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A Day Visit at Yosemite National Park

“It is by far the grandest of all of the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.” – John Muir

I recently did a day trip to Yosemite National Park. It was a perfect August day. The temperature was at the high 80s. I took Route 120 into the park. My first impression was the park is filled with interesting rock formations. However, no one rock is like another. The park is also full of Ponderosa Pine. The cinnamon-red bark of these pine trees are handsomely marked with irregularly shaped plates separated by dark crevices. Ponderosa pine lives to 300 to 600 years.

I felt my worries from the week melted away simply by being in this beautiful park.

Tenaya Lake

Around lunch time, I arrived at Tenaya Lake. The lake is surrounded by granite domes and forests. The water is blue and clear. I got a sense that I could see every rock in the lake because the water is so clear. When I looked out to the lake, I felt quiet and peaceful. I secretly wished I could sit by the lake for the rest of day. It was around lunch time. Lots of people were picnicking and enjoying their sandwiches by the lake. Quite a few people were swimming in the lake. Of course, almost everyone was taking a picture of the lake using their smartphone. I was very happy to see so many people were enjoying nature and having a good time.

Tuolumne Meadows

The air is pristine and crisp. The area is quiet. The meadow, creeks and surrounding granite mountains are spectacular with remarkable rock formations. Every rock seems to be just at the right place. It is tranquil and peaceful. It was also a good break from the crowds. I spotted two young mule deers with their mother on the meadow. It was an amazing feeling to see three deers up close and personal. It was a highlight of my trip.

Lembert Dome

Lembert Dome is a gigantic rock formation situated at the east side of Tuolumne Meadows. The dome is hugged by Tuolumne River and surrounded by Alpine trees. On a sunny day like the day I visited the park, with the blue sky as the backdrop, it is simply a Kodak moment. Lember Dome trail is a moderate to strenuous hike because of its elevation and rock climbing to the top. Once you get to the top of the dome, it will afford you a panorama view of the Tuolumne Meadows.

Yosemite National Park is truly a magical place. I sincerely hope you have an opportunity to visit this amazing park in the near future. The visit will transform you.

Link to the August 19th online meditation class: http://bit.ly/2upf3ql

A Three-Minute Vacation: Learn to Meditate with a Mantra


Please join me (Charlene) to learn how to meditate with a mantra to bring more happiness and joy into your life by watching the video below. Give yourself a gift of three-minute vacation by meditating. If you’d like to learn more about how to meditate, please click on the link below to sign up a meditation class. Happy meditating! May your rest of the week be filled with joy and peace.
Link to the July 22nd meditation class: http://bit.ly/2uk161b
Link to the July 29th meditation class: http://bit.ly/2u26LaM
Link to the video: https://youtu.be/1UY2ew0eTqI

3 Tips to Celebrate Summer Solstice 2017

Happy solstice! Today is the first day of summer in the northern hemisphere. Summer solstice is a very powerful time, which means there is extra energy during this time of the year. In India, there are tons of celebrations through meditation, chanting, scripture reading/recitation/discourse to welcome the beginning of the summer.

For practitioners of meditation and mindfulness, how can we best use the energy of summer solstice to accelerate our practice?

  1. Re-start your meditation practice

Shunryu Suzuki says, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” Take a fresh look at your meditation practice. Examine every detail. For example, is your meditation space neat and clean? Your physical surrounding is a reflection of your mind. It is a good time to tidy up your meditation space. Another example, if you meditate with music, how about using different meditation albums that you have not used before to bring in new energy?

  1. Review and set your career goals for the next 90 days

Direct the energy you gain from your meditation practice to your career (or work, school work, projects that you’re working on). Use your career as a focus and concentration exercise while you’re not formally sitting down and meditating. Write down your career goals (including your educational goals) for the next 90 days. You can further break down your goals to the monthly goals and weekly goals. The study shows people who set goals tend to accomplish more (click here for the details of this study). Goals give you concrete targets to focus your energy. If you’d like, you can place a copy of your written career goals on your meditation table.

  1. Radiate love and kindness

Endeavor to have positive thoughts, speak positive words, and have positive actions throughout the day. For example, give the biggest smile you can when interacting with cashers at the checkout counters. Send silent prayers and blessings to everyone you meet (either online or in person) today. Hold the door open for someone today when you go to Starbucks. These random acts of kindness will fill you with love and joy and make the world a better place.

May your summer 2017 be filled with joy, love, and peace. What is the first step you’ll take today to implement the tips listed above? Please share your comments below.

6 Tips to Open Your Heart Chakra to Welcome Joy into Your Life

1) Exercise before you meditate

In general, you’ll have a better meditation experience if you exercise before you meditate. We recommend yoga, running, swimming and walking. Please check with your doctors first to determine a particular exercise regimen that works for your current health condition(s). The key is consistency. Doctors recommend working out at least four to five times per week and at least 30 minutes per session for a healthy adult.

