Santa Rosa Meditation Group

Experience the life enhancing benefits of a regular meditation practice

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

Rose with Water Droplets

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

photo by zhengtao tang

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.

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


“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


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

peace dove art-157558_640.png

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

Spring Wildflowers

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!