“So before we go and transform the world, let us transform ourselves” – Swami Satchidananda

What would life be like if the people you encountered were always happy to see you?  What would our relationships be like if everyone was already enjoying themselves, having a great time?

While asking these questions can lead to a seemingly impossible utopian vision where all people are happy and healthy, creating this world is a lot easier than we ever thought.  Creating an environment of health and joy can be accomplished in your life without controlling or changing those around you.  While at first this task of creation can seem overwhelming, Swami Satchidananda brings our role right down to its essence in this week’s Weekly Words of Wisdom:

ashram“When you fill your system with vitality, with health and happiness, you become contagious. People will sit with you and feel happy and laugh. Fill yourself up to the brim with your good health and energy and let it overflow. Just by your mere presence, you will bring health to others. You don’t have to talk about Yoga and health to others. If you constantly emit that vibration, that will be the beginning of world health. So, where should it begin? With you. It’s not only that charity begins at home, even health begins at home. Individuals make the world. So before we go and transform the world, let us transform ourselves. Let us reform ourselves. Make yourself healthier and happier and pass it on to others. God bless you. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.” Swami Satchidananda

Any TimeWhat do you desire from others?  Do you want appreciation, recognition, love, kindness, help, opportunity, or understanding?  Swami Satchidananda’s message of beginning health at home is also true for anything that we desire more of from our world.

The surest way to experience gratitude from someone else, is to first become grateful yourself.  If you feel a lack of love and compassion in your life, become more loving and compassionate towards others.  The result of giving that which you desire to receive is momentum.  Your action creates an equal and opposite reaction.

As an experiment, think of something you could receive from others that would make your heart sing.  Focus on whatever that may be, and spend a day giving that to all those you encounter.  For example, if you want more appreciation, recognize and thank the people around you.  You may find that what you once desired is coming back at you in larger ways than you could have thought up.


A Silent Surprise

The following video of Marina Abramović’s performance for her 2010 MoMA retrospective speaks for itself entirely through silence.  The most dramatic part of the video is Marina’s encounter with a former great love from the 70’s whom she used to create art with. What truly captivated me about this video were the shared moments of silent staring contents with strangers.

I find the act of staring into the eyes of another human being in silence to be revolutionary in a world consumed with conversation.  Have you ever stared into someone’s eyes without speaking?  Silence provides the opportunity to experience the reality, the fullness, the beingness of another human.  Two humans staring into each other’s eyes in silence is consciousness gazing into a mirror.

Click here to read more about this story.


The End Of Worry

By Peter SperoIt is so easy to become consumed with worry about other people.  I find myself worrying about the wellbeing of friends and loved ones, worrying about their habits, the path they are on, how their future will affect my future.  Have you ever experienced these thoughts about the people close to you?

When I have these thoughts of worry they seem incredibly important.  I am operating under the assumption that if I don’t solve that which I am worried about right now through my own thoughts I will end up worse off in the future, things will go terribly wrong.

Yet, the truth of the matter is that everything in life will come and go except for myself.  My being.  No matter what happens to those around me, what choices they make, or how they create their future, I will always be myself right here in this one moment called the now.  There is nothing that can add to or take away from the being that I am.  And my own future is determined by the state of my consciousness right now.

IMG_0671So instead of trying to solve the problems of everyone around me, I return to the only true place of power, the present moment.  When you find yourself trying to solve the problems of those around you, and begin to feel overwhelmed, or even start to dread the future, come back to your immediate experience.  Shrink the world to the small space you are currently occupying, the perceptions that you are taking in through your five senses, and the breath. 

This is real life.  This is what is actually happening.

The worries, while they seem so real and important, are no more than thoughts in the head.  Although they seem irrefutably valid, allow yourself to relinquish them, and come into the present.  All of the solutions you will ever need are contained right here in the present moment.  They will arise as needed.  The present moment carries you through life with ease and grace.  By allowing yourself to come back into the present, you are allowing life to work all situations for your good.  Being present is the true nature of trust.  Learn to trust the now, trust life, and all of your needs will be, and already are, met.


The Mind Magnet

By Peter SperoToday I noticed a constant pull within me to scroll through various things on my phone.  I would put on my makeup, and then check my email.  Get dressed, scroll through Facebook.  Sit down on the bus, surf the web.  The magnetic pull of my phone started feeling very obvious so I decided to put it away and not use it.

Then I was looking out of the bus window and I started thinking about what I had said in a conversation last night.  My mind then jumped to what I was about to do at work.  Back and forth, my thoughts fluctuated between past and future.  I noticed sitting there on the bus that just as the phone had a magnetic pull towards it, so did my mind.  I decided to let go of the past and future thoughts and let myself be in the moment I was living.

A few seconds passed and once again I was reliving an event, and making up scenarios about future events.  I noticed.  I let it go.  I was back on the bus, staring out of the window looking at the rain and a little taco stand in a parking lot.  Even when I had brought myself back into the moment I could feel the pull of my mind on my attention.  It was magnetic.

