Let’s make Album #5 Together!

Dearest Ones!
I am very excited to share some news: It is time to take the new songs that we have been singing together all around the world into the studio! It makes me so happy that these new songs that are dear to my heart have been received so warmly! I would be truly grateful if you feel moved to join me in bringing them to life via a new record! You can go right here for all the info: Let’s make Brenda’s 5th Album a reality!
Just recently a teenage boy shared with me how mantra and kirtan has helped to improve his quality of life beyond words. I am continuously touched by the transformation that mantra music has on so many and I’m deeply honoured to be part of sharing it.
Would you like to help me make this new album so that the music can spread even further? You can make a contribution by simply clicking on “BACK IT” near the top of my crowdfunding page or take a look through all the great perks available for your generous support!Click HERE to get involved.
With Gratitude and Love,
Brenda

A Prayer: May I Open into Truth

May I open into Truth and may I be of service to the One.

May I see the places in me that are unconscious or wounded,
and may I face them and feel them truthfully and with courage.

May I not take things personally and may I be in allowance
of others having their own experience.

May I have love and joy and affection in my life and may I share this with others.
May I have health.

May I follow my own nature with ease and an open heart.

May I take responsibility for myself and my choices and may light shine on the places where I have been in avoidance and untruth.

With full abandon, may I radically open into WHAT IS.

May awakening to the Truth of Who I Am be something that is not only possible for me, but something that I come to know is who I have been all along.

– Brenda McMorrow

South India Bhakti Yoga Pilgrimage 2020

In addition to visiting ancient temples, sacred sites, and exploring Tamil culture, we will learn about the roots of yoga and Auroville as a yogic city, chant together, practice Embodyoga, and explore pranayama, meditation, and prayer; we will share in the healing and uplifting practice of Kirtan. This trip offers you an immersion into the spiritual and cultural life of South India and Auroville, as well as a journey into your own depth.

Matthew has been visiting Auroville and South India since 2000, and serves on the board of directors for Auroville International-USA. His depth of experience and relationships in the area provide an unparalleled opportunity to experience the depth and beauty of this unique region. And Corinne is the lead teacher for the Embodyoga 200 hour teacher training at Yoga Center Amherst, and founder of Birthing Mama Prenatal Yoga and Wellness.

Are you wondering if this is the right trip for you?
Auroville is many things, but at its heart it seeks to manifest humanity’s highest spiritual aspirations toward truth, beauty, and goodwill. This retreat will bring you in touch with the real-life field where those aspirations are being worked out.

While most of the trip will be spent in Auroville and the surrounding villages, we will spend 4 days in Tiruvanamalai, a vibrant South Indian city nestled in the lap of the sacred Mount Arunachala.  Sri Ramana Maharshi lived most of his life on this mountain, which has been revered for millennia as an embodiment of Lord Siva.  The 8 mile circumambulation of Arunachala is a profound yogic practice, and meditation in the caves where Ramana Maharshi lived is a transformative experience.

Deep dive into the spirit and ongoing work of Auroville
Kirtan and bhakti practice with Brenda
Embodyoga® with Corinne
Accommodations at Verite
Delicious, organic, local vegetarian meals
Explore Pondicherry and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Guided tour of Arunachala and the massive Annamalai Temple
Guided tour of Irumbai Siva Temple
Experience local village life with guides from Mohanam Cultural Heritage Centre
Workshop with Awareness Through the Body founder Aloka Marti
And much more!!!
Testimonials from prior pilgrimages:

“It was impressive how much we got to experience, see and do while having a little rest in between activities. How easily Matthew, Corinne and Brenda adapted together to meet the needs of the group.” – Surya 2019

“I am So grateful ..so blessed. It was transformational life changing and spiritually rejuvenating and so sacred and experience. The timing was perfect, food amazing and every day was better and more sacred!” – Ellen 2019

“I think if you are ready to live your yoga, take this trip. I went to see firsthand what I have been studying all of these years. What I received was a direct experience in my heart, not my mind, of what it is to be devoted, to love, to get cracked open in the best way.” – Pam 2019

