Santa Rosa Meditation Group

Experience the life enhancing benefits of a regular meditation practice

Cultivate Your Inner Fire

Daily meditation builds an inner fire of spiritual energy that grows stronger as it is tended. This inner fire burns away the dross of laziness, restlessness, and confusion.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

Our life energy grows stronger with our daily practice of meditation. We are guided to do, think and speak in ways that are supportive of our own lives and to the lives of those around us. We feel better about our life. Our inner peace and contentment grows and radiates out from us.  Positive people and circumstances will be attracted to us. We are more positively energized and are able to cope more easily with life's difficulties. Our laziness, restlessness and confusion fall away. Look around you and become more conscious of the positive effects of your meditation practice. Enjoy!

Cultivate Awareness of Joy

When cultivating awareness of joy becomes a regular practice, joy will arise later in the day on its own. Like rays of the sun breaking through the clouds, you’ll find joy shining through your heart and your mind, radiating through your smile.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

Our essential nature is joy, and a regular meditation practice can provide access to this joy when we meditate daily for as little as eight to ten weeks. We begin with short glimpses of peaceful joy and as time goes on we can return to this with just one conscious breath. Let your consciousness expand with gratitude and joy throughout the day because like attracts like. Don't waste your energy dwelling in the negative. Live in joy and share that with others.

Contribute to the Peace of the World

Peace in our homes, community, and world begin with a vision of it, faith in it, and the commitment to realize it by working for it. Bring forth the light of peace by first experiencing it directly in meditation, and then transmit that divine peace to others.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian 

As we move into a new year, we often reflect on the year that has passed and what we would like to see in the new year. Most of us would agree that we want peace in our homes, in our families and in our world. The best way that we can experience that is to cultivate peace within our own hearts. Then we radiate that peace outwardly to all of those we encounter. It is a natural energy that we just allow to flow. We experience moments of peace — feeling all is well — each day when we are sitting in meditation. We don't just meditate to meditate. We don't just meditate for ourselves. Meditation is not for our benefit only; it is for the benefit of the whole world. Imagine if every person in the world meditated and could manage their fear, anger and frustration and were able to emanate peace from their hearts. What  a world this would be!

The Universe Responds to Our Thoughts

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Change your thoughts if you wish to change your circumstances. Since you alone are responsible for your thoughts, only you can change them. You will want to change them when you realize that each thought creates according to its own nature.
~Paramahansa Yogananda

After we have been meditating for a while, we become very conscious of thoughts as they arise and fall away in the mental field. We come to realize that many of those thoughts are not very useful. Since the universe responds to our thoughts, why not replace thoughts of fear and of lack with gratitude for the many gifts we enjoy. Then the universe will respond in kind with full support for our helpful endeavors. It's up to us.

Parking Lot Contentment

Like a well-tended field, a life of happiness grows from the careful work of cultivating contentment.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

This past year I have been working on cultivating contentment, meaning that I am trying to be consciously aware of all that I have and all that I am grateful for, and that I don't need more. Recently I had a moment of deep peace and contentment, in of all places, a busy shopping center parking lot. I had just had a nice visit with my aging aunt and I was on my way to a bookstore where Yogacharya O'Brian was going to be speaking. I stopped in a shopping center to get a quick bite of dinner. As I was going back to my car I had a moment of feeling that everything was right with the world. I was happy that I live in such a beautiful area of the world, that I am close to family and friends and that I have opportunities to learn and grow from learned teachers. It was just a moment, but I noticed it and let it sink in. We all have these moments in our lives. In this busy holiday season, it is easy to get overwhelmed and stressed. It is easy to think about what we don't have or how we would like things to be. It is easy to focus on the negative. Our meditation practice gives us moments of peacefulness, where we let go of all desire and can just be in the moment. Notice how that feels and then notice those peaceful moments that reappear throughout the day. The more we are aware of those grateful moments, the more we will experience them and the more we will feel alright with the world. It is a peaceful, happy place to be. May you have many moments of "parking lot contentment."

