Spiritual Company

Spiritual independence does not mean doing everything by ourselves or separating ourselves from others.  The more fully we experience our spiritual consciousness, the more we see how deeply connected we are with each other.

Until we realize such deeper truths, it is important to benefit from spiritual company (sangha in sanskrit) that can uplift and inspire us.  We all need support as we experience the ups and downs of the spiritual path. Sharing the lessons we are learning can open our hearts to each other and open our minds to new insights.

All spiritual seekers are encouraged to both practice cultivating their own will power and self-discipline, and to spend time in the company of others that provide needed inspiration and support.

2017-07-07T20:28:31+00:00 July 7th, 2017|Comments Off on Spiritual Company

Live from a Place of Simplicity

First, we have to acknowledge that our whole culture is caught in the grip of unnecessary desires and recognize the poison of accumulation for what it is. We are conditioned and pressured to want more and more–this is the myth of continual economic progress. This myth has become a monster destroying our ecosystem, taking our money and our life energy.

Second, we have to  have the strength to say no. To go against this toxic flow, to resist the power of its empty promises and the corporation behind them, we have to regain an essential simplicity, return to what we need rather than what we think we want. Only then can we begin to hear the music of life, be attentive to the inner and outer need of the earth.  Only then can we become alive with what is sacred and true.

Third, we have to learn to discriminate, to clear our inner and outer clutter. As we clear more space in our inner and outer lives, we become more attuned to what is necessary, more aware of the deceptions and false promises of unnecessary “stuff”.

The practice of meditation and mindfulness can clear the clutter of our minds. A few trips to Goodwill can clear the clutter from our homes. And then continual attention is needed so that the currents of accumulation do not fill the empty space we have created.   Do we need more in our lives than love?

Practicing simplicity doesn’t mean giving away all our things, quitting our demanding jobs, and moving to a mountain hut or living off the grid. It simply means being very honest about what we value within our lives, what sustains us, brings us joy and meaning, and devoting ourselves to those activities, people or things. While we might end up having fewer possessions or changing some of our habits, simplicity compels a return, not a rejection–a seeing through and within, rater than looking somewhere else. When we live from a place of simplicity, we naturally find we need less and instead are more open to life.

excerpts from an article in Common Ground magazine by LLEWELLYN VAUGHAN-LEE

2017-05-12T20:28:20+00:00 May 12th, 2017|Comments Off on Live from a Place of Simplicity

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|Comments Off on Understanding the Roots of Greed

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|Comments Off on MAY Teaching: Aparigraha, a practice of non-attachment to possessions