Posts In: マインドフルネス

All Moments Are Fleeting. Let them fleet…


All Moments Are Fleeting. Let them fleet…

The Yogis tell us that each moment in life is an opportunity for us to see ourselves. For most of us, there is an overpowering attachment to the moments we most enjoy and, conversely, an overpowering revulsion to the moments we most dislike. The rest of the moments fall along a spectrum of pleasure-attachment and displeasure-avoidance. And we spend much of our lives oscillating between these two sides.

Unfortunately, clinging to these moments or trying to recapture those that have long since passed us by, is a sure-fire path to misery and suffering. Even if we do re-experience that moment of pleasure – that great meal, that stimulating conversation, that brilliant moment of success – it is doomed again to melt away into the abyss we call past or memory, wherever and whatever that may actually be.

That is why yoga philosophy puts so much emphasis on the practice of ‘aparigraha’ (non-attachment) and ‘vairagya’ (renunciation).

But the very same philosophy tells us that we are here to experience the world around us  (*1 prakāśakriyāsthitiśīlaṃ bhūtendriyātmakaṃ bhogāpavargārthaṃ dṛśyam) and that through this process, we are able to once again see our true selves; to reunite (yoga) with and abide in our true nature or Higher Self (*2 tadā draṣṭuḥ svarūpe ‘vasthānam).

As we often find with yoga philosophy, what seems like a paradox is actually the key to finding what we are looking for. 

Here’s a simple way to look at this:

  1. We need to experience, really fully and completely experience, life. That means concentrating and fighting the urge to be distracted by smartphones, SNS, bright lights, shiny objects, how green the grass appears on the other side and the loudest barking dog, whether that be a company or a person.
  2. However, we must do so keeping in mind that the moment is fleeting and is meant to be so.  In fact, clinging to the experience is antithetical to fully experiencing the present moment. You can’t be free and cling at the same time. Just watch a free falling skydiver if you don’t believe me!
  3. We observe ourselves to see if (or rather, when) we are becoming attached to the moments, whether that be chasing those pleasures (*3 sukhānuśayī rāgaḥ) or avoiding pain (*4  duḥkhānuśayī dveṣaḥ).
  4. By observing ourselves, we get to know ourselves a bit better. Just picture how children observe and get to know their parents and the world around them. We need only do the same – with openness, curiosity and no judgment – but shift the observation to the internal world.
  5. By adding a little practice of letting go of that which does not serve us, we inch our way closer to our true Self.

It’s not easy to overcome our very human need to attach. This is our innate way of finding stability, security and comfort. We get attached as babies to the caregivers who make eating, drinking and getting clean a possibility. And attachment continues through childhood and into adulthood as we look to fulfill our needs for financial stability, social acceptance and so much more.

However just because it is not easy, doesn’t mean we can’t make a go of it. We can definitely move the bar with even a little bit of effort. And there’s no rush to get it all done in one day.

Start with the realization that all moments are fleeting. This fact doesn’t make the moment less important or lesser in any way.  Experience it fully and then watch yourself as you let the moment dissipate. After all, fleeting moments were meant to ‘fleet’. So let them.

*1 Patanjali Yoga Sutras (PYS) II.18

*2 PYS I.3

*3 PYS II.7

*4 PYS II.8






自分を取り巻く世界を経験し (※1 prakāśakriyāsthitiśīlaṃ bhūtendriyātmakaṃ bhogāpavargārthaṃ dṛśyam)、その経験を通じて本当の自分、すなわち魂に繋がり(YOGA)、その状態を維持していくのだと。(※2 tadā draṣṭuḥ svarūpe ‘vasthānam)



  1. 私たちは、与えられた人生を、全うしなければなりません。つまり、スマートフォンやSNS、きらきらと眩しく見える物、青く見える隣の芝生ばかりに気を取られている時間はないのです。
  2. しかし、忘れてはならないこと、それは全ての瞬間は儚いものだということ。人生を全うしようと体験にしがみつくことは、一瞬一瞬を完全に体験することと相反しています。空中を落下するスカイダイバーを思い浮かべるときっと分かりやすいと思うのですが、自由である事と、しがみつく事を同時に行うのは不可能なのです。
  3. 快楽を追い求めていないか(※3 sukhānuśayī rāgaḥ)、苦しみを避けていないか(※4 duḥkhānuśayī dveṣaḥ)、その瞬間に執着していないか、自分を観察しましょう。
  4. 自分を観察することで、私たちは自身を少しずつ知り始めます。子供が親や周りの世界を観察し、理解していくように。オープンな姿勢で、好奇心をもって、「こうだ」と始めから決めつけることなく、観察する対象を自分の内面に移すだけでいいのです。
  5. 自分に必要のないものを手放す練習を少し加えることで、本当の自分自身に近づく道が少しずつ見えてきます。




*1 Patanjali Yoga Sutras (PYS) II.18

*2 PYS I.3

*3 PYS II.7

*4 PYS II.8

The Stories We Tell Ourselves


The Stories We Tell Ourselves

I was teaching a class this morning to people new to the world of mindfulness and yoga. As I do in most of these cases, I started by introducing the concept of ‘unseen patterns’ or what the yogis described in Sanskrit as vritti.

Now, the interesting thing about these ‘unseen patterns’ is that even though we don’t see them, they have a very real impact on our lives – how we sit and stand, move, interact with others, and, as we’ll get to in a moment, how we experience life.

The only way we can start to see these patterns is when someone (or we,ourselves) points them out.  Until then, we are virtually oblivious to them.  Unless, we’ve been training ourselves to catch them.  The intro classes I teach are at first about tuning into our physical patterns – such as slouching shoulders or shallow breathing – and then undoing these patterns.

These unseen patterns become all the more interesting (and insidious) when they affect our minds.  A simple example of this is what we call ‘the stories we tell ourselves’.  We all have them. These narratives that go round and round in our minds, occupying our time and taking us out of the present and away from who or what is in front of us here and now.

