Archive for February, 2008

ZEN and the Art of Complaining

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

A summary of an interesting experiment, that I had to try for myself…

Excerpt From NCtimes.com
http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2007/05/04/faith/16_51_415_3_07.txt

Rev. Will Bowen

Last July, Bowen challenged worshippers at Christ Church Unity to quit complaining as a way to bring more prosperity into their lives.

At the July sermon, Bowen handed out about 250 purple bracelets he wanted his congregants to use to remind themselves to stop complaining, criticizing or gossiping. Sarcasm was another no-no.

He challenged them to refrain from complaining for 21 days because, he said, that’s how long it takes to break habits. Whenever they found themselves failing they were to switch the bracelet to the other wrist and start over.
 

So I had to try a shorter, simpler version of this focusing on complaints only but instead of a purple bracelet I used my mala :) 

I also decided I would switch hands everytime I caught a thought that had the potential to be a complaint in addition to an actual verbalization.

This experiment brought up a lot of interesting internal dialogue but I will just briefly note my experience.

Ok.. work and commuting are major triggers particularly in the A.M (I’m not a morning person).. over the two day experiment i found most of my complaints along the lines of:

Complaint type 1 - poor transit manners
People hogging up space on subways and buses i.e taking up two seats with legs spread wide, people putting all their stuff on the seat beside them on a packed bus/subway

Complaint type 2 - hygenic
people coughing without covering their mouths, people trimming their fingernails on the subway

Complaint type 3 - weather
It has been cold..and it has been an unusually sunless, grey, heavy snowfall winter

Complaint type 4 - the mala on the opposite wrist of what i’m used to
lol.. i was laughing at myself on this one. Whenever the mala was on my left wrist it felt awkward and it interfered with my watch etc. SO when I caught myself complaining about this one, I did NOT switch wrists.

Complaint type 5 - smokers
smoking by the main entrance to the workplace

Complaint type 6 - patience issues at the office
slow cashiers and an office electric kettle that takes about 2-3 times longer to bring water to a boil than your average

Ha! I just had a “thought complaint” as I wrote about the boling water…no one ever refills the kettle with new water and let’s it boil for the courtesy of other people or they just snag your freshly boiled water

Anyways, this experiment was a good one and it really works!

After only one day, I became far more mindful of my thought patterns. I found myself seeing the circumstances and feeling the sensations that would usually lead me to create the strong thought which leads to a verbal complaint.

I found I became very aware of other peoples complaining.. especially at the office!

I also spent some time attempting to figure out where to draw the line between an observation, an annoyance and a true complaint.

Factoring all this in, I found that I started to became more sensitive to things that I should be grateful for.  It seems as though it would be quite possible with continuous practice (as described in some buddhist teachings) to consistently replace these unwholesome thought patterns with wholesome ones.

This techniqe works, in fact i’m not sure why I am not continuing it at the moment? Either way, I am storing this in my “ways to enlightenment bag o tricks”!

Give it a try.. gossiping, complaining, yelling, swearing.. I can see so many applications!

If anyone does give it a go, i’d love to hear about your experiences, so please comment back.

peace
s

Yoga Workshops In Toronto and Alan Watts Theater

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Just a quick blog to highlight an interesting website that I came across and update any local readers on the latest yoga workshops I’ll be teaching over the next two months. 

If  you get a chance check out http://www.freshminds.com/animation.html which animates some excerpts from Alan Watts’ recorded talks, surpisingly, the animation is brought to you by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park fame. 

For more information on Alan Watts please visit http://www.alanwatts.com/ 

Yoga Workshops.. 

We’ve had such a great time at the first Ashtanga FUN-damentals Workshop, we’ve decided to add a part II.  Also, I’m taking the layout from the first workshop and offering it at another studio.

See below for the deets:

Bosnar Centre for Health presents: Ashtanga FUN-damentals with Sebastian – RYT

Thursdays Feb 21- March 27  7-8:30pm

Come experience Ashtanga yoga and allow it to open your body and mind!

This 6 week course introduces the practice and basic theory of Ashtanga yoga in a slow and safe manner.
   
The focus will be on the sun salutations, basic standing, seated and
finishing postures while we also explore the fundamentals of breath,
drishti, vinyasa, and the bandhas.  The small class size will allow for
more individual attention, assists, and questions.

Ashtanga yoga is a practice that helps develop strength and flexibility
through a flowing and vigorous series of postures.

Ideal for beginners and those yogis who wish to deepen their current
practice and understanding of this system of yoga.
6 week Ashtanga course Feb 21- Mar. 27 @ 7-8:30 $120.00

Ashtanga FUN-damentals part II with Sebastian
4 week course from Feb 24 - Mar 16 Sundays 1:30 – 3:00

This 4 week course expands on the previous FUN-damentals workshop moving
deeper into the practice and basic theory of Ashtanga yoga in a slow and safe manner.

The workshop will present a basic overview of all the postures found in what is
known as the “Primary Series” incorporating modifications for some of the more
challenging postures. There will also be brief discussions on the Ashtanga
“Eight Limbs” of Yoga philosophy upon which this practice is based.

The small class size will allow for more individual attention, assists, and questions.

Ashtanga yoga is a practice that helps develop strength and flexibility through a
flowing and vigorous series of postures.

Ideal for those yogis who are familiar with the Ashtanga basics and wish to
deepen their current practice and understanding of this system of yoga.

Yoga Queen 1273 Queen St. W
phone: 647.236.YOGA (9642)
email: info@yogaqueen.ca
cost: $80
Please phone or email for registration