I read the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle while on vacation in Las Vegas. That time spent in 'Sin City' remains one of my most revelatory experiences because of that diamond-mind book. And to know that so many others have read it around the world continues to give me hope and faith in our collective future.
Among so many explorations in The Power of Now, Eckart explains how thoughts trigger emotions and emotions introduce tension patterns in the body. Depending on the intensity and quality of the thoughts, this tension can solidify into blockages and pain in the body over time. I can see this in myself every day as my mind hungrily consumes endless information through excessive screen time, the blessing AND plague of our age. The mind often seems insatiable, and even though exhausted, it can't seem to settle down and stop consuming long enough to let go and rest.
Awake at 3:00 in the morning last night, I was able to get just enough space to watch my mind, emotions and body. My main fascination in this lifetime is endlessly researching natural health practices and cures. As I indulged to satisfy that craving, my thoughts stimulated emotions, emotions elicited tense holding patterns in the body, rinse and repeat in an addictive cycle.
As I listened to a video online about miraculous healings, (and of course grave illness is the other side of that same coin), my heart bled for each person's story of dis-ease, then a hit of exhilaration came as the person began to heal (or not). My mind and body, in an arc of intense emotion, internalized the person's healing journey with great curiosity. Nothing wrong with that, I'm learning a lot, but it is 3:00am in the damn morning and I have to work the next day!
By 4:00am, My body had reacted to the thought and emotion cycle again and again. The muscles and tendons of my belly were contracted in fear, joy and either exaltation or plummeting dejection, depending on the outcome of each story. After several hours of this, my body was in knots and I wondered if I would ever fall back asleep again before the alarm started to ring. I knew I should just stop, sit up tall and meditate, clear my mind and give myself a chance to sleep, but I couldn't seem to tear myself away. Meditation is good medication because it is a true antidote. But my churning mind, like a child up way past her bedtime, just wouldn't stop its endless addictive cycle and continued to fend off what the older, greater and wiser self knew was best.
'You ARE wearing blue blocker glassses' My mind says! 'And the next healing story you watch could be the knowledge you need to help someone', she says. The mind rationalized endlessly. while my deeper self recognized the addiction with compassion.
The mind is to be respected for all it does for us; without it, we couldn't be here. The mind comes with the computer-like brain that integrates with our soul's purpose and all the other elaborate components and facilities we come into this reality with - all brilliant and necessary parts of this experience on Earth. So disrespectfully calling my mind 'Monkey Mind' is not helpful either.
I was finally able to override the addictive and insistent cycle, sit up straight in my bed, play some spiritual music, and urge my mind to quiet down. Like a very stern parent, I knew that was just the way it had to be. My mind kept trying to move curiously from story to story, but I just kept drawing it back to the quietude again and again. 'Looking' at my restless mind as if it were a younger part of myself, even if just a psychological device, is always very helpful.
The restless, childlike mind was finally able to start letting go of its obsessions. Once the mind started to settle down, my whole being felt a blissful relief sweep over as I entered the formless field. Once my mind tasted the bliss, it wondered for the millionth time why it always fights so hard against it. As I slipped deeper and deeper into the expansive awareness, the tireless seeking and movement of the mind finally ceased.
'I' could finally look out through the eyes of my soul, 'I' was no longer drowned out by the endless thoughts. My whole unified being reveled in breathing the familiar and nurturing air of freedom; the atmosphere of my true home; beyond change and suffering, beyond thought and emotion, beyond even birth and death. The body also progressively let go of its contractive knots and after a long luxurious bath in the stillness, the sleep train finally came to carry me away.
I pray that each of you has everything you need to be sustained throughout this time. If you've got what you need, this is a list of affordable and FREE resources to bring epiphanies, laughter, depth, and good energy into the mix during your time at home. So here it is: based on a collaborative discussion with some of MKY's teachers, Savitri, Andy, Kathy, and myself (Cate) and some suggestions from our community. May it serve you. Stay healthy, safe, and happy!
