The Blog

Understanding the Las Vegas tragedy

SunsetDue to the tragedy in Las Vegas earlier this week, I’ve decided to post this explanation as to why this horrible event happened. It’s frustrating for me to watch the “experts” try and figure out why this man did what he did. The experts and everyone else are caught in their reasoning mind – mistaking the effect for the cause. This is the work I am doing and have been doing for several years now. My second book is completely about human consciousness and behavior. Some of my closer friends are familiar with this work and have had direct experience. Many are struggling this week and my only intention is to help explain what seemingly cannot be explained. I apologize for the length, but it’s all rather complicated.

The human mind is a reasoning mind – but human reason is inherently defective due to the fact that it confuses cause and effect. Causes are unseen – only effects are visible. This last sentence on cause and effect may be the most important sentence to understand. In the realm of human behavior, consciousness is always the cause and human behavior is always the effect. In 1995, Dr. David R. Hawkins published his first book entitled: Power versus Force, The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior. Dr. Hawkins discovered that consciousness can be precisely measured – similar to gravity in that it cannot be seen, but it can be measured. His discovery on the nature of consciousness is no less important than the discoveries of Galileo, Newton, and Einstein in how we understand gravity today. Consciousness responds decisively between truth and falsehood, or to be more accurate, lack of truth. Out of this discovery, a whole new definition of truth emerged.

The human body can accurately discern what is true and what is false. Any question where the answer is clearly a yes or a no – true or false, can be answered through kinesiology – a well-established science based on the testing of an all-or-nothing muscle response stimulus – telling us what makes us weak (falsehood) and what makes us strong (truth). Truth can be retrieved by using the techniques developed by Dr. Hawkins giving us surprisingly clear answers from consciousness itself. Truth can be measured over a logarithmic scale from 1 to 1,000. Because everything is consciousness, it is possible to measure the consciousness of absolutely everything in existence.

On a logarithmic scale of one to one-thousand, the average level of consciousness of mankind right now is 207.4. Two thousand years ago the average level of mankind was 101. The evolution of consciousness moves very slowly – the average increase for an individual over their entire life is only five points. Eighty-one percent of the world’s population calibrates below 200. In the United States, the percentage of those above or below 200 is fifty percent. Those who measure below 200 tend to create problems and are more selfish and destructive. Those above 200 find solutions and are more selfless and constructive. Everything radiates a specific frequency that remains in the field of consciousness forever.

The human mind is unable to discern between truth and falsehood. The capacity of our minds to understand and comprehend truth depends on our individual level of consciousness. Each level results in a definition of truth that is in harmony with our specific level. Each and every one of us experiences, perceives, and interprets the world according to our own level of consciousness. The presumption is that whatever we perceive and experience represents Reality. Because of our individual level of consciousness, we all comprehend truth differently, which not only causes problems for ourselves, but for others as well. What may be true for us individually may not be the Truth.

Imagine every human being at different depths in a body of water like an ocean. Those who have higher levels of consciousness are closer to the surface and light (truth) – those with lower levels are deeper in the body of water and darkness (falsehood). One of the more fascinating aspects of consciousness is the fact that we are born with our level of consciousness.

Our level of consciousness has the freedom to move up or down. The effects from extreme loss of consciousness can have devastating effects. Catastrophic events that occur time and again that seem to have no apparent cause most often relate to low levels of consciousness. As a society, we search for reasons as to why these events happen – never once considering the real cause – consciousness. My research has shown a surprising number of people losing their birth level of consciousness. One of the signs to look for is symptoms of depression – when someone’s behavior has changed in some way. In my opinion, symptoms of depression are a loss of birth consciousness. Far too often people turn to anti-depressants which collectively calibrate at 83. Treating low levels of consciousness with low level drugs is never going to restore anyone’s birthright. Low level substances actually pull consciousness down to lower levels and keep it there.

As a society, we search for reasons why catastrophic events happen – never once considering the real cause. It’s stunning how many people lose their birth level of consciousness, which is the real cause for so many unexplainable catastrophic events. Lee Harvey Oswald calibrated at 11 (cockroach) on the day of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. His birth consciousness was 312. The man who bombed the Federal building in Oklahoma City, Timothy McVeigh, had a birth level of 338. On the day of the bombing, his level of consciousness was a 19. Stephen Paddock who killed 59 people in Las Vegas, Nevada calibrated at 12 on the day of the massacre and his birth consciousness was 337. Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people in the Orlando, Florida nightclub in June of 2016, had a birth level of 266. On the night of this awful tragedy, his consciousness was 14. And one more example – the attack in Nice, France by Mohamed Bouhlel – his birth level was 366 and a 12 the night of the mass murders. Catastrophic events that occur time and again that seem to have no apparent cause directly relate to extremely low levels of consciousness. The cause is consciousness – nothing else! There are no causes within the observable world – the observable world is a world of effects – cause is a concept that has no actual existence in Reality.

The struggles of life can make our consciousness plummet – and due to these lower levels, we as humans exhibit abnormal behavior and start making bad decisions. Some individuals drop to levels that show symptoms of behavior that become labeled as schizophrenic (96). Because we can’t see consciousness, some may doubt its existence – or if it does exist, some may believe it exists equally for everyone. It does in the animal kingdom. For example, dogs and cats calibrate at 245. The biggest difference between us and the animal kingdom is we have egos – animals do not. We all have different levels of consciousness and because of this variety – we have a wide range of human behavior. Some behaviors we can’t explain, so we label it and treat the effects with drugs hoping to get a different effect, often overlooking or mistaking the cause. This is the reason consciousness evolves so slowly – we can’t see it, so we confuse the effects with being the cause. Our military veterans are completing suicide at an alarming rate of about 22 soldiers per day – every day! Attempted suicide calibrates at 52 – completed suicide calibrates at 50.

