Emancipate Yourself From Mental Slavery

I have loved Bob Marley’s music since I was a little kid.  My father who is Czech, used to play it on the weekends in the summertime while he’d sit by the pool reading his newspaper.  It was odd to me that my dad which at the time was a very strict european man who enjoyed big band radio, classical music, and oldies could also enjoy Bob Marley so much.  “Redemption Song” is one of my favorites.

Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, None but ourselves can free our minds – Bob Marley.

What a beautiful quote!  Is it not the heart of Yoga?  Bob Marley’s lyrics are sublimely written with their essence held in love and captured with melodies that uplift hearts all over the world.

It is true that no one and I mean NO ONE can liberate us from our minds but ourselves!  Most of us are in a mental jail 99% of the time.  What do I mean by that? Well I mean that we have become slaves to whatever our mind wants to think about it.  Most of us don’t have any control about what we think about.  Thinking happens to us.  Thoughts happen to us.  Can you imagine a day when all our unnecessary chatter stops?  What would it be like?   Peaceful.  Why?   Because thoughts create emotions If we learn to control what we think about then we can learn to focus on positive thoughts which will in time lead to a peaceful state of mind.

Everyone has glimpses of non-thought.  Problem is we usually let it zip by at lightening speed and we don’t notice. Inside we resonate with non-thought.  Sometimes we notice this while watching the sun set.  Something big and expansive happens inside us and our minds become still.  Take a look around you (especially at the beach) and you will see how everyone is captured by the moment.   The moment has captured our attention so intently that we experience peace of mind.  A moment of mental stillness allows us to remember that we are much more than our thoughts.  Moments of non-thought allow us to connect with that which is deeper inside us then our minds.  It is in these moments we connect with our Spirit.

Yoga is the process of freeing our minds from ourselves.  It takes  a lot of mental discipline and no one can do the work for us.  Someone can only explain logically and guide us in the right direction, but ultimately, we must do the work ourselves. We must make the decision that we are tired of living in a mental jail and choose to emancipate ourselves once and for all.


Umcka Cold Care: A Holistic Remedy

I have to take a moment and give well deserved props to Umcka Cold Care!  This stuff is so neat!  It’s a wonderful holistic remedy!  Check out the link Umcka Cold Care.

Thanks Candy for introducing this product.  It has been a life saver this winter.  I wanted to put it up on our blog so that everyone can take advantage of this fantastic product!  How I was introduced to this was that the moment you feel like you are coming down with a cold start taking the drops 3-5 time a day until 48 hours after last symptoms disappear.   Seems to work like a charm!  Try it for yourself!

Make sure to read up on directions and make sure you are not allergic.  But it’s all natural and homeopathic and made from Pelargonium sidoides, a species of geranium unique to South Africa.  It seems to relieve upper respiratory tract irritations, shortens duration, reduces severity of symptoms.

Try it for yourself and let us know the results.  I know that it is available at Better Health on Santa Fe Drive and I’m sure online.

Do You Live From Your Mind or Heart?

I was visiting with a friend last night and sharing stories of adventures in India.  It was an adventurous time for me when I was there.  I had no real plan and I had bought a one way ticket with no itinerary, no time constraints, no schedule, and was traveling alone.  I remember when I was getting ready to leave several people asked me, “aren’t you scared?”  Some people thought I was  crazy to travel across the world to a place I’ve never been, alone.  I though, was excited.  The closer the date came the more I felt alive.  As I flew across the ocean and the hours and miles began separating me from home I felt the excitement grow exponentially.  I also felt fear of the unknown.  I had no idea what to expect.  I had no idea what life would bring to my feet when I landed.  As I felt the fear of the unknown I also felt that the more we jump into the unknown the more alive we become.  I was alert, present, conscious, on my toes, so that I didn’t miss a beat.  I felt like my full being was completely immersed in the experience and my mind was silent because it had no comparison to relate the experience too, so all analyzing, criticising, and judgement stopped.

