Questions I have to ask myself.

      What if I fully accepted who I am, now? What if I was at ease with myself, all the time? What would my life be like if I could accept others and allow them to be exactly who they are? What if I gave myself permission to be my true, authentic, weirdly amazing self, in every moment and in every situation? What if I let go of all fear of what others think, and my own limiting belief systems? What if I always spoke my truth and expressed my truest, highest self?

Image

Expansion, evolution, activation.

Advertisements

Breathe Deep. Be here now.

     The most important thing one can do is to remain in the present moment. Even when the mind wanders off, recounting past events in detail, over and over, holding on to fear, or future tripping about things that have not even happened, it is ridiculous, even insane. Yet this is how the mind works, often against our control, to lead us away from what is here, now, leading us away from the joy and bliss of the present. Breathe deep. Bring the mind back to Now, gently, softly, and without judgement, as if training a precious puppy. There are no limits in the infinite Now. There is no time, there is only a multitude of possibilities. The mind will need to be lead back to the Now millions and millions of times, yet each time it will be just a little bit easier. Throughout the day, reconnect to the Now, even if it is for 10 seconds or 1 minute. Breathe deeply, several times, and bring awareness back to this moment. Guide the breath through the entire body, allowing the exhalation to release any tension or fear that the mind or body is holding onto. This can be done at any time. Now is the perfect time. Know that everything is perfect, as it is in this moment. Choose to see the joy, peace, and bliss that is the infinite Now, limitless and free.

Inspired by Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now.

Light & love.

Living Simply at Mangrove Yoga Ashram

     In the beginning of April, I was guided to spend ten days volunteering at Mangrove Yoga Ashram in New South Wales, Australia, and it turned out to be a lovely experience that I will always look back on with love. It was all quite amazing. The people, the healthy, vibrant food, the lush plants and native wildlife, the multitude of stars, the peaceful atmosphere, deep relaxation and mediation, and so much joy.  I volunteered as a WWOOFer, which stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms. WWOOFing is a worldwide organization which connects volunteers with hosts of organic farms. I was lucky to find Mangrove was a participating host through an article in Australian Yoga Journal. Mangrove is a residential yoga ashram, where people embrace a simple yogic lifestyle based upon the tradition of Satyananda Yoga. Others are also welcome to spend time at the ashram for personal retreats or to attend a variety of workshops.

Original Photography

     I had no idea what to expect, but I wanted to see what living in a yogic community would be like. I met several other WWOOFers, from Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, and France, and heaps of Aussies. In exchange for working at the Yoga ashram, I received delicious vegetarian food and dorm-style accommodation. I worked an average of 5-6 hours per day, doing things I have never done before, like cleaning bathrooms, scrubbing toilets, washing dishes in the kitchen, sweeping, and mopping floors. During one Karma Yoga session, one of the residents had to show me the proper method of sweeping, as I appeared quite inexperienced. I had much to learn. The tradition of Satyananda approaches the yogic lifestyle through the lens of Karma Yoga, which is the path of releasing one’s Karma through meaningful service. The ego is set aside and one works with complete awareness at the task at hand. This experience was incredibly joyful and mind-opening in many ways. It forced me to release all attachments, all desires in order to surrender to the present moment. The first few days were a transitional period, and after several days I got used to the routine.

     Life at Mangrove is active, yet peaceful. The day begins with a 5:30 am yoga class, breakfast at 7 am, and Karma Yoga at 8 am. According to Yogic tradition, the best time of the day for the physical practice of yoga, the asanas, is in the morning, at the time of the sunrise. Getting up that early was admittedly a great challenge, yet proved rewarding. My body felt more in balance arising to greet the sun. Throughout the day, in between my work shifts, there was Yoga Nidra, where you lay on the floor and are guided by the instructor to enter a state between sleeping and waking, in which the physical body is fully relaxed, as if about to drift off to sleep, while the mind is fully awake and aware. The point is to enter that space of deep relaxation without falling asleep. This is achieved by rotating awareness around the body, visualisation, meditating on the breath, and intention setting. Yoga Nidra was one of the hilights of my day. I would emerge from each 30 minute session both relaxed and invigorated, as if I had taken a restorative nap.

