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Stillness in Action: Introducing Heal Your Heart’s Charitable Program

Written by Matt Bartlett on . Posted in About Stillness In Action

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Heal Your Heart is pleased to announce the launch of our new charitable program we are calling “Stillness in Action”. As we progressively open ourselves to Inner Silence with daily spiritual practices, we find ourselves increasingly called to engage in some form of service to others. The perceived line between ourselves and “others” begins to fade as we come to see others as an expression of our own selves. Our compassion grows and our circle of empathy expands. As this occurs, the abiding Stillness that we are cultivating within us moves outward and is made manifest through our actions as a divine outpouring of Love. Stillness in Action.

These acts of service can take many forms beginning with our daily interactions with others. Perhaps it is in the small (and large) acts of service we undertake as we engage in our family roles, as parents, sons and daughters, or brother and sisters. It might be in meeting the anger and hostility we may encounter from others with kindness and understanding. It may be in the forgiveness that we show to ourselves and to others.

Through the Stillness in Action program, we are seeking to expand our sphere of service by recognizing, supporting and contributing to the charitable works of others. We will be using the fees collected from the Heal Your Heart program sessions, along with our own personal funds, to contribute to a different organization each month. Our emphasis will be on highlighting homegrown or smaller organizations that don’t get major media attention or large organizational support. Some may be formal non-profit organizations, while others may be less structured “pay-it-forward” efforts by individuals seeking to make a difference. Every act of kindness matters.

For those of you who resonate with a particular effort and wish to contribute along side of us, we will provide a link to the donation page of the organization. If you have suggestions for an organization that you would like for us to highlight, please message us with your ideas. Thank you all for sharing in this journey with us!

Deep Meditation (Mantra): Cultivating Inner Silence

Written by Matt Bartlett on . Posted in Meditation

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“Yoga is the cessation of movements in consciousness”

Yoga Sutras 1.2

“Be still, and know that I AM God”

Psalms 46:10

At the heart of our spiritual practices we are cultivating Inner Silence—pure bliss consciousness—in our daily lives. The essential nature of our consciousness is blissful silence. It is what is behind the mind, what is experienced when the mind becomes still. It is an infinite storehouse of peace, bliss, creativity, health, and optimism. People who have cultivated this Inner Silence, not only experience these qualities themselves, they radiate them out and into their surroundings.

How do we bring our minds to silence? Meditation is the process of systematically allowing the mind to be still for specific periods of time each day. In doing this daily ,over weeks, months and years, blissful inner silence gradually permeates all of our daily activities, even when not on our meditation cushions.

The core practice of the Heal Your Heart program is Deep Meditation from Advanced Yoga Practices (AYP), developed by Yogani.

In AYP, the primary tool for cultivating inner silence is a simple yet powerful form of Deep Meditation. We use a specific thought—a mantra—to draw our mind to stillness. The mantra that we use in AYP Deep Meditation is:

 

…I AM…

 

We use this mantra, not for the meaning of the words, but because of the specific vibratory quality of the sound, which produces purification in our nervous system. The process of enlightenment is a process of purification and opening to the divine within ourselves. The mantra I AM has a vibratory quality that produces profound purification—a “global purification”—within our system that will provide a stable, unshakeable foundation upon which we will layer additional, more targeted purification techniques.

In the AYP system, no more than 20 minutes of Deep Meditation, 2x per day is recommended, once in the morning before your morning meal and again in the afternoon or evening before your evening meal. For tips on how to integrate meditation into a busy schedule, see the AYP Lesson “Finding the Time”.

Here is the technique of Deep Meditation:

1) How to Sit: The first priority is comfort. We want to minimize distractions to facilitate the process of bringing our minds to rest. Sitting in a comfortable chair with back support is a great way to start. As you become more established with your meditation practice, you can sit with your legs crossed (so long as this remains comfortable).

2) Meditation Procedure: As you sit comfortably, close your eyes and relax. Take a moment and notice the stream of thoughts in your mind. After a minute, gently introduce the mantra…I AM…silently in your mind. Think the mantra in a repetition very easily inside, at whatever pace feels comfortable to you. Whenever you realize that your mind has wandered off the mantra and into a stream of thoughts, return to “I AM”, gently favoring the mantra over the thought stream. Like that.

Encountering thoughts during meditation is a normal part of the process. When you find yourself in thoughts, do not try to “force” the thoughts out. Just gently favor the mantra over the thoughts. Deep meditation is a process of going toward the mantra rather than away from the thoughts. Gentle persuasion.

3) Rest Period: When we are performing the Deep Meditation procedure, purification is going on deep inside our nervous system. A lifetime (or two) of inner obstructions are being released as we deepen into inner silence. Resting at the end of meditation allows the obstructions that are in the process of being released to dissolve before we get up and resume our daily activities. A couple of minutes of rest with no mantra may be adequate, or 5-10 minutes of rest may be in order if many releases are occurring.

