Tuesday, February 25, 2020

LENT = TIME FOR TAPAS




What are you putting off that would deepen your yoga practice?

Is it to clean up your diet? To devote ten minutes a day to meditation? To stop bed-texting and devote time to reflecting upon the day’s events? To work on a certain pose on a regular basis?

Rather than putting it off indefinitely, consider committing to a new level of practice for a 40-day period, starting on Lent, which starts tomorrow.

Whether you are Catholic or not, Lent gives yogis a wonderful opportunity to recommit to their spiritual practice, knowing that others around the world are doing the same thing. This collective consciousness is a powerful aid.

For Lent, you can make a commitment to take on a new practice or give up an unhelpful habit for 40 days.

This practice is part of the yogic observance of tapas ,or purifying austerities. Tapas falls into three categories: austerity, worship, and charity. It can include practices to be taken up or habits to be given up.

What you choose to do for Lent should be something that is reasonable given your particular circumstances. It should also be somewhat challenging. Usually, we have an idea floating around the back of our minds. If that is the case, write it down and visualize how it could be put into action.

Remember, it should be appropriate for your particular stage of spiritual practice, and that yoga is, ultimately, about authentically wanting to clean up your act.

Once you figure out what your commitment will be, write it down, sign it, and put it into practice for your own spiritual unfoldment.

HELPFUL HINTS

It is best to write down the vow that you wish to keep for Lent. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to follow through. Include the steps you will take to accomplish it. Sign it and give it to someone you believe in. (If you skip this last part, you are likely to fail.) Then, keep quiet about it and do the work.

If you do not have any ideas, here are a few places to start:

. Give up a bad habit that is not serving you, such as bed-texting, having a glass of wine before bed, eating junk food, gossiping, or spending time with people who bring out the worst in you.

. Spend five minutes a day reading the Yoga Sutras or other scripture

. Keep a daily spiritual diary, and write down your practices and how well you kept (or didn’t keep) yama , yoga’s ethical foundation. For more ideas, read Swami Radha’s 1996 book, Time To Be Holy.

. Repeat a certain number of rounds of mantra each day, using a mala (a 108-bead rosary used for meditation). “A rosary is a whip to goad the mind towards God,” said Swami Sivananda in his book Japa Yoga.

. Develop a home practice. Resolve to do 20 minutes of asana, 12 rounds of pranayama , asana , and/or 10 minutes meditation each day. Or promise yourself that you’ll go to class a certain number of times each week. Learn more here.

. Give up eating meat. If this seems too drastic, consider going vegetarian once a week (for more info, visit meatfreemondays.com or vrg.org).

. If you are not yet ready to deepen your yoga practice, perhaps there is something in your life that needs to be resolved first. Consider diving into that project you’ve been avoiding, such as putting your finances or house in order, or clearing out a practice space in a bedroom or corner of the living room.

. Consider volunteering once a week or through selfless service or Karma yoga, which should be performed without attachment to results. For example, resist the urge to brag about it or put it on your r é sum é . For ideas, visit chicagocares.org or volunteermatch.org and read Ram Dass’s 1985 book, How Can I Help?

. Take a weekly smartphone fast, or practice silence once a week. Or vow to eat a meal in silence–no TV, no talking, no texting or reading–once a day or once a week.

. Give away one object you no longer use each day or week. Give the items to charity, or post them on freecycle.org.

. If you have a tendency to run behind schedule (i.e., you are always late), vow to arrive five minutes early to each of your appointments.

. Put the Yoga Sutras into practice. Read Yogi Cameron Alborzian’s book The One Plan: A Week-by-Week Guide to Restoring Your Natural Health and Happiness . And do the exercises.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Happy Maha Shivaratri!

ॐ नमः शिवाय
ॐ नमः शिवाय
ॐ नमः शिवाय
ॐ नमः शिवाय
ॐ नमः शिवाय

Monday, February 17, 2020

Monday, February 10, 2020

EVERYTHING HAS BEEN LOVINGLY PROVIDED FOR US



The Power That Knows the Way will take care of you. The one who makes the sun shine, the grass grow, the apples grow perfectly on apple trees. The food that sustains us, nourishes us, everything has been lovingly provided for us. Have faith. Trust The Power That Knows the Way. This is a first step. To have total faith, and total trust in the infinity, the one. You may call this God, if you want to. Makes no difference what you call it. It is within you. It is without you. It is everywhere. Always turn within. That is where all the answers are.

