I found this passage recently… it’s part of the conversation between Krishna & Arjuna. Gazillions of words have been spoken and written and debated and turned into graphic novels to re-tell the story of the Bhagavad Gita.
The Matsya Vedh (Piercing-Eye) competition is one of a few different archery competitions that Arjuna had engaged in to achieve his dharma. Shooting at an eagle eye was another.
Hindu mythology has lots of stories that reference water/flooding and the value of the fish. Both the seated spinal twist (matsyandrasana) and the ‘fish’ pose (matsyasana) ask us to be mindful of the water element in our bodies.
Other blog posts from Bhagavad Gita are here:
A night before the day of Matsya Vedh (Piercing fish eye) competition, Krishna & Arjuna are conversing……..
Krishna says, “Arjuna, take care,
put your step forward
and concentrate on the eye of the fish”
Arjuna says, ” If I have to do everything, then what will you do?”
Krishna whispers softly, “What you can’t do, I will do”.
Arjuna asks, “And what is it that I can’t do?”
“I will keep the water steady…..”
Another Sri Yantra. I always have to say to myself, “4 up and 5 down” because it’s so easy to line up the nine triangles in the wrong direction.
I’ve written about this ancient image before. Check out these posts.
back to the drawing board……………
You might want to read this first.….?
A week ago the moon passed thru the Aries portion of the zodiac where she tackled the complications that arise from Jupiter, Chiron, Mars, and Eris in Aries as well. She’s calmer now in Taurus.
But! Mars is pretty fiery & hot and so close now to Eris that I fear we’re about to see a lot of firewords until July 6 when Mars, having exhausted himself, as is his nature, rests for a bit in Taurus. Mars customarily spends about 6 weeks in a zodiac sign. That’s the normal rhythm of the universe for him. However, because of retrograde motion Mars will be in Gemini for (August 21, 2022 – March 26, 2023) SEVEN MONTHS! OMG! FYI (This is important for those of us who will participate in Beyond Words
For now, remember to take note of what’s happening in your life around August 21, when Mars crawls from Taurus into Gemini. Mars will return nearly to this point in time during his backward motion of this seven-month (yipes!!) retrograde journey. Mars rules Scorpio as well as Aries, so both those sun sign will feel the slow down motion most, perhaps? The retrograde period begins late October and lasts until Jan, 2023. That’s 2 solid months of backward motion in Gemini. It isn’t until Spring, 2023 before he reaches the 26th degree from where the Rx began.
Eris & Mars form a conjunction on June 27 at 24 degrees of Aries. The God of War meets The Goddess of War in Aries. Volumes will be written of the events that will continue until at least 2025.
more later…………… much to discuss, ponder, and contemplate..
Om Nimah Shivaya…..shanti, shanti, shantihi
I have a long, long history with all things “Kripalu”. A search using the name will return a majority of posts that were the result of my activities in that weird pink brick building on the most beautiful piece of land I could get to, easily. The blissful 3 hour drive on the NY Thruway was and still is a welcome diversion from the hustle/bustle jersey shore environment dominated by water., …everywhere. I live in a town called Interlaken named such because it’s and surrounded by lakes. When I turn onto the street that leads directly to Kripalu Center I am on Interlaken Ave, in Massachusetts. You can’t ignore or not see these markers when they show up. What do they mean? That’s a different conversation. Needless to say, it’s been a special place for me for a long time.
One of the (many) reasons I fell in love with Kripalu is that I got to experience myself differently. (nature vs nurture) (fate vs free will) When I first walked thru the doors I was a stressed out, spiritually starved single mom selling real estate to get my two kids thru college. My mother had died, there was no other family nearby, and I just charged on. What else was there to do? My local yoga teacher urged me to visit Kripalu.
At the desk I remember them asking me to fill out some simple paperwork. One of the questions concerned employment. I stumbled on that one, which as I write this was a sticky question from the earliest days of my childhood….but that’s another story. Although the world saw me mostly as a real estate professional, I had also started a side gig as a time and space consultant which primarily involved astrology, feng shui, and yoga. Standing at the desk at Kripalu for the first time, I wrote in Astrologer as my occupation. It really hadn’t thought it out and in the years to come it was fascinating to see the differences between my NJ-self and my newly born Kripalu-self. There’s a couple bf memoirs in those experiences and maybe I’ll even write them?
So, taking on the persona of astrologer rather than realtor I experienced what a spiritual community looked like. How they interacted with people like me. How they interacted with those who they knew. By the end of that 2 night stay I was hooked. I needed Kripalu and began to reorganize my life to allow for frequent trips up the thruway into the Berkshires.
As a volunteer, one of my most favorite assignments was to work with the audio/visual team which was headed by a guy named Bob. He was kind and very patient in teaching me about the all the technical aspects of Kripalu programming. These were the days of analog, digital anything was far off. The AV team was always around the musicians and that’s where my heart really wanted to be, with the musicians. The music that I experienced live at Kripalu moved me in a way the Rolling Stones never did and they moved me too, truth be told. Being an ‘assistant’ at most of the musical venues at Kripalu was heaven on earth for me.
Here’s a story I wrote about one of those times.
Kripalu has re-opened and another incarnation of this community is about to be birthed. So many changes. Everywhere.
I’m curious to see what’s next.
The book fell off the shelf and opened to this page when I picked it up. When Things Fall Apart, Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron page 91
Spiritual awakening is frequently described as a journey to the top of a mountain. We leave our attachments and our worldliness behind and slowly make our way to the top. At the peak we have transcended all pain. the only problem with this metaphor is that we leave all the others behind-our drunken brother, our schizophrenic sister, our tormented animals and friends. Their suffering continues, unrelieved by our personal escape.
In the process of discovering bodhichitta, the journey goes down, not up. It’s as if the mountain pointed toward the center of the earth instead of reaching into the sky. Instead of transcending the suffering of all creatures, we move toward th turbulence and doubt. We jump into it. We slide into it. We tiptoe into it. We move toward it however we can. We explore the reality and unpredictability of insecurity and pain, and we try not to push it away. If it takes years, if it takes lifetimes, we let it be as it i9s. At our own pace, without speed or aggression, we move down and down and down. with us move millions of others, our companions in awakening from fear. At the bottom we discover water, the healing water of bodhichitta. Right down there in the thick of things, we discover the love that will not die.
That’s what we do in yoga therapy, we dive down. It’s an exhilarating journey, if you are on a path of spiritual awakening. It doesn’t matter what shape you’re in, there’s a lot to learn and discover inside your self.
Join us this Fall for Yoga Therapy for Grandma, An Introductory Course On Zoom. Are you on the mailing list?
Our one-day retreat during the Summer Solstice at the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ was a wonderful way to be together with my sangha after such a long, stressful separation.
We found a wonderful nearly-private space under a grove of Apple Trees and reconnected to nature, to those we know and love, and to strangers passing by. We sat on the ground, picked at the grass, rolled around and rested in corpse pose. We practiced our co-listening skills by breaking into small groups and answering some thought provoking questions. We sat in one big circle for breathing practices and meditation. And then, we broke up for awhile and explored the grounds in what ever way we felt inspired to do so. Some took pictures, drew sketchs, wrote in a journal. Others used their time diffently. All was perfect.
By the end of the day it was hard to say goodbye. The connections we make with our spiritual tribes are deep, comforting, and nurturing to the human body/mind/spirit. It’s just the way it is.
I’m looking forward to facilitating more events that help us move thru these unprecedented times.
We are in a process. That process continues. Breathe.
Remember the practices for the Brahma Vihari’s “…the only emotions worth having”.
As I was putting our curriculum together I was eager to find this sculpture. Over the course of the day as I wandered around I looked for it, with no success. However, after we completed our final OM and said our goodbyes, and I dizzily headed towards my car I saw it….re birth….and the others by the same artist….all in group, yet alone, too. It was a perfect day.
Drawing lines is (sometimes) easier than writing words. So I’m posting these pictures to show you what I’ve been doing This video tells the whole story in 30 seconds.
The artist is Richard Henry and I’ve been taking courses at his school since the pandemic locked me down. There’s something very soothing and fulfilling to drawing lines, straight & curvy. Using a straight edge and striving for perfection can be easily witnessed. And, letting go brings joy. The whole of the process can be, and frequently is a meditation.
