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All Are Waves Are Water – Book Review

August 18th, 2017

All Are Waves Are Water by Jaimal Yogis is an expansion of his previous memoir (Saltwater Buddha) about his spiritual journey. Yogis, a surfer, journalist, and spiritual seeker, revisits his quest that blends his search for surf and enlightenment. Descriptions of surf sessions in Indonesia, Mexico, and San Francisco are beautiful pauses into the insight of the beauty of water and lessons of waves.

The depth and power of the book comes in Yogis’s description of “the seeking mind” caught in its own currents—and occasionally transcending them—in places such as the Himalayas, a Franciscan friary in New York, and the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Yogis lets us in on his personal struggles of relationships and spiritual doubts all while weaving together connections to the mystic, the magical, and the ordinary moments we all experience. Yogis shares scientific research, thoughts from religious scholars and poets, and the wisdom of surfers and monks. Each one has a lesson. From a Tibetan monk he learns how to reside in his own sadness. Later, he discovers that even a “tropical beach in Mexico with a beautiful woman, nothing much to do except surf, be creative, meditate, and eat tacos” won’t bring him lasting peace. On Ocean Beach, he seeks balance between life as a journalist and his spiritual path. Through all the struggles, doubts, and uncertainties, Yogis is able to find wisdom everywhere. Yogis reveals that the search for enlightenment is not much different from the search for the perfect wave.

The deeper you get into the book, the more you may find yourself asking some of Yogis’s deeper questions. Are waves deeply connected to both universal waves and the ones we surf daily within our mind? Ultimately, we discover that surfing proves a powerful metaphor for a Buddhist worldview, showing that life’s most turbulent waves are part of nature—and that wisdom means learning to ride the waves in each present moment.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Posted in Book Review | Toning the Om

Have You Checked the Expiration Date Lately?

August 8th, 2017

I found a Metrocard in my wallet last week and swiped it to see how much money was on it. The machine read, “Please see an attendant.” I walked over and asked the MTA attendant if she could check how much was on my card. After she swiped it and checked her computer she said, “Ma’am, this was a 30 day unlimited card that expired in March.” I thanked the lady and walked away with my expired card. After discarding it in the recycling bin, I realized that I had been carrying around an expired card for over five months.

Later, I decided to look through the rest of my wallet for other expired or outdated cards. As I finished reorganizing my wallet, I decided to check what else in my house had expired and could be thrown out. As I sat down feeling proud of getting rid of unnecessary items, I decided to check inside and see if anything within could be discarded. What else has expired in my life? Were there any thoughts, beliefs, and feelings that have expired that I am still carrying around? Could I let go of my disappointment and frustration? Am I carrying around anger that expired last month?


I invite you to check in and see if there is anything you are carrying (inside and out) that has expired. What has expired that is still living inside you?


Start with today. What are you still carrying around that you are willing to let go?


It’s time for a new 30-day pass.

Posted in Storytelling | Toning the Om

Misty Moment

July 25th, 2017

As part of a writing program I am in, we are given daily prompts and write without having our pen leave the paper – just write without editing. It’s a wonderful spiritual practice to experience something without editing. One of the prompts was misty moment. Below is my edit free writing…

The words describe the metta view of looking at life through misty moments – the ones that capture us at our core. The moments that draw us closer, allow us to be feel vulnerable, and fill us with tears. It’s the misty moments that keep us connected rather than those moments where we fall to our knees. I love the misty moments where I am so full of love.

 There is also the macro view misty moments like the ones I see at the end of my street on City Island when I watch a sunset. It’s the moment right before the sun rises and the water reaches the sky and we are drawn in. We lean into misty moments hoping they pass so we can capture our moment of light. The misty moment is the in-between place – the breath between breath – the sound between sound. We know this view because it’s often the place we live our life. Misty – not devastated or elevated. Moment – not a life time.

We view our world through our lens, our filter, our eyes. And these are our misty moments meant to be shared, meant to be expressed, meant to be lived.

Metta.
Macro.
Misty moments.

 

Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

Leaving the Station

July 13th, 2017

Next stop – the Bronx. I often wait a long time at the Pelham Bay station for my train to leave the station. How long have I sat scrolling social media or reading or meditating or listening to a Podcast while waiting to leave the station? Over the years, I have left many stations behind – some that I have not returned to in years and some ever again. Leaving the station of people and places often means letting go and moving on.

Leaving and arriving are daily practices. It’s when I am stuck in the station that negative emotions arise. Leaving the station can mean a good-bye, a travel away, a travel towards, a moving on, a welcoming, a grieving, a homecoming, a shift in perspective. I have learned that we all leave the station at some point and each time is different. What are we really leaving?

