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Αγάπη - Κορίνα Κονταξάκη

Να χαθείς μέσα σε κάποιον άλλο Και να νιώθεις τη σάρκα σου να αποσυντίθεται μέσα του. Να απορροφηθείς μέσα σε κάτι χωρίς απόδειξη ότ...

The world we live in by Marina Filimianova


Today, in the era of technological development and social media advancement, spirituality has gained a strong popularity. However, it is widely misused as means of achieving financial success, abundance, and power. Hundreds of websites are teaching us on how to become spiritual in order to manifest our ego goals and reach financial prosperity. Indeed, by following spiritual practices many people have gained a lot of money, and continue to do so. But is it truly about this?

This misconception of spiritual “help” is  widely advertised in social media. Thousands of seminars and programmes are offered to us on how to USE spirituality for achieving success in this life, but very few people see spirituality as guide for inner harmony and wellbeing of the soul, conscious way of living, and eternal life of our soul.

The history is repeating itself, but people are not learning from the mistakes of their ancestors. Looking back at the times of Jesus or Buddha, who came to prophet spirituality, or at the times of World War II when Adolf Hitler misused the spiritual messages and attempted to “clean the world”, we are again standing on the junction between spirituality as eternal soul harmony or one-life ego success. All spiritual leaders did have their right, but the means of transferring the message to the world did not succeed, because people see the truth through their own eyes, with the shaded and blurred screen of ego blocking the real vision. And this blurred screen of ego doesn’t let us go beyond and see the real picture that the soul is trying to show us.

We see ourselves as individuals who came to this life to achieve certain goals and die. But is it really that way? People moved to urban lives and completely disconnected with the nature, while nature is the only guide who can give us the real lessons. Everything in this life is connected to the powers of nature, and only Humans, who consider themselves as the most intelligent creatures on the planet, are completely misaligned with the nature. This misalignment is causing all the catastrophes and illnesses that humankind is experiencing for thousands of years. We are born perfect; it is in the course of life that we lose our perfectness because the teaching that we receive from our parents, schools, society, social media, and the life itself – enables more and more our egos and disconnects us from our true nature and from our true Self.

Our bodies are such a perfect computers, which are initially “programmed” to follow the cycles of the Universe. Cell regeneration, menstrual cycles, hormonal cycles – is all connected to the cycles of Universe, but we disturb these cycles with the food we eat, with the medicines we take, with the way of life that we lead. If we looked at ourselves as part of the Universe – we would understand the strong connection of human cycles with the cycles of our Planet, Sun, and Moon. Then we would be able to align our bodies with the natural cycles, which are already programmed to be aligned. A simple example is the is the Moon orbiting the Earth in 27,5 days – just as the menstrual cycle of the female body. Moon is the negative / female energy, and the female body follows the Moon cycle. But often due to hormonal disbalances our cycle changes and becomes less or more days – this is misalignment. Another example of misalignment is the food we eat – each fruit or vegetable has “its time” of growing, according to Earth’s cycle around its orbit, which is 365,5 days. The plants naturally grow, blossom, and bring crops according to the Earth’s cycle, and the region where they can grow. But humans managed to interfere even in this – and we can see strawberries being sold all-year round, grown on hormonal additives and sold at expensive prices because a big chemical interference is needed in order to make them grow against their nature. We pay the price to buy these strawberries, without ever thinking how they disbalance our bodies, and misalign us from our natural state of being. Or the ability of plants to grow in certain places and climates is not just a coincidence – plants “know” where they can grow, but humans learned to manipulate even this – by building greenhouses and trying to grow certain plants in man-made conditions, with chemical and hormonal interference, against their natural abilities. Humans created plastic, which is not able to be absorbed by the Earth, thus leading to horrible pollutions, ozone holes, and global warming. Humans created chemical weapons. And we can go on and on for hundreds of pages, describing how our advanced technology is raping our mother Earth.

All this interference in the nature causes huge misalignments in human bodies, resulting that our organism is not able to correctly regenerate its cells, and therefore causing imbalances and dangerous illnesses. Then we use chemical medicine to treat these illnesses, and by doing so, interfere even worse in the natural healing abilities of our organisms, thus killing the natural ability of our cells to heal themselves. By doing so, we get physical sicknesses, like organs failure or cancer, which cause us emotional and mental disbalances, depression, negative perception of life – therefore further destroying our natural ability to heal our bodies. Numerous scientific studies have proved the connection between our mental / emotional health with our physical wellbeing, and it is no longer a myth of how these two are strongly connected.