Yoga has roots in helping meditation practitioners improve their meditation practice. Body, mind and spirit are interconnected. Through yoga movements, your body achieves a state of relaxation prior to your meditation practice.

Running is great. Not only do you increase your heart rate, but you also let go of your day.

Swimming is a whole body workout. Swimming is exceedingly beneficial when you have a lot of stress in your life. When you swim, you immerse your body in water. Water neutralizes your energy body. After a swim, you feel the weight lifted from your body.

Walking in a park gives the benefits of exercising and spending time in nature. Studies show spending time in nature reduces stress.

2) Volunteer

Volunteering is a key to open your heart chakra. Volunteering is an act of selfless giving. When you engage in an activity for the sole purpose of the welfare of others, it transcends your state of mind and makes you happy.

Pick a volunteering event that is close to your heart. We volunteered at Second Harvest Food Bank (http://www.shfb.org/) in the past. We believe everyone in America should be fed and sheltered. Through this volunteering event, we learned more than 250,000 people rely on food from Second Harvest Bank every month in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, including 100,000 children. As a community, together we can end the hunger.

The miracle of doing volunteer work is that you feel the openness of your own heart. Volunteering is selfless giving. When you give selflessly, your problems and concerns fade away temporarily. You realize your problems and concerns are insignificant compared to others’ suffering.

You realize it is a privilege to help others. The goodness you feel through volunteering will carry you into a state of gratitude and joy. Try it. It works!

3) Chant

You can spend a few minutes chanting prior to starting your meditation practice. You can chant a mantra such as Om Mani Padme Hum (pronunciate as ohm mah nee pahd may hum). Om Mani Padme Hum means the jewel is within the lotus. Happiness and joy are within you. You can listen to this chant by Mercedes Bahleda.

You can chant devotional songs such as “O God Beautiful”. This chant, written by Guru Nanak, was translated into English and made known in the West by Paramhansa Yogananda.

4) Read books that inspire you before you meditate

Swami Brahmanada encourages us to read devotional scriptures before we meditate. Read a few pages from books and teachings that are written by enlightened teachers, such as “Whispers from Eternity” by Paramahansa Yogananda, “The Eternal Companion: A Guidebook for Spiritual Practice” by Swami Prabhavananda or “The Song of God: Bhagavad-Gita” translated by Swam Prahavananda and Christopher Isherwood, prior to your meditation.

5) Meditate!

Mediation will make you happy and open your heart chakra.

6) Opening the heart chakra is a process

Opening the heart chakra is a process. It takes practice. It takes patience. Constant practice will open your heart chakra.

Pick a tip listed above. Practice it. If you have other tips that you practice to open the heart chakra, please share them via the comment box below.

 

Learn to Meditate with Your Third-Eye Chakra

Please join me (Charlene) to learn how to meditate with your third-eye chakra to bring more clarity and focus into your life by watching this video. Give yourself a gift of three-minute vacation by meditating. If you’d like to learn more about how to meditate, please click here to sign up a free introduction to meditation class. Happy meditating! May your week be filled with joy and peace.

Using Peace & Harmony Prayer to Bring Peace to Yourself and to the World

 

While at work last Friday, I learned that an attack possibly linked to terrorists took place in Stockholm, Sweden. I was shocked. I found myself enveloped by sadness, hopelessness after reading the news. I paused and began the Peace & Harmony prayer. Within two minutes, I regained my centeredness through this prayer. After the prayer, I noticed the air seemed to be sparked with light from the vibration of this prayer.

What motivated me to learn the Peace & Harmony prayer?

I vividly remembered the day I began the Peace & Harmony prayer was November 13, 2015. The date that an attack took place in Paris. After reading the news of the attack, I asked myself inwardly, “How can I help?” I wanted to do something to contribute to world peace in the light of Paris attack. I was very surprised to hear the answer in my own heart, “Be more at peace with yourself.” I intuitively understood the answer means world peace starts with being at peace with myself. At the very same night, a friend of mine introduced me to the Peace & Harmony prayer.

What is the Peace & Harmony prayer?

Peace & Harmony prayer was taught by Paramhansa Yogananda, who was the author of Autobiography of Yogi. He originally taught to use this prayer to heal the conflicts in relationships.

Peace & Harmony prayer to heal troubled relationships: you pray, “Lord, fill (the name of the person who you have conflicts with) with peace and harmony, peace and harmony” for 1 minute.” See this person surrounded by light. You then pray, “Lord, fill me with peace and harmony, peace and harmony” for 15 seconds. See yourself surrounded by light. Countless people have reported miraculous results of using this prayer to heal troublesome relationships at work and at home.

