Unclogging the Path to True Happiness

#boise #idaho #spirit #mindfulness

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Unclogging the Path to True Happiness
2013-10-23-meditation.jpg
Image courtesy of nuchylee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We are all put on earth to explore and find our own true happiness, right? That much we know. How can we not with all the books, stories and movies about how to attain this elusive state. Like a diet that never began, the end result is unattainable until you find “the way.” I believe that for me personally, the answer lies in prayer, but I’ll be the first to admit I’m not very disciplined. I know, mind what you say after the words, “I am… ” Still, I cannot tell a lie. I cheat by rushing through it and yes, I feel guilty. I yawn (surprise!) in church. I’m not perfect, but my noodle tells me that mere reciting, guilt and impatience is not going to cut through even a strand. My noodle’s half wrapped in its own plastic casing.

How do you ACTivate and find true happiness? How do you find the AWE (abundance, wisdom, enlightenment) many want but few are privy to? The three words are found in the word “ACT” — awareness, clarity, transformation — but the catalyst lies in the dots in between (forgiveness, love, faith, peace). And if “awareness” is the starting point, what’s the precursor?

We’ve all received phone calls from long-lost friends who call just as we’re thinking about them, but did you know that for every manifestation there is a birth process? As your awareness level widens you begin to magnetize more frequently. Recently, I found myself in dire need of some R&R. In fact, for two years I had been contemplating a relaxing (ha!) weekend retreat to the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch in Woodbourne, New York. Although a mere three hours away, getting there has been a project three years in the making, tucked away in my subconscious, but always at the surface until it was re-tucked by more excuses and procrastination. Yet here I was — excited because I’d remembered I had $30 in Groupon credit and excited at the possibility of finding a great spa deal. Instead, with one hand on the 2011 Ashram brochure and my other hand’s fingers on the keyboard, I logged into to my account and all of a sudden the screen screamed “Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch at 50 percent off.” Even half of a strand of noodle would render it a clear sign — or offer not to be refused! Little did I know that this no-brainer would not only be the best thing for my brain, it would change my life and lead me to the next step in my journey.

Greeted by the friendly staff and overwhelming sense of calm enhanced by a tantalizing fragrance that consistently wafted through the ashram’s magnificent 24 paradisiacal acreage, I was given the daily rundown of activities and (gasp!) told that 5:30 a.m. was my wake-up call (pardon the pun). I wondered if I’d made a mistake coming here, because I had become accustomed to falling asleep at 4 a.m. and rising at 12 p.m.! I could teach a crash course in “Climbing Down the Rabbit Hole of Night Owlism.” After a 4 p.m. yoga session followed by an unexpectedly delicious vegan meal, this carnivore participated in “satsang,” a two-hour session of breathing, meditation, kirtan (chanting) and teachings. Though I knew 30 minutes of reflective meditation was meant for stilling the mind, my intention was to use it as a prayer session to repent and alleviate my guilt. It worked! I did not fall over snoring and I achieved my goal!

Morning came and with it the dreaded bell and 5:45 a.m. chime. I wanted to crawl back under the toasty covers, but somehow managed to find myself again at satsang. I can’t begin to describe the experience. Everyone says that the quieting of the mind is a difficult thing to do. As an aspiring pilot, practiced mind control comes relatively easy to me; more challenging was the urge to wipe away the stifled yawn-inducing suppressed tears, but thankfully I was able to let my mind succumb to a tranquil state of surrendered serenity. It felt heavenly to be enveloped by the whispers of quiet breathing and humming cicadas. Kirtan was as uplifting and vibrational as the night before, and I enjoyed the lesson given by Mahadev Chaitanya — our wise, young, humorous instructor.

Meditation continues to work its way through my mind, body and soul, transforming this high-energy New Yorker into a mushpot of heavenly mush. It is in this bliss-like state that I feel closer to that inner peace which allows for a deeper state of awareness and thus longer periods of prayer and more meaningful connection to God. It is in this unclogged state that I find myself stepping closer to my desired AWE.

Awareness can come at any time, at any price, but for an expedited path to true happiness, my money’s on meditation.

For more information about Caryn Chow, or to pick up a free copy of her guide, “7 Secrets for Blissful Living” at www.carynchow.com.

Green – The Huffington Post
Port Hueneme Beach Is Running Out Of Sand And There Isn’t Enough Money To Fix It
PORT HUENEME, Calif. — PORT HUENEME, Calif. (AP) — For one California beach city, every grain of sand counts.

Port Hueneme, home to a naval base and about 20,000 residents, is starved for sand because Congress has not allocated enough money to help repair the city’s badly eroded beaches, according to the Ventura County Star (http://bit.ly/1a3v1US ). The city is supposed to receive extra sand every two years through nearby dredging by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. But the most recent effort to pump 2.5 million cubic yards of sand — enough to bury 40 football fields almost 30 feet deep — wasn’t done because of federal budget restraints.

“The solution to this problem is simple,” said Mayor Ellis Green. “The federal government needs to fulfill its obligation and pump the sand that is now in the sand trap to our beaches.”

The erosion problem is so bad that the ocean comes right up to a street on the west end of town, city officials said. The city’s pier is about 6 feet below where it should be and could be damaged by powerful storms.

Last month, Gov. Jerry Brown signed two bills that would provide $2 million to help Port Hueneme fortify its beaches, but it’s unclear if the funding will provide assistance this winter.

On Wednesday, a 4-pound bag of sand arrived at City Hall from Stockholm, Sweden, sent by a family who recently visited Port Hueneme. The family also posted a video online, hoping to inspire others to send sand.

Some city officials, however, were cautious the campaign might bring a granular avalanche.

“I sure hope this video doesn’t go viral,” the city’s mayor pro tem, Jon Sharkey, told the newspaper. “I can just envision truckloads of sand coming up to City Hall.”

___

Information from: Ventura County Star, http://venturacountystar.com

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