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  • Writer's pictureRennie Maguire

Deciding to Blossom; Beginning to Bloom

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud

was more painful than the risk it took to Bloom. ~Anais Nin


Swami Rama, one of the greatest yogis of all time, tells us we are all Divine. Our everyday work is to become fully human. To me, this means moving from my meditation seat out into the world. Bringing with me the peace and skills I have learned in the Silence, it’s my job to try and walk the talk. This, I believe, is Meditation in Action. But how do I do this? How do I live, as best I can, from my Deep Self, my Inner Wisdom and Knowing, with courage, discernment and acceptance? Not an easy task, but more than worth the effort if am to live a peaceful, contented life. After all, I am here to bloom.

Where do I start? Yoga has given me some wonderful guides to help me along the way. These are the ethics of Yoga – the Yamas and Niyamas. Called the Great Vows of Yoga, we are said to carry them in our heart. It is up to us to conduct our lives according to these great principles. Sometimes they are called the Ten Jewels of Yoga. Ten seems to be a magic number when listing ethical guidelines.

The Yamas, or restraints, govern my outer life. The Nyamas or observance, guide my inner life. The one I have chosen for this blog is the nyama, Swadhyaya or Self-Study. It encompasses studying the Divine as well as my own self-discovery. It means rational reflection through intuition. Swami Rama, in his chapter on Raja Yoga, from Choosing a Path, says we can study the scriptures but studying oneself, one’s thoughts, emotions, deed and actions is the real study. Self-study leads me to look at my attitudes, belief, habits, thought pattern, reactions and behaviors to see if – in the words of the yogis – they are helpful or unhelpful. As Socrates is said to have proclaimed “ the unexamined life is not worth living.”

So, how do I do this? How do I look at my actions, reactions, habitual patterns and try to find their origins, see how they play out in my life?

What works best for me is keeping a daily journal, my own little self-study book to which no one is privy but me. A wise woman once said that a journal is a sacred receptacle for the soul. My journal is how I dialogue with myself.

As to what I journal, I find it most helpful to let a series of questions guide me.

The hardest things for me to deal with are often the day-to-day issues – those little recurring problems. These are the ones I ask, am I getting this lesson again? If the answer is yes, I obviously haven’t learned it yet.

I find the following little exercise helps me explore tough situations. *


Probing a Difficult Situation

Describe a situation that’s bothering me.

Why does this upset me so much?

What is really bothering me?

What feelings arise?

What do they reveal?

What does my intuition say?

What if I ignore the “facts” and look at this in a new way?

Can I change my attitude about this situation?

Can I detach from this situation and take the high road?


The following are broad Probing Questions for Self-Study

Perhaps some of them will speak to you.

1. What are seven thoughts/attitudes that have shaped my life? Have they changed over time? If so, what are they now?

2. Do I engage in conversations, including with myself, that make me smaller than I am?

3. Is there a way to make my life a little simpler? Can I be happy with enough?

4. Am I willing to be a little kinder today? To myself, to others, to the earth?

5. Is there a part of me I guard without perfect truth?

6. Am I able to see the Mystery in life? In my life?

7. Am I willing to discover who I am without the input of others?

8. What am I afraid of believing?

9. Is there something in my life I have denied, even though it may be good for me, that may open the door to new possibilities?

10. Do I engage in what enlivens me?


I leave you with Rumi’s poem, “The Gift”. Embrace these words as you embrace yourself with self-compassion, no matter what method you use for self-study.


You have no idea how hard I’ve looked for a gift to bring you. Nothing seemed right. What’s the good of bringing gold to the gold mine, or water to the ocean? Every thing I came up with was like taking spices to the Orient. It’s no good giving my heart and my soul because you already have these. So I’ve brought you a mirror. Look at yourself and remember me.


* P. 189 of the Wellness Tree by Justin O’Brien.

The Yamas and Niyamas by Deborah Adele is also an excellent reference to Yoga Ethics, as well as Swami Rama’s Choosing a Path.




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3 Comments


monica.goubaud
May 15, 2021

Good questions for me to ask myself. Some I have been asking myself for many years and others not. I have resisted journaling because I don't like reliving what I just did or learned or thought. But as I get older I forget what insights I have when I am quiet. Now I want to write them down and build on them. You inspire me amiga.

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Rennie Maguire
Rennie Maguire
May 30, 2021
Replying to

I miss you, my friend!


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maryannwells
May 09, 2021

Glad to find your Blog Rennie.

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