Peace & Harmony prayer to heal the world: you pray, “Lord fill the world with peace and harmony, peace and harmony” for 10 time. You continue to pray, “Lord, fill me with peace and harmony” for 3 times. You may choose to include a visualization with this prayer. Prior reciting the prayer, visualize waves of peace emanating from your heart. Peace surrounds you and your home. Waves of peace expand and surround your neighborhood, your state, your country, and the world.

How has this prayer helped me?

  1. Help me feel peace and centered

This prayer is like a smoothing balm. I end my morning meditation with this prayer. It helps me to start my day with the intent of peace.

  1. Help me make choices throughout the day based on peace

Being at peace with myself is a choice that I consciously make throughout the day. For example, I listen to music that does not make me feel restless. In addition, many scientific studies have     shown calming background music can significantly reduce stress while music with high volume induces stress.

  1. Help me be at peace and contribute to world peace at the same time

It is the highlight of my day to say this prayer. It also makes me smile in my heart to accomplish two things through this prayer. This prayer is perfect to help me feel at peace.
At the same time, I do good by contributing to the healing of the world.

This prayer can help you, too.

I invite you to try the Peace & Harmony prayer for 21 days if you’d like to be more at peace with yourself and to live in a world filled with peace. See it for yourself. Please share how the Peace & Harmony prayer has helped you after you have a chance to practice it.

About Charlene
Charlene has over 20 years’ experience in the art of meditation and mindfulness. For over 15 years, she leads meditation classes around the U.S. to inspire others to experience joy of their own beings through the practice of meditation.

Relax, Renew, Recharge by Spending Time with Nature

Zuma-Beach

Nature does not hurry, and yet everything is accomplished. – Lao Tzu

One of my favorite things to do on the weekends is to spend time by the ocean. I pack my backpack with an inspirational book, a writing journal, and something to sit on. Off I go to a local beach.

The entire time I am at the beach is a meditative experience. When I get out of my car, before I begin my walk to the beach, I spend a few moments inwardly to say hello to the ocean and thank her to give me this opportunity to spend time with her.

I love strolling down the beach. The sound of ocean immediately transports me to a place of happiness and joy. The view of ocean reminds me eternity is ever new, limitless, and expansiveness.

After the walk, I like to find a quiet spot on the beach to sit and just be. My sitting (meditation) usually starts by gazing at the ocean. I am always amazed when I look at ocean waves. Ocean is an ancient being. She is over billions of years old and yet she is never tired of letting her waves rise and fall over, over, and over again. Have you noticed: not one single wave is the same as the other one?

With my eyes either opened or closed, I then switch my focus to listen to the sound of the ocean for a few minutes. Just let the sound of ocean to envelop every port of my being. The sound of ocean soothes and comforts me.

If it happens to be a sunny morning or afternoon, with my eyes closed, I then switch my focus to the point between my eyebrows and a little bit above where the third eye chakra (a chakra is an energy center) is located and feel the warmth of the sunlight around the third eye chakra for a few minutes or as long as I can. I end my meditation by silently saying “thank you” in my heart for the opportunity to be able to meditate by the ocean.

I warmly invite you to find time this week to spend time by the ocean to walk, to meditate, or simply to enjoy the view if you can. You’ll be pleasantly surprised your body, mind and spirit will be relaxed, renewed, and recharged by spending time with nature.

About Charlene
Charlene has over 20 years’ experience in the art of meditation and mindfulness. For over 15 years, she leads meditation classes around the U.S. to inspire others to experience joy of their own beings through the practice of meditation.

 

Happy Spring Equinox!

Park in Spring Time

Today is the first day of the Spring in the U.S. Spring is here. Can you feel it?

Spring flowers are in their glory in my local parks, beaches, and neighborhood. I enjoy taking time to stroll through a park to watch and observe spring flowers after a busy day at work. By focusing my attention on the beauty, the vibrant colors of the flowers, the tension and stress falls to the background of my mind. Also allow myself to fully breathe in and out of the fresh air and to fully take in visually with the green grassy field and the blue expansive sky. Within less than 10 minutes, I am in the state of calmness and expansiveness.

I invite you to take 10 minutes this week to take a walk in your local park and to experience peace and calmness that Nature awaits to share it with you!

Also join me for a special meditation class on Saturday, March 25 in Pasadena, CA to renew and recharge yourself in celebration of Spring. Here is the link to sign up the class: http://bit.ly/2mpyR9O  I look forward to meeting and meditating with you this weekend …

About Charlene

Charlene has over 20 years’ experience in the art of meditation and mindfulness. For over 15 years, she leads meditation classes around the U.S. to inspire others to experience joy of their own beings through the practice of meditation.

