Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A little spontaneous poem for my baby (and everyone who is someone's baby)

A little background: everything is simultaneously sacred and playful in life. Spontaneous little poems, or phrases, or insights come through me everyday, I guess its just me being me and being lucky to be. I like to sing little songs to my son, some are more serious, some very silly.

This one started when I relaxed in the shower, while he ducked in and out with me. It was followed by a little song to myself, because I felt I was using too much water,(sorry Mother Earth). To the tune of "The More We Get Together", it went: "hurry up and shower, and shower, and shower, hurry up and shower, and get your ass out!" : )

But seriously, this playful little poem-song to follow seemed like a meaningful beginning, a work in progress. As I typed it, it expanded. Enjoy, and blessings to all that is, ever was, everyone, everywhere...


Even when you're old and wrinkly,
When I look at you I'll still see,
My very tiny baby.

Everyone on the street,
Everyone that you meet,
At one time, certainly,
Was someone's precious baby

Even if they are mean,
Even if they're ugly,
Inside they'll still be,
Someone's precious baby.

Even though at first view,
They may not be like you,
Deep inside they do
Have a heart just like you...

We all have a history,
We all have misery,
We all have mystery,
We all want bliss, you see.

So try and be gentle,
Try hard to see,
That everyone, everywhere,
Is still someone's baby.

Even if their mother never knew,
Even if their father didn't do,
Remember still that it's true,
Their existence is the proof,

That they are here to shine,
Here to test the lines,
Walk their path to find,
the treasure in their mind.

There is a reason,
Is a rhyme,
For everyone, everything, and every time.

We have something to contribute,
An attribute,
A gift to this world, just as we live,
And be ourselves, which we give.

And no matter where you go
And what you do, although
I know that you will grow,
In my heart and yours,
You will always be,
My precious little baby.

-Laura Harrison

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

You should know about GMO's

The Audacity of Genetically Modified Foods

"Does it bother you that we consumers are largely unaware that 70 percent to 80 percent of the [non-organic] processed foods we buy contain GM ingredients? We are 'largely unaware' because these foods are not labeled - even though 90 percent of Americans want them labeled and think that we have the right to know what is in our food. The biotech industry fights labeling viciously because they know that, if GM foods were labeled, many would refuse to buy them as is the case in Europe."

- "The Audacity of Genetically Modified Foods," Bruce Robinson, May 8, 2011


We are truly living in a precarious time in regards to food. We have never been more ignorant, more hoodwinked and more harmed by any major industry as we are by industrial agriculture. We need to know the truth about our food. Please read on and research more. Stand up and speak out if you don't think its right! Part of the yogic life is practicing deep honesty with ourselves and others, and yoga is a science of removing ignorance. As long as we remain ignorant, we are not in control and cannot make conscious choices for ourselves and our families. We cannot help support the sustainability of the earth and fellow human and animal life. Once our eyes are opened, we can never again be tricked so deviously.

The industrial agriculture system has chocked out most small farmers and farms and replaced them with huge fossil-fuel and chemical-based factory type farms. They utilize extremely destructive methods environmentally, including widespread use of Genetically Modified plants and animals. This whole system of agriculture destroys the natural fertility of the soil by poisoning the soil eco-system with chemicals. The soil production comes via these chemicals that poison groundwater and degrade the soil further. Over time more and more chemicals are needed to grow because the soil is literally dead.

Most people fall for the deceptive labeling practices used, which include happy looking animals, small family farms, and phrases like "natural" and "humane". None of these tricks or claims are truthful or regulated by law. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Natural agriculture, that which is truly sustainable, uses no chemicals. It utilizes age-old techniques for enriching the soil community and producing maximum crop yields. Techniques include composting,

 Learn about the food industry's deceptive, dangerous and destructive practices, especially the company Monsanto, which controls most of the crops grown in this country. 


by Michelle Warner

 Just days after the hullabaloo of his son William’s wedding, Prince Charles delivered a rousing speech on the evils of industrial agriculture in Washington this morning — instantly turning himself into a new icon in the battle over modern agriculture and its impact on the environment, human health and animal welfare.

Speaking at the Washington Post’s “Future of Food” conference, the Prince called the large-scale, non-local, chemical-intensive, oil-shackled system of food production “no longer as viable as it once appeared to be,” earning him hero status among the assembled sustainable food advocates. In a tweet, Grist’s Tom Philpott called him a “lucid big picture thinker.” (That’s one indication, at least, that Charles may have better luck with this endeavor than he did with his ill-fated critique of modern architecture).

