The greatest present I've ever received with the exception of my family and a few bicycles, are the lessons I grew up with from my mom. She was able to instill meditational practice in me at an early age, and with this I learned that there is more than what we see, hear, taste, smell, touch. I'm so thankful that I am her son, and that I was able to learn from her. Birthdays can be bittersweet since she passed away, but she left me with so much.

The following is an excerpt from her book Siddhartha and Mary which we've finished editing and will be in print very soon.  Just weeks before she left us her wish was for us to make sure it was finished and went into print. I thought I'd give you all a sneak peak and share some of what i've learned from her. This is from a chapter called "Ijia's Meditation."  enjoy.

"...You’re just going to meditate with me here now. Try it my way for a minute.

You know when you’re in love, and that feeling of anticipation that you feel before you see someone you love and who loves you completely and is as happy to see you as you are to see them, or even happier? It’s that feeling. That’s the way I approach it: I’m meeting my beloved. Just that feeling puts you in that posture.

Rolling the tongue back to ingest prana is a very old technique and my teacher called it nectar. The reason is that when you do that and you open your throat the right way for the ingestion of that life force, what’s happening is that that life force actually has a taste. There’s a taste that is associated with it. It’s sweet and it’s sort of like sucking on honeysuckle. It tastes a little like that.

When you roll your tongue back, it naturally curls and there’s a place that’s almost comfortable for it to sit. There’s not much longevity when you first begin because your tongue isn’t used to doing that. Over time your tongue actually stretches and you develop the muscle to be able to hold that position all the time if you want to. When your tongue gets tired of being rolled back, just release it and let it rest for a few minutes. Breathe in through your nose. When you do that kind of breath, you want to hear it. It’s a soft sound.

You can place your focus on your third eye, between your eyebrows. If that’s not it for you, you can open your eyes, but just keep them unfocused. Either way, the eyes are soft. Underneath the layers of mind and matter, just watch those layers lift and fold back one after another. It might be in a feeling or it could be a visual. It could be a thought or a picture. Just let it roll back, like a veil or curtains or pages. Just let them fall off or roll away because there’s something behind those veils and those pages. It’s that One who you seek. It’s that One

who’s there and waiting for you and who is meeting you.

As each veil, each page turns, feel your heart center opening. Taste that sweetness in the back of your throat. See in your mind’s eye the light playing. Finally there is a moment that’s subtle where something opens up just behind your breast bone. Just let it be open.

Something reaches you. Let yourself be embraced by it. Let yourself be reached. Breathe. Listen to your breath. The in-breath is you. The out-breath is Him. The out-breath is your Father. The in-breath is you. The in-breath is your Father. The out-breath is you. Keep rolling away those pages, those veils.

Enjoy it. Don’t concentrate so hard. Let yourself go. Pretend you’re on a date.

Open your eyes and look around. Bring that feeling here. Close your eyes, go back in. Let the pages roll back, let the veils fall. Taste that sweetness.

Don’t be afraid to put your fingers in your ears and listen to the music in there. Don’t be afraid to rock your body. Don’t be afraid to open your eyes again. Don’t be afraid to open your eyes and stand up and go walk and come back and sit down.

Keep letting those veils fall away. Keep tasting that nectar and listening to that music inside whether your eyes are open or closed. Integrate it with the baby crying, the noise of the fan and the flies buzzing. It’s all the same thing.

There are days when that reaching out gives you instant results and you just feel blasted, blissed out and turned on. Sometimes you show up with everything you have, you’re anticipating, and it’s really quiet and subtle. For me it’s never the same twice, but I guarantee results by just showing up.

Something inside starts to unlock that place that’s so precious, so sweet and so true. It becomes more easily accessible. Then the trick is really learning to remember to access, learning to remember that it’s the medicine that heals.

A friend of mine has all these beautiful things from her grandmother. There are vases and things that were made out of silver. She has an entire set of sterling silverware and they were never used. I think we all have stuff like that that is so precious to us that we keep it put away in a deep part of the closet, in an earthquake proof zone or under lock

and key. It never gets used, it never gets seen, and it’s never enjoyed. It never gets chipped. It’s always perfect—somewhere. Then we forget that we have it. We forget to pull it out.

We tend to save access to that precious part of ourselves for special occasions or just the right moment. In the meanwhile it’s not getting used at all and pretty soon we just forget we have it, or that it’s even there. Because when is it a special enough occasion for something that’s that precious to you? Pretty soon, never. But if you bring it out every day, then this is the special occasion, right now, today, today, today. It does get battered around, it does get worn, it does get chipped. But it takes on a different kind of beauty and luster that’s real. It’s lived in the world. That gift and that relationship need to be lived in the world and messed up a little bit. Be here in the world with that gift and share it. You can’t ruin it.

My favorite stuffed animals and dolls as a kid all had war wounds. Because the tongue of my stuffed tiger had to be sewn back on in an emergency situation, he became that much more precious and real. He lived in the world.

The bottom line is that there’s no good time, there’s no perfect moment and they are all perfect moments. It’s not pretty in some picturesque way and that makes it beautiful. There are babies crying, distractions and flies, but that’s all part of what makes it beautiful."