“If you’ve been curious about India and want to experience the richness of the culture as well as the beautiful spirit of its people, this trip will meet and exceed your expectations.” – Kathleen 2018

“I could not imagine a better experience. I have come away with an in depth picture of south India. You provided a complete  spiritual experience and held that space for us by your caring.” – Evelyn 2017

“This was possibly one of my best trips.  We were able to see a side of India that most tours could never touch. All our activities were so well orchestrated and went with the flow of the group’s energy.  The workshops and yoga allowed me time to explore my inner life.  Matrimandir, the temples, circumambulating Arunachala…all go beyond words to explain their spiritual effects on me. Everyone should want to do this trip.” – Susan 2017

Please send us an email to matthew@yogacenteramherst.com with any questions or to find out more details.
Come with us to South India in 2020!
https://www.yogacenteramherst.com/southindia/

Join Brenda, Matthew Andrews and Corinne Andrews of Amherst Yoga Center!
Feb 17 – Mar 2, 2020

In addition to singing kirtan, visiting ancient temples, sacred sites, and exploring Tamil culture, we will learn about the roots of yoga and Auroville as a yogic city, chant together, practice Embodyoga, and explore pranayama, meditation, and prayer. This trip offers you an immersion into the spiritual and cultural life of South India and Auroville, as well as a journey into your own depth.
Matthew has been visiting Auroville and South India since 2000, and serves on the board of directors for Auroville International-USA. His depth of experience and relationships in the area provide an unparalleled opportunity to experience the depth and beauty of this unique region. And Corinne is the lead teacher for the Embodyoga 200 hour teacher training at Yoga Center Amherst, and founder of Birthing Mama Prenatal Yoga and Wellness.
Are you wondering if this is the right trip for you?

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions page!
Auroville is many things, but at its heart it seeks to manifest humanity’s highest spiritual aspirations toward truth, beauty, and goodwill. This retreat will bring you in touch with the real-life field where those aspirations are being worked out.
While most of the trip will be spent in Auroville and the surrounding villages, we will spend 4 days in Tiruvanamalai, a vibrant South Indian city nestled in the lap of the sacred Mount Arunachala.  Sri Ramana Maharshi lived most of his life on this mountain, which has been revered for millennia as an embodiment of Lord Siva.  The 8 mile circumambulation of Arunachala is a profound yogic practice, and meditation in the caves where Ramana Maharshi lived is a transformative experience.
Deep dive into the spirit and ongoing work of Auroville
Kirtan and bhakti practice with Brenda
Embodyoga® with Corinne
Accommodations at Verite
Delicious, organic, local vegetarian meals
Explore Pondicherry and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Guided tour of Arunachala and the massive Annamalai Temple
Guided tour of Irumbai Siva Temple
Experience local village life with guides from Mohanam Cultural Heritage Centre
Workshop with Awareness Through the Body founder Aloka Marti
And much more!!!
Testimonials from prior pilgrimages:
“It was impressive how much we got to experience, see and do while having a little rest in between activities. How easily Matthew, Corinne and Brenda adapted together to meet the needs of the group.” – Surya 2019

“I am So grateful ..so blessed. It was transformational life changing and spiritually rejuvenating and so sacred and experience. The timing was perfect, food amazing and every day was better and more sacred!” – Ellen 2019

“I think if you are ready to live your yoga, take this trip. I went to see firsthand what I have been studying all of these years. What I received was a direct experience in my heart, not my mind, of what it is to be devoted, to love, to get cracked open in the best way.” – Pam 2019

“If you’ve been curious about India and want to experience the richness of the culture as well as the beautiful spirit of its people, this trip will meet and exceed your expectations.” – Kathleen 2018

“I could not imagine a better experience. I have come away with an in depth picture of south India. You provided a complete  spiritual experience and held that space for us by your caring.” – Evelyn 2017

Please send us an email to matthew@yogacenteramherst.com with any questions or to find out more details.

