Category: Dharma

Floridaastromap

It’s my one ‘day-off’ from Seva and I’m sitting at the end of the dock on the Lake observing the wildlife.  There’s about a dozen cranes meandering around the shore line, calmly strutting and passively standing around the shallow edge.  Nearby, one fat, outrageously large  goose is surveying the group. He reminds me of a sheepdog herding cattle.  The cranes don’t seem to mind him.

Suddenly in the middle of all that wonderful calm and peacefulness a mutt of a dog came chasing out of the nearby woods and raced towards them all!  Everyone began to honk and quack and  bark and scream and run and fly!  The cranes took off together in flight and the goose got him self into deeper waters where the dog couldn’t go.  It was a delightful scene produced by Mother Nature for this observer.

It took awhile for the calm to return, and now the whole group has returned to their meditations over on the property further west. 3cranes

Isn’t that like life?  We’re having a nice peaceful day and then a disturbance comes.  We get rattled.  We yell. We object.  We run away, thinking peace might return to us somewhere else.

The teaching here is asking us to take a closer look at our reactions.  We are told that those reactions are most likely a coming from our past and not necessarily the proper response to what is happening now.

Running away from a hungry, excited dog is probably the proper response for the cranes and the goose.  Yet, even though their peace was disturbed, no doubt they are calm again in this moment.  I doubt they’ll need anty therapy to get over their trauma?

We humans, however, have a mind that retains memories, makes predictions, and plans for future.  It jumps to lots of conclusions, and assumptions far beyond what is actually happening where the feet are.  Some of us have wild imaginations that spin in or out of control.  Some are absolutely delusional at times.  The point is, like all the masters have said,  stay in the now….and if a disturbance comes act accordingly if action is required.  Otherwise, observe the responses in the the body and remember to breathe.  Calm returns quicker that way.

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Blogging Dharma journal entry

There are many ways to practice yoga.   Seva, is one.

In 1997 I became a volunteer at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lenox, MA.  I was offered room & board in return for my service.   Mostly,  I worked as a Faculty Assistant.  Other times I was on the  production team for the larger weekend conferences.  Eventually,  I became attached to the Inner Quest Intensive (IQI), Kripalu’s signature self-discovery program. For 10+ years  I led the Kripalu hatha yoga practice  and served as a Facilitator with this life-changing program.

Then in 2008 Kripalu’s governing body decided that faculty volunteers like myself were no longer needed and they began to remove us from the program rooms. It was a significant change for those who remember, and my time at Kripalu was greatly reduced.  The few of us who were attached to specific master teachers/programs were allowed to continue and  I was grateful. The IQI was offered three times a year and that would have to be enough seva at Kripalu.

In 2015,  Kripalu cancelled the IQI and soon thereafter cancelled all other remaining volunteer opportunities.  This decision  signaled a significant course correction for Kripalu Center.

Aside from the yoga experience, knowledge, practice and karma points I gained over 15 years of service at Kripalu, what was so unexpectedly rewarding was the experience of living together with others on the same path, to be a part of a spiritual community where like-mind and like-spirit came together.

So, last December, when the days were short and the nights were long I responded to a call for volunteers at the Amrit Yoga Institute in Florida.  In early March a call came and I have been invited to practice Seva there during the first weeks of May!

For those in the know, AYI was established by Amrit Desai, the guru who introduced Kripalu Yoga to the USA.  This means that the practices, philosophy, and methodologies will be consistent with everything I have learned thus far and for that I am grateful, and so excited, and terrified too.  And, he will be on the campus during my stay.

Florida is  not as easy as driving to the Berkshires, and this pitta person hates hot weather, but I am  honored and grateful to be invited to this campus  to experience Gurudev’s wisdom for myself.

Jai Bhagwan.  Namaste.  Om shanti.

to be continued.

 

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Blogging Dharma Yoga Yoga Therapy

 

 

Once again my own words fail me.   Here are some from the Buddha.

 

This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech.
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied.
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born,
May all beings be at ease!
Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings:
Radiating kindness over the entire world
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.

The Metta Sutra

 

Buddhism Dharma Meditation philosophy Poetry quotes Yoga

Today, my own words fail me.  Here are some from the Buddah

This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech.
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied.
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and in saftey,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born,
May all beings be at ease!
Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings:
Radiating kindness over the entire world
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.

Reposted from Aug, 2008

Buddhism Dharma Meditation philosophy Poetry quotes Yoga

I am sArjunao happy to be a part of this group.  Please join us on April 12 for our annual birthday show. Click here for flyer.

I’m still “in process” of cobbling my story together.    The ‘working’ title is “Tales from the East”.  The blurb I submitted reads:

Personal challenges take on deeper meanings when viewed from different perspectives. This telling will weave together a personal tale with an ancient story out of the Bhagavad Gita.