If you calibrate below 200, you can’t measure consciousness – you won’t have enough power to make it work. Between 200 and 400 the accuracy of your findings will vary due to different levels of power. The 400’s have more power and are more accurate – the upper 400’s even more so, but only 2.3 percent of the population in the U.S. calibrates in the 400’s. Just like anything else, calibrating accurately takes a lot of practice. The next question may be: How do you measure consciousness? Consciousness is measured by and all-or-nothing muscle response to levels to Truth – and I must refer you to Dr. Hawkins for an explanation on how to measure consciousness. When you first learn how to measure consciousness, it may seem impossible, but it absolutely works.

In all my research, I’ve never measured anyone between 20 and 49. Somehow, individuals like Stephen Paddock by-pass suicide and keep descending. It’s a very rare occurrence, which has nothing to do with race, religion, or political agendas. These three are examples of humans misunderstanding cause and effect. Human consciousness is the cause and only cause. Stephen Paddock hasn’t been at his birth level of consciousness since he was a 12 year old boy – he’s been descending for his entire life. Any human has the possibility of losing their inherent level. This whole tragedy is quite sad and can someday be prevented. What if people wanting to buy a gun had to pass a consciousness check? Stephen Paddock’s consciousness could have been restored, preventing this awful tragedy. As stated, I offer this with love and compassion to those who are struggling trying to understand why this keeps happening in our society.

 

 

 

 

A Different Perspective on Depression

What follows are my thoughts about what causes depression. From my perspective, the medical profession hasn’t figured this phenomenon out – the best they can do is prescribe a drug, which may or may not help people cope, but it doesn’t cure depression. If you’ve ever stood at a pharmacy counter looking at all the little packages of drugs waiting to be picked up, you would think the whole world is on some kind of drug. Once upon a time, I too was susceptible to periods of depression, so this topic is one I’m particularly familiar with. While attending a yoga teacher training in 2007, my teacher, Baron Baptiste greatly helped facilitate curing my depression once and for all. Yes, cure!

We’ve all felt at some point in our lives unworthy, inadequate, unappreciated, unwanted, unheard, unloved, and under-valued. No one is free from these feelings that are fundamental to our being. In Yoga philosophy, this feeling of unworthiness is called anava-mala – the source of incompleteness and separation we feel deep inside ourselves. Anava-mala creates the illusion of lack of self-worth that is so powerful – we believe it to be true, and then our sense of being imperfect and incomplete affects everything we perceive. Whatever we believe about ourselves is what we project to the outside world and other people. Those beliefs are then what the outside world and others believe about us. In Yoga philosophy, this “illusion” is called maya. Anava-mala is a part of maya – it conceals the real and projects the unreal.

My anava-mala manifests as, “I don’t belong.” When I discovered my anava-mala in 2007, my life took a positive new direction. Up until 2007, I manifested “I don’t belong” in every part of my life since I was a child. If your heart is beating, you have anava-mala – this primal sense of being separate, it’s an inherent human quality. Finding our true anava-mala isn’t easy to do. Our ego is very clever – it will trick us into thinking it is something else. Ego fights us to not discover this truth. Once we see the truth, the lies we believe can no longer survive. Knowing this quality exists within us and everyone else may be a huge relief in itself. We are not separate and incomplete, nor is anyone else – it’s only an illusion. Think of maya as the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz – concealing the real and projecting the unreal.

The doubts we have about being able to accomplish the things in life we really wish to attempt originates from anava-mala. No one else has the doubts we have about ourselves, which is why anava-mala is an illusion – we’re the only one having the experience of doubt and self-worth. Turning our power over to someone else is another way anava-mala manifests in our lives. Finding false reasons to justify our actions and behaviors is another. Not being perfect is the biggest excuse we use to justify our actions and behaviors. If we think we have to protect and hide some part of ourselves, we will never be completely truthful with others. If we believe we are not worthy in some way, that belief will influence our reasoning and justifications. Anava-mala manifests into our actions and choices because we don’t think we’re enough as we are. The scarecrow, tin-man, and cowardly lion also believed they weren’t enough and lacked something inside themselves. The underlying desire of everyone is to feel worthy, appreciated, wanted, heard, seen, loved, and valued.

The multitude of ways in which we create separation is due to anava-mala. These include rejecting ourselves, comparing and judging ourselves, looking outside ourselves for validation, trying to make ourselves look better than someone else, pretending to be someone we are not, lying, and trying to prove ourselves. We don’t need anyone or anything outside ourselves to validate our existence. We are not separate from God, we are not incomplete, and we are not unworthy. What we’ve been seeking our entire lives is simply to be who we are. Whatever our self-worth issues may be, they are nothing more than God calling us home to remind us we are never alone.

Understanding and defying my lie, “I don’t belong” was enough to end my periods of depression forever. While writing my second book, Warrior Truth, I made some fascinating discoveries related to anava-mala and consciousness. What caused me to “spiral down” into depression? Why did I feel so awful and why did it not last very long? I would come out of these depths rather quickly and without any medications. Now that we have a basic understanding of anava-mala, we can now explore consciousness and how all of this relates.

The first thing we have to understand is the nature of consciousness. Everything is consciousness – EVERYTHING! Consciousness is the invisible field of energy of infinite dimension and potentiality, the substrate of all existence – formless, independent of time, space, and location – yet all-inclusive and all present. Because everything is consciousness – everything radiates a specific frequency that can be measured – including human beings. That which is not true is not recognized by the field of consciousness – we cannot measure anything that isn’t a Reality. The human body can accurately discern the difference between what is true and what is false. In response to questions or statements that are true, a strong muscle reaction occurs in the body. In response to false questions or statements, a weak muscle reaction occurs. Truth is not a simple yes or no, but is able to be measured over a logarithmic scale from 1 to 1,000. The average consciousness of mankind right now is 207.3. About eighty percent of the population on the planet measures below 200 – the tipping point between those who are problem people as opposed to solution people calibrating above 200. The average increase for any individual in their lifetime is only five points. A tenth of a point in either direction is a huge increase or decrease in power.

