08/11/2010

Miraculous, instant healing!

I just did an amazing therapy session!

The client wanted to shift an emotional problem – he was finding himself ‘reacting’ negatively in certain situations. Specifially, he found himself feeling aggressive toward people for no good reason.

He gave this example: He had recently had a business meeting (he works in the sports industry). When the woman he was meeting with began to innocently describe how good her system of training was (inadvertently implying that his was less good) he suddenly felt aggressive towards her. Obviously, his sense of worth was threatened… but how to heal this?

Of course this was a big problem for him – in this instance it threatened not only his momentary emotional balance and mental clarity, but potentially also his long-term business and personal relationships.

We used the elegantly simple technique of RPT, and fully healed him not only of this problem – he also got more than he bargained for…

The 'key' to personal development

I will share with you now some things that are little known, yet highly important in personal development.

Many people are working on developing themselves in many ways. If you google ‘therapy’ (or ‘healing’, or ‘personal development’), you’ll find literally thousands of different kinds of modalities.

Almost all of them are either energy based (reiki, bio-energetic techniques), or emotional based (heart based healing, E.F.T), or psychologically based (NLP, psychotherapy).

A common reaction to healing (especially to the energy / heart based techniques) is a feeling of euphoria, often accompanied by tears of joy. People often believe that they’ve “really healed it this time” because the feeling is so intense.

However, the truth is that if you have this kind of tearful reaction to therapy, you’ve probably only healed yourself on the energy / emotional level. The symptoms are healed (hence the feeling of euphoria – it’s a relief!), but the relief is only temporary. Very likely the problem will persist, perhaps in a different form.

21/10/2010

What happens when you do Yoga: part 1: Asana

10 amazing benefits of a regular yoga practice.

Asanas are the physical position, or postures, of yoga. Asana is a Sanskrit word.
Sanskrit is known as the language of the Gods. It is ancient, subtle, and complex.
The word asana means seat, or position: literally, the relationship that your body has to the earth. Sanskrit being Sanskrit, there is also an implied meaning: steadiness, and comfort.

So asana is a position that is held steady and comfortable.

Petra in King Cobra; Poorna Bhujangasana
What happens when you practice these positions in the right way (holding them steady, and relaxing into them) is that you (1) breathe deeply. Since any time you remain steady and relax deeply, your breathing will also deepen as a natural consequence.

As your body lets go of unnecessary tension (which is absolutely inevitable with practice, because it’s simply not possible to hold an asana whilst also holding on to stress) there is a deep (2) ‘letting go’. Emotional stress that was locked away in the muscles and tissues of the body, especially the fascia, dissolves. This is why people sometimes cry or feel emotional during yoga practice; usually however the ‘letting go’ is on a more subconscious level.

17/10/2010

Simplicity. Because the revolution will not be televised.

When my wife and I first moved into our hilltop home / retreat center amongst the farmland and forests of Eastern Slovenia, we left our T.V. behind.

Hills, forest, farmland; no tsunami!
We’d decided to simplify...

Our courtship was in an ashram, and the austerity of our lives there brought us face to face and heart to heart and soul to soul in ways that I had dreamt of, yet had not dared dream of.

Our courtship was unlike any other I had experienced – and I’d experienced many; mostly fast and furious, and without real substance. But meeting Petra was like tasting a fruit that I’d never heard of before; it was a totally new, fresh experience, that burst into my senses and spread through my body, mind, and spirit.
We spent 6 months getting to know each other the old fashioned way. Surrounded as we were by Swamis who had taken vows of renunciation (my intention on coming there was to become a Swami myself!) we couldn’t express our feelings for each other in a physical way; we couldn’t even hold hands there!

So we talked when we could, but mostly just ‘tuned in’ to each other’s energy, bathing in the electric awareness of loving presence that seemed to surround us whenever we happened to be in the same room.


27/09/2010

You eat what you are?


So much more to us than meets the eye...





This was inspired by the recent debate (over on Elephant Journal, where I'm a regular columnist) on garlic. If you missed that, and would like to ‘catch up’, you can follow the links at the foot of this piece.

To cut a long story short: someone said that garlic is bad for meditation (he went so far as to call it a ‘brain toxin’). A lot of people were pretty upset about it; someone else wrote an article refuting their claims, and extolling the health benefits of garlic; then there was a refutation to the refutation, and so on.

