नमस्ते

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“Fearlessness is our essential nature. The fear we experience is born of our mistaken sense of a separate self. When we fully realize that our true self is not affected by the limitations and changing properties of the mind and body, then we are completely free from fear. That doesn’t mean that the body won’t instinctively respond to danger and threats, but that is simply its self-preserving intelligence, the real self is not afraid.” – Deepak Chopra

“Fearlessness is our essential nature. The fear we experience is born of our mistaken sense of a separate self. When we fully realize that our true self is not affected by the limitations and changing properties of the mind and body, then we are completely free from fear. That doesn’t mean that the body won’t instinctively respond to danger and threats, but that is simply its self-preserving intelligence, the real self is not afraid.” – Deepak Chopra

Riding a Scooter!

One of my core values is Courage. It does not seem like a big deal but I had been afraid of riding a scooter. When it comes to emotional and financial risks, I always take them. When it comes to physical safety, I air on the side of caution. There were times in GOA that riding a scooter would have been helpful. There are taxis everywhere in Bali, but similar to GOA, its nice to rent or have access to your own scooter. From where I was staying in Uluwatu (Bali), the Buddha Soul was the closest restaurant that offered a variety of healthy delicious food. The cafe was about 2 miles away. To be dropped off by taxi, the driver asked 150,000 rupiah. To get from Ubud to Uluwatu I had paid 300,000 rupiah; that was a hour and a half ride versus a 10-minutes ride. We settled on 100,000 rupees. To rent a scooter daily is only  50,000 rupiah ($4.00). In between writing/eating, I  wanted the freedom to take breaks. In order for this to be possible, I realized I must learn how to ride a scooter. The first day, I went about 15 mph. When I made it home that evening; it felt like a big day; a celebration. When we have the courage to move through fear,  it looses its power and grip over us. The second day riding the scooter I was a little bit more comfortable. After a couple of days,  I had to remind myself to slow down. I noticed myself going so fast that I was not taking in all the beauty. Although I felt extremely comfortable, I had to remind myself to still be smart and wear a helmet. I understand now why people love motorcycles.

“Relate with others, but relate with yourself also. Love others, but love yourself also. Go out! – the world is beautiful, adventurous; it is a challenge, it enriches. Go out fearlessly – there is nothing to lose, there is everything to gain.”
-Osho

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We know that the magic lies out of our comfort zone.

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As the buddha says: “The whole trick of life is to have no fear.”

 

But in a fear-driven culture, that is easier said than done. So how do you live without fear? Below are 10 seemingly simple yet difficult tips to move through fear:

  1. Rather than suppress or deny fear, acknowledge fear and allow it to be present.

  2. Make courage a core value and a stronger force than fear.

  3. Embrace and and be in love with the mystery.  The known is based on the past, it is within the unknown that there is newness, freshness and growth.

  4. Live from the heart versus the ego. Love is fearless. Love is freedom. It is the ego that is afraid to fail, concerned with social image, afraid to take risks, that keeps you a prisoner. At the end of the day, none of these things matter.

  5. Identify with your true nature.  As we become enlightened, we live in the light and are able to avoid clinging to the worldly.

  6. Make the evolution of your soul your priority. When we move through fear we experience growth, positive reinforcement and are closer to self-realization.

  7. Educate yourself. Behind ignorance is fear. Do not blindly trust the media and other people. Ignorance breeds ignorance and fear perpetuates fear.

  8. Be the conductor, producer and director of your own life. Don’t give away your power and open the door for people to discourage you or plants seeds of negativity, fear, worry, doubt (all the what ifs).

  9. Say yes to life.  Out of experience comes maturity and wisdom so take  risks and experience as much as possible.

  10. With courage, awareness and strong roots, make a personal decision to honour life and to always choose adventure, love, freedom, expansion, beauty and growth. There is nothing to loose (besides your ego) but everything to gain!