 

 

 

 

Ancient Wisdom Dharma Karma philosophy StoryTelling

 

 

THE DEBT OF KARMA
Yogi Amrit Desai

Every soul is charged with an evolutionary mission
To realize its inborn divine potential.
Life is a perpetual therapeutic irritation.
It provides a compelling force to drive us
Toward the completion of our mission.
When we deny a painful experience,
It goes underground as a pending debt of unfinished karma.
When you block pain, you may feel temporary relief,
But your karmic account is not closed.
The collection agency will present the lesson
Again and again, in various forms.
Through apparently unrelated events.
Every event that is not faced fully and consciously comes back
As irritation, emotion, resistance or denial.
Habitual ways of reacting and reliving the same event
Perpetuate unconsciousness.
All lessons will be repeated until they are learned.
The debt of karma is paved in consciousness.

 

Ancient Wisdom Dharma Karma Yoga

Cycles of Becoming, The Planetary Pattern of Growth by Alexander Ruperti is probably one of the best books I’ve ever read on the study of cycles, phases , and patterns.

Here’s what he writes for age 56-63.

Phase 9.  Possibility of 3rd birth in the Uranian cycle. Demonstration of the capacity to focus the spiritual quality of being inherent at birth, through the personality.  New spiritual activities or, negatively, further crystallization of mind and feeling responses.

He goes on to write that after 63 we move towards, “conscious preparation for the afterlife….or senility”

Astrology Dharma Holistic Health Planets and their Cycles Saturn Time Management

Each zodiac sign has a core truth that only time spent in a human body can accomplish. Few of us display the virtues of our sun sign at birth. In reality, it takes at least a Saturn cycle of experience (approx. 28 years) to connect with and live from the essence of our Sun sign. Before that, most of us are operating from our moon sign and moving thru the world with habitual and unconscious response patterns. As we approach our first Saturn Return we begin to understand what the essence of our Sun sign is all about and we begin to make a conscious transition from habitual patterns (moon) to conscious living.

One thing that I find most interesting about natal-chart astrology is that you can’t tell by looking at a chart the level of consciousness of the individual. Jeffrey Green in his wonderful book on Pluto- The Evolutionary Journey of the Soul writes about four states of evolutionary conditioning that are not revealed by the chart.

The first state is what he describes as the “dimly evolved” state and encompasses about 3% of the population. It is quite doubtful that we as yoga therapists will come in contact with these individuals as many of them are severly mentally deficient.

The second state he calls the herd state and about 75% of the population falls into this category. He describes these individuals as those who comply with the social/cultural norms of the day. They rarely question their beliefs and are happy to follow mainstream thinking and behavioral patterns.

The third state which holds about 20% of our population ( and growing by my observation) he labels the individuated state. These people question the beliefs and norms of society and look to develop their individuality. Many of them are drawn to yoga and the other spiritual practices which teach from the inside out. Self-discovery is their chosen methodology for learning.

The fourth state of about 3% of human beings is the spiritual state where one lives from a universal state of consciousness. These individuals have moved beyond the individualized state and and attempt to align themselves with the timeless, universal state of being. Jesus, Buddah, Mohammed are the primary examples of what is possible in this state.

In order to support our clients/students it is important to recognize which evolutionary state they are operating from and work from there. Those in the herd state will require patient understanding and acceptance before they can move to the third, individualized state. When working with others it is always important to meet them where they are before you attempt to move them. Yoga & yoga therapy supports experiential learning so rather than using dialogue to explain the different states it is much more effective to design experiences that will help them discover for themselves a more enlightened way of being.

Astrology books consciousness Dharma Karma Teachers Time Management Uncategorized Yoga Yoga Therapy

What happens when you integrate astrology into the yogic practice of self-observation without judgement?

Self-inquiry is a spiritual practice that directs our energy and our attention inward. It’s a particular form of self-discovery that encourages one to first recognize and then drop the social mask (also known as the persona, personality, or ascendant) and practice authenticity in every moment. (rather than productivity or some other external goal). In, The Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield, he describes a Buddhist practice of sitting quietly and repeatedly path with heartasking yourself, “Who am I”, over and over until you reach a point where something in the body/mind relaxes (?) and a subtle shift in consciousness happens. It’s one of those things that you have to experience for yourself and hard to describe.

Svadhyaya is one of the niyamas (from Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga) that encourages us to look at ourselves, clearly, without prejudice. It’s a challenging task and requires constant practice. Kripalu Yoga is the methodology that i practice. It brings the physical and energetic bodies into the mix by developing a heightened sense of awareness to sensations, breath, thought patterns, and spontaneous emotional expression.

man-astrologyAstrology attempts to find meaning in the natural order of the cosmos. Everything has it’s own time, it’s own season, and every minute that passes is unique. Astrologers observe both long term & short term trends and relate that information to the present moment. In addition, astrology also adds mythological, archetypal, & psychological dimensions that are extremely personal and relevant.

