Monday, July 18, 2016

June July 2016 Disturbance in the Vitality Field

June July 2016 Disturbance in the Vitality Field


Brussels airport bombed by ISIL
Orlando nightclub massacre
Istanbul airport entrance bombed
Police Shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling
Dallas officers shot
France truck driver ploughs down dozens




In the 30-40 days previous to this writing, there have been 6 news events that caused major dislocations in the world's sense of safety and stability. With the Republican National Convention just around the corner, may God forbid another paroxysm of violence: Black Lives Matter against White Me 


First. However that confrontation works out, the forces of polarization are afoot: the dogs of war are running. Sunni vs. Shia, billionaires vs. gig economy workers, atheists vs. believers, conservatives vs. progressives.

As the world nears a tipping point, which way will you go?


Irresistibly, those in the center politically are being pulled to the extremes. As poorly educated and willfully ignorant people move to the forefront of American politics and world leadership, the questions of how to live a life of decency and compassion are brought up more urgently. The great dramatist Shakespeare presented this as Hamlet's dilemma: whether to bear "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them."

This is the dilemma now facing moderates in America and the world.


Taking arms seems to be a choice anyone might think of today. With more guns than people, the United States is the country where obtaining firearms is easy. Gun advocates urge everyone to have one. But those who own and carry guns don't seem to be safer, they seem to be in more danger. The danger is deeper than physical, carrying a gun causes violence to the soul. For to carry means to clean, to load, to shoot, to practice violence.

No less, the practice of brutal gory violence in movies and gaming causes harm to the individual spirit and so the fabric of the neighborhood. It's far too late to control violence around us, but must we continue to submit to watching it for entertainment?

Whether or not to own and maintain a modern weapon is a decision more of us will face. Is the potential risk of death by firearm greater for those who own a gun? Is the cost of owning the means to easily trigger the death of a fellow human worth the effort and anxiety it brings? Will those who own guns, on the average, survive better than those who don't?

There is a way to study violence without succumbing to its gruesome internal lust. 


"Harmony with vital energy" is the study of how to neutralize violent force through turning it against itself.

This way is to align with the part of the human self that is beyond cause and effect, and to practice defusing violence. To give ones life in this practice is a possibility worth considering.

It's time for gun owners and those who resist gun violence to move beyond the fault line. Everyone who shoots and everyone who bans guns from their life can practice "Harmony with Vital Energy."



Wednesday, April 6, 2016

2016, First -->C Movement and Stillness Meditation "Back to the Blog"

Greetings in Springtime to all who value personal practice!



My prayer, arriving with this, is that you are thriving or, if not quite so, then returning to your inner connection with Infinite Healing Energy. Blessings be!




Reflecting on my efforts to bring harmony to those in my circles, I've decided that my social media connections need more attention. This means I'll schedule a weekly slot for reading others' and outputting my own. Not a radical shift, just a bit of care for what can be done to bring harmony in.

When you see "-->C" it's me! That's my moniker and typescript for "communication."

Likewise, the smiley I use to send love and gratitude: "</ ; - ) =>"; it's me in a baseball cap with a wink and a smile.

Watch for -->C coming with </ ; - ) =>.


Benefits of a regular yoga practice: 


Bessel van der Kolk, a leading researcher on the effects of stress on the human person, recently found that still meditation has little effect upon deeply healing PTSD. Systematic movement must be a part of addressing trauma and chronic stress. 

To be effective in reducing stress, your little daily personal practice should include: stating an intention, static poses, mindful movement, deep rhythmic belly breathing, and sounding the vocal cords inwardly. 

After practice, observe silent stillness for a few minutes. Who can not make time to integrate practice into their life? 

Even a daily five-minute walk in the park will do it!

You can always check in with me, just click the link below, in my emails:

http://movementandstillnessmeditation.blogspot.com


</ ; - ) =>,


Jido Lee Ferguson
"Dr. Yasan Jido"

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Meditation on Mercy Queen of Heaven (the Enmei Juku Kannon Gyo) for Tara


Ten-phrase life prolonging chant for Mercy Goddess, prosody celebrating new classes and relationships.

For originals and expert translations, see one or more of the following:


Mercy Queen of Heaven, make your appearance here!


Your essence is enlightening being.



Breathing in, we feel your life breath; breathing out, we offer you the golden orb of our loving kindness. Noticing your pulse in our veins, we send the wish for freedom from suffering to our adorable ones, receive it ourselves, and reflect it again to the difficult ones.

