Category: Uncategorized


2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Stress makes you stupid

Actually, stress makes you stupid, sick, and smelly.

Now that’s a good incentive to learn to relax and destress with slow, deep breathing. So why does stress make us stupid, sick, and smelly? We can answer that question by looking at why we get stressed in the first place.

Stress is your body’s natural reaction to a threat to your safety and wellbeing. A classic example is to look at what happens to you when you find yourself face to face with an aggressive dog. Your heart rate increases, your digestive system dramatically slows down, your pupils dilate, your blood pressure increases, your breathing becomes shallow and fast, you begin to sweat, and your muscles and heart become engorged with blood as your skin turns pale from the blood being redirected. All of these things happen because of the release of stress hormones preparing your body for fight or flight in response to a threat. In the short-term this type of response can save your life, however, if you experience stress every day, all day, because your boss happens to be an asshole that bullies and abuses you, or you have an aggressive partner, etc, then that type of reaction going on in your body all the time is unsustainable. Eventually you’ll burn yourself out.

From a health point of view, being in a continuous state of stress strains your heart, increases your chances of having a stroke due to high blood pressure, and lowers your immune function because all of the body’s energy is being used elsewhere, which increases your susceptibility to infection and even increases your risk of getting cancer. Where health is concerned STRESS is your body’s enemy.

The effects of stress don’t just stop with the body, they spill over into the realms of the mind. When you get stressed the flow of blood in your brain decreases in your frontal lobes and is redirected to your hind brain and emotional brain. This means your ability to think rationally and plan ahead is severely hampered. Essentially stress turns you into a puppy. Seriously, when you’re under stress you act more like a puppy than a human. This is why it’s never a good idea to make decisions when you’re under stress unless you absolutely have to.

What about smelling bad?  Think about the original example of the dog, or maybe it’s a lion or a bear. When you get stressed, your body will begin to sweat. The more stressed you are the more profusely you’ll sweat. Why? Two reasons. One, sweating lubricates your body and makes it easier to escape the grip of whatever it is your faced with, and secondly, when you get stressed the sweat you excrete tends to smell bad. That’s not a great thing if your on your way to your new girlfriend/boyfriend’s house to meet your future parents in law! But it’s very useful when you’re faced with a predator that wants to eat you for dinner because when food smells bad, it’s a sign that it’s gone off. And even animals don’t like to eat food that will make them sick.

So there you have it. Stress makes you stupid, sick, and smelly. WHat can you do about it. Simple. Learn to slow your breathing and you’ll be able to control your stress levels 😉

The simple path

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Sweeping the floor, watching your breath, drinking a cup of tea; whatever you like to do, pay attention to it.

The more focused on the present moment we become, the more our state of awareness expands. When the mind is caught up in thoughts of the past or future, it can’t be fully aware of what’s happening in the moment. Training the mind through focused concentration, brings us into that rare moment where we experience full awareness. Training the mind to do this is as simple as bringing your attention to what you are doing. Although, that’s not really as simple as it seems, is it? 🙂

What is reality?

Brilliant video. We really don’t know shit!

My disappearing body

All this week I’ve had the feeling of living in a dream, of being completely disconnected from what I would normally call reality. And although I can’t find the words to portray exactly what I’m experiencing, I can best describe it as a type of doing without doing, thinking without thinking. It’s like this body is moving, acting and reacting, and the mind is thinking, but it’s not me. I’m simply watching it all happen. Even thinking about these words I’m typing, and the act of physically using the keyboard on the laptop in front of this body I call my own, doesn’t feel real. It’s like I’m observing it all from behind the curtain of the mind. 

Oh words are so meaningless. They completely fail me at times like this.

Dissolving in light

Tonight, during meditation, as I felt my body becoming lighter, I perceived a brightness, an intense light, filling my physical form. It was like my body was a balloon filling with helium. Becoming lighter and lighter with every breath. Soon after this, I began to notice parts of my body disappearing, until eventually there was no body. There was only light. I was light.  

