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Anniversary of Leaving the Monastic Order

9 years ago today, I packed my sparse belongings in a van, and got a senior monk to drive me from the ashram/monastery in Los Angeles, CA to Encinitas, CA 2 hours south. A friend met me; we loaded all my stuff into her van and then went to the ocean to dive in and be baptized into a new life back in the hustle and bustle of the secular world.

It has been an interesting transition over all these years, and not always easy. In fact, sometimes down right difficult. But I have never questioned my decision, because I took the time to tune in with the truest aspirations of my heart.

In honor of this 9-year “anniversary,” I thought I would offer, as a gift to you, my chapter from the best-selling collaborative book, Align Expand and Succeed: Shifting the Paradigm of Entrepreneurial Success. 

In this chapter, I share the story of my struggle to stay or leave the monastic life. And at the end I offer the technique I used to help me decide the right path to take.

If you are struggling with ANY major decisions in your life, my hope is that this process may help you to choose the path most aligned with your Truth as well. Happy choosing!

(if you are interested in obtaining the book, you can find it on my website products page: http://breathflow.com/products.htm)

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SHIFT HAPPENS: Inspiration for a Life in Transition

A senior monk faced me in his simple ochre uniform. To me, however, he was more than just a monk; he was my counselor, my supervisor, my mentor and as close to a father as I felt I could have in the monastic order where I had spent the last ten years of my life. His counsel was compassionately simple and direct: “Then you must go…that is your Dharma, your truth.”

I don’t know how long I had been holding my breath, but the release flooded my being with a rushing wave of emotion and sensations of everything that was right. His words were a liberating confirmation of my own feelings; feelings that I had finally come to fully recognize only after nine months of agonizing consideration, counseling, prayer…and conscious breathing.

Transitions Serve to Awaken Our Potential

Our conversation revolved around a decision of serious impact on my future: whether or not to leave the spiritual environment of the ashram for a new, undefined way of life. On the one hand was the familiar path to which I had dedicated a decade of my life—noble, predictable, comfortable, secure. On the other hand were uncertainty, ambiguity, and fear of a fast-paced, chaotic world from which I had been sheltered for the past ten years. It was like making a decision to leave my job, move to a new city, and get a divorce at the same time…with the added burden of the one I was “divorcing” being God (not that we wouldn’t still be friends, but that I would no longer be living in His “house”)! On the surface the choice seemed a “no-brainer.” Yet deep inside there was a buried feeling compelling me to move in a new direction.

As all of us who have made life-changing decisions know, the experience can be traumatic. The territory is fraught with dark emotions of self-judgment, anxiety, anger, fear, and doubt. These days, as more and more people seek my assistance with their wellness, I realize that to wrestle with these emotions during intense transitions is to be human. However, to overcome is Divine.

In addition, there is every indication that the world is collectively moving towards a greater degree of change as old unserving paradigms crumble and fall away and new healthier, happiness-sustaining paradigms emerge to take their places.

Call these changes what you will—God’s Divine Plan, the end of the Mayan Calendar, the inevitable effects of rampant greed and corruption—the times are calling for a shift. From a spiritual perspective, transitions are a natural energetic thrust to prod us into taking greater steps towards our truth, our authenticity. That means a lot of people are either choosing to make transitions or are being nudged out of resistance, sometimes forcibly, by energies that are calling for a shift.

The Breath—Key to Accessing Your Unique Truth

The conclusion of my monastic journey revealed that I could no longer accept what outwardly appeared congruent while inside I felt out of balance. Ironically this understanding and the courage to leave the ashram came from more earnestly applying the spiritual teaching that I had learned inside the ashram! When I realized this I began to take what I had learned and transform it into something that I could share with others outside the cloistered grounds; something that significantly impacts the lives of anyone who seeks relief from suffering. The simple elegance of the result left me in a state of inspiration—literally. The very definition of inspiration means “to breathe in.” The secret lies in the way we breathe.

Using special conscious breathing techniques, we can connect with the most authentic parts of us, the parts that fuse passion and purpose into a fire of alchemy that naturally creates a path towards fulfillment of both. In other words, we discover our Dharma—individual truth in alignment with Universal Truth—our unique authenticity.

My personal breath practice led me to understand that the longevity of my happiness relied on living three important intentions:

  • I take personal responsibility for my happiness;
  • I face my fears;
  • I trust my intuition.

If the course of my life did not support these intentions, I would continue to be out of alignment with my authentic self and suffer as a result. Instead I have chosen to listen to my inner guidance and apply it in my daily personal and professional life.

Whether or not these particular intentions resonate with you is not of consequence. What matters is that you have a means to tune in with inner guidance and live in greater alignment with your deepest calling. Conscious connected breathing techniques keep us in the present where we can access the doorway to our intuitive awareness, the part of us that is fully in tune with the natural flow of our truth.

A Powerful Breathing Technique to Facilitate Transitions

The technique to tune in with inner direction in times of transition is profound in its simplicity. Anytime you desire to resonate more with your guiding truth, follow these steps:

  1. Find a quiet place where you can sit undisturbed. Sit upright with your spine straight yet comfortable.
  2. Clearly define in your mind (writing often helps), the two or more options with which you are struggling.
  3. Take one of the options in your mind and begin to breathe as you think about it.
  4. At the same time, begin to breathe in a rhythmic connected fashion. Inhale smoothly, relax the exhale, and keep the breath connected. In other words, keep a continuous flow as if your breath were like an ocean wave rising and falling with each inhalation and exhalation. It is important not to pause, but to keep the breath connected, and flowing at a slightly accelerated rate, as if you were walking to get some exercise.
  5. With the option still in your consciousness, concentrate your awareness of your heart.
  6. Notice without judgment what feelings naturally arise. Make note of the quality of your breathing as you dwell on this option.
  7. Then take the other option(s) and repeat the same steps, noting the feelings that naturally arise and the ease or difficulty that occurs in your breathing pattern. For example, are your feelings joyful or apprehensive? Does your breath flow smoothly or is there some difficulty in the process?

As you allow the different options to resonate with or against your authentic energy, it will become apparent which course of action becomes most compelling. Trust yourself and take it. You will never regret it.

When your journey brings you to an important fork in the road of your life and you have a difficult decision to make—be it personal, romantic, or business—take a few moments to practice this exercise. Tune out the voices of “shoulds,” “cant’s,” and expectations of others by tuning in to the deep inner awareness that peacefully and playfully guides your life in the direction of greatest fulfillment. The results will be different for everyone, so only you can truly know for yourself. This kind of conviction may be daunting, but it is very liberating.

A Life in Alignment with Dharma

Much has happened since the day I spoke with my counselor and my whole life shifted. My decision to leave monastic life has led me on the journey to become a public speaker, wellness practitioner, spiritual leader, and conscious entrepreneur, specializing in life transformation. Yet it is far from an “easy” lifestyle. On an almost daily basis I am reminded to take personal responsibility for my happiness and face my fear by trusting my intuition. It is important to note that facing fears doesn’t mean they simply vanish because you are facing them; in fact, at times it seems like the fear is intensified. Yet I have not regretted my decision for a single minute. When needed, I tune back into the original feelings of my own inner confirmation, accessible through my transformational breathing practices. There is no substitute for living in alignment with your truth. If you do not, it will simply not feel good. If you want to experience success in the form of lasting happiness, this alignment is required.

As we continue this journey on the ever-morphing landscape of experience, the realization becomes apparent that the only constant is change. In order to more successfully manage the changes and transitions in your life, tap into your inspiration by tuning into your breath. You will not only weather the turbulence of your own transitions more gracefully, but you will also become a vitally important player in assisting the world to navigate through the perpetual waves of change. This is perfect Dharma, expressing your individual truth in alignment with universal Truth. Live it. Breathe it.

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Christian Minson is a former monastic, Certified Breathwork Facilitator, and conscious entrepreneur. Through his company, Breathflow Wellness, Christian teaches the application of spiritual principles and breathing techniques to achieve modern-world success and happiness. As the “monk on the street,” he has delivered his message to churches, universities, and yoga centers around the country and abroad, as well as contributing to Vision Magazine. For FREE breathing technique downloads and more information, visit his website www.BreathFlow.com.

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Breathe into Autumn

Welcome to Autumn, the season that shifts our perspective from outward participation and enjoyment of our life, towards a deeper introspective cycle.

This is a time for nurturing ourselves, reassessing and reevaluating our choices and our actions. Processes that support these qualities are valuable in this period of our life cycle.

The in and out rhythm of the breath can be a powerful tool for aligning with the rhythm of Life and opening you up to your deeper intuition and inner guidance.

Whether you are experienced with the practice of Transformational Breath or a newcomer, allow yourself the periodic practice of this technique to align yourself with Life itself, keeping you in the harmony, health and happiness that is your divine birthright, all along the way.