Is there something else that has worked for you? If so, share it, I would love to hear!

 Is there something that you are afraid to do? Need help? Email me at: hana@hanaberlinlmft.com I am always happy to help!

The Path of Tantra is a Path of Celebration, love, laughter and Life

“I love life. Thats why I give teachings of celebration, celebrate everything. From body to soul, physical to spiritual, sex to superconsciousness, everything is divine for me.”
– Osho

 

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Tantra, just like yoga, has been made primarily physical in the West. We have missed the spiritual; the essence; the point; the potential. In the West, we have come to accept unhappiness,  suffering, anxiety and depression as normal states of being but miracles, magic and peace happen when you connect and go inside vs seeking and searching outside. I thank one of my teachers for introducing me to Osho; the understanding that life is a celebration. It can be an incredible miraculous ecstatic dance. What about a world where love, joy, acceptance, compassion, laughter and peace are the norm versus fear, anxiety, depression, violence, anger and stress? Its possible…”He who seeks, shall find.” The lotus always comes out of the mud if you look inside, stay on a spiritual path, with an open heart, hands up full of trust/devotion and heads bowed to the ground with the utmost gratitude for all our teachers that truly set us free. It is one thing to live and another thing to be truly Alive!

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Are you living or are you alive?

“An Attitude of Gratitude is the highest yoga.” – Yogi Bhajan

“An Attitude of Gratitude is the highest yoga.” – Yogi Bhajan

Feeling excited for this dinner date alone. There are lots of things I love about India but it’s challenging to find greens (kale, spinach, broccoli, green smoothies) all things at home I eat daily. Same with running, which for me is such a meditation. Its almost impossible to find peaceful smooth terrain. Because I do less cardio when I am in India, I gain weight and it’s okay. It’s helped me learn how to love and accept my body regardless of the size. Its given me the opportunity to deepen my meditation practice. It’s made me incredibly humble to know what it feels like to be out of shape and more compassionate to know the pain it feels to get back into shape. Yesterday I ran for the first time in 2 months; today I feel incredibly sore and it’s okay, it’s beautiful. I am finally starting to feel like myself again, happy and at my best. And it’s made me incredibly grateful for simple things like this. Plus I mean when you find a cafe called Buddha Soul, you know it’s going to be good for mind, body, soul.

What are you grateful for? 

“When you meet the true Guru, he will awaken your heart;  He will tell you the secret of love and detachment, and then you will know indeed that He transcends the universe.” – Kabir

“When you meet the true Guru, he will awaken your heart; He will tell you the secret of love and detachment, and then you will know indeed that He transcends the universe.” – Kabir

For almost exactly 10 years (23-33), I was able to be a mom to this cat, Sweet Pea. She, along with my mom, have been my greatest gurus. She taught me to truly live carpe diem, to never take anything for granted, to accept death. I learned how much responsibility yet how rewarding being a mother is; how incredible pets are. I love to travel but for 10 years, I never left her longer then 5 days. I took this picture in January 2008 when I was living in Minneapolis. It was a crazy cold winter (-20/-40 below). She would always tap me on the shoulder to get under the covers to spoon as close as possible. I would leave her under the covers to stay warm! I miss her everyday.

 

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I have learned so much from my Mom. The most incredible gifts she has given me are valuing happiness, the art of patience, the importance of kindness, generosity and treating everyone equally with respect. She is my best friend along with my aunt. 

I love my friends that are mothers; I love their dedication and devotion. 

People ask me would I like to have a child. Yes, I would love to experience such an incredible gift and journey that motherhood is (blow up the heart chakra). I tell people maybe in my early 40’s; I love my work and am passionate about it. Then people respond with concerns about a biological clock and I reply that it’s okay if I can’t have my own biological kids (the world is overpopulated anyway), it’s beautiful to adopt, or be a great aunt to my friends kids, work with kids etc. It’s all good if we are being of service.

Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers and gurus out there, including Mother Nature and our universe!