Here’s what I think:
Garlic is toxic, but not to the brain – to our higher, subtle awareness. That awareness is not brain centered, although most people think it is.

31/08/2010

Mala pausa / short break

Dear friends,
Thank you for visiting Grounded Spirituality. I'm on the road at the moment, taking a little time out to visit my Ma and drop in on an old buddy's wedding.
So for the next couple of weeks there won't be many updates here. Please feel free to browse the archives (!), and if you've read everything here already (let me know and I'll give you a prize!) you should check out Elephant Journal, where you'll be kept busy for a looong time.
Do come back soon though - I've more articles on diet, nutrition, relationships, yoga, healing... in the pipeline.
With love and gratitude,
Ben

27/08/2010

New age neo-tantra bogus yogis… caught in the act!




Caught in the act.


In March 2003 I was in the Bahamas, completing my advanced yoga teacher’s training course. It was an intense month - up at 4.30 every morning; after an hour of advanced pranayama the rest of the day was spent immersed all aspects of Raja Yoga, until late into the evening.

On that course there were two people that I became friends with, (and who shall be the hero and heroine of this particular tragedy). The first, who I shall call Dave, was a fellow Englishman who happened to come from the town where I grew up. The other, who I shall call Maya, was an American woman.

Dave and Maya had quickly developed a flirtatious relationship that seemed slightly out of place in the austere atmosphere of the Ashram - especially since both of them were married...


25/08/2010

Proper Food

THE 3 reasons to be Vegetarian

I’m not talking about:

  • Vegetarians who take it literally – eating nothing but vegetables.
  • Lazy vegetarians, who eat pizza for dinner, left over pizza for breakfast, and pasta with a jar of tomato sauce for lunch. They’re not real vegetarians. They’re just pretending, and it won’t last.
  • Self-righteous moralizing goody-goodies who like to make other people feel bad by making themselves feel better; trying to convert them to become as self righteous as they are. That’s not what it’s about. They just didn’t grow up yet. They will.
The real vegetarians are people who know what I’m talking about… they eat a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, pulses, grains, seaweeds… and whatever other yummy stuff they can get their hands on (ok, apart from meat – more on that later). They also recognize that in order to really feel their best, some spiritual practice is required. So as well as eating a balanced diet, they live a balanced life: striving always for the proper mix of material and spiritual aspiration.

So, 3 reasons you should either pat yourself on the back for keeping it real, or consider changing to a healthier, more sustainable, and ethical way of eating:

16/08/2010

Yoga teachers training: how I stopped resisting, and started living.

Ben, Vijendra, Sacred mountain
It’s coming towards the end of January, 2001 - and the end of my one month Yoga teacher’s training course in Kerala, India.


It’s been the longest month of my life - bar none. I’ve been ill for most of that time with bronchitis, tonsillitis, and flu (yes, simultaneously) and I never would have believed that it was possible to feel quite so useless. Having never been seriously ill in my life, and having come here with the idea that I would become God of Asana, it’s been a humbling experience, to say the least...




Beautiful video, real message

So, I came across this video over at Elephant Journal. It's a beautiful message presented in a very clever and interesting way. It made my hair stand up on end, and brought a tear to my eye. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
First watch the movie, then read on...



13/08/2010

'Auschwitz Dancing' video: love or fear... a choice we make, every moment.


Do you believe in the possibility of peace on Earth?

I do...

***
This article was inspired by a video sent to me by a friend. That video is at the end of this piece, and if you haven’t already seen it, great! I ask you to read first, and watch later. Then, come back and leave a comment expressing what you felt about the video.
If you have seen the video, great! If you liked it, you’ll get what I have to say. If you didn’t – I ask you to read first, then watch the video again, and see if you still feel the same way...


06/08/2010

MAY YOUR CHILDREN TURN THEIR FACES FROM YOU

Being real in this world
of fantasy film, video games, mass media marketing, and 24-hour everything isn’t easy is it?
Real means whole.
Whole means complete.
To me, ‘being real’ means spirituality. Grounded Spirituality.

Our society wants us to be less than all we can be. It wants us to turn from our intuition and from our heart, and to live from our head space:
want more, think less, be good consumers.

So I swim against the tide of the conditioning and ‘mis-education’ that I experienced as a child and as a young adult, at home and at school.

There is a battle going on: between the side of me that wants things to remain the same, to control, and thus to ease into a lazy life of comfortable mediocrity; and the side of me that wants to embrace change; go with the flow; and surrender fully to the wonder and magic of this present moment.