Light and your Cohorts of Color, teach our substance your faith in the Way Seeking Mind, one with gentle teachings of True Nature, as we become part of the rainbow school--in ease and sweet nothing, existence melting into eternity, no-self marked by own passing, by relieving
endless suffering, and by intertwined causal skeins, endless joy beaming.

At such entreaties, the Goddess of Mercy might make her appearance in physical form and human attention every morning and evening. Even when the physical manifestation of this life form is present, practice is needed to unveil her unconditioned emptiness beneath conditioned form. 


Unrealized beings of light may not be able to catch sight of her traces until some beautiful numinous experience connects them to innate brain patterns associated with states of bliss. These tracks are not easy to find. Even students attuned to her appearance or who practice emptying the mind might not catch the fragrance of liberation emitted from her pores every single time she passes. 

Like samadhi, there is a word for coming conscious in the morning, as there is for preparing for the night. And the experiences of waking up, of deep meditation, and of surrendering to sleep recapitulate the meeting with the Goddess, or her appointed agent, innumerable times each day.

So focus your attention on the likeness of Mercy. Surrender to thinking of her action. For she listens to those of your thoughts that you witness, and she hears all the cries of the suffering world through the ears of her attendant ones.  Never recoiling, she embraces anguish just as well as mere dissatisfaction by perfect reception. She pours her soothing balm on honored ones and beings in the six realms equally, though only those who open themselves can follow its course into its resting place deep in their marrow.

Mind gives thought after thought to consciousness. Leading the tamed wild mind step by step toward home. Perfect incense rising to make a sacred cloud of attention around Mercy's grace.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Experience Yoga From The Inside

Picture by Ryan McGuireExperience Yoga From The Inside. 


For Yoga is learning how to learn, the key skill you need to transform your life. When you learn the ABC’s of Yoga, you move from stressed out to going with the flow. Learning to flow through movements, breathing, and meditation is the key to managing stress.

Start wherever you are, walking, standing, sitting, lying down, or moving along in a vehicle. Come awake by noticing the activity in your body. Make a conscious movement or take a conscious pose and hold it. Whether moving or still, notice.

Use the word “grace” to warm up for activity, breathing, and meditation. 

G is for grounded, noticing how your position relies on gravity and thinking about your relationship to mother earth. 

R is for relax, moving your attention to gently releasing the muscles of your face and relaxing your shoulders. 

A is for aware, becoming aware of your eyes and color, ears and sound, nose and scent, tongue and taste, body and touch, and finally mind and thinking. Notice what is in front and behind you, to the left and right, above and below. 

C is for centered, so sway from left to right, forward and back, coming to the perfect balanced position. 

And E is for energized, reaching arms out (except if you’re driving) as widely as you can and stretching your hands open. The winds of grace are always blowing, we only need to raise the sails of practice to receive their energy.

After consciously moving, breathe. Notice how you breathe as you bring consciousness to the breath. Open the lower abdomen, filling your lungs from the hips to the ribs, then filling the center, expanding the ribcage. Finally, open the upper chest as you bring in the last ounce of air. Pause and then slowly exhale, letting the passage of the air to the outside bring awareness to the lungs coming together. At the end of the centering breath, pause. Then repeat three times. Finally, let your breath return naturally after the last pause.

After activity and breathing comes centering. To center yourself in your experience, bring your attention and focus within. Soften your gaze, look downward, or if safe for you, close the eyes. When thoughts of the past arise, notice them and let them fall away. When you think about the future, let it be. As you bring your attention into the present moment, notice any sensation in your body. Focus your attention there and then let it go. As thoughts come up, let them pass by, neither pushing nor pulling, but just noticing them as they arise and pass by.

Paying attention in this way, you begin to give your interior person the attention and respect you deserve. As you notice and exercise the self, you begin the process of self mastery. Once begun, your inner experience of Yoga can grow through the ABC’s to a more vital, balanced, and healthy practice. 

Thus you realize the key skill for transformation.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

TLS, ITP, and the Yogas

Written after attending a class whose purpose is to impart the skills of mindfulness (as a proven method of stress management) to youth in schools.


In a Church in downtown Oakland, a group of
40 educators and students stand 
together,
and begin an

(A)
action: swinging arms and hips in the simplest twist from side to side.


Following directions from our class leader, BK Bidyut Bose, 
we make a "puff" to each side, 

(B)
breathing consciously as we move.

After ten rotations, we "relax and release" looking down at the floor or closing our eyes.