As I regained the sense of body, it was as if I was in the body but at the same time all around it. It is a strange sensation. It feels similar to the awakening I experienced a number of years ago, only the intensity is far milder. Anyway, I just thought I’d share. 

Next post will be on Shambavi Mudra, an important step in reverse engineering the awakening process. 

Although I’m feeling separate from everything at the moment, paradoxically, I’ve never felt so connected. With this, there comes a feeling of immense love and compassion welling up from the depths of my being. 

Wishing every one of you much love and happiness 🙂

Namaste

Samadhi

A short animation I made to illustrate the realisation of unity and oneness brought about by the awakening of Kundalini.

Awakening the Heart

This is a short animated video I made to Illustrate the flow of energy during the practice of Uddiyana Bandha.

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The body’s innate intelligence is always inclined towards awakening and evolution. We just have to allow it to do what it does best by not getting in its way. 
 
I was nine years old when I first discovered that I could do Uddiyana bandha and nauli kriya, although at the time I had no idea what they were called. In fact, I didn’t even think there were names for these weird belly gymnastics I was able to do. I just started doing them one day and thought they looked cool. I also got a kick from freaking out  my friends and family. It wasn’t till much later that I found out these odd belly maneuvers were actually practices from yoga used to cleanse the organs and stimulate the brain and nervous system as part of the awakening process. With this understanding of what I’d been doing came the realisation that I’d been practicing yoga and preparing my body and mind since before I was even aware that something called yoga actually existed.
 
Awakening the Heart
When we begin the practce of uddiyana bandha, Nauli Kriya, and agni sara, we’re using the diaphragm and abdominal muscles like a pump to draw kundalini up into the heart. Energetically this has an opening or awakening affect, the result of which is a type of hyper intuitive and empathic state of being.
 
As the heart opens it can feel as if it’s simultaneously melting and exploding. This is a sensation that comes in waves, where it builds up, explodes and slowly fades into an after-glow. Then the cycle begins again. As this is happening there’s a sense of a complete outpouring of love from the centre of your being. 
 
Physically, these practices are unmatched in their ability to tone and strengthen the diaphragm and core muscles while massaging all the internal organs, including the heart. Other physical benefits include weight loss and correcting of the posture (another essential element of martial arts and yoga).
 
Awakening
Uddiyana Bandha stimulates and wakes up the mid brain structures, the emotional centres of the brain.
 
Martial connection
In the Warrior traditions of Japan there’s special emphasis placed upon the abdomen. In fact it plays such an important roll not only in martial arts, but in daily life, that the Japanese developed an entire set of exercises and practices which they called Haragei (belly arts).
 
I’ll post more on this subject tomorrow including instructions on how to do Uddiyana, Nauli and agni sara. But before I do that I’m just going to finish a short animation that illustrates the flow of energy during Uddiyana practice, which I’ll include a link for here in just a few minutes 🙂
 

Cycle of life and death

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Spending time in nature this weekend got me thinking about the cycle of life and death. It made me remember that Death’s greatest gift to us is Life.

In the warrior traditions of Japan, there’s an art called sakkappo no jutsu (the art of killing and resuscitation). This art teaches the warrior how to kill with a single strike, and how to revive someone from death, as if by magic. Although there are many dark aspects within this art, learning it didn’t turn me into some kind of crazed psychopath, instead, it developed within me a deep appreciation for life.

Seeing how delicate the human body is and how easily that delicate spark of life can be extinguished forced me to think about what was really important to me and gave me the strength to tear down the self imposed barriers and limitations that would have otherwise stopped me from truly living instead of simply existing.

As we think about death, our mind becomes incredibly clear. Coming to terms with our own mortality really does wake us up to life. 

When walking the path of the warrior, we must constantly think about death. The warrior, reminding him/her self that each breath taken may be their last, lives every moment in the present, without fear, ready to face and overcome every challenge placed in front of them. This is is Death’s greatest gift to us.

