August 2014

Just Watching Doesn't Work

My husband and I dropped our daughter off to camp, which was moved indoors due to the unusual rainy weather in Lake Tahoe.   There was a gym with a large basketball court, and as usual, my husband couldn't resist shooting some hoops.

I wanted to try my hand at it, too, although I hadn't in months.  My second shot went down easy - yay!  I wanted more of that.  So I kept shooting.  I missed the next, and the one after that, and the next one.  In fact, I just kept missing. 

I tried everything.  I pushed more with my legs.  Followed through with my hand.  Attempted to mimick the actions of the big players I have watched on tv.  Thought positive thoughts.  Visualized the ball swishing through the hoop.  Nothing.

Finally, after about 20 or 25 shots, I moved in closer and made one, and decided to stop with that. 

The experience reminded me that, no matter what I am doing, just watching someone else do it doesn't work.  Otherwise, a lot of us would be professional basketball players.

The spiritual path is like that.  We can read all the Sutras, the Gita, the Bible, the Torah or the Koran all day long.  We can watch other people meditate. We can look at yoga videos or go to listen to spiritual teachers talk.  But if we aren't walking the talk - putting into practice, again and again, what we are learning - we won't be able to awaken. 

Patanjali, the father of yoga philosophy, said it aptly; the mind's agitation is stilled by practice and non-attachment.  I must be willing to get onto my mat or to sit on my meditation cushion consistently if I am to still my mind and experience transformation in my life. 

Not only that, but I must practice the spiritual principles that I know, every day, in all that I do, to the best of my ability (ie, not perfectly!).  Yoga is off the mat, and spiritual awakening isn't just for the meditation cushion.  It's a transformation of every moment.

This is why we go to classes and seek spiritual community - we receive support on our journey, and have the opportunity to practice under the guidance of a teacher.  Just like the coach in basketball that knows how to bring out the best in each player, a good teacher knows how to bring out deeper awareness and awaken the potential in you.

You'll have the opportunity to receive and give that spiritual support in a variety of classes and communities I am offering in the coming months.  Yoga Quest - a special series of classes that incorporate yoga, spiritual principles, deep contemplation, and heartfelt discussion - comes to Mind-Body Zone in Fremont for 4 Sunday mornings in Sept.

This first series is focused on the 4 Attitudes of Relationship - Maitri, Karuna, Mudita, and Upeksha.  Last month, I wrote an article on the first principle - Friendliness.  This month, you'll find my article on Karuna - Compassion - below.  You'll explore during Yoga Quest how to put these principles into practice in all areas of your life.

Then, Yoga Quest returns for a second series at Yoga is Youthfulness in Mountain View - 5 Monday mornings in October-November centered around the 5 layers of your being, the Koshas.  Registration is now open for both series!  Early bird discount for Fremont ends on August 25th!

And whether you are local to the Bay Area or not, you can also join me for The Spiritual Cafe', a community that gathers over the phone to deepen your connection to the Divine.  Our next call is Friday August 22nd, 10:30-11:30am Pacific.  Call-in details below or on the Spiritual Cafe' page.

I know that it just isn't enough to watch or read about spiritual growth - so I'm getting off my computer to sit for my evening meditation.  Are you practicing open-heartedness?  Learning to forgive?  Letting go of your attachment to outcome?  Being present in the moment?  Doing your yoga or meditation practice?  Keep practicing - don't give up!

Don't worry, you're not expected to be perfect.  It's OK if it takes 20, 30, 100 or more shots.  Keep practicing, and little by little, you'll make it to the goal.





• Announcements

• The Spiritual Cafe'

• Event Calendar

• Article: Karuna - the Way of Compassion by Rev. Connie L. Habash

• Awakening Self Radio Show Archives

• Spiritual Quotes



Registration Open for Yoga Quest in Fremont and Mountain View!

A transformative way to deeply explore Yoga philosophy in your life…

Yoga Quest: The Inner Journey of Awakening is coming back this fall to two studios!  A 45 minute yoga practice focused on a spiritual principle,  followed by journaling or art, discussion, and meditation.

