When creating a new habit, it is easiest to tie it into something you already do—for example, breathing three times before starting a meal or opening a door.
During this course, we practice dropping into our hearts or “being loving awareness.” How can you start to tie it into your day without creating a project out of it or falling into perfectionism? Will you begin a 5-min morning practice? What will it be? Perhaps you might practice while driving your car? Or taking a shower? Or brushing your teeth?
Help us all get inspired and tell us: 1) what is your gentle, simple practice? 2) how will you tie it to your day? 3) what will you do when you remember you have forgotten to do it?
I have had a morning puja that I’ve been tweaking as I go along that I have honed in on 4 different mantra, a prayer to Christ (raised catholic and taking Maharaj-ji’s advice to use the guru I was raised on), and a reflection of all the beings that hang out in my 'groovy heart cave (Maharaj-ji, Ram Dass, Christ, Krishna Hanuman, Ramana Maharishi, Anandamayi Ma, etc.) and on good days I am able to sit down in my dedicated puja space.
I’ve found, through this first week, that instead of the usual ‘Ram Ram Ram Ram’ or ‘Om Mane Padme Hum’ that I return to ‘I Am Loving Awareness’ as my base mantra that I return to throughout the day when I’m driving or waiting in line at the store or interspersed moments through the workday when I realize that I’m not in my heart or soul and I’m creating and us/them.
The key, I’ve found, like most teachers within Ram Dass’ circles will say that it’s about being compassionate to yourself and it doesn’t matter how many times you get lost, it matters how many times you find yourself again and go back into your practice.
I have a daily 30 minute meditation practice that is simple. I set the timer when I get up in the morning at 4:30 and sink into my body and try to expand to my heart. I know when I’m not at home that it is more difficult. I try to make up for that, but am not always successful.
I also have a driving practice that I’ve done ever since I drove from California to Iowa 17 years ago. I saw WAY TOO MANY animals killed by cars on the side of the road. I pledged that moment that I would say a mantra for all animals that were killed on the roadside…“Om Mani Padme Hum, be a buddha, may you have a higher and more peaceful rebirth.” I never forget this mantra if I see an animal, even if in mid-conversation. I just think, no one really cares about this precious life on the side of the road, so at least they will have a prayer.
The Breathe. Yes, distractions are part of the game, but with good intentions and perseverance a clear message of peace and love comes through. I love when Sharon says, “ the secret ingredient is being able to begin again.” Needed that today
I’ve been enjoying the various practices within the course. Tried chanting which is really nice, especially after hearing Jai last evening. My morning practice has stabilized my life like nothing else and I am grateful to have these heartfelt additions to try out
Taking care of my Self, my body my being. I am loving moving every morning first, I’ve been reading Mirabi Starr’s book Wild Mercy on the treadmill (because I can’t read and walk outside). I have been dry brushing and taking care of my vessel, honoring my vessel, loving this vessel I was taught to hate so deeply. It’s a loving awareness to take care of me since I’ve spent these first 31 years taking care of everyone else.
Dropping into my heart has been a process. Realizing when its present, not, what works, isn’t. Metta meditation has been an experiment, trying to not be too mechanical or force it. Imagining everyone as the children of parents who loved them dearly, want them to be happy, and made many sacrifices to support them on their journey. Breath meditation to set the foundation. Mindfulness meditation to do a mental check in on how I’m doing; body scanning also helps with this. I haven’t done a lot of insight meditation on the heart, but recently had the practice pull me in to an unanticipated experience of openness and sensitivity. Not in a hurry to repeat this experience, but appreciate that the love is there.
I try to be consistent by starting the day with 20 min mindfulness meditation. Would
Love to journal Everyday but that one is still a bit tricky. Also most days I will do yoga or some sorts of physical workout. Consistency is my goal
Most mornings I do a japa practice followed by silent meditation. If that is not possible for some reason, I simply recognize it without blame and look at what else I can incorporate into my day to cultivate grace and loving awareness. Another practice - so simple and so easily forgotten when I am hungry - is thanking everything on my plate and all the beings that made it possible to put it there. If I forget and remember after I have started chowing down, I stop and offer gratitude before resuming. And when I forget altogether, I forgive myself and set an intention to remember better next time. Practice to me means I keep repeating it and expanding my skill / love / awareness as I go.
I have certain music tracks. Kirtan is a great way to focus and still the ego mind. Krishna Das is great for that. I also love Gurumayi and her music chants. I was introduced to Sanskrit in 1980 and something about this ancient language and the sitar stilled my mind with epiphanies in ways that the Christian Church I was raised in never did.
I am also blessed with a voice that allowed me to share my gift, which is really my gift. Communicating/sharing with others in the arts is a form of practice for me.
Being around enlightened beings of light and love also helps.
As a writer, words can most times build a vibrational safe house (like music) for me. Ram Ram Ram.
My gentle simple practice:
Since this course I made it a new habit when I’m with people and noticing that I compare myself in a negative way, I practice the new habit of telling myself 'I accept that I am just as lovable / intelligent / creative / successful / simpatico etc. as he/she is.
I tie it into my day by doing it every time I meet someone.
That makes me sad- the dead animals. Thank you for saying a prayer for them. It’s funny, sometimes I think that being human isn’t taking a higher birth. Non-humans are so unconditional, etc. They are definitely heart-openers for me.