Kids always seem to be in Being

At the beginning of each group meditation, I always check in with everyone and ask how they’re doing, though yesterday, I asked, “How are you Being?” Even though it was a bit of a joke, I’ve been thinking about how it really is a far more relevant question than the typical salutation. By implication, you are asking: To what extent are you experiencing access to your full, unbounded Self? This really is the only thing we should be asking ourselves on a daily basis. Much too much attention is put on our “doings.” We identify with them, we worship them…

Mothering by Ganga Ma

This past weekend was Mother’s Day, a day that digs up stuff more than any other holiday. Well, maybe second to Christmas, but still pretty baggage laden. Our relationship with our mother is our first relationship, when we are first born, we do not even realize that we are separate from our mothers until we’re six or seven months old. No wonder there’s a lot there. I lost my mother fairly early in life and am now a mother of three, expecting my fourth, so I’ve thought about the meaning of this role a lot over the years. …

We’ve all come so far and still so far to go.

No, this isn’t an internet quiz in which you respond to 20 questions and get a generated answer with a picture of the enlightened guru who fits you best ( You scored an 18, you’re a “Yogananda”). I, and all other meditation teachers, harp on and on about enlightenment and expanding your consciousness state with meditation, but I realized that I don’t often go into exactly what that means. How do you know what your consciousness state is and how it compares to others if you’ve never known what it’s like not to be you?

What is a consciousness state?

I don’t know what I would do without my favorite soma bandits.

The topic of boundaries is an odd one for me to pick given the Vedic view that boundaries do not exist. But, never mind that for now. Let’s talk about personal boundaries. How to you keep from being completely taken advantage of, saying yes when you really want to say no, staying waaay too long in jobs, situations, relationships that have reached their expiration date, that kind of thing.

Soma bandits (a.k.a. emotional vampires)

There is a semi-affectionate term amongst meditators for people who are looking to feed off your attention but offer nothing in return. “Soma” is the Sanskrit…

Watching my kids make beautiful things and seeing how frustrated when they don’t think they’re successful at something makes me all the more aware that getting caught up in this idea of success is a waste of time.

Scientists estimate it can take 1,000 years for a unit of water to make it’s way around the world’s global currents. However, if you look at the oceans from space, they appear to not be going anywhere. We think of success as a journey of sorts, as fulfillment as being “out there” and success means we have reached that place. There’s a secret to success, however, and it’s not “thinking outside the box” or having a “can-do attitude.” The secret is knowing that place doesn’t exist.

Self moving within the Self

The word success comes from the word succession, or…

One of the meals from the Ayurvedic cleanse we did recently.
  1. Sipping hot/warm water when you first get up and throughout the day. Not drinking ice-y drinks with meals.

This is number one because, not only is it so easy to do, it has such a major impact. In the portion of the Veda that deals with the art of warfare, one of the strategies to disable your opponent is to infiltrate their population and popularize the drinking of cold beverages because it is so weakening to the system. Ayurveda is all about digestion and ice-y drinks especially with meals puts out “agni” or digestive fire. If there is no digestive…

Scarlett the ice harvester.

I was watching my daughter last week when we were in Yosemite. She was climbing every rock, gathering armfuls of snow and pretending to be an ice harvester. I stopped to take her picture so when she’s a teenager, she can remember herself as this: confident, adventurous, living in her imagination, wearing a baby blanket as a cape and not a concern in the world as to what anyone thinks about her. It got me thinking about how enlightenment is not a quest for something out there, it is a remembering. Specifically, a remembering of the Self.

Who you are…

Who’s exhausted? (The whole room raises their hands.) What is going on? Why is it that getting out of bed in the morning is a herculean task and it feels like getting through the day sometimes is like moving through wet sand. We’re not supposed to be this tired all the time. There’s a few universal factors contributing to this collective burnout.

One of the basic reasons we feel so rough is we are out of sync with nature, not just the big outdoors nature but the nature of our own bodies. When we are going with the flow of…

There it is, that damn plate of egg rolls.

There are three things that are most important to keep in mind when thinking of self-improvement. One, that the path of self-improvement is not direct, it ebbs and flows, two, awareness comes before change, and three, the Self cannot be improved.

Last week I was doing a kitchari cleanse for the change of season, in which I ate little else other than this rice, lentil dish. Then, it was Lunar New Year and my kids wanted to have a party. Something came over me, and before I knew it, I ate half the egg rolls on the plate. This is…

If we are what we consume, then my kids are 30% donuts.

More, more, more. This is the mantra of our day. In my former life, I used to work in advertising and we didn’t refer to people as, well, people, we called them consumers. Something that takes something in. The description is apt, albeit a bit insulting. We are taking in something all the time, whether it’s food, news, email, sounds, lights, demands-modern life has turned on the fire hose.

All of this needs to be processed in some way. If not, the undigested food and experiences cause stagnation in the gross or subtle body and get stuck, leading to mental…

Kristen Vandivier

Instructor of Vedic Meditation and Founder of The Vedic Method and Meditation Without Borders. Also, mother to Scarlett, Delphine and Adrian.

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