The capacity of our minds to understand and comprehend truth depends on our individual level of consciousness. Each level results in a definition of truth that is in harmony with our specified level. Each and every one of us experiences, perceives, and interprets the world according to our own level of consciousness. The presumption is that whatever we perceive and experience represents Reality. One of the more fascinating aspects of consciousness research is the fact that we are all born with a specific level of consciousness and our level of consciousness has the freedom to move up and or down. The effects from extreme loss of consciousness can have devastating results. For example, Timothy McVeigh, the man who bombed the Federal building in Oklahoma City, his level of consciousness at birth was 338, a very healthy number. The day of the bombing, his level of consciousness was 19. Catastrophic events that occur time and again that seem to have no apparent cause most often relate to extremely low levels of consciousness. As a society, we search for reasons as to why these events happen – never once considering the “real” cause.

Comprehending life has been through the understanding of a linear model – logical, reasonable, and rational – attempting to make the incomprehensible comprehensible. Expanding our understanding to a non-linear, intuitive, unseen world, we begin to understand how life and human behavior really works. In the last sentence of the preceding paragraph, I mention “real cause.” There are no causes in the observable world – the observable world is a world of effects – cause is a concept that has no actual existence in Reality. The “real cause” is consciousness itself. The effect is always confused with being the cause – the effect is never the cause! Cause and effect are actually occurring simultaneously – the cause of our actions originates from our consciousness. My belief is low levels of consciousness is actually the cause for depression and many other human behavioral disorders. Depression calibrates between 143 and 124. One of the more popular anti-depressants on the market today calibrates at 84. Treating low levels of consciousness with low level substances can have devastating results, in my opinion.

Because we can’t see consciousness, some may doubt its existence – or if it does exist, some may believe it exists equally for everyone. We all have different levels of consciousness and because of this variety – we have a wide range of human behavior. Some behaviors we can’t explain, so we label and treat the effects with drugs hoping to get a different effect, often overlooking the cause. Consciousness evolves very slowly because we confuse the effects with being the cause. 2,000 years ago the average level of consciousness in humans was 100.

There are many reasons why it’s important to raise and or maintain our level of consciousness. The most important reason is our happiness. From levels 200 to 300, 60% of people are happy – life is good. From levels 100 to 200, a dramatic decrease occurs – only 15% of people are happy. From 300 to 400, 70% are happy; from 400 to 500, about 80%; from 500 on up, nearly 100% are happy.

If you or someone you know is exhibiting depression like symptoms, a lowering of consciousness is most likely the cause. So how does someone restore their birth level of consciousness? Our society is programed to pop a pill for whatever ails us. All of the anti-depressant drugs I’ve measured are all in the 80’s. Putting low level consciousness substances in our bodies is not going to help restore our level – lower level drugs hold lower levels of consciousness in check. We have to think about a holistic approach to depression. If it were me, I would stop taking the anti-depressant drugs immediately. We want to saturate every aspect of our body, mind, and spirit with high consciousness levels. That means eating food that came from the earth – real food – no junk food. Wine calibrates at 766 – vodka, 82. My advice would be to stop drinking until you feel more like your normal self. If you smoke commercial cigarettes, they calibrate at 82. Organic tobacco calibrates at 736. You are better off rolling your own cigarettes and smoking organic tobacco. Listen to classical music – especially Bach and Mozart – most of the great music in history calibrates in the 900’s. Get outside and exercise – go for a walk and take in all of nature. It’s everywhere! Read good books. Somehow I knew to read anything by the Dalai Lama when I was at my lowest. I won’t read anything that isn’t above 500. Perhaps the most important thing we can do is to ask God to restore our birth consciousness. That may be a big leap of faith for many, but do it anyway – God cannot say no.

Whatever awful thing you believe about yourself, understand that it is not true – it is NOT true! When your inner voice whispers to you that you are not good enough, tell it to shut up and go away – each and every time! It won’t take too long for it to get the message that you aren’t buying what its selling. Anava-mala can be powerful enough, in my opinion, to lower levels of consciousness. Of course, life’s events can certainly lower levels of consciousness to frightening degrees. Attempted suicide calibrates at 52. Two points lower and suicide can be completed.

These are my ideas and thoughts regarding depression. If you try to understand consciousness through human reason, it will be challenging to fully comprehend what I have just written. If you or someone you know is prone to depression and your current treatment isn’t working – give what I shared a try – what do you have to lose? You will most likely start noticing results very quickly. It may only be a matter of a few days before your birth level is restored. You can read more about the phenomenon of consciousness from the man who discovered it can be measured – Dr. David Hawkins. His first book, Power vs. Force is his most popular. My new book, Warrior Truth discusses consciousness at length. If you have tried everything I told you to do without any results, contact me and I’ll look into what might be happening with you. A lot of people experience depression and are afraid to tell someone. Anti-depressant drugs aren’t “anti” anything – that’s also a lie. I believe those types of drugs take your consciousness even lower to make you numb to life. I’ve experienced success personally and with others with this understanding. My prayer is to help more people recover their sovereign birth right and end depression forever.

Warrior Truth coverWriting Warrior Truth

In a few days, a shipment of my second book will arrive – 2,000 books. If someone told me five years ago I would have two books about the Bhagavad Gita out in the world, I’m not sure I would have believed them – but here we are. Prior to writing my first book, I had published a few articles, mostly in professional music journals – but nothing very long or of too much substance. At some point in my life I wondered about writing a book and how someone actually accomplishes that task – it seemed rather daunting. In one of the books I own about self-publishing, it states that the second book will most likely grow out of the first book. That proved to be true. The idea I have for my third book also comes from the second book with the title included in the second. We’ll see what evolves with that idea.

     All of us are drowning in a sea of books – they’re everywhere. It seems everyone is writing a book about something. Because we are surrounded with books our entire lives, it seems very familiar – anyone can write a book these days. Having gone through the experience twice now, don’t be so sure that anyone can write a book. Stephen King once said: writing equals ass in chair. The exact same thing could be said for being a musician. My ass has been in a chair practicing my instrument for nearly a half century now. 47 years of practicing contributed to the discipline of writing.