I was telling my friend last night that the times I’ve felt most alive are the times I’ve been most uncomfortable. The more new a situation is, the more unknown, the more I absorb the moment because I have no preconceived idea of what it can be like. I feel like I step out of my mind and into being-ness.  So many times the world becomes stale, repetitious, and boring because we are not fully living the experience.  Our mind has a habit of labeling every new moment.  It likes to label and move on.   But when we start labeling everything with only words we start containing the un-containable and we start missing out on the mystery that lies beyond words and beyond mind.  Life is meant to be lived from your being(your heart) not from your head.

When we live from the mind life loses a sense of magic.  When we live from our heart we fully awaken to life.  To do this we don’t need to travel across the world although it is easier to make this connection when you are somewhere unknown and new.  The mind has nothing to compare the experience to so it is easier for it to stay silent.  We can learn to bring mindfulness to every moment of our lives.  If we can fully immerse ourselves in whatever we are doing, the moment comes to life and life becomes more beautiful.  Living from the mind makes the world lose it’s luster, specialness, and newness.

I will give you an example.  Next time you are with a baby watch how the baby is alert and absorbing everything in their vicinity without judgement.  Watch how they are looking in awe of everything around them.  Take them outside.  Place them under a tree and watch as they are completely captivated.  When is the last time you REALLY looked at a tree, or on that note anything?  If you look with your full being the experience is breathtaking. Our problem is that we mentally label everything.  And once we label things we stop looking deeply.  We lose depth in our perception of things.  We look at the tree, and label it “tree” and don’t look again.  We are missing all the beauty, magic, abundance, and life around us.  If we live solely from the mind, life becomes dull.

Next time you aren’t in a hurry go sit outside and relax for a few minutes.  Focus on your breath.  Keep your mind on your breath and then start looking around you.  Don’t label anything, just look.  Everything will start to look more beautiful, more detailed, more alive!  And this is always there!  But we miss it when we are stuck in our minds.  The moment you label a tree, “tree” you take the mystery of nature, the beauty of nature and contain it in a four letter word.  You completely lose the essence and spirit of it by labeling.  We can never capture the mystery of life in words.  That is why it is called “mystery.”  You can only partially capture it by fully being present.

The definition of spiritually in a nutshell is very simple, it means to understand spirit.  To understand spirit we must come out from the mind.  The mind can never understand spirit because it is part of the body.  Only the heart, your own being, your very essence can understand spirit.  And you can never know spirit through labels.  You can only know through experience.  Take time to step out of your mind and connect to your being.  As you practice this exercise, more and more often you will see that the world and it’s beauty open up to you in the silent spaces of mind.

Every moment will be a new experience, every moment will be unknown, and there will always be a sense of adventure, and you will be connected to life at a deeper and more meaningful level.

Everyday, every moment becomes an adventure because the labeling, judging, criticizing disappears and what is left is a knowing-ness that we can never fully understand anything.  Whatever you perceive while mind fully dropping your old experience of it becomes new again.  That is why we can bring newness to old experience.  Take a family member, look at them with fresh eyes, stop labeling and you may be surprised to see someone you don’t even know standing in front of you.  Better yet,  take a look at yourself without labeling.  You may be surprised that you don’t even know who is reflected back at you or who you thought existed does not.  This is the magic of mindfulness.  That is the magic of a still mind. This is the magic of dropping from the head to the heart.

Peace and Grace.

Sandra Vanatko


Out of Sight, Out of Mind? Maybe Not!

I was mountain biking yesterday afternoon, something I enjoy doing in my free time.  It’s a time I feel I fully let go.  I love riding fast, clearing my mind, being focused, and having to pay complete attention to what I’m doing lest getting hurt!  I think that is why many people are attracted to intense sports like mountain climbing, rock climbing, and even car racing.  There is no time for the mind and in those moments we meditate, we become fully alert, and fully alive!  But that is another blog. Let’s continue, before I get sidetracked.

