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Open Meditation Meetup

New online meetup to demystify meditation and build conscious community.

Looking at collective social, economic, political and cultural suffering I have always asked why? And, what can I do?
For years, I looked to architecture, design, writing op-eds for the answer. Every line I drew as an Architect, every space I envisioned, was aimed to mitigate disconnection, depression, anxiety, overconsumption, isolation…but it didn’t seem quite enough, when people were suffering the nature of their own thoughts and emotions.
Design aligned the exterior, but if our interior itself was misaligned all beauty, wonder and joy would be missed. And it is. Everyday, we suffer our own constructs, individually and collectively.
A good friend once said to me, “In America you have to be rich, white, thin and beautiful to be happy. Ishita you are not the richest, whitest, thinnest or most beautiful person, but you’re probably the happiest!”
And in that spirit, as I grappled with the divisive and fear based political upheaval, I realized more and more that I can only ever do one thing- be whole in myself and keep clearing out my own core wounds so I can serve the highest and best for all, through the highest and best in me.
What can I do? Facilitate conscious connection to fullness and wholeness already within you which is our birthright. When we feel safe, full and connected, we act out of love not fear.
That was the birth of Come to Center. The only “work” that feels both worthy and true for me.
Meditation aligns our interior. Gandhi once said, “Happiness is when what you think, say and do are the same.” And that is my “secret.” Conscious alignment.
I dream of a conscious and present world, where every being acts from stillness, fullness, from love, for the highest good of all, which is the highest good for each.
Wherever you are, I hope you will join me for Open Meditation. It’s what we really need in the world now.

embrace

transformation can only occur in embrace.

embracing I
am
become

love,

transforming holes into wholeness.

look-
where did    you      ever       find
a piece of the          whole
(a (small) wholeness)
less than,
that?

did you find shelter from your shadow in the womb of darkness?

in the great No thing
where Allness
hides

swallowing form
forgetting to remember
whence you came?
how will you know the shadows you carry?

without
ever turning to the Sun

in embrace

 

 

*photo by Nikki J.

 

Lead, learn, thrive!

Re-wire Your Brain to Master Your Game

Life in 2017 moves faster than we can keep up. Overstimulated, hyperconnected and always on the go, we seldom pause to self-center. Competing priorities vie for our scattered attention, and in the face of increasing workloads and pressures we navigate life on autopilot.

Stress or burnout inevitably follow, hijacking decision-making and communication, thereby straining relationships and inhibiting access to flow- the very place where creativity, innovation and joy thrive! 

Overwhelmed, we start to question if it’s all worth our life energy. You may know this cycle. Through my time in the high stress design industry, I sure did.

So, how can we lead, work and thrive in the Attention Economy without sacrificing our sanity or well-being?

The key lies in our ability to align intention and attention- our skill at being present, here and now. Best practices in business and spirituality intersect at meditation, or in simpler terms, attention training. Efficacy lies in the mastering how our inner space meets the world.

Mindfulness and Meditation train our attention on which all else depends. Cultivating focus and self-centering develops flow. Presence, Self Regulation and Emotional Intelligence are vital to harness technical and leadership skills in the fast paced digital age.

Enhancing our work, relationships and wellbeing depends on enhancing our inner space. Neuroscientists and global business leaders know this too well.

Presence, Self Regulation and Emotional Intelligence are vital to harness technical and leadership skills.

Rewire your brain to master your game. It’s time to come to center.

on attention

From a certain perspective, meditation is essentially attention training!

“You should care because training your attention is the most important thing you can do in life. All your other skills depend on the quality of your attention. A weak, flitting attention makes doing anything in life slower and harder. A strong, steady attention makes doing anything easier. It even makes being yourself easier, because it opens the door to knowing yourself. It smooths the path to knowing who you are, what you want, and what to choose in life. It allows you to navigate your life more skillfully. So why not put in the work to develop a strong, steady attention and take the easy path through life?”