THIS is what spirituality is about – Body, Mind, Spirit – and not about how to use your spiritual powers to manifest our goals and receive financial abundance, as most of the media is commercially advertising.

Physical and Spiritual “bodies” are the opposites of each other. Spirit has endless powers, but when it gets inside a physical body – when the human is born – the abilities of the soul become limited within the boundaries of the physical body. The stronger the physical body gets – the weaker get the spiritual abilities. And the opposite, the weaker the physical body gets – the higher spiritual we become. When I encountered Anorexia, I lost my appetite and would eat very little once a day, just when I felt that I am going to faint. At this stage, my spiritual awareness got stronger and stronger, without me to realize it, but my body became dangerously weak, reaching the level of 40 kg. My grandmother is almost 80 years old, and she had a very difficult life, she was born in the beginning of World War II, and passed through hunger, hard work in the fields, and now her body is very weak, she can barely walk, although she doesn’t have any dangerous sickness and is not taking any medicine except some vitamins. Her mind is well, she is not suffering from Alzhaimers or any memory loss, but she is often forgetting things that just happened few minutes or few hours ago. She is eating very little, just to survive. My family is worried that she is losing her memory, but the real reason is that she is getting disconnected with the material world, while becoming highly connected with the spiritual world, due to weakening of her body. Another example, is the fasting in Yoga practices, as means of disconnecting the physical needs in order to heighten spiritual awareness.

The important thing here is to realize the balance between the body and the spirit, as we need the physical body in order to live in the dimensions of our physical world. That is why Yoga is addressing three aspects – Body, Mind, Spirit. There needs to be a balance between the Body and the Spirit in order to correctly practice spirituality, and therefore we have Mind – which directs the needs of our Body and our Spirit, in order to achieve the balance between them.

Unfortunately, in our society the direction is primarily given to our physical existence. On every corner there are gyms to teach us how to train our body. And even the Yoga studios are promoting Yoga as means of building a beautiful body, with different branches like Hatha or Aerial yoga commercially promoting it for material means. But does anyone in the western world promote REAL spirituality? Even religions are being used to ABUSE spirituality, by manipulating people “in the name of God”, creating hatred between different religions and initiating wars in order to sell weapons and make money. In the effort of promoting their own religion or race, people have been killing each other for centuries, believing that their prophesy is better than the others. Invasions of Alexander the Great in 4th cent dictatorship of Julius Caesar, Crusades of the Catholic Church, Mongol invasions, Ottoman empire, Hitler’s World War II – and these are just few historical examples to be named. Today we see again the same picture – world-spread war between Christianity and Islam, with high propaganda and political brainwashing from both sides. Through centuries, political leaders are using the unconscious people to gain power and conquer territories.

People came to believe that by killing other nations they would make the life of their nation better. This is a highly misused conception, but unfortunately it does take its roots from spirituality. The only thing that humankind cannot understand is that we cannot make the world a better place through war. The only way to make the world a better place is through love and compassion. And then, those who cannot stay in this better world – will be eliminated but NOT through the means of force killing, but through the means of natural evolution. This may take few years, few hundreds of years, or few thousands of years – it all depends on us. It depends on whether we will see spirituality with the eyes of the ego, or with the eyes of the soul. The next level of our existence is the human with 8 open chakra. Only those who will be able to connect with their soul, and open the 8th chakra will survive the evolution and live through eternity.

When spirituality will be finally seen from the eyes of the soul, rather than the eyes of the ego – only then we will be able to achieve a revolutionary change in our lives. Then the humankind will be able to open all their chakras, and move to the next level of existence – conscious living, conscious dying and conscious birth. This is only possible by practicing  REAL spirituality, not the one that media is “selling” to us. The real revolution is not to be done through war, it is meant to be done through love, compassion, and understanding of what we really need rather than what our ego wants. Only by conscious living, and CORRECT spiritual practices – we will be able to discover our higher Self. And people who will discover their higher Self – will be the ones to survive the evolutional movement from an unconscious human to conscious human.