His Royal Highness has been a champion for sustainable agriculture for many years, but this is his first major speech on the subject in the U.S. Citing his concern for future generations, Charles argued for food systems more in sync with nature:

Soil is the foundation of world civilization, the health of nations….But soils are being depleted, demand for water is growing ever more voracious and the entire system is at the mercy of an increasingly fluctuating price of oil…In some cases, we are pushing nature’s life support systems so far they are struggling to cope with what we ask of them…If we do not work within nature’s system, then nature can not be the sustaining force she has been.
This sort of thinking — that industrial farming is ruining the environment and isn’t a good solution for feeding the developing world’s exploding population — is exactly the criticism large farm groups are gearing up to debunk. Trade groups representing the pork, chicken, beef and egg industries and the growers of corn, soy and sugar have formed the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance and are planning a PR campaign starting in July. Here’s their message:

Consumers should realize and understand that U.S. farmers and rancher share their values and are committed to producing safe and nutritious food in a way that protects and enhances the environment, responsibly cares for animals and contributes to our larger community.
Some of those same industry groups, plus lots more, have teamed up to create another alliance — the Alliance to Feed the Future — though it’s not clear how these two groups will overlap since they’re both in the early stages.

Another presenter at the conference — Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation — argued that “the survival of the current food system depends on widespread ignorance of how it really operates.” The food industry professes to disagree. Both the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance and the Alliance to Feed the Future are based on the idea that once Americans learn the story behind their food, they’ll realize farmers are people too and that everything’s OK.

But as we’ve seen before, when the food industry decides to open up its barn doors, the picture the public gets isn’t always complete. Big Ag is smart to try and counter some of the negative publicity with heartwarming stories of third generation family farmers. But with half of all Americans admitting concerns about genetically engineered foods and 80% of moms saying they’re concerned about antibiotic use on farms, it’s going to take a lot more than slick PR campaigns to turn the tide of public opinion.

For that, the industry is going to have to adopt actual change — using a lot less antibiotics, fewer GE crops and raising animals with a humane amount of space in which to live.

Health of Your Body Colors Your Worldview + Interactions with Others

An amazing, mind-blowing insight that came to me yesterday is this: when your body is off, unwell, polluted with toxins or unhealthy food it colors not only your mood, but your interpretation of others and their moods, actions, and words. It taints your view of everything and everyone. So if we take care of our health and physical fitness (without imbalanced obsession) we are taking care of how we will be able to see, serve, love, and interact with others and our world.

I have known this, I have encountered it before: seeing how on the days when I mentally felt like garbage, my interpretation and opinion of my self in the mirror was very dissatisfied and poor I realized how malleable our perceptions are. And I have known that all layers of being inter-penetrate and are one, but this is the first time this exact observation hit me over the head with its actual experience in my life. And I couldn't be more grateful!

So yet another reason to eat good, clean vegan whole-foods, drink lots of water, practice daily yoga, and listen to our bodies needs and requests... It alters our entire experience of life, relationships and ourselves! Minimize the toxins, live lighter and freer, and enjoy this wild and precious life!

Take good care of each other and don't cling to the reactions of others, even the ones you love most. Keep a broader perspective to avoid fixating on a passing mood or moment as if it were the end of everything. Moods and opinions and even what else we share are crystallized moments, relics reflecting a vast interaction of phenomena and history and reaction to sensory experience, including physical and mental states, all colliding in this very moment. Don't grab on and freak out and think that the ship is sinking. Give yourself and others permission to ebb and flow, grow and change, express and absorb.

Yet again, taking a little space around actions and reactions makes our experience of life clearer, more satisfying, less stressful, more beautiful.

Yoga Saves My Life!

I have noticed for years that on my days off, I feel off. By the time the weekend is over I don't at all feel like myself. My ego flares up fearfully taking every subtle fluctuation of my loved ones moods as a threat to my being loved. Things don't roll off my back so well. I feel less strong and confident. My digestion isn't as well as usual. Every week, I crawl to my first class of the week humbled and seeking refuge. I walk away like a new human, freshly risen from the ashes of yesterday and remember myself.

I usually don't practice on my days off. It stems from my days of teaching about 29 classes a week myself. On the 7th day, I needed a break in self-defense. Then came my precious child, and I had this being that needed my whole attention and wasn't down with hanging out for an hour while I adjust my attitude on the yoga mat.