Most of us spend an inordinate amount of time engaged in self-talk and repetitive stories. We may keep telling ourselves that we are not good enough or do not deserve success / happiness / love / friends / a job we enjoy / etc. These stories may have to do with insecurities related to body image, personality, intelligence or other personal characteristics. Or they may take the form of the all-too-common ‘so and so’s life is so much better than my life.’

The story may also seem positive and affirming. “I am good. I am worthy. I am this. I did that.” These stories are, on the surface, less painful than the ‘negative’ ones we often have swirling in our heads. However, if we spend much of our day, time and focus affirming and reaffirming these ‘positive’ patterns, we are still being pulled out of the here and now. These may be a mechanism of protecting ourselves and so may actually be hindering personal change and growth.

Being stuck in any repeating story means that we lose out on the moment. We are unable to be present for what is in front of us and to experience it purely, without our filters and baggage.

So, what’s the solution?

  1. See the pattern – or have someone / a good guide help you!
  2. Shift the pattern – from negative to positive, as a first step, may be helpful
  3. Drop the pattern – or more aptly, allow it to dissipate

What are the stories you tell yourself? 


The Stories We Tell Ourselves

今朝、初めてマインドフルネスやヨガの世界に触れる人たちに、あるクラスを教えていました。 私はこのような場合「見えないパターン」、つまりヨギたちがサンスクリット語で「ヴリッティ」と表現するものの概念を紹介することからクラスをスタートしています。


このようなパターンは、誰かに(あるいは私たち自身に)指摘されることで、初めて気付くようなものです。そのパターンを捉える訓練を積んでいれば話は別なのですが、指摘されるまで私たちはほとんど意識することなく過ごしています。 ですから私が教えるイントロクラスではまず、猫背、浅い呼吸に気づき、それを取り除くことから始めます。

このような目に見えないパターンが私たちの心に現れるのは興味深い事ですが、厄介なものにもなる事があります。 例えば、私たちは皆「自分の心が勝手に作り上げたストーリー」を持っているのです。このストーリーが心の中でぐるぐると回り始めると、私たちの時間を奪い、今目の前にあるものや人の事を忘れてしまうのです。


また、時にそのストーリーは前向きで肯定的なものに聞こえます。「私は大丈夫。私には価値がある。」 といったように。なぜならば表面的には、私たちが頭の中でループさせている「ネガティブ」な話のように重くのしかかってこないからです。しかし、もし私たちが一日中、これらの「ポジティブ」なパターンを肯定し、再確認する事ばかりに時間を費やしているのなら、これもまた「今ここ」から引き離されている事となるでしょう。これらは、自分自身を守るためのメカニズムでもあり、実際には個人の変化や成長を妨げている可能性があるのです。



  1. パターンを見る – あるいは、あなたにとって良い助言者を持つ!
  2. パターンをシフトする – ネガティブからポジティブへ。最初の一歩としてきっと役に立ってくれるはずです!
  3. パターンを削除する – より正確には、それが消えていくように!


The 5 States of Mind  ~Where is your mind today?~


The 5 States of Mind 

~Where is your mind today?~

In his exposition of the Yoga Sutras,the venerable sage Vyasa teaches us about the 5 states of the mind.   We will get into why knowledge of these states is important and how this knowledge can be useful in our daily lives but first, let’s look at what they are:

  1. Kshipta = Disturbed → When the mind is restless or troubled, it is said to be in this, the lowest or most undesirable of the mental states. It is not simply distracted (vikshipta) but agitated and possibly even chaotic. There can be varying degrees of agitation but they are generally associated with intense, negative feelings.
  2. Mudha = Dull → This mind is heavy and listless. Unlike the kshipta disturbed mind, there is no running around. Instead, this state of mind is present when we are lethargic and not motivated to do anything.  Since this mind is somewhat settled compared to the kshipta distrubed state, it is easier to train and move it to a more desirable state.
  3. Vikshipta = Distracted → This is the ‘monkey mind’ state, where we are able to notice the fluctuations of the mind. It is generally distracted in this state although from time-to-time, it becomes steady and focused.  The mind in this state gets very easily distracted however we can draw it back to focus on a task or activity. When we sit in meditation and finally observe ourselves, this is the mind that we first encounter. The vikshipta mind is foundational as we begin our yoga, meditation and mindfulness journey with our practice gradually taking us to the two most desirable mental states.
  4. Ekagra = One-pointed → When we have trained our mind to finally be focused on one point, the real yoga can begin. When we are one-pointed, we are no longer distracted by internal processes such as memories and emotions nor by the external environment (PYS I.32). In this state we are fully present to fulfill all of our duties yet we do not get involved or distracted by them. Ekagara or focus is what we aim to cultivate through our various yoga and meditation techniques.
  5. Nirodhah = Mastered → This is the state Patanjali uses to define yoga: “yoga chitta vritti nirodhah”, yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. This level of control is something that can only be experienced through abhyas (practice, effort) and vairagyam (letting go). This state is often misunderstood as suppressing the mind or detaching from the world. But in fact, through mastering the mind, one becomes able to focus deeply inward. The ancient yogis tell us that even though this state is impossible to describe, once you experience it, you know it.

Knowing where your mind is NOW

Helps you to get to where you are going.

Know Thyself!

Understanding these states allows us to better recognize them in ourselves.  It’s like when you know that your lethargic body doesn’t need rest but rather a brisk walk outside in some fresh air and a shot of sunlight to feel better.

When you see that your mind is overactive (kshipta), you can take steps such as using a calming nadi shodana (alternate nostril) breathing practice to settle it down.

Similarly, if you catch your mind being dull (mudha), you can use some physical yoga (asana) or powerful breathing like kapala bhati (shining forehead) to reinvigorate the mind.

When you find yourself being distracted easily (vikshipta), you may want to try the mind-focusing technique of trataka candle meditation.

As observing the mind becomes second nature, you become more attuned to your mental state and better skilled at moving into the two most desired states of ekagra and, eventually, nirodhah

And nirodhah is, in turn, the doorway to really knowing thyself (self-realization).

