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Know that these mala beads are made by a Vet with PTSD in hopes of bringing awareness to and raising money for other Vets...with or without PTSD. Money raised through the Mala for Vets iniative supports Veterans Yoga missions like Mindful Yoga Therapy, VETOGA, Connected Warriors, Warriors Ascent, The Sparta Project and the Give Back Yoga Foundation.

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MalaforVets Blog

Follow the Pursuit of Compassion.

Filtering by Category: "Intentions"

Naughty or Nice 2015

Chris Eder

FIRST OF ALL...THANK YOU...EVERYONE OF YOU...FOR MAKING 2015 AN #AUMAZING YEAR FOR MALAFORVETS!

Mad props to Navy Pilot/Bad-Ass Yogi/Totally Naughty&Nice/ Liz Corwin for being the Naughty or Nice model two years in a row. Follow her on her blog  or on Instagram @lizcorwin

As we wrap up yet another wonderful year...I can't help but think if I have been Naughty or Nice? NO JUDGEMENT...rather maybe a little curiosity and humor! I firmly believe...I might have been a little of both. Naughty because I still can't seem to say NO to any TACOS! Nice, because in 2015, I sent out hundreds of Warrior Mala beads to Veterans around the nation and helped raise nearly $7,000...plus a couple of thousand of dollars in prizes during the #22aDayChallenge.

SO....what is your story? Have you been Naughty or Nice? Drop a little line on THIS blog...and on January 2nd I will draw a winner for the White and Red Jade mala. ($108 )

I've Got 9/10ths Issues...and Suffering Is One of Them

Chris Eder

I love the saying possession is 9/10ths the law. It basically breaks down to custody equals ownership. In a court of law the phrase is a rebuttable presumption: ownership is recognized unless disproved by someone holding a more valid claim. In other words, if I see you driving a new car, I would believe that it is yours. I mean maybe you’re renting it…but the time I saw you driving in it…it is my perception that it was yours! If my eyes see ‘it’ (perception) and you have ‘it’ which I see…then it’s yours!  Right? Maybe I see you and you look like you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. That must be heavy. What about when we see ourselves and we ‘feel?’ I feel like I am carrying the weight of the world…it sure is heavy! I just can’t seem to shake whatever it is that is bothering me…it is really getting the best of me. I am sad!

Chapter 2 of the Yoga Sutras is about the ‘process of practice’ and how suffering is related to perception, which is connected to karma, which is connected to cause and effect. Well, physics is also about cause and effect. So I guess if you can’t understand karma, maybe you can understand physics. If you can’t understand physics…then I suppose it’s back to the yoga mat for more reflection.

Going back to possession and how it’s 9/10ths the law. That is wholly based on perception. In other words, someone has to physically see you with something in order to proclaim you in fact have whatever it is they physically see. So if you and I can physically see someone in possession of something, we can easily assume to the degree of 9/10ths or roughly 90% accuracy that the person owns whatever it is. What if we can’t see it? What if it’s not tangible, or as described in the Yoga Sutras, undifferentiated…meaning it is invisible? Then what? How are these variables or perhaps citta-vritti related?

In physics cause and effect relationships are categorized by how the variables (citta-vritti) relate to each other. There are two main relationships: direct and inverse. When you turn the heater on, it gets warm. That is a direct relationship. Magnets are great examples of an inverse relationship because as you increase the distance between two charged magnets, you decrease the force of attraction or repulsion. In physics…you can well physically see these things happen. If you’re really smart you might even be able to come up with a regression formula that mathematically proves the direct and inverse relationships.

