Wednesday, May 27, 2015

SEEDS FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH # 16 A Blog Post by Anne Townend- Duffey Director Opening Lotus Yoga Life is Not Just Suffering

SEEDS FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH # 16 A Blog post by Anne Townend-Duffey Director Opening Lotus Yoga
We Are Not Here To Just Suffer
The Buddhas first teaching on the first Noble Truth was 'Life is Suffering', but that is not to mean we are just here to stagnate in our own psychic messes. It means that the original suffering is when we separated from Source, the Divine. By virtue of taking birth as a human being we separated from our Divine Source.
Suffering means separation from our true identity and that leads to the human dilemma of developing an ego like an operating system of who we think we are in order to navigate this complex human experience we call life. But all along we all have this spark of the Divine within us, a deep memory of who we really are, beckoning us in some way to listen, to go in, to reconnect to our Divine Self and that journey of expanding our consciousness is where all the karma comes in.
Wondering why the Divine just doesn't do her thing and take over.... wake us up from our illusion and whats the purpose of free will anyway if it just sends us on countless detours or dead ends back into our egos? There are these pesky things called karmas we come in with (again from a yogi's perspective) or our programming so to speak and all that karma is camoflaging the Dharma, the truth of why we incarnated anyway. Our Dharmic task while we are here on earth is to release what blocks us from realizing the deeper truth of our Being and awakening to what our sacred purpose unique to us, is. We are all here on purpose with a Divine Dharmic mission that only we can deliver to this earth.
When we connect to a glimmer of Truth, that has the power to burn up some old thought patterns, emotional patterns and all the other stuff that gets in the way.Many of these neural patterns are deeply rooted and have accumulated a lot of momentum over the course of your life (or lives). As we evolve, we literally upgrade our operating system. Its like a PC reboot and the old or former way of operating is just not going to fly anymore .Once you tap into a deeper awareness of who you really are it would feel extremely limiting to try and resume your previous limited ways of perceiving. Who would go back to Windows 7? For Nostalgia reasons? If the system isn't working, it's time for an upgrade.
 When we are hooked into our egos as the sum total of who we believe ourselves to be, it's no more than an outdated PC operating system. This is where free will enters the scene. Only we can make that choice to shift, to invite ourselves to evolve, to grow by releasing what no longer serves us. Only we can make that vital choice. That is the simplest purpose of our free will. We get to choose. Awaken or Not, Evolve or Not, Suffer or Not.
How do you connect to a glimmer of truth that can clean out the trash bin that is our subconscious mind? Meditate daily. Slow down, find time to be still and silent. Move back into your sacred body and inhabit it ! Reclaim your feelings and feel them.  Feed yourself organic whole foods. Reduce stimulants, sugar, and depressants, alcohol. Drink plenty of clean water.  Rest yourself .  Get creative. Dance, paint, sing , write. The Divine has an infinite array of ways of expressing itself through our creativity. Doing any contemplative holistic energy practice like Yoga, Tai Chi or contemplative walks in Nature are powerful tools to shift from suffering to a glimmer of your Divine Light as You, through you. And perhaps one of the most powerful and simplest tools is to affirm I AM THAT! I AM  the Light of my Being.. I AM LOVE, I AM SOURCE. I AM. 
Over time with practice the glimmer becomes an ever present glow, a radiance of your Being through you as you. The ego gets a job transfer from CEO to soul assistant. Life begins to flow. Illnesses and energetic imbalances begin to heal. We open more and more to the creative mystery of each breath, each moment , each day we live . We begin to know on a cellular level that our very Being is LOVE, that SOURCE is LOVE and not the limited human emotional version of love, the grand dame of LOVE, the energy of all that is! Even in the midst of challenges or deep heartache and pain, this deeper truth is right within us, always. Its just waiting for us to invite ourselves in for tea!
Namaste and Blessings for a Beautiful Day.
Anne Christine

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


SEEDS FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH # 15 A Blog Post by Anne Townend-Duffey Director of Opening Lotus Yoga


