When did you last feel that you had inner peace in your life? I asked a friend and she told me it was when she got that job promotion she she had longed for. It meant that she is attaining something that she feels will mean that she is successful. She thinks that the attainment will bring her what we call “forever’ inner peace.
I find that many people similarly think inner peace is the attainment of something they have long lusted for. However, most people find it is but a transitory feeling even though at first blush you think it will last much longer. It’s similar to the person who finds herself a millionaire and in the next instance, finds she is just as unhappy as before. This of course gives credence and confirmation to the adage that happiness is fleeting at best.
Recognizing the transience of so called happiness, there are still things that we can do to bring about inner peace for others and ourselves.
Inner Peace Recommendations:
- Does your life have to be as over-committed as it is? Aren’t there some things that you can overlook for the moment and put off for another day? Is there a relationship or friendship that you would like to resurrect? Preferably somebody with whom you have had some great laughs.
- Did you remember to include in your life that meditation technique you learned at that course last summer? Or did it go by the wayside with all those other promises you made to yourself? Maybe the meditation technique no longer seems as promising, but how about those long walks you love or that music you love to listen to? They too will bring you into a meditative state.
- Do you create mental problems for yourself? Are there some people you know who seem a lot more detached than you and don’t worry as much about things as you do? Would you like to emulate them and perhaps not allot as much worrying time as you do? A friend of mine who is a counselor tells me people spend HOURS a day worrying about some relative. What they don’t realize, she tells me, is that they can spend those hours more profitably if they sent the recipient of worry some good thoughts and wishes. While it might sound like a New Age concept, I have found that this works.
- My friend who is a feng shui expert tells me to unclutter my closet if I am feeling overwhelmed. There is nothing like looking at an uncluttered closet to still the mind. And then you can begin by uncluttering your house. After you have uncluttered your home and realize the inner peace you might gain, enlarge your cleansing. Apply it to the so-called friends in your life whom you have been vowing to give the heave ho to.
- Everybody will always tell you to do some kind of elaborate meditation technique. I am going to tell you to just take a simple walk and actually look at the sky and surroundings. Then perhaps you might like to ride your bicycle or drive your car to the nearest beach, lake or waterfront. Do something radical with an escape venture that seems just like fun. How about that silly movie you thought is only for kids? Or how about going bowling even if you are some big executive. Do something wild and crazy and I promise you it will break a pattern.
- Vow that you will no longer hold onto that relationship that is driving you crazy. Enough to have it renting out the space in your mind for such a long time. Build a fire, and throw all those thoughts about it and perhaps your relationship into it.
- Be willing to let go of your mind through simple relaxation techniques that give your mind a chance to escape relentless thought. Allow yourself to feel for a moment what it is to just let go.
- DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE!
Concluding Remarks about inner peace
These are but a few examples of what we call “letting go,” a cousin to surrender. We wear our problems and situations as if they are hair shirts. We then find ourselves constantly flogging ourselves with what are sometimes imaginary problems. Yet we make them real. We need to give ourselves a break and bring compassion to the conflicts we drown in.
Here’s to inner peace!
If you have a question about “inner peace,” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer.
Posted in Spiritual Teaching
Sometimes Yiddish phrases seem to take on the quality of mantras, being said so frequently and with much passion. I also think of Deva Premal who sings a whole album entitled Mantras for Precarious Times and wonder if Yiddish phrases, while not traditionally mantras, similarly take on the power of mantras.
Recited repeatedly, they can bring about what some would call “weltanschauung,” or worldview. Many are rooted in and arise from the many traumas and tragedies Jewish people have undergone and overcome proudly. Some say these Yiddish phrases have a flavor of wry and humorous pessimism with the fullness of a whole heritage.
It is noteworthy how much humor spawns from tragedy in the Jewish tradition. When I examine some of these phrases closely, I understand how they might offer a strange detachment for the person expressing them. Perhaps Ativan and Xanax not being available during heinous times, it becomes an effort to get some distance from a horrific event.
Yiddish phrases conveying feelings
Just as a picture is worth a thousand words, a Yiddish phrase can convey a feeling or sentiment, even if no one understands Yiddish. Try saying oy vay at any time, preferably not in a crowded movie theater, and I think it is easily understood. This is true especially if accompanied by a woeful look as well as depressed shoulders.
The last election cycle has made me very conscious of my minority status as a Jew. When I surround myself with a large number of people with whom I am not acquainted, I am more than conscious of attempting to not resort to my favorite Yiddish phrases. Perhaps it is an atavistic feeling of attempting to feel safe because of my history.
However, I have also noticed that I seem also to have this worrisome attitude of “who cares,” which is probably due to my advancing age. Or it could be that under emotional duress, I resort to those familiar phrases that are reminiscent of a nostalgic childhood.
Using Yiddish phrases in uncomfortable situations
I also find myself using these Yiddish phrases more often than is perhaps acceptable when in a formal situation. I think that instead of saying oy vay when a waiter inadvertently drops a drink on my outfit, it might be more appropriate to say,”Oh, dear.” Unfortunately, under stress, my lineage takes precedence and I resort to these Yiddish phrases more frequently than I would like. One of my friends with whom I share a spiritual life asked me where my Om Namah Shivaya (a blessing bestowed in appropriate circumstances) has gone and why I have allowed an expression of despair to replace it. I have to be careful of that.
