CONTEMPLATION NOTES ABOUT LIFE - for recovery, healing, inspiration & transformation*
There is a saying that; 'Everytime you feel good, you have found a vibrational alignment with who you really are'. These are usually the times we are completely living in the moment with full mindfulness, not thinking or worrying about past or future. These are actually the times our hearts are completely open, soft, vulnerable but at the same time full of courage. These are the moments when we are truly connected and in peace with ourselves. And when we are truly aligned with our authentic self, it means that we are brave enough to soften what is rigid in our hearts. Moving through life, we travel through peaks and troughs. Our lives are usually made of a fairground of emotions, fear, doubt, joy, love, contentment, pain, insecurity, loneliness, loss. Self-study and contemplation helps us go through these ups and downs, evaluating these emotions, experiences, relationships, situations we have to go through in life.
Contemplation means, deep reflective thought and thoughtful observation. Self-study, self-observation and self reflection is needed to grow and evolve. Contemplation encourages us and triggers our thoughts and discovering our thought and behaviour patterns. It offers us possibility to observe ourselves on specific concepts, discover our true potential and helps with self-realization and personal development.
What is an affirmation?
Affirmation are short, powerful statement. It is a sentence aimed to affect the conscious and the subconscious mind.
Researches have shown that we have between 45,000 and 51,000 thoughts a day. Research has also shown that for most people 80% of those thoughts are negative. Every thought you think and every word you speak is an affirmation. All of our self-talk, our internal dialogue, is a stream of affirmations. You’re using affirmations every moment whether you know it or not. You are affirming and creating your life experiences with every word and thought. Therefore, we have to retrain our thinking and speaking into positive patterns if we want to change our lives. The words composing the affirmation, automatically and involuntarily, bring up related mental images into the mind, which could inspire, energize and motivate. Repeating affirmations, and the resultant mental images, affect the subconscious mind, which in turn, influences the behavior, habits, actions and reactions. Affirmations influence the subconscious mind and activate its powers. Positive statements make you feel positive, energetic and active, and therefore, put you in a better position to transform your inner and external worlds.
An affirmation opens the door. It’s a beginning point on the path to change. In essence, you’re saying to your subconscious mind: “I am taking responsibility. I am aware that there is something I can do to change.” Practicing affirmations means consciously choosing words that will either help eliminate something from your life or help create something new in your life.
**Now please follow these steps**
1. Read the concepts/topics below carefully:
Self love and self-compassion
Present moment & mindfulness
Transformation & change
Letting go vs Giving up
Acceptance & suffering
Impermanence & attachments
Santhosa (Contentment) & gratefulness
Meditation and finding self
You Have A Choice
The Yoga Journey
2. Close your eyes and choose the topic/concept that touches your heart & soul at this moment.
3. Read & contemplate on that concept.
4. Read & repeat the affirmations offered specifically for that concept.
Stay with love & light...
Self-love and self-compassion:
Have you ever realised that you have been over critical towards yourself in your life? How often are you being judgemental about your feelings or thoughts?
And do you think you honour your self-worth, give yourself enough self love and self-care that you deserve? Can you embrace your magic and uniqueness?
And maybe give yourself a chance, time and space to heal when you need it?
An important core teaching in Buddism is self-love. To love the self is to be in a continous connection with your true essence. Loving ourselves unconditionally, with self-compassion and giving true self-care is essential for our well being, health and happiness. Only by embracing ourselves fully and loving the self, we can extend the love to others. Making friends with ourselves, treating ourselves with kindness and no judgement is sometimes a challenge, as we are mostly the toughest on ourselves, more than we are on others... But accepting ourselves as who we are, forgiving, giving ourselves unconditional love, realizing our self worth-regardless of all our faults, imperfections and all the negative aspects and choosing LOVE is the best gift that we can give to ourselves.
I would like to end with an amazing quote from Tara Mohr, ‘ Where we think we need more self-discipline, we usually need more self-love.’