4 Ways to Find Happiness In Chaos

productivity

It’s tough these days to find a place of contentment unless you’re truly seeking it out. Phones ring at all hours of the day. Facebook notifications draw us back toward the computer even when we’ve got other things we’d rather be doing. E-mail notifications at 2 am can ring, making it difficult to get back to sleep. In the midst of all this chaos, is it really possible to find a happy place where contentment reigns supreme?

It is possible if you are willing to make four potential changes in your life:

Find time to step away from it all. There’s only so much that your mind can take. It might be a sponge that can absorb a lot of data, but even a sponge can become overflow and leak out liquid! Find time to step back from all the distractions every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes, so you can find some peace from it all. You’d reset your computer when it begins to get errors, right? Take the time to restart your mind once and awhile too.

Find a place that you can breathe in some fresh air. There’s something that causes the air in my office to plug up my nose every day. If I’m in the office for too long, I start getting this creeping headache that sets in, right around the upper part of my sinuses. Add in the tension from a tough day and a full blown migraine isn’t out of the question! By finding fresh air and breathing it in deeply, the extra oxygen can literally recharge your system, much like you’d recharge your iPhone when the battery is low.

Don’t assume responsibility for everything. The reason why so many people begin to feel overwhelmed is because they try to do everything on their own. This on its own creates chaos, but when it becomes combined with all the other chaotic moments of a busy modern life, you can give yourself a hurricane force storm of chaos that is difficult to move through. Reach a hand out, grab a lifeline, and allow others to help you out. Have confidence in them, have faith in yourself, and take on only the things that you know you can handle every day.

Don’t forget to smile! What smiling does is it forces the mind to look at something in a different way. It’s not one of those ridiculous fake smiles that you see plastered on everyone’s stressed-out faces at the office I’m talking about here. No – a genuine smile that reflects the fact that there is a silver lining in even the darkest of clouds that could be drenching you right now, making you trudge through mud puddles!

If you are willing to make these 4 potential changes to your daily routine, then no matter how chaotic your environment may become, there will always be a tranquil place for you to go. Finding contentment in even the busiest of lives really is possible!

7 Steps To Loving Life Every Day

practice mindfulness

Far too often, we treat our lives as if it were a ship passing by the world blindly at night. Instead of looking at the twinkling lights on the shore, it is possible to be actively involved in the daily events of our lives. Instead of waking up one day and wondering what happened to your life, you can wake up every day and look forward to what might happen.

These 7 steps are proven to help you love life more every day.

#1. Disconnect

3 out of 4 kids sleep with electronics on in their room. For adults, the figure is closer to 90%. Electronic devices are nice to have as they connect us to a wealth of information and entertainment, but they can also disrupt sleep patterns. Texts, calls, or notifications at night can even wake you up. Disconnect the electronics overnight and give yourself time to breathe.

#2. Embrace

Our senses help us to experience the world in unique ways. Sights, smells, and sounds can help us to embrace new cultures, learn new things, or find new favorites. Touch helps us to be in contact with one another. Taste, which includes the sixth sense umami, has elements of all the other senses. Slow down, experience what each sense has to offer, and you will find a world of possibilities is open to you.

#3. Perfection

Each moment we experience has a small piece of perfection to it. In good times or in tragic times, there is always something good that can be taken out of each moment, although sometimes we don’t recognize those moments until they have passed us by. Actively engage each moment, seek out its perfection, and you will find that there is much more to love about life.

#4. Passion

Being busy is a state of mind. You don’t always have to be busy. You can choose to make time to pursue a passion. Include a new hobby as part of your daily routine for the next several weeks. Do something you’ve always wanted to do. As you explore your passion, you’ll be exploring a bit of yourself at the same time.

#5. Engage

What has happened in the past is history. What will happen in the future is unknown. What we have is a moment, right now, that we can control. Anxiety and worry are always going to be part of our lives, but they don’t have to be a controlling part of our lives. Take control, engage your worries, and then resolve anything that might be bothersome. You are in control of where your ship sails, but only if you’re steering.

#6. Delegate

Power comes from control. In today’s world, this leads many people to want to control the world around them. This causes people to eventually burn out because the only thing in this world that each person can control is themselves. By learning to delegate the control we feel we must have over others, we can embrace the joy that is often surrounding us at any given moment. This allows us to love what life has to offer.

#7. Contentedness

There will be good times. There will be bad times. Instead of going on the rollercoaster ride of hills and valleys, find a way to be content every day in some way. Certainly there will be challenges and stresses which will create moments of doubt in our contentedness, but these can be overcome. Accept life as it is and you may discover that it is already amazing!

Loving life every day isn’t always easy. With these steps in mind, however, life doesn’t have to be something that just sails by one day and you discover it is gone. Allow yourself the opportunity to experience everything that this universe has to offer you and you will find that falling in love with life in new ways every day is one of the best adventures we have.

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