I’m writing from Vienna as I complete my European tour of four countries (actually five, including an evening meditation across the Swiss border in France). Not surprisingly, I find that there are similarities across borders in the themes of what people are dealing with in themselves and their lives. I’d like to share some highlights. See whether and how these opportunities for transformation resonate within you, and remind you of where you can focus your attention as you do your inner work.

Balance and alignment: Several spoke about being off balance, not centered, being affected by their surroundings and circumstances. Teachings: come back to the heart with the breath and focus; return to the present from the past or future; be aware and mindful in daily activities (showering, brushing teeth, eating, talking, walking); with your breath and intention align the heart and the brain (mind), or the heart, brain, higher realms, and Mother Earth.

From protection to radiance: Others question how to protect themselves from negative energies of others and surroundings. Protection is a belief that one will be harmed, based in fear, thereby opening yourself up to outside energies. Rather than thinking “I must protect myself”, move again into the heart, be heart-centered, bring the fear or thoughts of danger into your heart where they dissolve, and radiate from the heart your love and gratitude (as Sai Maa says, radiate like the sun and all else dissolves and transforms in that light).

Acceptance and compassion: So many people judge themselves, feel unworthy, not living up to expectations and standards that they set or take from others. Self-acceptance is key to being whole and realizing who we are in all our dimensions. Accepting our thought, feeling, energy, inner state – it is what it is, not good or bad, inside of me right now – leads to peace from which we can act with greater clarity and power. Also, when we have compassion for ourselves, we are in our heart being tender, caring, understanding we carry unconscious patterns from childhood, we are more likely to transform.

Regaining your power: People get worn out, drained, unable to take actions that can change their lives. This fatigue has to do with not expressing themselves authentically, including what they want. They don’t make requests of others, especially to take care of themselves. Also, they don’t say “no”, decline requests, for fear of not being liked or disappointing. In other words, personal power, life force, comes from expressing, requesting, and declining.

Moving with the flow: Energy can get stuck, focused in one area, creating imbalance, headaches, contraction, stress. We are a movement, so let’s move the body (stretch, dance, exercise); be a movement of energy during meditation (witness and let the thoughts, emotions, sensations pass by without identifying with them); move the energy through us with circular, cyclical breathing (not stopping between the inhale and exhale), directing the energy from head to foot.

Practicing what works, not creating work: Finally, related to daily spiritual practice (sadhana), people complain about not having the time to meditate, being confused about what practices to choose, identifying themselves as “an undisciplined person”. What increases our commitment to practice? Doing what resonates with us in the moment, what feels right, what brings us greater peace and joy. Repeating practices for a while so the effects take hold, and we know they’re working. Appreciating the results, becoming conscious of the benefits, so that our awareness serves as an incentive to continue. When we’re in the groove of the practice, when we realize our transformation, we can rejoice in what’s working for us, rather than resisting because it’s too much work to keep up our practice.

Know that you’re not alone; these themes are common no matter what country you live in. Remember that what you define as problems are opportunities, and use some of the above tips. Share with others what works for you, and ask them to share success stories. We’re all in the same boat, moving from the river of life to the ocean of Self.