True Generosity

True generosity nourishes us and those around us. When we follow the inspiration of generosity, there is always enough.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

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The key to prosperity consciousness is that abiding fullness that we reach in meditation, but our daily mental habits are also important. When we make the choice to focus our attention on what we have, rather than what is lacking, we attract more. Generosity is the sharing of our inner fullness using tangible objects or simply kindness. When we show generosity, we are the prime beneficiaries and prosperity naturally follows.

Be Persistent

The mind is restless and hard to master; but by constant practice and detachment it can be mastered in the end.
~Bhagavad Gita 6:35

This scripture from the east was written about two thousand years ago and even then the sages who wrote it understood that we all have trouble overcoming our busy mind when we try to master it through meditation. Their instruction is the same instruction we give today, because it is the guidance that works. This scripture gives us great promise. We can master the mind through our regular practice and also with detachment, detachment from the expectation that our meditation practice should go in a certain way, allowing and trusting that whatever comes or doesn't come that day is useful.  Be persistant, it works.

Experience What is Real

Meditate regularly, and you will find a joy inside that is real. You will then have something you can compare to sense pleasures.
~Paramahansa Yogananda

In our contemporary society, we are subject to advertisements that encourage us to pursue short term pleasure rather than lasting joy. Meditation lets us experience what is both real and lasting: the latent bliss that is our true nature. Our steady daily meditation practice transforms us and this practice should be judged not by what occurs during meditation, but by the radiant quality of life that comes from it.

Notice Your Contentment

We may fail to notice our own contentment if we get too busy chasing after things.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

One of the basic things that we want in this life is to be happy. We want a lasting happiness, not just a fleeting moment. Lasting happiness is contentment.  It is not just those "up" times that are fun. It is a deep joy that pervades our being. We may think that "if I get that thing or that relationship then I will be happy". The things or situations we desire are nice, but they are not the source of our happiness because they always change. We have that deep joy, that contentment now, in this present moment. Our meditation practice reveals it to us. When the mind quiets, we notice what it is like to just "be".  Slow down, take the time, notice your innate happiness, notice your innate contentment.

Success

Success is hastened or delayed by one’s habits. It is not your passing inspirations or brilliant ideas so much as your everyday mental habits that control your life.
~Paramahansa Yogananda

A consistent daily meditation practice gives us the mental self awareness to judge our thoughts and speech as they arise and to make necessary adjustments. When we let less useful thoughts and speech fall away we avoid negative consequences and attract only the support that positive speech and actions naturally acquire. What we experience as success comes from the harmony of our actions with a supportive universe. Success begins with meditation.

Be Patient

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Have you imagined that meditation is stopping all thoughts? That is like trying to stop the wind. Let the wind be while you take shelter in the stillness of the Self. Thoughts may continue but they need not disturb you or interrupt your meditation. The wind doesn't blow all day. Eventually it quiets down. Give no regard to thought activity and it will subside. 
~Ellen Grace O'Brian from her book Living for the Sake of the Soul

When we first begin our meditation practice most of us think that our thoughts should be completely eliminated. We get frustrated when they aren't and that frustration may stop our practice.  What we don't realize is that our thoughts are a part of us and don't completely go away, but they subside with our regular meditation practice. We learn not to notice them and allow them to pass by. It is like clouds in the sky. The clouds are the thoughts but we are focusing on the clear stillness of the sky. The thought activity will subside. Be patient. 

Begin with Meditation

Solve all your problems through meditation.
Lahiri Mahasaya

Meditation is the single most important practice we can employ to transform our awareness and equip ourselves to handle life's challenges. A steady devoted meditation practice transforms who we are and improves our relationship with all those around us. So when faced with a significant problem, begin with meditation. Then we find it easier to do the right thing one step at a time and finally, release expectations about outcomes.

Let Go, Let Go!

One of the most persistent obstacles we encounter to our own happiness, peace, and well-being is our tendency to argue with the way things are. Acceptance brings freedom and unleashes our power.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

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Our daily meditation practice makes us keen observers of our own minds. When we notice the emergence of anger, resentment or fear, we can exercise the power of letting these thoughts fall away and cultivate positive replacements. This is particularly useful with the counter-productive habit of resenting things as they are. We can waste a lot of energy in resentment, or merely let this negative emotion fall away and then take productive steps to deal with the situation as best we can. Meditation opens the path to this freedom.