India! Glimpses into a 2 month musical journey so far!

What a blessing to be in India again! February will see a return to Chennai, Auroville, Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry and Tiruvanamalai, all fascinating places in Tamil Nadu, South India with my retreat group that is coming from Canada and the US. More photos soon!

workshop at Sacred Music Fest

lovely flowers and lovely child at the Coonoor Market

A family of wild elephants blessed 
us with a rare appearance by the road in the Nilgiris!

with Tiras and Anand (bass player) after kirtan in Tiruvanamalai

Kirtan at the Sri Vast Satsang in Tiruvanamalai

with John de Kadt at the Int’l Sacred Music Fest at the Sri Vast Centre

Guruji Sri Vast, Therese, Irene and some of his lovely team

Arriving at the Sri Vast Centre near Pondicherry for the International Sacred Music Festival

Beautiful flower arrangements by the Sri Vast community on our trip to Tiru

Tiruvanamalai Temple

copper pots that hold our nourishing food at Ayurveda Retreat in the Nilgiris

Europe- June/July 2018 (Spain, Estonia, Sweden)

I fly off to Europe on Sunday and have the blessing of being invited to sing in Spain (Cataluña), Estonia and Sweden! All the details are below. Please share the word if you feel inclined!

June 21:
¡Estoy emocionado de venir a tocar a un concierto en la hermosa Torre Amat en Barcelona!
Con Raffa Martinez en percusión y voz y con invitados especiales Ravi Ram y María Di Pace para algunas canciones 
https://www.facebook.com/events/216668915761722/

June 22:
Estoy deseando volver al maravilloso Integral Yoga -Sant Pere de Ribes – “Matras Sanadores”
https://www.facebook.com/events/147916225927744/
(Raffa Martinez acompañará a mi en la percusión y voz!)

June 24:
Estoy tan feliz de visitar Yoga el Galpon: Concierto Intimo de mantra acústico
https://www.facebook.com/events/254378398443277/

June 28:
Thrilled to be returning to beloved Tallin:
Kontsert Katariina Kirikus koos pärimusmuusiku Triinu Taul 
Ian Mikael Kirss will accompany on percussion
https://www.facebook.com/events/2016006505328639/

July 2 & 6
Yoga Mela Festival 2018 What an absolute joy to return to this epically beautiful gathering – with Denis Kucherov on percussion!
Southern Sweden:
https://divinya.org/yoga-mela-festival/
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsftC3iUkIg
______
with all these amazing folks: Nacho Amat María Di Pace Ravi Ram Raffa Martinez Kirana Stover Noelia Mencias Triinu Taul Triin Oselein Sandra SikkCaroline Eriksson Yoga Mela Denis Kucherov Irene Munz Ivo Mutter Tina Malia David Newman Jethro Williams Prem Williams Mark Pinkus Markus Sieber Angelika Baumbach Kokopelli Kailash Vijay Krsna

Yoga Mela

Torre Amat, Barcelona 

Tallin, Estonia

Nisargadatta Maharaj Quotations Video (Read Aloud)

Link to the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3BRh6Gm3i4

(All quotes in video are included below)

There are certain teachers with immense clarity and an uncanny ability to point towards -through words and energy- Ultimate Truth. Nisargadatta Maharaj (Mumbai, India 1897-1981) is one of these.

Through his razor sharp insight, he guides us to step towards (or more accurately, back into) knowing that we are NOT what we actually take ourselves to be, opening up the possibility for actual Being, actual Love and actual Life to be embodied as consciousness itself, without the confines of the idea of the personal “I”. (And then to go even beyond and prior to that…into what no words could never begin to describe).

As Jesus of Nazareth said: “Be in the world, but not of the world”.

It seems Nisargadatta was pointing there too.

