Practices and Tools


Back in the late 80’s, Jacquelyn Small wrote a fantastic book called Transformers. It was a revolutionary book that influenced me more than anything else I can remember at the time. This was long before Eckhart Tolle came out with The Power of Now, long before Byron Katie developed The Work, and long before Satsang became popular. And in that wonderful book, there’s one particularly wonderful sentence that stands out among the rest.

“You don’t have to be ‘perfectly enlightened’ in order to be an agent of enlightening.”

It’s really worth savoring the taste of that statement like a good wine. Sip it. Let it linger on your taste buds for a few moments. That little sentence dispels so many myths and so many reasons we give ourselves to hold back our true gifts. (more…)

Hey!

Did you catch our conversation tonight with Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks?  We loved everything that unfolded.

If you missed it, please listen to the replay here.

If you were on the call, please post your comments and reactions with the “Add a Comment” link above

So much love to you!

Arjuna and Chameli

This is a practice from my book Leap Before You Look.

Lie down on your back
Under a cloudless sky.
Open yourself to the nature of infinity.
Let yourself move out infinitely in any direction
And be soberly present with the unavoidable fact
That as far as you travel,
You are still only halfway there.
There are no limits.
You cannot think about infinity.
It will blow your mind.
You can only become one with the infinite.
Look into the sky without blinking.
Let the sky enter you, so there is no inner and outer remaining.
Then close your eyes and stare into the inner limitless sky.

This simple practice, to look into the open, cloudless sky, has been used in every tradition in every age. I was introduced to it in the Tibetan refugee community of Bodh Nath in Katmandhu by the great Dzogchen teacher Choki Nyima Rimpoche. Once it is pointed out to you, it becomes so obvious—it was there all along. Many of us get involved in spiritual practices and teachings, searching for who we really are, and the answer is right there above our heads all along: you only have to look up into the vastness of the sky. This practice is great for modern humanity, as we have grown so used to a man-made world. Everything has been modified; everything has our fingerprints all over it, except the sky. The vastness of the sky cannot be touched, cannot be modified; it remains the last outpost of absolute innocence. (more…)

This is a practice from my book Leap Before You Look.

At any time of the day,
Evening or night,
Make yawning into a conscious practice.
No need to wait until you feel like it:
Yawn anyway.
Open your jaw wide and stretch it.
Make it a big yawn.
Take a deep breath,
Into the lower part of the belly.
With the exhale, make a sound: “Aaaaah!”
Do it again.
In less than a minute, the body will respond:
You will continue to yawn naturally.
Notice a change in your breathing rhythm,
And a natural release of the diaphragm.
Do this for about five minutes, three or four time a day.

This simple practice will change everything in just a few minutes. The key is to yawn consciously—not to wait until the body yawns on its own—and to yawn totally, generously, with maximum stretch and sound. If you can, take a short nap after using this practice; if your body needs rest in that moment, it will naturally take what it needs after some conscious yawning.

The benefits of conscious yawning are too many to list here. You will discover just how much this supports presence very quickly on your own. So, here is just a short summary. (more…)

A few days ago, after a particularly exquisite evening with my wife Chameli, I put this post up on Facebook before going to bed:

“I have had many, many great teachers in my life. A super abundance. No one and nothing comes close to the woman who is now asleep in the bedroom. My marriage has become the guru, the salvation, the muse, the crack through which the divine shines through.”

When I woke up the next morning, there were the usual offerings of people who liked the post as well as comments. One man had the vulnerability and courage to post this on facebook:

“Thank you Arjuna for this sharing, I feel like [I’m] in front of a choice which is between feeling envious of what you have and I don’t, or instead to decide that ‘I want that too,’ and, as you show, it is possible…”

I was touched.

Over the next days, I got several more messages like this from men: vulnerable men, honest men, rare and courageous men. They came in as private messages on Facebook or through our website, and they all said basically the same thing:

“I read your Facebook post. I want what you have. Show me how to get it.”

So, friends, here it is. The short guide on how to worship a woman, and why it’s the wisest thing that a man can do. First of all, lets pop a few very understandable doubts that you might have. I’m familiar with all of them.

1.    “I’m wounded and damaged in my relationships to the feminine.”
So am I, dear brother, so am I. My parents divorced in a messy way when I was four. I grew up alone with my mother. She did her very best to provide for me, but she was unhappy and insecure. By the time I started to have relationships with women myself in my early teens, I discovered that I had a mountain of resentments, fears, and separation in my relation to the feminine.  The conscious practice of worship can become a part of healing the wounds. (more…)

Here’s a practice from my book Leap Before You Look.

Over family dinner,
With your spouse and children, or your parents and siblings or even a group of your friends,
Swap personalities among yourselves.
Have everyone write their name down on a small piece of paper,
And place all the names in a bowl.
Mix them up, and have everyone pick a name.
For five minutes, you will become that person completely,
Not as a caricature, but with totality.
Feel what it is like to have their body, their feelings, their thoughts.
Relate to the others at the table authentically from this place.
If you get your own name, take on your own personality
As if for the first time.
After five minutes, you can switch, until you have all become everyone else at the table.

A family can be a place of confinement or of liberation. Many of us have come to see the dynamics within the family as restrictive habits of restraint handed down from one generation to the next, and so we come to see our kin as the opposite of freedom. Fortunately, it does not take much to reverse that and allow those closest to us to become our allies in freedom. Families become restrictive to the degree that everyone is allocated a strict role to which they must conform. “Go wash your hands.” “Why, Mummy?” “Because I say so.” She says it with tension in her voice, like she is about to burst. The teenage son rolls his eyes at the ceiling. The father glances at his BlackBerry, hoping it will not be noticed. Even our pets go on automatic pilot. Everyone ends up living in a small and well-defined box. A parent is expected to be responsible, serious, hardworking, and at times, dictatorial. The youngest child is cute, adoring, carefree, sometimes irresponsible. The oldest child is expected to be independent, a leader, and to sometimes reject authority.

These are all roles we perform, and they can easily be confused with who we really are. As soon as you slip out of the automation of the role, however, even for just a moment, there is an explosion of freedom and creativity that is suddenly available. The youngest child also has the seeds of parenthood: just see her with her dolls or a puppy. The mother carries with her still the seeds of carefree enjoyment: just look at her on the rare vacation without the kids.

It does not take much to reverse all that, to allow those closest to us to become our allies in freedom. Slip out of your tight role as you might pull a T-shirt over your head. Pass the roles around. You will expand beyond who you thought you were, and laugh out loud at the same time.

You can discover 72 practices like this in Leap Before You Look.

Buy it now from our online store.

Here is a practice from my 2008 book Leap Before You Look.

When you notice yourself caught up in a feeling,
Like resentment, rejection, or despair,

Cradle that feeling as though it were a small baby.
It may even help you to take a cushion
And physically cradle the feeling in your arms.
Sing to it.
Soothe it.
Let that feeling know that it is accepted, loved, and welcomed.
In fully accepting grief,
You become acceptance itself,
Which is none other than your natural state. (more…)

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