Everything changes. And in the end, I have learned that everyone leaves in some form. It’s the inhale and exhale of life. Breathing in and breathing out. We meet each other in the in-between breath.

We all leave the station at our own pace. Welcome the leaving.

Soon the conductor will shout, “Leaving the station.”

Next stop…

This is dedicated to my mom who passed away 17 years ago. Glad we had time together to share the in-between breath.

This essay was inspired from the Prompt a Day Program with Cynthia Morris.

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Posted in Storytelling | Toning the Om

Summer Sun Meditation

July 6th, 2017

Sit quietly…with your spine straight…breathe slowly in and out through your nose. Allow the exhale breath to last a little longer. Keep breathing until your whole body relaxes. Breathe through each part of your body. Notice what area of your body needs more attention and send your breath there.

Allow an image of the sun to come into your awareness. Allow whatever color of the sun come to you that feels really good. Sense its presence just above you. Invite the rays of the sun to come into you. Allow the sunlight to brighten every thought and feeling. As you breathe in, sense the warmth of the sun and as you breathe out, sense the light of the sun. Bathe in the sun.

Connect with your own sun – the light that is you. Imagine sending this light out to someone you love so they can also bathe in the light. Spend some time bathing in the sun. When you are ready, slowly let the imagine of the sun go. The light is always there within, ready to shine. Bathe in the light of you in all ways.

Bring the light into your heart. Know that the light is always available, always there, and always ready to be shared with those around you.

Welcome Home. Welcome to your light.

Happy Summer!

Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

If Only You Knew

June 29th, 2017

If only you knew how magical you are.

If only you knew how beautiful you are.

If only you knew how radiant you are.

If only you knew how magnificent you are.

If only you knew how creative you are.

If only you knew how joyful you are.

If only you knew how peaceful you are.

If only you knew how playful you are.

If only you knew how blessed you are.

If you only knew how supported you are.

If only you knew how powerful you are.

If only you knew how embraced you are.

If only you knew how loved you are.

Breathe in your magical, beautiful, radiant, magnificent, creative, joyful, peaceful, playful, blessed, supported, powerful, embraced, and loved SELF. You are all of this and much more – always and in all ways.

 

 

Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

Watching Over Everything

June 28th, 2017

The birds – they see everything. They fly overhead seeing everything. The birds have a different view.

View. The view of the heart. Does that not watch over everything too? How do we watch over? With love? With judgment? With peace? With an open heart?

Is there a being of love watching over everything? Perhaps this is my faith calling me back. Maybe I am ready, listening, and remembering to return.

Returning to light and darkness. Day and night. Doesn’t that watch over us too?

The night sky – looking up – watching over everything through the stars. The lights blinking, glowing, soaring through the sky. What do the stars see through their lens of light?

The light passes. The darkness opens me up to more light. Here I am shining. Here we are shining.

I have learned how much is watching over me. In the end, it is love, always love, watching over me. Here I AM: SKY, SPIRIT, STARS, LOVE watching….

Watching over everything.

This essay was inspired from the Prompt a Day Program with Cynthia Morris.

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Posted in Storytelling | Toning the Om

Meditation on Peace (County Cork, Ireland)

June 19th, 2017

Enjoy a five minute meditation on peace recorded in Ireland. Spend a few minutes enjoying meditating on peace. Notice what happens when you take time to really breathe in and breathe out peace. Spend a few moments breathing peace, being peace, and extending peace to others. From a place of peace, life becomes filled with ease and joy. Remember – we are only one breath away from peace. Enjoy this meditation with Mary Anne Flanagan, Toning the OM. This was filmed in County Cork, Ireland.

This meditation is dedicated to my beloved Godfather, Uncle Billy.

Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

Quiet Places Within

May 26th, 2017

I notice the sky. I see fully the sunlight that bounces off the brick buildings.

I notice the clouds. I take in the shapes that fill the limitless view above me.

I notice the birds. I feel the expansive wings that encircle my very beingness.

I notice the trees. I feel the arms of the universe surround me.

I notice that beauty encircles me, light fills me, and nature supports me.

I live in a world of sounds that teach me to be alive and present.

 

Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

I Came to Love (Poem)

May 16th, 2017

I came to love
To give more love
To receive more love

I came to love
For the great mystery
Of the language of the heart

I came to love
For the magic
And the great magicians

I came to love
To learn about living
And to appreciate the dying

I came to love
To fall more deeply
Into a connection

I came to love
Fumbling and failing
And learning from it all

I came to love
As a child, friend, spouse
Strangers known and unknown

I came to love
And it met me
And I said yes

Posted in Learning | Toning the Om