Shots Of Awe

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Awe: by Jason Silva

Take a moment to remember that child-like quality of wonder that lives in you.  When’s the last time you let awe out to play?  Check out this short (0:2:45) inspiring video by Jason Silva on awe.

If you love this (as I did) you can subscribe to Jason’s weekly Shots of Awe: where science, philosophy, and inspiration collide.

awe-struck

Transcript of video:

Awe: “an experience of such perceptual vastness you literally have to reconfigure your mental models of the world to assimilate it.”

So I think a lot about the contrast between banality and wonder,
between disengagement and radiant ecstasy,
between being unaffected by the here and now,
and being absolutely ravished emotionally by it.
And I think one of the problems for human beings is mental habits.

Once we create a comfort zone, we rarely step outside of that comfort zone, but the consequence of that is a phenomenon known hedonic adaptation.

Over stimulation to the same kind of thing, the same stimuli again and again and again renders said stimuli invisible. Your brain has already mapped it in it’s own head and you no longer literally have to be engaged by that. We have eyes, yet see naught, ears that hear naught and hearts that neither feel nor understand.

There’s a great book called The Wondering Brain*.
It says that one of the ways that we elicit wonder is by scrambling the self temporarily so that the world can seep in.

You know Henry Miller says, “even a blade of grass when given proper attention becomes an infinitely magnificent world in itself.”** You know, Darwin said “attention, if sudden and close, graduates into surprise; and this into astonishment; and this into stupefied amazement.“

That’s what rapture is.
That’s what illumination is.
That’s what that sort of infinite comprehending awe that human beings love so much. And so how we do that? How do we mess with our perceptual apparatus in order to have the kind of emotional and esthetic experience from life that we render most meaningful? ‘Cause we all know those moments are there. Those are the moments that will make final cut.

Only in these moments, we experience afresh, the hardly bearable ecstasy of direct energy exploding on our nerve endings.This is the
rhapsodic,
ecstatic,
bursting forth of awe that expands our perceptual parameters beyond all previous limits, and we literally  have to reconfigure our mental models of the world in order to assimilate the beauty of that download!

That is what it means to be inspired! The Greek root of the term means “to breath in.” (aaaaahhhhh!)To take-it-in!

We fit the universe through our brains and it comes out in the form of nothing less than poetry. We have a responsibility to awe.

* Bulkeley, Kelly. The Wondering Brain: Thinking about Religion with and beyond Cognitive Neuroscience. New York: Routledge, 2005. Print.

** Miller, Henry. Henry Miller on Writing. [New York]: New Directions, 1964. 37. Print.

*** Darwin, Charles. The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. New York: D. Appleton, 1886. 278. Print.

Ram Dass: Fierce Grace

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Ram Dass: Fierce Grace

I love this man. This beautiful movie is about Ram Dass’s experiences aging and the radically life changing event of getting “stroked.”

“Healing does not mean going back to the way things were before, but rather of allowing what is now to move us closer to god.” –Ram Dass

You Are A Miracle

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You Are A Miracle

Need to bee wildly inspired? Not only is this video by Nini Canino breathtakingly beautiful, the lyrics to this song made my whole being resonate in agreement and wonder. Even better than all that, the band, Medicine For The People, reaffirms my belief in the magic of the human spirit and what we are all capable of when we dedicate our lives to raising everyone up around us.
Thank you Medicine for the People.  Thank you Nino Canino.

Please watch. I promise you it’s worth your time.

Ps. If you love this song (like I do) click this link for a free download of the song from Nahko & Medicine For The People!

“Aloha Ke Akua” Music by Nahko (Medicine for the People) – 2012
Video by Nino Canino on youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/SailinJerry
Visual production by The Mates Group for Estrellas Del Bicentario

About Medicine For The People: MAKING THE MOVEMENT MOVE

“Medicine for the People is a third year non-profit organization working with every kind of community imaginable to rekindle old traditions and spark the fire within the youth and elders to live their truths; to use your personal medicine and heal the wounds around us.

A community experience. Spirited thump-hop storytelling. Earth-based-spirit-inspired. Working for social and environmental justice. Musical medicine. Our band tours and performs at benefits to support causes for other non-profits aligned with a similar vision. Please contact us if you have an event that we might be able to help get moving with our music! Be a part of the global movement. We will activate our audience towards positive direct acti1on; a selfless tribe, caretakers of the land, walking in a sacred manner.”