Besides yourself,  who are your gurus and spiritual teachers? What have they taught you?

“We are travellers on a cosmic journey, Stardust swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.” -Pauelo Coelho

“We are travellers on a cosmic journey, Stardust swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.” -Pauelo Coelho

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Worlds colliding in the most beautiful of ways.

Last year I sat “alone” in Moojis satsangs. This year I was joined by friends from Chicago. All 3 of them traveling and studying independently and yet we all landed in Rishikesh at the same time.

We are always reminded that it is a small interconnected world in a vast universe. And to:

“Give life a chance to flow in its own way, unassisted by your mind and effort. Stop directing the rivers flow.”

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The wisdom of nature reminds us to stay open to the universe and to trust its magic. I never thought that one year later I would be having a lunch date in India with friends from Chicago. It is impossible for us to predict the future. Rather we can choose to step into the mystery of life and experience the magic. When we trust the universe and learn to flow, beautiful and incredible synchonicity unfolds.

Are you able to let go of control and surrender to the rivers flow?

Need help letting go? Contact me, I am happy to help! hana@hanaberlinlmft.com

“Nature is full of genius, full of divinity.” Henry David Thoreau

“Nature is full of genius, full of divinity.” Henry David Thoreau

I am glad I made the journey to Kerala. The backwaters and the Arabian Sea are gorgeous. I see divinity in the water and in the sky. The ocean and the stars sparkle. The greenery, all of the palm trees and nature is so vibrant. I feel blessed I have been able to read, write, relax, reflect, and nourish myself with daily Ayurveda massages, yoga, meditation, fresh delicious healthy food, and relaxing time on the beach. I feel extremely safe and comfortable. Kerala has been the perfect getaway. It still continues to surprise me even after four months in India, how quickly you feel at home. It makes it difficult to leave each location.

Each place has been so beautiful, special, and magical in its own unique way.

“The greatest wisdom is in simplicity. Love, respect, tolerance, sharing, gratitude, forgivness,. Its not complex or elaborate. The real knowledge is free. It’s encoded in your DNA. All you need is within you. Great teachers have said that from the beginning. Find your heart, and you will find your way.” – Carlos Barrios

“The greatest wisdom is in simplicity. Love, respect, tolerance, sharing, gratitude, forgivness,. Its not complex or elaborate. The real knowledge is free. It’s encoded in your DNA. All you need is within you. Great teachers have said that from the beginning. Find your heart, and you will find your way.” – Carlos Barrios

Sept 30,  2013.

My heart was called to India. Without knowing anything except that I wanted to journey to the source of Yoga and ancient healing therapist, I made the journey to the Motherland. Today, I arrived in Dharmsala and after 13-days of packed travel through the Golden Triangle, I am feeling incredibly grateful to ground. I am excited and inspired by such a vibrant little city. Walking everywhere are Buddhist monks. It an eclectic mix of Tibetan/Buddhist culture with India/Hindu culture.  I understand people from all over the world travel to visit the home of the Dalai Lama.  With the beauty and peace of the forest/mountains and the opportunity to ground and meditate, there is a perfect balance of energy here. Tomorrow is first day of my yoga training and is also my 33rd birthday. I can’t think of a better birthday gift   than being able to immerse myself in self-study, healing, reiki, meditation, yoga philosophy, and the opportunity to live a truly Ayurvedic and Yogic lifestyle for 10-weeks in such an incredible place.  We will see where the journey leads me!

“Change only takes place through action, not just prayer and meditation alone.” Dalai Lama

May 2014.