     In addition to the wonderful yoga and meditation classes that were held daily, the food was absolutely amazing. It was all vegetarian, healthy, vibrant, and prepared freshly with love. Some of the vegetables came from the ashram’s garden. I could see the difference between the fresh veggies as opposed to the stuff that is packaged and shipped to local supermarkets. I could feel the difference as well. The healthy food allowed me to take a break from the crap I was eating, reset my body, and raise my vibration.

     At Mangrove, I experienced what it was like to live in community and perform service without attachment to my ego or the results, without expecting reward. My time there turned out to be so rewarding in a multitude of ways. I did not want to leave my new found family. I also got to listen to an amazing didjeridoo player named Scott, who learned how to play from Aboriginal tribes. It was so great to listen to him. He played from his heart, and everybody in the room could feel the loving, primordial vibrations.

     I have so much to say about my time at the Ashram. Overall, it was a lovely time and it felt amazing to be a part of a yogic community. I needed to take a step away from the hectic, fast-paced city and just slow down, and get tuned in to the subtle energies of nature and my body. I am planning to return in June or July and spend more time there, in addition to visiting the Rockyln Ashram.

Love and light.

Seek the Magical Playground of Your Dream State

     Each night, the infinite power and creativity of the mind takes the spirit to wondrous places in the dream world. One’s colorful, vivid dream world can be as real and conscious as the waking state. Clarity in the dreamscape can be enhanced by the practice of meditation and mindfulness in daily life because it contributes to enhanced awareness of oneself and one’s true spiritual nature. As heightened levels of consciousness emerge, hidden thoughts, feelings, and emotions come to the surface, including the troubling ones we would rather leave in the depths of our psyche. The mind is incredibly powerful, yet it must learn to be controlled in order to release fearful ingrained thought patterns and promote awareness. When awareness is practiced in each moment, our lives begin to shift toward being in alignment with our most authentic spiritual nature. As the mind becomes more controlled, space emerges to become more aware in daily life, and by extension, in one’s dream world. This is a practice to becoming more aware in your nightly dreams.

     The first step to having vivid, conscious dreams is to become more conscious in your day to day life by monitoring your thoughts. Check in with yourself daily, hourly. Wait. Stop. Take several long, deep breaths to clear space in your mind, and ask yourself, how am I feeling? What are my thoughts in this moment? How do they make me feel? How can I shift my thoughts to be more positive and loving, no matter the situation? Are my thoughts distracting me from the present moment?

     In the present, you have more power than you realize because you choose your thoughts, and thereby in each moment, you are constructing the perception of your reality. There are no limits in the present moment. You have the power to choose what you want your world to be like, both in the waking and dreaming realms, although in the dream world, you are not limited by the laws of physical reality. Take note if there are any negative or fearful thoughts and know that is perfectly okay. Just be where you at, right now, with complete acceptance and non-judgement. Surrender to whatever thoughts arise and make the conscious decision to shift into alignment with your authentic self. As your practice of daily mindfulness and acceptance grows, it will naturally translate into your dream state.

     Bring your day to day consciousness practice to your dream world by choosing to remember your nightly dreams. Try to say affirmations to yourself before going to sleep, such as, I will have vivid dreams tonight and I will remember my dreams easily upon waking. Practice bringing your awareness here and see what happens. Perhaps you will discover that you can remember your dreams with greater ease or you are more conscious during your dreams. Dream recall is an essential precursor to being more aware during dreams and enhancing your ability to lucid dream, in which you are conscious that you are in the dream state. Lucid dreaming makes it possible to explore the beautiful inner playground of your subconscious mind. Another trick to bringing more consciousness to your sleeping state is to check in with yourself, by asking, am I awake right now? Am I dreaming right now? Above all, keep a still, open mind and explore mindfulness in both your waking and dreaming realities. See what bubbles up.

For more information about lucid dreaming, go to World of Lucid Dreaming.

Love, light, and lucid dreams.

Manifest love, peace, and miracles.

     Lately, I have been feeling rather conflicted. Volunteering at Mangrove Yoga Ashram made me realize that there are other ways I can live my life that are more in align with my personality and values. I don’t have to spend my time doing what doesn’t light my spirit up. I deserve to be happy now, and to live in a way that is fulfilling, happy, and joyful at all times, with others who share my vision of a loving earth. And yet, I find myself bound by responsibility and duty to be at uni, spending time in lectures, worrying about assignments, writing bland essays that do not spark my creativity, and otherwise spending time in a hectic environment which contributes little to my creativity and spiritual path. Part of it is the feeling that I need to be here, it’s what other people do, I need to get a degree to set myself apart in the job market, even though job security is far from certain, whether you have an education or not. The public school system does not tell you how to love yourself, follow your heart, or think creatively. University shows you how to conform and to be a slave to the system. Do this, and you will have a good job and a huge house and everything will be perfect. Wrong. I want more than that.

     I have written countless academic papers, with citations and quotes to bolster my words. I would rather fully think for myself instead of giving someone else’s ideas more significance than my own. My outdated, limiting thought patterns and fears of not being good enough must be eradicated, and new, loving perspectives must be put in their place. Watching my thoughts as a detached observer continues to lead me to new perspectives of self-identity, what I value, what I want out of life, and all the myriad ways in which I have been holding myself back from living my dreams.

     I am taking my power back. I used to give others all my energy, always looking outside of my own divine nature for love, approval, and happiness. By going inward, I am beginning to awaken to the infinite source of love, guidance, and bliss that can never come from the external world, no matter how much I search. Today, I choose to seek happiness and love inside of myself. I can’t depend on others to make me happy or to make me love myself. I choose to love myself fully today and to go in the direction of my dreams, to speak my truth to whoever will listen, and to connect with others who are on their own spiritual journey. I will be a light for others and my path will cross with those who are meant to teach me lessons and guide me, yet ultimately, I will have to guide myself to true love, peace, and happiness, as will everybody else in their unique life journey. I choose to be happy now. I choose to love myself now, be present in each moment, and manifest a life of my wildest dreams. Above all, I trust the Universe fully to guide me to where I need to be. Here goes nothing.

Image

Happy lucid dreams,

Aura Jade

Tea time reflections.

     Today my long hair smells like sweet vanilla and I sip fragrant green tea with hints of mango and strawberry. My body feels warm and open, empty of the past, fully in the now, ready to be a vessel for the Universe to fill with its love, guidance, and lucid truth. I must attribute this to my ever evolving yoga practice, in particular to the practice of backbends like full wheel, which physically and energetically make space in the body, especially in the chest and heartspace. The physical practice of yoga is just one way to expand, connect with spirit, and empty the mind of old thoughts. Yoga is a powerful means to release what no longer serves my greatest good, highest evolution. Yoga is to surrender to the present moment. To be in the present moment is to be here now, fully, in each cell of one’s being. That is, to feel it rather than to know it intellectually. To hold awareness of how the body, mind, and breath feel. To not be thinking about the past or future tripping, but to accept the current situation, whatever it may be. Awareness is contentment, bliss, and connection to the Now.

Activation.

     It’s been over two months since I settled in Melbourne, Australia to commence a semester at Monash Uni. Reflecting on my time here, it has been quite lovely all around. I feel expansive. I am listening to my heart, allowing myself to seek truth and clarity about what I am doing here and what I want in life. There is space to evolve, along with newness and excitement for each day. The energies present in my life lately are positive, loving, and expansive. I feel focused and open to divine guidance. I am getting lucid downloads to guide me on my path. All I know is that I will be far better off if I focus on more of what I want instead of what I don’t want.

     To that end, the following is a list of positive things in my life that I am consciously working to expand:

     yoga and meditation practice, eating more hi-vibe raw fruits & veggies, eating vegan, exercising, getting up at 6 am to practice, getting adequate sleep (See: Sleep is a spiritual practice), slowing down, being still and silent, listening to my heart instead of my mind or ego, observing my thoughts instead of identifying myself with them, choosing experiences that push me outside of my perceived comfort zone, focusing on love and miracles, being open to experiences rather than judging them, lucid dreaming, awareness of both the physical and energetic bodies, deep relaxation, traveling, volunteering, writing, and finally, exploring my life and my heart with total mindfulness in each moment.

Image

Om Garden at Mangrove Yoga Ashram.