Well, my boy is bigger. And I only teach 7 classes each week. And on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays I need to start practicing, with my son at my side. He needs to grow up seeing what yoga practice does for me. He can join in or watch or do his own thing, but I need this. I feel the difference, the aggregation of garbage and misdirected flow of energy building up by Monday afternoon. Why have to do damage control after every weekend? Why not do what it takes to align my body, my heart, my mind everyday? Why not be my best self, feel my best everyday?

My practice has transformed my relationship to myself, to the individuals, to the world, and has saved me from a lot of suffering. It honestly and without exaggeration has saved my life. It has vastly improved my experience of life, my outlook, my whole world. An hour or even less each day is a small price to pay for incredible health, physical fitness, mental clarity, inner peace, deep satisfaction and an abiding joy that permeates my every experience.

What effects do you get from yoga practice? How often do you practice? Would practicing everyday change your life?

I offer numerous free videos on the Natural Yoga Method YouTube channel, please see the link on and let me know your requests as well.

Gratefully... LH

Monday, February 27, 2012

On Unconditional Love

The everyday kind of love in the yogic view is tainted with attachment. This doesn't refer to affection, it refers to the conditions we consciously or subconsciously apply to the relationship. I will love you as long as you fulfill x, y, and z. I will love you as long as you want to marry me, or do as I want, or give up what you do that rubs me the wrong way. I will love you as long as you obey me, let me control you, or as long as you give me everything I want.

We apply these conditions to all relationships unknowing, for example, we can get upset with our children because they may not want to submit their will to ours at all times. But is it reasonable to expect them to always submit their choices or even their comfort to our own? This truly is what we ask of them! Or in romantic relationships, we can often ask our partner to change to keep us liking them. We break down what it is to be ourselves and ask each other to play roles and put on masks. Is that healthy?

Even more subtle, the expectation for the other to love us back in the same way we love them is also a condition. It is a pretty subtle one indeed, yet it is a condition. If you have ever been in love you will know that it cannot be willed into being, it cannot be controlled, it doesn't happen by choice. It is completely natural, it is all feeling and not at all rational. If I am in love with you, it doesn't influence you being in love with me. There can be times in life we experience it. And depending on the unique situation, it can be very rich teaching grounds for both.

Don't ever feign love. Don't ever deny it. Do your best to guard it from conditional attachment. Let it be pure and unconditional, and it will fill your whole life with joy, light, and amazing experiences. It will expand your heart and consciousness exponentially.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Don't Wait Until Death to Appreciate the Here and Now

When we hear the frightening news of cancer or another ominous health crisis, for ourselves and our loved ones, we suddenly shift gears. We change our ways. We prioritize. When. We or a loved one receives the statement of "how long we have left", we open our eyes and hearts and start to share more freely how we feel. We love more fully, we live more fully. We tell the truth, we play harder, we lighten up, while feeling the very heavy sentence of how fleeting this precious life is.

What the hell is wrong with us?! Why don't we just live like that everyday? In the last few years I have sharply moved in this direction, and still haven't perfected it. But I do try my damnedest to express my love, gratitude, honest thoughts, and do my best to be present as much as possible. It has transformed my world. Some people run or are skeptical because this level of raw kindness and love is simply unheard of in everyday life. I'm okay with that. And I'm not special. Only in the fact that I have the inner freedom to live like this without fear of repercussions. Anyone can do it, we can decide at any time to just open our hearts and to tell everyone the good things we see in them when we notice them.
It empowers people, it strengthens them, it brightens their day and world. At the same time, the very amount of kindness and love we give genuinely without motives is the very amount we receive back. This is just how it works.

We never know when our time in this life will be up. Heaven forbid, we never. Know when we will last see the face of our most precious loved ones. Treasure them everyday. Treasure life everyday. Be quick to be kind, compassionate, sweet, loving, and grateful. You'll live an amazing incredible existence, whether you have 30 days or 30 years or more to go.

Love is all that lives on when we are gone... The memories that we create in the hearts of others.. Love is everything and everything is love.

Every moment is a miracle. Life owes us nothing and we receive so much everyday. Life is an adventure, filled with opportunity, simple and majestic experiences filled with delight. Enjoy this beautiful, bittersweet and brief life!!