Yoga Quest is for you if you…

• Relish the deep inner peace and insights you receive in yoga class

• Love Yoga philosophy and want to learn more

• See Yoga as a lifestyle and want to live it "off the mat"

• Receive powerful inspiration during class, but wish you had written it down

• Are committed to deepening your personal and spiritual growth


YOGA QUEST I - The Brahmaviharas: 4 Attitudes of Relationship

4 Sundays : September 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th, 2014

Location:  Mind-Body Zone – 3335 Seldon Ct., Fremont, CA 94539

Time: 10:30am-12:15pm 

Cost: Preregistration by August 24th: $75 per person for the 4-class series, or $130 for two people (a savings of $30!)  After August 24th: $80 for the series; drop-in for $25/class on a space-available basis

Early bird discount for registration by AUGUST 24TH!



YOGA QUEST II - Panchamayakosha: the 5 Sheaths of the Self

5 Mondays : October 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th, November 3rd 2014

Location:  Yoga is Youthfulness – 590 Castro St., Mountain View, CA 94041

Time: 9:30-11:15am

Cost: Preregistration by September 30th : $85 per person for the 5-class series, or $140 for two people (a savings of $30!)  After September 30th : $90 for the series; drop-in for $25/class on a space-available basis


For full details about Yoga Quest, visit my website!


Online (and in-person) Counseling

Yes, I can do Counseling and Psychotherapy with you via Skype (or another online video conferencing tool) from anywhere in California.  (and of course, I have my office in Menlo Park for those of you local to the area)

Also, I can do Spiritual Mentoring with you via Skype from anywhere in the world!

Interested?  Contact me and begin the exploration.


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The Spiritual Cafe' - 4th Friday of Every Month

Friday, August 22nd, 10:30-11:30am Pacific

1:30pm Eastern / 5:30pm GMT / 3:30am Sydney

Stop in for some tranquili-tea!

A monthly conference call to awaken your Divine Self.

• Open your heart

• Be inspired

• Feel connected to something Greater

• Cultivate inner peace

The Spiritual Café is a safe, loving, nurturing space to grow in your spiritual life.  Share your blessings, challenges, and insights.  Ask questions.  Receive and give support in a like-minded spiritual community.  I’ll provide inspiration, spiritual guidance, and meditation.

Offered by your heart-felt donation.

Join me for an hour of inspiration and transformation – call-in information and upcoming dates here!


Event Calendar

Every month, you can click this link to view my Calendar to see what is coming up!


Karuna - the Way of Compassion

by Rev. Connie L. Habash

[This article is the second of a four-part series on Chapter 1, Verse 33 of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali]

Compassion is a practice that is well-known, yet little understood in its deepest form.  We know that it is good to be compassionate – we feel for our loved ones who suffer, for innocent victims of abuse or war, for animals that die at the hands of uncaring or unconscious humans.

The author of the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali, emphasized compassion – Karuna in Sanskrit – as one of four attitudes that sustain inner serenity when faced with a variety of situations in human life.

Verse 1:33

Maitri Karuna Muditopekshanam Sukhaduhka Punyaapunya vishayanamBhavanatah Citta Prasadanam

“The mind becomes serene by the cultivation of feelings of love for the happy, compassion for the suffering, delight for the virtuous, and equanimity for the non-virtuous.”

Those four practices mentioned in this passage are Maitri (friendliness or love), Karuna (compassion), Mudita (joyfulness or delight), and Upeksha (even-mindedness or equanimity).  Patanjali states that Karuna, compassion, is to be practiced when encountering one who is suffering.

This seems like a no-brainer, eh?  We already know that.  But the question is – do we really practice it?  And how do we practice it?



Awakening Self Radio Show Archives

See my Radio Show page for over 40 archived shows dedicated to your spiritual awakening!


Spiritual Quotes

"We are already one.  But we imagine that we are not.  And what we have to uncover is our original unity.  What we have to be is what we are."

~ Thomas Merton


"The individual is capable of both great compassion and great indifference.  He has it within his means to nourish the former and outgrow the latter."  ~ Norman Cousins


"The chemist who can extract from his heart's elements compassion, respect, longing, patience, regret, surprise, and forgiveness and compound them into one can create that atom which is called love." 

~ Khalil Gibran



Rev. Connie L. Habash, MA, LMFT

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Yoga & Meditation Teacher 
Interfaith Minister - Spiritual Mentorship

Menlo Park, CA