Understanding the Roots of Greed

” The more we think of ourselves as physical, the more we will see ourselves as isolated and alone, separate from each other and from the rest of life.  Separate creatures are cut off from everything that give life meaning: a sense of unity, a purpose for living that is larger than ourselves, and the lasting, loving relationships we must have to be human and whole.

Every human being hungers for these things yet these are inner needs that can never be filled by the material goods that industrial civilization is made to offer .  The media saturate our senses with the message that if we only buy this, own that, eat this, experience that, this hunger will go away. But it does not go away–and, in fact industrial civilization depends on whetting our appetite for more, more, more.

It is this cycle of hunger and frustration that drives the cycle of production and consumption. And that cycle, in turn, leads to ruthless exploitation of the earth’s resources, and eventually to war for control of the spoils. “

Eknath Easwaran  

2017-05-08T20:36:06+00:00 May 8th, 2017|0 Comments

A twist on self-care

My spiritual teacher, Sri Swami Satchidananda often reminded us that if we only take care of ourselves, there will be one person looking after us….but if we take care of the others around us, there will be many people wanting to take care of us.

2017-05-04T21:23:53+00:00 May 4th, 2017|0 Comments

MAY Teaching: Aparigraha, a practice of non-attachment to possessions

For the month of May, we decided to practice Aparigraha, non-greed, one of the ethical principles given in the Yoga Sutras as the foundation of all Yoga practice.  Practicing these principles begins in the most basic ways.  Hence, non-greed is practiced first of all by refraining from the unnecessary accumulation of possessions, and by refusing to accept bribes or any gift that would oblige us to compromise our values.

A perhaps deeper approach to this practice comes from considering why we feel a need to acquire things in the first place. The various ways we practice Yoga, such as selfless service, Hatha Yoga or meditation, which quiet the desiring mind, offer us opportunities to touch a wellspring of contentment or inner peace.  Even a taste of this inner fulfillment lays a foundation for moderating what we seek and feel we need.

We can practice Aparigraha in many ways.  We can sort out unneeded clothing, furniture and miscellaneous possessions and offer them to stores that will make it available to others.  We can regift things that we don’t need as acts of kindness or expressions of love.  With practice, refraining from greed can evolve into positive actions like generosity.

Generosity arises naturally from the sense of deep connection that we experience when we practice Yoga and free ourselves from the limiting thoughts that divide us.  Generosity can take many forms:  a warm smile, taking time to appreciate someone or a silent prayer offered with sincerity to uplift a friend.  Simply listening to someone with full attention can be a powerful way to offer support and care.

Sharing the gifts and blessings we have received with others is a natural impulse when we acknowledge our abundance and escape the self-centered messages of our culture.  Sharing generously opens our hearts to the love and compassion that is our true nature and is ultimately more fulfilling than keeping things for ourselves. 

 

2017-05-01T22:26:30+00:00 May 1st, 2017|0 Comments

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~

(The Essential Rumi, versions by Coleman Barks)

2017-04-27T21:26:41+00:00 April 27th, 2017|Comments Off on The Guest House