A couple of days into my teacher training, I found out that my cat had cancer. I had to put her to sleep. Rather than heading home to Chicago, my scheduled 3-months in India, turned into 9-months of study and travel. It is impossible to plan life rather life becomes so much more beautiful, full and rich when we are open to life’s plans for us. When our hearts and intuition, not the ego, leads the way. After visiting Kerala, GOA, Rishikesh and Nepal, I have ended up back here where I started. It has been a rich, life-chaning full circle. I have experienced spiritual awakenings and personal transformations. As a result, I have spent the last two months in the mountains focused on writing a new book.  It has been an incredible journey. In the mountains, my favourite moments have been hikes through the Himalaya Mountains, overnight camping, Buddhist Meditations and the opportunity to take action and share what I have learned through writing, teaching, therapy workshops and healing sessions back home.

And as I leave for India I say, May we all pray, meditate, focus on kindness as our religion and take action towards becoming more consciously awake and personally responsible. 

“Love is our True Essence. Love has no limitations of caste, religion, race or nationality. We are all beads together strung on the same thread of love. To awaken this unity and to spread to others the love that is our inherent nature is the true goal of human life.” – Amma

“Love is our True Essence. Love has no limitations of caste, religion, race or nationality. We are all beads together strung on the same thread of love. To awaken this unity and to spread to others the love that is our inherent nature is the true goal of human life.” – Amma

Tonight at the International yoga festival, I joined two Indian women in their 60s for dinner. Shortly after sitting down an Indian man also in his 60’s sat down and joined us. He smiled looked me in the eyes and said “how are things upstairs?” I was not quite sure what he meant but I said “good, I have been meditating daily.” He then asked me “How is your surrender?” I said “excellent almost 100%.” This was his greeting and this was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Later I came to find out from his wife that he is a Swami but does not want to “dress the part.” This couple immediately took me in as family and called me a daughter. When I felt sick they bought me medicine, food, and called to check on me. When I was cold they bought me a brand new wool jacket. He gave me his personal scarf that he had for over 20 years; it is near and dear to me. He shared with me his wisdom during meals and walking between classes. I wondered if the two questions that he initially asked me are at the core, what we need to focus on in this spiritual journey. If through a quiet mind and a surrender/devotion, peace is naturally inherent. I spent beautiful evenings with this couple sharing cookies while watching evening performances on the Holy River Ganges. In those moments, to my core I knew that this is what life is. This is what life could be. This is what life should be. They touched my heart deeply and were angels. I will never forget them. I will always be deeply grateful, moved, and touched for their extreme generosity, hospitality, warm, beautiful, loving, open, caring hearts; this is what makes Rishikesh and India special.

Tonight with a smile on my face and tears in my eyes, I sprinkled some of my cat, Sweet Peas, ashes into a Puja with beautiful orange flowers and incents. I encouraged her to float down the Holy River Ganges (Ma Ganga). I specifically saved some of her ashes for Rishikesh. I wanted her to remain in this sacred place; to experience a trip down the Holy Ma Ganga.

I am glad the International Yoga Festival brought me to Rishikesh. Ironically it was not the yoga festival at all that was my favorite part. My favorite moments and memories have been all the serene soulful moments by the Holy River Ganges, the inspirational trip to Ramana’s Garden, the impromptu talks with the Sadhus, eating quite healthy fresh meals at cafes/restaurants overlooking the Ganges in Lakshman Jula, the peaceful hikes in the foothills of the Himalayas, the daily satsangs with the gentle, funny, though provoking H.H. Pujya Mooji, and making friendships with other open-minded, kind-hearted, generous-souls both from India and abroad. I love being surrounded by so much devotion, open minded people, kind hearted souls, spiritual seekers, conscious beings and yogis interested in self-study.

I stood on the beach and had so much love, happiness, overflowing joy from my heart and bliss in my body that I wanted to cry. Everything looked and felt divine.

I stood on the beach and had so much love, happiness, overflowing joy from my heart and bliss in my body that I wanted to cry. Everything looked and felt divine.

If such a consciousness truly is set loose in the world, nothing will be the same. It will free us to be in a scared body, on a scared planet, in sacred communion with all of it. It will infect the universe with holiness. We will discover the Divine deep within the earth and the cells of our bodies, and we will love her there with all of our hearts and all of our souls and all of our minds.”