Then we check our 

(C) 
centering, rocking forward and back.

The effect is measurable and immediate, with a large majority of the class moving to a calmer, less anxious, more focused state of body and mind.


In those moments, we learned a skill -- a set of behaviors, often using tools, 
that delivers an outcome. Like cooking or shooting hoops, this series of 
action-breathing-centering (ABCs) has results. 

Of all the skills we can learn, some are life skills -- those that support and advance our growth, like healthy eating. Transformative life skills are those that, when practiced consistently over the long term, can change our lives for the better. BK Bose teaches only Transformative Life Skills, TLS for short.


TLS is a curriculum.

In 48 lessons, the exercises of moving meditation, rhythmic breathing, and silent centering convey the basics of the skill of mindfulness, also known as concentration. And when a student gains skill in concentration, it has been shown to have an immense positive effect on learning ability.

When transformative life skills, the ABC's of moving, breath, and stillness, are
incorporated into everyday life along with practices designed to improve health
and connectedness (vigorous exercise, conscious eating, compassionate action),
the transformative skills can become integrated into a daily practice. Such an
integrated daily practice, especially when it supports a code of ethics designed
to refrain from harming others, shapes the body and mind, strengthening the
heart and releasing the sacred imagination.

This lifestyle has been called integral transformative practice, and the term, when capitalized (ITP for short), is an object of study and mastery for people who want to lead a fuller life.

TLS and ITP fall into a class of practice, in the broadest sense, that might be
called called "the Yogas"-- not just the repetition of poses and striving for
physical mastery in the flow, but a complete folding of mindfulness into life.

To be a Yoga, a set of practices would need to meet certain criteria: 
  • incorporate a flow of movement, practiced regularly with benefit to physical well-being
  • attend to breath and notice the relationship between breathing patterns and emotional state or mood
  • bring mental focus to bear upon consciously experiencing each and every moment
  • completely, dwelling less in thoughts of past or plans for future than in the here and now connect to self and then to others in a dynamic process of deepening life
  • skills and wisdom



Monday, November 26, 2012

Prayer To Share





Oh Holy Mother Earth,
We give you Gratitude and Love;
For human habitation, a place to rest and sleep:
For cave and hut and lean-to,
For cliff-dwelling, tent, and yurt,
For cabin, house, and flat,
Apartment, shelter, street, and condo--
Thanks to the Great Mind that finds us a place to be protected from the
elements, and for mind connecting us to that which is Mystery beyond. 

We are in touch with thankfulness for all that mediates our suffering--
For ground on which to stand and move and dance,
For water flowing everywhere we are, 
For food and friends to share it with,
For heat and light to cook and live in ,
And for our benefactors:
Teachers who passed along civilizing influences, public servants who
provide for care of the commons, spiritual leaders who give their
kindness without agenda, and all sentient beings who surround us with
their help. 

We are ready through our love and gratitude to receive the great
commission: to love and serve the Highest Mind, connecting
body-heart-mind-and-soul in trust to Mystery, and thus to create
consciousness.

Humbly we promise to go forth into this world in peace, 
To draw courage and hold fast to goodness,
Never to return unkind actions, gestures, and words--but also never to
cooperate with oppression,
To offer encouragement to the faint-of-heart,
Give support to weaker ones,
Help those whose suffering we see, 
And honor all sentient beings and this our planetary Home. 

Thus we thank the Source of Being, we stand in the Ground of Being, and
we move in pure love, only toward the fulfillment of the unfolding of
Being Itself.







If this prayer touches you, send it to ten of your contacts, or
translate it into another language, post it on a page, add
illustrations and print it and place it where you can see it daily. The
further  this prayer spreads out through humanity, the more blessings
multiply for you and your beloved ones.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Two Smart Guys Think About The Big And The Small

Human beings look outward from Earth into a universe that is Big—“hundreds of millions” of times our everyday size. On the other end of the scale, we use technologies that work on the Small—on tiny things that are “hundredths of millionths” our size. Here we are, suspended between galaxy and proton.

Two guys who loved math (Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman) gave us equations to deal with both ends of the scale of size. Those equations are used all the time to measure and change reality. They guide everything humans design, from computers to cars to earth satellites.

Without Albert’s ideas about (big) relative motion, human beings might not send rockets into orbit, carrying systems for mapping and rapid communication. Without Richard 's contributions to (small) electro-dynamic theory, the rapid shrinking of electronic devices could not have occurred.  Literally, the pictures we have of our Universe (from the space telescopes) would not have been made.

