Expansive Freedom

Judith Bobbe, LCSW


“There are two ways you can live: you can devote your life to staying in your comfort zone, or you can work on your freedom. In other words, you can devote your whole life to the process of making sure everything fits within your limited model, or you can devote your life to freeing yourself from the limits of your model.” Michael A. Singer. “The Untethered Soul.”

“Strengthen your mind and refuse to carry the burden of mental and moral weaknesses acquired in past years; burn them in the fires of your present divine resolutions and right activities. By this constructive attitude you will attain freedom.” Paramahansa Yogananda


Our thoughts and emotions are very powerful. They are part of an energetic flow. They are manifestations of a deeper energy within, a limitless life force.
Thoughts and emotions are influenced by our previous experiences and we believe the patterns that these experiences create, to be truth.
The patterns and attitudes that we carry, however, are malleable. We can influence and change the patterns that we experience as truth, so that we can see them as patterns and not as definitions of who we are.

The truth that we believe is simply what we are used to.

There is a much deeper source of being that really defines us. The unseen parts of life within, are a mysterious source of strength and vitality that propel us to grow beyond. The same mysterious force which drives flowers to grow and spiders to spin webs, exists within our molecules.

This vast capacity is often untapped. Each human being has amazing potential that can lay hidden and out of reach.

As we begin to practice meditation, yoga and other contemplative arts, or as we create things with artistic skills and processes, we get glimpses of the shining force that propels us, the part of us that is always still, yet totally alive.
With persistent practice, the mind calms more easily and the nervous system releases tension and we are refreshed from the well of life within. We can be more productive, growing beyond perceived limits. We can then begin to choose to manifest this force in daily life and in unique accomplishments, by practicing those things which unify us in our mind body and spirit.

We love to be inspired by people who embody greatness. We know deep down that we too can accomplish beautiful things, that we can contribute something meaningful and unique to the world, even if our habits, or past experiences, tell us otherwise.
We hold these heroines and heroes close to our hearts and minds to stay inspired. We use the inspiration to be persistent and to move through obstacles.
When we experience art, music, literature, highly skilled athletes, and great teachers and thinkers, we lose our limited sense of self in that wonderful experience, because it all transcends and glows and we are reminded of who we really are- the great human creature capable of unique inventiveness, beauty and creativity.



Judith Bobbe, LCSW



“Cultivating attitudes of friendliness, compassion, happiness and non-judgment…protect our mind from the subtle contaminations of animosity, jealousy and self-righteousness.” Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, The Secret of the Yoga Sutras

Thoughts flow within our minds. Tadpoles swim out of their eggs and flowers open to the sun. Dynamic forces of nature are in us and around us, the entire web of life has no boundaries.

We are made of the same spiritual and material elements as everything else in the universe. When we feel love, we are at home and at one with the world. Pure existence is undeniably beautiful.

Animals and plants grow, live and die according to the invisible laws of nature which determine their patterns, structure and inherent qualities. They are not inhibited by themselves. The life force simply emerges, naturally.

Humans are different in that we live inside of minds which are trained to be very judgmental. Judgments create walls. Every thought we have which is judgmental towards ourselves prohibits growth, and the emergence of our talents, spontaneity and creativity. While children are naturally extremely creative,  many adults have trouble developing their creativity and believe they are not creative at all. Training changes the human mind.

We judge ourselves in order to protect ourselves from being seen as not good enough. Are we good enough, normal enough? Are we too abnormal, too different? Will we be valued and appreciated by the world or will we judged and excluded?

Will be be approved of, or will will be rejected?

are we safe? …are we safe to be ourselves?

We try to protect ourselves from the worlds judgments by judging ourselves, and by trying to be perfect. Fear keeps us aligned with our judgments.

Self judgment is a prison. It can take the form of depression, anxiety, or in addictions.

For people trying to change, it becomes apparent that the inside has to change, the mind has to change.

We have to change the way we relate to ourselves. In order to do this we need new habits which support self-awareness, self-acceptance, openness and courage.

Meditation practices which cultivate compassion and kindness are a great antidote to patterns of self-judgment. Through repetitious practice of expanding the innate qualities of kindness,  we experience the hugeness of the inner self which is comprised of love. We can disengage from habits that are constricting because a natural reassurance and feelings of safety, develop from within.

Love, inner peace and patience can unfold naturally.

It is actually very practical. We change the mind by practicing the opposite of habits of the mind.

Like the flower that blooms without getting in its own way, we too can live with greater freedom to evolve.

