“A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.” - Paulo Coelho
"A yogi whose mind is controlled and focused in yoga is like an unflickering lamp in a windless place." -The Bhagavad Gita -6:19
The more I read up on philosophy, not necessarily always yoga philosophy, I find it fascinating when connecting to the underlying truth that uncovers various perspectives. There is a thread that connects them all. That in itself, is a truth. Whether reading about Indian saints and masters, or modern mystics, a pull was present beyond this reality. The fire within burned bright while desiring intimacy with it. This draw, this pull, is where lately, I have been looking towards with eyes wide open interest.
It touches me. As soon as I reach for it, it seems to escape. It is so close, yet so far at the same time. I don't want to have to be brought down to my knees to be drawn into this place. Meaning, turning inward only through tragedy, and/or depression, or even loss. Why is it when times are good we can often forget? I don't want to forget, but I do. But then I don't. I remember from little things like a smile from a stranger, or a sunset.
It seems to lie in the art of living. Of embracing all life has to offer. It is easy to forget that what is right in front of my face, I can go to for learning. Not always does it mean taking exotic trips to India and beyond. Who we are, we take with us. What needs to be learned, unfolds right before our eyes at every turn.
The internal landscape, tread during practice, doesn't always take me to illustrious places. Sometimes it can be dark in there. Can I look? As I shift through the unnecessary, the realization is that it takes too much energy to be something other than what needs to emerge. Can I trust it? The continual process of daily practice has lead me here. To trust even if a part of me kicks and screams not too. The gentleness of this place seems to always win out over the forceful wrath of the other. Interesting. We all have two energies within us - at different degrees at different times. Through the practice, I can find the eye within the storm. The middle way.
The flame always continues to burn. It can't diminish. Through daily practice I can increase it's intensity by the steadiness of focus. Once ignited there is no turning back . . .
"If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive." — Audre Lorde
Yep! Today is the 4th Anniversary of Peaceloveyoga! Hard to believe I've been entering posts for this amount of time. It's so funny, because when I started I hardly knew what a blog was, or how it worked. I was never a reader of blogs, and didn't spend much time on the internet. But then, I bought my first Macbook, and well, the rest was history . . .
I've had the pleasure of meeting amazing people through blogging! It's been a pleasant surprise I wasn't expecting to come about since taking it on. It's been interesting being in contact with readers who have told me when they started visiting my blog, even telling me what I was going through in my life at the time they started. Meeting one of my very best friends through this outlet has been such a blessing, as well. For that I'm extremely thankful. Hey Yogini's Quest!
In the past four years there have been milestones, many changes - many ups, as well as downs. Pretty typical. It's what we call life. No surprise there. In the meantime, I'm committed to continuing on with blogging - offering up experiences on the path. It's all wide open. When I think about it, I never would have thought I'd be where I am at this moment. Hopefully, I can continue being open for whatever life brings for the following four years.
"A teacher of fear can't bring peace on earth. We have been trying to do it that way for thousands of years. The person who turns inner violence around, the person who finds peace inside and lives it, is the one who teaches what true peace is. We are waiting for just one teacher. You're the one."
- Byron Katie
Joanie, David and Me
"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" — Rumi
While practicing at KPJAYI in Mysore, India, during conference, Sharath talked about the importance of bringing a sense of joy to our practice. He pretty much explained if there isn't joy, then what's the point. Yeah, sure, there are days where it feels like it is the last thing I want to do. Sometimes my body hurts, other days I'm just plain tired. With all of that, stepping into the heart of what yoga is doesn't make joy a hard thing to find. Often what we are up against is our own tendencies that quite frankly need to fall away. I am beginning to realize that I only need to let the yoga do the work. All I need is to place my two feet on my mat and start breathing. The sequencing is there, no guess work required. I can deliberately dismantle my limits one vinyasa at a time, and it's beautiful. Rub. Rub.
