Sarasvati contemplation cards

You already have everything you need within

You don’t have to search anywhere else.

The freedom you seek is within. The happiness you seek is right there too.

The truth about your being and reality, which maybe you did or maybe you didn’t know was part of the puzzle, is right there as well. The truth of your path, your dharma, is within you.

How do you find out what there is to know if it is within?

You have to be quiet.

You have to quieten the busy mind and drop back from it.

Ironically, if you really want to know your path, if you really want to experience freedom within, you have to be willing to surrender the need to control and know.

When you give up all the mental habits and desires you may well find a sort of profound joy and okay-ness.

And then perhaps a glimmer of insight as to your path will bubble up and become apparent. Where you are right now is perfect for now. Sometimes it is perfect for later on too, but we all know that change is inevitable. Maybe in stillness we get a little nudge about moving in a certain direction. And if you listen quietly maybe the message gets clearer or maybe it fades away.

I have always found that projects and ideas have presented themselves, and rightly or wrongly I have tended to follow the little nudges. Some have been more outwardly ‘successful’ than others but I always grow and learn from them.

The nudges I have followed are many, here are a few:

*Do yoga teacher training (way, way back in 2001!)

*Teach meditation as well as yoga

*Teach mother and baby yoga

*Teach yoga for breast cancer 

*Write a book

*Buy our house in Mordialloc (moving to the beach from the eastern suburbs where we had spent most of our married life)

*Create yoga off the mat contemplation cards

*Blog and chat about the contemplation cards

*Create an online course that takes people to a state of inner freedom

Some of these projects had a natural duration and others continue. The thing I have found is to stay open and to stay tuned in to the inner voice, so to speak.

Life presents us with opportunities as well as what might be seen as challenges. These are the ups and downs of any life. How we accept and ride those waves is up to us. Spend some time tuning into your inner wisdom and you might find that everything really is okay. You really can feel a sense of inner joy and okay-ness. Maybe even great bliss and love. That is always my wish for you.

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a starting point.

You can purchase your own set of these ‘Yoga off the mat, contemplations to enrich your practice’ cards from the store HERE and postage is free in AustraliaThey make a perfect gift too.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

*If you are interested in the possibility of experiencing more inner freedom in your life, then my online course Fluff-free freedom might be just perfect for you. Find out more HERE

Sarasvati contemplation cards

Drop the neediness for life to be any different to what it is right now

Of course this card was going to pop up during lockdown number 4 wasn’t it?

Just when we think ‘it should NOT be like this’, we get this reminder to drop the neediness for life to be any different to what it is right now. I might add that these quotes were created and cards were made before the pandemic, and even though the message seems to be particularly apt today, the messages apply universally.

Here we have a good reminder not to blame, not to get stuck in our head, but to find a way of being okay so that we can get on with this one life that we have.

It would be a pity to waste this one precious life on negativity and blame wouldn’t it? Why do we think the grass is greener somewhere else? Why do we want what someone else has? Why do we think things will be better some time in the future? The future is an idea in our head isn’t it?

The only time we really have is this moment now.

If your life right now is the one you have, this is also the moment where you can do the work of freeing yourself from the veil of illusion. This moment is where you are. Do you think it has to be any different? If you do, you have an argument with reality. Can you be okay right now where you are? Can you find peace and joy and contentment right where you are? Can you feel a sense of inner freedom?

Can you do the work of freeing yourself from a sense that you are an individual separate person to a sense that you are consciousness expressing itself? Can you do the work of rather than identifying solely with a sense of ‘me’ as this body and mind to that of a larger sense of being none other than universal creativity and energy? Can you see that the sense of ‘me’ is created by the mind and really only exists in the mind? I know these are hard concepts to grab, but understanding them is so freeing.

You don’t have to wait until everything is different, or somehow better, to do this work.