Wars, hunger, slavery, materialism – are all obstacles to achieving this. And therefore, for thousands of years people are merely trying to survive and address their physical needs, rather than discover their spiritual nature. The need for addressing our physical needs doesn’t let us see our spiritual abilities, and therefore for thousands of years we are making rounds, with our souls coming into the body as a baby, trying to survive through life, and then dying without any spiritual “advancement”. And these rounds happen, again and again and again, in the endless cycles of unconscious birth, unconscious life, and unconscious death. Our souls are immortal, but we are trapped in the mortal ego, which is trying to trick us with power, money and jewels. This story is described in the Book of Genesis, Ezekiel 28, but seldom someone would understand the real meaning of it. It is talking about Lucifer, who was the brightest angel of God, and was thrown to Earth. Each one of us is Fallen Angel – we are all angels, fallen to the material Earth, where tangible values are of much higher importance than the spiritual. And we live our lives trying to achieve our materialistic goals, and end up dying in fear and disgrace. It has nothing to do with devil, as we see him in pictures or movies, the devil and the God are both inside us, our ego and our soul.

Ezekiel 28:

“The word of the Lord came to me: 2  "Son of man, say to the ruler of Tyre, 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: " 'In the pride of your heart you say, "I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas." But you are a mere mortal and not a god, though you think you are as wise as a god. 3  Are you wiser than Daniel[1] ? Is no secret hidden from you? 4  By your wisdom and understanding you have gained wealth for yourself and amassed gold and silver in your treasuries. 5  By your great skill in trading you have increased your wealth, and because of your wealth your heart has grown proud. 6  " 'Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: " 'Because you think you are wise, as wise as a god, 7  I am going to bring foreigners against you, the most ruthless of nations; they will draw their swords against your beauty and wisdom and pierce your shining splendor. 8  They will bring you down to the pit, and you will die a violent death in the heart of the seas. 9  Will you then say, "I am a god," in the presence of those who kill you? You will be but a mortal, not a god, in the hands of those who slay you. 10  You will die the death of the uncircumcised at the hands of foreigners. I have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord.' "

11  The word of the Lord came to me: 12  "Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: " 'You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13  You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.[2]Your settings and mountings[3] were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. 14  You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. 15  You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. 16  Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. 17  Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. 18  By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. 19  All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.' "

The key of life, which very few people understand, is being able to balance the ego and the soul, and let the Soul rule the ego, just as described in the Cherokee Story below:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life:

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.”It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?”

You might heard the story ends like this: The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

In the Cherokee world, however, the story ends this way:

The old Cherokee simply replied, “If you feed them right, they both win.” and the story goes on:

“You see, if I only choose to feed the white wolf, the black one will be hiding around every corner waiting for me to become distracted or weak and jump to get the attention he craves. He will always be angry and always fighting the white wolf. But if I acknowledge him, he is happy and the white wolf is happy and we all win. For the black wolf has many qualities – tenacity, courage, fearlessness, strong-willed and great strategic thinking – that I have need of at times and that the white wolf lacks. But the white wolf has compassion, caring, strength and the ability to recognize what is in the best interest of all.

"You see, son, the white wolf needs the black wolf at his side. To feed only one would starve the other and they will become uncontrollable. To feed and care for both means they will serve you well and do nothing that is not a part of something greater, something good, something of life. Feed them both and there will be no more internal struggle for your attention. And when there is no battle inside, you can listen to the voices of deeper knowing that will guide you in choosing what is right in every circumstance. Peace, my son, is the Cherokee mission in life. A man or a woman who has peace inside has everything. A man or a woman who is pulled apart by the war inside him or her has nothing.

"How you choose to interact with the opposing forces within you will determine your life. Starve one or the other or guide them both.”

 

It is in our hands to make the world a better place. The ocean is vast, but it is made up of small drops of water. Without each drop – there wouldn’t be the ocean. Each one of us can put an effort to change the world – some smaller, some bigger, but together we can achieve eternal balance and harmony.

By Marina Filimianova 

Borrowed by Marilena Iordanou


I am not the doer
photo by  Laura Iacovides 
Ελληνική Μετάφραση ακολουθεί 

I am built with borrowed hands
Used before me by thousand others
Through time and turmoil
Soaked in sweat and blood

I am given borrowed thoughts
Used before me by thousand others
Through busy roads and easy shortcuts
Walked with blisters in dead end paths

I am born in borrowed land
Used before me by thousand others
Through boiling sun and cold hard rain
Took for granted what it gave me

I am loved with borrowed heart
Used before me by thousand others
Through pleasure and desire
Bit the fruit and tasted sour

I am just but one soul
Used to Be and always Is
Through time and space exists
And yet in every way unique

M.I. 