Yoga De-mystified

Because yoga roots are wound in esoteric writings and a richly textured cultural background, there is a sort of mystery to it, especially when carried into the Western world.

The truth is that the essence of yoga can be de-mystified and gently unwrapped from its original cultural package to reveal shining truths about the heart of what it is to be a human.

Yoga practices and exercises are designed, at the most fundamental level, to reveal to us who and what we are, beyond all of the layers of accumulated baggage. They cut right through all false concepts of self and self-consciousness and reveal the shining heart of our individual identity. They not only help us to blossom fully as an individual, but they connect us to the universal layer of our selves as well, the layer at which everything is completely interconnected.

So while on the surface we cleanse our bodies and minds- tone, stretch, realign our bodies; balance, focus, and calm our minds; investigate our psyche; we also connect to the deepest layer of our existence on both individual and universal levels. This enhances our peace, health, happiness, creativity, social skills, success, sense of connection and compassion, feelings of satisfaction and leads us to a state of wholeness.

Yoga in essence describes that state of balanced wholeness, living in our fullest positive potential. Yoga can be found in any moment, in any experience, in any activity. Yoga is a state of being that is natural to every human being, across all external differences. Yoga is at heart what it is to be human.

Juicing for Amazing Health

Fresh-made vegetable juice is incredibly healthy, and when you get the hang of how to combine different flavors, very delicious.

People have the habit of focusing on bottle fruit juices as being healthy, especially for children. Store-bought juice is pasteurized though, so many of the delicate anti-oxidants and nutrients are no longer viable, and they are certainly not fresh. In addition, many juices unfortunately have high fructose corn syrup added, and even those that don't contain a lot of sugar. Even naturally occuring fruit sugars that are healthy in moderation, can have an immune-suppressing effect just like any other type of sugar when taken in higher amounts, as is found in fruit juice.

The healthiest way is to make fresh juice using organic (chemical-free) vegetables, maybe a little fruit at times, and to sip it. The longer the juice waits the more of the beneficial properties that will be lost.

A good juicer isn't cheap, but it is an investment in family health, and most well-made juicers last a long time.

Commonly juiced are beets, carrots, cucumbers, kale, celery, ginger, garlic, parsley, apples, and wheatgrass. I personally like juicing rhubarb in the Spring for a cleansing, tart beverage. I also love adding zucchini to a green juice mix to sweeten the flavor. Juicing is a wonderful way to utilize the late-Summer overabundance of zucchini!

Beets prepared for juicing, shown in the photo, were left alone and made a very enjoyable juice. Don't be nervous- beets will make your trip to the bathroom colorful, that is normal! Beets are great blood and liver cleansers.


Do you have any juice combinations that you'd like to share?

Do you have any juicing questions? Please, ask away!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Live Like You Mean It

So many people, too many people, are so paralyzed by self-consciousness, worrying what others will think of them, or how they will view them. Its sucks us dry of all joy and confidence to obsessively worry about our compliance to social norms and cultural fads.

It is purposeful and important to consider the direct and indirect impacts of our actions on other beings, such as our purchases, words and actions. However, there is a line that doesn't need to be crossed. If we creatively express ourselves, if we dress how we want to dress, style our hair the way we like, if we have fulfilling hobbies like making or listening to music, drawing, singing, dancing, or any other non-harmful activity or form of self-expression, why should we overanalyze what others will think of us? That is where we kill the very essenc of what makes us unique individuals.

Why wouldn't we all just be carbon copies if we were meant to conform to one set standard or worldview? The purpose, in my opinion, of being individuals, is to become the fullest expression of this unique vessel of universal consciousness. If we are each one drop of water in the ocean of the Universe, then we should fully experience be that drop of water with all of our heart and soul. If we are going to live this brief life then why not live it fully? Why hold back from non-harmful expression and experiences? Why stay locked in one corner of potential because we think that we can't or shouldn't or don't deserve to live boldly and joyfully?

Everything that exists has an equal right to happiness, freedom from suffering, and the experience of its own consciousness. That includes you. It is a delusion to go too far in one direction- one's own happiness over all others or the hypothetical happiness of others over one's own. The truth is that when we are happy in our hearts, truly and deeply, we radiate the warmth and light of that joy and it infects all around us. This is not a lofty ideal or metaphor. This has been proven directly in the experience of so many people since time began. This is a fact in my own direct experience, it may as well be scientific. If we supress our oen happiness, even if we think we are doing it for others, we are going to end up causing unhappiness, stagnancy, or in the least discomfort. Afterall, 85% of our communication is through body language. We can feel each other's moods, read each other's feelings and energy, see it in faces and eyes, and even posture. And our interpretation is so subconscious that most people don't even know they are doing it.

