Santa Rosa Meditation Group

Experience the life enhancing benefits of a regular meditation practice

Contentment is an Inside Job

Avoid relying on everyday events and personal experiences for your happiness and sense of well-being. Learn to be happy and optimistic from the inside.
~Roy Eugene Davis

 

A steady meditation practice offers us much more than enhanced health and a heightened ability to concentrate. When we meditate regularly and make it a priority to lead an ethical life, we open our access to the deep contentment within all of us. We become less dependent on the outcome of events or the opinions of others. We remain balanced and content and are more available to be of service. Contentment is an inside job.

Be a Willing Vehicle for Grace

We are all potential conduits for the awakening of planetary consciousness. When it is time for a divine idea to be expressed, Spirit finds a willing vehicle. We can choose to cooperate with divine will in this purpose or not. Regardless of what we choose, it will find a way. Consciously participating in global awakening is signing up for our own transformation.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

We all have our roles in this time of history and we can choose to participate in the power for good, or not. The divine idea is always positive and good and powerful.  The more of us who open ourselves to allow grace to flow through us, the better and better life will be on this planet. It is simple. All we have to do is be awake and aware. Meditation supports us in living a life that is the best for us and for those around us. Our minds are calmer, our stress levels are lower so that we be consciously aware of the good around us and within us. Our intuition is awakened so that we can make better decisions. We are less reactive and more loving and accepting of others views. We can each be the willing vehicle for Spirit to work through. Imagine if everyone on the planet were willing. Let's start here, in our own hearts.

Good Karma

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“Every tomorrow is determined by every today.”
~Paramahansa Yogananda

Meditation teaches us to let thoughts fall away that are not useful. It also lets us better control what we say and do in the world. Our thoughts, our attitude, our words and our actions influence how we act toward others and how others act toward us. With practice we make the universe a more friendly and supportive place for ourselves and those around us. Deepen your meditation practice today and experience the positive results of good karma in life.
 

The Scientific Way to Live

The scientific way to live is to go within yourself and ask yourself whether you are doing right or wrong, and be absolutely sincere with yourself. If you are sincere with yourself, you are unlikely ever to go wrong; and even if you do, you will be able to quickly correct yourself.
~Paramahansa Yogananda

Yogananda called this method of living scientific. It is called scientific because we can test the results in the laboratory of our lives. When we have a sincere, consistent meditation practice, we can see what is happening in our lives and "test out" our intuition. We can "test out" our actions. Our primary discernment is whether the action we are contemplating is non-harming to ourselves and to others. That is the primary concern.  If the action we are contemplating seems like the right thing to do, it probably is. But the wonderful thing is that our meditation practice has trained us to observe ourselves, to step back and discern. When we do that, we can easily correct our course of action.  If it is not quite the right action for us, we can easily move back onto the right path. That is the scientific way of living.
 

Ride the Wave and Experience Freedom

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Just noticing the arising of desire as a wave, frees us to ride the current of divine energy beneath it. Wave upon wave of desire arises. Watch. Wait. Move through life with astounding freedom.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

With our daily meditation practice we become exquisitely aware of the many thoughts that arise and fall away in the mental field. This witness consciousness can carry over to daily activity and give us some distance from the arising of desire in our own minds. With practice, we can discern when these are the passing desires of restless ego that hold us back or desires that are beneficial for our own and the world's greater good. With this greater ability to recognize the peaceful energy of what is right, it is easier to follow it.  This is freedom.

In Good Times

Through meditation one can experience a stable, inner peace that can be a permanently soothing background for all harmonious or trialsome activities demanded by life's responsibilities.

~Paramahansa Yogananda

Our lives are filled with wonderful times, times of peaceful content and troublesome times. Often when our lives seem to be running smoothly we forget how our meditation practice is important in these good times as well as for getting us through the troublesome times. Our regular daily practice keeps us even-keeled. We stay balanced with equanimity. We enjoy our lives even more, because we are conscious of the peace that is arising from within. Then when the road gets rocky, we are able to navigate those times more easily with grace.

