The Wisdom Path


The Heart Sutra is a treasured text revered by Confucius, Buddhists and Taoist. It forms the basis for the Wisdom Path that lies above the Po Lin Monastery.

During a trip to China in 1980, Professor Jso Tsing fell in love with the simplicity of the Heart Sutra. He was inspired to write it in calligraphy and dedicated it to the people of Hong Kong in the same year. His work is now transcribed in large scale wooden beams that form the Wisdom Path.

Each log is positioned to reflect the topography. When seen from above, the overall design is a sideways figure 8, the Infiniti sign.

The plaque which describes the Heart Sutra is at the beginning of the path.

It is a ten minute walk to the start of the Wisdom Path. I followed a group of students who were going to the hostel located further up the hillside. Their youthful energy was contagious and I felt young and free.

Walking the path, a sense of peacefulness and serenity washed over me. After my experiences at the Monastery, I felt removed from my self. I cannot claim to understand the Heart Sutra; I just know that I felt the space between my small self and the connection to something much greater expand.

Another Path

If there is another trail that beckons, I can’t resist its calling. At the base of the Wisdom Path was the trail to the top of the peak. Guarded by a rooster, it was a trail I had to explore.

The path quickly became step, rough and long. The humidity of the day seemed to fall on me like a blanket. No one was going my way; the cautionary voice inside my head started singing out what could happen if…

I took a deep breath and kept going. And was rewarded by this view of the Wisdom Path.

You can almost make out the infinity sign, can’t you?

The path beckoned upward. I must have been an explorer in another life. It’s the only explanation that explains this desire to see around the next bend.

And then I discovered why I took this way. I was integrating my experience at the Monastery and on the Wisdom Path. Forced to pay attention to this moment, careful where I placed each foot, I was meditating in a waking state. No thoughts or judgments; no plans for the future or regrets about the past.

Just breathing (and sweating) in the here and now.

I paused on a flat part of the trail and took a sip of water. My emotions were calm and my thoughts silent. And then I turned and saw the confirmation of my experience.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

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Mindful Focus – For Students in School and Students of Life


Mindful FocusMeditation

It’s the time of year when the specter of final exams is close enough to create a cloud of visceral fear that trails behind students. Test anxiety can grip the most dedicated scholar and ruin the end result of their month-long efforts.

When I was studying for the bar exam, I hit a wall of fear. I graduated from law school with respectable grades, had a great job at the firm I wanted and was ready to start my career. I had climbed the mountain and was ready to begin my next adventure.

But one thing stood in my way.

The Bar Exam. Just typing those words still causes my heart to race a tiny bit. It is a cruel joke on aspiring lawyers. Endure 3 years of law school, and you’re still not done. Graduate and receive your J.D. degree.

And you’re still not a lawyer.

The Bar Exam is the final hurdle. The last summit to conquer before you can practice law. You have a bit over two months to study (at least in my state), and you don’t know if you passed until four months later. You have already started your legal career, and your future career depends on passing. The first time.

To say that law graduates studying for the bar are under a bit of pressure is such an understatement I won’t even try to come up with an appropriate analogy.

Taking exams and staying calm under stress is an art and a science. When I was studying for the bar exam, I didn’t know how to stay centered, mindful and focused. I somehow managed to pass (Thank God).

I wish I knew then what I know now.

How Mindfulness and Meditation Can Help You Focus

According to Jon Kabat-Zin, generally considered to be the “father” of mindfulness in the West,

Mindfulness is the moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness, cultivated by paying attention in a specific way, that is, in the present moment, and as nonreactively, as non-judgmentally and open heartedly as possible.

When you practice being in the moment, then the next, and the next, your experience of the moment is at its peak. The past no longer exists, and the future has not yet arrived. All that is important is the here and now, which you experience without judgment.

Doesn’t that sound like a great way to live? Research studies have proven the physical, psychological and emotional benefits of mindfulness. Peace, calm, and compassion as just a few of the many ways that practicing mindfulness can change your life.

As a student, being mindful while you study can help you understand and remember the information. Setting the intention of focus, awareness, and memory before you study is the key. And the best way to do that is to listen to a guided meditation.

Meditation is one way to achieve mindfulness. By slowing down and watching your breath, you focus your attention on what is happening at this moment. Stress and anxiety cannot exist in this space. Your mind is clear, and when the meditation is over, that clarity will help you focus on the information you are learning.

It’s using your mind to improve your mind.

The Mindful Focus Meditation

Find a comfortable place to sit with your feet flat on the floor and your hands in your lap. Your back should be straight but loose. This meditation is less than 25 minutes, so give yourself about 30 minutes for the entire process. No interruptions (cell phones on mute, computer on mute) and no distractions.