Δανεικά – Μαριλένα Ιορδάνου

Δομήθηκα με δανεικά χέρια
Επαναχρησιμοποιημένα από χιλιάδες άλλους
Μέσα στο χρόνο, μέσα στο ατελείωτο χάος
Βυθισμένα σε ιδρώτα και αίμα

Μου δόθηκαν δανεικές σκέψεις
 Που άνηκαν και σε χιλιάδες άλλους
Μέσα από δρόμους με κίνηση και εύκολα συντόμια
Περπατημένους με πληγές και αδιέξοδα

Η πατρίδα μου είναι δανεική
Πατρίδα χιλιάδων άλλων πριν από μένα
Μέσα από καυτό ήλιο και κρύα βροχή
Πήρα δεδομένο ότι μου έδωσε

Με αγάπησαν με δανεική καρδιά
Καρδιά που άνηκε και σε χιλιάδες άλλους
Η απόλαυση και επιθυμίες
Δάγκωσαν το φρούτο μα το βρήκαν πικρό

Είμαι μόνο μια Ψυχή
Που Είναι και πάντα θα Είναι
Υπάρχει στο χώρο και το χρόνο
Μα κάθε φορά μοναδική
Μ. Ι. 

The claim by Eleni Cosma


...A plea from the soul to the ego

photo by Laura Iacovides 

You may take your day in all it’s glory
Rising with each translucent delight
You may relish in your never ending story
And riddle yourself with gut-wrenching fright.
But do not forget at the end of the day,
That I have a right to the night.

You may wrestle with your conscience
As complexity yields its pointless web,
And before my unmoving presence
Make your resting bed,
But as you lay down your head
Do you truly fail to witness -
That which will live on once you are dead...?

For I see you rise to claim my silence;
Give me but moments of this now
If you could stop enough to hear me -
But on and on you plough
All I can do within this cage
Is urge you to remember
As you battle with sickness, love, rage -
That deep below the embers
Of your crumbling theatre stage;
I too have claim to make
I too -
Allow me just this silence now,
I take.
Nothing more.

I beg you -
Hear the urgency I cannot possess.

For this claim will save you too -
For I... am... you.

 Eleni Cosma

I am by Maro Papamichael


photo by Eleni Cosma 

I am in the womb
The body is ready
It pushes through
It cries, it breathes
It cries when hungry
It cries when wet
It cries with pain
It’s given a name
It sees, it hears
it smells, it tastes
the gifts that life
beholds for it
It’s taught to speak
It’s taught the world
the world of names
It laughs, it cries
It’s happy, it’s sad
It loves, it hates
It grows apart
from inner “I am”
It fears, it’s lost
does not belong
It envies, it wants
It harms, it wrongs
creatures big
and creatures small
the earth, it’s home
itself, of course
The mind controls
The ego grasps
It strives, it seeks
contentment to last
It suffers until
it’s forced to see
the being within
It suffers until
it’s forced to see
the world of names
for what it is :
illusion of life
Connecting with
“I am” that was
in wombs of past
Who knows how many
are yet to come.

Anemone
25/06/19

Lifted by Daniel Plackett


photo by Eleni Cosma 

Lifted,Lifted,Lifted.
For all who haul their bodies,
We are the ones who left the sea
We crawled our way out
Our legs were fins then,
Our bodies weighed us down
Our eyes pulled us up.
I was there , we were all there
We have been raising ourselves up
From the first sound From first light , from dust ,
From the ocean , in the first drop
Lifted,lifted.
Τhe dream was made.
Through this body I am lifted
Cell by Cell
Star by Star
Lifted by the Fish, the Fern, Crocodile and Dinosaur
Hydrogen and Nitrogen
The Helix and it’s Fossils
I am lifted
All that I am before
Now lifted In all these deaths,
I rise
To stand on the seashore
In this body
My hands above my head
To give my inheritance
To the ones who will No longer crawl
I was there
We were all there
When we heard the call
Salt water slips
From this body of mine
And I move further in Leaving behind the crashing waves and these footprints now fading in the sand.