Your journey begins NOW. Where is your mind?

The 5 States of Mind

~Where is your mind today?~


聖者ヴィヤーサ師はパタンジャリのヨガスートラに書かれている心理状態について解説しています。ヴィヤーサによれば心理状態には5つあります。 私たちがこれらを知る事がなぜ重要なのか、そしてこの知識が日常生活でどのように役立つのか、まずはこの5つの心理状態について見ていきましょう。

  1. Kshipta = 不安・困惑・動揺・心配

    → 心が落ち着かない、または悩んでいる時の精神状態であり、単に気が散っている(vikshipta)のではなく、動揺しており、場合によっては混沌としている事さえあるため、最も望ましくない状態とも言えます。動揺のレベルは様々ですが、一般的には非常に強い否定的な感情を伴っている事があります。
  1. Mudha = 気だるい・冴えない・どんよりとした・退屈

    → 心が重く、元気がない時の精神状態。kshiptaのようにそわそわと落ち着きのない心の状態とは異なり、無気力で何もやる気が起きない時の心の状態です。kshiptaの状態に比べ、この心はある程度落ち着いた状態であるため、訓練によって望ましい状態へと移行させる事が、比較的容易です。
  1. Vikshipta = 注意力散漫

    → これは正に「モンキーマインド」の状態。時折、安定した集中力を発揮するものの、一般的に非常に気が散りやすく、心ここにあらずの状態です。 私たちはその心を引き戻し、仕事や活動に集中させることができます。目を閉じて静かに座って瞑想をする時、最初に訪れるのがこの”vikshipta”(ヴィークシプタ)マインドです。この心は、ヨガ・瞑想・マインドフルネスの旅を始めるにあたって基礎となるもので、練習によって徐々に最も望ましい2つの精神状態へと導かれていきます。

  2. Ekagra = 一点集中

    →ここまで達してようやく本当のヨガが始まります。一点に集中できた時、私たちはもはや記憶や感情等の内的プロセスにも、外部環境にも気を取られることはない(パタンジャリヨガスートラ I.32より)。この状態に入ると、他の物に自分のペースを乱されたり、気を取られたりする事はありません。一点に集中する事”ekagara”は、私たちが様々なヨガや瞑想のテクニックを通して養う事ができます。

  3. Nirodhah = マスターした状態

    →パタンジャリがヨガを定義するときに使う状態です。「yoga chitta vritti nirodhah」、ヨガとは心の揺らぎを止める事。このレベルのコントロールは、アビヤース(修行、努力)とヴァイラーギヤ(手放すこと)によってのみ経験できるもの。この状態は、感情の抑制や世間からの距離を置くような事と誤解されがちですが、実際には、心を支配することによって、人は内側に深く集中する事ができるようになるのです。古代のヨギー達は、この状態を説明する事はできないが、たった一度でも経験する事ができれば知り得るものだ、と伝えてくれています。

Knowing where your mind is NOW

Helps you to get to where you are going.



Know Thyself! 自分自身を知ろう!



同様に、自分の心が気だるく元気のない”mudha”を感じたら、身体を使ったヨガ(asana)や「kapala bhati(輝く額)」のような力強い呼吸法が、心の活性化に役立ちます。





The Power to CULTIVATE ~How to create the Body, Breath & Mind That You Want~


Look around and everyday you can find ordinary examples of the extraordinary power of Nature:  tsunamis and typhoons, blizzards and wildfires, earthquakes and eruptions. But Mother Nature’s power is not just relegated to these temporary disasters. She also plays the long game by exuding a soft power:

The precise balance of sun, rain, gravity, gasses in the air, nutrients in the soil, etc. creates the environment that sustains the immense variety of life on our planet.

The seamless interplay of oxygen-releasing plants and oxygen-inhaling beings in the animal kingdom. How serendipitous that the carbon dioxide we release gets recycled through plants to yet again provide both the oxygen and the carbohydrates (leaves, grains, fruits, nuts and seeds) that power our bodies and our brains.

The Power of ‘Cultivation’

Nature is a model of power that can teach us a great deal about the power of cultivation.  Just think about the amazing process from seed to fruit:

  1. We plant a cherry seed
  2. Nurture it with the right amount of sunlight, water, fertilizer
  3. The seed germinates and sprouts
  4. A stem and leaves appear
  5. Then branches and more leaves
  6. Then a flower bud which blooms when the conditions are just right
  7. And finally the beginnings of a fruit which will grow and ripen into the cherry we devour

Now what if we could harness this power of cultivation to grow the body, breath, and mind we want?  Well, we can and we actually do this all of the time. 

Athletes, professional and amateur alike, train their bodies. Scientists, educators, artists, mathematicians, mechanics, bakers, butchers and bartenders train their bodies and minds to get better at what they do.

In fact, you are training right now! The way you sit, the position of your head, the tightness in your jaw, the length (or lack of) in your spine and the depth (or shallowness) of your breath while reading this article are all patterns you are actively albeit unconsciously promoting. 

This process of cultivating is happening around us and within us all of the time. However for most of us, a large chunk of this process is taking place under the radar.  

We unconsciously, and hence unknowingly, 

create and cultivate physical and mental patterns 

that are often the antithesis of the qualities we hope to display

The good news is that we can take control of this process right here and now!  

Cultivating ‘Conscious Cultivation’ 

The act of cultivating requires a:

  1. ‘Stress’ or Challenge – the energy or fire to break & change current habits/patterns
  2. Natural Progression – a bud only open when it is the right time to bloom. Similarly, we need to restrain from pushing or stressing too hard.
  3. Routine – regular practice to instill the new direction or pattern. Increase time spent in the new pattern while decreasing time spent in the old one

And to consciously cultivate we need to add Awareness

Awareness is the key ingredient that ensures we are actively choosing to do the above:

Challenging just enough in the right direction and with consistency

to make the pattern we select take hold smoothly and efficiently.