Don't Let Blessings Pass You By

Practice flexing your “inspiration muscles” by acting on insights that you recognize are in harmony with the highest good. Don’t let the opportunity for a blessing pass you by.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O’Brian
 

When we begin a meditation practice we are often surprised by the myriad thoughts that we have because we haven’t paid attention before.  Also, as our minds get quieter, over time, we start to notice inspirations and intuition that we haven’t paid attention to or haven’t trusted and we may have let blessings pass us by. Sometimes it may just be a small thing, such as having the intuition to call someone who you haven’t talked to in a while.  That phone call may just be the personal connection that makes a positive difference to both of you that day. Or that phone call may turn out to significantly affect a big decision you need to make even though that wasn’t your intention when you called. The blessings of life are all around us, all we need to do is pay attention to that still small voice that wants to guide us.  That still, small voice is always speaking for the highest good. It will never let us down.

Experience Stable Inner Peace

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Through meditation one can experience a stable, silent inner peace that can be a permanent soothing background for all harmonious or trialsome [troublesome] activities demanded by life's responsibilities.
~Paramahansa Yogananda

When we begin meditating regularly, we catch glimpses of the inner peace which is our very nature. As we continue it permeates our consciousness more and more of the time until it becomes the dominant harmony of our life whatever we encounter. The final promise is that this is what we become entirely.

Balance is the Key

Balance is the key that unlocks the gate to freedom. Through balanced living, become the key; slip through the lock, thin as a blade, vast as the meadow in bloom.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

We often hear that we should live a balanced life. What does that mean? Life in moderation. Doing our best, but knowing that the outcome of our endeavors is not up to us. Eating a moderate, healthy diet. Taking care of our bodies. Taking care of our minds. Being grateful for what we have and for all the beauty around us. Appreciating those people around us. Enjoying our lives. Having fun. This is balanced living. This is how we all want to live and we can all be that balance. Meditation supports this way of life because we become more conscious, through a regular practice. Living this way contributes to a more calm and peaceful world. A world where everyone benefits.

Meditate for Your Life

If you sit long enough, and focused enough, meditation occurs by itself. Don’t complicate it.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

The state of meditation is a natural state of consciousness. Our practices, such as focusing on the breath or repeating a mantra are techniques we use to quiet the mind, so that we can keep our attention and awareness on a single point. We are using the techniques to allow meditation to occur naturally. We don't have to force it. If you are new to meditation, make a commitment to meditate for 20 minutes each day for 30 days. Then lengthen your time to 90 days. Make that commitment and see how life becomes easier. The changes are often subtle, but they are there. Meditate for your life.

Our Skills of Discernment

We don’t have to discard reason in order to trust our intuition. Both ways of knowing are important. After we receive an intuitive insight and begin to follow it, our skills of discernment can be used to support us.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

Intuition is that "still small voice" that we hear when we are quiet. Often we have flashes of intuition, but we don't always listen. Or we are not aware that intuition is our inner knowing speaking to us. We all have it.  We may choose to ignore it because we think that we know better or we want things to be different. We may choose to ignore it because we think that what it is telling us is too difficult. That still small voice is always there, guiding us in the right direction. As Yogacharya O'Brian's teacher, Roy Eugene Davis says "Do what you know you should do." In our time of silence each day we allow our intuitive insight to reveal itself, then throughout our day we are more aware of it. We learn to trust that voice by using our faculty of discernment to examine that insight, determine what it is and how to proceed. The more we follow it, the more we look for it, the more we trust it.

True Joy

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True joy comes not from getting what we want, but by being who we want to be. Be free from reacting to conditions, one way or the other.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

The truth of who we are—our essence, is peace, happiness, contentment, joy. We all want that. We can get that temporarily from getting what we want, but it is temporary. Everything in the material world changes. Lasting happiness, peace and contentment is an inside job.  Our time of silence each day trains us to slow down, to observe our moods and recognize that which allows us to be who we want to be. Take that time. Notice. Enjoy!

Stay Open

A purposeful life is like a great steamship coursing through the waters of the world. Although it’s path is straightforward, the journey is marked time and again by course correction. Every new encounter can expand our awareness—if we are willing to learn. Staying open is being willing to learn.

Live Well Now

Forget the past, for it is gone from your domain! Forget the future, for it is beyond your reach! Control the present! Live supremely well now!
~Paramahansa Yogananda

A steady meditation practice brings unexpected benefits. As we become extremely aware of the thoughts that arise and fall away in our mind, we learn to direct energy away from those that are not useful. As we continue to experiment with this ability, we realize that we can control our experience in the moment and let fears of the future or regrets about the past fall away. We begin to live in the freedom of an expansive present and the universe mirrors our joy.