– Sue Monk

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The feeling of oneness and the interconnection of everything and everyone felt so overwhelming; so beautiful that it is impossible to describe with words. It is so true that only love can be felt with the heart and cannot be expressed through the mind. We know through Yoga that all of life is one and that separation is an illusion, but it was only through meditation and pranayama (breathing) that I felt and truly experienced it to the core. I felt so lucky, blessed, and free that I did not want to trade places with anyone else in the entire universe. All separation dissolved and there was no better feeling in the entire universe than to experience that emptiness, vastness, oneness.

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It was so amazing to feel such incredible ecstasy naturally. I understood that this is it. All the magic is right there inside; always available and ever present. There is no need to use drugs, alcohol, sex, shopping, gambling, exercise,…all of the addictions of the West. There is no need to ever feel inadequate. There is no need to reject, doubt or supress any part of your body or your being. There is no separation between you and God/divinity. We all are Godly and Divine beings. We see, feel, experience it, and know it through nature. Why don’t we see, feel, and know that we are the same. We are made of the same elements. Why do we not see our own beauty, our own divinity, our own sacredness? Why do we not rejoice in every breath and in the gift, this miracle of life? Why do we not have sacred relationships with our loved ones and with ourselves? Why is all of life not a sacred journey? I wondered, but more importantly I knew. I knew that if we all knew, felt, lived in such a way life would be so beautiful…so full of love, so full of life, so full of light, so full of truth.

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“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi

The Taj is a wonder of the world. The architecture is amazing. The story behind it is touching. I understand why it has been called “the epitome of love.” You can feel the love, the care, the devotion, the romance, the magnificence. You can see the beauty and the impeccable and intricate detail. It is truly incredible. If you are going to India, this is a brilliant work of art that is definitely worth seeing. I will go back again at least once, if not more.

What barriers, walls or protection have you built against love? 

 

 

What does love and devotion mean to you? 

“To soar high into the vast sky of spirituality, you need wings of selfless service and devotion, and the tail of spiritual knowledge.” – Amma

“To soar high into the vast sky of spirituality, you need wings of selfless service and devotion, and the tail of spiritual knowledge.” – Amma

While I was in Agonda, I picked up a flyer labeled Heart Journeys through India. I contacted the organizers and the response I received back was extremely warm, helpful, and sincere. They greeted me with “Om Namah Shivaya”. Later, I found out that this mantra is the greeting at Amma’s ashram for any and all interactions. They spoke of visiting Amma’s Ashram and told me it was a must and not to miss the opportunity to spend time with a living Satguru, a true enlightened being…a spiritual master! It was because of them that I changed my travel plans and ensured that I visited Amma’s Ashram. As soon as I walked in I felt such warmth in my heart that I could have cried. Without even meeting Amma or knowing very little about her, the place felt special. The three darshans that I received from Amma were life changing and transformative. I felt such warmth, love, and affirmation. Immediately I wanted to learn more about Amma and her teachings. During the two weeks that I spent with Amma, I read six books, watched her work tirelessly (there is so much we can learn just by watching, observing and being in the presence of a spiritual master). I participated in all of her meditations, satsangs, and bajans. I spent as much time as possible reading and meditating on the beach, feeling the magic, sacredness, and divinity of the place where Amma was born and grew up. After I left the Ashram, I journeyed to the beach of Kerala to absorb the experience. On my first evening, I went through two pens journaling non-stop from 10 p.m. until 7 a.m. I had so much clarity, understanding, and introspection. I felt Amma’s energy flow through me.

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After a trip to Amma’s Ashram, the quiet beaches in Kerala have become a perfect place to relax, dive deeper into spiritual teachings, self study, to nourish your soul and body while filling up your heart. I was so grateful for having  picked up that flyer. I believe all of life is a beautiful unfolding of synchronicity.