They say that ‘all is fair in love and war’. Well, I use all the weapons I can get my hands on. I employ every strategy available.

The purpose of this article is to share one of those strategies with you.
It is: constantly remembering my motivation...



04/08/2010

THE SINGLE BIGGEST EVENT IN YOUR LIFE

What is the most important event of your life?
- in terms of the impact that it had on your physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual development.
Shall I tell you?


Your birth.


How, with whom, where and when, in what manner, and under what circumstances you were born are the most influential factors in the development of a human being...


30/07/2010

LIfe is a wave; surf it elegantly, or cling to flotsam?

The only thing that is constant in this life is change.
Nothing stays the same. Nothing lasts. Nothing is guaranteed.


The world - by which I mean the body; mind; emotions; senses; desires; atmosphere; season; environment; climate; people; economy; society; the family; the earth; the WHOLE WORLD - is constantly changing.
That change is very simply the nature of the world we live in. The universe is expanding, and we have learnt to think of ourselves as a static point within a changing world, but what is that static point really?





28/07/2010

‘Self sabotage: when your best intentions come undone’.



Once upon a time, in a land not so far away…


***
… a little girl drove through the city suburbs with her parents. As they passed through the wealthiest area, her Mother pointed to the big houses and said:
“You see this – this is where the bad people live”.
That girl grew up into a beautiful woman who somehow never seemed to have enough money!
***
… There was a very young boy who thought that his Father was an all-powerful Superhero! He loved his Father so much that he lived for the moments when He spent time with him; played with him; gave him attention. Unfortunately his Father was A Very Busy Man, and those moments only came when the boy was sick, injured, or in trouble.
When that boy grew up, he was unable to see how beautiful he was: he believed that he was only deserving of love, attention and play, if he was sick, injured, or in trouble. He spent many years constantly sick, injured, or in trouble, without knowing why!..
***

20/07/2010

SELF-AWARENESS

The purpose of life.


We all know that moment of bliss, where our ego melts away and all that is left is a feeling of absolute unity, complete perfection, perfect love. We all know it, because it's in all of us - it's our nature; our essence.
The real question is - how to expand that moment until it becomes our primary experience, rather than just a fleeting, occasional glimpse...?




15/07/2010

THE LIMIT OF MY COMPASSION

"My body was telling me not to leave. I didn’t listen..."


As I sat in meditation this morning a memory passed like a freight train through my mind:

the memory of what was by far the longest and hardest day of my life.

I’ve learnt to know the difference between low-key, ‘random’ thoughts, and deeply subconscious ‘stuff’ that comes up in meditation for good reason; so I paid attention.

In May 2008, a couple of weeks after Petra and I got married here in Slovenia, I had a phone call from my Mother. She told me if I wanted to see my (very sick) Father again, I’d better come soon. I  came off the phone and immediately booked a flight for the following day. I would fly back to England on the Friday, stay the weekend, and come home to Slovenia on Monday morning. (Petra was leaving on the Tuesday morning to go to India for a month to study Ayurvedic massage, and I wanted to see her off).

I flew home with the realization that this was probably the last time I’d see my Father – a realization that filled my whole physical and emotional being with a deep sadness. He’d been ill for a long time, and we’d all known this moment would be coming, but even so… there is no way to prepare for loss. It happens, and then you deal with it.




04/07/2010

WHAT IS GROUNDED SPIRITUALITY?

Grounded spirituality is an approach to life founded on an experience of reality. It's for people who have a 'healthy skepticism', but are nevertheless faithful.

It is a way of life that simultaneously embraces rooted-ness (being ‘down to earth’), and star-gazing. This wonderful quote from Oscar Wilde comes to mind…
“we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars…”

We are not really American, or English, or Slovene, or any other nationality.
First and foremost, we are Earthlings.
Whether you were born here or there; whether your skin is black or white; whether you speak this language or that language, or many languages, or none at all, I don’t care.
You are the same as I am. We are separate only by appearance, and through perception.
Another wonderful quote comes to mind, from Shakespeare:

King Richard II:
Cover your heads and mock not flesh and blood
With solemn reverence:
throw away respect, tradition, form and ceremonious duty,
For you have but mistook me all this while:
I live with bread like you, feel want, taste grief, need friends:
subjected thus, how can you say to me, I am a king?”