Affirmations: I love & accept myself just as I am. I respect myself and I forgive myself. I approve of myself and support myself. I trust and believe in myself. I give myself permission for self-care and healing. I am free of worry and I am at peace with who I am. I love myself and life. I have enough. I do enough. I AM ENOUGH.
Present moment and mindfulness:
All we have is NOW, where we have the opportunity to be fully alive. Fully aware. And freedom is- also-where our feet are, in the now, right here, right in this moment. Thich Nhat Hanh says: ‘when we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love.’ Practicing mindfullness and living in the present moment is the fastest way to live our lives more fully with happiness and wisdom. The actual practice of mindfullness involves moment to moment awareness of what is
happening now, both internally and externally. Internally, we become more aware of our body and mind, while externally we begin to broaden our field of awareness so that we actually take in the external environment as well, leading to a sense of spaciousness, alertness and stillness. In yoga practice, especially a gentle, but powerful Yin Yoga practice where we hold poses long and steady, we learn to live in the direct experience of meditative awareness of the body, heart and mind. As we settle down in a pose being in the moment and dropping into mindfullness, stress levels go down, past frozen traumas that are locked in our tissues and excess tensions are discharged from the body. One of the Yin Yoga pioneers Sarah Powers says that ‘awareness is our greatest security and foundation for emotional maturity.’ Therefore, being in peaceful awareness and enjoying what arises in your awareness in the present moment is what makes us fully alive and can cultivate our emotions as well.
Affirmations: I release the past and live fully in the present moment.
I am in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.
I CHOOSE NOW.
Transformation and change:
We all have to go through transitional periods, change and transformations in our lives. We live ups and downs or lapses during these periods. Saying goodbye to old habits, places, jobs, relationships that donot nurture our hearts or letting go of situations which donot serve us anymore, are among things we have to learn sooner or later. There is a saying that, ‘ Change is inevitable in life, but tranformation is by concious choice.’ And real transformations require real honesty, deep soul work and self reflection. Perhaps, embracing each challenge in our lives as an opportunity is the best way for self-transformation. A quote from Cheryl Strayed: ‘Transformation doesn’t ask you to stop being you. It demands that you find a way back to authenticity and strength that’s already inside of you.’
One Day or Day One. You Decide. You are always one decision away from a totally different life...
Affirmations: I accept the necessary changes that need to take place in my life. I let go of fear and worry. I am a powerful being capable of changing anything in my life. I welcome and embrace healthy changes into my life. I let go of old habits and practices that no longer serves me.
Lets start with a quote about patience: ‘Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting’. The dictionary definition of patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problem so suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. Buddist concept of patience is quite different from this, in Buddism patience refers to not returning harm, rather than merely enduring a difficult situation. It is the ability to control one’s emotions even when being critisized or attacked. And so, cultivating patience is a way of taking care of ourselves, which is the essence of self-compassion. This act of self-compassion, gives us rise to equanimity and it is companion of wisdom. Only after cultivating patience towards ourselves, we can show patience under any circumstances, with our relationships and this will be our gift to others. A quote on cultivating patience by The Buddist Nun Pema Chodron: ‘Patience is the antidote to anger, a way to learn to love and care for whatever we meet on the path. By patience, we donot mean endurance-as in ‘grin and bear’ it. In any situation, instead of reacting suddenly, we could chew it, smell it, look at it and open ourselves to seeing what’s there. The opposite of patience is aggression-the desire to jump and move, to push against our lives to try to fill up space. The journey of patience involves relaxing, opening to what’s happening, experiencing a sense of wonder.’
Affirmations: I am willing to change my life with patience and calmness.
I am patient with myself and others.
I am patient and at peace with the natural timing of my life processes.
I trust the timing of my own growth process.
I AM PATIENCE.