-Steven Kessler (author of the 5 Personality Patterns)

the ease of being!

erik-on-the-water-copy
the ease of being

no action 

           rooted
 in      lack

could ever

bring

forth fulfillment for fulfilment

is

here    now     whole ness
               !          (the nature)


of being 

               free and full and delight full !

action
            may
                     (or may not)
arise and 

you 

will know from the 

very 

ease of being

 

in prose:

No action rooted in lack could ever bring forth fulfillment.

Fulfillment is here and now. Wholeness is the nature of being- free, full and delightful! Action may or may not arise- you will know, from the very ease of being.

and more:

To examine inner grasping with curiosity and amusement, rooting into being, is to invite its own dissolution.

Photo above
My husband floating on backwaters in rural Thailand, March 2016 (from STUDIO-ish)

Open Meditation

What is Open Meditation? Meditation isn’t an act. It’s a state of being that occurs within you. Just as naturally as breathing…effortless, always perfect.

Reflecting on my life a few years ago, it dawned on me that though meditation was always a huge part of my life, I had never really been meditating!

Meditation had been happening to me. 

What I now call Open Meditation has been happening to me since memory- when I played on the banks of the Alaknanda which flowed behind our house and lost myself in the reflections in its waters. It happened to me on my long walks to nursery school, as I crossed the stream, as I smelled the raw mountain mist meeting the morning Sun, or the Koels singing in the forests…it happened to me when I found a leaf on my way to high school, and placed it on my desk just so, mesmerized by its beauty. Needless to say, confused peers thought I was weird- and weird I was, joyfully!

It happened to me as I walked from all-nighters in design studio to long days at work…tired but awake. Alive, relishing the beauty of the day…tearing up at how beautiful the very moment was. I remember when I would lie watching storms moving through the sky, birds dancing in murmurations in the clouds, meandering through precious breaks between the intensity of design school with delight into pure conscious experience of being-

“So much beauty, so much joy…!” resounding within.

And it happened to me when I finally separated knowing and understanding, making space for what I knew in my bones to surface. Always curious, my investigations of the nature of my own experience intensified and seeped into waking, sleeping and even dreaming! Until, stillness within became more intense than any movement, and I found myself closing my eyes and sitting. A little bit, everyday, any chance I got.

I’d avoided formal meditation for ever. I didn’t think I was ready, but unbeknownst to me, it was already happening through me. I didn’t plan on it, but there it was…

Never an early riser, I’d wake up minutes before I had to be at work, get fully dressed and for reasons I couldn’t describe, find myself sitting quietly for the last few minutes before I had to run out the door. Eyes closed, the same stream flowed through me, just more intensely now-

“So much beauty, so much joy…!”

For a long long time, everyday, I would sit in overwhelming gratitude, as these words moved through my mind, and tears flowed through my body. I found a whole new world within…energy flowed in me, and not randomly! Light and shadow coalesced into pulsating patterns, depths I didn’t know I had, revealed themselves quietly.

In total surrender, I watched my self dissolve.

I let it.

Being with what is, that’s all. I didn’t apply any technique or method I had learnt. In fact, I wasn’t ready to learn from anyone just yet. I knew I had to, had to, go within.

That’s all “I did.” And in retrospect, this subtle difference between trying to meditate and simply being with my meditativeness, was key.

No agenda, no expectations. No attempt to awaken into spiritual enlightenment, no desire for being a better person, no trying to get rid of my thoughts, no desire for better focus or sleep or creativity. Nothing.

no thing

Just, being with what is- consciously, unconditionally. That’s Open Meditation- open to whatever may be.

When people ask me what kind of meditation I teach I say, I don’t really teach any particular method, but that I guide you in becoming meditative within yourself. That’s all. Along the way, we may invoke an in-the-mind or on-the-mind method, delve into the body or play in awareness…

but the underlying theme is always openness- being with what is, with no request for it to be any different.

 

 

Life. Joy. Transcendence. Evolution…

“Success is easy. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be given to you. It’s all around you.”