The ability to feel safe to be oneself and to be grateful for life, in the purest sense, flourishes when judgmental patterns fall away.

for more information please see my website:http://www.personal-discovery-chicago.com/meditation-and-mindfulness-practices/

Which Do We Feed? What Do We Practice?

by Judith Bobbe, LCSW


sparkles close deer

” An old grandfather is speaking to his grandson about what causes the violence and cruelty in the world. “In each human heart,” he tells the boy, “there are two wolves battling one another—one is fearful and angry, and the other is understanding and kind.” The young boy then asks, “Which one will win?” His grandfather smiles and says, “Whichever one we choose to feed” Tara Brach

We each have  energies within which we nurture and feed. Our own thoughts and habits feed our energies. The fires of love build connections and the fires of anger create disconnection.

There is a choice we can each make every day – do we feed the fires of anger, fear and resentment, or the fire of love?

Feeding the fire of self-knowledge, and compassion offers us clear perception and ease in connecting with the world.

The fires of anxiety and silent smoldering embers of anger, on the other hand, drain the life force and cause deep unhappiness.

Until we take the time to notice and to think about it, we can by habit, feed emotional tendencies which cause unhappiness. We  can learn how to cultivate the inner fire of light and self- love instead.

The true self is self- luminous and we can develop our ability to access it and make it stronger.

Meditation practices, breathing exercises and yoga postures cultivate the fire of vitality, love and strength. So do being in Nature, being creative, and loving others.

When we do breathing exercises we strengthen and clean the lungs. More essentially, we enliven and clarify the nervous system, and the complex web of mental and emotional patterning, which is the basis of our perceptions, expectations, and our actions. These patterns comprise the basis of our approach to life.

When we stoke the fire of self- illumination, we strengthen the body, the mind and the heart.   Creative self – awareness grows and becomes a framework for developing a happy life, day by day. Attachments to anxiety, depression, stagnation and fear, all become less attractive, and change happens more easily.

For more information please see my website:


Experiencing Inner Freedom

img_5420By Judith Bobbe, LCSW


“To the degree that you are able to access your soul and allow it to guide you, the less compelled you are to act on desires born from fear, old patterns, low self-esteem, and past hurts.” Rod Stryker

Yoga creates space in the mind and body so that we experience ourselves differently. We get out of our busy minds in which we typically get lost.

When we focus on the body in yoga practice, we feel the breath moving in the body, sinking into sensation. We surrender to a deeper experience of who we are. This deeper experience is an endless well of sustenance, nourishment and clarity. We can relax into who we are and feel safe.

Our minds are often filled with negative patterns, anxieties, and pressures from within and without, which increase tension in the mind and in the body. We typically identify with our thoughts which are limiting and repetitive. Opening to body and breath awareness increases our perceptions to the true dimensions of our being.

We then see options for change, for letting go of patterns and habits which do not serve us well. We begin to see that within us is the clarity of mind and perception that we need to guide us in our growth.

We gradually make changes in our thoughts and in our actions, which accumulate into greater health and wellbeing.

But how does yoga work so that we do experience this internal freedom?

We put ourselves into postures that open the channels of the body so the nervous system relaxes with increased circulation, and we breathe. We observe. The combination of breath and movement opens us up, frees up energy, and fuels our persistence. We shift our minds to a larger perspective of neutral observation.  We shift and observe over and over again. We experience that we are really much more than our minds usually allow us to know.

As we sink ourselves into the recesses of our own being we discover a light- filled ocean of calm, a reserve of energy and optimism which feeds our ability to let go of patterns and to feel ok.

In order to change, we need to feel ok, we need to feel safe.

Yoga postures and yogic breathing, deep relaxation, and meditation, all provide different ways of accessing our inner freedom and calm. When we practice over and over again we naturally learn to shift our psychological energies when we are not doing yoga, as well.

This is the miracle of yoga. We train and the training changes us. What we do with our breath and our body focuses and changes the mind.

A new set of automatic habits develop which are grounded in open awareness of choice, rather than in avoidance of discomforts.

The physiological benefits of opening the nervous system profoundly affect all aspects of ourselves, mental, emotional and physical. The Vagus nerve is directly stimulated and released, by the combination of deep breathing and the postures. This effect on the nervous system soothes and promotes health in all systems if the body.

These processes are now proven in current medical research, supporting the ancient practices, which have evolved into modern yoga:


for more information see my website:



Our Thoughts and the Process of Change


by Judith Bobbe, LCSW


“Whatever we think about and ponder frequently becomes the inclination of the mind” Buddha

Thoughts have great power. Thoughts and habits of thought create a mindset, which influence how we perceive reality.

When we are involved with negative thinking we feel powerless, drained, angry and alone. If we stop and look, we notice that we feel constricted in our bodies by negative emotions as well, which reinforces the negativity of the mind.
In reverse when we think optimistically and with openness to other points of view, we feel expansive free and strong. We grow in our capacity to be connected with life. We can breathe more freely.

The ironic problem of being human is that we identify with our thoughts. We identify with a very small part of who we are. We think there is nothing larger in us than the contents of our own logic.