Blessings All. Well what a ride with the Spring weather here in central MA. From allergy bombs the last two weeks, to hot, then humid and last night an amazing lightening show in the sky that ushered in very cool temps in 50's. There is a saying here in New England, If you don't like the weather , just wait 10 minutes! So True.
That brings me to today's post. The mind is a lot like the weather. Always shifting , changing, moving but unlike the weather patterns that we cannot hold onto, we do ,as human beings hold on to mind patterns like a steel cage with locks on it.
We are in a 3 week period astrologically called Mercury retrograde that began yesterday in conjunction with this New Moon in Taurus and will continue until June 11. The theme with these energies is it's a time to revisit , reexamine and reflect on issues related to our physical health , our relationship with our physical home including the larger context of this planet earth and most powerfully we are being invited to give our mental habits a scrubbing. A time to uproot old thought and emotional patterns that no longer reflect the person we have evolved to be today but really reflect the conditioned past we have been subjected to.
One of the best ways to give your mind a super scrub is to meditate daily. This process of simply getting still for 10-20 minutes a day, observing your breath and allowing the mind stuff to arise and fall like waves on the ocean , without grasping or avoiding, just being present, this in fact serves to release repetitive patterns from our mind that largely operate from the subconscious realm.
These patterns can have quite a potent momentum built into them depending on how often we engage with them. This includes judgements, all fear based thoughts and emotions, angry reactive thoughts and emotions, worry and anxiety. Any thought pattern that results in you feeling small, contracted and separated from your Higher Self is up for a scrub in the next 3 weeks.
Simple questions: Does this thought pattern serve me? Does it reflect the essence of who and what I truly am? Does it nourish me or drain me? If they answer to any of these inquiries is NO, then practice letting go of this habit. Acknowledge it when it arises, take a breath, pause (this is the practice part to stall the momentum built into our thought habits) and exhale.
Practice being still instead of knee jerk into a reactive thought or emotion. Practice actually sitting with the energetic experience those thoughts and emotions evoke rather than firing them out in forms of words and behaviors. Let the energy of your emotions be the messengers they are meant to be, to reflect , feel and allow what may be blocking you from your own clarity. In this digital age of instant messaging, instagram, messages sent around the world in seconds, we would all benefit from pulling back in our own habits of communicating to take a breath and ask, Is this in alignment with my truth?
This is an amazing New Moon time to really grow into our next level of conscious awareness and alignment with what is truly what we are. LOVE. LIGHT, HONESTY, AUTHENTICITY, TRUTH.
It all begins with a potent pause.....
NAMASTE & BLESSINGS FOR An awakening day!
Anne Christine

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

SEEDS FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH # 14 Connecting with Infinity By Standing Still

Blog Post from Anne Townend-Duffey :Director Opening Lotus Yoga
Connecting to the Infinite By Standing Still
It's Spring time galore here in central Mass. All of the trees, flowers and grasses are pollinating and blooming at once after a very stalled start. Pollen is literally raining down on all and creating some misery for those with allergies. Fortunately I have only had a slight reaction.
On my walk today a hawk was swooping between trees about 30 feet in front of me and continued to do that for 5 min or so, walking with me in a way. It was quite exciting. At one point she landed on the ground not more than 15 feet in front of my dog and I then quietly took off.
The hawk inspired me to practice OSHO's teaching of stopping every few minutes and just be still for 30 seconds. To just stop and be still and take in what your senses are sensing. To practice flexing your awareness muscle. We are so inundated with information overload that a teaching asking us to just stop and be still can seem ridiculous but try it. Notice what you are missing by buzzing by distracted and focused on anything but the moment at hand.
I noticed when you do stop and just become still and take in what you are sensing, your awareness of your awareness expands. You reconnect with the energetic pulse of consciousness that holds everything in this thing we call life. Very soon you realize that your ideas of who you are compared to the truth of what you are , are very small and contracted.
When we invest in our egos as the total sum of identity, we seal an unconscious deal to live in the contracted realm of 'emotions and commotion , drama and trauma' as my kundalini teacher refers to the egoic version of life. These cycles of conditioned experiences run like a broken record creating significant momentum which becomes the default setting for living a fairly unconscious life that is prone to struggles and suffering. The Buddhist teaching refer to this human condition as being 'caught in mind'.
 It takes a strong commitment to a daily practice to create an alternative energy that can deconstruct the egos head wind and allow a deeper connection to our innate awareness to emerge and be experienced not as theory but as an energetic knowing. In this practice we come to realize that our egos are here to serve our Souls, not the other way around. 
When we exercise an intention to practice expanding our capacity to elevate our consciousness above egoic identity, the whole universe reveals itself through us, AS us. By practicing pausing and being still for 30 seconds, multiple times a day, you open the door to infinity. You open the door to your True Self which is one with Source, the energy of all creation. You open the door to your Soul.
Springtime is such a beautiful time to stop, pause and be still. Look around! Mother Earth is putting on an extravaganza of beauty, color, scent and sights for us to experience. I hope you are present for it.
Namaste & Blessings for many moments of Being still.
Anne Christine

