Santa Rosa Meditation Group

Experience the life enhancing benefits of a regular meditation practice

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.

Notice What You Experience

While you may initially use some technique to quiet your thoughts when you sit to meditate, let go of it once the mental field becomes calm. Then what? Be curious. Be patient. Look within and listen within. Notice what you experience. Be the conscious witness.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

 

Meditation is not a passive act. It is a time of conscious observation. As we sit and the thoughts quiet, we remain alert and aware. We are waiting for the transition from concentrating on the single point of focus, our technique, into the flow of meditation. It is that peaceful quiet place where we are completely present in the moment. As that state reveals itself, we listen to the quiet. This prepares us to hear the "still, small voice".  We notice. We rest and enjoy. Then as we notice thoughts arise again, we allow them to pass by. That is the conscious practice of meditation. 

Remain in Command

Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along.
~Paramahansa Yogananda

 

Our daily meditation practice teaches us to control the contents of our minds. When thoughts arise that are not positive or useful, we can simply redirect our attention elsewhere and watch them fall away. This brings us into contact with that deep peacefulness that it our true nature. We no longer have to worry about the future or regret the past. This buoyant positive energy then manifests in our daily life, and we meet friendship everywhere. The universe mirrors back our underlying attitude.

Just Learn to Look

There is nothing essential missing in your life. There is no need to wander from room to room. Nothing needs to change for blessing to occur. Just learn to look.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

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photo by zhengtao tang

For many of us, we come to a time in our lives when we are looking for more meaning. We ask questions like what is this life all about? Or how can I be happier in my life? Or what is my purpose? We think that there is something missing and we become seekers.  The teachings of yoga tell us that there is nothing missing in our lives, no matter what our life experience has been. We have everything and are everything we need. An example is the fish swimming along seeking water. We are already immersed in what we are seeking but we haven't noticed. All we need to do is to look around and look within. It is all there. Our meditation practice slows us down, opens our hearts and helps us to become aware of the beauty and joy that we already have and that is all around. We realize the ultimate purpose for all our lives is to understand that and to live by the peace that emanates from that. Then our individual purpose easily reveals itself to us. Just learn to look.

 

Use Your Creative Power of Imagination

Every person is now either consciously or unconsciously using their creative power of imagination. Those who use it consciously are able to have their desires fulfilled and live freely and enjoyably. Those who use it unconsciously—who are not aware of the possibility of using it with conscious intention, or who know that it can be done but choose not to be responsible for their actions—are self-confined by their undisciplined behaviors.
~Roy Eugene Davis

Our meditation practice gives us powerful awareness and control over the emergence  of thoughts in our minds. We can use this to attract positive outcomes in the best interests of ourselves and those around us. We can also let thoughts colored by fear or anger fall away because we know that wherever we focus our energy, will increase. Every day take time to affirm the positive, and it will be reflected back to you by the universe in more and more positive ways.