In this we become trapped because the logic of our minds is so patterned by the past, so created by previous experiences,  that we cannot see outside of ourselves. We have a continual need to protect ourselves by protecting our own point of view. Because it is so familiar, we believe it to be true.

We cannot get outside of the mind, using the mind alone.

Practices such as meditation, mindfulness, yoga and breath awareness, give us glimmers of experience of larger truths. We get a felt sense of a larger world within ourselves. We practice shifting our attention to an experience of something larger and more mysterious, over and over again.
We want to live in these larger truths because we know somehow, that there is a limitless presence that we are a part of. We are happiest when we feel connected. We feel calmer and can let go of worries and negative thinking.

Connecting with a larger sense of presence can be an elusive pursuit. We repeatedly revert to the traps in our own minds. The good thing is that if we compassionately look at the dynamics of what happens inside our own minds, we can soften the patterns which create self imprisonment.

Patterns are parts of ourselves which need attention and care.

The process of growth in self- awareness is therefore a spiritual path, a pursuit of connection, both with larger parts of ourselves, and with relationships and the world in all its aspects.
A spiritual path is a commitment to cultivating openness to change, even when it is uncomfortable, and even when there is no guarantee of the results of our efforts. We become more naturally aligned with those glimmers of light, which with practice, grow into a flame. The flame warms and encourages us to be persistent.
The light within is always there and when we connect with it frequently, it drives us to become happier and more compassionate with ourselves and with all of life. We can be courageous and live differently, easing away from doubt, and inhabiting our strengths as the new normal.

For more information:



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This Human Mind

Judith Bobbe, LCSW


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“By connecting to your life purpose, you gather the forces of Nature in the same way a seed does when it starts to germinate.” — Rod Stryker, The Four Desires


There is a light inside each of us that is a part of the grand cosmic light, boundless with possibility.  The light inside us is the light of the whole universe.

The forms of nature all reflect the same structure: the human embryo looks like the snail shell, which looks like the shape of a galaxy.

We are all part of a continuum of life, which nourishes itself with an endless capacity for change and transformation.

We each carry within us the capacity for unimaginable potential.


The psychological landscape within, however, can be fraught with conflict. We strive to avoid what we don’t want, and we to cling to what we do want.

It is a difficult state to be in, this human mind. It is so often a challenge just to be peaceful with What IS.

Fluctuating states of emotions and thoughts can blur our awareness of the unique strengths that each of us do possess.

Our true potential lies outside of our awareness.

Beneath the terrain of emotional patterns, thoughts and habits, resides a quiet pulse of life and timeless consciousness.

This layer of mind is free of all conflict. It is pure energy, and it is saturated with acceptance and love. This pool of wisdom is always present but we often don’t know how to access it. We are not aware that if we skillfully practice stillness, the light within will have space to emerge and will shine ever more brightly. Practices such as meditation, deep relaxation and yoga provide windows into deeper states of our inner world.

The main obstacle is that our emotions are the filter through which we experience the world and we get stuck because we think we are our emotions. We think we are our behavior patterns and as such we are often confined within limiting definitions of ourselves. Our behavior patterns are conditioned and created by the past and do not truly define our capacities. We have a sense of ourselves that is limited and we quickly identify with constricting emotions.

Expansive emotions such as gratitude love appreciation and wonder emanate from our true self.  When we cultivate inner light, we have greater access to positive experiences and attitudes.

The best part is that we do not have to change to become someone else, or someone better. We simply endeavor to uncover the light within, and to dwell in a larger sense of who we are. This gives us strength to be compassionate with ourselves and with others.


for more see my website;







Habits and the Contradictions of Being Human

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by Judith Bobbe, LCSW



“If you don’t consciously choose the direction of your life, your past will choose it for you.” Rod Stryker

We are creatures of habit. Our habits of thought and behavior are embedded in how we think and in how we experience the world. Just like other animals which can be trained, we are trained unconsciously by our lives to see, think, feel and behave in particular ways.

Every time we think a thought it is conditioning our mind to believe that thought.

Each time we believe a thought, our patterns of feeling and behavior are inclined to support or justify that thought.

Our unconscious beliefs reinforce our identification with our thoughts.  We think our thoughts are true, and we think we are our thoughts. There is a cycle of reinforcement of habits inside us, of which we are largely unaware.

The interaction of thought belief and feelings gets translated into our sense of who we are and what we are capable of.

Real change depends on changing this quiet but powerful dynamic.

“Your mind has measureless capacity to affect the quality and content of your life” Rod Stryker

When we choose to repetitively introduce new thoughts, actions, and intentions into our minds, and choose not to automatically believe our habitual thoughts, we create room inside for the growth of new perspectives. We cultivate a new experience of who we are.