So I am mountain biking out in the woods and before too long I come up on an old rusted washing machine sitting out in the middle of nowhere. I find it peculiar and then wonder if there is anywhere in the world left untainted by human beings.  Is there anywhere that has been left natural without human disturbance?   I keep riding and come up on an old chair tossed away, and then, and old worn out couch.  I am saddened at first because I feel disregard and disconnect for nature.  When I see this I feel a lack of respect for Mother Earth which provides EVERYTHING we need for life.  Then after a moment, I begin to be amused and chuckle.

Is it possible that whoever tossed their garbage in the woods thought that if they don’t see it that it’s disappeared or doesn’t have any repercussion?  Hmm, I wonder, “Out of sight, Out of mind, maybe?”  Is that our motto?  As I contemplated this I started giggling because, yes absolutely, this is the minds nature, I see it all the time.  I see it in myself.  We have a tendency to turn our head when it comes to seeing only what we want to see.  Here, the attitude is, “well if I dump out here it won’t bother anyone.”  Or even worse, “well it’s my property, I can do what I want.”  That is silly, can we ever really “own” anything.  NO.  You get to borrow things, even your body, you borrow it from the earth but you give it back at death.  You leave this world empty-handed,  you never really “own” anything.

Our attitude seems to be one of “if I don’t see it, it goes away.”  This is fiction!  This is a wrong thought!  Where else do we do this throughout our day?   We definitely do this with our philosophy on healing and health.  We treat symptoms today, medicines often  only ‘hide” symptoms but don’t cure.  Yikes!  We have a headache and grab for aspirin, the headache goes away, many times only to return a few hours later.  So did we help ourselves or did we just temporarily hide something out of view?  Did we help ourselves or  just suppress symptoms?  To help ourselves we need to shine a bright light on our actions.  Why can’t we ask ourselves first, “why do I have a headache?” before reaching for an aspirin.  This quick contemplation can reveal the path to healing but we are not in the habit of questioning our symptoms.  A headache may be coming for a variety of reasons, from too much stress, not enough water, lack of sleep, to hormone imbalance, or any other number of causes, but the goal is getting to the root cause so that you can change the life style habit that is causing the symptom.

Years ago I had a boyfriend that would get his monthly bills and shove them in the drawer.  I found that humorous.  I would wonder “do you think that since they are out of view you don’t have to pay them and that you won’t be held accountable for them?”  I watched as small bills which could have easily been managed grew into huge problems.  Late fees and interest and finally a bill collector hounding payment.  We are held accountable for all our actions.  Action equals reaction.  That is the law of karma.

We do this with our body all the time.  Most people completely ignore the body until a crisis occurs.  Many people only start Yoga after they start feeling aches and pains or worse when they’ve been diagnosed with an illness. Aches and pains are part of the way the body communicates to us.  Our body speaks to us through feelings, emotions, moods, aches, pains, discomfort, and disease.  Aches and pains are actually a hidden blessing.  When you feel aches, pain, discomfort, anxiety, depression, etc it’s your body’s way of trying to get your attention.  Instead of listening most people have a habit of taking medicine to reduce or vanish symptoms.  This is dangerous because what you resist persists and when you only manage symptoms and don’t get to the root of the problem you not promoting healing you are just suppressing symptoms.

So what are you hiding from view?  What have you dumped out of your sight?  What message is your body trying to convey to you?   Take time everyday to notice what is happening inside your body and your mind so that you notice any small changes and you will be well on your way to bringing wonderful insight to your health.  The practice of Yoga is wonderful for helping us connect with our bodies.  When a small part of the day is dedicated to paying attention to the details and workings of our body we become more in tune with it.  If something changes we are more quick to pick up any change in the body thus hopefully avoiding major breakdowns.  Yoga increases body consciousness.  Yoga also helps us to confront things that in the past we may have had the attitude of “out of sight, out of mind.”  With Yoga you tune in and the outcome is healing and health!