Yes it is work and it may take some time to feel it experientially, but there is no better time than right now to begin. To drop back from the busy mind and feel the creative expansive flow that expresses itself through the body and mind that you have. Can you see the difference that makes?

It doesn’t take different circumstances to get that, it takes the willingness to drop some conditioning and look.

You don’t have to take anything on faith or belief. Look and see, that’s all. You can do that right now.

The perfect time to do this work is right now. Right in the middle of your life – messy as it may be. Do you agree? I’d LOVE to know.

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a starting point.

You can purchase your own set of these ‘Yoga off the mat, contemplations to enrich your practice’ cards from the store HERE and postage is free in AustraliaThey make a perfect gift too.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

*If you are interested in the possibility of experiencing more inner freedom in your life, then my online course Fluff-free freedom might be just perfect for you. Find out more HERE

inner freedom is possible

Use your talents and skills, and also experience your divine nature

We all have skills and talents. Things we like to do and things we are good at.

Perhaps you know what your skills and talents are. Or perhaps you think yours are nothing special, but if you consider your experiences leading to this point, then yes they really do make a unique set!

Maybe also there is something that you want to do, something that has been nudging at you to come to life.

Are you talented at or curious about music, art, accounting, organizing, motivating, singing, creating, engineering, story-telling, IT, yoga teaching, meditation teaching, sharing mindfulness, teaching stress-management, gardening or whatever combination of these and other things you bring to your life?

For me what this card is saying is that while we do the work that we bring to the world, we can also experience our state of inner freedom, our divine nature.

These are not mutually exclusive. We are not divine only every now and then, or only while we are sitting in meditation. There is nothing in our world and our life that is not divine, that is not connected and a part of the whole.

So perhaps we don’t have to run away from our life to experience the bliss of being, or to experience our divinity, our inner freedom?

Whether we are zen on the mat or caught up in an argument, whether we are out in nature or doing our work, this is life and all of life is divine.

Does this mean that life always feels blissful?

Sometimes it takes being fully immersed in our creativity to find our bliss. We find ourselves in the flow and the work pours out of us. But I think we can also experience inner freedom and bliss in doing the dishes. Not if we are grumpy about doing the dishes, and probably not if we are rushing and trying to be super efficient either! But if we simply go about our day, we can do it with presence and awareness, rather than being on autopilot without such awareness. We can practice moment-to-moment awareness, and moment-to-moment inner freedom and divinity.

What have you been doing when you were just going about life doing your thing with your unique set of skills and talents, and have felt the experience of divinity, your divine nature? I’d really love to know if inner freedom is a more or less constant experience for you, whatever you are doing, or even if you think that is possible.

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a starting point.

You can purchase your own set of these ‘Yoga off the mat, contemplations to enrich your practice’ cards from the store HERE and postage is free in AustraliaThey make a perfect gift too.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

*If you are interested in the possibility of experiencing more inner freedom in your life, then my online course Fluff-free freedom might be just perfect for you. Find out more HERE

The mind is a useful tool for living

The mind is a tool for living

Have you ever thought of the mind as a tool? As not the whole of you are, but something useful to help you in your life? And just like other tools, something that you can drop for a while too?

We have many tools to help us live well. For example, we have a car to take us places. It is a fabulous device for transporting us around. The mobile phone is another useful device. It helps to keep us connected with others (oh and so many other uses too!) And what about our computers? They really do make our lives easier even if they also have us tearing our hair out at times!

The thing about these tools is that they are great for assisting us to live well but we don’t need or want them to run our lives.

We turn the car off and leave it in the garage. We shut down the laptop or at least close the lid. We (hopefully!) take a break from constantly interacting with our mobile phones. And all the other gadgets we use throughout the day – we understand their place in helping us to live our lives and don’t mistake them for who we are, right?

The mind is also a useful device, great for thinking, planning, and helping us to communicate.

