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Being Mindful of Our Attention

I was introduced to Gurumayi, a spiritual master teacher by a friend of mine back in the mid 90’s. At the time she lived part-time in the Catskill Mountains of New York in her ashram as well as her ashram in India. I had many eye-opening experiences with her teachings.

I remember the first time I met the Guru. I was in a long line waiting to meet her briefly. Everything was foreign to me. All these people bowing before this woman. Everyone so happy. I wanted out but I was intimidated by the process so I stuck with it. And I was curious.

I was not in danger. I was in a new situation. All my warning voices were telling me to get out and yet I stayed. When it was my turn in front of the guru, I did what everyone else was doing, on my knees, head down bowing to her and she thumped me on the back twice with a huge peacock feather. Then I felt it. This heat blasted me like a hot furnace. Someone helped me up and I stumbled away confused. My mind couldn’t figure out what happened. I was stunned.

Over the next few hours, I experienced a lot of energetic shifts in my body. I had a curiosity to explore further because it felt foreign but good. It was during the community meal with my friend that the energy in my head felt like the best viewing of a 4th of July fireworks exhibition. I received shaktipat. She had awakened my energy systems.

Whether we meet a guru or have life-changing experiences, we learn and grow. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a frying pan, feeling the heat and wanting out. This is how my ego feels when I’m experiencing something new. I feel this occasionally when I’m listening to Matt Kahn’s talks on Youtube and my mind starts with ‘this is a waste of time,’ or this guy is nuts, or the like. My head is confused and I’m a bit uncomfortable. I’ve learned to stay with it because these symptoms are telling me my ego is threatened with a change of thinking which can change my ego’s happy place of control.

This is a long way of saying I’ve learned to be mindful of my ego’s reactions versus my heart’s reactions. We are living in an accelerated space and time right now and life is intense. Using our physical eyes we are able to discern life happening before us and there is also our inner eyes discerning our heart. It’s worth learning the difference being mindful of where our attention lies.

Each of us holds in one hand our ego and in the other our heart. Our intention is to merge them and function more wholly. This is the path we are all on. I ask you to honor your paths and know you are worth every step you take in learning your lessons and opening your heart. (see August 11 blog for more on this topic)

A Poem by S.C. Laurie

Go into this week with the attitude that your peace, your health of mind, and your heart mean more than getting everything else done. That your smile matters, That feeling rested matters. That holding the hand of your loved ones matter. So pause lots, function at a pace that doesn’t pull you apart. Honour the things that make you feel good inside, the things that make you feel alive. Give time to those things this week. Make time the gift it is, by giving it to what really matters to you.

Participants’ Reflections

  • Your reading got me excited thinking about the energy of plants and animals. I’ve planted seeds and then seen them grow into plants five feet tall. During the meditation, I pictured myself hugging one and absorbing the energy. I’ve done the same with the butterflies I raise from caterpillars, holding one on my fingertip, feeling and absorbing their energy, and then letting them go.

  • I got that too. Feeling the energy from the plant on my porch as the sun goes through it. I get delight looking at squirrels, at touching tree trunks. I feel peace around crows and always stop to look at them.

  • Thank you for the reminder to pause when my ego starts speaking. I’m working on mindfulness. Yesterday I was in a grateful, peaceful place, and I had this thought that I must be getting sick. I giggled. What an idea, there’s something bad about feeling good. Today there is a high surf warning. There are no birds, just the wind and surf, a tempest, stirring. It’s magical. Today, my group is meeting in my yard to share on letting go. The universe is providing.

  • I love the image of ego and heart on different sides and then coming together as a whole. The ego is loud and quick. So you do have to pause and listen or else the ego will dominate.

  • I had an experience in Hawaii, after a tai chi class, the teacher touched my shoulder. I felt the chi course though my body, and the teacher said, “You learned something new.” Last night, I blew a fuse from plugging in a tiny night light. Everything is all wrapped up. I need to unravel it. Maybe it’s my dad the electrician talking to me. These energy experiences, I’m sitting with it all.

  • I love the wind, feeling bathed in it. It lifts my spirit.

  • I used to love walking in a storm. I had a lot of turmoil inside me, and it felt like I was being met by something that understood me.

  • I loved the idea of the ego and heart. I have a sense of both. The ego telling me what to do, the heart being the part that does the self-care. During the meditation, thinking about these caused a subconscious understanding to bubble up in me regarding something that bothers me that I couldn’t articulate. In the silence, my ego and heart worked together and gave me a piece of information.

  • Silence offers so much more. It’s a place where we learn.

  • I was at a silent retreat at Rowe, it was an astounding experience. I felt the push pull, wanting the silence, but not wanting it. So I cooperated and found such comfort in the silence.

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