23 March 2016

Portugal retreat

I've booked my airline tickets, applied for a passport and paid a deposit for the retreat.  I'll be flying to Portugal in early May for 14 days of silent meditation and some very challenging, deep inner investigation.
Forty years of studying and practicing in a number of traditions such as Zen, Tibetan Buddhism, Theravadan and Vipassana meditation, Yoga, Sufism, and a handful of other eastern teachings has led me here - to Anadi

In the meantime, yoga practice continues.  I've been dipping into some local Iyengar classes and doing a little practice on my own.  My body is still able to hold a strong handstand, though backbends need some dedicated and regular work.  
Loving headstand and shoulderstand. 
Pranayama is releasing deeply held tensions.
Still in love with the Ashtanga Vinyasa practice.

After the Portugal trip in May, I'll be heading overseas again in September for a 4 week trip around Europe with my 2 children and my granddaughter.  We're starting in Bosnia and Slovenia, then visiting Italy and France, and ending up in Barcelona.

2016 is the year of travelling, but it's the inner journey that excites me.

5 January 2016

Light of Consciousness

Sitting in meditation is a waste of time after half a coffee. Instead I do some domestics, take the dog for a walk, then settle into a solid mid morning yoga practice which lasts 1 ½ hours.

Yoga practice focussed on Backbends (again)
Meditation practice focussed on Consciousness.  I managed 4 hours of meditation today, some guided by Anadi’s audio recordings and some self guided practice.

The entry point into authentic inner work according to Anadi is to locate and abide in one’s own conscious self, strengthening its presence.
Not an easy nut to crack when you’ve been indoctrinated into Buddhist mindfulness practices like observing the breath, thoughts and sensations.
The practice of mindfulness and observing/witnessing separates the observer who watches from a distance and the subject that is being observed (breath, thoughts, sensations, presence, whatever).  By its very nature, observing implies a split of subject and object.

Anadi wants us to turn the focus around onto the subject.
So the question to ask is: WHO or WHAT is observing?
WHO or WHAT is aware and checking when we have drifted off the subject or task?

Our consciousness is such an integral part of who we are, yet there are no spiritual traditions or practices that teach how to meet it, become familiar and intimate with it.
Meeting one’s own consciousness takes us down the rabbit hole towards the Absolute and abiding in one’s own pure consciousness naturally transcends all constructed notions of the observer and observed.

I am once again a beginner wrestling with the mind, and although this is the last day of my personal meditation retreat at home, it feels like the starting point of an amazing inner journey with Anadi. 

1 January 2016

Backbend lessons

In today’s yoga practice, I visited the scary places - places which challenge my psychological blocks.

Backbends have been challenging my physical body for a couple of years now. They no longer come easily - and a subtle dread accompanies even the thought of them. 
Dread is a deeply scary emotion, it's an imaginary monster.
I dread the possibility of spinal injury; I dread the possible discomfort of bones scraping, ligaments and tendons stretching within the joints; I dread the emotional pain of having lost the ease of backbending.
And yet, I know I can approach all backbends with caution, modification and intelligence.  
So I do.
Afterwards the dread turns to relief and I'm rewarded with a deep satisfaction of meeting the scary thing head on.

After sun salutes and all the standing poses, I went straight to the backbends:  Salabhasana, Dhanurasana, Ustrasana, then another Ustrasana, this time with a deeper thoracic lift while reaching up and back to put hands against the wall for a minute.  Some variations of Urdhva Dhanurasana followed: first with feet on two blocks, then with hands on two blocks, then with a strap around my bent elbows to straighten and support them, all of these modifications to ease my body into the backbend.  Funny, the full unmodified pose was easier than the modified versions so I did it twice.
My greatest backbend impediment these days is in the mid shoulder area, not in the lumbar.  There's surely a psychosomatic cause behind the shoulder tension.  It needs to be investigated and gently transformed.

After backbends, I did the full finishing sequence as if it was a delicious chocolate dessert.

This is Day 3 of silence and solitude, yoga and meditation.
Outside the heatwaves continue to scorch the city of Adelaide.
Inside, all is calm, cool and quiet.

Yesterday’s yoga practice (Thursday) was gentle and supportive, with some quiet forward bends and twists to counter the long hours of sitting.
Friday’s practice consisted of the full Ashtanga Vinyasa sequence without the backbends.

The new year has begun with an unexpected discovery: Anadi.
I sense that a renewed meditation practice and deep internal work will change ‘me’.
I sense it will be the year when I yield to the pull of the calling and consciously choose the difficult path of inner transformation above all else in my life.