In life…we often can’t physically see things. When someone says that you look like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, they don’t physically see the entire world on your shoulders. At least I hope they don’t. When you are sad, depressed, anxious etc…you don’t physically see what is causing you to feel this way. Rather you perceive yourself to be….fill in the blank. These feelings are however related karma, which is related to cause and effect…and we know that physics is also related to cause and effect. Public math…if possession is 9/10ths of the law…that is to say that I physically see you with something (direct relationship) then if I can’t see something (vitta-vritti), but I perceive there must be something causing this current level of discomfort, might it be safe to say that if I can’t see it, then it must be inversely proportional to that what I can see? For the sake of easy math…and not subject to debate, let’s say it’s 1/10th. If we accept this genius mathematical assumption, then I can then break down chapter 2 of the Yoga Sutras by saying that the cause of all suffering is based on 1/10th of reality.

Pantanjali suggests not seeing things as they are as the cause of ALL suffering. Call it false perception, or misperception, on a scientific level, if you can’t see it, then how accurate can your perceptions really be? Sadly, it doesn’t matter. Back to physics again…Newton's first law of motion - sometimes referred to as the law of inertia states, “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” Suffering seeks to remain in the state of suffering, much like an object in motion stays in motion. In physics it takes an unbalanced force (action) to change the direction of motion. In life, it takes skillful action to change the suffering.

Have you ever noticed that when you’re with a bunch of positive happy people, you’re happy and positive…but when you’re surrounded by sullen and sad people you tend to (eventually unless you leave) to get soar and depressed? Yeah…kind of like Newton’s Law, or Pantanjali’s ‘process of practice.’ The core of Pantanjali’s ‘process of practice,’ is the yogic skill of discrimination, or as he calls it, viveka. Much like Newton’s Law of motion, in order to change the direction of suffering, you will need to put in some continual effort (action/unbalanced force) and practice.

Here’s where it gets tricky. This continual effort you’ll be applying is really no effort at all! Let me explain. My yoga teacher Rolf Gates often says, “Going after something usually results in crisis. Things don’t come up when you want fix them…they come up when you’re ready to fix them! When you have enough bandwidth to focus.” Confused? Well, remember nothing worth doing is every easy, however, I might be able to make all of this karma-slash-physics-slash-Newton-random Sanskrit word all make sense.

The art of discrimination, this yogic skill, or viveka needs to start somewhere. Much like a seed you plant, you must water, nurture, refine, and then harvest…repeat. In order to create an environment where your viveka seeds will grow (gain momentum/create an unbalanced force) we will need some tools. Theories and calculators are very popular tools in physics. Together they provide a framework of accepted results and a manner in which to calculate the result. Pantanali offers something very similar. He has 10 theories broken down into five things you should not do and five things you should do. Instead of a calculator, Pantanjali offers compassion.

You may of heard of Pantanjali’s 10 theories, more commonly known as the Yamas (the do not’s) and Niyamas (the do’s.)  They represent the first two arms of a bigger formula for success called the 8 Limbs of Yoga. Here is a quick breakdown of them:

Yamas - the five restraints or the "don'ts"

  1. Ahimsa - Non-violence

  2. Satya - Truthfulness

  3. Brahmacharya - Control of the senses and celibacy

  4. Asteya - Non-stealing

  5. Aparigraha - Non-covetousness and non-acceptance of gifts

Niyamas - the five observances or the "do's"

  1. Saucha - Purity, cleanliness

  2. Santosha - Contentment

  3. Tapas - Austerity

  4. Swadhyaya - Self-study, study of scriptures

  5. Ishwara Pranidhana - Surrender to God's will

These are tools of the trade. When applied on a consistent basis (viveka) they will begin to work in concert with your power of reason. Sort of like some kind of Jedi-mind trick. In short, collectively the Yamas and Niyamas begin to create momentum where as you will begin to move from judging to noticing…from unskillful means of living to skillful means…from reacting from a place of false perception to integrating compassion in a non-reactive gentle way.

Still confused? OK…let me try and bring it all home by using yet another adage. I always chuckle a little when someone brings up either in a direct way or indirect way about how the grass is always greener on the other side. It comes up when people are leaving a job they no longer like (or got fired from) and are headed to a new one…or many different ways…you get my jest. I have found over the years, the grass is rarely greener on the other side. However, in some cases…it has been truly greener. Want to know why? In a word…VIVEKA! In normal words…because that person has tended to his grass…watered it, nurtured it and cultivated it in order to keep it from browning. Sure does sound a lot like Newton’s Law and Pantanjali’s ‘process of practice.’