So yet again, the case for living like you mean it, living in a way that brings about deepest joy, inspiration, creativity and confidence is the highest path. It is the highest path in the sense that it not only brings more joy into the world through our own experience, but also spreads joy to others.

When we oppress ourselves it is easy to spit in disgust or distrust at ideas of reaching for the stars. However, if you aren't going to bother to follow your own inspiration and greatest potential, what is the point or purpose of living? Why use this precious life halfway? Life is too short and beautiful to waste!! Live fully! Live vividly! The world truly awaits your unique contribution...  3~

Habits of Unhappiness

Some of the most amazing people in my life, some of the most beloved, seem to have a difficult time becoming satisfied with life. They don't seem to see their own value, their own unique spark, and they are so used to feeling unhappy that they seem to be stuck there.

We get so accustomed to a worldview and a way of life that even if it is miserable, or a prison, we somehow feel safe with its familiarity. We are so stuck in the groove of feeling a certain way, that we just let it keep perpetuating, even when it no longer describes our current experience of life.

I have encountered the same experience within myself. I used to have extremely poor self-image. I used to look through magazines just to sink deeper into self-loathing. It was a strong, ugly, miserable groove to be stuck in. Years later, almost tracelessly freed from that self-hatred, and actually quite happy with myself inside and out, those old familiar feelings were triggered by a current experience that recalled memories from that time in my history. Nostalgia for other circumstances and experiences from that time and place brought the familar pangs of dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Yet this time, when I witnessed the urges and experiences, I found that these feelings no longer described me, in fact they felt like a dried husk of the former reality. They weren't me, or my actual experience. Just the memory of an old habit. Witnessing that, they fell away.

There is great power in the practice of just witnessing that we learn on the mat. It is the fundemnetal practice of the yoga path. It broadens our perspective and gives us the ability to extricate our sense of who we are from what we experience. We then have a choice on how to view the world, our life, ourselves.

To all beings trapped in unhappiness, take heart. Focus on what is GOOD, beautiful, meaningful in your life. Don't hold on to negativity, let it pass through you. Take good care of your body, because an unhealthy or polluted body will cause great discomfort that drags down the cheeriest of hearts. What you admire most in others is what you are. Your heart is your greatest asset and worth, your worth is not derived from external circumstances like money, possesions, or appearance.

Thoughts and habits are not US, they aren't who we ARE. We are loving-consciousness. We ARE the compassionate witness, that which is deep within and beyond all life circumstances. Through the practices of yoga we connect with THAT and we are transformed as we blossom fully into our greatest potential as individual beings, wholly interconnected yet totally unique. In connecting with our deepest Self, our surface habits can freely transform to aid us in our path to complete happiness and freedom from suffering. Be dilligent, patient, and firm but loving, and it will happen. Happiness can become your new worldview and habitual state of being.

Blessings to you, and to all beings...   ~Laura

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Two Feet Firm on the Earth

I have learned the hard way that there is an easy way to find a lot of freedom, confidence, and peace, almost instantly...

Our posture seems so irrelevant when reflecting on our mental-emotional state, but every layer of our being is interconnected and interpenetrating.

Our foundation, the way we touch the earth with our body, the way we connect to the ground, determines the way energy can and will move through our whole system. It changes nerve function, digestion, water regulation, bloodflow and more. It is the meaning of the word "asana", the word for pose in Sanskrit- our seat, our connection to the Earth.

Whenever you sit, put your weight into your HIPS, not your spine, pressing into the chair or ground a bit. Lift your chest and open it with comfortable effort. Feel the buoyancy return to your center. Try not to cross your legs, but if you do, take turns to remain even or cross to the side you normally wouldn't. Otherwise leave your feet flat and gently pressing downward, which helps to keep your chest open.

When you stand, press through the forefoot and heel evenly, leaving the arches floating. Notice if you shift your weight to one side more then the other. Evening out will retrain your body and help you to overcome imbalances that actually can mess with your entire muscular-skeletal alignment. Pressing through your feet and evenly left-to-right, allow your chest to be open and navel to engage gently toward the spine to neutralize your pelvis. It sounds like work, and can be at first, but it is well worth it.