Without is a dream. Within is the Self. In reality, there is no real without, there is no within. It is a figure of explaining this. You have to turn within because you think you are living without. When you turn within, the within will eventually disappear, and the without will eventually disappear. Everything will disappear when you begin to turn within. Yet, when you awaken, everything will appear the same as it is now, except you will not be a part of it. You will see things that you do now, but you will no longer be fooled. The world will no longer fool you by telling you this is right and this is wrong, this is good and this is bad. You will be finished with all this. You introvert the mind upon itself. When the mind is introverted upon itself, it disappears, for it never existed. But, when the mind is extroverted, then you are alive and well in the world. It comes with all types of experiences. In school, they taught you to be extroverted, to have an outgoing personality. Well, what has it done for you? It made us all into a bunch of idiots. Look at the world in which we are living. See what is going on. Look at our figureheads, government officials, state officials. These are all extroverted people. We have been told that to be introverted is to be a loner, and never get anywhere. Where do you want to get? If these people only realized that the world in which they are playing is all karmic. In other words, everybody is in their right place, where they are supposed to be. There are no mistakes.

So these people do not believe they are not the body and the world does not exist. But they believe there are bodies and there is a world and a universe. They should accept the fact that karma is the ruler of the universe. And everything that appears to be is karmic in effect. This is why I always say there are no mistakes. For you are where you are supposed to be in accordance with the law of karma. But do not keep thinking about getting rid of karma, for you will have a battle on your hands. You have to grow out of this, and see that karma never existed and does not really exist. So, just wake up. Awaken.


-Robert Adams 🕉

Monday, February 03, 2020

Maya Story




Maya
from Robert Adams' Silence of the Heart

One day Buddha and his chief disciple, Narada, were walking along a country road. Buddha was discussing maya. He explained that the tree, the river, the mountains, the beauty, all of the bugs and the mosquitoes, animals all were maya. And Narada said, "But Master, how can this be? It sounds virtually impossible. I can grab the tree. I can grab your arm. I am stung by a mosquito. I feel this thing, there is a bump on my arm. How can this all be illusion? I do not understand” And Buddha said, "I am thirsty. Go get me a glass of water.”

There was a town nearby, so Narada went to the town and knocked at the door of the first house he saw. An old lady opened the door. She said, "What do you want?” Narada said, "My Master would like a glass of water.” She looked him over and saw that he was handsome, well built, healthy, and she said, "Come in.” He went into her house and there was a beautiful lady sitting on a chair. The woman said, "This is my daughter. Isn’t she beautiful?” Narada was astounded at her beauty. He said "She is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.” The old lady said, "How would you like to marry her?” And Narada said, “Why not?” So he married the girl. They had a big wedding, and all of the people in the village came. The next day, he got a job. He was a potter by trade, and he made beautiful pots out of clay. He did this for a living.

After the first year, they had a child, and he was able to afford a beautiful house. He had a mortgage payment, and had to pay taxes. So he had to work harder and hire people to help him. He had employees. He had to pay them salaries, take out taxes, workers compensation, and everything else. Then, after two years passed, another child. He was completely enmeshed in family life. Some days were good. Some days were bad.

A couple more years went by, three years, four years, five years. One day there was a big hurricane, a very powerful hurricane that came into town. The place was getting flooded. Narada said, "What are we going to do?” All of his furniture was being ruined. Everything that he believed he owned was getting wet, totally ruined. He took his family up on to the roof. There was a clothes line on the roof. All hung onto the clothes line. The hurricane became stronger and stronger and stronger. His mother in law was washed away by the flood. Narada said, "I guess we did not need her anyway for she was old.” But the hurricane was still very strong, and his wife and two children were holding on. One of the children was washed away and Narada became very distraught. But he was holding on with his wife. Then the other child was washed away. He became very upset. But he said to himself, “At least I have my wife. We can have more children.” Then his wife was washed away and he said, "What happened to my family?! They are all gone! Everything I worked for is all gone!

Everything I strived for is all gone! I am going to end it all, commit suicide!” So he let go of the rope. The next moment, he found himself sitting next to Buddha, with a glass of water. He looked at Buddha and Buddha said, "It’s about time you brought me my water!” So Narada looked at him and said, "Now I understand what maya is!”

More on Robert Adams here.