Even though I've complained about being back in Stockholm, practicing with sub-zero temperatures outside, I really do believe if I can practice here, in the dark and in the cold, using tapas as my fuel, I can do it anywhere. Why should it be easy? Much of our obstacles are in the mind anyhow. If I think it's gonna be hard, then it will be. A little bit of momentum going in the right direction gives a world of benefit. Rub. Rub.
Ha! And why can't our practices be fun? What a concept! Doing, for the pure sake of doing, is what it's really about. When relaxing into this mind state, it's amazing what can develop. We enter into a place of discovery that amounts to endless possibility.
Rub, Rub, and rock on.
"Life is not complex. We are complex. Life is simple, and the simple thing is the right thing."
— Oscar Wilde
Yah. Part of me hasn't been totally checked into blogging in a good long while. I've written posts here and there, but not as much as I have in the past. I do miss it. Really. With that being said, I haven't had ample time to sit down long enough to dig in and collect my thoughts. And well, soon, it looks like I'll be heading into a more stable routine. It's taken a while. Also, I have several projects in the works, which hopefully I'll be able to share here, soon! It's exciting, although, slow going. Things are developing, step, by meager step. The good thing is, little, tiny steps, become big leaps, so every little bit of effort counts.
You know, these little steps have taught me much. I mean, really. Through bumps in the road I've learned just what it means to persevere, all the while, staying true to myself, not being drawn wayward into negative places for very long. Living in Sweden has taught me just that. A new place. A new culture, but also, I've had to come to terms with the heaviness that comes with being centered in the mind, while growing into the levity of the heart. When I allow my thoughts to run away with me, and how I view my external environment, it makes everything that much harder. I struggle more. I'm not at peace. Putting myself out of the equation, as much as possible, while finding ways to be useful, has been a wonderful lesson. I'm not talking about big things - even in the smallest of situations - how can I add value?. Can I soften in every area of my life? It's been a question that has put much into perspective for me.
Since coming back from our fourth trip to India I still feel the bittersweet-ness of having to come home, but the burn doesn't hurt nearly as much as it has in the past. Everything changes. Life is easier there anyhow, and if I can make it here, well, I can make it anywhere! Hahaha. Except, coming home to the contracted nature of winter has made my body ache during morning practices. Yes, my body craves the sweaty warmth of KPJAYI. It's not even the temperature, but the energy. I hop on the wave and go! Whereas, back home, during self-practice, I gotta get the wave started then I hop on. A slower going process. Ahhhh, tapas. You're all I need. Hee, hee.
And well, winter is STILL here. The snow keeps falling. I'm learning to love Old Man Winter. I have no choice.
being happy for the other person
when they are happy
being sad for the other person when they are sad
being together in good times
and being together in bad times
Love is the source of strength
being honest with yourself at all times
being honest with the other person at all times
telling, listening, respecting the truth
and never pretending
Love is the source of reality
an understanding that is so complete that
you feel as if you are a part of the other person
accepting the other person just the way they are
and not trying to change them to be something else
Love is the source of unity
the freedom to pursue your own desires
while sharing your experiences with the other person
the growth of one individual alongside of
and together with the growth of another individual
Love is the source of success
the excitement of planning things together
the excitement of doing things together
Love is the source of the future
the fury of the storm
the calm of the rainbow
Love is the source of passion
giving and taking in a daily situation
being patient with each other’s needs and desires
Love is the source of sharing
knowing that the other person
will always be with you regardless of what happens
missing the other person when they are away
but remaining near in heart at all times
Love is the source of security
- Susan Polis Schutz
Happy Valentine's Day! Yes, I know it's one of those consumer holidays where we feel pressure to extend a little extra to those close to us, but what the hell, why not? What's wrong with spreading a little cheer? I've always loved Valentines. Always. Something about the chocolate (duh!), the color red (sizzle!), and hearts galore. It feels good. Not in a relationship? Ah-ha! Another reason to be reminded of the beauty of extending yourself a bit of self-love too! You deserve it. We all do! Enjoy everyone! Hugs all around. XOXO.