The Story of the Virgin of Guadalupe on 12/12/12

On 12-12-12 I attended a celebration in Encinitas, CA at Cafe Ipe, the site where the now-famous “Surfing Madonna” mosaic now resides after being removed from its original site under the train bridge on Encinitas Blvd.

The Surfing Madonna, for those who still do not know, is an artistic glass mosaic representation of the Virgin of Guadalupe riding a surfboard and delivering the message to “save the ocean.” She came to us through Mark Patterson, artist and Encinitas resident (and personal friend, though I was surprised myself when I found out it was him who had created this powerful and controversial image!).

The celebration was happening to promote and raise funds for the surfingmadonna.org activities that have sprung up as a result of the popularity of the image and her message. This movement is dedicated to saving the ocean, and I encourage you to find out more.

But why was this all happening on 12/12/12, when so much else was going on to commemorate the supposed auspiciousness of the date? Well it turns out I learned something about the original Virgin of Guadalupe (the one who wasn’t on a surfboard)…

Here is the story as told to me by Mark Patterson (another account can be found on Wikipedia):

In the region around Mexico City, on December 10 many years ago, the Virgin Mary appeared to a common peasant. He went to the religious official to tell him of this miraculous apparition  but he was greeted only with disdain and was laughed out of the church. Dejected, he went home. He was beside himself and cried to the Virgin as to what to do. She returned to him on December 12 (12/12) and said, “Return to the priest and tell him you have seen me again. when he responds open your cloak wide and he will believe you.”

The peasant did not know how this would be possible, but armed with his faith he returned to the church. When the priest saw him he shouted, “You again what do you want?” The peasant replied, “I have seen the Virgin again.”

“Why should I believe you this time?” scoffed the priest. As directed by the Virgin, the peasant opened his cloak and out fell hundreds of red roses. Being the middle of December it was not the season for roses to be growing. The priest recognized the verity of the peasants story and brought the miracle of the Virgin of Guadalupe to the attention of all the land.

So goes the story from many years ago, plus or minus a few details. A story born again last night for me… But the story doesn’t end there, because the Virgin has returned, this time to Encinitas. And this time riding a surfboard. No less controversial in Her apparition, and has the potential to be no less miraculous if we but heed her message…

“Save the Ocean”

The Significance of 12-12-12

Happy 12/12/12! One of those crazy dates that supposedly has some significance. And soon approaching is 12/21/12, the end of the Mayan calendar. What is its importance…?

I come from a very spiritual background, having been a monk for 10 years and a Transformational Breath Trainer for 6, going on 7. As a spiritual straight shooter, my bottom line is this: the significance or importance of ANY date is really how you make it significant for YOURSELF.

These dates offer us a chance to bring some importance on a collective level, but all of that begins with the individual. If you are frenetically engaged in life-in-the-fast-lane-as-usual 12/12/12/ or 12/21/12 or any date for that matter will pass you by just like all the rest: trying to catch up, trying to keep up with the Jones’, trying to earn that next dollar, trying to make everyone happy…and the day will end just like all the others: incomplete, frustrated, exhausted.

Whether spiritually you believe these dates are significant in some way or not, I encourage you to embrace the opportunity to make them significant to you. How? Make time in your day to consciously let go of distractions, obligations, effort, frustration, grudges, resentment, etc. (This is different from “taking time out of your day,” which rarely if ever happens!)  Find a quiet space where you can dive into your own being for 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 1 hour…however long you reasonably can.  (Note:  feeling guilty or stressed about the things you are letting go of for a few minutes is the wrong application of “reason”!).

In that conscious space, practice gentle, conscious breathing, such as the Transformational Breath(r) technique. Allow yourself to tune in to the inner wonder of your being and see how the external world is merely a holographic image of what is going on inside you. Open to the wonder of your being and let yourself receive whatever is available. You may receive a powerful insight…you may experience a sense of deep connection…or simply feel peace, or being completely present to the fullness of your life…you may find yourself in a flood of thoughts of everything you still have to do (in that case, we need to do some work together) — but notice that you are floating, not drowning. Whatever your experience, receive it in a spirit of gratitude, and honor it as part of your ever-evolving experience of life.

Then you will know the significance of 12/12/12.

Stay Inspired!

Happy New Year to everyone who is ready to learn the lessons from the past year, put those experiences behind you, and move into this New Year with renewed enthusiasm and determination to make it the best year of your life to date!