Al's theories of Relativity and Dick's Quantum Electrodynamics are triumphs of the human mind. Applying them, engineers can grasp everything from the infinitesimal smallness of atoms to the infinite largeness of galaxies. Human beings now understand and can predict the processes that cause our Universe at each end of the scale of size.

But these two theories are not in complete mathematical harmony. 

Al and Dick and their colleagues in physics spent time trying to bridge the mathematical gap between the theory of the very large and the theory of the very small. Other physicists joined them, too. In fact several systems of equations exist to define this problem. Scientists have even given it a name: the Theory of Everything. But joining Quantum and Relative turns out to be stubbornly difficult.

A good candidate for the Theory of Everything is called by the name of its most basic concept: the string. String Theory brings together work of Al and Dick and many other smart guys to try to complete our understanding of how things work. Where classical physics defined the pieces that fly apart in high-energy experiments as "particles," another way of visualizing them is as "strings."

The usual mathematics of our lives uses three dimensions of space and one of time:

Back-forth, up-down, side-to-side, and tic-tock. (Together, these are called “space-time.”) But the maths needed to reconcile Relative and Quantum use seven more dimensions! These are "folded up." Below the size of the smallest particle, they are everywhere in the vacuum of space.

Not that this is a testable theory, since the folded dimensions are below the limit of sizes that can presently be observed by humans. "You might as well be talking about God," says a physics professor I know, "because the theories cannot be falsified, so they have to be held by faith." But the origin of these insights into the nature of our Universe is science, not myth.

And it gives a new meaning to the term “Wonder.”

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Why Practice?

Of Being Itself, the Mystery

Something exists and seems to be identified with both body and mind. I come to know this because the body delivers sights, sounds, smells, tastes, movement and touch. My mind experiences present sensations and combines them with all my previous experiences as thought. The owner of this process I call my self. Normally as I interact with others who resemble me, our thoughts mirror one another through our faces and our postures. This mirroring becomes the basis for the sensations in my chest I call my heart: the symbol for my emotions and connections with others.

Normally, as others and self exchange thoughts through language, I notice there are many intangibles that my mind projects. This is the sacred imagination, and the place or plane where this projection occurs, I call the soul. It is underneath or at the center of the self and the mind. In the soul occur all those intangible things that keep me in my culture, such as dreams, imagination, creativity, and interactions with art.

Belief – Experience – Belief

Perceptions arise from sense processes of my body and mind. Perceptions move through the filter of my beliefs, chosen from past experiences. My beliefs (or cultural context) create my reality. Changing my beliefs, or context, changes my reality. This change can occur all at once or over a long period of time, and when it brings me into closer harmony with others, I call it enlightenment.

Enlightenment

Enlightenment is getting at a deep level my true nature and relationships. This body-I-mind-self discovers it’s different than first (or recently) experienced, and I change my thinking to identify with a wider context. Whether experienced suddenly or over time, enlightenment brings with it the desire for practice.

Sudden enlightenment shocks the body-I-mind-self into a new vision, often accompanied by blissful sensations. Inevitably this pleasant experience fades, and the enlightened one is left with “every-dayness”. A felt need for practice arises.

Gradual enlightenment arises when body-I-mind-self falls into a context that increases the ability to perceive true nature. The gradual practitioner may feel a kinship when hearing about sudden enlightenment. Both sudden and gradual practitioners have a need for one another. Thus a Way of Life arises, based on practice and enlightenment.

Practices Set the Context

So whether sudden or gradual, enlightenment experience calls forth some practice, such as satsang, shikantaza, constant prayer, singing and chanting, or getting into the zone. While such practices are not enlightenment, they set us up to experience or re-experience the blissful moment when the body-I-mind-self gets a new context in a moment of clarity.

Balance and Prepare

Thus the practice of enlightenment involves a continual investment in the body, mind, heart, and soul. Keeping the body strong and flexible is the foundation for a mind that operates clearly. Receiving and then giving love brings growth of emotional intelligence and capacity, the heart. And with the expanded heart, the sacred place within becomes prepared to experience the ever-present light anew.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

LAYS Practice--Putting Our Sails Up In The Winds Of Grace

Grace is a wind, blowing at our backs, if we but open our lives to spiritual practice.


What is Grace?

The word "Grace" calls up both secular and spiritual meanings. It means coordinated elegance, such as a graceful dance. It means the state of your account before the interest is charged, such as a grace period. It means a free gift from that which is beyond you, and far greater. Like "olly olly oxen free" in the ancient childrens' game, Grace is the feeling of relief that results from resetting all anxiety.

