Monday, October 8, 2012

Burning Karma

Lately I find myself  knowing the answer to most of my frustrating questions: develop patience. Develop patience? Yes, I know I need to. But how do you develop patience when you are internally a bit high strung? In general I cultivate patience through meditation and mindfulness. These mental choices set the slower pace I need in my life. When I don't meditate I get wound up. When I am in-the-moment-uptight I practice repeating a mantra. Both of these things help me.  Sometimes I have a problem that I have no solution for. In the past I would let these problems flay me alive. A few months ago I found another solution. I began to explore karma a bit more. To me, karma has always meant what comes around goes around. But I began to wonder if there was a way to "undo" or pay karmic debts.

One thing I have found as an amazing practice is burning karma candles.  I learned the technique from Gabrielle Alizay through her course Burn Away Your Karma on Daily Om. I will confess her writing style is almost impossible for me to follow, but the protocol works for me. When I buy the candles I recite my mantra over them. When I am ready to burn one I light a non toxic candle, take a deep breath and focus on my issue or perhaps the person who is troubling me. Once I've focused on what I would like to release, which let's say is a person. I focus on that person and allow the healing color to come to me. After I've envisioned the healing color healing both of us, I recite the karma  message and allow the candle to burn out.
Burning Karma Candles

When I first started burning karma candles I was home for an entire weekend and I burned dozens of candles; over time it has slowed down to burning on an as-needed-basis. However, I had a long list when I first started. I was amazed two days after I burned my first candles three people whom I burned karma candles for came to me and "came clear" on an issue we had. Two of the three people told me I was right in a situation and we moved on (trust me when I say this was not an ego win, but delight in wiping the slate clean). The third person retracted a position based upon erroneous observations. I was happy to have resolved all of these issues and to move forward.

Karma candles are powerful. Therefore burning candles should only be burned with integrity and love. Burning karma candles has also taught me patience and gratitude. I know myself well and I recognize I usually become impatient when I want something I don't have. When I burn the candle I let go of the desire. I have already seen how the candles work, so I recognize I have done my part and it's time to let the Universe take over.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Do You Want to be Happier?

Happy PosterI recently watched the documentary Happy. Although it didn't overly surprise me, a survey indicated a rickshaw driver in the slums of India is as happy as the average American.  When we live in a constant state of want rather than gratitude and sharing it can be endlessly unsatisfying.  In another example from the documentary a lady from Denmark is given a second chance after a divorce to "make it" financially by moving into a co-housing community. This community houses 20 families who share chores and household benefits.

But you don't have to live in a co-housing community to share resources and gain more time for leisure activity.  On October 11th, the Center for a New American Dream is giving a free webinar on how to create Time Banks.  Time Banks are a way to exchange time and talent with another.  Tired of walking your dog? Like to make more sauerkraut than you need? Hello new options!

Happiness is a state of mind. Perhaps you would be happier exercising the mental muscle upstairs. Have you thought about updating your education? Try the remarkable and free education site--Coursera?

Now is the time to find happiness.

I am a recent convert to Clint Eastwood movies (Heartbreak Ridge and Gran Torino are at the top of my list). In my joker mind I thought how much fun it would be if I went around (unarmed) and asked people if they felt happy rather than lucky.  Even so I could still end it with a bang by (poorly) mimicking:

 "Do you feel happy? Well, do ya, punk."