Liebster award

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Today I was nominated by Jenni Burke for the Liebster Award. Thank you Jenni 🙂 The idea of this award is to help promote relatively new blogs that have a following of less than 200 people.

How does it work?

When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself, then you answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you. After this, you nominate 11 more bloggers and ask them 11 more questions.11 random facts about me.

1) I’m married to Catherine, my amazing wife. 2) I’m the father of two awesome children, Shane (11) and Aoife (2). 3) I’m a vegetarian, but I’m totally cool with cooking meat for other people. 4) I speed read books for the fun of it (if you haven’t tried speed reading, you’re missing out on something really cool). 5) I’ve had 3 near death experiences, brought on by meditation (they really change the way you see the world). 6) I’ve never done a skydive, but I would love to try one. 7) I have an unhealthy addiction to adrenalin, which makes me do stupid things like submit books to publishers and fight people (in a gym, with proper controls) I have absolutely no chance of beating. 8) I love food cooked in Govinda’s restaurant. 9) I don’t think the world will end on 21/12/2012. 10)Teaching martial arts is one of my favourite things to do. 11) I think you’re very patient to have read to the end of this 11 things about me bit.

What is your favorite quote?

This isn’t so much a quote, it’s a speech. So here’s a link to the best speech you’ll ever listen to

😀 Please listen to it. Such powerful, moving words. Here’s the link.

What is your favorite season?

Spring. I feel most awake and alive at this time of year.

What is one of your hobbies?

Reading. I love to read books, blogs, and magazines where the writer expresses something they are passionate about. In particular, I enjoy reading things that get me thinking deeply about the subject.

What is your favorite form of exercise?

That’s a difficult question to answer; I like most forms of exercise. But if I have to chose one, then I’ll say breathing, simply because it has such a deep effect on every level of being, and always leaves me feeling amazing.

What is one piece of advice you’d like to share with the world?

Smile every day. Try do it the moment you wake up. Smiling sets of a cascade of reactions in your body, releasing positive hormones that positively effect you on every level of your being. As well as this, it positively influences your surroundings and the people within them 🙂

What is your biggest dream?

My biggest dream, I would have to say, is to realise my self 🙂

Who is your hero/heroine?

Amma (the hugging saint).

Who is your favorite fictional character and why?

Superman. He fights for those who can’t; he always does the right thing even when he stands to lose everything himself. He’s a true altruist, a bit like Buddha, with the addition of some seriously cool superhuman powers.

Who is your favorite famous person and why?

Tommy Tiernan. He makes me laugh so much my stomach hurts.

What is your favorite book and why?

Seeds of consciousness. That book literally blow me away. After reading the first paragraph of this outstanding piece of work, my mind seemed to dissolve into nothingness. Reading seeds of consciousness was like glimpsing the pure nature of existence. By far the most profound words I’ve ever read. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj; what an amazing soul.

What is your dream retirement?

I’d love to retire to the countryside, and open a small private dojo, where I could train in and teach Martial arts and yoga to anyone willing to learn.

Now to the 11 bloggers I have nominated:

  • When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you.
  • Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (make sure you tell them you nominated them!) and ask them 11 questions.
  • You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated you!
  • Make sure the blogs you chose have 200 or LESS followers

My 11 nominated bloggers:

My 11 questions to them:

What do you do to make yourself feel good?

If you only had 1 week to live, what would you do?

If you only had 10 seconds to live, what would you do?

What does the word love mean to you?

What advice would you give a random stranger who’s life you wanted to help improve?

What’s the sound of one hand clapping?

What’s your ideal job?

What do you need to do in order to get your ideal job?

What do you think about reality?

Are you dreaming your life, or are you living your dream?

What’s your favourite thing to eat? (if it sounds tasty, I’ll give it a go)

NOMINEES:

Irish rover

Declan

Jess

Patrick

To know Beauty

Aubury 27

Mary Claire

Chris

lleighh

Thane

Bert

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