Dwell in Gratitude

Gratitude comes when we let go. When we cease fighting what is, the glory of what can be emerges. Dwell in gratitude and your mind will be calm, your heart will open, and joy will overflow. "Thank you" is a powerful mantra.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

Our mind becomes calm when we stop trying to fight what is. There is a teaching from the east, in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. It says, "Be content now and realize unshakable happiness." Contentment comes when we are grateful for what we have, for what we see, for what we hear, for what we experience. When we are content, we can see past unhappiness and grief. When we look around us, we can find many things to be grateful for.  A practice of gratitude will bring us that peace and contentment that we seek. It is a deep peace and joy that is unshakeable. Dwell in that place of gratitude.

The Doorway to Delight

Delight

Even-mindedness is the doorway to real enthusiasm and compassion; it’s our entryway to delight and to play.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

We can experience our lives as delightful! In the teachings of the spiritual practice of yoga, we are told that there are four spiritual goals in life: to live our life in the highest and best way, to have pleasure in life, to have the prosperity that we need to live in the highest way and the fourth goal is to be free. Even-mindedness means we are not worried, angry, or expecting praise for work that we have done. It means we are content with our life and have faith that the choices we make and the actions we perform will bring us what we need and want and will ultimately serve the highest good.  Our daily meditation practice, when practiced with intention and a smile, will bring even-mindedness and delight to our lives.

Stillness of the Mind

Stillness of the breath is stillness of the mind.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

The pathway to all the transformative benefits of meditation involves stillness of the mind. A powerful way to quiet the mind is to focus on the breath, which naturally slows as we reach a sustained level of concentration. Mind follows body and body follows mind. As we focus on the breath it slows and our body moves into a progressively more restful mode. In its own time our state of consciousness moves from concentration into meditation and we can just be there, dropping all technique. When you observe you are again distracted by thoughts, sounds, or sensations, just play this little game. Gently watch your awareness of the distraction. You may find that the same way it arose, it may just fall away and leave you in stillness.

Choose to Be Happy

Choose to be happy. Happiness is not dependent on external conditions. It is your innate state of being to freely express.
~Roy Eugene Davis

Often we look at our life and we think "If only this happens I would be happy." Or "If only I had that relationship then I would be happy." Or "If only I had that (material item) I would be happy."  Why wait to be happy?  Why depend on outside forces in life to make us happy?  At the core of our being we have everything that we need. We are already happy. When we allow it to express, it is a feeling of deep contentment. It is easy to latch on to negative thoughts and emotions, but thoughts and emotions change. Through the practice of meditation we quickly learn that we are the observer, observing our thoughts and emotions. We are not our thoughts and emotions, otherwise how can we observe them? When you feel sad or unhappy, observe that. Recognize that it is an emotion that will pass. Allow it to pass by, like the clouds in the sky. Don't look to some outside person, thing or event to make you happy. Remember that you can choose to be happy.  Choose that.

Fulfill Your Potential

Attachment to particular outcomes prevents us from fulfilling our potential.
~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

A steady meditation practice makes us very aware of the contents of our mind. It also permits us to affect what happens there and reach a better level of control over our actions in the world. The concentration practices of meditation help us set worthy goals and then we develop an enhanced relationship to the outcomes of our actions. Paradoxically we gain a new freedom when we learn we do not have control over these outcomes. When things go as planned, we can take this in stride and when things do not, we can be ready to learn from the feedback which the universe has provided. We fulfill our potential when we learn from both success and failure.

Our Breath is the Connection

Conscious awareness of your breath can guide you to peace in a moment.

~Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian

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As you know, the simplest technique we teach in our classes is to focus on the breath. Why? Because it is always there with us, so easily accessed and it is not complicated. Also, it is very powerful. In Sanskrit, the breath techniques that can be used are called pranayama. Prana is the life energy that flows through us; the energy that sustains the body. Ayama translates to extend or draw out. Pranayama is breath control.  It is taught that the breath is our connection to our soul — that place within that is peaceful, content and wise.  Our meditation practice teaches us to notice and rely on our breath to calm the myriad thoughts in our mind.  Throughout our day, as we notice that we may want to react instead of respond to a situation, one conscious breath can transport us to a calmer state of mind. Take the time to take that breath. It only takes a moment.