Live by example. Live your truth. Sing loud. Be heard.”

Source: http://medicineforthepeople.wordpress.com

“Aloha Ke Akua” (God is love) 

Lend your ears, lend your hands,
Lend your movement, anything you can.
Come to teach, come to be taught.
Come in the likeness in the image of God.
Because, you can be like that.
With all that humbleness, and all that respect.
All of the power invested in me,
be it hard to love my enemies.
All of the black bags,
over the heads of the dead and dying.
The more I understand about the human race,
the less I comprehend about our purpose and place
and maybe if there was a clearer line the curiosity would satisfy.
Time based prophecies that kept me from living,
in the moment I am struggling
to trust the divinity of all the guides
and what the hell they have planned for us.
I cry for the creatures who get left behind
but everything will change in a blink of an eye
and if you wish to survive,
you will find the guide inside.

MmmMmmMmmMmmMmmMmmmmm. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

I go back and forth every single day,
the clarity that comes to me in a choppy way,
as the feelings
and the places
and the seasons change,
the galaxies remain.
Energy fields cone the body in space.
The angels that are coming from a spiritual waste.
The hate that gets me distant from my spiritual pace.
Ten fold the manna when the planets are in place, in polar alignment.
We’re on assignment.
Mmm,
Bodies on consignment.
Return them to the circus,
and what is the purpose?
What is the purpose and would you believe it?
Would you believe it if you knew what you were for,
and how you became so informed.
Bodies of info performing such miracles.
I am a miracle made up of particles
and in this existence,
I’ll stay persistent,
and I’ll make a difference
and I will have lived it.

Aloha, Aloha , Ke Akua, Ke Akua,
Aloha, Aloha, Kuleana, Kuleana,
Aloha, Aloha , Ke Akua, Ke Akua,
Aloha, Aloha, Kuleana, Kuleana,

Each day that I wake,
I will praise I will praise.
Each day that I wake,
I give thanks I give thanks.
Each day that I wake,
I will praise. I will praise.
Each day that I wake,
I give thanks, I give thanks.
Mmm

And the day that I do wake up
and transcend the holy makeup,
I am capable, Iam powerful.
And the day that I do wake up
and transcend the holy makeup,
I am on my way to a different place………..
Hut da da da doooo ……….

I am not a leader, just a creature.
Stick the peaches of my teacher when you follow where they lead.
All mysterious ways of nature and I am in to it.
Hmm
Changing management.
And there are various ways to conquer this, monotonous, metropolis,
my stubbornness is bottomless,
my fear is this is talking shit
and I am wide awake and I am taking names.

I am not a leader, just a creature.
Stick the peaches of my teacher when you follow where they lead.
All mysterious ways of nature and I am in to it.
I am into it.
Changing management.
And there are various ways to conquer this, monotonous, metropolis,
my stubbornness is bottomless
my fear that this is talking shit,
and I am wide awake.
Mmmm and I am takin names.

And there are various ways to conquer this, monotonous, metropolis,
my stubbornness is bottomless
my fear that this is talking shit,
and I am wide awake and I am takin names.

Do you speak to me like you speak to God?
All the love and understanding between the father and the son?
Do you believe in the perfectness of where you are?
He’s my people he’s my children it’s the land that I would fight for.
I saw an ebonese telling me to patiently move the music medicine around the planet in a hurry.
Cuz there’s no time to waste.
Got to wake up the people time to stand up and say,
we know what we are for
and how we became so informed.
Bodies of info performing such miracles.
I am a miracle.
Made up of particles
and in this existence
I’ll stay persistent
and I’ll make a difference
and I will have lived it. ……..
Hmm

Aloha, Aloha , Ke Akua, Ke Akua,
Aloha, Aloha, Kuleuna, Kuleana,
Aloha, Aloha, Ke Akua, Ke Akua,
Aloha, Aloha, Kuleana, Kuleana,

Each day that I wake,
I will praise, I will praise.
Each day that I wake,
I give thanks, I give thanks.
Each day that I wake,
I will praise, I will praise.
Each day that I wake,
I give thanks, I give thanks.