Letting go vs giving up:
Always let go. Never Give Up. This is one of my favorite mottos in life. Letting go of attachements, expectations and control, not too much grasping or clinging, relaxing in the moment and working on ‘detaching’ were-and sometimes still are-a major challenge in my life. I thought all of this was weakness and meant giving up. But then, I learned that letting go can actually give me freedom and create space for something better. As Thich Nhat Hanh says, ‘letting go gives us freedom and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything-anger, anxiety or possessions-we cannot be free.’ It takes a lot of courage to let go
of something, than it does to hang on to it, trying to make it better. But letting go doesn’t mean ignoring the situation. Letting go means accepting what is, exactly as it is, without fear, resistance or struggle for control. A quote from Danielle Koeple explains difference between letting go and giving up quite well: ‘Giving up means selling yourself short. It means allowing fear and struggle to limit your opportunities and keep you stuck. Letting go means freeing yourself from something that is no longer serving you. Giving up reduces life. Letting go expands it. Giving up is imprisoning. Letting go is liberation. Giving up is self-defeat. Letting go is self-care.’
I would like to end with another quote, from Ellen Goodman, about ‘graceful exit’. ‘There’s a trick to the ‘graceful exit’. It begins with the vision to recognize a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over –and let it go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or its past importance to our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving up, rather than out.’
Affirmations: I let go of what no longer serves me or make me feel good.
I surrender to what is. I let go of what was. I have faith in what will be.
Acceptance & suffering:
In Budism, it is believed that pain plus resistance equals to suffering. Pain is inevitable Buddha said, but suffering is optional. Accepting reality is difficult when life is painful. No one wants to experience pain, disapointment, sadness and loss. But those experiences are a part of life. When you attempt to avoid or resist those emotions, you add suffering to your pain. You may build the emotion bigger with your thoughts or create more misery by attempting to avoid the painful emotions. You can stop suffering by practicing acceptance. If you have cravings or urges for instance, there are two strategies you can use. You either avoid or suppress them, taking a non-accepting approach. Or, you can pay attention to how cravings and urges manifest themselves, identify them, accept them and then let them go. You can just let it pass and notice the impermanance, the continous change in existence. As you practice the asanas in yoga for example, remember to honour your limitations, going to your edge with love and acceptance, rather than judgement and discouragement. If you are unable to move into a posture at this time, focus on breathing deeply-as you think about the affirmations, then in itself it is healing.
‘Radical acceptance means feeling sorrow and pain without resisting. It means feeling desire or dislike without judging ourselves or being driven to act on it.’-Tara Brach
Affirmation: I am accepting myself unconditionally no matter what.
‘Not too loose, not too tight.’ was the first cue we were given, during the mindfulness meditation practice, when I started my Shambhala lineage path more than 10 years ago.
How much was too tight and how much was too loose, I didn’t really understand at that time. The teacher said, ‘your posture and seat should be strong and stable, your breath shall flow naturally and effortlessly. Your frontside, the heart shall always be soft and open-even though this means vulnerability-your back and spine should be active and strong.’ Practicing the mountain pose, the Tadasana- I always give the que; ‘Feel the stability
and that you are strongly grounded from waist down and rooted through your feet . Notice that you are supported by earth beneath you and at the same time, feel the liberation of lengthening through the crown of your head and reaching up to the sky, to the open space’. This gives the feeling of equanimity between stability and freedom-using our physical bodies as a tool-creating the sense of centering and finding a powerful inner balance.
How much do we hold on, attach, cling on and how much can we let go and completely surrender?
How do we hold a yoga pose steady and strong but be soft, effortless and comfortable at the same time? Every yoga pose is an expression of the interplay between the stability and freedom. Stability and having strong foundations in every dimension of our being, lead to freedom and true liberation.
Having too much freedom can also makes us feel vulnerable, fearful, disconnected, insecure and on the other hand, too much stability can make us feel frustrated, limited, rigid and constricted. Then how do we find balance and equanimity in all things, in relationships and in all areas of our lives? According to Buddist teachings, equanimity means ‘to stand in the middle’. It refers to a balance that comes from inner stability-remaining centered when surrounded by turmoil. Buddha taught that we are constantly being pulled in one direction or another, by things or conditions we either want or hope to avoid. These include praise and blame, pleasure and pain, success and failure, gain and loss. The wise person, Buddha said, accepts all without approval or disapproval. This forms the core of the ‘middle way’ and that forms the dore of Buddist practice. The groundbreaking Guru Osho simply said, ‘life is a balance between rest and movement’. So, there is not really a right recepie for balance maybe but it sounds quite simple: Just move, when you have to move and rest when you have to rest as well! The secret of living well, is finding the right balance in everything you do.