Excerpted from a Jenny Wade interview with Rich Murray. His words resound:

“If you are reading this, in this very moment success is certain.  Success is easy. It’s going to be fun.  It’s going to be given to you.  It’s all around you. Everything you do that’s fun, that you really feel like doing, especially if it’s new, if it puts you in contact with people that feels precious and exciting and playful joyful and there’s a lot of uniqueness and there’s not a lot of rules and there’s a lot of things to choose from and your field of choice is expanding, then you’re being liberated from what you’re used to, you’re being freed from what you’re used to — go for it.

Go for it.  You deserve it.  You absolutely deserve it.  You deserve to have it fast and easy, and you in turn will make it faster and easier for me and the others. No sooner than you learn something, you are teaching it the next minute.  It’s fast. It’s chain-reacting, and it saves the entire world dream.  Everything that is a mistake and is painful is innocent confusion.  There’s no evil.  You are not evil. You are not bad.  And any time you become aware of your limits, that means you are already leaving them behind.  Everything that you don’t like about yourself and other people is already being outgrown, whether you’re aware of it in yourself or in another, the ostensible problem is already the doorway into a rapid avenue of progress.  It’s a revolving door and you spin through it effortlessly into the next stage beyond it.  The body level, emotion level, mind level, spiritual level, technology level all become fluid, interactive, equivalent, merged in brand new ways.  Laughter is the way.  Wrong way is way.  Failure and mistakes are the way for sure.  And even ordinary success can be left behind, no matter how sophisticated and busy it may be.  Just because you’ve always been such and such and done such and such and are really good at such and such doesn’t mean that you can’t grow within it and beyond it both in most amazing ways.  And every mistake is discovered to be a source of tremendous wisdom and inspiration.

Death is not a serious problem, and it is never punishment.  It’s just another opportunity, just like everything else, like every morning when you wake up.  I am Richard Murray.  Hear me.  And hear yourself.  Speak with joy, exuberance, authority, speaking freshly, making it up as you go on.  Be certain of things and be uncertain about what you’re certain about.”

Mother

On life after delivery and life after death…

from the Hungarian writer, Útmutató a Léleknek:

In a mother’s womb were twin babies. One asked the other:

“Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”

“Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”

The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.”

The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.”

The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”

The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover if there is life, then why has no one has ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.”

“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.”

The first scoffed. “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?”

The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not exist.”

Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”

To which the second replied, “Sometimes, while in silence you focus and really listen. You can perceive Her presence, and can hear Her warm presence and loving voice, calling down from above.”

Mantra

A mantra pointing to life purpose…the part and the whole.

Mantra is a Sanskrit word: Man + Tra. 

The simplicity of Sanskrit’s structure can be deceiving. For within the construction of its words lies a fundamental correlation of sound and form, bound in the frequency of the utterance.

Man translates to mind and Tra translates to vehicle or instrument. Thus, a mantra is an instrument to move the mind. Where? Where the sound points.

Over the years I have been enchanted by the Sanskrit I have inherited in my lineage. I lose myself in the beauty of a word just tracing its lines with my fingers, or its sound with my tongue or feel its vibration moving through my being.

Sanskrit shlokas and mantras surface often in my consciousness with joyous reverence. But sometimes, a sentence or a phrase arises in plain English that resounds so true and beautiful that it reverberates for days within.

This most recent one surfaced in my evening routine and points to purpose and calling:

May the highest and best in each serve the highest and best for all.  

There is much and many in a state of transition…as we find ourselves confronted by the limitations of old ways of thinking and living, many sense a new world of possibilities may lie just beyond. Big questions emerge in uncomfortable confrontations…there are quarter-life, mid-life and end-of-life crises: What is the purpose of my life? we ask.

Big questions often have humble answers. Life is to be lived. Existence has no purpose but to exist. So, live! Be here, be now. What more?

To be here and now may not sound like a worthy life purpose if the belief system is looking for a mission to fulfill, a destiny to carve or a goal to achieve. Perhaps because we have forgotten how to live in presence and the expansion it brings.

But perhaps, by intending to use the best of that which is us, to serve the best for all (no exclusions!), we can remember how to live here and now and maybe just for a minute, transcend the ego and silence the mind and open up to a greater possibility…for the best for the whole is the best for the part, and the best for the part is the best for the whole.