     My new book is over 71,000 words and is just over 300 pages long, written from start to finish in less than two years. That’s a whole lot of ass in chair time. If I wasn’t actually sitting at the desk writing or editing every day, I was surely thinking about the book every day – just ask my wife. The time I spent writing the new book was 20 months – or 600 days. On average, my best guess is three hours per day writing – or 1,800 hours. Those hours average out to 40 words per hour. 40 words per hour doesn’t seem very productive, but writing a book is a very slow process. It is one thing to say you’re writing a book – but it’s a completely different to invest that kind of time, thousands of dollars, and release it into the world. There are only three other people who have read Warrior Truth from start to finish – my three editors. That isn’t much of a test market to insure the success of the book. It’s a huge risk to self-publish your book, but finding a publisher in today’s market is also a risk – mostly of time, money, and patience.

     After going through the experience of writing my first book, I told myself I would spend at least the same amount of time I did writing it as editing it. That length of time actually went two months longer. This was the best self-imposed advice I gave myself. Sitting with the text for eleven months and having three different editors on the project was invaluable. Not only do you have to find people to read and offer editorial advice, you also have to find an exterior (cover) and interior designer for your book. Design takes time. My part-time job in the month of August was designing the interior. The “real” designer put the text of the book into the design program and handed over the computer for me to organize – all of which took an amazing amount of time and patience. It didn’t help being under a deadline with the printer to have the book in time for the Yoga Journal Conference. Having the opportunity to sign both books at the conference was too good of marketing opportunity not to do everything possible to get the book finished.

     If someone decides they want to take all this on and write a book – what will you write about? My second book is completely different than my first book, even though both are the same subject matter, the Bhagavad Gita. If you ever read any translation of the 700 verses known as the Bhagavad Gita, with no help from a commentator, it’s very challenging to figure out what you are reading. While writing Warrior Truth, I discovered an organization of the verses into what I’ve classified as primary and secondary themes. There are four primary themes and eight secondary themes throughout all eighteen chapters of the text. No one has ever organized the text in this way before and it helps enormously in understanding the Bhagavad Gita. This is only one of the contributions Warrior Truth offers. Both books offer different perspectives that no one else has ever written about – that’s why I wrote both books.

     As a lifelong reader of books, I never fully appreciated what went into the writing process – and I certainly had no idea what went into the production process. When someone else takes the risk and does all the work producing the book – the publisher takes a huge percentage of the profits. A writer friend of mine had her first book published recently and she had no say in the cover of the book. It turned out to be rather boring and she hates it. You sign your intellectual property over to the publisher and the book is no longer yours. Without risk, there is no reward. Right now, I really don’t know if anyone will like my new book. I agonized about releasing it the whole time I was writing it. There isn’t a soul in the world who can tell you what to do in such matters. Eventually, it all comes down to how you feel about the work you’ve done. Book sales aren’t the mark of success – it’s everything that took place prior to the book being released – that’s the success. If you don’t believe me, write and publish your own book. The Bhagavad Gita tells us to focus on our actions, not the results – results come second. If my intention was to sell large numbers of books to somehow prove I’m a successful author, I wouldn’t have chosen a sacred esoteric Hindu scripture to write about.

Living with certainty in an uncertain world

The recent attacks in Paris have been at the forefront of my thoughts this past week, and at times my sadness and worry have felt almost paralyzing. One of my concerns as a yoga teacher is how to address these emotions that we are all feeling. I watch the way that people are reacting, from changing their Facebook profile picture all the way to full blown hysterical xenophobia from our own governor and other political figures on the right. We all feel helpless to do anything, so our minds go toward fear and anxiety – this is our imagination asking for what it doesn’t want. We may feel helpless, but we are not powerless.

Retreating from life is not the answer, nor is turning off the television and denying the reality of what we face. How do we create more certainty for ourselves in these uncertain times?

  1. Feel your emotions fully and let them pass. Emotions are fleeting and fluctuating, they pull us away from our natural state of equanimity into fear, anxiety and on the opposite end, love and joy. Our job is to stay in the middle. When we hold our negative emotions at bay they grow in intensity and can overwhelm us. Feel them and then let go. Emotions are like the wind that blows through the leaves on a tree – the wind moves the leaves and shakes the branches, but it doesn’t change the tree.
  2. Practice extreme self-care. This is where we cultivate equanimity, stamina and resilience. Be gentle with yourself by eating nourishing foods that are in season, getting enough sleep and exercise. Come to yoga and allow yourself to feel the entirety of yourself – your body, breath, mental functions, emotions and from there you can hear the voice of your inner wisdom. This time of year everyone begins to get pulled into the distractions of the impending holidays. This is the time of year that we really need our introspective practice of yoga, and now more than ever with the state of the world as it is.
  3. Take action on a local level. First, just be kind. Offer kindness to yourself (see #2) and then serve from that place. Volunteer. Be a helper. There are plenty of opportunities locally to make a difference.
  4. Keep your heart open. The people that attacked Paris want us to contract into fear and hatred. Don’t fall for it, and by all means do not demonize an entire group of people for the actions of a few, especially for their religious beliefs. When we see “other” we create separation from God. Separateness is an illusion that we create to make ourselves feel safe or superior – it isn’t real.
  5. Live your life with full-hearted enjoyment. We don’t know what the future holds for any of us. Life is short, so enjoy it – drink in the beauty of the season, spend time with your loved ones and live your life without fear and anxiety. Ultimately we are not in control of anything, but we can impact change and make our world a better place. This happens within each of us, one act of kindness at a time. Make the decision to live with an open heart instead of the pain and anxiety of a closed heart. As Gandhi put it, “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

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Happy Anniversary!

flowers_for_anniversary_2568908943This month marks my fifteenth anniversary of teaching yoga. Just three months before finishing my first 200 hour teacher training, I took over a class at the YMCA that had been taught by a veteran teacher, Hana Hofmann. These were big shoes to fill and I didn’t feel worthy or have clue as to what I was doing. I just stepped in and did the best I could through trial and error and being humbled every time I taught. Looking back, it was the best experience I could have had as a new teacher. I stayed for three and a half years and helped to build their yoga program by adding two additional classes to the one I started with. Teaching at the Y taught me how to work with all types of students – I learned how to see my students as people, separate from their physical issues and limitations, recognizing how we are all struggling with real life challenges.

