“The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, and a Hell of Heaven”  Milton from ~Paradise Lost

“Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

As the New Year celebaration  comes upon us I hope that you are continuing to enjoy your Yoga and meditation practices as the pathway to a life of greater balance, ease and wellbeing. The new year can be a symbolic time of reflection on the past and opportunity to set a course for the future. For most this is a time in which we formulate our annual resolutions to change our selves or our lives in some way we imagine will bring greater health and happiness. In doing so there can be a strong tendency to come from a negative, self-rejecting place. We do of course want to change what we believe is causing our distress, but the wisest among us suggest that there is a higher path to take to this end.

Sages and saints from wisdom traditions invite us to connect to “source”, our wisest and deepest part of ourselves, in order to discern our next steps in the journey of our lives.
Over the last several years a growing body of research and innumerable anecdotal accounts are showing how the practices of Yoga and meditation can be a foundation for healing. This is not news to most of you. I am grateful for my almost daily opportunity to see how Yoga and meditation practice bring balance and ease to hurting bodies and clear the agitated and muddy waters of stressed minds.

Still, sages remind us that this amazing restoration of health and wellbeing can be just the beginning.

The sage Lao tze invites us to:

Attain the ultimate emptiness
Hold on to the truest tranquility
The myriad things are all active
I therefore watch their return
Everything flourishes; each returns to its root
Returning to the root is called tranquility
Tranquility is called returning to one’s nature
Returning to one’s nature is called constancy
Knowing constancy is called clarity.

Tao te Ching, Aphorism 16

Lao tze suggests a greater reward for those who persist in the journey to reconnect with “ones nature”. This reward, a growing connection with source or  “Tao”, can become a more constant way of being amidst the changes of life.

He continues:

Not knowing constancy, one recklessly causes trouble
Knowing constancy is acceptance
Acceptance is impartiality
Impartiality is sovereign
Sovereign is Heaven
Heaven is Tao
Tao is eternal.

Tao te Ching, Aphorism 16
From www.Taoism.net and Tao Te Ching by Lao tze: Annotated & Explained, published by SkyLight Path

In my experience treading this “higher”path successfully is a matter of balance, attending to the realities of life and sustaining this healing connection to our deeper selves. Certainly not an easy task in our busy lives.

So I hope that in the next year you will find your Yoga and other self-care practices offer you support to attain all you desire in your life. And that your good efforts are rewarded with the inner peace and happiness you deserve.