Jasmina Desai has been actively working as a Registered Nurse for over 22 years caring and advocating for her patients. Currently, she works as a Nurse Clinician in Illinois supporting nurses in variety of ways.  Due to her upbringing in India, her spiritual practices started at very young age and included daily prayers, mantra chanting, fasting an...d going to weekly kirtans. Challenges surrounding her son's health and difficulties during her marriage and subsequent divorce led her to deepen her spiritual practice and to extend it to practicing yoga, pranayama, meditation and tai chi.  This in turn has led her to thrive post-divorce despite the financial and time constraints that go along with being a single parent working full-time.  She volunteers regularly to teach yoga and meditation classes in various outreach programs to help others find this True power, love, courage, confidence and peace within themselves. More

6 Ways to Make Decisions with Clarity and Confidence

smiling-african-business-woman-outside-in-city-picture-id868866570 6 Ways to Make Decisions with Clarity and Confidence

Our basic human nature compels us to make decisions moving us from pain to pleasure. As we evolve, we want to make the so called “right” decisions for all involved in given circumstances.   
     

Because of my liberal as well as latchkey upbringing, I had to start making all important life decisions from a very young age. I felt that most of the adults around me were trapped in their own life circumstances and unable to help me. Also, being the first born, I felt the responsibility to make good decisions and constantly worried about making right choices. I prayed, meditated and read self-help books and Vedic texts for answers.

Pay attention to your feelings

  • Be still and listen to your heart. It is best to make decisions after praying, meditating or practicing yoga when your mind is quiet.
  • Do what makes you happy.
  • Do what feels good and expansive.
  • Use your body as a guide – Choose circumstances in which your body feels relaxed and safe and your mind feels at ease and peaceful. This means your body, your heart and your brain are aligned with the decision.
  • Drop your awareness down into your body with deep breathing, yoga or walking and listen to your gut feelings.

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How Can the Regular Practice of Yoga and Meditation Be Helpful for the Brain?

How Can the Regular Practice of Yoga and Meditation Be Helpful for the Brain? How Can the Regular Practice of Yoga and Meditation Be Helpful for the Brain?

Our brain is the source of all thoughts, emotions and feelings. It is the center for creativity, imagination and exploration. The brain is an information processing organ and keeps records of our past. The emotional residues, preconceptions and the negative thought patterns that are recorded in our brain keep us from reaching our full potential. We then develop addictions to numb these negative feelings hoping that the pain of our past will go away.

Yoga means “union” but it is mainly known to us as series of physical exercises (asanas). In my personal experience, during workout routines my brain is running in the opposite direction to my body. It is busy trying to problem solve, create to do lists and think about non-essential things. But during my yoga practice my body and brain are more connected. In actuality, every part of our physical body is connected with the brain. Information is constantly being exchanged between brain and body through the nervous system. By awakening the body’s senses through practices of yoga and by moving the body in new and different ways, we can awaken different part of our brain. In addition, a flexible body creates a more flexible and adaptive brain.

Meditation is the practice of focusing our mind. I realized that during the meditation portion of my class, my body, brain and soul were in alignment as my mind was focused inside by body on my True Self.

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What Really is the “Mind” and How Can We Harness the Power of Our Minds?

jasmina-Desai-What-Really-is-the-Mind
The priest (swamiji) at our temple used to tell us the story of a magical “Genie” given to human beings by God. This genie is able to do whatever we ask of it, as long it is kept busy all the time. The caution was, if this genie did not have something to do, it would wander off and cause us problems. So it was given a pole to climb up and down like a monkey until the next need for this genie arises. According to swamiji, this genie is our “mind” and the pole is the inhalation and exhalation of breath. To avoid unnecessary problems and troubles, we were advised to focus our mind on the breath when we were not using our minds.


We hear so many words related to the mind such as conscious mind, sub conscious or unconscious mind, narrow mindedness, mindfulness, mastermind, mind blowing, mindless, remind, never mind, absent minded, mind set and peace of mind. What really is the “mind” and how can we use it to our advantage?


According to Vedic scriptures of Hinduism, sat (truth) or the absolute is that which remains true in all periods of time – the past, the present and the future. From standpoint of the absolute, there is no mind. But the mind is not “asat” (false) or totally non-existent either. Therefore, the mind comes under the category of mithya or an illusory entity. According to these scriptures, human beings have five bodies or koshas which goes from gross to subtler forms or from separateness to oneness at different levels.

  1. Physical body which is made of matter and is visible.
  2. Etheric body which is our energy body and can be felt.
  3. Mind body which is made of thoughts and vibrations. This body is very important because it holds your experiences from this and past lives or psychic impressions which creates our belief systems (samskaras). Whatever happens to us constitutes only 3 to 5 % of our experience but the reaction to the event constitutes over 95% of our present experience depending on our past psychic impressions. As we become more conscious and aware we have more control over our projections and are able to respond instead of react.
  4. Causal body which is made of wisdom or consciousness.
  5. Bliss body which is associated with feeling of ultimate peace, joy, love or Samadhi.
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Conscious Leadership

jasmina-desai-conscious-leadership

 As I am watching the campaigning on television for the Governor of Illinois where I currently reside, I am wondering about concept of conscious leadership. To give some background, in Illinois four out of last seven governors went to jail. We have a severe budget crisis due to budget stalemate that started in 2015 and went on for 793 days and finally ended in July 2017. Illinois was the first state to have credit rating go to “junk” status. State agencies have had to cut back on many essential services including healthcare for the people who needed the most care, which I experienced first-hand while taking care of my patients.