Within six months of completing my first training, I was aware of how much I didn’t know about yoga. This is often the case when we embark on the path of teaching, and as a serious student, I had a burning curiosity and desire to learn, fueled by the humility I still feel every time I teach. It will be a lifelong journey with no destination. I still marvel at the mystery of the human body and the complexity of our psychology, and why we react the way we do to life, to the tough yoga posture, to the difficulties of relationships. I never tire of the thrill when one of my students makes a connection to my words.

Today I updated my hours with Yoga Alliance, a yearly milestone that is in some way an incomplete measure of my progress and experience. I look with disbelief – have I really taught that many hours? How many students does that add up to, and more importantly, what are all the stories and life experiences of all of those students? I think about this stuff. I care about the people that willingly walk into my classes. I take into consideration all that they are going through, along with remembering each individual injury or limitation.

With the amount of personal energy invested in my calling, I take umbrage with those that dismiss serious yoga teachers by considering them as fitness instructors, or fitness professionals. Those labels do not apply to what we do. I have watched the local yoga scene shift and change into something almost unrecognizable; to something I would name fitness entertainment rather than a practice that is meant to be mindful and help us to connect to something greater than ourselves. More importantly, my understanding of cultivating a practice that is sustainable and healthy over a lifetime, which goes beyond a passing trend.

Where I am today to mark this anniversary is not so far away from where I started as a nervous, self-conscious new teacher. Of course I know more about the practice of yoga, the body and how it works; I am more skillful at modifying my classes for everyone in the room, more adept at handling difficult situations that arise during class with challenging students. What has stayed with me is my intention of service and humility, that there is always more to learn. It takes a great deal of courage and personal integrity to stand up for what you know and teach. It is Old School. It is safe. It is effective. It is sustainable. That is the biggest lesson of my longevity as a teacher.

Judgement and Creativity

Yesterday I had the awareness that much of my life is open to public review. Our two businesses, Spirit House Yoga​ and YogaLab can be reviewed by those who attend our classes. There are hundreds of reviews on the Spirit House web site for anyone to see. Our teacher training programs are also subject for review on Yoga Alliance. The book I published last year, Warrior Self can be reviewed on Amazon. My solo CD, Bach to Bix, released six years ago can be reviewed publically at CDBaby. Finally, my performances with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic are also subject for review. Spirit House Yoga and YogaLab have two dimensions; how we run our business and how we teach yoga. We define Spirit House Yoga with three words, Wisdom, Action, and Heart. The wisdom of teaching yoga comes from teaching thousands of classes to hundreds of people. Action is our integrity. Heart is our intention to serve in the highest. We define YogaLab with three words as well, Yoga for Everyone. If you’ve ever been to one of our classes, you will see every age, body type, and physical limitation. Warrior Self was my first book. The fact that I wrote a book and published it is the success. Fortunately it has received very positive reviews, but I had no idea it would when I released it into the world. Sometimes I get asked, “How many books have you sold?” as if that was the measurement for success. What I want to say is, “more than you”, as only someone who has never written a book would ask such an ignorant question. My solo CD was nothing more than a 50th birthday present to myself. I wanted something representing my skills as a musician left to the world. A LIVE CD is about as honest as it gets. The reviews written in our local newspaper rarely mention any aspect of my performances with the Philharmonic, yet I perform dozens of times every year. All of this is socially sanctioned judgment – it doesn’t seem “wrong” if presented in the context of a review. For me it all comes down to intention. With my business and teacher training – it’s to serve. My insights with my book are to share. My CD was for myself, an item to check off my bucket list. Being a part of recreating amazing music with a symphony orchestra for others to experience is a privilege. It’s easy to sit in our safe zone never attempting anything for fear of failure. If there is something you wish to do – do it! – don’t make excuses. Put yourself out there and see what happens – I bet you’ll surprise yourself. More is on the way – my new book will be out in 2016, beyond that, stay tuned. The awareness we all need to bring into our daily lives is how we judge ourselves and others. Is our judgement connected to our jealousy and selfishness? Why do we judge ourselves so severely? There will always be yoga teachers who are more popular and studios that have more business. There will always be better writers and better musicians than myself. My nature is to create – everything I do is an expression of my creativity. I created a business, a yoga school, yoga classes, a CD, a book, and as a musician, I create sound. All humans are creative – in countless ways. How do you express your creative nature? More importantly, how do you create your life?

Advanced Practice

Recently I spoke in class about what an advanced yoga practice is and what it is not. One of the traps we fall into in our first 5 to 10 years of yoga practice is attaching too much of our ego to the poses we can do and the poses we hope to someday be able to achieve. So there it is – the trap of thinking we’re advanced – attachment to our practice, ego, and achievement of something. In the talk I gave before class, I shared what I thought qualified someone to believing they’re “advanced”. Before we ever approach asana, we’re to master the Yamas and Niyamas of yoga, the moral precepts. Unfortunately, this approach to yoga asana has all but disappeared. One of the cornerstone texts of Yoga is the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, written about 2,000 years ago. The Yoga Sutras lay out an overall eight step plan to enlightenment, the absolute union with Spirit.