Whether you are a king or a beggar;
CEO of a multinational business, or the cleaner who sweeps the floor;
a teacher or a student:
you live with bread, feel want, taste grief, and need friends. 
Just like me.
We are all, basically, the same. We all want to be happy. And for all of us, the ultimate happiness is the true experience of love.

Grounded Spirituality is for you if  you recognize that heaven is a place on earth. Sometimes, for us to accept that, we have to first know hell – and it’s also a place on earth. 

“… if you know what life is worth, you will look for yours on earth…” (Bob Marley)

Grounded Spirituality is for people who want to change the world, one step at a time, by embodying that change themselves.
It’s for people who know that the world is in them, and not the other way around.
It’s for those who know that in order to realize our divine self, we first have to realize our humanity.
Ancient Zen saying:
“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.
After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

Grounded Spirituality is not an escape. It is not a fantasy. It is not a new-age airy-fairy get-away.

It’s the opposite. It’s about ‘keeping it real’ and upholding your responsibilities; being able to stand up in any situation with your head held high, knowing that you are doing the right thing, even though sometimes that can be painful.
It’s about being a ‘peaceful warrior’, having the courage to stay open to every possibility; closed to none.
It’s about knowing that truth is beyond perception; 
but going ahead and trying to perceive truth anyway.

Grounded Spirituality, to me, is a challenge and an invitation and a call to arms.

What is it to you?

30/06/2010

HEALING: A personal example

WOW!
This morning I had a major breakthrough. I’m going to tell you how I:
- overcame a serious personal blockage;
- let go of an inherited fear that was preventing me from feeling great;
- paved the way for a much greater degree of success in my work.


I had been feeling 'out of sorts' for a few weeks now:
  • First of all I haven’t had much work, which means not much money - Eek! A month ago I had an average of six / seven clients a week. The last three weeks I’ve had one or two. If you've ever been self employed, with no one to pay your wages / sick leave / taxes / holidays etc. you'll know what this feels like.
  • Secondly, I’ve been feeling kind of ‘foggy’ – unable to think clearly and unable to put my resolutions into action. In a word: incoherent. For example, I haven't been able to write - even though I’ve been trying to write something every day, nothing has been coming out. Both my blog and my book have been neglected – typical example of writer's block. Every time I tried to write something I felt that it was no good: I didn't have the confidence to publish anything.
  • Thirdly, for the last three days I had a headache. Not a really bad headache – just one of those nagging, dull, annoying pains that just won’t go away; I was even waking up in the middle of the night with it.


All in all, I've been feeling pretty bad! So I knew something was wrong…

23/06/2010

MEDITATION part 2

I was very lucky - when I learnt to meditate for the first time, I had a very good teacher.

Teaching, to me, is all about transmitting - in other words beyond what you say and what you do as a teacher, there is a sharing of the essence of what you teach. As a yoga instructor, when I run a class, I am of course giving verbal instructions, and correcting poses, but at the same time I am allowing the essence of yoga to flow through me. This is what I mean by transmission.

Well, my first meditation teacher did that very well.

19/06/2010

MEDITATION

What is meditation?


I want to demystify meditation, and make it accessible to everyone. So I'm going to tell you in very simple terms what meditation is, and I'm going to share some of my experiences with you - partly to inspire, and partly to show you what is possible.


Meditation is really very simple:
It is the combination of deep relaxation, and focused concentration.

WILL you help me?

Dear friends,

Firstly:
- please let me know what you want! I have articles planned on:
  • meditation;
  • proper diet and vegetarianism;
  • exercise;
  • healing;
  • breathing exercises;
  • positive thinking;
  • yoga;
  • the placebo effect...

17/06/2010

WHO ARE YOU?!

My Father was very fond of saying:
"there are two types of people in this world..."
Well, guess what?
There are two types of people in this world :)
People who think about the question "who am I?", and people who avoid that thought at all costs. It's the difference between thinking deeply, and trying not to. As Bertrand Russell said in one of my favorite quotes:
"Most people would sooner die than think. In fact, they do so!"

16/06/2010

WHAT IS LOVE?

Love is not an emotion, although it sometimes manifests in that way.
Love is not a human trait, although sometimes we like to think so.
Love has nothing to do with relationship, except when two people are completely open to each other - and then those two don't have to be 'in a relationship'.


