A Blessing of our Children

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One of my favorite events in Argentina was a gathering we called A Blessing of our Children. The centers in both Buenos Aries and in San Martin de los Andes invited parents to bring their children for a special ceremony designed just for the purpose of acknowledging these young souls.

We started with chanting and clapping in a simple and joyful way that made it easy for the children to join. Then we created a simple ceremony to call forth the Divine, asking everyone to invoke God’s Presence in whatever way they understand it. I offered a prayer for the well-being of the children, asking that they be blessed to always feel our love and support and God’s Grace and guidance, and that they have everything they need to realize their full potential and live in peace.

Mirabai, the spiritual leader of the Argentina sangha, offered a similar prayer and then we invited all the parents to express their hopes and dreams for their children. Mirabai and I then sprinkled the children with blessed water from the altar and anointed them holy ash. We sang a few songs that the children knew and enjoyed, and then ended by sending out special prayers for all the children in the world.

There was so much joy in our hearts from this sincere effort to honor the children and affirm our intentions for them. While we can all recognize our shortcomings and mistakes in this lifetime, we can focus our energies in powerful and positive ways to give our children the best possible chance to thrive, awaken the Light within and let that Light shine through them into this world. I take heart seeing some of these children already reflecting the Spirit of that vision.

2016-10-15T01:44:59+00:00 October 12th, 2015|Tags: , , |Comments Off on A Blessing of our Children

How the Yoga Sutras lead us back to our True Nature

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During my last weekend in San Martin de los Andes, I spoke several times with the teachers in training.  We focused primarily on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the very detailed way these teachings make clear the roots of all of our suffering.

The Sutras explain how our limited minds and senses do not see and experience the fullness of our being.  Instead, we are influenced by the prevailing messages of our culture to think of ourselves as the body and mind.

This leads to a life of never-ending efforts to create and sustain a successful self image – an identity that can help us obtain the things we feel we need to be happy, such as a good job, a lovely partner, a beautiful home, etc.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting these things that we all enjoy, but it is a mistake to think that our happiness comes from those things. If that is true, then each time those things change or disappear, our happiness goes with them.

The sutras describe how trying to arrange for conditions outside of ourselves in order to be happy leads to a life of relentless frustration, anxiety and striving for something we can never obtain.  Yoga practice, as well as any authentic spiritual practice, can help us experience an innate sense of contentment that is independent of circumstances and allows us to enjoy the process of pursuing our goals without depending on the outcome for our peace of mind.

Understanding this can inspire us to practice diligently, with patience and enthusiasm, until we begin to experience for ourselves the truth in these teachings.  Once we taste this inner peace and the natural feeling of joy that comes from giving and serving, rather than acquiring and achieving, our spiritual growth becomes a steady and enjoyable journey towards an ever greater awareness of our true nature.

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2016-10-15T01:45:03+00:00 September 14th, 2015|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on How the Yoga Sutras lead us back to our True Nature

Embraced by the Andes in Argentina

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I arrived in Buenos Aries early Monday morning and left Tuesday afternoon for the 22 hr bus ride to San Martin de los Andes, a beautiful town near the border with Chile.  I stayed there in Prema, the Integral Yoga Institute, positioned in the foothills of the Andes with scenic views of the surrounding mountains.

I gave workshops on four consecutive nights, presenting different aspects of Yoga and how it can transform our lives.  We explored how a comprehensive approach to Yoga results in a whole way of life and heals all the levels of our being.  We discussed how love can be a potent part of our practice, bypassing the reasoning mind that sees each of us as separate.

I spoke about what it means to practice Yoga in this particular era, with all of its marvelous technological advances, and all of the violence and injustice that has accompanied those advances.  I believe our spiritual practice is much more potent when seen in the context of the condition of our world, our communities and our homes.  

We are responsible for our own contributions to our world, and our Yoga practice is one of the primary ways we have to be fully aware of the impact of our lifestyle and daily interactions.  Even though our science oriented culture does not appreciate the power of the subtle energies we generate in our hearts and minds, our everyday choices, as well as our long term goals, take on new relevance when we realize that each action and every focused thought is a tangible contribution to the collective consciousness of our planet.

We ended each workshop with prayers for peace in the world.   We may not realize that each time we close our eyes and focus on an intention like this, we generate a peaceful energy in our own hearts first and we benefit immediately.  And we may not see the effects of such prayers, but many saints have reminded us that sincere prayers like this can bring peace to many hearts.  May we all learn to make this a habit and find numerous ways to manifest this intention as we walk through life.

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2016-10-15T01:45:04+00:00 September 10th, 2015|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Embraced by the Andes in Argentina