Mindful Muse – January – Self Dedication

IMG_2466In the 8-Limbed Path of the classical yogic philosophy, the second limb includes a moral observance (niyama) entitled Ishvara-Pranidhana which translates into devotion to a higher power.  Every year I dedicate myself to a full year of in-depth study of a particular spiritual method, philosophy, or technique.  I invite you to join me throughout the rest of this year; every month I will make ritual suggestions for honoring your definition of the Divine, so this first step of specifying that for yourself will be the central focus of our self-dedication ritual this month.  This month I invite you to start the new year with a self-dedication ceremony.  For the next few days or weeks spend some time in silent reflection and contemplation through meditation and prayer, and specifically define your understanding of Ishvara/Higher Power – God, Goddess, Great Spirit, Highest Self.  Set a date for your self-dedication ceremony below.  Put it on your calendar.  Honor yourSelf.

Self-Dedication Ceremony

(During your prerequisite contemplation of the Devine above, you may burn a white candle during your meditations.)

Supplies:  White candle(s) representing the Divine, one each of a green, yellow, red, and blue candle, altar space or small table or board (a natural wooden cutting board or tray works well), matches or lighter, flower/herb/plant/stone, small bowl of water, feather or favorite incense, small bowl of a natural hot spice, any other items that represent the Divine (picture, book, symbol, jewelry, etc.), paper, pen.

Preparation:  Your altar should preferably be in the north or east direction of your quiet space.  Place the following items in their corresponding directions forming a sacred circle space: north/green candle/plant or stone, east/yellow candle/feather or incense, south/red candle/spice, west/blue candle/water bowl.  If your altar is solid, then the directional candle can be atop the altar if it does not fit behind the altar.  If you have a portable altar, place it just inside the circle in the north.  Decorate the altar with the white candle(s) and any other items you would like to work with that represent the Divine.

Ceremony:  Take a few moments in a seated position in front of your altar inside your circle to ground and center by closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths.  Once you feel centered and calm, light the green candle in the North inviting the element of earth and foundation, light the yellow candle in the east inviting the element of air and knowledge, light the red candle in the south thanking the element of fire and will, light the blue candle in the west thanking the element of water and emotion, then light the white candle(s) inviting the Divine/Great Spirit.  Prepare yourself once again for meditation in front of the altar and begin to gaze at the white candle flame in front of you.  Once you are fully concentrated on the candle flame, close your eyes and hold the flame at your mind’s eye for a few moments.  Begin to reflect deeply on Ishvara/Divinity on the level of emotion and connection, merging with the aspects of the Divine nature within.  Be with this union for as long as you feel comfortable.  Once you feel your communion is complete mentally count up from 1 to 10 as you bring yourself gently out of meditation, touching the ground with your hands if you need more grounding and centering.  Write your dedication, Word, or symbol on the piece of paper.  Fold the paper once or twice, folding the paper towards yourself.  Place the piece of paper under the white candle and allow the candle to burn all the way down.  If you have to extinguish the candle, continue to burn intermittently for the next 3 days until the candle has burned completely.  Beginning in the west, extinguish the blue candle thanking the element of water, continue to the south extinguishing the red candle thanking the element of fire, extinguish the yellow candle in the east thanking the element of air, and extinguish the green candle in the north thanking the element of earth.  Take 3 deep breaths and thank Spirit.  So be it.

 

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Midweek Morsel: Kundalini Meditation Guidelines

untitled (140 of 161)Meditation Time

Most Kundalini Meditation practices call for a duration of 1, 3, 7, 11, 22, 31, 62, and 180 minutes. The benefits of increasing the duration of your meditation practice are as follows:

1 minute – calming effects are realized

3 minutes – parasympathetic nervous system begins to strengthen

7 minutes – circulation and blood is positively affected

11 minutes – changes glandular and nervous systems

22 minutes – the Three Minds (negative, positive & neutral) balance and begin to work in harmony

31 minutes – the whole mind is affected including your aura, and the 5 elements (tattvas) of the body begin to balance (earth, air, fire, water, ether)

2.5 hours – the subconscious mind holds the change throughout the cycle of the day

 

Meditation Duration

In order for the body and mind to hold on to the desired change that a dedicated meditation practice can bring, design your daily practice with the following benefits in mind:

40 days – to change a habit

90 days – to confirm a new habit

120 days – the new habit becomes who you are

1000 days – the new habit has been mastered

Blessings and Sat Nam

 

 

 

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Week 4: Kundalini Meditation for the Parasympathetic Nervous System

Benefits: Even though this meditation takes energy to perform, the results are highly relaxing. Using the virtues of patience and self-control while your body is under tension actually promotes and strengthens the parasympathetic nervous system.

Posture: Sit in a comfortable position that allows the spine to be straight and tall. You may sit cross-legged on the floor or seated on the heels. If you are not comfortable on the floor, sit in a straight back chair without leaning back and feet flat on the floor.

Instructions: Eyes are softly open just 10%, gazing towards or beyond the tip of the nose. Extend arms overhead in a wide ‘V’-shape at a 60* angle. Keeping arms very straight and elbows softly locked, turn the palms of the hands out, fingers together, bending at the wrists and pressing through the palms to create a 60* angle with the forearm. Mentally/silently chant ‘Sat Nam’ on each inhale and mentally/silently chant ‘Sat Nam’ on each exhale. Breathing is long and deep.

Duration: If the 7 minute duration in the video is too deep, start with 3 minutes and work up to 7 minutes. You can move up to longer durations – the longer the better.

Reminder: Do not push through any breathing exercise that feels uncomfortable. If you ever feel anxious or a shortness of breath, return to your normal breathing and move through the exercise or conclude the exercise if necessary.

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Midweek Morsel: The Sunshine Song

The Long Time Sun Blessing Song

All Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan classes use the Sunshine Song to close each class. It can be sung or recited, as a positive affirmation, bringing blessings to all. At the end of class the song is repeated twice, and on the second round, repeat the last line 3 times and add the long Sat Nam.

May the Long Time Sun Shine Upon You

All Love Surround You

And the Pure Light Within You

Guide Your Way On.

Sat Nam

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Week 3: Kundalini Meditation for Prosperity II

Benefits: “This meditation stimulates the mind, the moon center and Jupiter. When Jupiter and the moon come together, there is no way in the world you will not create wealth.” -Yogi Bhajan

Posture: Sit in a comfortable position that allows the spine to be straight and tall. You may sit cross-legged on the floor or seated on the heels. If you are not comfortable on the floor, sit in a straight back chair without leaning back and feet flat on the floor.

Instructions: Focus at the tip of your nose with eyes 10% softly open. With your elbows bent at your sides, fingers together, palms face down in front of you, with the right thumb over left, and tap the insides of the index fingers and palm sides together, separate, flip the palms up and tap the sides of the pinky fingers and palm sides together. On each tap of the hands, chant ‘Har’ allowing the navel point to contract slightly. Try to pronounce ‘Har’ with a rolling r allowing the tip of the tongue to touch the top of the mouth.

Duration: Minimum duration of 3 minutes, maximum duration of 11 minutes. Yogi Bhajan indicates that anything over 11 minutes would be ‘greedy’.

Reminder: Do not push through any breathing exercise that feels uncomfortable. If you ever feel anxious or a shortness of breath, return to your normal breathing and move through the exercise or conclude the exercise if necessary.

 

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