True success is measured by peace of mind.

Peter Bligh

Peter Bligh was my special guest last night on Voices from the North. From Hastings to Herekino, with many hallowed stops in between, Peter Bligh’s life journey has been more than one of physically moving north and west on New Zealand’s North Island. It has been a journey of awakening to the reality that success is not necessarily measured with dollars and cents or with rungs on a career ladder, but by the peace of mind felt in daily life. His school days saw him rubbing shoulders with people who’ve become household names. Paul Holmes was a classmate. Paul is indisputably the most well known of this country’s media stars. Paul has been successful in a traditional sense. Peter Bligh’s life has been a success in another less tangible way.

Click below for the complete interview:

Today Peter is a teacher of yoga and meditation. Yesterday he was a professional fundraiser. He sees no dichotomy between these two functions. For centuries Indian holy men have answered the call to move to forest or mountain to establish ashrams: places of retreat from the pulls of everyday existence; places specially designed for immersion in the ancient arts of yoga and meditation. The building of such ashrams requires external input and money. So, perhaps, these Indian saints have been the originators of what is called fundraising today.

Vivekananda in London in 1896

Thou art He that beareth the burdens of the universe;

help me to bear the little burden of this life.

Extract from a prayer Swami Vivekananda delivered at the Chicago World’s Parliament of Religions September 1893.

In our hour together Peter told the story of how the Rockefeller Foundation, one of the world’s largest and best known philanthropic charities, was seeded through a meeting of John D.  Rockefeller with one of India’s greatest yogis, Swami Vivekananda, in the last years of the 19th century. When Rockefeller foisted a huge sum of money on Vivekananda, he was surprised to hear not even a word of thanks from the saint. Swami Vivekananda’s only words were, “It is for you to thank me.” Perhaps the pundit was pointing out through his actions that through receiving the monetary gift from Rockefeller, he was giving the wealthy industrialist the joy of giving. For more on that famous story visit here. 

Sometimes the greatest act of giving you can make is to wholeheartedly receive the gift of another.

Mandala Yoga Ashram

Peter Bligh has spent years working, studying and teaching overseas: at Mandala Yoga Ashram in Wales (the UK’s largest ashram), at Satyanandashram Hellas in Greece, throughout northern Europe and in India. He initially came to the relative remoteness of Herekino in the Far North to deepen his own spiritual practice.

He teaches yoga and meditation because he sees these skills as indispensable means for improving flexibility of body and mind and for training one to overcome the fears innate to the human condition—fears which often motivate us to turn to temporary antidotes like alcohol and drugs or to indulge in the over-busy-ness we in the West tend to turn to. Peter wonders if this tendency to over-activity represents a running-away-from or masking of the innate fears chasing us all. I wonder too. I am grateful for the hour I had with Peter Bligh on the radio. Once again, you can hear it below:

 

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

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I thought some of you might be interested in the various practices I use on a daily basis.

 John

I’m an early riser. I wake between 12:30 AM and five o’clock in the morning. Just after midnight is on the extremely early end and only happens when I’ve gone to bed before nine o’clock. Typically, I rise between 2:30 and 4:00 during a period of inspiration.

I start by drinking a glass of water I’ve set out beside my bed before going to sleep. While still in bed, I do Taoist eye exercises and massage my feet with a focus on the colon areas on both feet. I then make my way to the bathroom to say a set of affirmations while smiling into the mirror. While saying the affirmations out loud I do Touch for Health switching on exercises and a Time of Day Balance (also from Touch for Health). Most of the affirmations are ones that have come to me in those wee hours but I also use a few others such as the following one:

I am a messenger of Light. I am a pilgrim on the way of love.
I do not walk alone, but know myself as one with all great souls,
and one with them in service.
Their strength is mine. This strength I claim.
My strength is theirs and this I freely give.
A soul, I walk on earth. I represent the one.
 

from the work of Djwhal Khul and Alice Bailey

 

It’s now time for yoga asanas followed by relaxation and meditation. I always have a pen and paper beside me. During inspired periods I write by hand before getting out of bed or I jot down ideas that come up while doing affirmations or doing yoga. I’ve learned not to resist this inspiration. It comes at times of its own choosing. I simply need to be available as scribe for the ideas that arise. Just before the meditation I perform a short Triangle Meditation with two people I’ve never met in person – one lives in Michigan and the other in Qatar. For more on Triangles visit here.

 

Coopers Beach

 

Next I walk in nature or I go straight to the computer to begin writing and editing my earlier handwritten notes. This is still before anyone else in the house is awake. The best inspiration comes then. Depending on the season and the weather I will walk before or during sunrise. I often receive more inspiration then. I’ll be chanting mantras or singing songs that I’m working on while I walk. It’s amazing how many inspirational ideas (for writing, or a person I should call or an activity that needs to be completed) will come to the surface of my consciousness during these solitary, joyful walks in nature.