“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing,
Love is knowing I am everything,
and between the two my life moves.” – Nisagardatta Maharaj

Making this video has been a deep meditation for me and I share it in case it can be of benefit to you. Who knows, perhaps it will touch a chord of deep familiarity within you that is already being lived or that is ready to be awakened. Perhaps it’ll just be really groovy to hang out in the amazing vibration of Nisargadatta’s words, and the sounds of some really awesome (very old) Tibetan singing bowls that I have the honour of being the custodian of.

Love, Brenda

 *********

The Following is a collection of short quotes taken from “The Nisargadatta Ultimatum” which was compiled by Pradeep Apte. The quotes are from the books “I Am That”, “Prior to Consciousness” and “Consciousness and the Absolute”

As Apte has written: “These short quotes have the power to take you straight to the Parabrahman or the Absolute.”
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj has himself said: “Take one sentence of what has been said here, and stay with it. That is enough; that will lead you to your source.”
“The sentence could be a question or a statement; either, if closely observed and pondered over, have the ability of right away catapulting you into the Parabrahman or the Absolute, which you actually are”

******

From “I Am That” 

Before all beginnings, after all endings – I am.

What you are, you already are.

Everything is local and temporary, except you. Don’t forget what you are.

Ultimately I am beyond being and non-being.

Find that which was present at your birth and will witness your death.

You were never born nor will you ever die.

There is a state beyond forgetting and remembering.

Find what is it that you have never lost.

Overlook the movable and you will find yourself to be the ever-present.

Whatever happens, I remain.

I am neither born nor can I die. I have nothing to remember or to forget.

You are beyond the experiencer, ever unborn and deathless.

Reality is not an event, it cannot be experienced, for reality neither comes nor goes.

There is no such thing as experience of reality.

There was no coming. It was so – always.

You can only be what you are in reality; you can only appear to be what you are not.

What changes is not real, what is real does not change.

Don’t pretend to be what you are not, don’t refuse to be what you are.

You are neither the body nor in the body – there is no such thing as body.

The Absolute precedes time. The Absolute – is.

Your body is short of time, not you. Just understand yourself – that itself is eternity.

I know for myself. I was never born.

Both the subject and the object exist in you, but you are neither.

You are complete here and now, you need absolutely nothing.

That which makes you think you are human is not human.

The real is always with you; you need not wait to be what you are.

You are not what you perceive.

You are yourself without knowing.

Transiency is the best proof of unreality.

You cannot know your real being. You can only be what you are.

To Know that You do not Know, is True Knowledge.

In reality you were never born and shall never die.

One can only be it, without knowing.

 *****

From “Prior to Consciousness”

Prior to this identification with the body, you must recede into that.

Before the beingness was there, look at that, be in that state.

As the eternal principle you prevail in spite of all happenings.

Not-knowing is perfection, knowing is imperfection, fraudulent.

When the ‘I am’ goes into oblivion, that is the eternal state, no form, no beingness.

It is quite simple: all that which is time-bound is untrue.

What was your state before the ‘I am’ arose? Go back to the source.

In the Absolute there is no need of any kind, even the need to know oneself.

Sat Guru (Parabrahman) is your true nature.

In the Absolute the ‘I am’ comes, they are not two.

You just stumble on the knowledge that the individual was never there.

You are prior to the idea ‘I am’, camp yourself there, prior to the words ‘I am’.

With reference to your true Parabrahman state Maya does not exist.

You know what you are not – what you are you cannot know.

Death is inevitable so why not accept it right now that it cannot affect you?

You are changeless and permanent.

You have no beginning and no end, you are eternal.

Parabrahman is your eternal state; you cannot remember it because you have never forgotten it.

I as the Absolute do not need this consciousness.

Where is the question when the instrument of questioning is kept aside?

On your no-knowing state suddenly the knowingness has appeared and created all the mischief.

I am before anything can happen.

Knowledge is ignorance, it has a beginning and an end, had it been real it would be eternal.

Sat Guru means the eternal state, which will never change, what you are.

To know you are nothing is real liberation.

When all your knowledge including yourself is liquidated – then you are liberated.

