Monday, March 7, 2016

Make a Difference Mondays, Meet Richard Parenti, Part II


“If your happiness depends upon someone else being reasonable, then you are in a lot of trouble.”-Richard Parenti, Monday, March 7, 2016.
“You have control only over one thing and that’s your thoughts… You can choose the thought that makes you feel good or you can choose the thought that keeps you in the honey trap of negative thinking.” Richard Parenti
“One of the most important things you can learn in Yoga is: learn how to behave, be successful, be functional and productive in the material world so you may set an example for others.” Richard Parenti
I am very fortunate to receive daily affirmation texts from Richard. These daily words are positive, uplifting and remind me how essential living a purposeful life really is. What I mean by living a purposeful life is that I can chose to live a conscious life as opposed to a self -centered fast food approach to life. I can chose to in digest in my spirit nourishing words of encouragement and wisdom that can bring about internal change which translates to external change. Let’s start a change reaction whereby we live purposeful, meaningful lives.
I met Richard Parenti in October of 2014. He was seated next to me at The Great Valley Bookfest in Manteca, California. We hit it off instantly. Richard is a mentor, a yoga instructor, a teacher, an author and I consider him a friend. In life, I believe we are here to teach one another life lessons. Richard has had a wealth of experience in his life and he is willing to share it. To me, that is what being a mentor  is all about. Richard is the author of: Emotional Sobriety: Feel Good Secrets for Everyone, Balboa Press, 2013, and was a contributing author in, Manifesting Magnificence: A Personal Growth Workbook, Serendipity Press/Serendipity Media Group, 2015.
Describe for us what made you decide to become a yoga teacher for patients with M.S.

In 2003, a young woman in a wheel chair came into the yoga studio that I just opened and asked if I would teach a yoga class to people with multiple sclerosis. I said I was not qualified and had no idea of what or how to teach such a class.

Her response caught me off guard. She said, “What if I bring 8 students to you for a trial class.”

Again I said no. Then she said, “I, not only will get the students, but I will train you as I have done yoga for several years, and I will collect the monies for you.”

She was stubborn. So thinking she would never find 8 students nor be able to get the money I said o.k.

We set a date to do a trial class. I never expected her to show up. But indeed she did with 8 people and handed me the money.

That’s how it began. And not only did she begin teaching me by giving me feedback, the rest of the class would often throw in their two cents. It was a new experience of letting go of control and opening up the door in me of being more compassionate and open up deeper to my own inner growth while teaching.

And now we have the longest ongoing MS Yoga class in Stanislaus and San Joaquin County. Also, for the MS Society of Northern California I train yoga teachers how to teach MS yoga. And I feel uplifted every time I teach this class, as the students are so appreciative of their progress and that I take the time to work with them. It is very fulfilling.

What are you working on now?

Now I am working on my giving my workshop, “Emotional Mastery” (Chitta Prasadanam) to yoga students learning to become teachers more often as well as mentoring individuals who are sincere in their quest to become God Realized, understanding that I too am on the path and I have many tools to offer others that have used and am still using.

And I am focused on spending more quality time with family and friends, and more time in the sun appreciating all that I have become, all my wonderful life experiences and all that I have been given.

How have the daily inspirational texts helped you and others?

They remind me to the deeper work I can still do on myself and from what others tell me it helps them understand certain aspects of spiritual growth or it also reminds them of what they already know and may or may not be applying in their lives.

 Can you please share some of your favorites?

            Live with joy

            I’m happy with dying and I’m happy with living. Both are appealing to me

            It’s alright

            So what

            Peace, love and family, all else is just noise

            I love we all get to choose what we want, whether we know it or not

You recently shared with your personal friends that you no longer fear dying, how did this come about?

It started six years ago when my mentor gave me an initiatory Sanskrit death mantra. Meaning, I was being trained to let go of the fear of dying and embrace a spiritual state of consciousness higher than the one I was at.

I have had enough experiences internally that showed me that I was not the body, but an Energy Being that was always in a state of Joy and Peace. So returning to the non-physical became attractive to me.

When I had this insight I realized I was complete within. I had no more mountains to climb. I had achieved all the goals I had ever set, save one, God Realization, which is an ongoing goal that can happened in any second or in many lifetimes.

Also, I had lived a magnificent life. I lived what most men dream about. I had no more attachments and somewhere along the line I let go of attachment to the body, my family and all things material. I was pretty amazed I had reached this level of consciousness, because not so many years ago I was the opposite.

This way of thinking and feeling was a most profound experience as I had just been diagnosed with cancer and given one year to live. And rather than be afraid I was happy with the idea of dying. It was appealing to me just as much as living was appealing. It was a new state of consciousness that was born in me at age 75.

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