Many mornings, at some point during the walk, I will stop and do what I call Four Directions Eurythmy and/or certain breathing exercises designed to clean the lungs. I find it particularly beneficial to do breathing exercises on the beach or in the forest where the air is pristine and the prana highly charged.

During the day, if I’m doing a lot of work at the computer, I get up regularly from my chair, doing some jumping on a lymphasiser (mini-trampoline or rebounder) or wander out into the garden to do a little pruning, weeding, hand watering or harvesting.

Late in the afternoon, before the evening meal I do Six Healing Sounds and the Inner Smile. It’s a great way to release any tension or emotional dross accumulated during the day. I love this practice. Sometimes I do a little yoga before the Six Healing Sounds or in place of them. The asanas I choose would be dependent on how I’m feeling. It is likely I would include Cat/Cow, the Shoulder Stand or the Fish.

Before bed I offer a prayer, read a little and fall asleep, often midway through a sentence with the book open on my lap. Lucia often sorts me out or I wake later to turn the light out (not ideal but that’s me; I can fall asleep anywhere, which is a bit of an issue when I’m driving the car!

Please note I am intentionally not rigid about the above practices. I apply them consistently but I will miss some elements at times. I feel it is important to go with the flow. There’s no freedom in ‘have to’ or obligation. Do what feels good. On average I probably do yoga six days a week.

A practice is ever-evolving. Back in 2000 and 2001, after Power of Sound Teacher Training with Chris James in Australia, I used to retire in late afternoon to our little octagonal eco-lodge and spend about 45 minutes to an hour doing sound work. I had some real breakthroughs with my voice after I’d done those exercises daily for three months.

Success with your practice, folks! I’d love to hear your comments.

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

1. Your health is your most important asset. You should dedicate at least 1/10 of your day to your physical, mental and spiritual well being.

2. Having a solid spiritual practice is the key to surviving challenging times and there’s little doubt we live in challenging times.

3. Starting your day with mantra and meditation brings clarity and purpose to the other important goals of your life. Sadhana (or spiritual practice) is an anchor for the rest of the day. Beginning the day on a high note sets the tone for the rest of the day.

4. Sadhana is the time you develop your relationship to your Self. Maintaining a healthy relationship with your Self, is the key to strengthening your relationships with others. It’s your light that others feel. Turn it on.

5. The early morning hours have less electrical and mental activity in the air, allowing the mind to focus better and deep awareness to be obtained.

6. Your subconscious mind absorbs so much unconscious information. Conscious relaxation of the mind through yoga, meditative chanting, and deep meditative silence provides the best avenue to consciously enlighten yourself.

7. Great things come with depth. All masters have transcended through the depth of their practice be it in music, business, sports, science, spirituality or Love. The cure for bitterness and disillusionment is discipline. Daily practice with discipline leads to enlightenment.

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John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

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I’m a lucky man. I wake up every day in paradise and I go to sleep in the same place.

 

In the last year we’ve lost almost every penny of our savings, after having been mortgage-free most of our life together.

 

Yet I don’t feel sorry for myself. I am so lucky.

 

I was introduced to yoga by Lucia 20 years ago when we met in the Himalayas. I continue to start nearly every day with a refreshing taste of yoga and meditation, the ultimate breakfast for me. Now, after many years away from it, Lucia has resumed teaching—two early morning classes each week here in our house. I attend them, along with a small malleable group of good friends. I feel like I’m living in an ashram. I am so lucky.

 

Late most afternoons, when much of my work for the day is done, I retreat to my room for Six Healing Sounds and relaxation. This quiet time feels so good to me. I am so lucky.

 

Most Wednesday evenings I walk along the beach, turn inland and up a hill to the radio station where I interview some amazing person for an hour on radio and cable television. I call that show Voices from the North and I love doing it. I am so lucky.

 

Most Thursday evenings a dear friend leads a small dedicated group of us in Sanskrit chanting. I walk along our beautiful beach to and from her home. I am so lucky.

 

Other evenings I walk alone or with Lucia, work in the garden or play outside with my children, the air alive with the heavenly fragrance of Queen of the Night and Datura. What more could a man ask for? I am so lucky.

 

Every month my family attends our local Ceilidh, an alcohol-free evening of live, quality music performed by talented local musicians. We dance for hours, swept away in the joyful atmosphere of community. I am so lucky.

 

I have one small problem: finding the time to put into place all I am inspired to do, write and share. I take it one small happy step at a time.

 

At night, before bed, I pick up my guitar and sing one or two of my devotional songs, make a simple prayer asking that I can continue to be a clear channel of service to humanity, and I fall peacefully asleep. I am healthy, I am happy and I’m in love. I am so lucky.