The benefits of Deep Meditation are profound. As we purify and open our nervous systems we are unfolding inner peace, creativity and energy in our daily lives. If we begin to experience irritability or discomfort outside of our meditation period, it can be a sign that we are not taking enough rest at the end of our meditation session. If we take 5-10 minutes after meditation and are still having symptoms of irritability or discomfort this can be a sign that we are meditating too long—ie, experiencing too much purification at once. This is a signal to “self-pace”, reducing our meditation time in 5 minute increments until we reach a comfortable balance. Self-pacing is very important to ensure maximum comfort and effectiveness as we pursue our spiritual unfoldment.

Stillness in Action: Heritage of Healing

Written by Matt Bartlett on . Posted in Charity of the Month

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Heal Your Heart is pleased to announce its first Stillness in Action donation will be made to the Heritage of Healing program. This organization is a great example of a local charity making a difference in its community. If others are also moved to support the work of Heritage of Healing, contributions can be made by visiting Heritage of Healing’s  donation page.

Heritage of Healing is a 501 (c), volunteer-driven organization that is based in Ypsilanti, Michigan and provides personal and community support to low-income families that are battling cancer. The charity accomplishes this through its Heritage of Healing Relief Program, which provides locally grown produce, nutrition workshops, monthly “Walk for Health” fitness walks, children’s school supplies, winter clothing, gas cards, and Christmas gift cards to needy children and their families while they cope with cancer treatment. Heritage of Healing also makes cancer awareness and prevention a major focus of its service, especially in the American Indian community, where cancer diagnosis is disproportionately high. In addition, the charity also organizes monthly movie nights, craft workshops, and occasional brunches for cancer treatment patients and their families. 

The organization aims to provide a robust support network for cancer patients and their families in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti area. One of its goals is to eventually provide housing to low-income families with a member who is receiving treatment at the University of Michigan Hospital. The specific goals are laid out on the Heritage of Healing website, which can be found here: http://heritageofhealing.org/about/. They also have a page on Facebook, which can be found here https://www.facebook.com/HeritageofHealing.

The founder of Heritage of Healing, Soshana Philips, has been battling bone marrow cancer since 2006. She is a mother of three children and decided to found the charity out of her own experience, strength, and hope. Soshana’s story can be found here: http://www.freep.com/article/20140622/

 

Stillness in Action: NEEV Public School

Written by Matt Bartlett on . Posted in Charity of the Month

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For this month’s Stillness in Action charitable donation, we are donating to and highlighting the work of the NEEV school in India. The NEEV Public School was founded in 2006 in Jharkand, India, with the aim of providing a good quality, ICSE-based English education to underprivileged sections of the society at an affordable cost. The school has been helping kids in rural areas by providing them with a holistic education that nurtures their body, mind, soul and spirit. NEEV seeks to create a nurturing environment where children can go to learn, while also discovering their unique aim and purpose in life.

In the U.S. many take for granted access to public schooling and the educational resources that are available to our children. These resources are not readily available in many parts of the world. In Jharkhand the situation with respect to education is grim, particularly with respect to females. In the East Singhbhum district where NEEV operates, the average literacy rate for girls is a mere 47%. By donating to the school or sponsoring a student, you are helping to create a once in a lifetime opportunity for these children to come out of the degrading circle of poverty and illiteracy, which will not only impact their lives, but the lives of generations to come. When we invest in the future of children, we are investing in the future of the world.

The school itself is only sustainable with sponsorships and donations. If you feel so moved, we encourage you to contribute along side of us to this worthy cause.

Stillness in Action: Aaron’s Presents

Written by Matt Bartlett on . Posted in Charity of the Month, Stillness In Action

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For this month’s Stillness in Action donation we are highlighting the work of Aaron’s Presents. Aaron’s Presents is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization giving young kids an opportunity to dream up and carry out a project that benefits others and impacts their community in positive ways. If you appreciate their mission as much as we did, please donate along side of us in any amount you are comfortable contributing by clicking here.

Aaron’s Presents was started in 2013 by Leah Okimoto as a way to honor the memory of her son Aaron. Aaron lived for 8 ½ days and in this short time he touched the lives of many people by demonstrating his strength of spirit, his will to live, his ability to elicit love and compassion and the fragility of human life. Aaron inspired his parents to honor his life by enabling young children to tap into their innate idealism, kindness and compassion and, by coupling these with their diverse talents and creativity, to achieve tangible results benefiting their families, neighborhoods and larger communities, and themselves.

Aaron’s Presents offers grants, support and mentorship to children in the eighth grade or below who are willing to take the initiative to turn their thoughtful, creative ideas into reality. Aaron’s Presents helps children realize that they have something valuable to give to the world at every age and at every stage of life, and that giving of themselves for the benefit of others brings happiness, healing and purpose. In the process, these children will not only experience the joy that comes from helping others and working to uplift their community, but also gain valuable leadership skills.

Aaron’s parents wanted to find a way to encourage children from an early age to regard themselves as members of a community, with the ability and responsibility to contribute, help and problem-solve, to think of others’ needs alongside their own, and to create meaningful connections between themselves and other human beings. Seeing children acting in thoughtful, generous and selfless ways while having fun has brought his family a great deal of joy and healing.

