Our New Year’s Resolution

 

Over 120,000,000 people voted in last year’s Presidential election. 96% of the individuals who voted did so in person. Our guess is that if you consider the commute to the polling location, standing in line and the act of voting itself, it likely took an average of an hour and a half to get the job done.

We wanted to share a few thoughts regarding this reality.

1.) Voting is the lowest common denominator of true engagement. While voting is important, true responsibility of citizenship requires engagement beyond an hour and a half commitment. The very nature of voting implies asking someone else to do something for you, rather than figuring out what you can do for yourself and/or others.

2.)  If those 120,000,000 voters mentioned above offered an hour and a half of time to a constructive volunteer effort once a quarter (four times a year), it would produce 720,000,000 hours of community participation.

3.)  Using an eight hour a day model those hours convert to 90 million work days.  

Just imagine what citizens might accomplish if everyone committed to giving six hours of volunteer time a year. Citizenship is not meant to be enacted in isolation. When we limit the benefits of citizenship to voting, passports and political opinions, we deny ourselves access to the fundamental value of democracy — PARTICIPATION. Furthermore, engagement with the world around us and true connection to other people is what helps us to evolve our consciousness and grow in compassion.  

Let’s re-imagine our role as citizens in 2017! Let us know what you are doing to get involved in your community. We promise to share our engagement with you too. Happy 2017! Now, get out there and spread some GOOD!

Photo: TTSM film director teaching yoga as a volunteer to 5th graders at McGlone Elementary School in Denver, CO

Does Constant Interaction Add to Stress?

 

A meditation on interaction that needs to be watched over and over again to capture its rich, resonant beauty.

Produced by Aj Jackson & Narrated by Molly Beauregard

 

On Becoming a Mother

 

I’m back on my mat for the first time. As I gaze down my body a momentary lapse of grief for the absence in my womb is followed by the relief of finally knowing who he is.

My hamstrings ask me to go slow so I follow their lead with my heels off the ground. Flowing through each pose, I’m reminded of the miracle of growing a human. I feel the twinge in my hips and forgive them for their weakness. I promise them that we’ll work together to get strong again.

The babe is asleep upstairs and I can’t help but laugh as my milk leaks all over and the dog bites my hair, pulling me forward to play. My neck is stiff and my back is sore but I notice my arms are stronger. This is my new body.

I follow a 30 minute practice with a long savasana and a 10 minute meditation. Just me and my mantra, whom I haven’t spoken of in months. We’re quick to find each other. A sweet reunion.

I hear my little one whimper. Opening my eyes, I feel my body like I never have. I recognize that the practice is the metaphor for the return to routine. And before is a place I’ll never long to return.

Tuning the Student Mind Film Director, Chelsea Richer, on becoming a mother.

 

American Veda by Philip Goldberg

December 2015 Book of the Month

A couple years ago, I had the distinct pleasure of hearing Philip Goldberg, author of American Veda, speak to an audience at the University of Michigan. Sponsored by the Michigan Creativity and Consciousness Studies Faculty Committee, Goldberg told the mesmerizing story of India’s impact on Western religion and spirituality.

Goldberg was invited to U of M by his friend Ed Sarath. Professor Sarath, a well known musician, is the founder of the first program at a mainstream institution to significantly integrate meditation practice and related studies into an academic curriculum. There is no doubt that Sarath’s work has been profoundly impacted by the very themes explored in Goldberg’s book.

American Veda chronicles the story of the slow “Vedicization” of American spirituality. Ever since the first translations of Hindu text found their way into the libraries of prominent Americans, the science of consciousness studies has informed our poetry, literature, music and language. Goldberg outlines – in great detail – the impact this knowledge has had on broader cultural themes. For example, the massive shift in the collective understanding of the mind/body connection, the health benefits of meditation and yoga and the science behind “we are all one” statements.

Goldberg introduces the reader to every great saint, sage, philosopher and poet to take the stage in this conversation. His follows this east-west transmission of thought from the pages of Thoreau to the lyrics of the Beatles. American Veda shares the stories of the great leaders – from Swami Vivekananda to Ram Dass and every great yogi in between. As I listened to Goldberg speak, I could not help but feel the distance of how far we have come. Given my own experience of integrating transcendental meditation into the curriculum of a college course, I know that I am but one player in an on- going revolution of sorts. Consciousness studies, integral spirituality, contemplative practices are the “hot” topics on campuses around the country. There is no doubt this transformation of American thought has come in large part through the influence of eastern spirituality. I, for one, would argue that we are all better off as a result.

Molly Beauregard

Community is Shared

 

I am a sociologist by training. I love to think about culture, people, interactions, identity issues and patterns. Emile Durkheim, the famous French father of all things sociological, argued that one must treat ‘social facts as things’. These “facts” become the subject of study for sociologists. Further, Durkheim believed that collective phenomenon is not merely reducible to the individual actor. Society, he believed, is more than the sum of its many parts. It is a system formed by the association of individuals that come together to constitute a reality with its own distinctive characteristics. Let me think of an example: how about language? Language pre-exists our birth and it continues after our death. Perhaps some of us will have the honor of inventing some new recognizable slang (LOL, duh), however, most of us will go to our grave influencing language to a very limiting degree.