This particular geometric pattern falls into the category of 8-fold. It’s a common pattern seen and pictured here in an archway at .Humayan’s Tomb, Delhi, India .
Often, it is used as a pattern for a jaali screen. Here we use shades/blinds/curtains to adjust the amount of sunlight that enters a space. In other places……jaali screens.
This is as far as I’ve gotten. Soon, it’ll be transfered to watercolor paper and then the fun really starts!
It’s a full moon……. See the Light.
ps. see that shaded out shape. It’s called a tabla.
Hibernation ends for me with the advent of the Chinese New Year celebrated this year Feb 11 – 16.
I fell in love with many of the ancient Chinese practices & beliefs while working as a real estate professional. One of my most memorable experiences was the year I was a featured speaker at the state convention for the North Carolina Board of Realtors. It was held in South Carolina, and so many of the attendees were from New Jersey.
The room was packed with many waiting outside and we quickly arranged for a second session. My topic was Feng Shui & Real Estate, and I was ‘in my glory’. Selling and listing and managing and administrating never brought me the delight that I experienced when speaking and teaching to a group on integrating ancient wisdom with modern-day sales. I was a pioneer here and I loved it.
About 10 years after that convention my attention drifted from the far east to the nearer east as my yoga practice evolved into teaching. The Hindu/Buddhist culture of India took hold as I immersed myself in vedanta, yoga & ayurveda. Vaastu Shastra is the vedic complement to Feng Shui . Both ask us to pay attention to our environments. Coming from different parts of the globe, with different climates and cultures, they both developed a systematic way of looking at our spaces and bringing more consciousness to what we see/hear/feel/touch. Seeing the connection between what is in the environment to what is in the body usually goes beyond our conscious awareness. It takes discipline and training to *really see things as they are*.
Within our homes, we all have things we don’t want to see. Some of those things are hanging on our walls in plain sight. Other things are tucked into the way back of drawers and closets. But, according to the feng shui masters, out of sight is NOT out of mind. We still *know* it’s there and can feel the emotional pull of it’s ‘story’. Addressing clutter is the first step to improving the chi/prana in your environment. Defining what is and what is not clutter may take some professional help? Long before Marie Kondo came on the scene teachers like myself were encouraging the public to clean up their space.
Astrology is also a major part of far east philosophies. Both China & Tibet use a system 12-year repeating cycles. Each cycle is an animal, which is then divided into 5 categories representing the five elements. It’s unlike any other astrological system that came out of Babylonia, Greece, or India. And, I don’t know much about it. This year, 2021 is the year of the Ox and that’s me! I was born an Ox, and if you were born in: 1937, 1949, 1961,1973,1985,1997,2009 or 2021 then you, too, are an Ox. It’s possible that I’ll still be around for the next ox year, 2032, but I know not to count on that. So I am encouraged to celebrate myself for this whole year and live every day as best I can.
I’ll be incorporating these topics into our weekly classes and more specifically into this month’s workshop:
Feb 21, 2021 1-4 pm
Hold the date. Details to follow. All Welcome.
It was midnight of the third day when the chanting ended. Jan 1, 2008. We’d been at it, 2 hours on and 4 hours off, around the clock. After the first 24 hours I felt myself slipping into an altered state that felt amazing. For the entire 3 days, the chant never left my mind…there was no room for discursive thinking, worrying, obsessing, analyzing, wondering,. There was no past, no future, just the chant. …there were no thoughts…just the chant… Looking it up for the first time I discover that the moon was conjunct natal neptune/ketu. It feels good to *know* that.
I was one of the musicians alternating between harmonium and tamboura. This was my first time on a harmonium for ‘performance’ and I was nervous about that. The tamboura however was sheer joy for the memories it brought up. Years before I accompanied a local sitar player with his gig at the nearby Indian restaurant. He needed the droning of a tamboura to play his best. He had one and taught me how to play it. Loving all stringed instruments I was eager to learn and quickly mastered these 4 strings.