Monday, January 27, 2020

Redefinition of Yoga





Redefinition of [Raja] Yoga
(Shankaracharya's Aparokshanubhuti, verses 104 to 144)


The steps in order are: control of the senses, control of the mind, renunciation, silence, space, time, posture, restraining the root (mulabandha), bodily equipoise, firmness of vision, control of the vital forces, withdrawal of the mind, concentration, self-contemplation and complete absorption in the self.

(1) Restraining the senses with the knowledge “Everything is the self” is properly called yama. It should be practiced continually.

(2) The continuous flow of the self-thought to the exclusion of all other thoughts is called niyama. When regularly practiced it causes great bliss.

(3) Renunciation is abandoning the belief in the reality of the phenomenal universe by seeing that it is the ever-conscious self. It is immediate liberation.

(4) Known only to sages, congenital silence is that from which speech and the mind rebound. Observing silence by restraining speech is recommended for those who do not know who they are.

(5). The true posture is the spontaneous and continuous meditation on the self and not the meditation on objects that destroys one’s happiness.

(6). That perfect merger of the mind into the self, the support of the universe and the origin of all beings is known as “the accomplished posture.”

(7) That limitless awareness in which all existence is rooted should be the basis of a yogin’s restraint of mind.

(8) Absorption of the limbs of the Subtle Body in limitless awareness is true equipoise, not the mere balancing of the physical limbs.

(9) The noblest vision is the conversion of the samsaric way of seeing into non-dual vision, not gazing at the tip of the nose with the physical eyes.

(10) Direct your attention to the place where the seer, sight and the seen are non-different, not to the tip of the nose.

(11) Pranayama is the restraint of modifications of the mind brought about by understanding that the mind is the self alone

(12) Rechaka, breathing out, is the negation of the phenomenal world, and the thought “I am the self” is puraka, breathing in. The steadiness of mind that comes from this practice is called kumbhaka, restraint of breath. This is the true pranayama, not the yogic torture of the nose.

(13) Seekers of liberation should practice pratyahara, the withdrawal of the mind. It is complete absorption in the self, brought about by the understanding that the self is in all objects.

(14) Dharana, concentration, is a steady mind brought about by the realization of the self in every thought.

(15) Dhyana, meditation, is the independence from objects brought about by complete confidence in the thought, “I am limitless awareness.” It produces supreme bliss.

(16) Samadhi, also known as self-knowledge, is the non-attachment to thought brought about by complete identification with the thought, “I am the self, limitless awareness.”

(17) This samadhi reveals one’s natural bliss, which arises spontaneously as one clings to the thought, “I am limitless awareness.”

(18) While practicing samadhi many unavoidable obstacles occur: lack of inquiry, idleness, desire for sense-pleasure, sleep, dullness, distraction, tasting of joy and the sense of blankness. One desiring liberation should patiently remove these obstacles.

(19) As one thinks of an object the mind tends to identify with it. When thinking of the void it becomes void, whereas by the thought of the self it becomes perfect because the self is perfect. Therefore one should always think of the self if one wants freedom.

(20) Those who abandon the purifying thought, “I am the self,” will not succeed.

(21) By continual contemplation of the clay and the pot or the ring and gold or a similar metaphor illustrating the relationship between the self and the world one should understand that when the effect is dismissed only the pure self–which is beyond speech–remains.

(22) As a result of this meditation a state of continual awareness of the self arises in the pure-minded. Eventually, this awareness of the self brings about the hard and fast understanding,“ I am the self.”

(23) The inquirer should first look for the self, the cause, by dismissing all objects as “not-self,” and then look for self by seeing it in the objects.

(24) Once the cause is seen in the effect–the self in the objects–the objects should be dismissed. You are what remains.

(25) The mind becomes what it meditates on with diligence and conviction.

(26) A wise person always understands that the visible and the invisible, including himself, is only awareness.

(27) When the objects are reduced to nothing by inquiry the universe appears as awareness. This understanding fills the mind with endless bliss.

(28) This process of inquiry is called Raja Yoga. For those whose worldly desires are only partially attenuated it is to be combined with Hatha Yoga.

(29) Those whose minds are purified by Raja Yoga will gain self-realization. Purity of mind is quickly attained by devotion to the teacher and the self.



Monday, January 20, 2020

Devotee's Experience: Robert Adams





Robert Adams tells a story about calmness that Ramana Maharshi told to him personally in 1948:

… also there is another incident that Ramana told me personally.