And the day that I do wake up and transcend the holy makeup,
I am capable.
Hm that’s right, I am powerful.
And the day that I do wake up and transcend the holy makeup,
I am on my way to a different place a a ace!
Ho ho ooo eh eh eh eh na na na na na na na hm hm hm hm

Aloha, Aloha, Ke Akua, Ke Akua,
Aloha, Aloha, Kuleana, Kuleana

Find the Conditions That are Conducive to Life…

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“…And the wild geese are calling down. And it’s getting louder and louder. And then they circle and circle, and they land. And honestly, I was like, no way. No way. I look at Eduardo who is near tears looking at this. And I say, you’re telling me that your geese are calling to the wild geese to say, come for a visit.

And he says, no, no, no. They come to stay. They come to stay? Think about that for a minute. I mean, imagine– I don’t know– imagine a hog farm in North Carolina. And a wild pig comes upon a factory farm and decides to stay. The DNA of a goose is to fly South in the winter, right? I said that. I said, isn’t that what they’re put on this earth for? To fly South in the winter and North when it gets warm? He said, no, no, no. Their DNA is to find the conditions that are conducive to life, to happiness. They find it here…”

Stay curious, keep asking questions – open minds and hearts with the essence of who you are. Practice protracted and thoughtful observation.

 

The Yoga of Ray Bradbury

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Ray Bradbury, one of the most revered and loved science-fiction authors of all time, died Tuesday, June 5th at the age of 91.

Obit_Ray_Bradbury_03d66

Ray Bradbury – Thank you for being alive and sharing your richness with us all. I am honored that I had the extreme privilege of hugging you, sharing my homemade vegan cookies and drinking in your brilliance in person on so many occasions in my youth. I learned so much from you.

I remember meeting Ray Bradbury when I was 20 (working at his favorite bookstore in Santa Monica) and he told stories of growing up always wanting to be a writer… He was rejected HUNDREDS of times and everyone he knew told him to give up, he was a terrible writer, told him he would NEVER be successful. His passion was writing. He wrote every day. He reminded us all to never allow others to define our purpose or our passions or shrink us into a smaller version of self. His passion was to flowing thought from mind and soul to tip of pen. He lived his passion.
Thank you Ray Bradbury. Thank you for being. Thank you for leaving so many beautiful words behind. ♥

Come celebrate building your own wings! Ray Bradbury tribute yoga class today at Om ShalA Yoga at 4:00pm with moí, Artemisia Shine:

 

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”

 

If we listened to our intellect we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go in business because we’d be cynical: “It’s gonna go wrong.” Or “She’s going to hurt me.” Or, “I’ve had a couple of bad love affairs, so therefore …” Well, that’s nonsense. You’re going to miss life. You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.

 

 I have two rules in life — to hell with it, whatever it is, and get your work done.

 

 We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.

 

I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.

 

Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage.
Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.

 

Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spent the rest of the day putting the pieces together.

 

The best scientist is open to experience and begins with romance – the idea that anything is possible.

 

We are the miracle of force and matter making itself over into imagination and will. Incredible. The Life Force experimenting with forms. You for one. Me for another. The Universe has shouted itself alive. We are one of the shouts.

 

I believe the universe created us — we are an audience for miracles. In that sense, I guess, I’m religious.

 

We must become astronauts and go out into the universe and discover the God in ourselves.

 

 

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 9

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30 Days of Gratitude – Day 9

Today I am grateful..:

  1. for the melody of wind and birdsong warming the edges of early morning’s chill.
  2. winter produce and organic grocers. We are so fortunate in California to have such abundant local produce in the winter.
  3. for friendship. This journey would be that much lonelier without bright souls to share it with.
  4. for that silent moment after the breath where thoughts are collected, emotions are processed and tongs can choose to lay still. Ahimsa and Satya.
  5. for my two beautiful calloused bare hobbit feet — they greet the earth daily and demand liberation from shoes.
  6. for the life of Paramahansa Yogananda. What a mark he has left on the planet. Thank you for writing Autobiography of a Yogi for future generations and inspiring the Self Realization Fellowship.
  7. for  grey whales and the wide-open mystery of the deep sea.
  8. for coastal skylines dotted with shore birds in flight. Their graceful ride on the wind’s currents remind me to go with the flow.
  9. for airplanes.  Sustainability conflicts aside, it is simply amazing a traveller can board a for enshrouded plane in San Francisco, CA and less than 24 hours later land in New Deli, India sunshine.
  10. for the visual representation of number 10. We are not alone. 1 = the individual  placed right beside 0. 0 = the cycle of the universe encompassing the whole of creation.