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


SEEDS FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH # 13 Blog Post from Anne Christine -Director of Opening Lotus Yoga & Center for Spiritual Growth; DEEP LISTENING
Namaste All... What an energetic time this past week has been with this Full Scorpio moon! This is a time of emotional shadows coming into the light of day but the experience is anything but comfy and cozy. If you have felt sleepless, anxious or just a bit on edge the past week, welcome to the the Scorpio Scrub. What has been hidden is now arising for our benefit to release.
Each wednesday when I contemplate what to share in this space I just let my intuition guide me on what wants to be voiced. That process of tuning in and inner listening is the key to tapping into what my Spirit wants to share through me.
Today I felt the topic of DEEP LISTENING. Now I have to make a disclaimer right off the bat here. I have been known to have the Celtic 'gift of gab' and tell a good story and love to socially be verbally active , so this DEEP LISTENING practice is by far nothing I have mastered. Its a daily invite to get still, go in and be present. In fact, one of the most powerful intuitive guidances I received many years ago was from the Bodhisattva called Quan Yin and her name translates into: ' She who hears the tears of the world'. Her love and compassion are so deep and encompassing. Quan Yin and her Sister Goddesses Tara, Mother Mary, all the Divine Feminine Compassion Mothers resonate with this gift. They are the inspiration for why I opened Opening Lotus Yoga ,12 years ago.
As a matter of fact, right now I would say DEEP LISTENING is my most challenging and potent practice I am engaging with. Why? Have we all lost the skill to listen well internally and externally? I would say yes. We live with a tsunami level of information flowing all the time and most folks in my teaching experience do not meditate regularly as a tool to quiet that info overload and access the deep everpresent space of awareness that is always here.
It's just that 'we' ,our consciousness is not here. To sum it up there is a lot of noise generated in both our inner world and the outer. If I cannot regularly cultivate the ability to DEEPLY LISTEN, I miss the portal to my inner Divine . that door might be nailed shut. I miss the subtlety in which Spirit communicates . I miss the chance to know my deeper truths and the saddest consequence is ,I really miss being fully present to my life. This is no small thing.
Listening is the other half of communication. Listening is the capacity to receive, first your own experience and then others. Listening is the sign that we are present in this moment just as it is. We are not reflexively darting off to some story about the past or catapulting out of the here and now into some future 'what if' thread. Either way, going into the past or hurdling to some unknown future scenario results in being hijacked by the ego out of your life in this moment and this moment is really where life is.
Ask yourself.. would your closest family and friends describe you as a good listener or not? Usually in a group of people there are one or two that are naturally good listeners and we love those folks don't we? We love to feel heard and understood without others spinning their story about themselves. How selfless to be a good listener! DEEP LISTENERS listen with their hearts. They use the power of their presence as experienced through their open hearts. At the heart level we are universally all singing the same song. We all want to be seen, heard, understood , accepted and loved.
How do we develop that capacity to be more present to others? As always, these skills always begin on the inside, Begin by listening deeply to yourself. Get still for some time everyday, Meditate or just sit quietly and practice being present.When you deeply attune and nourish your inner life, you naturally radiate that presence out to the outer world. Its a given.
Here is one way to approach this practice of DEEP LISTENING
 L=  Look Within
 I =  Inter-View
S = Stillness is Sacred Space
T = Transformation Territory
 E = Enlighten
 N = No One Ever Complained of Someone Listening Too Much:)
May today inspire you to tap into the other 50% of communication, to listen within and expand that presence to all around you.
" When you talk you are repeating what you already know but when you listen you may learn something new." HH Dalai Lama
Namaste & Blessings for a DEEP LISTENING DAY
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Light and Love to You!
Anne Christine