Affirmations: I am in perfect balance. I am physically and emotionally connected and healed.
Impermanance and attachements:
According to Budist teachings, impermanance (annica) is one of the three marks of existence, the fundemantal qualities of life as we know it (the other two are; suffering (dukha) and no-self (anatta).
Impermanance in simple terms means that nothing lasts forever, everything is always changing. The only constant is change. Birth. Life. Death. Everything is all about movement and change. Nothing-even the breath we take- stays the same and nothing can last forever. It is said that, ‘the end of every out-breath is actually the end; the opportunity is there to die completely!’ The renowned Zen Master Suzuki Roshi gave the instructions as follows; ‘Sit still. Don’t anticipate. Just be willing to die over and over again.’ Let that be a reminder. Being willing to die over and over again heightens the sense of gratitude and preciousness.
The practice of contemplation of impermanance is meant to remove the cravings and attachements that keep us bound to Samsara (the Wheel of death and rebirth)It is meant to help us to let go of ignorance and illusion and awaken to the boundless freedom, and bliss of our true nature. Buddha said ‘the root of suffering is attachement.’ And a quote from Philip Martin sums it up: Suffering comes from attachements to people and things, our repeated attempts to find something lasting, where there is nothing lasting to be found.’
Pema Chodron, is this century’s amazing Buddist nun, a Pioneer and a leading Tibetian Buddist Teacher. She states that, ‘Impermanance is a principle of harmony. When we don’t struggle against it, we are in harmony with reality.’
Impermanance is real and it can teach us a lot. About fear. About love. About attachments. About letting go. About growth. About death. And about life.
Affirmations: I feel safe in the rhythm and flow of ever-changing life.
I embrace impermanance.
Santhosa (Contentment) & Gratitude/gratefulness:
In Yogic traditions, santhosa is one of the 5 Nyamas, which are the positive duties or observances. Santhosa is explained that, cultivating contentment and satisfaction by learning to maintain equanimity of mind regardless of circumstances. It doesn't mean sitting back and relinquishing the need to do anything. It simply means accepting and appreciating what we have and what we are already, and moving forwards from there. ı have recently started a gratefulness ritual. As part of my new year resolutions, I started to write 3 sentences of gratitude each night in a special notebook, especially thinking about that day. At first, I thought 'well, I am already grateful and think about things that I appreciate in my life', but the actual writing made all the difference and it changed everything in my conscious and subconscious mind! Gratitude turns what we have into enough. As Anthony Robbins says, 'When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.' Gratitude is a powerful process for shifting your energy and bringing more of what you want in your life. It is said that, a grateful heart is a magnet for miracles. So, being grateful for what we already have, working on non-attachment and non-clinging behavior and also not relying on external things, but looking within will be a powerful transformation about santhosa and gratefulness on its own.
Affirmations: I am grateful for every blessing the universe has and will ever create for me. I am grateful for everything in my life.I am grateful for my uniqueness. I am grateful that I can choose gratitude. I am grateful for the time I have today.
Life is a process of learning and we are all works in progress. Every single person if they live long enough, is wounded and somehow struggling in their own unique way in this world. When you allow yourself to completely to see that, you open the door to unlimited compassion and love, which by default, leads to genuine and authentic forgiveness. According to Jack Kornfield, a renown American author who was trained as a Buddist monk for years, 'like the practice of compassion, forgiveness does not ignore the truth of our suffering. Forgiveness is not weak. It demands courage and integrity. Yet, only forgiveness and love can bring about the peace we long for. As Louise Hay said, 'The act of forgiveness takes place in your own mind. It really has nothing to do with the other person.' And Buddha said, 'Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.'
But perhaps, the hardest part of forgiveness is to forgive ourself first, when it comes to self-help. Letting the past go, truly forgiving yourself and setting yourself free is the most powerful thing you can do for yourself on the spiritual and awakening path. Forgiveness is a gift to yourself. And by forgiving others, you also set yourself free from pain and suffering.