Asteya: The Practice of Non-Stealing

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Asteya: The Practice of Non-Stealing
by: Artemisia Shine ♥ January 2011

“You are quaffing drink from a hundred fountains: whenever any of these hundred yields less, your pleasure is diminished. But when the sublime fountain gushes from within you, no longer need you steal from the other fountains.”  ~Jelal ad-Din Rumi

 

The Yamas and the Niyamas comprise two of the eight limbs of Classical Ashtanga Yoga as first written around 200CE by Patanjali Jois in the Yoga Sutras. Yama is the Sanskrit word for “abstinence” and the five Yamas are a set of external disciplines we can apply in our lives to help align more harmoniously with the Universe. Niyama translates as “observance” and the five Niyamas are a set of internal observances that help us align more fully with our highest Self.

The third Yama is Asteya, or non-stealing. We all can recognize the more palpable forms of theft and can easily refrain from pinching our neighbor’s bicycle seat or taking lunch money from the kid down the street.  It is the more intangible ways we rob from others and ourselves that require active discipline.

Stealing may not crop up in the more obvious forms of shoplifting or credit card fraud but may lurk in the deeper recesses of our minds. Do you secretly long for another’s job, lifestyle, relationship or physical form? These lusts are stealing your happiness and sense of contentment not to mention pilfering the present moment. Look within for riches and find fulfillment in your internal wealth rather than looking beyond yourself for satisfaction. This will moderate excessive desire for objects coveted by the senses — ideas, effects, energetic attention from others, status, power, or recognition. Practice asteya by recognizing the gifts you already possess. As Carl Jung asserts, “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” Cultivate the patience, strength and courage to bring your inner dreams to life!

Do you sometimes wish you had the hamstrings of the girl on the mat next to you when her forehead gently kisses her ankles in Paschimottanasana? Where the mind goes, the attention flows. Practice Asteya in every asana. Focusing on your limitations robs you from reveling in the beauty of the divine manifestation of life that is expressed through your unique form.

Are you regularly behind schedule for appointments or commitments? Do you arrive after class has already started or hold your yoga students for a few extra minutes of savasana?  When we are late we are stealing time from others.  Take a critical look at what is behind this chronic lateness. Could you be clinging to every moment, trying to wring all that you can from life? Are you packing too much into your day? This is a form of hoarding – insatiability collecting stolen moments for the fear of being in lack.  Hoarding is a form of theft. Asteya proscribes respect for the time and energy of others.

Have you taken a look at your ecological footprint lately? Granted we live in an industrialized nation, but do your consumption patterns border on over-indulgence? What is your fair share? Take a moment to bring mindfulness to your next shopping trip, be it at the local grocery store or retail center. Is that purchase extracting clean water, livable wages, health or ecological diversity from another? Can you meet your needs without deleteriously impacting the needs of others?

There is no need to steal.  Trust that all you truly need is present in the universe and available to you.  It is written in Yoga Sutra 2.37 “When one is established in refrainment from stealing, all jewels manifest.”

~ Artemisia Shine

Satya: The Art of Truth

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Satya: The Art of Truth
by: Artemisia Shine ♥ November 2011

“I AM IGNORANT of absolute truth. But I am humble before my ignorance and therein lies my honor and my reward.”  – Khalil Gibran

 

The Yamas and the Niyamas comprise two of the eight limbs of Classical Ashtanga Yoga as first written around 200CE by Patanjali Jois in the Yoga Sutras. Yama is the Sanskrit word for “abstinence” and the five Yamas are a set of external disciplines we can apply in our lives to help align more harmoniously with the Universe. Niyama translates as “observance” and the five Niyamas are a set of internal observances that help us align more fully with our highest Self.

The second Yama is Satya. Sat is the sansrit root word for “being” or “existence.”   Satya is the observance of truthfulness – with ourselves, with others, in our thoughts, words and actions.  To practice Satya is to place oneself in alignment with reality as it truly is, beyond the illusions of our ego-mind, desires, biases and false perceptions.

Satya is a practice of speaking the truth and abstaining from non-truths.  Non-truths encompass slanderous comments, gossip, and malicious thoughts or actions. When we act in ways untruthful, we are shrouding our divine nature.  When a friend acts in a way you don’t enjoy do you flippantly claim, “I don’t care. It’s cool.”  Do you play strong, cool and detached while harboring resentment for quite some time? When a baby is upset, it shares an instant and honest reaction and then moves on.  We could learn much about Satya by observing an infant.