DWP 

Εξευτελισμός - Κορίνα Κονταξάκη


photo Korina Kontaxaki 


Μου δίνεις αίμα και οστά
Φτιαγμένα από εκατομμύρια νεκρούς
Μου πουλάς δάκρυα και ανάσες
Για όπλα
Μου προσφέρεις το τοπίο
Με χρώματα , χνουδωτούς φίλους που μιλούν με το σώμα τους
Και αέρα δροσερό που με αγγίζει και μου δίνει την ψευδαίσθηση της ελευθερίας
Της ελευθερίας
Να περάσω
Μέσα από το φόβο
Την επιθυμία
Τον ανταγωνισμό
Να ελευθερωθώ
Και αν τα καταφέρω
Με σταματά η αγάπη
Η αγάπη
Με διακόπτουν τα λόγια
Τα λόγια
Με εμποδίζουν οι εκλάμψεις
Οι εκλάμψεις
Οι εκλάμψεις που
για όσο κρατά ένας κεραυνός νομίζω ότι ελευθερώθηκα 
Μόνο για να ξαναγυρίσω πίσω στην ανικανότητα
Εσύ το λες ευκαιρία
Εγώ το λέω εξευτελισμό

Prana-Pranayama- Yama-Niyama by Angela Zografou




PRANA AND HOW PRANAYAMA CONTROLS AND DIRECTS PRANA


Many times in my life I thought that I was treated unfairly, that I was unlucky, that things went wrong for me and so on… These things made me really upset. The worst of all was that I would waste all my energy analysing things and asking “why”, something that made me exhausted and very upset. I realised that I had to find the right way to handle these situations; that I had to take responsibility and try to sort myself out instead of trying to change others and the way they behave. I knew that it had to do with finding the right balance between ego and mind and this led to me joining the ‘Step by Step’ class.


I was impressed when we first learned about ‘PRANA’, the vital energy and how correct breathing can charge, control and direct our energy.


We are filled with prana and prana is of vital importance in everything we do. We should not waste it or save it but invest it wisely so it brings about positive changes in our body and mind.


We have to realise that prana exists inside our body. It is in our breath, in our consciousness. The entire universe is a manifestation of prana. Mastering the breath means mastering prana.


We all need to find a profound interest in ourselves so we can connect. With whoever we create a profound interest, whether this is love or jealousy, we create opposite energy and this unlocks our prana. We should always remember though that we must learn to control or prana/energy.


Prana comes through the five elements of nature:


1. Earth: By living in nature, walking on earth barefoot, touching the earth, enjoying nature-the trees, mountains the rivers, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and above all respecting nature.


2. Water: By drinking clean pure water and swimming in the sea and rivers.


3. Fire: by spending time in the sunshine or even by letting the sunshine in through windows and doors.


4. Ether: This element is associated with thoughts. Chanting mantras, being in a positive atmosphere and being in the company of true people enables us to increase prana.


5. Air: By having a consistent pranayama practice, inhaling pure fresh air, living in fresh air and staying away from polluted environments.


How to charge our prana:

The secret is movement through exchange like:


· Mortal and immortal like soul and ego


· Between us and other human beings


· Between us and the elements


There are three ways to move prana:


1. Manually, through the blood


2. Through our nervous system/wires, through moudras


3. Wireless – through the mind


Yoga is a practice that deals directly with prana.


Yogi life starts with:


· Breath – Pranayama


· Yama Niyama good ethos/character


· Diet


The name ‘Pranayama’ derives from the words ‘prana’ meaning vital energy and ‘ayama’ which means stretching/expansion.


Pranayama is basically the science of breath and practicing it will lead to mastering prana. Success can only be achieved by Regulatity, Repetition and Rhythm, essentially by making it a habit.


Through pranayama we can bring together the first three bodies - physical emotional/pranic and mental. These three bodies must be aligned so they are strengthened.


The perfect alignment comes through Yamas and Niyamas.


Yama & Niyama: The Path of Ethical Discipline


Yama means ‘taking a vow’ while niyama means ‘rule of conduct’. Yama and niyama are inter-dependent. Niyama strengthens and safeguards yama.


The basis of yama and niyama is that through ethical principles and the practice of correct conduct we will succeed in yoga and develop a positive personality.


