Monthly Archives: December 2012

Wishing you a Happy and peaceful New Year!

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Despite writing an earlier blog entry on how much easier it is to adopt new patterns and positive habits in our lives in the spring time than the depths of winter, I cannot resist the new year.  I relish the opportunity to start anew yet again, to try to do better than last year, but also to look at the positives that have come out of the preceding year. 2012 has been a good year on so many levels. Nationally, we have celebrated the diamond jubilee, closely followed by a spectacular Olympic games. We have every reason to look back fondly on the past year. And the world didn’t end last week, which is a huge bonus!

On a personal level, this has been a mixed year, one in which I have experienced both highs and lows, both loss and gain, but one in which I have learned to see the blessings in disguise, the lessons in the events I’ve been tempted to call ‘bad’, and have learnt to lessen my attachment to the ‘good’ things. I have learnt the importance of taking better care of myself, so that I can take better care of others, and to that end have renewed my commitment to a daily yoga and meditation practice – something which has been ongoing  for several months now, so if you find your resolve weakening over the next few weeks, you always have another chance to start again, whatever the time of year.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been doing a daily practice of Kriya yoga, which requires me to learn a new practice each week, whilst reducing the number of rounds of previous practices. Prior to that I was working on specific exercises for individual chakras for a month at a time. Several times, I’ve found a particular practice so beneficial that I haven’t really wanted to move on, but I find it helpful to continue to follow my practice schedule, thereby not allowing myself to get too attached to one specific kriya, but instead flowing from one practice to another, accepting the individual benefits whilst still uncovering the secrets of the whole picture.

When first learning to meditate, we may feel nothing until one day we suddenly experience something which makes us understand why we are doing this in the first place. And then we may wish for this experience every time we practice. And it won’t come! It may take days, or weeks, before we feel that way again. But we persevere. We accept that our meditation practice, just like life in general, offers us the highs and the lows, the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’. We learn to see beyond the way we usually label things; we see both the good in the bad and the bad that sometimes comes from what we see as good in the first instance.  We learn that we don’t always know if things are good or bad, and so we learn acceptance and equanimity.

So this New Year, I resolve to maintain and develop my practice, and to foster these qualities of acceptance and equanimity as much as I possibly can. And to be kind to myself on those occasions I don’t manage it, but to allow myself to start anew again and again!

Doing something new

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It’s so easy to get stuck in a routine, to become set in our ways, to hold our opinions too forcefully. To stagnate, allowing no room for growth. We can stifle our creativity, our potential to be other than as we are now.  At the root of this may be a deeply held belief that we are right, that there are no other, better ideas we could explore, no alternative way of doing things that could match our current methods.

But, very often, life does not let us get away with this way of thinking. It has a tendency to shake us up, to challenge us and to force us to change. This may occur through some event in our lives, such as an illness, or the loss of a job or a primary relationship. Something which jolts us out of our complacency and forces us to try something new.

Alternatively, we may become bored with our lives. With the sameness of our day to day routines. We don’t necessarily have to wait for some major disruption to come along, or to book our annual holiday to make a change. Perhaps there’s something you have always wanted to try that you have never got around to, or something you used to do which has fallen by the wayside. If we learn to listen to our inner selves, we can find those things which will wake us up, and we may become more whole in the process.  As Swami Radhananda says,

‘Through self-inquiry we can crack the shells of our narrowly held concepts and find our strength of character’

~ ‘Living the Practice'(2010)

We open ourselves up to the possibility of growth and development, perhaps of  becoming more than we thought we could be.  And as Swami Radhananda continues,

‘Even a little idea or action in a new direction has a great effect on old static concepts’

By really looking for small ways in which we can introduce change into our lives, by examining which of our beliefs still serve us and which we have outgrown, we start a whole process of change which may lead us in all kinds of interesting directions.  So what are we waiting for?  Let’s all try something new today!

I’d love to hear where making a small change in your life may have led you – leave a comment below.