Our Essential Nature is Joy

It has really helped me to make use of several conscious methods to practice Santosha or contentment.  One is to start my day, after my morning meditation, affirming that my essential nature is joy, and this joy is independent of anything that happens.  It feels really good to assert my birthright, as Sri Gurudev called it, and remind my mind that nothing can make me happy or sad.

April 6th, 2017|0 Comments

Planting Seeds for a Sustainable Future

A group of our sangha had a lengthy discussion about how we want to live as an expression of our Yoga practice, and what we want to contribute to the current world environment.  We talked about our intention to disengage from the consumer-oriented messages of our culture by practicing Aparigraha, the Sanskrit term for the absence of greed.  We also reflected on the benefit of practicing Santosha, Sanskrit for contentment.

We kept searching for some way to express our desire to make a positive contribution. One person suggested the practice of Karma Yoga best embodies this endeavor to live our beliefs and make a difference.  Then we noted the emergence of Spring and the upcoming observance of Earth Day, and we decided to call our practice “planting seeds for a sustainable future.”

In summary,  we commit ourselves, in the daily ways that we can, to live by the Yogic values that we have embraced:

–to honor the Spiritual Light within all peoples of all races and religions
–to honor the earth, our home, as a manifestation of the Spirit
–to resist the cultural messages to accumulate achievements and possessions as a source of happiness
–to practice contentment and gratitude for all that we have been given, and take joy in giving, sharing and serving others

May these efforts bring some benefit to others, bring more peace to our own hearts and in some small way, uplift the consciousness of our planet.

April 3rd, 2017|0 Comments

Eagle Poem

To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River.  Circles in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon, within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.

~ Joy Harjo ~

(How We Become Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001)

March 31st, 2017|0 Comments

Mindful Speech: Teaching by Example

A story from Prajna Lorin Piper:

“Years ago, I was in a month-long mindful living program, held at the Insight Meditation Society, in Barre, MA, and the Buddhist teacher, Joseph Goldstein came in to talk to our group.

Joseph is a really big deal to a lot of people and our group teacher had told us to save our  hard questions for him. Everyone in the group had tried to come up with something complex to inquire about, and we’d all failed. So instead we asked him what, in all his years of practice, stood out for him in the teachings, and he thought for a moment and said, ‘well, three things then.’

I’m a little annoyed with myself that I can’t remember what the first two were. I think they were the teachings on  non-self and on impermanence. But I remember very distinctly that he then paused and shared the third thing, which  was right, or mindful, speech.  He said  he had to include it because he’d seen over and over again how much suffering speech caused .

Later, in that session, a loud noise was heard overhead, and someone said, “it’s an airplane.” And it probably was. But Joseph said, quietly, questioningly, “well, we don’t really know that, do we?”  What had been an assumption had been stated as a fact.

Over the course of the month while I was at Barre, I had occasion to exchange a few words with Joseph, to observe him socially, and to see that he was taking a split second before answering people, even in casual conversation, that he was monitoring, very carefully, what was going to come out of his mouth. I remember being touched by how diligently he was practicing, and when I tell people about this, I always have to say that you might think this would make someone seem boring, or unnatural. But it didn’t. He was just practicing, very sincerely and humbly, training himself to consider his intention before speaking.

Om om om. May we all practice with sincerity and humility, out of love for all beings.”

March 27th, 2017|Comments Off on Mindful Speech: Teaching by Example