It really does make a difference when we learn to take a break from the mind. To drop back from reacting to the chatter and busyness that the mind creates. The constant mental commentary is so familiar that it fools us. The mind creates a sense of ‘me’ and we forget that we are not the mind. I think it is almost like some people who forget they are not their phone!

It is not of course immediately obvious that you are not your mind.

The ‘me’ in your head is a mental projection and not the whole of who you are. We gradually develop meditative awareness as we learn to drop back from the mental busyness. This is something we have been exploring in **Fluff-free freedom, and it really does make a difference in people’s lives.

It is not as though having a mind isn’t useful, of course it is! Dropping back from the mind is what helps us to feel connected, whole and free.

Not having to be drawn into the drama of the mind gives choice and perspective and ultimately gives us the capacity to feel into the larger, creative flow and sense of being. My invitation is for you to find this inner freedom for yourself.

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a starting point.

You can purchase your own set of these ‘Yoga off the mat, contemplations to enrich your practice’ cards from the store HERE and postage is free in AustraliaThey make a perfect gift too.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

**Find out more about my online course Fluff-free freedom HERE

Sarasvati with yoga off the mat contemplation cards

Unitask, don’t multitask

Perhaps you have been taught about the benefit of multi-tasking, knocking over lots of things at once to get everything done. It is supposedly a way to be more efficient.

But if you are up in your head with the juggle and not really present with what you are doing, how does that feel?

Does it feel a bit out of control? Does it feel as though nothing gets done properly and that you never quite settle into one thing before moving to the next?

Have you tried uni-tasking instead?

Doing one thing simply and properly at a time? It is really all we can do anyway, and the stress of juggling from one thing to another not only robs us of time but means that we are juggling back and forth and not necessarily doing anything with full awareness.

Let me be clear.

You can eat breakfast and read the paper (or ipad/phone). Well yes you could, and I sometimes do so myself. But if you are fully present with eating your breakfast, notice how nourishing and pleasurable it is. Just eat to eat. Eat to nourish. Notice the flavours and textures.

Of course this is a practice in being mindful.

Compare this to having the distraction of a screen. Do you really even taste your food? Do you feel full and satisfied by your food? Perhaps not.

I’m not saying there are not some occasions where you might want to multi-task.

Maybe you can t talk to your mother on the phone at the same time as doing the ironing. There are some things that perhaps we don’t need to be so present for (haha, that would be the ironing, right?) but most people can tell if you are not giving them your full attention, and is that want you really want? It would be hard to write a blog post or work on a complicated problem while talking on the phone, wouldn’t it?

If you think about your day, think about how much more productive you are when fully focused.

Switch of your notifications and be present for what you are doing. It is win-win because life feels richer, you are present for more of it AND yes it really is more efficient than flitting from one thing to another.

And a focused mind is more easily dropped for meditation. A focused mind is more present and aware.

A focussed mind is more able to be observed from your natural state of inner freedom.

Try it and see for yourself. I’d love to know what works best for you.

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start.

You can purchase your own set of these ‘Yoga off the mat, contemplations to enrich your practice’ cards from the store HERE and postage is free in AustraliaThey make a perfect gift too.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

woman with busy mind, lots of thoughts

Don’t take your thoughts too seriously

It really is wonderful to have a mind. Our minds helps us to navigate through life, to figure things out, to communicate and so much more. We become used to nutting things out and perhaps it comes as a bit of a shock to realise that it is not the mind that is going to be used to experience the stillness, one-ness, connection to all, the bliss of meditation, the realisation of Self.

It takes dropping back from the mind, it takes surrendering the mind to get a taste of bliss, freedom and connection to all.

So it really helps to be able to see the mind for what it CAN DO and also what it CAN’T DO.

We can’t use the mind to experience the ‘big’ Self.

We can understand the concept, and minds are great for that. We can know we have to drop the mind. We can observe the mind creating a sense of ‘me’. We can know that the idea in our head of chocolate cake is different to the reality of chocolate cake. It is harder to see that same thing with our self.