#1 Podcast Series on The New Earth
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle is a life-changing book about how we can repair our world through awareness, acceptance and enjoyment. In this 10-part podcast series, Oprah Winfrey and Tolle discuss the book and take questions from callers about implementing its teachings into real life.
#2 Good News Web Series
I hope you already know about Actor John Krasinki's Some Good News, which is such a fun, beautiful, exciting, funny and uplifting response to these times. If you haven't watched this Web Series, watch it soon and get ready for some happy tears, as Krasinski surprises a young girl who missed out on seeing Hamilton with a Zoom performance from the cast, brings amazing speakers -- like Jon Stewart, Steven Spielberg, and Oprah -- to an online high school graduation, and officiates a Zoom wedding for two fans of the The Office, followed by dance party with all the cast members. Word is that Comedy Central picked up the series, so the wonderful, heartfelt-ness won't end.
#3 Mantra Resource
We, at MKY, regard mantras as a gift, a gift that helps us shift from our churning, monkey minds to peace. And we all draw on this marvelous resource of Kundalini Mantras often for our own practices and when we plan our classes: Spirit Voyage's Mantrapedia lists the mantras from A-Z and includes the meaning, the effect, and the musical versions of each sacred sound.
#4 Spiritual Journey Book
Surfing the Himalayas by Frederick Lenz tells the story of a young man who travels to the Himalayas seeking the ultimate high. While snowboarding the great mountains, he unexpectedly meets (literally plows into) a wise Buddhist Monk named Master Fwap who completely transforms his life. Lynn Andrews, author of Medicine Woman, states it best; "A magnificent journey to the mountain within." (Those of you who take Savitri's classes have probably heard her mention her teacher Rama. Rama is Frederick Lenz's spiritual name, and this is one of his most important books.)
#5 The Suburban Monk Playbook
Our dear friend and yoga student, Ellen Atkins (aka the Suburban Monk, aka maker of Syd, a bright spot on anyone's altar) has created a very special (and completely free) gift. It's called the Playbook, and it includes 14 simple practices that are designed to help you become a Suburban Monk. If you own a Syd (big or small), you can use it with these practices. If you don't own a Syd, you can get one through our Website (MKY is an affiliate). I absolutely LOVE my red Syd.
#6 Montclair Kundalini Yoga's Online Classes
If you haven't popped online with us yet, give it a try. It's just $10 a class. And we really try to deliver the teachings, the music, and our caring hearts. If you're shy about being on camera, I understand how you feel and you don't have to be. It's your choice. On camera or off, we'd like to be your spiritual family. We'd like to help you get your daily dose of Kundalini Yoga, the yoga of awareness, the yoga that focuses on getting your energy and creativity flowing. Sign up here.
#7 Outside (Not an App)
I suggested to my team that I include on this list a step counting app because we all know that walking is sooooo beneficial, but Savitri responded with a resounding "NO! Leave your phone at home." So there you have it. The link is your front door.
I re-watched this one on demand with my kids and, for our sense of humor (which may not be so elevated, I grant you), it was worth it! A great escape from the seriousness of the moment. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly play perpetual children, ne-er-do-wells who still live at home. When their parents marry, they become step brothers and rivalry, childishness, hilarity, and eventually redemption ensue.
#9 List of Weird & Little-Known Words
My college-age son is a studious sort, so I always try (and rarely succeed) at stumping him with stuff I know and he doesn't. In this case, I cheated because I looked up "little-known" words and then tested him. Stumped him on 26 out of 26, which was super satisfying. Bonus: most of the words are pretty funny sounding, too, like winklepicker and tittynope. Enjoy the A-Z List.
FYI: Some members of our community responded with comedy recommendations that I didn't have a chance to check out myself but plan to: Middleditch & Schwartz, Long Form Improv on Netflix and Stay F Homekins: a Quarantine Podcast.