Natal Astrology looks at an individual (or oneself) thru a lens that has no prejudice. The natal horoscope does not see: gender, race, religion, economic status, socio/cultural differences, sexual orientation, political affiliation or any of the ways in which we categorize ourselves. What the natal chart does describe is our ‘energetic’ makeup and the timing of unfoldment. The ‘how’ is up to us. There are many ways to manifest the potential of our horoscope. It’s the energy pattern and the timing that are pre-determined. All else is free will. When approached with equanimity and non-judgement the natal horoscope becomes an impartial map of possibility with a built-in clock to help one connect to the present moment more intimately.

Yoga & Astrology have co-existed harmoniously in various cultures for eons.yantra cropped Each discipline recognizes the value & contribution of the other. Across the centuries, astrologers have continued to relate the movement of what is above to the movement of what lies below. Whereas, at the same time the yogi’s were discovering what lies without, also exists within. They both agree that here & now is important.

Yoga provides us with the tools to help us be with that moment in peaceful co-existence. Astrology helps us to understand the characteristics of the our particular ego-state and the nature of the obstacles that impede our path towards a higher consciousness. Yoga helps us to smooth out the obstacles, minimize the ego drives and approach life’s challenges in peace. Astrology provides us with the nature of the ever-changing present moment. Yoga practices train us to respond to the ever-changing moment with acceptance. Astrology, when properly understood, can advance us towards spiritual awakening. Yoga does the same.

As a Professional Kripalu Yoga Teacher & Astrologer it’s taken me most of my life to bring these two paths together in a way that goes beyond the mental field or intellect. After 30+ years of study and practice I have now reached a point where I can no longer keep them separate. My personal practice and the programs I offer always include the cosmic point of view in an attempt to teach the hermetic principal, As Above, So Below. For those who are ready for the practice of self-inquiry and seek to approach life multi-dimensionally, astrology & yoga together can be quite enlightening.

Om shanti, shanti, shantihi.

Astrology Buddhism consciousness Dharma Karma Kripalu Meditation philosophy Teachers Yoga Yoga Therapy

For over 40 years I have been trying to clean out my closets. Not the physical ones that exist in my home, although they could surely use some cleaning, also. But, rather, the cluttered closets of my mind and psyche. I discovered that my internal closets were cluttered when I began to study astrology, psychology, & yoga. The first clue came in my 20’s when I was told by a reputable astrologer that the moon lived in the 12th house of my natal chart. Something deep inside of me immediately became curious and I thus began my search, my quest, my journey to fully and completely understand me.I was 57 years old November, 2006 and today I can look back farther and look out further than ever before. The journey I set out on so long ago has become a never-ending journey into what Carl Jung calls the ‘collective unconscious’. Thank God (dess) for the North Node Aries to remind me that I am here also to learn about individuality amidst the watery depths of the collective.Hiding

 

Recently, I experienced what is called a Soul Retrieval.This ‘journeying’ technique is used by many different shamans to aid and assist us in becoming whole and healed. The intention of the journey is to re-unite my current self with split-off pieces of my soul.

 What the shaman revealed to me afterwards gave me another perspective to integrate into my understanding of my self.

 Here’s what the shaman saw.

 She saw me, huddling in a dark closet, fearful & afraid. My beloved family was being violently removed from our home by soldiers. I could hear the sounds and feel the vibrations of powerful movements happening just on the other side of the door. I cowered and shook in the dark, trying to catch my breath. After a while it became silent. Darkness surrounded me still. I ventured out slowly, as quietly as I could. No one was there. The place looked a mess. I was in shock…..frozen right where I was standing, paralyzed, immobilized. I am 12 years old (give or take a year or two) and I’m totally alone in a hostile world. My family is gone, either forcibly taken, or simply disappeared.
I do not survive this test. Death came soon.

 It was explained to me by the shaman that this was my most recent past life experience and has had huge impact on this life. (Our past life experiences can be somewhat found by studying the 12th house in our natal charts.)

 When we discover new pieces of ourselves, by what ever means we do this, it takes some time to integrate the information until we ‘feel’ okay again. But, what does ‘feel okay’ mean? I have struggled with the questions and confusions around feelings for most of my life. The problem with feelings is that you feel them, and not all those feelings feel good. In the moment of feeling a preference for something is born and the life of duality becomes the norm. I prefer to feel good. I don’t like to feel bad.

 But what if we just felt the feeling, in ease, without any commentary or concern as to whether or not it’s ‘good’ or ‘bad’?Can we learn to simply just feel, without the commentary or the suffering as Gautama, The Buddah teaches?For me this is where my lifelong study and practice of eastern philosophy, particularly Yoga has really paid off.

 Today, I still live in the closet, my moon in the 12th house has learned a lot thru the astrological perspective of Progression but it still has its roots in the 12th house. The difference today is that the lights are on and the walls of my closet are transparent allowing interaction with the outside world. And, I’ve made it way past 12 years old…….

Healing is another story. For that we look to Chiron, an asteroid orbiting between Saturn & Uranus. But that’s for another day.

Astrology consciousness Dharma journal entry Yoga Therapy