Listen to this meditation in the morning as soon as you wake up. It will help you stay focused in class or when you are studying. If you listen again during the day or at night, it will ease anxiety and increase confidence in your ability to understand, remember and retain the information.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

Stop Rolling Over and Playing Dead


Dear Beautiful Human:

I was called to write these messages because it’s time for you to stop rolling over and playing dead. When a dog takes this pose, it’s considered cute. When a human lives this way, it’s a tragedy.

Dogs are unique because our purpose is to show you how to live in love. How to be love. We may walk on four legs, instead of two, but any dog you ask will tell you that he knows more about love than any human he has ever met.

Have you been watching and listening? Or do you spend your time regretting decisions you have made or worrying about what may happen?

When your inner world is calm, you see your life differently, you speak more thoughtfully, and you act with integrity. You show up more authentically and respond, instead of react, to your outside world.

And that makes all the difference.

In these days leading up to your big Heart day, I asked some friends of mine to help me remind you that you came from love, you are love, and you are seen.

Isn't it timeto stoprolling over and playing dead_

You can be the person your dog thinks you are.

Love you loads,

Avatar

P.S. Why not check out my book, Drop the Leash: Let Go of the Past and Love in the Present? It makes a great Valentine’s Day gift for the dog lovers in your life.

Why Forgiveness?


When you think about forgiveness, it may be in the context of your religious upbringing, culture or history. In fact, you may see forgiveness as a way to show how magnanimous you are. Or how superior or advanced.

In the end, that type of forgiveness is all about you and really not about the other person.

I like to call that “fake forgiveness.” You are never released from your hurt; you just have covered it up with “forgiveness” and you expect the other person to act a certain way. When they don’t, it starts the process all over again.

fake-forgiveness

To discover what real forgiveness is and how it can release you from the cycle of pain, hurt and anger, I wrote a book called Drop the Leash: Let Go of your Past and Love in the Present. Learn more by visiting KathrynEriksen.com.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance <3.

 

What Does Your Dog Know (that you forgot)


Ever notice that your dog returns to love much faster than you? When your dog gets his feelings hurt (if you don’t believe dogs have feelings, this is the point where you jump to another blog post), he will instantly return to adoration the minute you make amends.

Do you do that – return to love after you release the hurt? Or do you hang onto your hurt and nurse it like a cold beverage on a hot day?

Drop the Leash3The more I paid attention to my dog, the more I realized that I could learn a lot about being love. That is why I decided to write, Drop the Leash: Let Go of the Past and Love in the Present.

The analogy of a leash hits home with many people. It’s one thing to put the leash on your dog to restrain him; quite another when you effectively “leash” your own growth because of your past, limiting stories.

One reader proclaimed that “This book will quickly become a standard ‘training manual’ in many circles…I have already begun flipping my view of the world…”

Drop the Leash is a tongue-in-cheek guide written by a human, as told by a dog, about the dog’s observations of humans. Playful, satirical and wise, the narrator is a sassy dog named Avatar who tells it like it is.

Another person suggested that “If we follow the loving examples of dogs, we can play and experience joy as we were meant to. This story truly touches the heart and a must read for anyone on a spiritual journey.”

To learn more about the book (and see my other products), please visit KathrynEriksen.com.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance <3.

The Story Mirror


MirrorsI was putting on my makeup the other morning when I noticed a matched set of wrinkles around my mouth. Having reached the age where the mirror is can seem like an enemy instead of a friend, I am hyper-vigilant about the stories I tell myself as I gaze at my reflection.

It makes all the difference in what I see.

Allow me to provide two examples to demonstrate my point. Assume both of these scenarios occurred on the same day, at the same time:

Story A: It’s the end of 2015 and I didn’t accomplish all of my goals. I feel time slipping through my fingers like grains of sand and I feel powerless to stop the flow. I don’t particularly like myself right now and the choir of judgment, criticism and frustration is singing at full volume. When I look in the mirror, all I see are wrinkles, gray hairs and a bit of sagging around my jawline. I frown at my image and wonder (rather despondently) why I look so much older.

Story B: It’s the end of 2015 and I made a list of all that I accomplished this year. I have taught courses, given speeches (on a cruise!), appeared on television, been interviewed on radio shows and even created a podcast. It’s been a productive year and I can’t wait for 2016! When I look in the mirror, I see myself as a vibrant woman eager to share her wisdom. The wrinkles, gray hairs and sagging jawline are just the physical evidence that I have lived more than 50 years on this planet. I smile at myself, knowing that I am enough.

