Tag Archives: Samadhi

Heart’s Ease

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From distress to destress

Where do we find our heart’s ease?  How do we cope with emotional distress?  What do we do to help ourselves when life gets challenging?  I find that when I can keep my heart open to joy, I have the emotional resiliency to carry me through life’s difficult transitions.

I interviewed for a job earlier this week, and it went well.  Nerves don’t bother me in such situations.  I’m friendly and open by default. I have spent much of my adult life trying to cultivate an attitude of emotional equilibrium which helps me keep my cool in stressful situations.  However, I’ve had to work hard to maintain that equilibrium in the post-interview waiting stage.  With so much riding on the outcome of an interview, the waiting can be excruciating.  These are the day to day opportunities for growth that I try to be grateful for.

I’ve always found waiting for important news difficult.  As a teenager in high school, I used to audition for solos in choir and for parts in the plays and musicals.  I was still developing emotional self-control at that age, so I was a bit more nervous during auditions, but it was nothing compared to the all-consuming distraction of waiting for the call back list to go up.  I had a hard time putting my mind on other things, and would be anxious and distracted for days until the outcome was known.  Once I got the news, good or bad, I was fine again.  It was the waiting that killed me.

So it is still for me today, even after decades of meditation and self-development under my belt.  I have gotten much better at being naturally confident in auditions or interviews, but I still am driven to distraction while waiting for the outcome.  But while my idle mind still returns again and again to the thought “Will I get it?”, I have at least learned of a few effective strategies to engage my mind in worthier directions.

Here’s what doesn’t work: sitting by a phone waiting for it to ring.  Now, I don’t have a cell phone that I use for business purposes, so if I get a professional call, it’s at home.  This makes it far easier for me to walk away  from the phone, both as an object and what that object symbolizes.  As long as I’m at home, every innocent ring makes my heart leap into my throat, and my mind buzz like a kicked hornet’s nest.  I can’t find peace in a state of hypervigilance.  But by getting away from the reminder of my discomfort, I’m better able to place my attention and my emotional energy on other things.

A very effective strategy is to find ways to be helpful or useful to the world.  I actively look for opportunities to do good deeds.  If you’ve ever volunteered your time, you likely have experienced the special kind of joy that comes from helping a worthy cause.  Selfless giving opens the heart and aligns it with a greater good. There are a million little pieces of unhappiness and suffering in the world.  Relieve a piece of that for another, big or small, and your own heart is rewarded with the very act of doing it.  It’s impossible to stay stuck in emotional distress while simultaneously experiencing the joy of selfless giving.  An open heart finds sympathetic ease when easing the distress of another.

So yesterday, to ease my distraction by a phone that didn’t ring, I looked for ways to be of use to the world.  I saw a friend in emotional distress over the grave illness of a loved one, so I offered to visit with her and help her create a custom essential oil blend that could support her emotionally in this difficult time.  I blend oils for myself to give me support in similar situations, so I was hoping to offer this friend a gesture of solace that might also provide her with a real tool to help her through this time of sadness and transition.

We chose six oils whose properties are associated with decreasing anxiety, fear, and stress: Patchouli, Cedarwood, Lavender, Melissa, Bergamot, and Cypress.  Patchouli is good for steadying the mind when overthinking and worry develop.  Cedarwood can give us strength in times of crisis, and support emotional resiliency. Lavender is rightly renowned for its ability to calm and sooth frayed nerves. Melissa can provide relief from anxious depression, while Bergamot clarifies and uplifts the mind.  Cypress helps convey a feeling of emotional cohesion, and supports our ability to cope with change, particularly with the transition of death.  When I was done with the blend, my friend was left with a custom perfume that can give her something to focus on when stress becomes overwhelming, and I was left with the heart’s ease that comes from supporting a friend in need.  And of course, I was also exposed to a therapeutic qualities of these oils as I was blending them, so it helped us both  find a bit of strength together.  That’s what friends are for.

It doesn’t do us any good to stay trapped in difficult emotional states.  Whether unhappy with some piece of our lives, or distressed about events outside of our control, staying stuck in those emotions isn’t healthy.  I think it’s important to find ways out of negative emotional states into more peaceful, joyful states of being.  This is an important part of my search for samadhi.  I seek liberation from the chains of emotional distress.   In those times when I am able to achieve emotional equilibrium, I find an infinite pool of joy waiting to offer its endless abundance.  I haven’t been able to achieve a perpetual state of bliss, and maybe I never will, but that is where I become a buddha.  No matter where I am, that is my destination, my heart’s ease.