Each of the Yamas and Niyamas contains five parts for a total of ten precepts. Only after we master these first two major steps do we begin asana, the third step. The first of the five Yamas is ahimsa – non-harming. I think of this word as love and compassion for ourselves and others. Satya means truth, but it also means humility and letting go of pretense. Perhaps you’ve noticed how much pretense there is in yoga these days. Asteya means non-stealing, but again, it also means letting go of the desire to acquire and possess. Brahmacharya can be defined as walking with God. Beyond this definition, the word means moderation in all things (if I have more, I’ll be more), personal responsibility, being the change, walking the talk, and behaving like a disciple of Brahma (God). Ethical behavior! Our final yama is Aparigraha – living truthfully and consciously with ourselves as we can and letting go of our possessiveness and greed.

The Niyamas begin with the word sauca – purity – the maintenance of our body and environment as a spiritual duty. Santosa is commonly defined as contentment, but it also means reverence toward others and things being enough. Tapas is our enthusiasm for health – an appetite for life – gratitude – no longer needing to be our false self and the desire to explore the will of God. Svadhyaya is education of the self, non-attachment, inspiring others, humility, and letting go of the results and embracing the process. Our tenth and final word is Isvarapranidhana – surrender to God, practicing reverence and experiencing the joy of devotion.

Of course, we don’t master each word and check it off the check-list – each word itself is a practice and an ongoing process we bring into our daily lives. We take these ten practices onto our yoga mat before we do anything. An advanced practice means we show up for class without expectations and without projecting onto the teacher. We must show up humble. Students will sometimes show up for class having expectations about what the class should be, not having a clue about the physical and emotional issues of their fellow students. Going back to the Yoga Sutras, there are only a few that talk about asana. Patanjali tells us the asanas should be firm and relaxed. I describe this as effortless effort. How we breathe on the mat is of paramount importance. It seems I’m always telling my classes to breathe. If we aren’t in complete control of our breath, we are no longer doing yoga – the breath and the pose are of equal importance. In all the years I’ve been practicing yoga, I’ve encountered very few students who can really breathe. Often, practitioners work far too hard on the mat. Everything done on the mat should be effortless. Striving, pushing, and overachieving is not yoga. There is no gain in pain.

If you go back and take another look at the definitions offered for the yamas and niyamas, you’ll notice that seven out of the ten precepts have a common theme of letting go. In my book Warrior Self, I wrote: We become powerful in whatever we do if our actions are performed for their own sake, rather than as a means of projecting, enhancing, or conforming to some false image. Power comes from aligning with our dharma and not trying to appear greater than we actually are. Unfortunately, yoga can be one big ego trip – one more way to create separation. I love the niyama Svadhyaya, letting go of the results and embracing the process.

Being a long-time professional musician has greatly influenced how I approach yoga. One of the major influences is my daily commitment to my instrument and being on my mat at home. My nearly half-century commitment to practicing my instrument makes getting on my mat fairly easy for me. When I pick up my instrument each day, I take the approach of a beginner, being very mindful of how I sit and how I breathe. I quickly know what I need from those first few minutes and let my practice time unfold. It’s no different on my mat. What does my body need that day to feel better? On my instrument, the highest priority is to create the most beautiful sound possible. On my mat, I want to create the most beautiful pose possible – for my body and abilities. How I play my instrument should sound effortless – how I move on my mat should look effortless. I let go a long time ago for the need to be praised when I perform on my instrument. If someone says something nice, I’m grateful. If someone notices my yoga practice and comments positively, I’m grateful. In other words, I do my best to practice the yamas and niyamas in all areas of my life.

Perhaps you think you have an advanced yoga practice – and maybe you do. So what! Do you in any way practice yoga to create some false image of yourself or to make yourself appear greater than you actually are? That’s a tough question to answer honestly. Maybe the tattoos, piercings, clothes, hair, diets, mala beads, and everything else we see in yoga today is truly who you are – no pretense whatsoever. Letting go is one way to define renunciation. My favorite definition of renunciation is dropping the outside reflections for the reality within. Perhaps the hair, tattoos, mala beads, and clothing are really outside reflections.

Every so often, someone new comes to my class that I know will not be back for a second class. They show up to audition me, to see if I’m worthy enough to be their yoga teacher. They walk in full of expectations and ego. They want class to be all about them – not knowing the other students in class and what their limitations may or may not be. Just the other day I had a student show up who was recovering from a broken foot and another who was seven months pregnant. And then there was the new student who recently had brain stem surgery. The people who come once to audition me who have their own agenda aren’t my highest priority when I have a room full of the issues I just mentioned.

It’s always good to examine and take stock of our studentship and how we approach yoga. It’s a practice, so it’s always changing and evolving. An advanced practice has very little to do with fancy poses and everything to do with being humble and present. If you can do some of the more challenging poses, good for you – but can you go to class and be humble – contributing your gifts to make the class experience better for everyone else?

The Yoga of Business

YogaLAB.logoIn a few days, Spirit House Yoga will begin our 12th year of business. We began our studio in early June of 2004 and have been in business longer than any studio in Oklahoma City. Back then, there were only five studios in the entire metropolitan area – now we have around 30, but who can keep track anymore? With a 600% increase in competition, staying in business becomes more challenging for everyone. For ten years, our yoga community averaged about one studio per year closing its doors forever. So far in 2015, we’ve already seen one studio come to an end. I suspect one or two more will follow this year.

     In the yoga we know on the mat, the physical practice, we work on a balance of strength and flexibility. Some come to yoga very flexible, but typically have little strength. Others come to yoga already strong, but have little flexibility. In business, we have to be flexible and willing to change established patterns and business models. However, we also have to offer a strong product. At Spirit House, that strong product is strong teaching and intention. With 600% more options, strong teaching may not always be enough to keep customers coming through the doors. We all want the best value for our money, so what we’ve seen happen over the past several years are social media deals such as Groupon and Living Social – underselling the rest of the market and ultimately undermining that studios strength. Margins are narrow when you run any business, but when you deal with businesses such as Groupon, they keep half of the money, making the margins even narrower.

