Expansive Freedom

Judith Bobbe, LCSW

http://www.personal-discovery-chicago.com/meditation-and-mindfulness-practices/

“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.

 

Which Do We Feed? What Do We Practice?

by Judith Bobbe, LCSW

http://www.personal-discovery-chicago.com/meditation-and-mindfulness-practices/

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:

http://www.personal-discovery-chicago.com/meditation-and-mindfulness-practices/

Experiencing Inner Freedom

img_5420By Judith Bobbe, LCSW

http://www.personal-discovery-chicago.com/meditation-and-mindfulness-practices/

“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:

http://yogainternational.com/article/view/scientific-research-how-yoga-works

for more information see my website:

http://www.personal-discovery-chicago.com/

 

This Human Mind

Judith Bobbe, LCSW

http://www.personal-discovery-chicago.com/meditation-and-mindfulness-practices/

poppy bud dreamstime_1712123

“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;

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.

 

 

for more see my website:

http://www.personal-discovery-chicago.com

http://www.personal-discovery-chicago.com/meditationmindfulness.html

Remembering, Living, Exploring

by Judith Bobbe, LCSW

“The best of modern therapy is much like a process of shared meditation, where therapist and client sit together, learning to pay close attention to those aspects and dimensions of the self that the client bay be unable to touch on his or her own.”  Jack Kornfield, A Path With Heart.

It is important to remember and understand the past. We need to understand who we are in the context of our past experiences. Our influences from early life determine the way we each cope with life.

Remembering and understanding the past, however, does not in itself create change. People often feel trapped in habits and behavior patterns which were established earlier in life, and want to understand how to change.

How can we get in touch with who we really are, beyond our expectations and beliefs?

Change and motivation grow in the present, out of openness and commitment to try new ways of behaving and thinking. In order to believe that change is possible, a different experience of who we are is the only really motivating force. Experiencing oneself differently, introduces hope and curiosity about how life might be better, if we take the risk to grow and change.

When we try new activities that expand our perceptions of ourselves, the courage to change begins. We discover aspects of our own strengths and capacities.

Practices such as Yoga, meditation, deep relaxation, journaling, making art, and other creative activities, transcend our normal life flow, and provide access to richer aspects of ourselves. These experiences reveal to us a sense of ourselves that is deeper and broader than our habitual ways of knowing who we are. Inner life exploration grounded in mind- body expansion and discovery, and in creative activity, teach us that we are more than we think we are. Exploration teaches us that there is a level of reality within us that is infinitely wise, strong and clear.

Habitual thought patterns, the demands of work, responsibilities to others, and the outside world, can combine to make it seem almost illusory that it is possible to get in touch with our intuitive strengths. It seems illusory but it is a reality. It really is possible for anyone who commits to try, to discover their own vast inner world of strength , and I can be your guide in this process of self-discovery. Your own inner world is a part of you that is deeper than any of the symptoms of depression, anxiety, fear, or other states of mind which might seem inescapable to you.

Who are you when you sit in meditation? Who are you when you stretch and breathe into a yoga pose? Who are you when you are creative? What are the strengths that are waiting there inside of you to be discovered?

Inside each of us is an entire universe of boundless potential. In yoga philosophy, this is referred to as uncovering the dust that covers the soul, burning off the dust through practices.

Through encouragement and persistent practice, attention within, and real curiosity about our thoughts, we become more positive about ourselves.  Life becomes a reality, to be lived and explored, with a whole new range of capacity for joy and freedom. Issues from the past can be healed with greater ease and comfort.

I am persistent, patient and dedicated to finding ways to help you to take the risk to grow, and to finding the ways that are best for you. I provide an array of tools to help you to discover more richness, meaning and the core of strength inside of you.

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

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Listening to Your Inner Voice

by Judith Bobbe, LCSW

The best way to fight anxiety, depression, and feeling stuck in non-productive habits, is to do any practice which helps you to listen to your own intuition. When people suffer from anxiety and depression and feel that they cannot make desired changes, they often have a shaky connection with their own intuition.  Years of frustration can dim the connection with one’s own inner voice. There is a voice there, which is not listened to, and it is forgotten. Habits take over and people identify with their habits.

Our own voice inside is that which tells us what we really need, not what our habits tell us we want.  There are many simple practices which can help anyone to be more in touch with their own innate wisdom and strength.  Accessing this source is simple yet profound.  With repetition, it becomes easier to learn how to listen to that part of you which knows what you need to do, in order to change, that part of you which wants to be healthier, stronger and happier.

There is an innate stillness, which can be accessed, without being a yogi or meditator. I teach simple skills which can enrich your life, if you want to be guided into a change process which will lift you out of being stuck with who you think you have to be.

Life experiences teach us who we think we are, but our experience of ourselves can be changed, through accessing, and through listening to, our own intuition.

 

for more see my website:

http://www.personal-discovery-chicago.com

On Facebook: Personal-discovery-chicago.com

Meditation and Mindfulness Practices
Psychotherapy for Depression, Anxiety, Substance Abuse and Relationship Issues