The unknown is the truth.

You are prior to consciousness. In that state there is no pleasure or pain.

The ultimate knowledge does not have any knowledge.

If you have really understood, no questions can arise; questions arise only to an entity.

As an entity you want to know the Absolute, it’s not possible, because you are the Absolute.

You true state was there before the body and consciousness arose, is there now and will be after the body and consciousness go.

Even when the consciousness goes you prevail – you always are – as the Absolute.

It is the consciousness that gets liberated – there is no entity.

No-knowing is highest in the hierarchy of spirituality; the Absolute transcends both knowing and no-knowing.

 

*****

From “Consciousness and the Absolute” 

Everything is beingness, but I, the Absolute, am not that.

The body-form is merely an opportunity to experience time.

I am the principle which survives all the creations, all the dissolutions.

Attain that state which is and was prior to the body.

When beingness forgets itself, that state is Parabrahman.

How did I come about? That is the question which needs investigation.

It is only the consciousness that is going to disappear, the Absolute is always there.

The uniform (‘I amness’ known through the body) is available to you, by all means use it but understand that you are not the uniform.

Once you discard this ‘I amness’ uniform, what remains is the Parabrahman.

Feeling that I am present depends on having a body; I am neither the body nor the conscious presence.

You should not get involved in what has appeared.

Consciousness alone feels the expanse of consciousness, but I, the Absolute, am not that
The Absolute always remains.

There is only one thing to be understood, and that is that you are the formless, timeless unborn.

Nobody is dying, because nobody was born.

I was possessed by the five-elemental ghost, but having stabilized in the Parabrahman, I know what it is and I am out of it.

Prior to your birth and receiving the message ‘I am’ how did you function, what were you?

When the body and mind drop off, nothing happens, only I, the Absolute, prevail always.

Be what you were prior to the label or title, be that.

Give up all that you have read and just be. Even the experience that you are is not your true nature.

Whatever you are prior to the appearance of ‘I am’, that is your true nature.

It is sufficient to understand, without the slightest doubt, with great conviction, that there is a state prior to the arising of consciousness.

Waking, sleeping and the sense of presence are all temporary states that have come upon me, I am not the states.

Whatever is temporary and time-bound cannot be the truth.

All this play is going on in the flash of your consciousness and it will come to an end.

When you finally know that there is no individual there will be no questions to ask.

What is, is the Absolute unmanifested. What appears, as if in a dream, is the manifested.

If you do not take delivery as an individual but as total functioning, then you are free of whatever is happening.

The Ultimate is prior to any experience. ‘I amness’ is the beginning of experience.

You are the Absolute, you swallow the entire universe.

When nothing is, you still are.

I am the total functioning every moment, millions of years ago or now.

The Ultimate principle which knows this beingness cannot be named at all.

When one subsides in one’s true identity, nothing matters, because nothing is.

You are not that ‘I am’. You are, as the Absolute, prior to this ‘I am’.

Without the feeling of ‘I am’, still you are.

When your individuality is dissolved you will not see individuals anywhere, it is just a functioning in consciousness.

A sound is emanating out of the body, just words, it is not somebody talking, just happening, not doing.

Consciousness has not happened at all. When it tries to understand itself it gets stabilized in due course in the Absolute.

Stabilize in the knowledge “I Am” and in the process, transcend it.

Love Comes More Naturally to the Human Heart

We are in such a time of confusion, with fear and hatred rising to the surface and being demonstrated in such shocking and sad ways. And it can be easy to just shake our heads and perhaps shut down and pretend that it’s not happening or just move on to the next sensational, distracting thing that might appear on our Facebook or Twitter feed.

I’m Canadian and throughout my life I have witnessed us being able to fall into complacency quite easily, thinking “everything’s ok here, we’ve got it figured out”. But let us remember that a young, Trump-supporting Canadian man killed six people who were in prayer at a mosque in Quebec City (directly after the election- somehow the timing matched up too eerily to ignore), and that bigoted, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, mysoginist attitudes are alive and kicking here, whether we want to admit it or not.