So cultivating Awareness is a great strategy to ultimately cultivate the body, breath and mind you want.  

The bad news is that Inertia is a powerful force to reckon with.  So there is a mental and physical effort required to change your habits.  But we all know that and feel that.

The good news, however, is plentiful:

  1. You CAN change 
  2. You can change at any time and at any age – incredible research in the field of neuroplasticity has confirmed that we retain the ability to change our brain structurally and functionally at any age. It is never too late!
  3. The physical results can be felt immediately – just take a very deep breath now and notice the change you feel.  Clasp your hands together, lift them up in the air, point the palms to the ceiling and reach as high as you can for just a few seconds. You can feel the lightness and release in your shoulders.
  4. Even deeper, mental changes can be experienced quickly – Harvard researchers using functional MRI technology were astonished to find that people who meditated for just 8 weeks demonstrated beneficial gray matter changes in the hippocampus and amygdala regions of the brain associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. (full article)
  5. The power is in your hands – you don’t need to wait for others to start cultivating changes in your body, breath and mind

It’s Time

So what do you want to change? What patterns do you want to promote and train in yourself?

Before you look to polish up your skills, or learn a language or musical instrument, create a solid foundation.

Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Practice deep breathing – let’s get more oxygen to those cells, muscles, and organs!
  2. Keep better posture – sitting is hard enough on the body so let’s not make it worse by sitting in a posture that shoots the pelvis into a posterior tilt, rounding our backs, caving in the chest and shoulders and ultimately causing neck pain and constricted breathing.
  3. Take a moment each morning to greet the Sun – starting the day with an appreciation for the fact that you’ve been given another day to explore and experience the world helps puts things in perspective
  4. Take time for yourself – we spend an inordinate amount of time out there doing things external, looking at screens, focusing on other people. By taking time for yourself, you will be better able to see the habits you have unconsciously created and you will give yourself a chance to decide which new patterns you want to actively train
  5. Cultivate Silence and learn to appreciate it – if you want peace of mind, you need to cut through the noise. Silence is space. Silence is calm. Yet most of us are not comfortable with silence. In fact, we even use the expression ‘awkward silence’.  Train yourself to love Silence and you will be able to find peace wherever you go and whatever the circumstance.

If you play the long game like Mother Nature, you will find that cultivating with awareness will not only change your body, breath and mind, it will make you an expert at cultivating.  Cultivating will become second nature and so future cultivating requires progressively less effort. 

You can master inertia. You can transform. And through this process, you may come to realize that you are the architect of your life.  

The Power to Cultivate is in your hands. Now, it’s up to you.

The Power to CULTIVATE: 自分を養う







自然は、私たちに「養う力」について多くを教えてくれるお手本です。 そこでサクランボが実るまでの過程を通じて自然の驚異について考えてみましょう。

  1. サクランボの種を植えます
  2. 適量の日光、水、肥料を与えます
  3. 種が発芽し芽が出ます
  4. 茎と葉も出てきます
  5. その後、枝分かれを繰り返し葉が茂り始めます
  6. 花芽が作られ、条件が整うと花が咲くでしょう
  7. 最後に、果実が成長し、熟し、美味しいサクランボになるのです













  1. ストレスをかける、またはチャレンジする


  1. 自然な流れに無理に逆らわない


  1. 毎日の習慣にする


そして、意識的に自分を養うために忘れてはならないのは「Awareness 気づき」を加える事です。



Awareness 気づき」を養う事は、最終的にあなたが望む身体、呼吸、心を育むための素晴らしい戦略とも言えます。 



  1. あなたは変わることができる 
  2. いつでも、何歳でも、変わることができる


  1. 身体的な変化をすぐに感じることができる


  1. さらに深く、精神的な変化を体験することができる


  1. すべてはあなたの手の中にある





  1. 深呼吸を練習する



  1. 毎朝、太陽に挨拶をする時間を持つ


  1. 自分のための時間を確保する


  1. 静寂の心地よさを感じ、感謝することを学ぶ

心の安らぎを求めるなら、雑音を断ち切る必要があります。静寂は空間であり、落ち着きです。しかし私たちの多くは、「気まずい沈黙」という表現を使う程それを避ける傾向があります。 静寂を愛する自分になれれば、どこにいても、どんな状況でも、穏やかさを見出す事ができるようになります。





The Philosopher King & the Sage with “8 Bends”


*Scroll down for English

昔、ジャナカという有名な王がいた。 彼は慈悲深い王で、力がありながらも愛にあふれている王だった。 彼は、スピリチュアルなことに深い関心を持っていたので、「哲学者の王」とも呼ばれていた。


「王様、起きてください!起きて! 敵の王とその兵士が王国に侵入しました!  今にも王宮の門を破ってくるでしょう、逃げてください!」

一刻の猶予もなく、秘密の通路から逃げ出したジャナカは、迫り来る敵兵から離れてジャングルの奥深くまで全力で走った。 走りに走って、気がつくと食料も水も金もない異国の地にいた。

疲れ果て、飢えと渇きに襲われていた彼は、ジャングルの中に小さな村があるのを見つけた。 裕福な人が貧しい人たちに食べ物や水を配っていたので、ジャナカは必死になって列に加わった。何時間も待った後、やっと列の先頭にたどり着いたが、「もう食べ物はありません」と言われてしまった。 

空腹に耐えられず、その場を立ち去ろうとすると、店員が鍋の底を削り、残った部分をバナナの葉に乗せて、ジャナカに差し出した。 そして彼は、自分が不幸で悲惨な状況に置かれているにもかかわらず、このわずかな残飯を手に入れたことに喜びを感じていた。 






その時、ジャナカは気がついた。 敵に襲われたことも、ジャングルに逃げ込んだことも、飢えや苦しみも、わずかな残飯やイノシシも、すべては夢だったのだ。全部、夢だったのだ。

