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Tools for Transformation

E-Newsletter No. 38

Combining all of the yoga methods-techniques in their original context yields a power greater than the sum of the individual methods.

That's because while yoga is a very powerful system of Stress Management, these tools were designed for something much greater-as tools of transformation.

The yoga techniques: stretching, deep relaxation, breathing, and visualization techniques-are powerful tools not only for "stress management" but also for helping us to learn to open our hearts to our feelings and inner peace.

Thoughts connect our heads; feeling connect our hearts.

Altruism, compassion and forgiveness-opening our heart-can be powerful means of healing the isolation that leads to stress, suffering, and illness.

Now, I avoid getting into a power struggle with people. I just provide them with information so that they know what their options are and then can make informed choices. And, I support whatever they choose.

There is nothing you can do or get that will bring you lasting peace and happiness! Lasting peace and happiness are not something we get; we have them already until we disturb them. In that sense then, acting "selflessly" is the most "selfish" way to behave, since it maintains our sense of inner peace and joy.

The purity of the feeling-even a negative feeling has the potential for being transformative if properly guided. The intensity of negative energy can be directed into something more positive.

That which you meditate on you begin to manifest in your life. To the extent that you (I) can have compassion for your (my) own ignorance and your (my) own darkness and inner demons, then you (I) can begin to have the same compassion and love for other people whenever they display their darkness to you (me).

Fear creates inner walls that keep our heart in darkness. The ongoing process of learning compassion-for my own darkness and that of others-is what helps to free me from my sense of isolation. That's what frees us, that's what heals us, and eventually, it may open our arteries as well as our hearts.

Pain and suffering, whether in the form of physical illnesses like heart disease, or emotional diseases like severe depression, or spiritual pain, like hatred, can be profoundly healing. The goal is not simply to reverse the anatomical blockages, the real issue is how we can feel more free and more joyful. How to open our hearts on psychological levels to build intimacy-and spiritual levels-to develop compassion. More precisely, we are free already; by remaining compassionate, we can stop binding ourselves and limiting our freedom. We may live longer because of this, but that's not the primary goal. We can live better.

We can use our pain-emotional or physical-as a catalyst to begin healing, not just curing. To me, "curing" means only getting back to the way we were before we became diseased. "Healing" is when we use our pain or illness as a catalyst to begin transforming our lives-healing our inner pain and our relationships, our hearts and our souls.

-- Swami Vivekananda (1896) Juana Yoga

"Why does man look for a God? Why does man in every nation, in every state of society, want a perfect ideal somewhere, either in man, in God, or elsewhere?-Because that idea is within you. It was your own heart beating and you did not know; you were mistaking it for something external. It is the God within your self that is impelling you to seek Him, to realize Him. After long searches here and there, in temples and in churches, on earth, in heaven and in hell, at last you come back to your own soul, completing the circle from where you started, and find that He whom you have been seeking all over the world for whom you have been weeping and praying in churches and temples, on whom you were looking as the mystery of all mysteries, shrouded in the clouds, is the nearest of the near, is your own Self, the reality of your life, body, and soul…By means of spiritual discipline the individual soul ultimately recognizes its oneness with the Universal Soul."

-- T.S. Eliot, Four Quarters

"We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time."


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