Minds don’t like being dropped, do they? They come up with all sorts of resistance! You know, the itch, the need to cough or swallow just as you are settling into a deeper state. Perhaps this developed as part of our survival instinct?

When we see that the mind only comes up with models, not with reality itself, how freeing is that?

How amusing to be able to watch what the mind invents! The mind decides what is right and what is wrong, what it likes and what it doesn’t like. And yet these are all just thoughts, not reality.

When we meditate, we learn to observe the mind rather then be so caught up in it. When you drop the meditation method, what is left is quiet awareness, and that includes awareness of the mind. Have you noticed that? That is part of the path to a state of inner freedom, recognizing that the thoughts are observable.

It is fun, so remember not to take your thoughts too seriously!

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these ‘Yoga off the mat, contemplations to enrich your practice’ cards from the store HERE and postage is free in AustraliaThey make a perfect gift too.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

Yoga off the mat contemplation cards to inspire your practice

Find the bliss and freedom that is dancing and sparkling within

You may or may not believe that every cell in your body is alive with prana, with subtle energy, as well as the oxygen required for cellular respiration.

In her book ‘My stroke of insight’ Jill Bolte Taylor calls her cells her ‘girls’. She talks to them and encourages them. She has a unique insight due to her stroke and subsequent recovery.

In fact what you believe doesn’t really matter, it is the experience that matters.

You really can experience the inner bliss and freedom that yoga talks about and offers.

Maybe you have been fortunate enough to experience this in your meditation practice or at some other time, or maybe not. I can’t put myself into your body, but I’m pretty sure that this experience of bliss is available to all serious meditators at some point.

We soon realize that we can’t make these blissful experiences happen, but we can set up the circumstances and be willing to drop back and surrender to the experience.

I think dropping back or letting go is probably the hardest part of the meditation journey for many of us.

We just get a tiny taste of something that feels still and expansive and the mind jumps right back in. Have you experienced that?

Perhaps it takes a degree of courage to let go? A strong mind to let go of the mind?

The mind does not like to be let go of! It can’t know the experience that we have when it is dropped. But really, when you finally do manage to let go and drop away from the mind, that is when the magic happens. That is when we really do experience the feeling of bliss.

A feeling of love, a feeling of being peaceful and expansive …I do encourage you to find this out for yourself.

A place from where you can witness without having to be drawn in. You can see the mind but not have to take it so seriously. See it for what it can do, but see also that there is a watching aspect that is the observer of the thoughts.

Drop back, let go, find this inner place of observing and it really will change your experience of life.

Please share your experiences!

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these ‘Yoga off the mat, contemplations to enrich your practice’ cards from the store HERE and postage is free in AustraliaThey make a perfect gift too.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

Yoga off the mat contemplation cards to inspire your practice

Your everyday life is the perfect practice ground

The time to be free is now, and your everyday life is the perfect time and place in which to practice.

*Making dinner?

Feel the freedom within and be free.

*Driving the kids to school? Or dealing with them learning at home?

Feel the freedom within and be free.

*Preparing for a presentation?

Feel the freedom within and be free.

*Working out a complicated problem?

Feel the freedom within and be free.

*Dealing with difficult work colleagues?

Feel the freedom within and be free.

*Having a conversation with a loved one?

Feel the freedom within and be free.

*Working in the garden?

Feel the freedom within and be free.

Annoyed at having to wear a face mask?

Feel the freedom within and be free.

You get the gist.

Whatever you are doing or wherever you are, there is no better time than right now to be free.

To see the mind for what it can and can’t do, to use it as the wonderful tool that it is, and also to drop back from being so caught up in it that you can be free.

That is the work of yoga. To feel the connection to all that is. To feel connected to the flow of like and totally okay with whatever turns up.

Yes there is work to do. Whether it is paid or unpaid, simple or intricate, life has a doing-ness about it. That is simply what happens when we have a human life.