しかし、彼はそれがすべて現実だという感覚を拭い去ることができなかった。 何しろ、現実味を帯びていたのだ。襲われるという恐怖を感じた。飢えと渇きを感じ、村を見つけて安堵した。食べ物がないことを知ったときの悲しみ、給仕が食べ残しを見つけてくれたときの喜び、そしてイノシシに唯一の糧を奪われたときの失望と苦悩まで現実そのものだった。


「私は自分が乞食であることを夢見た王なのか? それとも、自分が王であることを夢見た乞食なのか?」







アシュタバクラは尋ねた。「全てはここにありますか? 飢え、渇き、恐れは? ないでしょう!」


しかし、アシュタバクラはさらにこう言いました。「そうはいかないよ、ジャナカ王。あなたが逃げ回っているとき、空腹と渇きと恐怖を感じていたとき、あなたの王宮はあなたと一緒でしたか? 衛兵はいましたか? 金や豪華な服を身につけていましたか? 違うでしょう!」


「あの時も今も、そこにもここにも存在しているもの、それが現実なのです。そして、それは何なのか? Tat Tvam Asi!  梵我一如です! あなたがジャングルに逃げ込んだとき、イノシシがあなたの食べ物をこぼしたとき、あなたはそこにいませんでしたか? そして、あなたはここで派手な服を着て、豪華な宮殿で快適に安心して過ごしているのではないでしょうか?」



The Philosopher King & the Sage with “8 Bends”

There once was a King named Janaka.  He was a beloved king, powerful yet benevolent.  He was also known as the “ Philosopher King” for he had a deep interest in spiritual matters.

It so happened that one night after Janaka went off to sleep, he was suddenly awakened by his security guard…

“My King, wake up, wake up!  The enemy king and his soldiers have invaded the kingdom!  They will breach the gates at the royal palace any moment now,  You must flee!”

Without a moment to spare, Janaka escaped out of a secret passage and ran as fast as he could deep into the jungle and far from the enemy soldiers closing in.  He ran and ran and, before he realized it, found himself in a foreign land without food, water or gold. 

He was exhausted, starving and thirsty when he came upon a clearing in the jungle where stood a tiny village.  A wealthy man was handing out food and water to the poor and so, desperate and without any other options, Janaka joined the queue. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity , he finally reached the front of the line… only to be told that there was  no food left.

Heartbroken and hunger-struck, he was about to turn away when the server scraped the bottom of the pot, put the remaining bits on a banana leaf and offered it to Janaka.  He was elated even to have these measly scraps given his unfortunate and dire situation.

Janaka sat down to finally put some food in his hunger-pained belly when suddenly two wild boars burst into the clearing and in their chasing and fighting stomped on Janaka’s food, spilling it onto the ground. 

He couldn’t take it any more. Janaka fell to the ground and began to cry. 

“Oh Lord, why have you forsaken me?”

Janaka then opened his eyes to find he was back in his bed at the royal palace with his loyal guard at his bedside.

“What is wrong, my King?”

At that moment, it dawned upon Janaka.  It was all a dream – the enemy attack, escaping into the jungle, the hunger and pain, the measly scraps and the wild boars. All of it, a dream.

But he could not shake the feeling that it was all so real.  After all, it felt real. He felt the fear of being attacked. He felt the hunger and thirst and then the relief after finding the village. He felt the sorrow after finding out there was no food, the joy when the server found him some scraps and again disappointment and distress when the boars ruined his only chance at sustenance.

The King became engrossed in the thought: “Is this real or is that?”

“Am I a King who dreamt he was a beggar?  Or am I a beggar who dreams he is a King?

Day in, day out, Janaka was fixated on this question. He could not eat or sleep or carry out the duties of a King. His family and friends were all worried for their dear, once powerful and revered King. 

Janaka posed the question ‘is this real or is that?’ to all of his spiritual advisors and accomplished scholars but none could answer to his satisfaction.

Then one day, as fate would have it, the boy Sage with the 8 bends, Ashtavakra, came to visit the King’s court.

Again Janaka posed the question: ‘is this real or is that?’

Ashtavakra replied: “that which is real is unchanging and ever-present”.

Janaka wanted confirmation. “When I was on the run, I could feel hunger, I could feel thirst; I was fearful for my life. It all felt so real”.

Ashtavakra inquired: “Are those all here now? That hunger, thirst and fear? No!

Janaka was relieved “Ah, so that was not real! Thank the Gods, I am a King. This is real!”

But Ashtavakra had more to say on this: “Not so fast, King Janaka. When you were on the run, feeling hungry, thirsty and scared, was your royal palace with you? Was your guard there? Was your gold and your fancy clothes with you? No!”

Janaka was starting to see that there was more to this inquiry than meets the eye. “You are right, when I was there, none of these things were with me. So none of these are real either. But then tell me, oh wise one, what then is real?”

“That which was present then and now, there and here; that is what is real. And what is that, you wonder?  Tat Tvam Asi! That thou art!”  

“Were you not there when you were escaping into the jungle and when the wild boars caused your food to spill?  And are you not here in your fancy clothes, comfortable and secure in your glorious palace?”

“The self that illuminates both alone, is real. The one that remains awake, and is witness to both, your dream and your wakefulness, is real. That is the true you, oh Janaka, that is your true Self.”                                                          

Janaka, being a gifted and spiritually-minded soul, meditated upon Ashtavakra’s explanation. His confusion all washed away.  And, Janaka transformed into an even better King, eternally immersed in the knowledge of his true Self.

Practicing Happiness ~5 Practical Ingredients for Your Happiness Recipe~

*Scroll down for English


シーソーが身体をぐいっと押し上げてくれる時のように、瞬く間に頂点に達するような心地良い幸福感を味わえたかと思えば、それが一瞬で押し戻され不安の渦の中 – 恐れ・ジェラシー・不安・怒り・落ち込み等 – へ放り込まれるような心のざわつきは誰でも経験することです。





By keeping the fluttering mind somewhat restrained,

we open up the door for happiness and contentment to enter. 

By keeping the right company, 

we increase our chances of making this a habit.







