Re-inventing Ourselves Silently
Nations do not change, only individuals. We are all called to be artists, creators of change within ourselves and around us. To create something entirely new, to go beyond our best as individuals, we need to draw on our inner capabilities.
One such path is through meditation. Meditation is not something we do, it is a state we enter when our body, mind and spirit are ready. Certain meditative techniques or practices help make meditative states be experienced sooner than others. As such it can not be taught, but only experienced by those willing and open to experiment on themselves and disciplined enough to create the right body, mind and spirit.
There are many paths that lead to “meditation,” chose one that fits you and begin today.
Nirmal was trained in Raja yoga in Nepal as of age nine, practiced Ayurveda as of eleven and is fluent in Japanese. We recommend you meditating with him, or his private Ayurvedic Counseling or Pranyama class (Thursday nights) at Nirmal Yoga. Meditation is available Tuesdays at 12.00 noon. Contact Nirmal Gyawali Yoga Studio (Shirokanedai) firstname.lastname@example.org to create a new group of meditators or to practice one on one or for for individual ayurvedic counseling. Nirmal also has a teacher training course.
For those interested, we recommend Zen at Senkakuji Temple with Chudo Yamamoto (Japanese/English). Many other temples in Japan have Za-zen, you need to call and find out when it is available to the public. Most in Japanese! Zen is a full life-style that includes the way you walk, sleep, eat, so if you think by sitting one or two hours a day will be enough for a full transformation, you need to re-think your whole lifestyle.
YOGA TREE (Hiroo, Japan). We recommend for hatha yoga Michael Glenn’s studio (English/Japanese) at Yoga Tree in Hiroo, Tokyo. There is something about Michael’s intensity and focus that makes practicing there an incredible experience that harmonizes the body, mind and spirit. The Japanese teachers are excellent too.
YOGA in SYNC (Outram Park, Singapore). For those in Singapore, we recommend hatha yoga with Vikram at Yoga in Sync (hard to find a yogi who knows the body better). For advanced students, health challenges and athletes, we recommend his private sessions.
NIKAM YOGA. For cleansing techniques that prepare the body for meditation we recommend doing yoga with Nikam Yoga. Nikam Yoga includes pranyama and is free of charge, but only available in certain countries like India and Singapore where former students become teachers devoting their time and expertise freely. It is a course, with each class building on the other and regular practice, so committed members only.
We recommend Qigong with Shu Seika (Chinese/Japanese) Friday mornings at 8am in Arisugawa park (near the statue on the side of Library) Hiroo. Mr. Zhou or Shu Seika began his training at age 9 and has helped people with cancer and other illnesses in Japan for many years. He has given workshops that rejuvenate health at the cellular level and treats individuals. Speaks Japanese and Chinese fluently. Tel: 0363289606.
SADHGURU (Effective Yogic Techniques from An Active and Practical Yogi who Spoke at Harvard, MIT, UN, World Economic Forum)
For those who do not have an individual teacher, who wish to learn at their own pace or from the comfort of their own home, we recommend the effective techniques of Sadhguru, an Indian yogi. The best place to begin is his online Isha Kriya or his on-line Inner Engineering Course (download his app). Sadhguru gives more advanced trainings in countries where there are enough volunteers to assist follow up trainings. The US, India, Singapore, Malaysia, UK are amongst a few. Then perhaps to India!
For those with limited time but desiring effective techniques–this is it. Naturally as this yogi is Indian, in the West one must be open to that which we do not know (not the best trait of the French nor the Japanese according to a Franco-Japanese!).
Sadhguru is a yogi full of joy, he is profound, his technique combines all forms of yoga even if he himself is probably a kriya yogi. He has talked at the UN, taught the Kennedy brothers, spoken at MIT, Harvard, Yale, trained CEOs and does whatever is needed to bring a small element of spirituality to this world. You may not understand everything he does (nor do I), but his techniques I have tested. They work!
Download Sadhguru App (itunes Version) or search for the one adopted for your phone. For simple 5 minute practices select Yoga on the app and press “Yoga Tools” Learn Now. Apps available on isha website. For those who wish to do a short meditate for 15 minutes do ishakriya meditation on the app. Do it daily for 90 days or 2x a day for 48 days for maxium benefit without missing a day. It works… For those with health issues download the health meditation chit shakti meditation or use the app.
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM there is a Tibetain Buddhism center in Saint Gilles called Kagyu Samye Dzong, located at 33 rue Capouillet who follow the Karmapa line of Buddhism which is in line with the Dalai Lama. I walked in one weekend to do my first seated 20 and 40 minute meditation with a formidable meditator and Lama named Yeshe who has meditated in seclusion for many years in the forest and also more than once for 25 or so days in a dark enclosed box (most humans go crazy after a few days).
I later returned once again to the center to learn briefly from and meet his elder brother who was a great lama and doctor, named Akong Rinpoche. Both brothers started the first Tibetain monestery in Europe in Scotland. Lama Rinchen Palmo, a French lama at the center also kindly helped me to contact a Zen master as I was leaving for Japan to work with the Japanese. Ken Holmes and his wife Katia are a formidable team of scholars who I met there and give an 3 year on-line course on Tibetan Buddhism that is impossible to find elsewhere. I could only complete two due to my desire at the time to put reading aside and focus intensively on on meditation, but recommend it highly.
The Kagyu line also have a monestery in the Catskills, New York which I discovered when a monk I met in the train back from NYC wished to bring me there! Although a novice myself on Tibetain Buddhism, all the people I met at this center were inspiring.
SILENCE AND THE SISTERS OF BETHLEHEM
Christianity has its own set of practices that are meditative in nature and a tradition of silence. The monastery of the sisters of Bethlehem in the Catskill Mountains (Livingston manor), two and a half hours from New York City, is home to this silence, to great love and to the joy of solitude. This is a sacred place and Sr. Amena, the head of the monastery, and the nuns who practice there have a beautiful presence which make each moment spent there sacred.
I had the good fortune of going there once a year for the last few years and staying in a wood cabin for a few days of silence in the forest. It was divine and the small chapel with the chants of the sisters early in the morning lift one’s prayers and meditation. See if you can book a place Livingston Manor for a silent retreat, contribute for your stay a donation to the sisters (as they live on what they earn with their art) and return re-invigorated. Each sister here is special, each one wants to remain nameless. Each one feels like my sister. Each one has prayed for our family countless times.
Silence is rare these days. And yet, Jesus went into the desert to meditate. There is in Christianity a tradition handed down by mystics and later by the Carmelite tradition exemplified by Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Therese of Lisieux and Thomas Merton amongst others for silence. One of the techniques used, centering prayer, is much like the techniques I have found in the other traditions above. It is contemplative prayer and it has been renewed with Father Thomas Keating’s work at St. Benedict’s Monastery.
Learn to enter deeper states of relaxation, strengthen your meditation practice, experience the art of well-being or discover a new level of being far beyond a previous best, as you transform yourself and us with your creations and your life.
With gratitude and joy to all artists, all creators,
A blog to go Beyond our Best in body, mind and spirit