     The walk-in rate for a yoga class is now up to $20 for a single class. At Spirit House, we have only raised our prices once – back in 2009 when we opened our second studio. The strategy for a high priced single class is to drive business toward package deals, making more money for the studio and giving the impression of a “better deal” for the customer. At Spirit House, we have never offered unlimited yoga and it’s been quite some time since experimenting with Living Social. We value our strong product and believe our pricing is more than fair – a balance of strength and flexibility. An important aspect to strength is intention and commitment. Our intention at Spirit House is to serve – and we’ve been committed to that intention for 11 years. To stay in business you have to be willing to change and find new ways of staying strong and viable. My personal observation of why some studios fail is their lack of commitment to a strong intention. Few studios last much longer than five years.

     In February of 2014, Spirit House Yoga began offering teacher training. In that first year, we had more students than we anticipated and we asked the question, “Where will they all teach?” From that question and from yoga reaching a $20 walk-in price, YogaLab was born. A completely new business model! The teachers who will staff YogaLab will come out of our teacher training program. YogaLab is structured in a business sense to pay for itself, without our livelihood added in. This is how we’ll be able to offer classes at $6 per class – all classes, all the time without any package deals or social media scams. Our new teachers will have a “laboratory” in which to develop their teaching skills. We know of no other model anywhere in the country offering this type of opportunity in conjunction with their teacher training programs. We recognize how expensive yoga can be, pricing far too many out of this amazing practice. We believed the Plaza District was the one and only place to open this studio, right in the middle of a low income area in Oklahoma City.

     Not only will our YogaLab classes be $6 – all the time for all classes, we will also be offering a pay-it-forward option for those who might not have $6 that day for a yoga class. This is also a first in Oklahoma City. When we say Spirit House Yoga’s commitment is to serve, we are literally putting our money where our mouth is! In addition, we currently have three people in our teacher training program who speak fluent Spanish. In time, we hope to be offering bi-lingual classes in Spanish. Another first for OKC!

     In life, we know how insurance works in the event something goes wrong. In business, if something goes wrong and you’re forced to close the doors, there is no insurance. Supply and demand in the yoga business is out of balance in the Oklahoma City area. Some may argue that point, but I suspect those arguments come from someone who doesn’t own a yoga studio. If supply and demand is out of balance, some studios will close – others will hang on – and still others will find a way to grow. Adding teacher training to our business was a layer of insurance for us to grow our business. Adding YogaLAB is another layer – although it’s yet to be proven. No risk – no reward. Later this summer we’ll announce yet another layer of insurance – more expansion and growth for Spirit House Yoga. In time, YogaLAB may offer the expansion of our business model for Spirit House Yoga itself.

     We ask our teacher training applicants why they wish to teach yoga. We ask them to write down their intention – as we believe is all begins with a clear intention. We can’t fake intention – sooner or later we’ll be held accountable if we aren’t truthful about it. There are far too many people teaching yoga in the world today who are inauthentic about their intention. That which supports life is supported by life. Spirit House Yoga is successful because our intention to serve is honest. 11 years in business and all that we’ve done and will continue to do is proof of not only our intention, but also our strength and flexibility.

Rise Up!

A remarkable occurrence happened yesterday, (January 31, 2015) at the lecture I presented on the Bhagavad Gita, consciousness, truth, and relationships. A large portion of the material discussed was based on the work of Dr. David R. Hawkins, author of the book, Power versus Force. Dr. Hawkins passed in 2012, but there are numerous videos of him lecturing on youtube, along with many important books besides the one already mentioned. Dr. Hawkins would often measure the level of consciousness of the group he was in front of before he started his lecture and then after he finished. I followed his lead and did the same yesterday and the difference from the first number before I started my lecture compared to the number calculated after I finished was astounding.

The scale of consciousness Hawkins pioneered is based from 1 to 1,000 in logarithmic scale as opposed to an arithmetic scale. The range is enormous compared to our familiar arithmetic scale. The very lowest organism calibrated is bacteria, calibrating at 1. The highest humans ever calibrated are Jesus, Buddha, and Krishna at 1,000. Currently, the average number of all humanity is 207. Enlightenment begins at 600. It took 2,000 years for humanity to climb from the average of 100 during the time of Jesus to 207 today. Evolution is slow!

The critical point on this scale of consciousness is 200. Nearly 80% of humanity calibrates below 200. In the United States, that number is 49%. This is due to such things as our standard of living and our form of government. True self-esteem calibrates at 250 and above. In 2005, only six people on the planet calibrated above 600! The higher up the scale, the happier people are with their lives. Above 540, 100% calibrating at that level are happy, as opposed to only 15% between the levels of 100 and 200.

One way to think of the difference between people above or below 200 is this way. Above 200, people are selfless – below 200, people are selfish. The bad news is that we are born with our number and Dr. Hawkins never discovered why this occurs. On average, the most we can raise our level of consciousness is by five points. Remember, we’re dealing with a logarithmic scale, so an increase of one-tenth is an enormous increase in power. I wrote more about all this in the blog before this one, so you might refer to that blog for more clarification. However, I highly recommend Dr. Hawkins book, Power versus Force – The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior.

There were 13 people from yesterday’s lecture I had previously calibrated, nearly half of the room, minus myself and Martha. Before the lecture, the room calibrated at 389.6. After the lecture, the room calibrated at 489.5. This morning I examined this enormous increase further by re-calibrating the 13 individuals after the lecture. On average, the individual increase went up by 5.6 points. All 13 participants previously calibrated went up between 4 and 8 points from a three hour presentation. Remember, on average, we only rise 5 points in a lifetime. 5.6 points is a huge rise in consciousness.

I realize this isn’t all that scientific. I’m only sharing my findings here on my website, mostly for those who attended. One observation I had when I returned home was the level of exhaustion I experienced. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so drained in my life. This was a different type of “tired” from anything previously experienced. Now that I’ve seen tangible evidence from something I’ve offered to our community, I may have to offer this presentation more often. I would love for those individuals who attended to leave a comment regarding their personal experience with the lecture so that I may gain more insight regarding this phenomenon.