When we become sufficiently advanced in the practices of yamas and niyamas, we can face every temptation by calling in the aid of pure and restraining thoughts. When the mind becomes pure it attains the state of steadiness. The ultimate aim is to perfectly establish in yama-niyama so that Samadhi (the highest state of mental concentration) will come by itself.


Yama

The five yamas are the foundation of spiritual life. Following the yamas means sticking to ideas and principles so that the human nature is transformed into a divine nature.


The Five Yamas:

Ahimsa (non-violence) comes first because we must first remove our beastly nature. Ahimsa is perfect harmlessness and love. It is to refrain from the slightest thought of harm to any living creature. It is an attitude of universal benevolence.


Satya: (truthfulness) comes next. Thought must agree with word and word with action. To think of one thing, say another and do another is nothing but dishonesty. By telling lies you pollute your conscience and infect your subconscious mind. Truth means the strength to abide by positive principles.


Asteya: (non-stealing). This is another form of self-restraint. A person should neither steal nor have the intention or desire to steal anything belonging to another person. This applies to speech, thoughts and actions. Essentially one should avoid taking anything that is not freely given.


Brahmacharya: The fourth yama is the practice of continence. When controlled, the sexual energy is transformed into a special spiritual energy and it is stored up in the brain. You should open yourself to higher spiritual consciousness. Feel the divine presence and divine guidance in your life.


Aparigraha: The opposite of parigraha. Parigraha is greed. Aparigraha is a mental state in which the sensual desire is dead. Parigraha leads to anxiety to preserve, fear of loss, hatred, anger, untruthfulness, stealing, etc. Aparigraha puts an end to all these and gives peace and contentment.


Niyama

Niyama, has to do with self-discipline and spiritual observances. Regularly attending temple or church services, saying a prayer before meals, developing your own personal meditation practices, or making a habit of taking contemplative walks alone are all examples of niyamas in practice.


The Five Niyamas

Shaucha: Shaucha is purity, both internal and external. External purity generates internal purity. It is very much connected with simplicity.


Santosha: Santosha or contentment is connection with the soul.


Contentment does not mean satisfaction, but willingness to accept things as they are. Contented means to be satisfied with what you have and to be happy in whatever condition you are placed; you do not crave for things you do not have.


Tapas: Tapas means discipline. It also means restraint of the senses and meditation. It leads to control of the mind. Austerities like occasional fasting and observance of silence increase the power of endurance. One must practice physical and mental tapas in order to have a disciplined physical body and a balanced mind in all conditions of life.


Swadhyaya: Swadhyaya or self-study is not just study of scriptures and books but also enquiry into the nature of the self. Swadhyaya is asking the question, “Who am I? This will help you to sort out the personality so the self can come out. Through this you will also get inspired by those who have already done that. Swadhyaya clears doubts, inspires and elevates the mind and helps in concentration and meditation.


Ishwara pranidhana: The ability to surrender to God. This is the practice where one consecrates everything to the higher force. Self-surrender makes the devotee feel the reality of divine grace and God’s readiness to bestow help on him at all times.


When our yoga teacher kept on saying that she would not allow anyone who did not do yoga to join the ‘Step by Step’ class I could not really understand why. Now, a year on into my SBS class I have been able to understand that. Yoga is a practice that works directly with prana. Through yoga and the breathing techniques and discipline of the body and mind we can practice meditation!


Thank you Korina!