Though Grace is a free gift, it requires us to be receptive. Grace cannot benefit one whose life is closed, just as love cannot warm a cold heart that stays distant. When we kindle our hearts with self-love, and warm up to giving love, others' love can provide an abundance of fuel for our life. Likewise when we prepare ourselves to receive the benefits of Grace, we change our connection to the power that can move our boat more surely and powerfully through the waters of life.

Laissez Faire Yoga is a "course in grace." C-O-U-R-S-E in grace is also the memory device that reminds us "how to be" as we begin the movements. In a broader context, this is how we practice to live a more wholesome and abundant life.

The Oars of Intentional Action

Like a boat moves through the water from the effort applied to oars and rudder, life moves ahead (at least in part) through intent. Setting goals and taking action are important, but not the only elements driving our life development--just as the force of rowing is not the only force moving a boat. Because forces beyond us push us hither and yon, too.

Currents in the water, like circumstances in our life, impel us forward or impede our progress. Turbulence, like chaos and disorder, interferes with our direction.

The Sails of Regular Practice

And like a boat that has a sail, our life of practice can catch the wind and move "all ahead full." Moving our body, clearing our mind, opening our heart, imagining the expansion of our soul: each of these practices raises a canvas. Tying the sail with regular practice, we swing our lives to fill with the winds of Grace, and to develop under the applied force of its influence.

And so at the beginning of light adaptive yoga stretch (LAYS), we use the letters C-O-U-R-S-E in grace to remind us:

Center

Open to awareness

Unify or blend

Release tension

Sync up/sink down

Extend Ki or energize







Thus we raise our sails to its winds.







(c) Copyright 2011-2013, Leland S. Ferguson, all rights reserved. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners*.

*Photo Credit: Caribbean Sunset Image courtesy of Tim Seed | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Announcement

The first week of March, 2011

Readers please feel free to connect with me by leaving comments.

This web site begins with an explanation of the Announcement, where it came from and how it is beginning to unfold.

The Ease and Joy of my Integral Transformative Practice

The Announcement came to me during a visualization. On the occasion of an important birthday, I went to the sacred place in my inner self, corresponding to a certain tree outside St. Helena, California. Climbing the stairs I saw open before me there, I met Ganesh, who had introduced himself to my imagination during my Hoffman process some years earlier. I asked for guidance.

I took up a pen and wrote what my guide spoke:

The Announcement

As a
* living seed of the coming civilization*
*Those Who Care*

Must now
*step beyond constraints and techniques.*

We embody
*the wise and compassionate teachings*

We've received, despite the
*seemingly endless harms*

Contravening the vision of ultimate bliss.

As a
*bridge between past and future*

From
*all that derives out of ancient spiritual endeavors*

To
*all the future brings (in whatever container),*

We seek to embody and disseminate
*Extraordinary Knowledge of Interior Awareness;*

And to intensify and transmit it to
*a wider sphere and a broader community.*
Unfolding the Announcement

And I sought to widen my sphere, within days attending the extraordinary workshop on Integral Transformative Practice(R) at Esalen. There I introduced myself as having reached phase four, teacher. But what to teach?

The ITP Kata(TM), a movement, affirmation, and stillness meditation was the greatest part of the workshop. Documented in The Tao of Practice (DVD) and The Life We Are Given (book), the Kata is to ITP what Shikantaza ("just sitting") is to Zen, what Satsang is to Yoga: a tangible form of the transcendent Way.

Integral Transformative Practice, of course, is much more than the Kata, as Zen is more than sitting, and Worship more than Prayer. And so two affirmations came to me in my work during the workshop:
  • I connect my center, my heart, and my mind, and I live out of Power, Compassion, and Wisdom.
  • All I need for my practice of Kata comes to me with Ease and Joy.

Since then I've attended more ITP events and joined a local group who do the Kata on Saturdays. Doing the Kata in any group that opens before me meant that near the end of 2010, I’d led 166 sessions. So far, it seems, I've led the Kata four or five times a week, and followed others leading it often as well. To find a place and time you can join a session, contact me.

Making the Announcement through leading the Kata is a livelihood in the sense of a pattern of practice one could lead "as a way of life." And the way is ease and joy, letting doors that open be paths to future abundance.

(c) copyright 2011, Leland S. Ferguson, all rights reserved. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners.

Please respond to this entry.