#1. 幸せを習慣にする


#2. 自分の幸せは、外では見つからない




What made you happy was 

being fully present with the moment 

so that you could experience it to its fullest.




#3. タスクだけをこなしてゴールを急ぐ必要はない


終わりのないTo Doリストに振り回されていると、生活が何となく落ち着かなくなる事があります。仕事への取り組み方、食事のスピード、旅先での過ごし方、会話の運び方等。


#4. 愚痴をやめましょう!



#5.  Sanga(サンガ): 正しい仲間とのつながりを大切に




Practicing Happiness

~5 Practical Ingredients for Your Happiness Recipe~

We all want happiness, we all strive for happiness and yet it seems so elusive and fleeting.  

One moment we are on top of the world – everything feels just right and we are in our ‘zone’.  Yet the next moment, fear, envy, insecurity or their energy-sucking siblings anger, frustration, anxiety find their way in and squeeze out the happiness.

What’s with this see-saw battle and how can we tip it in favor of happiness?

Since we experience happiness as intermittent, we tend to think that it just comes and goes on its own.  But the Ancients recognized that happiness can be practiced. 

They realized that creating routines such as waking up early, sitting and meditating under the morning sun, bathing in the early morning river, and performing rites and rituals at various times of the day could help to focus the human mind; and that that focus could in turn help to keep the all-too-human negativities, fears, anxieties and more at bay.  

They emphasized going inwards – contemplation, meditation, listening to your inner voice – and made time for this endeavour.

And they experienced the support of sanga or ‘community’, which afforded them new insights, helpful hints and, perhaps most importantly, constant reminders of the goal and the importance of practice in getting there.

In short:

By keeping the fluttering mind somewhat restrained,

we open the door for happiness and contentment to enter. 

By keeping the right company, 

we increase our chances of instilling this habit.

So how does this help us here and now? Cook up your own batch of happiness!

While there is no one “Happiness Recipe” for all, here are my 5 Practical Ingredients you may want to add to your recipe. 

1. Realize that happiness can be practiced

This cannot be emphasized enough!  If you think that just so-called ‘happy people’ are entitled to happiness or that happiness comes and goes on its own, then all hope is lost and you are stuck where you are just grinding it out.  On the contrary, once you realize that happiness is in your hands, your whole outlook and your actions will change to fit the new paradigm.

2. Understand that your happiness is not out there in things or in other people

You’ve heard it a million times “money can’t buy happiness”.  But do you believe it? And do you live like you believe it?  

Just take a good look at your experiences in life. Which were the moments that brought you ‘real’ happiness, joy and contentment?  If you look carefully, you’ll realize that it wasn’t the things or even the people that made you happy.  It wasn’t the fancy meal at a Michelin star restaurant, nor the 5-star resort overlooking the pristine beach nor even family and friends that made you happy.  

What made you happy was 

being fully present with the moment 

so that you could experience it to its fullest.

And you know this to be true because you have experienced being unhappy even when you had all of the ‘right’ pieces in place – the right hotel, the right restaurant, the right food, the right car, the right house, the right party, the right job, the right partner.  And you have felt lonely and unhappy even when your best friends or family were all around.  

The flipside is that even if all of the ‘right’ pieces or people are not around, you can still be happy.  Because that happiness is not ‘out there’.

3. Don’t rush to finish things or to get to the goal

In our very busy, achievement-oriented, multi-tasking modern world, we get so caught up in rushing to the end that we forget to enjoy the journey.  And the problem with rushing to the end, as we just found out in 2. above, is that gold bars of happiness are not waiting for us in a pot at the end of the rainbow.

Every time we rush to finish, we just end up rushing right into the next thing.  You see it in how most of us lead our lives – in how we work, eat, and travel (got to check off my list of all of the tourist spots!).  And nowadays you see it in how we engage with friends (is this even the right word anymore?) on SNS. We bounce around from one chat to the next, from one notification to the next, from one 2 or 3-second video clip to the next, never really absorbing and experiencing the moment.

But precious moments of life are here to be savoured.  Much like a great meal or a delicious piece of chocolate, if you just gobble it up, the moment is gone.  

Why are you rushing? Where are you going? 

4. Stop Complaining!

One sure-fire way to keep happiness away is to spend your precious time complaining.  The weather is what it is, whether you complain about it or not. People are the way they are. Complaining won’t help change anything but it will use up your time and energy that could otherwise be used for practicing happiness. 

It’s good to be industrious and try to fix things, situations, relationships that aren’t right but try to catch yourself if you are spending an inordinate amount of time (or any amount of time) complaining.  You not only do a disservice to yourself but to those around you. 

And this leads me to ingredient number 5…

5.  Sanga: Keep good Company

It’s always easier to practice something if others around you are doing the same. If everyone around you swears, chances go way up that you will also swear.  If your friends and colleagues are always complaining, you are probably at risk of picking up the habit as well (the perils of which we discovered in 4 above).  If those around are fixated on having things, gravity will pull you in that direction. You’ll have to work a lot harder to maintain your practice of ‘being present’ and ‘experiencing the moment’.

On the other hand, if you find a community that supports practicing happiness, finding happiness within, savouring the moment and not complaining, well, it’s not rocket science, you will find it easier to pursue your practice.

So those are 5 perhaps obvious yet often difficult to maintain tips you can start to implement right away.  It doesn’t actually take much or long before you start seeing the results. And it’s in your hands.

Good luck in your pursuit of happiness and go easy on yourself and others.