Affirmations: Today, I choose forgiveness over anger and hatred. Today, I choose forgiveness over self-destruction. I forgive everyone, including myself. I forgive myself for any and all past mistakes. I forgive myself and set myself free. I choose to forgive.
Meditation and finding self:
An average person thinks 50,000 thoughts a day. Meditation is a way of entering the quiet space that is already there in between those thoughts. The goal of meditation is not to control your thoughts, but it is to stop letting them control you! So, if we give space and time to let he mind calm down to achieve clarity & perspective, the soul starts to speak! And soul always know how to heal. As David Lynch said 'The thing about meditation is; you become more and more You.' And the more regularly and deeply you meditate, the sooner you will find yourself, acting always from a center of inner peace.
I searched for the most effective and suitable form of meditation for myself for years.. I tried several types of Yogic tradition meditation techniques including using mantras. They thought me how to turn inwards and concentrate, focus on within. But then I found the Shambhala lineage, where Mindfulness Meditation technique is used, and I started my trainings. Mindfulness meditation was all about inviting the outside world into my practice, while still not letting the outer world affect me. It was an unconditional, effortless style of meditation, which was practical and could be applied to real life situations. Mindfulness meditation is a form of meditation that helps you practice being here & now. It is a practice of learning how to tame the monkey mind. It teaches us to be a witness to our thought and feelings, to be an observer with full acceptance and without being judgemental towards whatever arises inside us. Budha said, 'the most important moment of meditation, is when you get out of meditation...' So, when we practice all this here on our mats, on the cushions, if we can achieve this effortless state of 'sitting with bliss', finding our inner peace, it will become easier to cope with all life's ups and downs outside, in the world. I would like to end with one of the pioneer teachers of Shambhala tradition, Pema Chodron's writings about meditation and finding ourselves: 'When people start to meditate or work with any kind of spiritual discipline, they often think that somehow they are going to improve, which is a sort of a subtle aggression against who they really are. It's a bit like saying, 'if I jog, I'll be a much better person.' 'If I could only get a nicer house, I'd be a better person'. 'If I could meditate and calm down, I'd be a better person'. Or the scenario maybe that they find fault with others, they might say, 'if it weren't for the fact for my boss & I cant get along, my job would be just great.' And 'if it weren't for my mind, my meditation would be excellent'.But, loving kindness, or maitri, towards ourselves doesn't mean getting rid of anything. Maitri means, that we can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of unworthiness. The point is not to try to change ourselves. Meditation practice isn't about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It's about befriending who we are already. The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That's the ground, that's what we study, that's what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest!'
Affirmations: Meditation improves my health and wellbeing. I am focused on the present moment. I release all stress and tension when I meditate. My mind is at ease and calm. My thoughts are quiet and clear. I am at peace within myself.
You Have A Choice:
How amazing it is to know that you have the power, freedom and ability to choose what to do and how to live your life...This is the greatest gifts in life. Every single thing you do is actually result of a choice. Life is made up of choices big and small, good and bad. Bad choices make good stories, good choices make things go smoothly. And you always have a choice how to react. You don't always have control, but you always have a choice, you are free to choose. So, no matter what the situation is, remind yourself 'I have a choice.' And taking ownership and responsibility for your actions, decisions and choices, also the consequences-is the only way to grow and evolve in life and that is moving forward toward what you want from life. And choosing to be happy, is always possible, cause it is in there within you. Bliss is your essence. As Carl Jung said, 'you are not, what has happened to you. You are what you choose to become.' So, no matter how many miles you have travelled in wrong direction, you always have the choice to make u-turns. And do not let fear or your past mistakes convince you otherwise. Cause you are not your mistakes, you are more than that. Your mistakes or your past do not define you. A very well known yoga guru, Krishna Pattabi Jois said 'it is not your history, but your presence on your mat that matters'. I would like to end this talk with Mariaane Williamson quote about healing and choices; ' We do not heal the past by dwelling there, we heal the past by living fully in the present.'