By Peter SperoDo you ever notice that your mind keeps pulling you in even when you make a conscious choice to be in the present moment?  Do you ever come back into the actual moment you are experiencing and realize you had been wrapped up in thoughts for a long period of time?  Have you ever had the experience of listening to someone, and at the end of the conversation realize you had no idea what they were talking about because you were thinking the whole time?

If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, congratulations!  You are aware of your thoughts!  For many, they never realize they are wrapped up in thinking, because they have been completely taken over by the mind.  The mind is living through them and they have no idea that they are not the voice in their head.  To notice that your mind has a magnetic quality that is constantly pulling you in is the flowering of your consciousness.  You have separated who you are, the one who notices the thoughts, from the thoughts themselves.

While it may seem that there should be a fix for this, a solid solution for the magnetic mind, the solution is already arising if you can notice when you are thinking.  That is your awareness gaining strength.  Each time you recognize you’ve been pulled into thoughts, and out of the present, you have given yourself an opportunity to operate from the only place of true power, the only space where anything actually happens, the present moment.

The more often you gently take away attention from the mind and place it on your surroundings, the easier it will become, and the more the infinite intelligence of consciousness will guide your actions.  In this way the highest potential contained within each present moment has the opportunity to manifest in your life.  Being present now creates a miraculous future.


The Cure For Monday Malaise

Garfield by Jim DavisHow can we change our reactions to Mondays?  I’m sure there are many who spring out of bed Monday morning, just like any other day, and enjoy themselves.  Yet, the going notion seems to equate Monday with misery.

Do you have any strategies to charge your positive energy at the beginning of the workweek?

For me, one of the main strategies to not dreading the coming of the workweek is to stay very present on Sunday night.  It is so easy to create bad feelings through anticipation, so I bring my attention right down to my current perception of the moment.

It is also easy to create a bad Monday by making up your mind that it is going to be bad.  This is the same momentum in my own life that sometimes prevents me from trying new things.  When I’ve decided in my mind that I’m not going to have a good time, it becomes much more likely that I will create a bad time through my negative perception of the situation.  Letting go of thoughts of the future is another helpful step to curing the Monday blues.

Coffee Love Using Monday to let go of reaction can also change what was once an undesirable situation.  I experience this phenomenon with cold weather all the time.  There is nothing wrong with the temperature starting to drop and feeling that cold wind upon my face.  It is as it is.  What is so unpleasant about the cold is my negative reaction to it. I know many people here in Chicago that love the winter season, and are just fine waiting at the bus stop in 30-degree weather.  

By letting go of my reaction, I can allow the circumstance to be as it is, and even if it isn’t good it is no longer bad by any means.  Letting go of negative reactions to the start of the workweek can transform what was once an unpleasant situation, to a neutral or even enjoyable experience.

For those of us who need a little extra revving up for the start of the week, let’s make a game out of Mondays.  While that day of the week so often gets a bad wrap, lets change “misery Monday” to “miracle Monday!”  Choose something to focus on that would really make your heart sing.  I’m going to look for signs of prosperity.  I don’t know what that will look like, but from the time I wake up to the time I fall asleep on Monday night, I’m going to focus my attention on prosperity and look for it however it may manifest.  You could also have a Monday where you search for things to be grateful for, look for abundance, seek out signs that the universe is supporting you, search for signs of health, focus on finding your passion or calling, or keep your eyes peeled for love and new relationships.  Whatever you choose to manifest for “miracle Monday,” the end result will be an exciting and fruitful first day of the workweek.

Tonight I send out all of my positive energy to you for this coming week.  May you see prosperity, joy, love, and growth!  After all, when it comes to the days of the week, it is you and I who decide the perspective we experience them from.


What does your Halloween costume say about you?

HalloweenDid you dress up this Halloween?  Were you an animal, a popular character, a pun, or a “sexy” something?  I saw a huge range of costumes yesterday; both children and adults went all out for Halloween.  I then found myself asking the question, why don’t we do this all year?

The answer is: we do.  While my sweaters and stretchy pants are not as exciting as a panda bear or Hermione Granger costume, I still wear clothes that are attached to an identity.

On Halloween we all ask each other, “What are you?”  On all of the other days of the year we wear costumes that are associated with clear roles and identities, so no one bothers to ask what we are dressing as.

The person in a suit and tie is in the businessperson costume, just as the person wearing a mail carrier outfit is in the mail carrier costume.  The difference is, we take our everyday costumes very seriously.  Our daily costumes are attached to an identity that we hold firmly in our minds, and which portray to the world what we think we are.

Harry Potter Picture In the end, whether dressed as a lion or an executive, we wear costumes that are attached to an identity in our minds.  When we change out of our Halloween costumes into different clothes the next day, we don’t think twice about it.  But if a job, status, or title changes we can feel lost, distraught, and diminished.

Even though the roles and identities we wear day to day have been taken very seriously, as our absolute truths, throughout human history, we don’t have to buy into them anymore.  After all, when at the end of life we discorporate and lose our human costumes, all of the suffering created by our attachment to identities will dissolve, and life will be seen as one big Halloween party.

What roles do you play in everyday life?  What daily costumes give you a sense of identity?  Create an experiment out of loosening your grip on these thought-created selves.  What you end up discovering beneath them will be more truly yourself and more miraculous than every costume Party City has ever sold.