*Scroll down for English







愛する人の死や仕事のストレス、世界的なパンデミックや地震などの自然災害が原因で、日常生活や予定していた計画が突然中断してしまうような時、私たちにできる事はあまりないかもしれません。(実際にはあるのですが、それはまた別の機会に!) しかし、自分の持つ思考のクセを知り、どのような視点で物事を捉えるべきかを正しく理解する事ができると、打つ手はいくらでも考えられるのです。




  1. まず、自分が今何を感じているのかを認めて、受け入れてみてください。
  1. その状態を「ネガティブ」とラベリングしていることも認識しておきましょう。それはそれでいいのです。 雲が太陽の光を遮っているのならば、その中でいったん休息を取ってから歩き出せばいいのですから。目の前の問題をすぐに解決しようとせずに、その雲の持つ目的や美しさの中に立ち止まり、自分に起きた物語を振り返ってみましょう。
  1. 長時間ネットサーフィンをし続けていませんか?インターネットは私たちに興味をそそるものを無限に与え続けるため、明確な目的もないままに驚くほど長い時間をそこで費やしてしまいがちです。その事に気がついたら、まず目を閉じて何度か深呼吸をします。そしてそこから完全に離れたら、自分を助けてくれるもの、癒してくれるものに意識を移してみましょう。 好きな音楽を聴くだけでもきっと安らかな気分を感じることができるはずです。
  1. 立ち上がって体を動かしてみましょう!いつもより少しだけ大きく腕を振って散歩に出掛けてみるのもいいですね。沈んだ気持ちや、心の声のループを断ち切るコツは、まずは小さな一歩からで十分。偶然やってきたかのように思える晴れやかな気分や幸運は、あなたの主体的な力(行動)が手に入れたものです!
  1. 自分が感じていることを素直に伝えられる人との繋がりを大切に。良い時もそうでない時も側にいてくれる友人との時間に優るものはありません。ディオンヌ・ワーウィックとスティービー・ワンダーが歌った不朽の名曲「That’s what friends are for」のように





Good Days & Bad Days

We’ve all experienced the good day-bad day phenomenon.  I’m talking about when one day all seems fine and suddenly the next, even though nothing appreciable has changed, something seems off. 

Where does that come from? Have you ever tried to isolate the factors that may have caused this change? 

“Was it something I ate? The time I slept? Perhaps the last conversation I had or that gut-wrenching movie I watched just before bed?”

Or perhaps it is an old narrative that keeps resurfacing – feelings of inadequacy, insecurity or guilt – triggered by being in a certain environment or with certain people?

We all invariably experience these relatively ‘unprovoked’ bad days and changes but when you really think about it, the only thing that has really changed is our mind. Sure, call it perspective or how we look at life, but essentially only something inside of us has shifted.  And knowing this truth is powerful!

When things outside shift around – loved ones get sick or pass away; job stresses become overwhelming; pandemics, earthquakes or other calamities bring our daily lives and plans to an abrupt halt – there may not be a lot we can do (actually there is, but we can get to that another day).  

However, when the shift is inside of us and we recognize that, the solution is firmly in our hands.

First, the very realization that the shift was just inside of us, changes how we feel.  It sounds ridiculously simple but it’s true. Just ask Schrodinger- the very act of observing and recognizing something changes its nature!

Next, by understanding the source (i.e. our mind), we can take advantage of some techniques targeted directly at this source:

  1. Acknowledge and accept that you are feeling whatever you are feeling
  1. Recognize that you are labeling the experience as ‘negative’ whereas there is no need to add a judgement. It is what it is.  Clouds are not negative just because they block the sunshine.  They have purpose and beauty in their own right.
  1. Notice the ‘negative loop’ you unconsciously create by following the rabbit down the rabbit hole and STOP.  Take a few deep breaths and shift your focus to something that helps or soothes you.  Cranking up some favorite tunes may be the best medicine.
  1. Move! Get some exercise. Go for a walk.  Negativity and the negative mental chatter loop thrive when we are sedentary and being lazy. So get up and move around!
  1. Connect with people you can talk to about what you are feeling or even just talk about topics that bring you back in line with a healthy perspective.  In the immortal words sung by Dionne Warwick, “That’s what friends are for”. 

To encourage more good days, make a conscious effort to keep the right company.  As social animals so dependent and influenced by others, the more positive and supportive the environment, the easier it is for us to stay in a good place.  

And finally, practices like meditation and yoga are great ways to create stability and steadfastness inside ourselves so that regardless of the environment, we are better able to stay in this good place.  

But we are human after all and we all fall from time to time.  If these bad day feelings persist and / or interfere with your life, seeking out the help of wonderful professionals may be the way to go.

Eventually, we may be able to go beyond having so-called ‘good’ days and ‘bad’ days and instead see them all simply as special moments to explore. 

My Yoga Tetsugaku (Philosophy)

The Paradoxes of Yoga & Asking the Right Questions

*Scroll down for English


しかし、これは本当はどういうことなのでしょうか? どうやって練習すればいいのでしょうか?  そして、それをどのように共有し、教えるのでしょうか?



  • 身体的な「アーサナ」を練習すること。しかしながら、アーサナが目的ではないこと。
  • 「ヤマ」(コントロール)や抑制を実践すること。しかしながら、自由になり、’mukti'(ムクティ)と’moksha'(モクシャ)を見つけること。
  • “atha yoga anushasanam” (アタ ヨガ アヌシャサナム)と呼ばれるように、真面目に取り組むこと。しかしながら、楽しみ、喜びと ‘ananda’(アナンダ)の至福を感じること。


ヨガでは、私たちは一人一人ユニークであり、より大きな知識や‘samadhi’(サマディ)と呼ばれる悟りの境地に至る独自の道があると教えています。 では、なぜこれほど多くの人が同じ練習をしているのでしょうか? 





My Yoga Tetsugaku (Philosophy)

The Paradoxes of Yoga & Asking the Right Questions

We all know that yoga is not about poses. We know that it is a mental practice not just something physical. We know that form is not a substitute for substance.

But what does this really mean?  How do we practice this?   And how do we share and teach this?

As yoga teachers and as yoga practitioners, these are questions we need to ask ourselves.

Come to think about it, yoga presents us with so many interesting paradoxes:

  • Practice physical ‘asana’ but it’s not about asana!
  • Practice ‘yama’ control but become free, find ‘mukti’ and ‘moksha’
  • Be serious and committed – “atha yoga anushasanam” – but have fun, feel joy and ‘ananda’ bliss

But wait, there’s more!