Importance of Conscious Breathing by Ruta Dzikaraite


Lately one can observe a worldwide growing emphasis on the subject of breathing. Dozens of spiritual gurus, meditation and education centers and so on talk and teach people about the importance of the breath and the power in knowing how to use it for one’s benefit.
There are numerous breathing techniques offered to master, therefore it is good for individual to find out and understand where do they come from, how do they affect us and how to correctly use them so we can increase the depth of our physical and spiritual being.
One of the reasons why breathing is so popular and effective is that one can experience its benefits immediately, even if for a short time at the beginning.
In a Yogic breathing, also known as Pranayama, we put the effort to master the flow of the Prana – the universal energy of life. Our breathing practice is the solid foundation on which we can grow and develop as compassionate human beings.
The miracle of breathing is in its simplicity: all of us are equipped with this amazing ability- no need to look far! Right here and right now we have all that we need to better ourselves.
And the yogic knowledge of pranayama gives us valuable explanations on how to use this wonderful tool.
The first step of conscious breathing is to become aware of the breath- to acknowledge the fact that the air is coming in and out, the lungs expand and contract, focus the mind on this and let the awareness arise- like a bridge between the mind and the body, which are no longer separated and can communicate with each other. When the mind is aware of the body, the body can share the valuable information necessary for harmonious functioning.
Conscious breathing also gives us a key to understand and regulate our emotional state. Most of us have experienced how stressful situations make our breath short and shallow, or how we are able to deeply exhale after some event that we were anxious about, like passing the exam or avoiding a car crash.
Deep and calm breathing quiets the mind, therefore we can see and analyze our emotions more clearly and avoid unnecessary conflicts within or in the outside world.
Also, very important is that with the breath work we can change our emotional response- create a certain gap in-between our old “automatic” reaction and the one we consciously choose. This will certainly require some effort from our part and here we must rely on the “holy trinity“ of repetition , rhythm and regularity to create a new , positive habit, but in the end we will reap a sweet fruit of our determination.
Benefits of Pranayama are many, as it works on different levels of our existence.
 Physiologically it improves upon one’s health and wellbeing, bringing more energy, health and overall better functioning of all body systems.
Psychologically it prepares us to handle the stress better, increases our ability to focus, therefore creating better relationships with ourselves and with others.
 And, of course, spiritually it helps to unfold our awareness, so we can become a silent observers, witnessing the phenomena of life.

Ruta Dzikaraite SBS team 2019-20 




Is the Ego a ‘baddie’? by Tasoula Charalambous



The word ego has changed meaning for me over the years. I never really paid much attention to its deeper meaning in the past. If you check its dictionary definition you will realise that there are different interpretations.
One definition describes it as ‘a false part of our personality constructed in the mind’. Another definition states that ‘it is your idea or  opinion of yourself, especially your feeling of your own importance and ability’. In psychoanalysis, it is considered ‘the part of a person's mind that tries to match the hidden desires (= wishes) of the id (= part of the unconscious mind) with the demands of the real world. There are so many other definitions. All rather confusing I have to say, but the common factor is that nearly all the definitions have negative connotations.
 Even though I assume it is derived from the Greek word which simply means ‘I’, and refers to the self, when we talk about the ego in general we do usually use it negatively.  When we think someone is a bit self-centred and more concerned with his own well-being or character or promoting himself usually at someone else’s expense, we often say he or she has a big ego, or he or she is egoistical or he or she is all ego etc. This is obviously not a good trait and not one that anyone should be proud of, although of course egoistical people are obviously not aware of this and consider it a norm. it is not.
So what exactly is the ego in the more spiritual sense? What is it made of? What does it look like? Where is it? Is it in the head? Is that why we say someone is big-headed when they act selfishly?
I remember the SBS group being asked what the ego was. Even though we had just discussed it, it was still difficult to grasp and explain using the right words. It took some time and considerable group effort to come up with different answers.
- The self that is made from the mind. The mind will die; in the same way the self that is created from the mind is an illusion and is temporary.
-The ego is the part we want to ignore that is created by the mind.
-It’s a kind of programming that we use in our lives that we have to be careful of. 
I noticed the Ego was always referred to as a destroyer, a destructive force, something that definitely inhibits one’s spiritual path. And I remember asking if ‘it is a baddie’ as it seemed to serve no constructive purpose.
One thing is for sure, this ‘baddie’ does exist and most people allow it to control them making it very difficult for them to see what is important in their short time on this planet and to live a serene life without stress and anger and illusions and destructive or reckless behaviour.