Consider Yourself Successful

Decide to consider yourself successful right now, then build on that each day.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

We may be in the habit of telling stories about ourselves that aren't true—stories that say we are not good enough. Those stories may have started in our childhood. We heard those stories for many reasons. Sometimes it was from our religious, societal or family upbringing. Often we heard that we need to be humble. That version of humility said that we were less than... which is not true. The truth of our being is that we are everything that we want to be already. All we have to do is realize and accept that truth. Accepting that truth frees us to be the person we are meant to be, to do the work we are meant to do.  Accepting that truth serves the greater good. Our meditation practice frees our mind to see the truth.  Affirm that truth and build on it. 

Be Calm in the Midst of Changing Circumstances

To expect mundane events, circumstances, or relationships to provide us with peace of mind and soul-satisfaction is to invite eventual disappointment and discontentment because all outer conditions are changeable and impermanent.
~Roy Eugene Davis

Meditation and harmonious living offer us a way out of this dilemma. A steady meditation practice puts us in touch with the inner peace and joy that is our true nature.  Daily immersion in the peace of meditation then gives us an inner harmony that can survive these changing circumstances. As we redirect our activities to serve the greater good, meditation becomes easier because there are fewer causes of disturbance in the mind. The peace of meditation allows us to live our lives with greater equanimity.

Above the Clouds of Thought

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Meditation begins when the effort required to concentrate gives way to a steady flow of attention. The approach to meditation requires some initial expenditure of energy like an airplane on the runway that builds speed and energy to the point of lift-off. Meditation is above the clouds of thought.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

We do have to make some effort along with our intention at the beginning of our meditation practice each day. We make an effort to get to our meditation cushion or chair, and then the effort to use a technique to quiet the thoughts.  Every day, the more we practice, that effort and intention becomes easier. It is easier to make the effort because of the peace we experience once we have taken off. But like the airplane, we still need the pilot, our witness consciousness, to stay aloft, keeping ourselves on course. Make the effort and have the intention to rise above the clouds of thought. Pay attention and observe what is happening and when that transition from concentration to meditation takes place. Pay attention to what is happening and stay on track. Then rest in that peaceful place above the clouds of thought and enjoy. 

The Distinction Between Effort and Intention

When you realize the distinction between effort and intention, you have discovered one of the keys to success. Train yourself to work first in consciousness before springing into action.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

Our daily meditation practice gives us the tools to manifest our useful intentions. The witness consciousness we employ every day to monitor our meditation helps us differentiate between the willful desires of ego and the helpful intentions of our higher self. We can then mentally and verbally affirm our intention and release it into a supportive universe. When we first begin this practice of useful affirmation, we are delightfully surprised at how often things manifest. When they do not, we can re-examine our motives and re-tune our intentions. All this is much easier than the path of brute effort.

Assume Basic Goodness

Assume basic goodness and transform even the most difficult relationships. Intend to relate soul to soul. Let the truth of your being meet the truth of another.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

We are living in a time where we falsely percieve divisions between each other —my religion is better than your religion; my political views are better than your political views; my race is better than your race. We forget our connection to each other. We have forgotten that each of us comes from the same Source of all that is, whatever we call that Source, that is the truth of our being. Our meditation practices supports us in living a life that is worthy of us, a life where we see can the light in each other and in ourselves. That is the light that will save the world. 

Focus on What is Important

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Be kind, truthful, and honest. Discipline your thoughts and actions. Concentrate on essentials and disregard nonessentials. Think about what is most important to you and focus your attention on those matters.
~Roy Eugene Davis

Our meditation practice teaches us to be observant of our thoughts, words and actions, so we can take the next steps and progressively control them more and more efficiently. Self discipline is really just doing what we know is right in the highest way. A steady focus on what is most important can simplify life and give us more time for what matters. Begin with something as simple as noticing how much time we spend on TV or social media. This is the path to freedom.