Yoga also tells us that each of us are unique and have our own path to some state of greater knowing or ‘samadhi’ enlightenment.  Then why are so many of us doing the same practice?  Or are we?

I am a practitioner. I am a teacher.  But really, I know that I am not these roles.  All the texts have taught me this. 

But what does that feel like? And what does that look like in the real world and in my life?

It’s time to ask these questions if you haven’t yet.  

Let’s journey!

How To Be With Your Practice

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猿の神様であるハヌマーンは好奇心旺盛な少年でした。 毎日のように母親の服を引っ張っては尋ねていました。




「ああ、小さなハヌマーン、あなたはとても多くの疑問を持っています。でも、私は全てに答えることはできません。 あなたには、たくさんのことを知っている先生、つまり世界を見てきた先生が必要です」 






「ハヌマーンよ、私は君の師になるにはあまりにも忙しい。 私は24時間世界を飛び回っているので、立ち止まってあなたに教える時間はありません」







このシンプルな物語は、より高度な知識を追求しようとするときのコミットメントと努力の重要性を教えてくれます。 毎日練習や勉強をするのは簡単なことではありません。 私たちは皆、他にやるべきことがあります。注意をそらすことには事欠きません。 しかし、コミットするという行為自体が私たちを変えるということを認識したらどうでしょうか。 そして、定期的に練習することで、まだ理解できない何かを得ることができるとしたらどうでしょう?

やってみませんか?1日10分、毎日、1ヶ月間。 そして、そこから先は…。


How To Be With Your Practice

The monkey God, Hanuman, was a curious little boy.  Everyday he would tug on his mother’s clothes and ask:

 “Mama, mama, why is the sky blue?”

“Mama, mama, where do clouds come from?”

“Mama mama, where does the Sun go at night?”

“Oh, little Hanuman, you have so many questions. But I don’t have the answers.  You need a teacher who knows about so many things; a teacher who has seen the world!“

She thought for a moment and then said “aha, who better than Surya, the Sun, to teach you?! He travels the world and sees all! Yes, go to him my Son and ask him to be your Guru.”

So Hanuman, who was born with amazing powers to fly like the wind, jumped up into the sky to the Sun and begged “please, Oh great Surya, please take me as your disciple.”

Surya refused saying, “no Hanuman, I am far too busy to be your teacher.  I travel the world 24 hours a day. I have no time to stop and teach you.”

But Hanuman persisted. “You will not have to stop, I will fly with you as you go about your duties bringing warmth, light and life to the world.”

Surya again refused, this time saying “it is too hard. I am so hot and bright. You cannot handle being so close to me all of the time.”

Stil, Hanuman would not give up. “What is a little discomfort in the pursuit of great knowledge?

Surya was out of excuses and he knew Hanuman was up to the challenge. From that day onwards, Surya became Hanuman’s Guru.

This simple story teaches us the importance of commitment and effort when we try to pursue higher knowledge.  It’s not easy to practice or study everyday.  We all have other things to do. There is no shortage of distractions.  But what if we recognize that the act of committing itself changes us?  And what if we realize that by practicing regularly, we will gain something we cannot yet see? 

Why not try it? 10 minutes a day, everyday, for one month.  And then let’s go from there…
Enjoy the challenge! And enjoy the Sun!

What if Tomorrow Doesn’t Come?  


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私は自転車に飛び乗って、急いで家に帰りました。テレビでは、津波が押し寄せ、田んぼや町を飲み込んでいく様子が生中継されていました。私は、テレビに映っている車に向かって、「もっと早く走れ!」「津波の進路を避けろ!」と叫んでいました。 そして、テレビの中の歩行者にも大声で「逃げろ」「高台に行け」と叫んでいました。しかし、私の声が届くことはありませんでした。これがテレビ番組やビデオゲームではなく、目の前で起こっている現実であることが信じられませんでした。



では、もし明日が来なかったら? 私たちは今日という日を、その日にふさわしい活力と感謝の気持ちを持って過ごしているでしょうか?そして、私たちは、するべきことをして、大切な人々に、価値ある存在感と熱意をもって語りかけているでしょうか?




2021年3月11日 Maneesh

What if Tomorrow Doesn’t Come?  


It was exactly ten years ago today that we experienced the three-fold disaster that will be burned in our communal memories forever.  

I had just come down onto the street after a meeting in the high-end Omotesando area of Tokyo.  I was speaking to a colleague when that moment came. The one where everything seems to stop, background noises dissolve into the unknown and you are overcome with a gut-wrenching feeling that something ungodly is about to happen.

Buildings started to make that creaking sound as if they were trees about to be uprooted. The mirrored walls lining the luxury stores started to shake so violently I thought they would tear and fly off into the distance.  And I can still hear the screams of terror and people all around me dropping to the ground in shock and disbelief. 

I jumped on my bicycle and sped home as quickly as possible. The television was airing live coverage of the tsunami rushing in, engulfing rice fields and towns. I caught myself yelling at the cars on the TV to go faster and steer clear of the path of the tsunami.  And then I’d yell at the pedestrians on the TV as well, pleading with them to run and get to higher ground. But to no avail. It was hard to comprehend that this was not some TV show or a video game but rather people in real time, dying in front of my eyes.

For those of us who were lucky enough to be far away from the epicenter and who do not have close friends or family in that area, it is all too easy to forget. These anniversary reminders, if we even catch them, are probably the only time in the year we recall that day.  

But for those who lost friends and family, it is another story. For them 3/11 is the day that tomorrow didn’t come for someone they loved.

So what if tomorrow doesn’t come?  Are we spending today with the vigor and the appreciation that today deserves? And are we doing the things we do and speaking to the people we care about with a presence and enthusiasm we deem worthy?

Anniversaries of tragedies such as 3/11 need not be morbid recollections of historic events. They can serve as reminders of how precious this moment and this life we’ve been given are. 

So go out there and spend the day with vigor and joy and purpose! And let us not forget this powerful message.

In memory of those who passed on 3/11