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A witness consciousness...  Aaaahhh, bliss.

A witness consciousness... Aaaahhh, bliss.

For me, Yoga is a process of deconstruction. Of letting go of everything I thought I’d learned.

The Yoga tradition says that all information, all wisdom is available in Universal Mind/Consciousness. And if one is open enough, it starts to come though.

When we get stuck, when we reach an impasse it is helpful to remember, as Einstein advised, that the mind that created the problem is not the mind that can solve it.

Our ‘little mind’ likes answers, formulas, security.  If we want anything new though, how do we break out of patterns or open up into another part of the mind that hasn’t got already formed, set answers or neurological pathways?

We also have these formed, set ‘answers’ in the body.  Ask a group of yoga students (especially teachers) to stand up and they will all go straight into a ‘standing pose’.  And all we did was ask them to stand up…

Every day we train ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally.  And this entrainment happens at the level of our cells, our synaptic connections. We strengthen them each time we do it the same way, every time we do rage say, we strengthen it and we then operate the same way in the world.

Our habitual mind always considers the problem from its viewpoint of past conditioning and how we’ve always done it or been told to do it.

If every time I do yoga I push myself according to an idea or an image I have of the movement, I strengthen those same neurological connections.  It can become joyless and dead.

So my question becomes, if I am practising yoga or having a conversation, can I go into that intelligent ‘no-knowing’ state or part of myself?  That, paradoxically, is when ideas and solutions that would never have occurred to us appear.

If we let go and become still, surrender, then ideas and thoughts and new solutions come from ‘out of the blue’.

No-one else can help us with this.  We have to get ‘on the mat’, or in the chair (or on the floor) and for a few minutes, let go of all ideas (of our practice, of our problems…) and practise an intense form of listening to what is possible. Slowly other information comes through. From the BIG MIND

How do we do it? For me I touch this place in the practice of Yoga Nidra. Where we go though the physical body so it is energised and relaxed, then we observe the mental and emotional fluctuations (that are to a large degree controlled by the mind) and then there comes this experience of ‘who is observing all this?  A witness consciousness…  Aaaahhh, bliss.

It happens through relaxation, we can’t WILL it. When we relax, all sense of separation disappears, new ideas and answers emerge, the ‘dog eat dog world’ fades and a new world opens up.

When we change, it has an enormous effect on the world…

I wish you many happy times of ‘not knowing!’

Bernadette Arena

Bernadette Arena

Bernadette Arena

Bernadette has worked with the Quest for Life Foundation since early 2006 and is the Senior Facilitator on our residential programs.  Her work is treasured by our participants and our team. She has also been developing and refining a deep understanding of the use of appropriate yoga and meditation approaches for use in oncology and with serious illness.

Bernadette maintains close association with International Yoga Teachers Association and is a senior lecturer for their Teacher Training Course.  She has designed and delivered yoga teacher training courses for other organisations.  During 5 years in the UK she taught retreats, workshops and classes across the UK and in Europe and worked as a personal ‘lifestyle’ coach.  Bernadette brings a gentle and loving nature with insight and compassion borne out of her experience. She can assist a deeper connection with the body as a means to rejuvenate the spirit.

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Petrea wanted to share these events with you:

An opportunity to settle the chatter in the mind and to connect you with your essence

An opportunity to settle the chatter in the mind and to connect you with your essence

Petrea King, Bernadette Arena and Wendie Batho travelled to India in 2010 to meet with Sri AmmaBhagavan and to receive (and to give) the Oneness Blessing. It is now available to everyone here in Australia. You may find it a wonderful opportunity to settle the chatter in the mind and to connect you with your essence – or ‘first’ nature.

A New Deeksha being introduced worldwide by Oneness University is now available in Australia

Namaste Dearest Blessing Givers & Oneness Participants

The outreach of Oneness University and the gift of spiritual nurturing and awakening offered by Sri AmmaBhagavan has been released over the years in waves in accordance with Humanity’s response to the outflowing energies. The latest outpouring of Grace is taking the form of an eye-deeksha and is known as the Oneness Meditation. This new deeksha has only so far been introduced in a few countries around the world and now it is Australia’s turn.

To begin with Pasquo and I have been initiated to be instruments for this new deeksha, with other trainers around Australia to be initiated soon. We have begun facilitating this Oneness Meditation here in Adelaide with very powerful results and amazing feedback and reports of miracles from the participants. Oneness Trainers in different parts of Australia have invited us to come and share the deeksha with their groups so that the benediction of the Oneness Meditation can spread quickly to their oneness participants around the country. So programs have been scheduled for Sydney, NSW Central Coast, Melbourne and Perth, with programs also continuing here in Adelaide in the next few weeks. We have included the program details below.