“Better do a good deed near at home than go far away to burn incense.” – Chinese Proverb

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Blue Lotus Love

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yoga lake

The very first oil blend I ever created for myself had Lotus essential oil in it. That was seven years ago, and my love for this haunting ethereal aroma endures. I was first drawn to blending essential oils because I was fascinated by the emotional and spiritual potential of these potent substances. As a dedicated yoga practitioner, I actively seek the union of body, mind, and spirit, so essential oils are one of the means I employ. Because the Lotus is a symbol of enlightenment, it was one of the first oils I wanted to try.

I’ve experimented with White, Pink, and Blue Lotus, both full strength and in 10% dilution. Each one of these oils is subtly different in aroma, but all have a similar effect on the mind and spirit. Much as I expected to find from this sacred flower, Lotus brings serenity and tranquility, and supports a state of relaxed awareness, making it the ideal addition to a meditation blend. In fact, this first blend I made for myself was specifically designed to support my meditation practice, and I named the blend “Samadhi”, the yogic word that describes the final meditative state of bliss. For a blend with this high aspiration, I knew it had to contain Lotus.

Recently, my favorite supplier of essential oils, Marge Clark of Nature’s Gift, sourced a very special treat: Blue Lotus Infusion. When I first heard about how this oil was made, I knew I had to have a sample of an oil that was made with such painstaking dedication. As explained by Marge, “The producer [uses] equal amounts of pure Jojoba oil and fresh Blue Lotus blossoms. Seal, cover, allow to stand overnight. Drain off the jojoba, discarding the spent blossom, and add freshly picked blossoms to the Jojoba. Continue this process for 25 days. At the end of this period one is left with the most marvelously sweetly scented Blue Lotus infusion.” I knew I had to try it.

It was love at first sniff. Regular Lotus essential oil can be difficult to love undiluted. It has a deep, sharp undertone that frequently masks the more delicate floral notes it contains. Lotus is a water-borne plant. It roots in the mud, but floats upon the water. It really likes to be diluted to lift the more subtle notes out of the oil. On the other hand, the floral notes are so subtle that other oils can easily subdue it, making it a difficult note to elevate in a blend. But this Blue Lotus Infusion was different. It was bliss straight out of the bottle.

Knowing it was diffused in a skin-safe jojoba, I dabbed a drop on my wrist as soon as I could pull my nose out of the bottle. I was eager to see how it reacted to my skin chemistry, since some florals seem to fall flat on my skin. Blue Lotus Infusion held up beautifully, so I immediately filled my essendulum (a wearable sample bottle) so I could have this on hand throughout the day. Rarely have I ever fallen so in love with an oil, but this one was definitely just what I needed.

I lead a weekly meditation class, so of course I began using this oil in conjunction with meditation sessions. It is such a beautiful oil that it inspired a new meditation blend. I have been using it as an antidote to anxiety, grounding me in a time of great difficulty. It focuses my awareness on the present and brings peace when I let worry overtake me. It centers my mind and steadies my spirit. I call this blend Blue Dawn because it evokes the same sense of peace and optimism.

Blue Dawn:
4 parts Blue Lotus Infusion
2 parts Jasmine grandiflora 10%
1 part Patchouli
Equal parts frac. Coconut oil

As a devoted Jasmine lover, I usually prefer the Sambac variety, which has a richer, heavier floral than the grandiflora. I chose the lighter grandiflora here so that it wouldn’t overcome the sweetly delicate Lotus. The Patchouli is needed to ground this heady mixture, acting both as a perfume base as well as an emotional base. But be careful: a little Patchouli goes a long way; even diluted against the Lotus and Jasmine, people were able to detect the Patchouli immediately in this blend. But what a winning combination! I have been using this blend nearly every day as emotional support during a difficult and anxious time. Just pulling the stopper and taking a deep breath is enough to ground me and reconnect to the present.

This blend has been a true gift to me. I believe we are drawn towards oils that help us heal on whatever level needs healing. If we allow our intuition to inform our noses, we will be attracted to the oils we need most. Blue Lotus Infusion has become a powerful tool in my quest for serenity and peace.

Namaste.

(A copy of this article first appeared on the blog of Nature’s Gift on 26 April 2012. http://naturesgiftaromatherapy.blogspot.com/2012/04/blue-lotus-love.html I wholeheartedly endorse this company without any hesitation or reservation.  It’s ethically run by real people who care a lot about what they do.  If you are interested in essential oils, this is where you should get them.  And no, this is not a paid endorsement)