When I feel slugglish, frustrated or insecure in any way, I notice that fixing my connection to the earth, my posture, makes it all but disappear, instantly, or at least pretty rapidly at worst. It is worth it to apply ourselves to find a healthy, free, quick fix with no negative side-effects to remedy the dark side of our unhealthy modern world.
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

To Be Leaned On Makes Us Stronger

I realize as I am blessed by the love and respect of others when they choose to lean on me or share with me during difficult times. It reminds me of what I believe is a Sarah MacLaughlin song "Prayer of St. Francis" (which I imagine comes from the actual prayer of St. Francis). It is so beautiful and so true.. "To understand is to be understood"...

That which we want to receive we have to give to others- love, patience, understanding, compassion, generosity... And when we are leaned on, it makes us stronger. When we give we get. When we receive, it is natural to pay it forward. The light, the glow, only grows. There is no shortage of goodness, love, kindness- the more it is given the more it expands, spreads, and arises expansively from the deepest center of our being.

In humble gratitude and deep loving-kindness towards all life... Namaste.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Peaceful Anarchy

Most people think of selfish anarchy, outwardly centered.  This is not the anarchy that I know and practice. Hi, my name is Laura, and I am a peaceful anarchist.

My teachers had a Guru who called himself the Anarchist Swami. Swami Nirmalananda believe and lived and taught that we should all be independent (literally inwardly dependent). We should follow our own conscience in life. That to me is the definition of anarchy- not accepting outward rule, but governing oneself in line with the truth of the heart.

It will guide us to be authentic, fully-expressed humans, that do not perpetuate harm of other beings. It will assist the full blossoming of our individual purpose and potential, while encouraging community, compassion, and respect. It fosters intelligence, a questioning attitude that leads to discovery of the broadest truth, and eliminates the blind following that destroys all goodness and evolution in the world.

It is not always easy to follow the heart (or back of your mind if you prefer it) but with practice it will not steer you wrong. Every time I have ever given myself to my heart it has always proven not just doable, but amazing, incredible, nothing short of dreams coming true in ways I couldn't have consciously planned. It requires bowing the head, the rational outlook, to the heart-felt way of life. This is the way to live life like you mean it. Why deny unconditional love? Why ignore inspiration? All brilliance, all that is ever really wonderful in the world unfolds naturally from love, from the heart, the conscience. Conscious conscience. That is the new anarchy. And in this way, I am an anarchist for life, baby! Namaste!!

Out of Our Heads and Into the Moment

It is astonishing how much suffering we cause ourselves by tripping over the hypothetical situations in our own minds. We often take things personally that have absolutely nothing to do with us. We hold on to it, spin a tale, make drama, react to the stress, and later find out that it was all just in our own minds.

Example: I left a lot of dishes in the sink when I left last night, (which is not typical for me at all) and when my roommate didn't answer my texts this morning my head fabricated all sorts of garbage, such as "she's angry at me", and all the way to, "maybe I left a burner on and the house exploded". At this stage in the game, I witnessed those thoughts and didn't start to panic and blow up her phone. Which is good, because she was actually at a very high-stress business meeting on her day off. What a foolish thing the human mind is.

We do this same torturous action to ourselves over and over. Everything is personal. Really, though, is it?? Even when people direct anger towards us in an otherwise personal way, we have to realize that their view is colored by an entire lifetime of actions, reactions, history and whatever mind-garbage was floating through their mind clouding their view at the time.

It amazes me sometimes how the average person can even drive a car without crashing into everything... with all that clutter and hypothetical drama threatening their view in every moment!!

According to Eastern philosophy, the way we label this part of our self that is so selfish, easily-threatened and deluded, is the "ego", or "small-self" or "self" with a lowercase s. The "Self", the "highest Self", or "big-mind" in Buddhism denote the part of us that is interconnected and whole, at one and at peace with Reality and the entire Universe. It is the part of us that knows our mind is sometimes and maybe quite frequently ridiculous.

Practicing meditation and yoga poses helps us to get in the habit of connecting with the expansive, Universal side of ourselves, and helps us to witness the ego in all of its insanity. The Universal Self is the sane part of each of us. The more we practice, the more deeply we connect and then we build a new way of viewing the world that encourages our greatest potential and saves us from surrendering to unneeded stress created by the funny functioning of the human mind. This thing should come with an owner's manual.