Heal Your Heart 2015 Retreat: May 1 – 3

Written by Matt Bartlett on . Posted in Heart Health, Practices, Yoga Practices

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We are pleased to announce the dates for the 2015 Heal Your Heart retreat. The retreat will take place the weekend of May 1 – 3, 2015. The retreat sessions will begin late morning on Friday and will end after lunch on Sunday.

Here are the details:
Where: Clarkston, Michigan at the Colombiere Retreat Center – www.colombiere.com
When: May 1 – 3, 2015
Price: $250 for single or shared (double) rooms, all meals included
Leaders: Kavitha and Matt

The retreat will include a balanced mix of asanas, breathing practices, meditation, discussion and learning sessions. Retreats are a fantastic way to deepen your practice, as all of these practices become more powerful when performed in a group setting. The beneficial effects of retreats can be felt for weeks and months after the retreat is over.

We hope that you can join us for an amazing weekend of growth and unfolding. If you would like to attend, please leave a comment below or email Kavitha.

We look forward to seeing everyone there!!

Stillness in Action: Jeevan Jyoti Ashram

Written by Matt Bartlett on . Posted in Charity of the Month

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For his month’s Stillness in Action donation we are donating to and highlighting the charitable work of the Jeevan Jyoti Ashram in India. The main objective of the Ashram is to serve the less fortunate sections of society. In particular, the Ashram has been steadfastly working towards the development and upliftment of the abandoned children of society—orphans, needy and neglected children.

Jeevan Jyoti Ashram runs an orphanage at Khandagiri Bari, Khandagiri for 68 children. The orphanage is able to provide for the basic needs of these children as well as to provide a non-formal, residential based education so that they may earn a livelihood to sustain their life when they eventually leave the orphanage. The Ashram also runs a health camp, a blood donation camp and is working on various income producing initiatives to provide an ongoing source of long-term funding for its activities.

In the future, Jeevan Jyoti Ashram hopes to undertake a number of new initiatives including:

  • Arranging for additional instructors to impart vocational training
  • Appointing a permanent song/dance instructor
  • Initiatives for enabling adoption
  • Improvement of living accommodations and the preparation of the playground

Since its inception, the ashram has been committed to the cause of social development by providing an opportunity for the less fortunate children in society to learn, grow and develop for their future. Its goal is to restore communal harmony, universal brotherhood and national integration in society.

Donations can be made directly to the ashram:

Name of Beneficiary: Jeevan Jyoti Charitable Trust

Bank: Punjab National Bank

Branch: Bhubaneswar, RPRC branch

A/C No.: 4188000100149158

IFSC Code: PUNB 0418800

 

Stillness In Action: Detroit2Nepal Foundation (D2N)

Written by Matt Bartlett on . Posted in Charity of the Month, Stillness In Action

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For this month’s Stillness in Action donation, we are contributing to the Detroit2Nepal Foundation (D2N). If you would like to support D2N along with us—particularly in light of the recent devastation in Nepal—you may do so via paypal by clicking this link. D2N is a registered 501(c)(3)non-profit organization dedicated to improving public health, health care and educational opportunities for children in the remote Himalayan District of Khotang, one of the poorest areas in Nepal.

D2N was founded by Dr. Richard Keidan, who has traveled extensively throughout Nepal. Although he initially traveled to the Himalayas for adventure, he soon fell in love with the people populating the villages scattered throughout the mountains. The nature of his trips changed in 2009 when he met Namgyal Sherpa, his sirdar (lead guide) on an exploratory trek in the Kanchenjunga Region of Eastern Nepal. Namgyal asked Richard to come back to his home district of Khotang to provide some medical relief work. What Richard learned was that Khotang was one of the poorest areas in Nepal.  The district was cut off from roads and communication, without power, without waste management (toilets), without clean drinking water and with very limited access to health care and educational opportunities. After seeing the significant needs in this region and the amazing determination of the people, Detroit2Nepal was founded.

Currently, D2N is working in three villages in this rural mountainous area- Dipsung, Rakha, and Sungdel. These villages account for approximately 10,000 people. As opposed to dictating what will be done, all projects are initiated by the Nepalese. This approach creates jobs for community members and also allows them to learn how to manage these projects. Examples of projects sponsored by D2N include rural medical clinics, student scholarships, school libraries, hydroelectric power facilities, a birthing center and various waste management projects.

Recognizing the needs in Richard’s immediate area of Detroit, D2N created the local Detroit arm of the foundation, the Miracle Fund at Beaumont Children’s Hospital. Partnering with Beaumont Health Systems, money has been raised money for two children’s funds at the hospital. D2N assists in building customized adaptive bikes for children with significant disabilities so that they may safely enjoy one of the wonderful things about being a kid- riding a bike! This “Bike Day” program is run through the Beaumont Pediatric Rehabilitation Department. The Foundation also provides financial resources for the Beaumont Pediatric Oncology Long Term Follow-Up Clinic, providing medical care for survivors suffering from health problems related to their prior life-saving treatments.

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