#10 Lucid Dreaming
Dive into your own dreams for healing. Savitri has discovered this awesome book about lucid dreaming which I'm about to explore, too. Here's her recommendation:
Want to ramp up your spiritual practice? Why not learn to meditate or do yoga in your dreamtime while sleeping? That’s what the book Lucid Dreaming Made Easy by Charlie Morley teaches us how to do.
We have probably all dreamt lucidly at least once in our lives, where we are awake and aware in the dream and able to exert some control. But Charlie Morley teaches us how to lucid dream on a consistent basis: During lucid dreaming, we can receive important messages from the higher self, the psychological self and the collective psyche. We can cultivate our spirituality by bringing our spiritual practice to the dreamtime. When we learn to really utilize the nearly one third of our life that we spend sleeping, anxiety can be reduced, creativity can be boosted and solutions to problems can be found, among so many other benefits.
Some tools Charlie gives us are: Keep a dream journal, identify recurrent dream signs, set an affirmation before sleep that acts as a queue to lucidly wake up in the dreamtime, perform reality checks to verify you are indeed in a dream, and learn how to extend dreams - among many other valuable practices.
#11 Remote Reiki
Reiki is a healing energy that can be directed and transmitted by a Reiki practitioner to address disturbances in the subtle energy bodies. A Reiki treatment restores order and balance to the subtle bodies which can then positively affect the physical body as well as all other levels of our being. Reiki is a light bath that helps your body-emotions-mind-spirit to heal itself.
Reiki energy can be directly applied or can be transmitted anywhere in the world to anyone at any time. When performed remotely, it is called remote Reiki or distance Reiki and the practitioner often uses special symbols and visualizations to bridge and transcend space to transmit the healing energies to the one receiving.
Savitri and I both offer distance Reiki. You can book a 30 minute session with one or both of us. For the rest of the month of May, we are offering a 50% discount on Reiki. For a 30 minute session with one of us, it's only $30. For a 30 minute session with both of us simultaneously, it's only $60. Please contact us at email@example.com to book a session.
#12 Introduction to EFT (Tapping) Video
This healing technique is really worth a try. It's a combination of Chinese Acupressure and Modern Psychology. It's easy and quick to do, and can apply to physical pain and emotional issues. This video is from Nick Ortner, the author of The Tapping Solution and is a great introduction. If you've never given this a try, I really encourage you to if there's any area of stagnation. See if it helps.
Infuse Your Instagram Feed with Positivity!
#13 Folks to Follow
I believe that we need positivity and heartfelt-ness in our feeds -- to balance out the COVID news. This helps me a lot. It helps me to see what my postive-minded real-life friends are up to and also some folks I admire from afar.
For the from afar folks, we've chosen a few that we hope will brighten your feeds and your days. Our choices are:
And by the way, we hope you'll follow us because we keep things positive: @montclairkundaliniyoga, @catebaily, @brynnlacey1, @kathrynyogini, @andys857
#14 Daily Live Devotional Music & Meditation
Deva Premal & Miten are chart-topping new-age musicians on a mission to share the medicine of mantra with the world. During these times, they are offering a Daily Facebook Live with their beautiful music and meditation. They exude such peaceful, beautiful energy.
#15 Andy's Meditation Offerings
Every single day, Andy posts free video meditations on our Facebook page. Plus, he teaches in his friendly, open, accepting way a FREE Meditation Class for MKY online every Monday night. Sign up to join in.
Bonus for Parents
If you're home with kids, this looks like an amazing resource: The Ultimate Guide to WFH with Kids. It's full of ideas for activities and searchable by age, outdoor vs. indoor, screen vs. no screen, and need for parent involvement. I didn't get too deep with it yet. But I did find an activity I'm dying to do with my daughter: create a fairy house with only items found in your yard.
We'd love to know what resources you've been drawing on in this time at home. Please share in the comments. Let's help each other out.