One of the many things I love about yoga and meditation is the feeling of community shared by the many practitioners of both. I love knowing that yoga long preceded my birth and will continue long after I am gone. I love knowing that practicing meditation will go on and on far into the future for my children and my children’s children. I love being a part of a community with shared values.

Like most sociologists, I believe that individual happiness depends on people finding a sense of meaning outside of themselves and connected to the larger society. Social integration is necessary for the maintenance of the social order. There is something so special about walking into a yoga studio and knowing that for one hour you will share a space with like minded people. There is something so profound about meditating with a friend and feeling the bliss of the shared experience. As any sociologist will confirm, we know ourselves through the mutually shared values, habits, routines and patterns of our culture. Building community at the yoga studio or meditation center sends a great message to the culture at large. It confirms the value of taking care of yourself and reminds you of the many people who hope to build a more peaceful, loving, health conscious society.

Molly Beauregard

TTSM in “Mantra Yoga + Health” Magazine

Tuning the Student Mind is featured in the February issue of Mantra Yoga + Health magazine!!

Check out the article on their website –
http://mantramag.com/tuning-student-mind-chelsea-richer/

Here is where you can find your copy of Mantra magazine –
http://mantramag.com/find-mantra/

Here is the page spread (oooolala!)

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The Spiritual Regeneration Movement

It was in Madras, Tamil Nadu in 1958 that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi founded the Spiritual Regeneration Movement. It was his goal to bring transcendental meditation (TM) to the masses in an effort to redirect the course of humanity. Maharishi was a man of peace dedicated to teaching individuals a direct way to reach the silence that lies within all men and women. 

There is no doubt that individuals come to meditation through a multitude of doors. In fact, I have a friend who insists she came in the “cocktail party door”. Seriously, she felt inspired by the social conversation surrounding the “cool” factor of meditation. I learned TM because my mother told me to. It’s true. I had no great reason, no great calling and certainly no expectations. I innocently found myself learning TM at a time when no one was even talking about meditation. Unlike David Lynch, my first meditation did not include the elevator floor dropping from beneath me. I did not fall into a blissful state that immediately transformed my understanding of the world around me. I simply sat and meditated. It was nice. It was quiet.

Over time my meditation practice naturally became stabilized. Like brushing my teeth, sleeping, eating, walking and talking, the routine became a pattern and the pattern became a habit. I am not sure if I became “it” or “it” became me but meditation was an integral aspect of my being. It informed my daily life in rich and nuanced ways.

In the fall of 2012, I had the opportunity to go to Amherst College to speak at the Annual Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education Conference. I had planned to discuss the specifics of my class integrating TM into the core curriculum. At the last minute, I changed strategies. I discussed learning to speak the institutional language in order to successfully bring a meditation program into a college classroom. It went well by my estimation. I was happy with the positive feedback. People need ideas on how to connect with administrators. Fortunately, the research on mindfulness, vipassana and TM offers evidence of significant benefits for students: everything from increased creativity, lowered blood pressure, increased intelligence, better focusing skills and stress reduction, etc. Administrators like stuff like that. They think in terms of retention.

Since then I have thought a lot about why I feel so passionate about bringing meditation programs to college students across the country. There is no doubt that a focused student is a more successful student. I also happen to like the idea of unleashing the creative spirit in an organic way. Meditating students tend to be happier, too. I like happy kids. So, it’s all good.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi taught transcendental meditation to individuals in an effort to share a direct path by which to find inner peace. Maharishi knew that a man or woman who has discovered this path and who walks it will radiate serenity. This calm presence  will ultimately fill the atmosphere around him and communicate itself to all who come in contact with him. This peace is infectious. It is pure. Expanding this inner bliss on the individual level is what will ultimately transform the world from a place of darkness to a sanctuary of light.

This is why I love transcendental meditation. Happy Birthday, Maharishi. May my every effort to bring your wisdom out into the world be blessed by your radiance.

Molly Beauregard

The Illustrated Light on Yoga by B. K. S. Iyengar

December 2013 Book of the Month

Happy 95th birthday to B.K.S. Iyengar!

Let’s wrap up 2013 together with this one of a kind, comprehensive introduction to ancient aesthetics and philosophy of yoga. In The Illustrated Light on Yoga, Iyengar covers techniques, effects, hints and cautions of both āsana and prāṇāyāma (techniques for stilling the mind through breathing exercises). He also includes detailed description of over 50 key postures, a full glossary of yoga terms and a 35-week course progressing from beginner to intermediate level.

Yoga every day!

The Middle Gear

As an avid yogi and meditator, I am endlessly reminded- by my practice, my mantra, and my soul- to favor mindfulness. As someone with an unmistakable “A-type” personality, I am persistently intense. And as most of us know, intensity doesn’t always yield good balance.