Affirmations: I choose to be happy. I choose to feel grateful. I choose inner balance and inner peace. I choose love over fear. I choose myself. I choose to shine. I choose life.
I heard a story last week which lead me to think about fear. It was a real story about a guy who is close to his 30's and started ice dancing , because his girlfriend was doing it and she wanted him to try. He was falling so badly in the beginning, his body was aching all over and was covered in bruises, all blue. He was so afraid to fall and hurt again, therefore he was tight and stuck in his moves. Then, he decided to prepare himself with paddings and protection under his clothing. It worked and it wasn't so painful when he fell anymore. As he wasn't afraid of falling anymore, he felt lighter & more freedom in his body and flexibility & openness in his movements-but especially in his mind. He has finally overcome the barriers of fear in this mind and he could completely open up, enjoy and became more liberated in what he is supposed to do. During one of my meditation trainings, the concept we were working on was spiritual warriorship and fears. One of the exercises was to find our one greatest fear. I knew I had many small fears but I was pleasantly surprised that I was struggling to find a big one. It didn't mean I was fearless but it meant I have been working on myself and my possible fears already so long, I had an understanding of its nature. I knew that acknowledging and accepting them set me free and help me be a better peaceful warrior in life. What do you fear the most in your life? We fear to loose, to let go, to make mistakes, to give up, to forgive, to love, to move on. We fear to break our taboos and barriers in our minds, to go out of our comfort zones, to break free of our cocoons that ourselves create.. Fear is usually all about games that our minds like to play. False Evidence Appearing Real. F stands for false-e stands for evidence-a stands for appearing -r stands for real. Our dreams and future can only be created if we learn how to conquer our fears as its said; 'fear does not stop death, but it stops life.' And one important thing to know is that: the opposite of fear is not courage, but love. Affirmations: I release fear, doubt & worry. I am letting go of fear. I breathe in love and breathe out fear.
About 2500 years ago, Patanjali, an Indian sage wrote the 'Yoga Sutras'. It is the most ancient and first written source on about the Yoga system. He wrote about the 8-fold Yoga path, the self-realization fellowship. These are like limbs of a tree and can be studied/practiced at the same time. The first two are Yamas and Nyamas. Yamas are the 5 moral conducts, right actions. Nyamas are the 5 observances or positive duties, right practice. Yamas are; Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (Truth), Asteya (Non-stealing), Brachmacharya (moderation), Aparigraha (non-attachement). Nyamas are; Saucha (purity), Santhosa (contentment), Tapas (self-discipline), Svadhyaya (self-study) and Ishvara Pranidhana (surrender to god or higher force). These form Yoga's ethical foundations.
The very first one from Yamas, Ahimsa means non-injury to self and others. It is a Sanskrit word that literally means non-harm. We use it as a term that implies an attitude of well-being for one self and all others. It expresses cultivating compassion, a reverence for life, a protective caring for all beings. Ahimsa is a practice of non-violence in all aspects of life, from the physical to the mental and emotional.
How does violence manifest in our lives? It can manifest even in small simple things in life and we inflict violence on ourselves and others. For example, not forgiving ourselves and/or others, acting out of fears or expecting too much of ourselves is a form of violence. We inflict violence on daily in subtle ways, but this is actually simply an outward expression of the war or struggles that goes on inside of everyone. I'd like to finish with a quote from Sivananda ''Ahimsa is not mere negative non-injury. It is positive, cosmic love. It is the development of a mental attitude in which hatred is replaced by love. Ahimsa is true sacrifice. Ahimsa is forgiveness. Ahimsa is Shakti (power). Ahimsa is true strength.''
Affirmations: I am now ready to release any feelings of anger that I may hold inside me at this time. I forgive and set myself free.
