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Be Well

Written by: Maggie Lyon Varadhan (view bio) Monday, 3 October 2011

meditate woman Be Well
What is the basis of wellbeing? How might we deepen our understanding of such vivacity, and further invite it into our lives?
It is incredibly common nowadays to wish someone to be well. We often sign off our emails like this, or say it as a parting comment instead of goodbye. But what are we really inspiring here? Being is living and breathing, right now. Well describes deep contentment, living in a state of health, of happiness, of satisfaction. When we add well to being it distinguishes existing from optimally living.

Yet, we are often overly focused on the well part of the equation—of changing our bodies, our thoughts, our lives to get there—that we sometimes forget to dig into the root, the fertile ground of being. Don’t get me wrong, putting ourselves on a transformative path toward wellness is vitally important, but so too is opening to the primal, amazing gift of being in this body here, even if we are not doing it so zestfully. This wonder at being-ness in itself is what gets lost in our efforts to make things better, when we set our sights on what’s ahead, without acknowledging the essence of the present.

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Immeasurable Mind

Written by: Maggie Lyon Varadhan (view bio) Friday, 1 July 2011

waterfall Immeasurable Mind
What does community mean to us in our personal lives? What makes us gravitate toward it, and what fundamentally is at the root of our search?

Community is fascinating, inspiring, and powerful. Whether a web of people who share locality, belief, characteristic, or all three, the integral word here is share.

As evidenced by the current revolution in social media, we are experiencing a worldwide frenzy for connection. More and more people are looking for ways to bond with one another, to be part of the same tribe, to find commonality. These reaches for alliance are wonderful and enlightening. Still, we must recognize closely the seat of these impulses, as they often arise from intense cravings to belong. In other words, swarming numbers of us are intuitively looking to be not apart, but rather to be made whole.

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Question of Joy

Written by: Maggie Lyon Varadhan (view bio) Friday, 13 May 2011

buddha maggie Question of Joy
Aren’t we all striving to be happy? How does connection to spirit deepen our understanding of happiness and our personal quests for it?

The journey to find happiness is an inward one. Ever since I was a little girl, my favorite question, even when just meeting someone, has been “Are you happy?” It still feels like the most natural, relevant question on earth, but it always seems to take people aback when they realize I actually mean it. They have to get quiet in order to connect inside, and answer. Within these powerful pauses, is where the gift of spirit comes into play.

What I mean here by spirit is nothing far out or strange, but simply a storehouse of vital energy. When we practice rooting down into ourselves, we begin to realize this core, celebratory life force. At first we may just have the tiniest of touches with it, yet each touch fills us with a deep sense of wellbeing and ease. Slowly, these touches spread out, elongate, and a soft imperturbable happiness begins to bubble out more organically to inform our surface lives.

I like to imagine the flowing camaraderie between spirit and happiness as a transformative open loop, where spirit narrates the exploratory voyage in to where we find and spark happiness. This discovery in turn narrates the feeling voyage out. Even in the middle of a whole lot of garbage, whether an emotional upheaval, physical blow, or life circumstance threatens to break us down, with practice this loop maintains itself gracefully.

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Our Mission

The Urban Zen Foundation creates, connects and collaborates to raise awareness and inspire change in the areas of well-being, preserving cultures and empowering children in mind, body and spirit. Urban Zen designs forums, partners with existing organizations and brings together experts to define solutions and implement action.