What just happened? My physical appearance didn’t change. The mirror’s surface was the same – it reflected back what was before it. The only thing different was the story I told myself as I looked into the mirror. And that story (whether it was positive or negative) caused me to see myself differently.

Instead of reflecting light particles, my mirror actually reflected the stories I told myself! Instead of an inanimate object made of glass and silver, I now call it my “Story Mirror.”

My mirror has become my litmus test. When I see the wrinkles, gray hair and sagging skin, I know I am not telling myself an uplifting story. When I see sparkling eyes and I can smile at myself, my internal story is rocking.

Your Stories Filter What You See

Stories are the meaning you attach to neutral facts. In the examples above, the physical appearance of my face certainly did not change, but I saw different things because of my story filter.

Can you change your limiting stories? Absolutely. Are you willing to become aware of your limiting stories so you can change them? Silence…as crickets chirp in the background.

The inevitable truth is: Only you are in control of your stories. You created them and you can change them. No one is coming to fix it. Only you can decide what stories work for you and which ones need to be changed.

“But how do I change my stories? That’s exactly how I see myself!” I can hear the conversation in your head as you consider my message. I do not have enough space here to explain the how and why of the Story Alchemy™ process, but I can promise you that it works miracles.

When you change your stories, you change your life. Your view of your world also changes to reflect your new perspective.

Life is a Mirror of your Inner World

One of my favorite quotes is by Henry David Thoreau: It’s not what you look at that matters; it’s what you see. When you begin alchemizing your limiting stories, you begin to see your world differently.

Why? It all starts with your inner world. Change your inner world and the outer world will also change.

We live in a dualistic world of physical form, governed by the laws of time and space. Good and bad co-exist; love and hate can always be seen; joy and despair exist in the same set of circumstances.

It all comes down to which story you choose as your filter. Are you limiting your view because of the choir of judgmental voices singing in your head? Or have you chosen to ignore them and turn toward the light of empowerment?

It is your choice, in every moment. Your choice determines what you see in the mirror, and in the outside world.

Why not choose to stand in front of your mirror with an empowering story about yourself, your life and your value? Commit to seeing the greatest version of the grandest vision of yourself and your world will change…because you have changed it from the inside.

You always have the perfect litmus test to determine whether you are on track. Your mirror. And your life.

Interested in learning more? Please visit KathrynEriksen.com and join my email list. Your first gift is the Story Alchemy ebook, that explains the process of returning to your authenticity.

 

Spiritual Fuel


“Your body is your vehicle for great awakening, treat it with great care” –Buddah

How many weight loss resolutions have your broken by the first week of the new year? Are you in that stage now, berating yourself for your lack of will power and focus?

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Diets, by their design, are restrictive. Deprivation and negativity are hallmarks. And many diets actually work against your body, triggering it’s survival mode. Holding on to every bit of calories and stored fat, because when you are on a diet, you can actually starve yourself.

It’s like filling your car up with water and expecting it to run smoothly (or to start at all).

Unlike a car, your body has its own natural intelligence. It knows how to realign and center, but it needs your help. Your body is designed to operate flawlessly, seamlessly and effortlessly. It just needs the right fuel. (Hint: the fuel is different than what you think it is).

F.U.E.L is not the food you eat or the calories you consume. Spiritual F.U.E.L. is:

Empower Your Health Webinar2

It All Starts When You Live From the Inside-Out

Your health can be seen from an entirely new perspective. Instead of counting calories and feeling deprived, why not take time to be still, go within and discover that you are O.K. (just by being here on the planet). Focusing on living from the inside-out will profoundly change your outlook, yourself, your relationships and your health. For example:

  • Reconnect with your Source and the negative emotions that may drive you to eat poorly disappear.
  • Realize your innate value as a human being; the insecurities that make a chocolate molten meltdown look like it’s your last meal dissolve into nothing. You can still eat the dessert, but you will enjoy it as a treat, not as an attempt to heal your pain.
  • Renew yourself as a holistic being, making self-care critical in your daily life. Meditation, yoga, reading inspirational materials and eating mindfully are just some of the action items that fall into this category.

When you shift your focus from the outer world to your interior landscape, everything falls into place. Your thoughts stop swirling, your emotions settle and you discover what you have always known (but may have forgotten).

“You Are Valuable. You Are Valued. You Are Loved.”

How great would it be to live from that place? Knowing that your worth is guaranteed and that you are enough, right here…right now.

If this message caught your attention and made you wonder, why don’t you join me on Monday, January 11, 2016 from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. cst for a live webinar? You may find the answers you have been searching for, but didn’t know where to look.

Empower Your Health Webinar

Let’s dance together toward a new way of being. 

Just think how grand the world would be if only a few people started living from the inside-out!

Thank you and Be Well.