Many Yiddish phrases come into popular usage because nothing in English compares with them in terms of expressing a feeling. They have certainly filled a language hole. There is nothing like a Yiddish phrase to give some comfort and solace, and even mirth, to trying circumstances.
Warning about Yiddish phrases
Yiddish phrases must not be used by anyone who, while attempting to mimic them, also manages to mangle pronunciation. These people, primarily non-Jewish, attracted to the words, unfortunately add an extra syllable to these words. For example, the word schlep is sometimes distorted by the offender pronouncing the word as “schalep.” (Two syllables). I don’t know if Jews particularly have a genetic predisposition to being able to correctly pronounce these Yiddish phrases.
During these precarious election times, here are some of my favorites that have brought me solace and comfort.
My favorite Yiddish phrases
- Oy vay and oy gevult
While oy vay can be an expression of dismay, grief or exasperation, oy gevult expresses fear, shock and amazement. When hit by a car, try saying oy gevult. Or when you feel overwhelm at who becomes the the presidential candidate,you might also say oy gevult. This means you fear for the world.
- Schlimazel, schmendrick and schlemiel. These are three of my favorite phrases, which are quite useful.
- Schlimazel is rather like somebody who is lacking in common worldly sense, yet feels he is equal to the job.
- Schmendrick is just some kind of stupid, jerky person. It is a consummate dismissive word. You can use it when everybody is on board as to how they feel about the qualifications of a candidate.
- Schlemiel is just somebody who is almost not worthy of notice whom you’d like to awaken from their stupidity.
This is a long, involved speech, often given as a sales pitch. We have had to endure quite a bit of those. You can combine it with the word schlock because the spiel is often the vehicle accompanying shoddy and inferior shlock.
This is “craziness.” Sometimes the craziness at first feels like it is very unique and out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, mischegaus has seemed to evolve into the ordinary and commonplace during these times. We unfortunately have become enured to much mischegaus. This word is spoken sometimes with hands thrown up in the air as in, “What mischeguas!”
This is truly my favorite word because if you can meet a mensch in your life, you are truly lucky. This person, is somebody truly trustworthy, upon whom you can count to assist you in terrible circumstances. They are also so honorable they will be sure and return the nickel they owe you. When you can convey the word mensch upon somebody, it is deeply satisfying and rewarding.
This word has become so familiar that most people use it with a lot of familiarity. You can always tell the person who has chutzpah. They are willing to sound foolish when expressing their honest views. They are brave enough to push forward in a cause that might seem unpopular. They are someone who also shows up for you if you need someone to flout authority.
Feel free to take any of these to help you during these times. Like mantras that huge numbers of people recite, these Yiddish phrases likewise have the power to convey formidable emotion. You don’t have to be Jewish to love Yiddish phrases!
Zei gazunt! (Be well)
If you have a question about “yiddish phrases,” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer.
Posted in Conscious Living
Ma Jaya Teaching
Ma Jaya passed away in April of 2012. I’m extremely grateful that practically every time she spoke, someone was recording it. That means everyone will always have a chance to listen to her teachings. Many of these teachings are available on CD but you can find over 30 of her spiritual podcasts free online right now. As a result, I’m going to share six of my favorites with you.
Spiritual podcasts can bring you into the moment of a teacher’s conveyed wisdom in a flash. Just hearing their voice will allow you to not only listen to something that has been broadcast previously, but will also allow you to enjoy a possible transformation.
That is what listening to the words of a true spiritual teacher can give you. By the nuance of their language and the tenor of their words, you are singularly brought into the same moment others have enjoyed.
Here are six of my favorite podcasts:
- River Poem – Ma Jaya first shared her River Poem in the 1970’s. I was privileged to hear her recitation. She described the sacred River Ganges in India and it was both poignant and memorable.
- Shakti and the Ego – In this podcast, you will be treated to the true meaning of the feminine energy of Shakti. We then see hwo the ego struggles to keep shakti from destroying the ego, thus allowing the beauty of Shakti to manifest.
- Kali Natha Yoga and Kundalini Rising – Here we see how yoga becomes a transformative agent to the rising of kundalini. Kundalini travels through the body to the consciousness above the head through the postures and breath. This spiritual podcast is a real transformation of awareness.
- Spiritual Wanting – Spiritual wanting is quite different from many egoic desires for liberation. It is a true and genuine desire to become one with one’s beloved and transform the lower ego. Ma speaks of her own relationship with her beloved Neem Karoli Baba. This spiritual podcast becomes a devotional prayer.
- Breath and Light – In this transformative spiritual podcast Ma guides her students through the breath. Furthermore, by utilizing the breath, she shows how one can transmute all negativity and take in the light. This is a very meditative experience.
- Gratitude – In this spiritual podcast Ma Jaya speaks of gratitude. Particularly she shows how gratitude can free us from the karmic spaces of jealousy and greed. This is a truly insightful talk.
What Ma Jaya brought to the spiritual podcasts
Ma Jaya peppered her talks not only with brilliant and incisive wisdom, but moments of humor. She was witty, candid, outrageous, compassionate and courageous. We were particularly grateful for her courage as she singlehandedly through an era of prejudice and fear, brought the light into the epidemic of AIDS. Ma Jaya shone light into fear, brought compassion into reality and shared a love that awakened awareness. We were lucky to have known and studied with her.
Therefore, if you have a question about “spiritual podcasts,” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer.
Posted in Spiritual Teaching