What is the Oneness Meditation
This is a group Meditation where powerful Divine energies flow through the initiated person who acts as an instrument for the transfer of the blessing to the group through eye contact with each participant. The eye contact allows the Divine energies to flow, giving a very powerful Deeksha to the those present. This energy helps to awaken one’s inner Divine intelligence leading to an accelerated process of awakening.

As most of you are aware 2012 is a very important year. We are in a window of opportunity to accelerate our personal growth. We have the power of choice to steer our own destiny. This deeksha is potent enough to allow incredible breakthroughs in all areas of our everyday life. The feedback we have received so far verifies this with those who received this eye deeksha here in Adelaide reporting incredible immediate shifts in their consciousness and the way they experience their life. A lady who had experienced prolonged depression and loss of faith in life had a complete shift of consciousness and reported how if she revisits the thoughts that were troubling her previously there is no emotional charge present any more. Previously she cried every time she had these thoughts. When she got out of bed the morning following the deeksha, she felt good and had a completely positive outlook on her life with a complete shift in perception from the previous long-experienced despair.

Sri Bhagavan has stated that the power of this eye deeksha will accelerate the personal awakening of all who receive it. Conditioning and obstacles to spiritual growth can be removed plus positive gains in health, wealth and happiness can be experienced. The deeksha facilitates healing, on a physical, emotional and mental level and the healing required for the opening up into right relationships with all people in your life

The Oneness Meditation is offered to all people of all denominations, races, creeds and walks of life. No prior experience of Oneness events is necessary in order to participate. So please share this wonderful opportunity and invite friends, family and work colleagues to experience this new benediction and gift for all. We hope you can join us and experience this Oneness Meditation first hand and see the changes for yourself.

Program Details
Sydney – Saturday 18th February – North Sydney
Bookings & details:
Gaynor – Tel: 02 9411 6886   Email: info@sydneyoneness.com.au
Dinah & Kaya – Tel: 02 95686513 Email: dinah64@tpg.com.au

Central Coast NSW- 19th February – Terrigal
Bookings & Details:
Alun and Marion Vaughan (02) 4385 7672Email: alunv@optusnet.com.au

Adelaide – Fullarton – 26th February
Bookings & Details:
Lisa & Pasquo – Tel: 08 83385642 Email: info@onenesscentre.com.au

Melbourne – 2nd & 3rd March
Bookings & Details:
Brandon & Rochelle – Mob: 0400 619 785 Email: brandongiffard@hotmail.com

Perth – Fremantle – 17th, 18th  March.
Bookings & Details:
Isha – Tel: 08 93364684  Email: openheart@aapt.net.au

We hope that each and every one of you will take up this opportunity to participate in this new deeksha and encourage as many of your blessing participants, friends and family to do so also. It matters not whether you received the deeksha yesterday, years ago or you have never even heard of the Oneness Blessing before, this new Oneness Meditation is a gift  for everyone. Please find the flyer attached with all the details and some feedback below from those who have received the new deeksha.

We hope you can join us and look forward to coming back to Sydney this week and sharing this gift from Amma Bhagavan.

Love & Blessings
Lisa & Pasquo

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Sitting Like a Mountain

Sitting Like a Mountain

One of the definitions of meditation is having a steady mind, and the aim of meditation is not to identify so closely with thoughts but rather, just to watch them come and go.  In daily life, you usually react to what is happening in the mind.  When you feel happy, you call a friend or write a poem; when you’re feeling down, you might pour a drink or turn on the television.  The discipline of meditation allows you to sit like a mountain with all kinds of weather passing overhead – storms, sun, wind, rain.  Nothing that is thrown up causes a great reaction; you are just aware of the passing weather.  The mountain remains firm and solid and steady, not rocked by the changes that happen all round.  Meditation allows everyone to develop such firmness and dignity.

The Meditation Year
Jane Hope

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Is your glass half full?

Is your glass half full?

It is easy to take what you have for granted and be chronically dissatisfied.  Focusing on what blessings you have can transform your mind and your life.

Benefits

  • Provides antidote to chronic dissatisfaction
  • Increases your awareness of your blessings
  • Helps you stay in the present moment

It is so easy to be caught up in feeling a chronic sense of lack, encouraged by a culture that says you never have enough and are never good enough.  You may find yourself fixated on that new car, a better relationship, new towels or a different place to live as the key to making you a happier person.  But you may have noticed, seeing your glass half-empty all the time makes for a miserable life.  Always looking to the future means you aren’t really present in the life you have right now.  By meditating on gratitude on a daily basis, you will reduce your dissatisfaction and increase your contentment with the life you have.  Happiness, you will discover, is ultimately a state of mind.