The attitude that we bring and the willingness to drop back from the thinking mind and into the flow is what makes the big difference.

Now it the time. Your every life is the perfect time to feel into the one-ness, to feel you sense of connection to all, and to be free.

My wish for you is the peace and love that comes from finding inner freedom.

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these ‘Yoga off the mat, contemplations to enrich your practice’ cards from the store HERE and postage is free in AustraliaThey make a perfect gift too.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

Yoga off the mat contemplation cards to inspire your practice

Surrender doesn’t mean no discipline or no passion

The practice of surrender truly is a practice of yoga that can awaken us to the experience of profound inner freedom. I really have found that it is.

I know that word ‘surrender’ can sound scary but really it isn’t at all.

It is true acceptance and okay-ness right here and now. And it doesn’t mean nothing will change.

The practice of surrender has helped me a lot in living my life. Find somewhere safe and quiet and practice surrendering your thoughts. Let them go, drop back from them. Stick at it regularly and there you will find love and bliss.

Not thoughts about love and bliss, but a no-thought state where the experience is one of love and bliss and inner freedom.

The Yoga Sutras talk about the practice of Isvara pranidhana, surrender to God, or to a greater power, or to the Universe, or a higher source. Isvara pranidhana is one of the 5 Niyamas or inner observances to practice on a path to experiencing the freedom that yoga offers. There is nothing that you have to believe though, simply practice surrendering to what is.

Surrendering into stillness, into flow, into a state of profound quiet and bliss and love does not mean we have no agency over the way we live our life.

Surrendering to what is right now does not mean we can’t work towards changing things for the future.

It does not mean we don’t have any discipline in life.

Actually it takes a certain amount of discipline, ironically a level of focus and strength of mind, to be willing and able to let the thoughts go.

To drop back from the mind that always wants to know and control. Practicing surrender to simply ‘what is’ does not mean we become a doormat because things are going to unfold anyway. In this context it does not mean flying the white flag.

We do have choice and practicing surrender doesn’t negate choice.

It doesn’t negate using the gifts we have.

Practicing surrender also doesn’t mean there is no point in being passionate if there are things you are passionate about. If you passionately work towards something and that thing doesn’t work out, practice being okay with that. On the other hand, perhaps that thing does work out.

Surrender to being okay whatever the outcome, but follow the passion anyway.

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these ‘Yoga off the mat, contemplations to enrich your practice’ cards from the store HERE and postage is free in AustraliaThey make a perfect gift too.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

Freedom and happiness are not reserved only for special people

I picked this card in class today. It reminded me that our attitude to the experience of life makes a big difference.

I remember that after I had been meditating for a while and also exploring Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras with Mataji (Swami Shantananda) at some point I realized that while my life didn’t really look that different on the outside, my inner experience was forever changed.

I no longer asked myself questions such as:

What is life about?

What am I doing with my life?

Why am I here?

Why are we all here?

How do I want to be remembered?

What does it all mean?

It is not that I necessarily had the answers, just simply that something had shifted inside and these questions were no longer burning as they had been.

I had come to a place of inner joy and okay-ness, an acceptance of things.

So what changed? And why do I think we can all access this inner freedom?

I realized that life had a sort of flow and surrendered to something greater than the little ‘me’. When I really surrendered I felt inner bliss. And still do. There was a realisation that even though I had a degree of agency and choice, I also could relax into the flow.

Aaah.

It is not as though life didn’t and doesn’t have its ups and downs, but an inner sense of okay-ness is there anyway.

If that is something that an ordinary Medical Scientist turned Yoga and Meditation teacher living in suburban Melbourne can come to, then I have absolutely no doubt that this is available for you too. Take a look and see for yourself.

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback!

You can purchase your own set of these contemplation cards from the store HERE and also my book Yoga off the mat, freedom in everyday life HERE and postage is free in Australia.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.