This is my resolve anyway, with the theme for this year to “Stay Inspired!”

So just how do we do that? Good question! The first answer, of course, is to BREATHE! Not just breathe like you have always been breathing…unconsciously, unenthusiastically. But to breathe like you mean it! After all, “Inspire” means to “Breathe in”…So, BREATHE IN DEEP! Take in a full breath of life into your lungs.  Do this OFTEN. FEEL your connection to the Life Force within you and the world around you. Make your determination to meet life head on to get the most out of whatever experience it brings to you!

So how do I stay inspired? I have been thinking about this, there are many random things that can produce momentary fits of inspiration, but to STAY inspired for the long haul requires a routine that supports your well-being. For me this includes:

  • Daily Meditation
  • Introspection
  • Study of Inspiring people and thoughts
  • Exercise (my favorite is Yoga)
  • Service
  • And of course…regular conscious breathing practices like those I teach through Breathflow!

Keeping these elements consistently in my life helps me to keep my perspective on the bright side. Oh yeah there is one more: TAKE ACTION…LOTS of it! like Reaching out and interacting with others, especially when I begin to feel low. So reach out…How do YOU stay inspired?

Sierra Hot Springs Lives On….

Group Photo

Blissfully Transformed

This is a forum for people to express and share and keep the “community” alive as you reenter into your daily lives as a transformed person. Sometime reentry requires some support of those who understand. I invite you to create that understanding here.

Enter memories, support, calls for help, ideas how to make this work better…

I am off  to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (!) so I wanted to get this up ASAP. This is not officially the TBF website or blog. It is actually my blog, which if you will explore further hasn’t been used in many years…Maybe this will “breathe’ some life back into it.

Inhale life! -Christian Aphrodite Minson

PS. Express your inner Goddess!

Breathing Smoke

 

It you are living many regions of San Diego or LA right now you may be aware that the air quality is not very good due to all teh amoke from the various raging fires currently underway. This may most certainly be a hazard to your overall health. Looking up reports, the air quality on the San Diego coast is moderate, and inland is unsafe for sensitive groups.If you are feeling considerably lower in the physical health spectrum than you normally do, you will want to minimize the amount of polluntants you assimilate into your system. What can be done about it?

How to Protect Your Family from the Health Effects of Smoke

Breathe Less. Yes, there actually are situations where a breathing expert would condone taking small shallower breaths than fuller, deeper ones. Breathing in fire smoke is just one of those times. However, it does still affect your ability to be super alert and energetic, but this is a better trade off than breathing deep a lot of soot.Pay attention to local air quality reports and stay alert to any news coverage or health warnings related to smoke.Use common sense. If it looks smoky outside, it’s probably not a good time to mow the lawn or go for a run. And it’s probably not a good time for your children to play outdoors.If you are advised to stay indoors, take steps to keep indoor air as clean as possible. Keep your windows and doors closed – unless it’s extremely hot outside.Check the Air Quality Index (AQI) forecast for your area. The AQI, based on data from local air quality monitors, tells you about the daily air quality in your area and recommends precautions you can take to protect your health. As smoke gets worse, the concentration of particles in the air changes – and so do the steps you should take to protect yourself. Visit www.AIRNow.gov for local forecast and conditions.Run your air conditioner, if you have one. Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside. Note: If you don’t have an air conditioner, staying inside with the windows closed may be dangerous in extremely hot weather. In these cases, seek alternative shelter.Help keep particle levels inside lower. When smoke levels are high, try to avoid using anything that burns, such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves – and even candles! Don’t vacuum. That stirs up particles already inside your home. And don’t smoke. That puts even more pollution in your lungs, and in the lungs of people around you.If you have asthma or other lung disease, make sure you follow your doctor’s directions about taking your medicines and following your asthma management plan. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen.If you have heart or lung disease, if you are an older adult, or if you have children, talk with your doctor about whether and when you should leave the area. When smoke is heavy for a prolonged period of time, fine particles can build up indoors even though you may not be able to see them.Make sure you are protecting yourself through proper Nutrition. A high grade pharmaceutical-quality natural supplementation regime will go a long way to minimizing your reactions to pollutnats that enter your body. Taking a vitamin and mineral supplement, as well as oils is a good front line defense. Especially helpful are antioxidant supplements. I recommend USANA brand and can help you to order if you would like these products. email me at christian@breathflow.com.

Some of this info was found at http://www.airnow.gov