Deny the reality of things
and you miss their reality;
Assert the emptiness of things
and you miss their reality.
The more you talk and think about it,
the further you wander from the truth.
So cease attachment to talking and thinking,
and there is nothing you will not be able to know.
To return to the root is to find the essence,
but to pursue appearances or "enlightenment" is to miss the Source.
To awaken even for a moment
is to go beyond appearances and emptiness.
- Seng-ts'an, Third Patriarch of Zen
"Grace lubricates your way, smooths it out and makes it easy, speeds it up. It's like having ball bearings instead of wagon wheels. It's like having the wind fill your sails or walking down hill. It's like perfumed air, the subtle smell of spring. Obstacles are reduced to a manageable scale. The way to God is grace-full. Grace has humor too, making things lighter, so we don't take them so seriously. You're aware of the spiritual meaning and perspective on your life, but it's a light touch; it's not heavy. Grace makes it lighthearted, the heart full of light."
- Excerpt from Be Love Now: The Path of the Heart. Ram Dass, Rameshwar Das
So I came across Ram Dass's latest book while in India, Be Love Now, The Path of the Heart. Yeah, I know what you're saying. Do I really need another self-help book? Hahaha. I hear you. No worries. No self-help here, this book is more of a spiritual memoir, colored by Ram Dass's experiential journey, amplified by his relationship with his guru, his spiritual teacher, Maharaj-ji.
I found myself hanging on to every word written. He has a way of giving real life images of what it's like to live in the heart, what it means, how it feels, how through bahkti (devotion) we reach the vehicle toward higher states. Or more simply put, living in Love. It's not pie in the sky stuff, no, it's tangible. When reading, I couldn't help but feel far away from living in this state of constant love, but at the same time, inspired by what it means. Inspired by this man, Maharj-ji, who in turn, inspired many known in the spiritual world today.
It's so simple, yet the biggest challenge in our lives, unraveling the constructs of the ego, allowing the flow of love to emanate. Let go. Let go. Let go some more. Seems to be a constant theme everywhere I look.
In the West, Guru, often has negative connotations to it. While, in India, having a Guru is the most natural thing in the world. The life of the soul, surrendering, living in the world of God is a way of life. Seen everywhere you go. In every rickshaw, in every restaurant, in shops, represented in numerous temples dotting the entire country. It's a land inspired by God. Inspired by life beyond this reality.
So the long and short of it is, I recommend this book. It touches where it counts. The heart.
Neem Karoli Baba
"Imagine feeling more love from someone than you have ever known. You're being loved even more than your mother loved you when you were an infant, more than you were ever loved by your father, your child, or your most intimate lover - anyone. This lover doesn't need anything from you, isn't looking for personal gratification, and only wants your complete fulfillment.You are loved just for being who you are, just for existing. You don't have to do anything to earn it. Your shortcomings, your lack of self-esteem, physical perfection, or social and economic success - none of that matters. No one can take this love away from you, and it will always be here.Imagine that being in this love is like relaxing endlessly into a warm bath that surrounds and supports your every movement, so that every thought and feeling is permeated by it. You feel as though you are dissolving into love.This love is actually part of you; it is always flowing through you. It's like the subatomic texture of the universe, the dark matter that connects everything. When you turn in to that flow, you will feel it in your own heart - not your physical heart or your emotional heart, but your spiritual heart, the place you point to in your chest when you say, "I am."This is your deeper heart intuitive heart. It is the place where the higher mind, pure awareness, the subtler emotions, and your soul identity all come together and you connect to the universe, where presence and love are.Unconditional love really exits in each of us. It is part of our deep inner being. It is not so much an active emotion as a state of being. It's just sitting in love, a love that incorporates the chair and the room and permeates everything around. The thinking mind is extinguished in love.If I go into the place in myself that is love and you go in to the place in yourself that is love, we are together love. Then you and I are truly in love, the state of being love. That's the entrance of Oneness. That's the space I entered when I met my guru."
-Ram Dass, Be Love Now: The Path of the Heart