In 1948, I was at Arthur Osborne's home near Ramana ashram.

And Ramana used to walk in there every once in a while.

He came in one day, sat down and he started to talk about not reacting to things.

He said,

" THE ONLY SPIRITUAL LIFE YOU NEED IS NOT TO REACT. "

And he smiled and he told me this interesting story, that happened to him.

Back in the 1930s some pundits who lived in Madras decided that Ramana should not remain at Arunachala, that he should come to Madras, where many people can see him and be with him.

Twelve of them approached Ramana and said,

"Ramana, we would like you to come to Madras. We're going to take you to Madras where you can be with more people. You are left in the jungle here where hardly anybody knows where you are. Most people do not know about you. We will take you to Madras in two days time."

RAMANA DIDN'T SAY A WORD.

IN TIMES LIKE THIS HE ALWAYS KEPT SILENT, TOTALLY SILENT, HE NEVER ANSWERED.

His devotees became very worried, very upset because they knew he would never answer, he never does and yet they were going to come in two days and take him away.

These were scholarly people.

When they left they asked Ramana,

"What have you done.

By not answering you've agreed to go to Madras with these people?"

He just smiled and said,

"DON'T WORRY."

Two days passed, the devotees were biting their fingernails they wanted to lock the doors of the ashram.

Some of them wanted to take physical action against these people.

For the people from Madras said a group of twenty of us will come in a bus to take him to Madras.

They were supposed to be there at 4 o'clock but they never showed up.

Ramana called the cook and he said,

"Prepare a meal for twenty people, they will come soon."

And all the devotees said,

"What are you talking about? Are you going with them? You can't leave us."

They were crying and screaming and doing all kinds of things.

Ramana said,

"DO NOT WORRY, PREPARE FOOD."

And they did.

At about 6 o clock the group from Madras entered the hall.

They were disheveled. Some of them were bleeding.

They sat down in front of Ramana and just looked at him and didn't say a word and he didn't say a word.

What had happened when they were on the bus two miles from the ashram, the bus turned over three times.

Nobody was seriously hurt but they were in bad shape.

They sat on the ashram floor looking at Ramana.

After about an hour he said come let's go to the kitchen and eat.

He took them into the kitchen, they ate then they came back into the hall and sat down again.

After two hours of sitting they got up and went home and nobody ever heard of them again.

Ramana ended the story by telling me that:

TO BE CALM IS THE GREATEST ASSET IN THE WORLD.

IT'S THE GREATEST SIDDHI, THE GREATEST POWER YOU CAN HAVE.

IF YOU CAN ONLY LEARN TO BE CALM YOU WILL SOLVE EVERY PROBLEM.

This is something you must remember.

When you are perfectly calm, time stops.

There is no time, karma stops, samskaras stop.

Everything becomes null and void.

For, when you are calm you are one with the entire energy of the universe and everything will go well with you.

To be calm means you are in control.

You're not worried about the situation, the outcome.

What is going to happen tomorrow.

To be calm means everything is alright.

There is nothing to worry about, nothing to fret over.

This is also the meaning of the biblical saying,

"BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD."

To be calm is to be still.

If you have a problem right now, think about this problem for a moment. If there is anything wrong with your life, think about this for a moment.

As you become calm, peaceful the problem will dissolve of its own nature.

There cannot be a problem with a person who is calm.

It makes no difference how strong your problem may be if you remain calm throughout it, you will come out smiling, laughing, at peace.

To be perfectly calm is the same as self-inquiry.

When you ask the question, "Who is upset? Who feels discouraged? Who feels disillusioned?"

(Robert asks student)

Did you raise your hand Bob? I thought you felt disillusioned.

(Robert continues)

When you inquire within,

"Who feels this?"

The feelings begin to disappear, just from the inquiry, which is really interesting.

This is why self-inquiry is the best psychotherapy around.

Cheapest, because you can do it yourself.

Whatever happens in your life it makes no difference what it is, how serious it may be, merely inquire,

"To whom does this come? Who is going through this? Who is feeling this?"

IT'S THE SAME AS BEING CALM.

But once you inquire and ask this question something happens within yourself.

There is a shuffling that goes on within yourself.

The nervousness, the stress that has been annoying you most of this time starts to back off and you feel good.

So even though some of you are not using self - inquiry for liberation or realization.

You can use it in your everyday life to become calm, peaceful and happy.


-Robert Adams