Our discussions brought on further questions. If we were all egoless then would we all be spiritual beings from birth since there would be nothing to inhibit us from seeing the light from the outset? And why were we given egos anyway, if they are such a hindrance?
But there are reasons for its existence: so we can learn to live with it, to learn to discipline ourselves, to control our actions and behaviour, to learn to interact ethically with society and to be giving and generous and grateful, not wanting anything in return for our actions. Maybe it would all be too easy if we did not have an ego that would test us and help us discover our own strengths.
Perhaps the biggest test or achievement which can help us chose the correct spiritual path is to be able to minimise our ego to the point that it can no longer interfere in our spiritual lives, so we can ultimately ignore it and concentrate on all the divine instincts which we should be practicing and applying; simplicity, honesty, gratitude, pure love and all the many other qualities that will help us develop as spiritual beings and help us finally find our real Self and to become one with God.
However, in our materialistic society where everything is connected to money, fame, success, glory, it is so easy for the ego to thrive and to push aside these divine instincts. This is felt very strongly in the Western world where the media bombards us daily with so many things that we consider so important that we will strive to get them even though it has been proven time and time again that this is not the path to happiness and definitely not the path to God – to have that perfect body, the stunning wardrobe of clothes, that beautiful house, that fancy car.  People become nasty, depressed, unhappy, live in a fake world just to be able to have these things. We are made to believe that we will live for ever and when something happens – an illness let’s say – then we are shaken.  We then realise the vanity of it all.  And we also realise how temporary it all is. How can the ego help then? Unfortunately most people wake up when it is too late.
So yes, I have been pondering a lot about the ego.  Is it all baddie? Does it not serve any useful purpose? How can we deal with it, live with it, use it, disregard it?
The other day, when I received the latest copy of the Yoga Life magazine, I noticed a short article on this very issue that I have been pondering on and I read it with interest. I must say it helped clarify and corroborate what we have already learnt. The article itself was named ‘I want to kill my ego’, which as the article says is something which any aspiring spiritual person would probably say and want. We feel this is the only way to reach the truth, to overcome the final hurdle that is stopping us from reaching the highest level, Atman.  To kill the ego.
So does the author of the article consider the ego an enemy? Actually no. On the contrary, this is apparently a common misconception. ‘Those who see more clearly know the ego is a necessary step in the unfolding of the soul. It is an essential stage in the evolution of consciousness and all must experience it to its fullest’.
The article also goes on to explain that the ego is a fictitious centre and all experiences are thought-waves of the mind in relation to that ego. Ego itself is a kind of thought-wave within the mind and thought-waves create the illusion of ego through past , present and future life events. Apparently ego and the conditioned mind go together. But eventually when you attain enlightenment or you are moving towards it, the ego changes, it goes through different stages and eventually becomes Satwic, pure, harmonised. And once it becomes Satwic it is no longer an obstacle. It is no longer the enemy, but a friend.
So this is good news. It helps us understand the ego a little bit more.  It seems to me that although the ego is always there, a part of us, in the ‘mind’, it can be transformed slowly but surely so that it can work with us and not against us. A necessary part of spirituality therefore is understanding this and accepting that the transformation is possible because as the article says ‘the ego is like a river flowing to meet the ocean of Cosmic consciousness and merge with it forever.  At that point ego dissolves on its own accord, like a salt doll entering the sea’.
Another important point that we need to be aware of, however, is that  in the period we live in now (where we are approximately 70% ego!) the ego has become so strong and cunning that it has almost made us dependent upon it, so we actually need it to survive. In the last thousand years of human existence it has learnt to work with the survival instinct in order to ensure its own survival. So we need to be able to separate the two. ‘We have to have enough ego not to stand in front of the bus.’ Thus, separation of the two is most definitely necessary so we can see which is which and how to react.
We can only do this with awareness of awareness. We need to know about the ego, what it is, so that every time something happens to us we are in the position to ask ‘who is talking’; we need to know if it is the ego or the soul. Slowly by understanding the ego we can get to know the difference.
So the ego is part of the path; we have to have it, realise it and then leave it behind. We have to have it and  then lose it rather than not to have had it at all. The ego must come out and not be suppressed. Once we have everything, then we can move on to the next stage which is to be or to have nothing. And that is when we can say we are continuing on the right path.
However the ego is very cunning as once the ego is out it definitely does not want to go away so that is why we need awareness of awareness, an understanding of what is happening, so we can put the ego to sleep, make it dormant. But we also need a lot of strength, discipline, the use of regularity, repetition and rhythm in our lives and  of course knowledge. It may take a long time to achieve, weeks, months, years even, it is not something that can be understood or applied so easily in the brutal and materialistic illusory world that we live in.
Our ultimate goal is to learn how to push it into the background permanently or if not permanently, then relentlessly, so that our true selves can eventually be revealed and so that we can reach spiritual levels which would otherwise be impossible to attain if the ego has its way.

Tasoula Charalambous SBS team 2019-

2020