Meditation

When

If you are preoccupied with wanting things you don’t have.

Preparation

Write down everything you want that you don’t have.

Then write down ten things you are grateful for.

Practice

  1. Find time to be alone in a place where you will not be disturbed.  Sit in any way that makes you comfortable.  After doing the preliminary exercise above, read over the ten things that you have listed.
  2. Generate a sincere sense of gratitude for each item on your list.  If you are grateful for your health, feel thankful for your good fortune.  If you have a car, no matter what condition, be sincerely grateful to have transportation.  If you have a partner, think of their wonderful qualities and be grateful that they are a part of your life.
  3. After you have gone through your list, sit quietly and thank yourself, God, the universe, or whomever or whatever you choose, for the gifts you have been given.  Resolve, on a daily basis, to be mindful and grateful for the blessings you have.

From the The Meditation Bible by Madonna Gauding.

Alexia Miall

Alexia Miall

Alexia Miall

Alexia’s career began in banking and then moved via advertising to a major career change in 1980 to Adult and Transformational Education.  She has been privileged to share this incredible journey with 1000’s of like minded souls through her extensive experience as a facilitator, trainer, life coach, therapist, and mentor.  She managed her own training company in Victoria during the 1990’s, and during this time was the Course Leader for a training program from which the Banksia Environmental Foundation formed.

Alexia has acquired further education in Adult Education in Training; Somatic Psychotherapy; Life Coaching; Conflict Resolution; plus Accreditation in many behavioural and culture change models. She is an Associate of EcoSTEPS, a niche Sustainability consultancy, which supports her love of the natural environment.

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Zen Garden

Zen Garden

Recently I was in a beautiful garden sitting with a dear friend asking her for her wisdom and guidance about an issue in my life.

This friend is a true and trusted loving presence in my life and I often consult with her. I have to say she has never given me bad counsel. As we sat, she said I needed to “take it easy and trust in life. Everything is taken care of”. She added you don’t need to worry… you are safe”… I breathed a sigh of relief and warmth filled my belly.

I stayed holding hands with this dear friend and I relaxed.

My soul filled with joy and peace.

Did you guess yet who my friend was?

Yes it was me… Like many of you, I love to unwind and rejuvenate to Petrea’s beautiful voice. One of my favourite CD’s is Zen Garden in which Petrea leads us into a garden so we can sit and talk with the higher part of ourselves – the wise and loving part who cares and knows our best answers. If you have wondered what this CD is all about, I can highly recommend it as a way to peace and connecting with the part of you that holds your highest wellbeing at heart and who always loves you during both challenging and good times…

Wishing you much ease and peace with your own special garden friend.

Zen Garden

Zen Garden

Lots of love Margie

Note: We have a special on Zen Garden until 31st October – it is half price at $15 (including postage) – will make a great Christmas present! Click here to purchase.

Margie Braunstein

Margie is a somatic psychotherapist and counsellor providing psychotherapy services to the people of the Central Coast and Sydney.  Margie lives on the beautiful Central Coast with her husband, two children, two dogs and a cat.

Over the last 12 years, Margie has also been engaged in the design, delivery and marketing of transformational learning programs. During this time she has regularly facilitated personal development programs for up to 50 people on weekend workshops, week-long intensives and advanced programs of 3-4 months.

Margie has a Graduate Certificate in Adult Education from UTS, Diploma in Psychotherapy from the Australian College of Contemporary Somatic Psychotherapy and qualifications in somatic therapy, executive coaching and relationship counselling.

Margie has a passion for personal development and regards people with respect, empathy and compassion in the belief that while we all do the best we can, a little bit more kindness and care can lead to even greater peace and joy in life.

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Buddah

We live in a world that is changing rapidly and feels out of control.

There is an enormous amount of research happening about the brain, mind, and consciousness. Science knows a hundred times more today than it did in 1990 about what happens to the brain when we engage in contemplative practices like meditation.

This is great news for those who say “I can’t meditate”!

There is now good motivation to meditate because it actually changes our brain. The days of saying “Brain cells die as we age, the brain is fixed, you can’t change your mind, I am stuck in this thinking” is over. And here is why.

We now know that that the brain of people who regularly meditate becomes thicker. (not more stupid!) It becomes thicker in two major regions of the brain. One is the pre-frontal cortex, located right behind the forehead. It’s involved in deliberately paying attention to something.

The second brain area that gets bigger is the insula. The insula tracks both the interior state of the body and the feelings of other people, which is fundamental to empathy. So when we regularly meditate it helps us become more self aware and empathic.