Satya challenges us to seek out the essential truth of our being-ness; to reveal the essence of who we really are.  Who are you when you cease identifying with titles that only exist in the physical world? Who are you when you dispense of thoughts such as “I am a student, a single mother, a teacher, a farmer, a wildlife biologist, a child?” Who is left when you are no longer  “skilled” in one arena or “not good enough” in another?  We are each radiant expressions of the divine, the central luminous essence that is the inner-connected fabric of life. Our consciousness is way beyond our physical forms. Unhappiness comes from forgetting this fact.

Are you living in alignment with your true spiritual nature? Satya calls us to evolve our actions to bring us into harmony with our fundamental Self. Do you allow time to silence the mind and uncover your unique path of growth? Although this honest observation cause discomfort, when we practice Satya we see through “strengths” and “limitations” as simply what is, free from judgment.

When you are on the mat do you force yourself beyond the limits of your body? Does your ego throw a party when you’re in the “perfect pigeon pose?”  Albert Einstein once said, “A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.” Our yoga practice serves as an opportunity to honestly dive within.

– Artemisia Shine

Ahimsa: The Art of Non-Harming

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Ahimsa: The Art of Non-Harming
by: Artemisia Shine ♥ October 6, 2011

“Strictly speaking, no activity and no industry is possible without a certain amount of violence, no matter how little. Even the very process of living is impossible without a certain amount of violence. What we have to do is to minimize it to the greatest extent possible.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

The Yamas and the Niyamas comprise two of the eight limbs of Classical Yoga as first written around 200CE by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. Yama is the Sanskrit word for “abstinence” and the five Yamas are a set of external disciplines we can apply in our lives to help align more harmoniously with the Universe. Niyama translates as “observance” and the five Niyamas are a set of internal observances that help us align more fully with our highest Self.

The first Yama is Ahimsa.  Himsa translates as “harm” or “to cause pain.” The “a” set before “himsa” changes the word to mean not-to cause harm or pain.  Ahimsa is the practice of non-harming – with our thoughts, words, actions, attitudes and beliefs.  Are there relationships in your life that may need further practice of ahimsa?  Do the choices you make come from a place of not causing harm? Are your thoughts about yourself injurious? Do you walk lightly on the earth?

The beautiful thing about the practice of yoga is that it is a practice. We all make mistakes and act in ways that fall outside of our ideals. Perfection is not required. At any moment we can initiate practice and apply the principle of ahimsa in our lives. We can deepen our yoga practice with each breath, continuously over time.

Ahimsa begins inside. What do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror? When we look around the class and compare ourselves to others, thinking things like “I should be more flexible! Why can’t my down-dog look like her down dog?!” we are really practicing self-rejection rather than yoga. When you’re on the mat, internalize ahimsa and honor and appreciate yourself just for showing up!  As we nurture a love relationship with ourselves we can more easily shine love on those around us. As we exercise this yama with our partners, children, and roommates, we reduce violence in our communities. Ahimsa goes beyond simply being kind to our neighbors and includes not causing pain in the natural world and avoiding harm to the planet.

In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Ahimsa is an attribute of the brave. Cowardice and ahimsa don’t go together any more than water and fire. “ For this month, lets courageously set an intention to live in ahimsa and more purposefully cultivate compassion in our lives. When you encounter violent thoughts about yourself or others, take a deep breath and say “Ahimsa” silently (or aloud) and allow this principle to subtly reset your brain.  Choose a relationship where unresolved injury has occurred and lovingly address your part.  Apply ahimsa daily with what you choose to consume and how you treat the natural and material world. The seeds of himsa can sprout and establish roots in our hearts, choking out light in our inner landscape and lessening peace in our relationships. Collectively, let’s be an agent for health and healing. Let’s cultivate wildflowers of ahimsa, tending amity with all life and the universe at large.

– Artemisia Shine

She Let Go

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She Let Go

by: Rev. Safire Rose Agape International Spiritual Center

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go. She let go of fear. She let go of the judgments. She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head. She let go of the committee of indecision within her. She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go. She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go. She let go of all the memories that held her back. She let go of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. She let go of the planning and all the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.

No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go. There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good. It wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. a light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.