The tamboura I was handed at Kripalu was an entirely different instrument. Little did I know that tamboura’s could be female, like the one I learned on, or male, like this gigantic gourd that was bigger than me! The powerful, resonant, droning sound could project throughout the entire Main Chapel at Kripalu with only the most gentle touch. I’m in trouble I thought, for I always err towards loud.
I was grateful for the time we spent together earlier getting to know each other, learning the chant, practicing with the instruments, and rehearsing the ‘changing of the chanters/musicians’ from one shift to another. Although I had received many invitations to join this team, I was only able to participate twice due to family responsibilities
I remember the first meeting of our team. We sat in a circle on dusty pink velour cushions and listened to Bhavani & Atma lay out the program and how it was going to work. After time spent on the logistics, Bhavani brought out the instruments and introduced the chant. I can still feel my excitement at being one of the musicians. Although the Sanskrit was short and simple to say, the melody was difficult. It required good breath control, along with some notes that were hard for me. I was really impressed with those on the team that were the lead chanters and yearned for a voice as beautiful as theirs.
Over the course of the next three days we would chant Om Nimah Shivaya in Swami Kripalu’s chapel. It was my favorite room in the whole building with it’s soft pink carpet and cushions. The light wooden paneled wall behind the riser was rounded. In one corner was a supply closet hidden behind a wooden door that matched the paneling. On the other side was the space that housed the artifacts from Swami Kripalu’s time in the USA. This was also the room where Amrit Desai, the founding Guru of Kripalu Center, would have his most intimate gatherings, I supposed.
On the last night, without missing a beat or a syllable, we moved ourselves to the expansive Main Chapel on the 2nd floor. The backdrop to the riser we were sitting on displayed a huge OM symbol. Behind the OM backdrop is a mosaic left behind by the Jesuits who previously owned the property The alcoves on both sides were open with the a/v station on the left. I am sure that it looks very different today.
Everyone from the surrounding area of Lenox was invited for the final 2 hours of live chant and they began arriving soon after we began. Slowly the room filled while all 20+ of us, all dressed in white chanted away. I was grateful not to be the tamboura player for that last session as I was so high from bliss using a “gentle touch” would have been impossible.
There were easily 500 people on the floor in front of us all chanting and swaying away. I saw thefamiliar faces of teachers, mentors, fellow students, and strangers that I have come to love in my years there. The entire room was one with the chant. You could feel it. Everywhere. Surrounded by sound & vibrations.
we chanted the final Om.
I understand now how “Silence is deafening”.
I don’t have the words to describe the exquisite experience of those silent minutes. I don’t remember how long it lasted. It might’ve been 2 or 20 minutes? Time stopped. Tears streamed down my face adding to sensory experience of this silence. It became easy to understand the devotional Bhakti path if this was the reward for practice. Of course, I had been immersed in it for 72 hours, not 2, a realization that took some time to comprehend.
Eventually, the sounds of bodies moving and voices whispering spread throughout the room. Most of the audience had only joined in for 2 hours and maybe occasionally during the 3 days in the other chapel. I wondered if they were feeling what I was feeling. There was no way to know.
It didn’t take too long for the holiday cacophony to erupt. It was New Year’s Eve and the kitchen had prepared a feast that everyone was eager to partake. I didn’t have a bite. Even though I hadn’t eaten much that day, I was filled up with something that left no room for food.
The next day, we met again to say goodbye and share our experience of that year’s Saptah. After the hugs I floated out of the building and made my way back home, a 4 hour drive.
This year Bhavani & Atma will be leading the Saptah Chant on Zoom & on Facebook. I’m excited to participate in this way! I don’t have a tamboura or a harmonium, so I’ll use my harp & a drum for some musical accompaniment. The chant itself is a difficult one and requires a lot of practice to do it well. At least that’s how I felt about it 10 years ago. That said, the melody has never left my mind even though I haven’t heard it anywhere since that night in the Main Chapel.
I’m not sure how long they’ll keep the Facebook link live. There may be some issues around “recording” this particular melody? That said, I’d recommend to those who are serious about their seeking to keep the chant on repeat until the clock strikes midnight of 2021. Om Nimah Shivaya. Jai Bhagwan. Jai Gurudev. Namaste.