There are many words for love. My favorite is consciousness. But love has been called by many other names: God; Jesus; Spirit; Great Spirit; Yahweh; Nature; Universe; Reality; Tao...
The great Taoist Lao Tzu, in the opening of the Tao Te Ching says:
"The Tao that can be spoken of is not the real Tao."


14/06/2010

ENERGY: my personal experience of Kundalini Energy



 Awaken the snake: a tale of Kundalini and orgasm.

I originally wrote this article in response to the question: “How can I learn to feel my chakras?” from a student.
In answering that question, I found myself writing about Kundali.

Kundalini is a vast reservoir of natural energy that lies dormant in most people, until 'activated'. This activation is a process: it happens quite naturally and slowly as we evolve. But the process of evolution can be accelerated through disciplined spiritual practice. When the kundalini 'awakens', our consciousness changes: we become much more aware.

This article presents my own personal experience of this awakening...

09/06/2010

WHAT IS HEALTH?




Many people (including many doctors!) view HEALTH like this: "we are healthy when there is nothing wrong".
You know what? When you look at health like that, you are really just waiting to get sick!
I'm going to share with you some information that not many people know, and fewer understand.
I want to tell you WHAT HEALTH REALLY IS.
I'm also going to give you 5 practical tips which, if applied intelligently, will transform your life!
Health is not a lack of disease. It is not the absence of sickness. It is not a negative anything. But many people (including many doctors!) view it like this: "we are healthy when there is nothing wrong".
You know what? When you look at health like that, you are really just waiting to get sick!




06/06/2010

AN OPPORTUNITY

I have no idea why, but a friend of mine here in Slovenia asked me to write an article about Autism. So I will! I like a good challenge...


The reason it's a challenge is because I don't feel myself to be any kind of authority on the subject. My experience is limited:
I spent a year of my life working with young people for a charity in England called the Prince's Trust. My job was to recruit 15 young people (aged 15 - 25), and then lead them through a 12 week course, which included many different things, for example a two week community project, a week of team building exercises in Wales (canoeing, rock climbing, bridge-building), and a week with the fire brigade. I ran three such courses, and on one of them I recruited Rosie, a 16 year old girl with Asperger's syndrome - a form of autism...



05/06/2010

EGO 2 - don't fight it!

Ok, so in the first article on ego (EGO 1) I said that the ego is not real. I said that ego is really an illusion. I also said that "much of the spiritual 'work' that many people do and have done for many years, is almost a waste of time."

I have to qualify my statement that the ego is not real. So first, I need to speak about reality:


Reality is subjective. But it's also absolute!
What do I mean?
I mean that there is a subjective reality, and an absolute reality.
Two people experience one event and remember differently what happened - memory is subjective. But it doesn't mean that two different things happened does it? It means that in reality, experience is subjective.
The reason for this subjectivity is that we don't experience reality as it is - we filter it. We have a filter between the world and our brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). It literally filters the information that comes to us from the outside world.


If you have never heard of a car called a Saab before, then you don't see Saabs. As soon as you hear of it - as soon as it enters your awareness, you begin to see them!
How is this possible? One minute (in your experience) the car doesn't exist - the next minute they're everywhere!!...



03/06/2010

SUCCESS: coherence and intention

The following quotes are a "conversation" from my facebook page. I originally wrote  this 'status update' about intention:
"...without intention, we are like dry leaves in the wind – at the mercy of random forces far beyond our control or understanding. But with intention all of those forces are seen to be what they truly are: ours."
 My friend Metka asked me to write about it and the following conversation ensued (bear with me):


Metka: "the wind can be too strong, blowing away the ability to know the intention"


Ben: "With pure intention, the wind is always behind us."


Metka: "with pure intention the wind is positive and colourful, and you are sailing peacefuly - untill the wind decides to be naughy and stops blowing immediately, leaving you lost in the middle of the sea. Which way to choose to find intention? Or just wait for it to come itself? It is not easy and simple at all."

Metka's questions prompted me to write about a very important topic. Important to success in all areas of life - health, relationship, work, personal life: COHERENCE.


01/06/2010

COMMUNICATION, anger, and atheism

Recently, I read a very strong blog about atheism. I say strong because it's well written, and the ideas put across are well thought out. But it's also strong in another sense - there's a lot of anger! In fact one of the key articles is: 'Atheism and Anger'*.

As I read it I remembered something that Tony Samara once said:
"Anger is a lack of communication".