Now that is motivation!

This is neuroplasticity in action which is really the idea that as the mind changes, the brain changes.

In the Buddhist tradition the mind takes the shape of whatever it rests upon – or more exactly, the brain takes the shape of whatever the mind rests upon. So if we are regularly thinking of regrets, resentments, quarrels with others, self reproach, and continually commenting of everything that isn’t working for us, it will change our brain in that direction, because the neurons that fire together wire together.

Conversely, if we think about those things that are going well, what we are grateful for, good connections we have with others, our positive qualities, what we have accomplished in our day, we are going to build neural pathways and circuits of positivity.

This is good news when we live in a world that is changing rapidly and feels out of control.

No matter what is going on “out there in the world” we can choose to stay more peaceful and calm by the regular practice of mindfulness or reflection or meditation or whatever we want to call it. The facts are in. When we meditate we change our brains and we change our lives.

If you haven’t started yet, today is a good day to commence changing your brain and your mind.

See Rick Hanson’s book The Buddha Brain.

www.RickHanson.net

 

Wendie Batho

Wendie Batho

Wendie Batho

Wendie has co-facilitated residential programs with Petrea for more than sixteen years. Prior to that Wendie spent over 25 years as a teacher, school principal and was involved in educational leadership and facilitation of school executive groups.

Ten years of this time was spent in PNG where she taught and worked for the government. Wendie has been travelling since the early sixties and is especially attracted to Asian cultures. She holds degrees in Anthropology, Education, Sociology, Theology and Political Science. Her current passions are her grandchildren, travel biographies, exploring Asia, 4×4 driving, reading everything she can get her hands on, and watching movies on the big screen at home.

 

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Happy Contemplations

Happy Contemplations

Thank you to anyone who has joined me in the 30 day meditation challenge.   I’m feeling calmer and more joyous,  and more easily remembering I  am what observes, not what I observe.   I love having a community of virtual meditators to keep me company, thank you.

Some time ago I read an article by neuropsychologist, Rick Hanson.  It was an article from IONS (Institute of Noetic sciences) I can’t recall the exact reference, but it was about ‘contemplative neuroscience’ -the study of the changes in the brain when people meditate.

There was a recommended exercise which I offer here as it is another great practice for our contemplative toolkit.

  • Begin with awareness on the sensations of breathing. (Rick suggests that if focusing on breathing makes you uncomfortable in any way, then focus on sensations in another part of your body, your feet or hands).

Have a clear intention to really stay present with your chosen object of concentration.  You might affirm,” I am staying completely present’

  • Relax! Sigh, make some longer exhalations, relax the face, jaw.
  • Focus on feeling as safe as you possibly can. Recognise you are probably in a safe and comfortable place while practising this.  Also recall all those supports in your life, and your own strengths that enable you to deal with whatever life brings.  This helps us feel less guarded, less braced against life.
  • Open to feelings of simple well-being. Without straining or forcing anything, encourage gentle feelings of happiness and gratitude. Rick says, “For example, forests make me happy, and I am grateful for the smell of oranges. Whatever works for you, allow a sense of positive emotion to fill you. There may well be other feelings, even negative feelings; don’t resist them. Let them come and let them go, as you keep bringing your attention back to feeling as good as you can in the moment.”
  • Get a sense of your awareness being like boundless space. Notice that awareness has no edges, no bounds. In a sense, it is infinite, like the sky or space. In that vast space, different experiences come and go, and you now have a panoramic sense of experiences arising and passing in the vast space of your awareness. You have a kind of bird’s-eye view of thoughts, sensations, sounds, feelings, desires, memories, whatever, coming and going in boundless, open space. Feel free to enjoy whatever is worthwhile in whatever you’re feeling”.

Happy contemplating.     Let me know if you like this.

Love, Bernadette

Bernadette Arena

Bernadette Arena

Bernadette Arena

Bernadette has worked with the Quest for Life Foundation since early 2006 and is the Senior Facilitator on our residential programs.  Her work is treasured by our participants and our team. She has also been developing and refining a deep understanding of the use of appropriate yoga and meditation approaches for use in oncology and with serious illness.

Bernadette maintains close association with International Yoga Teachers Association and is a senior lecturer for their Teacher Training Course.  She has designed and delivered yoga teacher training courses for other organisations.  During 5 years in the UK she taught retreats, workshops and classes across the UK and in Europe and worked as a personal ‘lifestyle’ coach.  Bernadette brings a gentle and loving nature with insight and compassion borne out of her experience. She can assist a deeper connection with the body as a means to rejuvenate the spirit.

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