I have known the power of appropriately balancing “personal” versus “public” energy for quite some time now. Public energy, I am told, is for my day-to-day life: my job, my social calendar, and my relationships. Personal energy is for me.

The difference between personal and public energy was first described to me as a lake. On the surface, the lake looks still. It feels as if it does not move. Yet, at one end, there is a waterfall. The movement of the waterfall requires the stillness of the lake. Without one, you cannot have the other.

What I have recently come to know is the power of “the middle gear.” The middle gear represents an energy level at which one operates at equilibrium. With a middle gear, personal and public energy complement each other rather than compensate for each other. Sounds easy enough, right? Don’t push yourself too hard, but remember to stay away from laziness. Well, to someone like me, explaining the middle gear is one thing; living it is another.

I don’t always realize I’m pushing myself too hard until after I crash. And it isn’t always enough to think about the middle gear because for me, just thinking about balance quickly escalates into strictly mandating, regulating, and even, forcing balance. Sternly and unforgivingly practicing “effort and ease” is not only exhausting but also contradictory. A relaxing yoga class doesn’t really serve an appropriate purpose if all it does is satisfy a self-imposed need to adhere to a strict yoga schedule.

Adding a “middle-gear” to one’s life creates the option to move at 50mph, not just zero or 100. It makes living with effort and ease easier.

Maddy Beauregard | Boston, MA

Movement

A certain professor once told me that I needed to start finding intellectual pursuits that furthered my growth as a human being and kept my mind off of others. She also said that people were a matter of the heart, and all I needed to worry about was how to love them better. Three months later and I am just now starting to really understand what she meant by that.

This past year has presented some personal life challenges that forced me to look at people in a different light, and it wasn’t positive. I became discouraged and sour, introverted and detached, and very not my usual self. And as a naturally self-aware person, I could only let the charades continue for so long. So, I decided to make some changes.

The coming new year seemed like a perfect time to flip my world upside down and refuse to take any more bullshit from myself. So that’s exactly what I did. I got up, de-cluttered my house, and organized my studio. Oh, and I started practicing yoga. This ladies and gentlemen, is a monumental feat. As I have not only challenged myself to do it every day for 365 days, but I have also began to blog about it.

My intellectual pursuits are now becoming very satisfied, as well as my desire to get into shape and meditate. I’m excited to get back into writing too, another resolution of mine. (The number of birds I’m killing here with this one stone is really starting to add up) As a once anti-blogging, out of practice with journaling, glassblower revs up to write something every day for a year about her experiences with moving meditation.

Whoa, ok. Now that I’ve announced my big challenge, I can move on to the real point of this post. When going to set up my tumblr, I had completely forgotten that two years ago, when I was not so determined, I opened a tumblr account and posted a hidden gem. It was all about moving from the past and coming to terms with my situation. If I’m not mistaken, I was doing a lot of journaling around that time, and also had some family/relationship hardships that I was going through. So it’s very appropriate that I would write something like this.

It’s a very stream of conscious entry, so much so, that I completely forgot and denied that I wrote it for the first ten minutes upon discovering it. But lo and behold, it’s mine (I even goggled it). Oddly enough, it’s still extremely relevant in my life today, just in a completely different way. But this time around it’s so much better, because I’m finally moving and becoming present in my own life.

I hope you can find some meaning or truth in my thoughts. After all they’re not really mine, but more so a collective of thoughts, my words just merely an interpretation.

Oh, and don’t forget to check out my blog @ www.spiritgangster.tumblr.com, and follow it if you’d like.  I’d really appreciate it!

What are we, where are we going, and where are we from? Thy do not tell me in thine stories of fact and foe. For the love of thy soul rests not. I dreamt of a day when the true tale of thus far was no longer real. My days possessed in the soul are those that I cherish deeply and wish to let go, and move on from. They are true inner workings that will always be there. They are the ghosts of my eternal soul. 

I live within, there fore I am. I am within; there fore I am not within. I am, but I am not. Nothing is for certain, and that we can coin with it. We are what we set out to believe and be. What do you want, and how can you get it. Do you know how to get it, and to get it yourself. For you have to be sly and cunning, but not deceiving, honest action and movement. Vivace. Movement. The constant action of the body and mind, which stimulates the senses and keeps the soul sane. 

Different types of work, all creative, all approached from a different angle. What a life. We must strive to be more everyday, every single fucking day. We must strive to be better people, we must adore the earth that we walk on, and we must know what is good for us in our heart. We are the people. We are the life that we want to be. 

I am no more a truer being than what I was yesterday. I am what I am. I am that which lives on and on and on. And I am what will always be in the person next to me. And within me, and around me, and all over me. I am the power. I am the true being. I am the strength. I am. Me. Love me. Love you. Love all.

 

Namaste

Brit Hamlin | Glassblowing major at College for Creative Studies

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