the natural order of the cosmos. Everything has it’s own time, it’s own season, and every minute that passes is unique. Astrologers observe both long term & short term trends and relate that information to the present moment. In addition, astrology also adds mythological, archetypal, & psychological dimensions that are extremely personal and relevant.

Natal Astrology looks at an individual (or oneself) thru a lens that has no prejudice. The natal horoscope does not see: gender, race, religion, economic status, socio/cultural differences, sexual orientation, political affiliation or any of the ways in which we categorize ourselves. What the natal chart does describe is our ‘energetic’ makeup and the timing of unfoldment. The ‘how’ is up to us. There are many ways to manifest the potential of our horoscope. It’s the energy pattern and the timing that are pre-determined. All else is free will. When approached with equanimity and non-judgement the natal horoscope becomes an impartial map of possibility with a built-in clock to help one connect to the present moment more intimately.

Yoga & Astrology have co-existed harmoniously in various cultures for eons.yantra cropped Each discipline recognizes the value & contribution of the other. Across the centuries, astrologers have continued to relate the movement of what is above to the movement of what lies below. Whereas, at the same time the yogi’s were discovering what lies without, also exists within. They both agree that here & now is important.

Yoga provides us with the tools to help us be with that moment in peaceful co-existence. Astrology helps us to understand the characteristics of the our particular ego-state and the nature of the obstacles that impede our path towards a higher consciousness. Yoga helps us to smooth out the obstacles, minimize the ego drives and approach life’s challenges in peace. Astrology provides us with the nature of the ever-changing present moment. Yoga practices train us to respond to the ever-changing moment with acceptance. Astrology, when properly understood, can advance us towards spiritual awakening. Yoga does the same.

As a Professional Kripalu Yoga Teacher & Astrologer it’s taken me most of my life to bring these two paths together in a way that goes beyond the mental field or intellect. After 30+ years of study and practice I have now reached a point where I can no longer keep them separate. My personal practice and the programs I offer always include the cosmic point of view in an attempt to teach the hermetic principal, As Above, So Below. For those who are ready for the practice of self-inquiry and seek to approach life multi-dimensionally, astrology & yoga together can be quite enlightening.

Om shanti, shanti, shantihi.

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