''The opposite of love is not hate, its indifference
The opposite of art is not ugliness, its indifference
The opposite of faith is not heresy, its indifference
And the opposite of life is not death, its indifference.'' -Elie Wiesel
For me this writing is about reminding us about being truly alive, living life to the fullest with discipline, determination, drive and passion. And indifference and ignorance towards life is completely the opposite of all this. The third of Patanjali's Nyamas-which are the personal observances-is Tapas. The root Sanskrit verb 'tap' means 'to burn'. 'to shine' and evokes a sense of 'fiery discipline', passion or inner fire to be truly alive! Tapas translates as 'austerity' or 'discipline'. It is, disciplined use of energy to enthusiastically engage in life. Tapas can refer to the actions we take, such as service called 'seva' and personal practice called 'sadhana' such as our yoga and meditation practice. Sri Krisna Pattabi Jois said 'Yoga is 99% practice and 1% knowledge.' Therefore, working in a disciplined, committed way in life and yoga, making conscious choices in thoughts, actions and our words lead us toward our truest selves and desired goals. for example, anytime we dedicate ourselves to developing healthy habits, tapas occurs. Cleansing, burning off our unhealthy habits or whatever does not serve and help us anymore is a way of tapas. And it is said in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali that ' the removal of impurities allows the body and mind to function more efficiently.'
Affirmations: I cultivate discipline. My purpose is clear, my mind is decisive. I am disciplined and also relaxed. I have a realistic and balanced schedule for my seva, sadhana and personal needs.
The Yoga Journey:
I believe the best quote to explain what yoga is this: '' Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self''. After a sports accident and the recovery of my broken spine, I started my transformational yoga journey in 2000. Back then, I didn't know that yoga would not only heal my physical body, but also help me with my intense mind and mental states, my fluctuating moods and roller coaster emotions. I wondered if there was more of ME, under all that turbulence. I was determined to uncover all the layers and yoga offered the tools I needed. My first yoga lesson was
wonderful and first thing I thought after class was 'I have to TEACH this!'' What I felt and experienced was so valuable, I felt the need to share it with everyone. It was exactly how they defined yoga: It was 'invigoration in relaxation. Freedom in routine. Confidence through self-control. Energy within and energy without.'' I started a disciplined sadhana (practice) through my physical body and then through years, with the help of very valuable teachers, yogis and gurus' teachings, I started to go into deeper soul work. Self-reflection was a practice in itself. I recited the Tibetian mantra 'Om Mani Padme Hum' for many years. It meant ' the treasure within the lotus flower'. The meaning was so precious for me and resonated well with my journey as it helped me to stay connected with home-my true self. I learned and accepted that there is 'No mud, no lotus'. The lotus grows in the dark and mud, but eventually it always blooms beautifully towards sun and light. Through this journey, ı also learned that we are not our thoughts. We are not our faults. We are not our emotions. We are not our work. we are not our appearance or our body. We are more than that and the acceptance of this and letting go of our identity, egos, attachments will lead us to our pure selves and true liberation. It is said that '' Its our mind, and that alone, that chains us or sets us free.'' All this might take a lifetime to learn and reach but I believe it is worth working towar
Affirmations: I am what I am. Secure in myself, I accept whatever it is. Free in my heart, I live without fear. I welcome every opportunity for further growth.
A mantra is a word, a syllabus or a group of words believed to have a special spiritual resonance-such as OM. It is considered to be representation of pure consciousness. Recitation of the sound OM, helps our minds to be fully in the present moment. As the vibration of the sound OM is felt through our bodies, our brains and when it fills the space surrounding us, it creates a powerful healing effect on each one of us. OM is the sound of universal consciousness connecting us all. It represents oneness, unity of mind-body-spirit and non-dualism. Let's chant OM three times now.
Affirmations: I am strong. I am healthy. I am alive. I am grateful. I am at peace. I have enough. I do enough. I AM enough.
Divya Beste Dolanay, Holistic Wellness
*A new contemplation topic will be added to this article regularly.
*These talking notes are taken from my Recovery Yoga/Mindfulness Meditation classes in Amsterdam, 2017-present
*Resources: The notes are gathered from my Shambhala Tradition teachings/trainings, Yogic tradition teachings and researches from various articles about Budist concepts.
Cover Photo credit: Asya Sayın
Photo Credits: Hakan Koçoglu, Burak Dolanay