With repetition this newly felt experience becomes a foundation for taking the risk to change. Taking steps over and over again to embody new actions, and new intentions, provides the courage to let go of the self- limiting patterns of the past.

The funny thing about humans is that we all seek comfort, predictability, and familiarity. We feel better when we know what to expect. Familiarity helps us to feel safe and to tolerate the changes which life thrusts upon us.

But in addition to seeking familiarity and safety, we also seek a larger sense of ourselves. We seek a deeper connection with the spaciousness of life, which by its nature, is unpredictable. There is a yearning, which calls upon us to grow beyond our perceived capacities. We want to fulfill our deepest potential for productivity and happiness.

This call to growth can be looked at in terms of spiritual growth, or emotional maturation, or simply the desire to be more loving, kind, patient and generous with life.

It is possible to change and become happier with ones self and life, but it is a inside job.  HH Dalai Lama says “happiness is an inside job”.  This means that we have to change the way we think. Openness to changes in thinking becomes the basis for freedom and positive engagement with the world.

We tend look to external things like people and situations to make us happy, but this is always ultimately frustrating and temporary because life is always changing.  When we learn how to rely on a more deeply felt sense of the timelessness of our own true being, we become stronger and happier.

We can cultivate an unshakeable belief in our own wholeness and power. We can grow beyond habitual thoughts and beliefs about ourselves, and can become more creative, more flexible, and in love with life every moment.

For more, see my website:




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What if…?

by Judith Bobbe, LCSW


“Through yoga and meditation, we can change the vibration of the subconscious mind by gently releasing the stored memories, beliefs, and haunting thoughts that limit us.” —Mukta Kaur Khalsa
What if our minds and hearts were as wide and open as the sky?
What if we could perceive the world, seeing beauty, opportunity and possibility everywhere?
Imagine how wonderfully reassuring that would feel.
Deep within each of is is a source of undeniable strength. This light within creates hope and confidence.
The ancient wisdom and practices developed centuries ago in the East have hidden treasures which allow us to become the fullest, strongest and most vibrant individuals that we were meant to be. These skills are easy to learn.
Practices of mindfulness, deep relaxation, yoga, meditation, and breath awareness are windows into this world of infinite possibility and trust in life.
This is the true path of freedom and growth, which dwells in the expansiveness of the sky within you,  and in the light that shines inside you, which is waiting to be cultivated.
For more see my website;

The Secret Doorway

by Judith Bobbe,  LCSW


“Mindfulness isn’t about what is happening; it is about how we are relating to what is happening — how much awareness, balance and compassion are we bringing to this moment’s experience, whatever it is.” Sharon Salzberg

The world around us is always changing. In contrast to the unpredictability of life around us is the radiant force of light inside us, that which is always available to us: a timeless source of strength and reassurance that can guide us to live a life of the highest good.

Often we get stuck in habits that prevent us from being aware that the light within is there at all. Thinking and worrying about the future, or dwelling on past events, are such familiar ways of thinking.

Habits based on fear, discouragement and disappointment  cause constriction in the mind body and emotions. We need to protect ourselves so patterns develop that create a smaller world inside us, which seems safer.

Mindfulness practices bring us in touch with a larger reality. Being in touch with what is, without judgment, allows us to have a sense of life that transcends our narrow perceptions that are habituated out of fear. We can sense new options and begin to change.


For more see my website: http://www.personal-discovery-chicago.com


Alignment Within

IMG_5391.JPGby Judith Bobbe, LCSW

There is a capacity inside each of us that is filled with strength, calm and personal freedom. This mysterious source of wisdom is always there, always available to be tapped into for guidance.

Your own soul is that part of you that resides in you, beyond the reach of anxiety depression and discouragement. It is eternal and can be accessed in stillness.

Inner life is by its nature quiet and the outer world is very distracting.

How do we turn within when the world is so compelling to our attention?

Awareness of our true nature, that spacious open sense of self, evolves naturally from practices of stillness.

Self- judgment can stop us in our tracks as meditation or mindfulness practice begins, and even as practice progresses. Negative thoughts and feelings discourage us from developing practices of self-inquiry. So, how can these obstacles be overcome?

The first step is to realize that self- judgments, doubt and skepticism are extremely natural as we begin new practices.

There is nothing wrong with you if you have attempted practices of self- awareness, and have stopped. Doubt, uncertainty or confusion about introspective processes are a part of practice for everyone. If you welcome this awareness in, as part of learning how to be with yourself, you can develop real curiosity and patience. If you make room for the doubt and the discomfort as natural, you will progress with greater success.

The proper guidance and encouragement is all you need to keep trying, and before long the benefits of practice will compel you little by little, to continue.

You don’t have to be able to sit on a meditation cushion, or even in a chair for long periods of time, to be able to learn how to look inwards with curiosity and confidence.



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