My question is, what makes a great leader? Is it education, wealth, charisma, power or strength? In my opinion, the 3 requirements for conscious leadership are personality, vision and values.


“A leader is the one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way”--John C. Maxwell.

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Is Everlasting Happiness (Ananda) Possible?

Jasmina-Desai-Is-everlasting-happiness-possible

I feel happiness is a choice that we make in every moment. I am not talking about happiness that is dependent on the outside world, like buying a new car or a house. That happiness is transient. Once the bill for the monthly car payments or the mortgage arrives, our happiness can turn into distress.


Happiness is also an emotion. We should experience all emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger, and fear with equanimity and let them flow through us like clouds so we don’t accumulate them as blockages or density. But underneath it all, we have ever shining Sun of the True Self --Sat (Truth), Chit (Pure consciousness), and Ananda (Bliss or Happiness).


During my divorce I went through a “Why me?” phase filled with emotions of shame, guilt, anger, resentment, regret, and fear of unknown. But, my patients loved my visits with them. They told me they felt good in my presence because I was so joyful. I could not believe that I was seen as a joyful person during the most stressful time of my life. Then I realized that my spiritual practices were helping me access this inner joy. I would like to share my happiness practices with you.

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Career vs. Life Purpose

Jasmina-Desai-career-vs-life-purpose

After the yoga class during our sharing a few days ago, one of my friends said, “I am 55 years old and I am still not clear what my life purpose is? I know some people have a clear life purpose, but I am just not sure”. My two teenagers will be going off to the college in next few years, so I wanted to explore this topic myself.


I attended my daughter’s band concert last week. Listening to the music, I felt every instrument and every person in the band had a very important role to play, in making this beautiful music. In the same manner, I feel everyone has a purpose to their lives. We are parts of a whole. All beings on planet Earth have an important role to play, to make life on this planet beautiful and harmonious for all of us.   From my life experiences, I can differentiate a career and a life purpose as follows:


Career

  • Usually involves having a goal and the steps to reach this goal, such as getting good grades, getting a college education, a job and then climbing the corporate ladder.
  • Comes from your ego or personality and is rooted in “separation”. Usually, the person thinks only about their own advancement. There is competition with others. There is also a hierarchy with a few having power over others.
  • Is outwardly focused on materialistic success and can become a never ending thirst with no satisfaction.
  • One person gains at another’s expense such as getting a promotion.
  • The person’s actions are based on personal gain such as more money, fame or power.
  • Is sometimes not decided by you, but it may be in some instances decided by your family or the need to make money and provide for your family.
  • Most careers are stress producing. Working a job can feel very restrictive and not joyful at times. At times, it is not aligned with the person’s talents or strengths. Therefore, success in a career usually comes at a cost, such as physical or mental health challenges and/or tensions in relationships.
  • Is fear based and there is a fear of failure or losing the job or promotion.
  • Usually happens earlier in life and usually is person’s single focus.
  • Has an end. For example, when the person retires or gets fired.
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My fresh start to 2018- My journey from forgiveness to freedom

Jasmina-Desai-My-fresh-start-to-2018
I started my new year with the commitment to forgive everyone in my life and drop all the "baggage" that I have carried for all my life. As January 1st was a full moon day, I decided to do a full moon forgiveness meditation as per my spiritual teacher's teachings. My intention resulted in many emotional roller coaster rides throughout the day complete with numerous instances of being triggered. I was very angry and impatient with my son for not getting ready on time, and then later on, I was angry and resentful at myself for my behavior. That evening, in presence of the beautiful full moon I started my full moon forgiveness meditation with four mantras to help me with my intention.

1.     I love myself and everyone unconditionally.

2.     I accept myself just the way I am and I accept everyone just the way they are.

3.     I forgive myself and everyone easily.

4.     I am grateful for myself and everyone's contributions in my life.

The next morning, I woke up again to the beautiful full moon –the first sight from my bedroom window. I felt that this was the sign that my forgiveness meditation was successful and I had dropped all my baggage.


On my drive to work, I was guided coincidently to listen to Panache Desai's Grace online immersion about forgiveness. According to Panache, there is nothing to forgive, because everything is unfolding in Divine order. Instead of forgiving, it is important to feel everything that is arising and respond, instead of react. It is not about forgiving others, but forgiving ourselves for our immature and unconscious reactions to others in the past. All we need to do is to meet ourselves with compassion, as we did the best we could with the awareness we had at that time.

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