In Pursuit of Happiness

PrintA few days ago, I had one person asking me for my wisdom and guidance concerning a relationship problem with a co-worker, and on the very same day, I was dealing with a miscommunication with one of my co-workers in the orchestra. As humans, we’re in relationship with so many people on so many different levels. One of the most important facts we can remember, is that relationships exist between two people and only two people. We all have people in our lives who love us as well as those who may not have such loving thoughts toward us. Have you ever stopped to wonder why this is? There is in fact a reason for this phenomenon.

Often our disagreements with friends, family, and co-workers come down to miscommunication, discerning what is true and what is not true. The problem between the co-worker and myself mentioned in the preceding paragraph concerned something she thought she heard me say several years ago. Since the time of that conversation, her demeanor changed toward me and I finally asked her about it. Fortunately she told me her truth, but her truth wasn’t the truth. Our misunderstanding has cleared, primarily because I didn’t react and I told the truth with love and compassion.

Believe me, the skill I used in handling that one situation hasn’t come through wisdom, at least not the way we typically think of wisdom. The work and research I’ve been involved with since the summer has been primarily in the realm of consciousness. It’s a little complicated to go into in a blog, but I’ll try and explain it briefly. Consciousness can be described as the all-pervasive universal energy field of infinite power and dimension beyond time (non-linear). The infinite field of consciousness is All Present, All Powerful, and includes All of Existence. Consciousness is equally present within, without, and beyond – recording all events, all history, and all evolutionary patterns. Every thought is known and recorded forever. There are no secrets, nothing hidden, nor can it be. Everyone lives in the public domain.

One way to think of consciousness is much like gravity. We know it’s there, but we can’t see it. Gravity can be measured in terms of weight. Consciousness can also be measured through kinesiology, a well-established science, based on the testing of an all-or-nothing muscle response stimulus.Kinesiology measures truth and falsehood, (absence of truth) on a logarithmic scale from 1 to 1,000. Consciousness knows only truth because only truth has actual existence.This ground breaking research can be discovered for yourself in Dr. David Hawkins book, Power versus Force.

Everything can be measured using kinesiology because everything is consciousness. We all live in the same world, but we each have an individual view of it – so we each create the world differently – and in turn, the universe responds differently to each of us. There isn’t one correct way of seeing the universe – every viewpoint has a foundation in Reality. It’s never the viewpoint itself, but the ego attachment we have to that viewpoint – feeling our way of understanding is the one that is truly correct. This is where conflicts develop. Conflict is the inevitable consequence of mankind’s inability to distinguish the false from the truth.

One way to approach these individual views of Reality is to think of each person looking at life through a different lens on the spectrum of color. If I happen to be looking through a blue lens while someone I’m in relationship with looks at life through a red lens, we most likely won’t see life in the same way. It’s not a “better than – worse than” paradigm – just different. From the basis of kinesiology, we each have a different number on the logarithmic scale I mentioned above. Imagine a teeter-totter where the number 200 is the balance point. Above 200 the teeter-totter goes one way and below 200, the teeter-totter goes the opposite way. Half of all Americans are either above 200 or below 200. Now here’s either the good news or the bad news. Those who calibrate below 200 can be thought of as the “problem” – while those who calibrate above 200 are the “solution.” Another way in which to think about this tipping point are those who calibrate below 200 look for happiness outside themselves, in a material way. Those who calibrate above 200 look for happiness within themselves, in a spiritual way. On the plus side of 200, people are more selfless. On the lesser side of 200, people are more selfish. If what I’ve written so far sounds fascinating, you’re probably on the plus side of 200. If not, know that the ego below 200 sees truth as the enemy.

The specific number we calibrate at comes with birth. We’re already born with a number and research really doesn’t know why. On average, the most we can change our number is only 5 points. Evolution is slow. It took 2,000 years for humanity to raise its overall consciousness level from 100 to 207, the average number of consciousness today. One of the reasons I like to look at these different levels as colors, is because life is so much more interesting in color. We need everyone, whatever their level for our consciousness to rise. Those who do calibrate below 200 are not able to calibrate consciousness. The ideal number for accuracy is someone in the mid-400’s.

Consciousness research shows that the higher the number, the greater the overall feeling of happiness is – Life is good! Those who calibrate below 200 have a 15 percent “happiness rate.” Those who calibrate between 200 and 300 have a 60 percent “happiness rate.” In 2005, there were only six people on the planet who calibrated above 600, what we commonly know as enlightenment. Our suffering is relieved by replacing falsehood with truth. A fascinating web site to explore is www.ccrtblog.com/full-list.
Here you can explore all of this much deeper than what I can share now. It’s fascinating!

Returning to the conflict I mentioned at the beginning, before I did or said anything, I calibrated the person I was in conflict with to see if I could gain some insight. I discovered she happens to be well below 200, in the realm of force. I calibrate in the realm of power. Knowing this basic information informs me how best to deal with her personally, which is why I chose truth, love, and compassion. I told the truth without being reactive (force) and asked her forgiveness for any misunderstanding. Where we get into trouble with our relationships is through using force, being reactive, getting angry (150) and blaming (180). Force versus force will always be a bad outcome and won’t resolve the conflict.

The Bhagavad Gita is the original Power versus Force, written by my calculations through kinesiology testing, 6,960 years ago! My upcoming talk on January 31st, from 2 to 5 p.m. goes into all of this in a much deeper way. The first part of my lecture will primarily concern the first 11 verses of the Bhagavad Gita – looking at the personalities and relationships of all the people mentioned in those verses. The second part of my presentation will go deeper into the work of Dr. David Hawkins and kinesiology, showing the parallels between his work and the Bhagavad Gita. The third and final portion will be to introduce a very important work, written in the 11th century to bring it all together. A hand-out will be provided at my discussion which will include ten practices you can do to raise your level of consciousness, making you happier in life and giving you skills to navigate all your relationships. It’s not necessary to read my book, Warrior Self or Power versus Force. All you need is a spacious mind and a desire for happiness.