For those of us who deeply know that the uncovering of love and kindness and compassion in our own beings is what will truly bring peace to this world, the time has surely come to step into this truth and to live from this place more boldly than ever before.

A present day Gandhi or Martin Luther King hasn’t seemed to emerge yet, so it is each one of us that is being called to embody what these peaceful leaders knew to be true: that it is peace in our own hearts that brings change and that standing by silently while others suffer at the hands of those who live with fear and hate as the motivating factors for their actions and words, we are also condoning and promoting these very things.

We might not know exactly what it is that we can do. Maybe everything feels overwhelming right now. But…perhaps we can begin by BEING the very thing that we know creates change: a loving, compassionate person who shares this world with so many other beings who ultimately, despite hugely disparate ways of searching for it, all want the same thing: happiness. Let’s start by listening to our hearts, living from the love that lives there and sharing it with other beings. And listening for the answers as they arise from the truth within about what actions to take.

And, perhaps this is a time to really notice the places in ourselves where fear still rules our lives, our choices and our actions. We are ALL in this together and we are reflections for each other. Let’s continue delving even more deeply into our hearts to really see what is true.

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Nelson Mandela

Kripalu Retreat, April 23-28 “Self Inquiry Through Mantra and Movement”

“Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world.” – Ramana Maharshi

Dear Friends,

I would love to personally invite you to join me and my dear friend and truly inspiring teacher and writer, Erica Taxin Bleznak, as we go on a 5 day journey of discovery during our Self Inquiry Through Mantra and Movement Retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Western Massachusetts, April 23-28.

If something tells you that there is much more to your Being than your thoughts, identities, feelings, beliefs etc., you will be in good company here.

These 5 days will be spent exploring those corners of ourselves that are ready to be brought into the light so that our true nature can shine. We will do this through exquisitely guided yoga asana that is tailored to your level of experience; the joy and depth of mantra singing and recitation; supported self-inquiry exercises done in groups and dyads; meditation practices that encourage us to rest back in the conscious awareness that holds us always; fun and connection with like-hearted fellow participants and facilitators. This is all set at the gorgeous Kripalu Retreat Center where incredible views, lovely accommodations, delicious organic food, workshops, body work and therapies and more help to nurture you on this journey.

Have you spent enough of your life trying to “fit in”, to do the “right thing”? Have you come to a point where you are ready to “return home” to who you really are?

Sometimes coming together with others who are on the same path is exactly what we need to gather the courage and inspiration to keep expanding and deepening.

Join us. We would love to have you.

Love,
Brenda

April 23-28, 2017
Self Inquiry Through Mantra and Movement

We hope you can join us for this deeply transformative and heart opening experience!

Join us for a program that includes mantra, kirtan, asana, vinyasa flow, pranayama, and meditation. Create space for the Truth to arise as you develop
Self-inquiry and reflection skills
A personal mantra practice
Insight into blockages and holding patterns in the body
Self-awareness and connection with others, to support your ongoing practice of internal reflection and self-discovery.
Erica Taxin Bleznak and Brenda McMorrow utilize journaling as well as dyads and experiential exercises in this potent self-inquiry retreat.

“If you want to know your true nature, you must have yourself in mind all the time, until the secret of your being stands revealed.”
– Nisargadatta Maharaj

Interview with Brenda on Canada’s CTV News Channel

Individual Mentoring Sessions with Brenda

Mentoring Sessions with Brenda

Brenda is very pleased to offer individual sessions. Receive support and guidance around what is relevant in your life right now, eg. kirtan leading, your own personal mantra practice, creative expression, songwriting and guidance for your own spiritual journey.

Brenda can meet with you by telephone or by Skype

• Investment: $150 USD

Please send an email to info@brendamcmorrow.com to arrange your meeting with Brenda!

 

photo by Jeremiah Hill

photo by Jeremiah Hill