If we are able to recognize when we are suffering because of false perceptions (know when to water the grass) and instead of judging the sensations, apply yogic skill (recognizing when to cut the grass), we will eventually be able to identify some sort of cause and effect (water makes grass green…weeds kill grass). From here all we have to do is apply the Yamas and Niyams (fertilize and remove any weeds) on a consistent basis. If you plant good seeds…you’ll get good fruit. If you cultivate compassion…you’ll get profound stillness and peace. However, if you still want to cultivate false perceptions…you will forever be seeking green grass elsewhere when the most amazingly lush grass is well within your reach.


New Year...New You!

Chris Eder

 There are several Mala beads available to help support you with your new intentions!

There are several Mala beads available to help support you with your new intentions!

HAPPY FIRST WEEK of 2015!  I hope that so far, 2015 is all that you hoped it would be.  I have spent the first week getting organized for the upcoming school semester, making mala beads, and practicing Forgiveness and Love and Kindness meditation.  I am also still in search of a mala bead for me.  I currently wear several different wrist malas, but don't have a 108 mala.  I wear my Warrior Mala  as a reminder of my past and my path, but I only wear it when I teach.  I'm sure the right mala will arrive.  I am working on a Black Agate and Orbicular Jasper mala right now that seems like it could fit the bill...but...it too will be available for purchase soon.

 This sale is on until the end of the month!

This sale is on until the end of the month!

Pursuit of Compassion - New Year's Eve

Chris Eder

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Happy New Year's Eve!  I'd like to be the first to welcome you to 2014 albeit a few hours early.  As 2013 draws to a close and 2014 is right on its tail...surely most of us are looking back on 2013...and possibly more importantly (at this moment) looking forward to 2014.  Why do we do this?  What is so significant about this one day? 

Many of you have already created (some months ago even) your New Year's Resolutions. Even the news outlets are jumping in on this tradition.  Don't get me wrong...these resolutions normally are a 'good thing' IE: Lose weight, stop smoking, eat better...these just make sense.  Right?  Nothing wrong with being healthy.  A deeper look into the meaning of the word...or the possible root reason of why we make resolutions and things begin to clear up.

A resolution is about resolving something that is wrong. If we think we are less than perfect...We will fail! An intention is about creating something new, fun and good. In addition to our best qualities.  ❤️ - Suzanne Manafort (Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans with PTS)

So this year...I will not make a resolution, rather I will set an intention.  In my case...a year long intention...hopefully longer...no judgement!  I intend to be more compassionate!  At first glance, you might think that making an intetion like this sounds a whole lot like a resolution.

  • Do I think there is something wrong with me?  No!  However, I know that my body has been beaten up with this nasty thing called P.T.S.
  • Do I think I'm less than perfect?  No!  However, I know how often I sit in my corner doing nothing but avoiding what needs to be done.
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I am compassionate...just not as compassionate as I use to be.  Thus, I intend to be more compassionate...thus...Pursuit of Compassion.

Throughout the year, I will post about my pursuit.  Several of my friends who work in the field of Yoga, Meditation, Physchology, Social Work, and Care Providers will share with us their take on compassion too! I will blog, post pictures, write poems, make t-shirts, make

mala beads

!  Just about anything and everything. I hope you will join me!  BTW...I'm already practicing compassion...as I was planning on having a new logo and graphics pacakge for this....and as of today...I don't have it.  I'll be OK!

Another fresh new year is here . . .

Another year to live!

To banish worry, doubt, and fear,

To love and laugh and give!

This bright new year is given me

To live each day with zest . . .

To daily grow and try to be

My highest and my best!

I have the opportunity

Once more to right some wrongs,

To pray for peace, to plant a tree,

And sing more joyful songs!

- William Arthur Ward