Every experience and situation can be an opportunity to grow, become more aware, and instantly change our state of mind or mood.
It’s an opportunity to see another perspective and feel differently. By doing this, we become more energized and allow ourselves to enjoy a simple life while being in the moment.
It’s International Yoga Day. A day like no other to continue a good practice, healthy lifestyle, and an enchanting mindset or mood—or simply start where we are.
The Yoga Day passed. What happens in between now and when it comes back again depends on how we live in the moment—always.
Every breath gives us the opportunity to create the future when we allow ourselves the time and space to be present. For me, this is the meditation of yoga.
Anything that helps us connect and focus our mind, body, and soul in unity allows us to also flow. Obstacles of the mind melt away, possibilities rise like the lotus flowers from the muddy water, and, suddenly, we are alive.
The breath of a silent lake on a misty, cold day empties our minds. Harmony arises and creates a path in the realms of nature’s beauty and grace. Silence prevails. Suddenly, we can hear whispers of yearning and inspiration.
All we have to do is breathe—in and out—slowly, as we take one step at a time in the moment of awareness.
There is no time. Only inner turmoil, everyday worries, or responsibilities and demands.
In a state of stress, turmoil, or inner conflict, we fight with the present and make it something that it is not. We identify with whatever is happening. We not only take it personally, sabotage our relationships, and lose touch with the moment, but we also have the tendency to make unrealistic expectations and demands on ourselves. To finish it off, we disconnect from our bodies with little awareness of what is going on around us. That sort of physical, mental, and emotional stress causes disharmony and imbalance in the nervous system.
We need to calm the mind. Paradoxically, it awakens our sleepy consciousness with an electrical jolt. It teaches us to notice when we are absorbed by our thoughts and emotions and to trust and lean into it with awareness, instead of getting entangled in the fight between our heart and mind.
For me, inner turmoil has been the catalyst for learning how to calm my mind. In the process, harmony and balance increased my awareness and sensitivity to my surroundings.
We have the choice to change our state of mind.
I have been chasing a hidden longing for something more. But whatever I did, it never happened. I couldn’t see my way or figure it out with my rational mind. It was easy to fall into the old psychological defense mechanism of self-judgment and fight what was going on. I had to do something to change the negative downward spiral and shift my perception to a higher level of consciousness.
When we decide to change, only then do we change. I reached a crescendo and decided it was not how I wanted to live my life. In that moment of epiphany, I chose a new pathway of thought and emotion. Little did I know that it was the beginning of a yogic path of being.
I listened to my heart and went on a pilgrimage that expanded my consciousness in ways I could have never imagined. I moved and connected to my body.
In the Himalayan mountains, as I walked one step at a time, deeper and deeper into the unknown landscape, visions of gods and goddesses started to appear in the mountains. Quietly, I knew without knowing that I had entered another dimension of secrets hidden by these gods and goddesses. There was something greater than me, so why worry? I just needed to let go and surrender to the greater forces of nature.
Everything is perfect the way it is. This profound mantra has stayed with me ever since, but it was not the only one. As I kept wandering the Himalayan mountains, my mind was filled with mantras and visions. I learned to walk with it, chanting…
One step at a time. Breathe.
The Om Mani Padme Hum mantra for cultivating loving compassion was imbued everywhere in the landscape. It wasn’t only engraved and painted on stones and prayer flags but also humming on the lips of the locals as they turned the prayer wheels. The monasteries were literally pulsating with chanting monks.
The mantra echoed in my mind. Without intention, it became the repeating mantra whilst I turned every single bead on my mala with 108 beads—all day long.
I focused my mind. With every breath, I became aware of the energy in the moment and what was going on.
My surroundings felt gentle and forgiving. The quiet, empty, and bare landscape reflected my mind. There was no fight between the mind and the heart. I observed thoughts like flowers and acknowledged emotions like waves of energy. Subtly, like the growing moon, I became a witness, without identifying myself with what I was thinking or feeling. My racing mind was calm with a sense of a yogic presence of something more.
It was a place where I could simply be part of what is, without knowing what it is. The focus on my breath and the mantra had instantly changed my mental state from irritation and impatience to one of calmness. I connected with the greater energy of being present.
Every time I noticed I had become entangled in my thoughts, I knew I had lost my awareness. The moment was gone. So I surrendered and came back to the moment, again and again.
I flowed with the present. Regardless of what came and went, reciting the mantras automatically cleansed my mind and body from positive ions. Suddenly, I was at a glacier lagoon where I could see myself in the icy blue water. So clean and pure, with no walls of illusion.
By surrendering to the flowing river of being, I am free to be who I am.
With acceptance, everything is perfect the way it is.
I respect where I am without pushing or judging myself.
I accept whatever I am experiencing in the moment.
The subtle shift in my consciousness nourished my inner being with the softness of peace and joy. Mindful and respectful of the shifting energy, I had a choice to surrender to the exquisite nectar of loving compassion and the flowing river of being free to be myself.
At any given moment, we have the choice to cultivate a calm mind with a yogic presence. When we wake up and honor the path of being present, we are guided by nature’s intelligence. It’s there in the paradox of everyday life to help us embrace any struggle, regardless of what we encounter on the way. The rhythm of yoga, mantra, and prayer teaches us to walk effortlessly between the two worlds—the mundane and the divine.
When we choose the present way of being, we can no longer deny or ignore the yogic path.
Find a quiet place to focus your mind. Gently close your eyes and focus on breathing, in and out. Then, as you breathe out, say the mantra, “Om Mani Padme Hum,” silently to yourself or out loud. Recite it any time and as often as you like. Or do the same with any other mantra that appeals to you.
Let go and surrender to the flow. Then, see what happens.
Trust the wisdom given to you in ways beyond what you may expect.