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When was the last time you thought about your ancestors? This guided meditation by indigenous scholar Yuria Celidwen will help you connect to your heritage and reap the potent benefits of remembering your roots.
How to Do This Practice:
1. Bring your attention to the center of your chest, allow the chest to open, and relax.
2. Notice an open space in your chest when you breathe in. Pause before exhaling, resting your awareness in the space between breaths, then breathe out. Contemplate the pause that connects the constant flow between openings and returning.
3. In that pause, contemplate your lineage. Think about the origin stories of your elders, their own elders, and their own elders, moving back in time.
4. Think about those elders and the lands that touched their feet. Imagine bringing that land into the center of your chest, into the pause between breaths.
Today’s Happiness Break host:
Dr. Yuria Celidwen is an Indigenous scholar of Nahua and Maya descent. She also works at the United Nations to advance the rights of Indigenous peoples and environmental sustainability.
Learn more about Dr. Celidwen: https://www.yuriacelidwen.com/
More resources from The Greater Good Science Center:
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We’re living through a mental health crisis. Between the stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, burnout — we all could use a break to feel better. That’s where Happiness Break comes in. In each biweekly podcast episode, instructors guide you through research-backed practices and meditations that you can do in real-time. These relaxing and uplifting practices have been shown in a lab to help you cultivate calm, compassion, connection, mindfulness, and more — what the latest science says will directly support your well-being. All in less than ten minutes. A little break in your day.
Dacher Keltner We know from countless studies that family connection is so important to our happiness and longevity. So today we’re going to be led in a practice to connect with our families. But not the ones with us now—we’re going to visit ancestors.
I’m Dacher Keltner, welcome to Happiness Break, a series by the science of happiness that provides research-backed practices to give you a boost in your day, all in under 10 minutes.
Just thinking about your ancestors for five minutes can make you feel smarter and more capable. That’s based on research from the University of Graz in Austria.
Leading this meditation is my dear colleague Doctor Yuria Celiwen. Yuria is an indigenous contemplative studies scholar of Nahua and Maya descent from Chiapas, Mexico. She also works towards developing a more sustainable planet with the United Nations.
Yuria begins by first speaking her indigenous Maya Tzeltal language as a way to create an awareness of the massive cultural extinctions and bio cultural loss we’re experiencing at a global level.
Yuria Celiwen (Speaking in Indigenous Maya Tzeltal language) Hello and welcome! I dearly hope you are doing well. My name is Yuria Celidwen, born and raised in the cloud forest of Chiapas, Mexico from the Indigenous Nahua and Maya Peoples. I honor the Xučyun territory of the Confederated Villages of Lisjan Ohlone Nation. We honor our Elders of the past, present, and those to soon emerge, while celebrating the richness of our cultural legacy.
What you just heard are my indigenous Maya Tseltal language with which I honor the occupied territories of the Lisjan Ohlone Land of the Berkeley area from where I am speaking today. We lose an indigenous language every two weeks, so revitalizing our languages reclaims our presence and in that way generates places of belonging to an ever expanding circle of care and concern for Mother Earth, for all our systems and communities that we belong. And in that way, we ensure that we are creating the possibilities for planetary flourishing
I’ll ask you to bring your attention now into the center of your chest. Allow the chest to open, and relax. Try to find that moment, that very place in the center of your chest, that’s where you breathe in. It opens. And there is a pause. And as you breathe out, it relaxes, until again it reaches that pause. Try to find and meet that pause, that bridge that connects the constant cycle. That constant flow between openings and returning. Never to the exact same place. There’s always something changing. But there’s always that pause. To rest.
So try to meet me in that pause. And in that pause we bring awareness of our lineage, our elders, past, present and emerging. In that pause. We honor the richness of their legacy. So think of those elders that have been core to you. We realize as well the complexities of our lineages. So in that place of pause, in the center of your chest, within your heart, aim to hold that complexity, with that openness, with that vastness, and with the return to the place of safety in the pause.
So think about those origin stories of your elders, their own elders, and their own, and their own back in time. To their respective places all around the world, wherever it may be, and connect those elders to their lands. The different lands that touched their feet. The different elder’s feet touched those lands until they came here to this place, to the ground under your feet, that now you so caringly touch.
And bring that land into the center of your chest, into your heart, and that place of pause, that place of safety, that place of opening and that place of return to the pause. Home. Home. And let home reverberate, ripple in that pulse through every breath, that place of vastness and possibility, and togetherness, and belonging through a vast lineage of living beings and our Mother Earth, ever expanding, ever welcoming in the center of your chest, within your heart, in the place of safety, breath, and home.
Dacher Keltner That was Dr. Yuria Celidwen, an Indigenuous scholar of Nahua and Maya descent who teaches contemplative studies and works at the United Nations to help create a healthier planet. I’m Dacher Keltner, thanks for joining us on this Happiness Break. If you’d like to learn more about Yuria’s teachings, visit our show notes. We have links to her work there.
We’ll be back next week with another episode of The Science of Happiness. Until then, we’d love to hear how Yuria’s practice went for you. Happiness Break is a production of PRX and UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. You can find us on Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts.