Wisdom

Old Woman

Photo Credit: Old Lady by Kevin Demers, Ecuador; cropped

Wisdom can come at any age. Aging just reminds us of it in the nick of time… You don’t have to wait for it to come upon you. The Life Within is constant but unseen to most like the water that flows under the crust of the earth. Dig deep and you will find it and be refreshed!

Link to article: http://www.ramdass.org/the-life-within/

 

 

The Road I’ve Travelled…

ImageI received a message in a bottle: “You can never learn less; you can only learn more. The reason I know so much is because I have made so many mistakes.” – Buckminster Fuller.

Although I found this quote to be accurate in describing me and my life’s wandering, I have to say that I don’t really want to use the word “mistakes”. Mr. Fuller might have resonated with the word, he had to have to write this, but I can’t say I do.

Twists and Turns

I believe we go through life as we should. Twisting and turning, having ups and downs, starting and stopping, changing direction as we do a thought in mid-sentence. There is not one thing that I’ve done in my life that I would call a “mistake”. I did what I have done for one of two reasons – either it was the only option at the time and I couldn’t see around the situation in my present moment or I saw a need or a value in going down that particular road a little further to see where I end up – I had a notion, a feeling about it.

Who Is Choosing?

What am I saying? I really did not “choose” to do anything. This is the road that which was shown to me and on which I travelled, for better or for worse, really there was no choice.

As a Spiritual Being, I believe that and I don’t see much wrong with it. It makes sense to me. The twists and turns of my life, as the quote says are why I know so much about a lot of things…yes. All that I know, experienced and thought about, all inform me in remarkable and profound ways. I would never regret, resent or want to change one moment of my life. The word mistakes makes me feel that I should or would want to and I don’t.

Experience Begets Knowledge

So… I would then say this: During the evolution of my consciousness, I have experienced necessary and intense states of clarity, confusion, elation, and heartache. These took me to deeper levels of being and contentment. While on a secular level I may have, at times, displayed lack of direction to those around me, I was being directed inward first. Now looking back at all I’ve accumulated, my knowledge and my practice, I can say that I’ve learned a great deal about the world and more importantly about myself, and am more clear and resolved than ever before within myself. How can anything I’ve been through be a mistake when it has led me to this profound awareness?

The mystery continues to unfold. I am grateful for all of it.

Yoga Asana Practice in LA

20130114_14122620130114_144358 20130114_144304 20130115_142909Yoga Asana Practice in LA

I get up. I shower. I put my yoga gear on. I stand on my mat. I greet the day. I practice. My mat is already set out. There is no thought behind it. I just get on my mat as I would sit at my computer, sit in front of the tv, or wash the dishes. My practice is difficult today. I breath and move through it. I don’t go to studios anymore. I believe it is good to do my practice on my own. After years of practice, it comes naturally. My favorite part: sitting at the front of my mat and greet the universe.

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Georg Feuerstein

I tend not to keep up with what the contemporary yoga world does. It makes me sad most of the time. The emphasis on the physical aspect is so intrusive to me to the real stuff of yoga and I feel it really hinders the true development of the human into a spiritual being that I really want to have as little to do with it as possible.

So because I have an aversion to reading the same crap about yoga over and over again, I miss the news of something very near and dear to my heart: the Death of Georg Feuerstein.

Georg was…is a scholar of the yogic life. He delved deep. Georg really was able to articulate the process of yoga so clearly, it is mind-blowing. He intellectualized the teachings so we could read and understand, but he also conveyed the great need to not intellectualize the process and to be sincere in your practice. He emphasized doing the work was more important than just intellectually knowing it. He understood that that was a trap.

I came across this news because I was researching a bit of what he had said for a post I was writing (I will publish it later – this is more important) . . . my eyes are filled with tears as I write this. I had an opportunity to meet him and work with him, but realized I didn’t have the time (I was running my studio back then – on my own). There is a feeling of regret that I didn’t meet him. I read his books and listened to his CDs (podcasts) over and over again to become a better teacher (I was conducting a teacher training at that time as well). I received such inspiration from his wealth of knowledge.

Below I’ve given you links to a couple of articles (not too much – if you’d like more, I’ll post some more titles). I urge you to read and listen to anything you find that Georg wrote or recorded. Please let me know what you find!

His absence in the yoga world will be felt!

Georg Feuerstein

http://georgfeuerstein.blogspot.ca/2010/08/death-and-resurrection-of-yoga.html

http://www.examiner.com/article/the-yoga-teacher-s-unofficial-17-commandments-by-georg-feuerstein

Happy Happy Joy Joy…

It is difficult these days to teach and discuss ‘traditional’ yoga – like Ashtanga, Iyengar, etc…because of this notion that only if you feel happy, elated, and bolstered, empowered during your yoga class are you doing something worthwhile. The whole idea that if you’re not feeling that way, then you are somehow still “burdened by the pressures of everyday life” as one yoga (Anusara) teacher put it; that by virtue of the style of yoga that is perhaps more difficult during class somehow does not let you “rediscover that belief in infinite possibility” (as another teacher put it), you are not doing yourself any favors. I say – bullshit.

It is my experience of these types of teachers from this particular style of yoga that they are convinced that they are the only ones who can give you a warm and fuzzy feeling (and that that is the only target on which we are focused and which makes doing yoga “worthwhile”) and you should therefore do nothing else. Anusara is a thing with which those that teach it and practice it and are ardent supporters of it use to judge all else in the yoga world (OK – so do teachers and practitioners of Iyengar and Ashtanga – whatever). My point is that it is my experience that it is the Anusara practice (John Friend) that has USURPED, hijacked the HEART FROM ALL THE OTHER YOGA PRACTICES. As a heart-felt, sincere, mindful practitioner and teacher, I do not appreciate it.

The Heart is in ALL Traditions of Yoga Practice (including the Asana Practices of Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa, and Meditation, Satsang, etc.)

I am so tired of how Anusara and all its followers take away the joy that is inherent in the practice of yoga in ALL its traditions – even if it is not “playtime” in an Ashtanga class.

Truly, we are not kids any more and that notion that we must somehow get back to that, is a fallacy. It’s steering those people who want to deepen and give birth to their true selves in the wrong direction. As ‘adults’ we know too much to become children again. And yes, we have a lot more responsibilities to actually be able to act like one and get away with it. But through the difficulties of life, we have a choice to make – either we hide behind the tricks of the ego acting like we are spirit which only accepts ‘goofing off’ or ‘prancing about’ as a way to be ‘happy’. Or we can accept ourselves and others and all our foibles by cultivating a no-nonsense, present centered consciousness which sees things for what they are and in that find the “burden of the pressures of everyday life” lifting in the face of the truth. That is freedom. In becoming unburdened this way, we find true freedom, with that we are ‘happy’.

The Way to Happiness

Unburdening yourself of the constraints of an ego that can’t face ‘ordinary’, sometimes ‘boring’ moments is the work of true yoga and is made accessible by embracing all aspects of yoga not only asana. Meditation, reading thoughtful spiritual books (not only the Power of Now), going to a really good therapist that recognizes Spirit as a part of our worldly experience, etc., all help to open you up to those “infinite possibilities” beyond the pacification and gratification of our ego-ic nature.

What is really scary and really exciting about it all is that it takes years! Not months. Really, the work to unravel you; what you’ve built up over the years to protect you: your defenses, your opinions, your preferences all must dissolve to make Yoga happen and it’s quite a journey. You don’t get rid of the ego entirely (see my other writings). You need your ego to survive.

So for the first real step: cultivate awareness. How you do that by convincing yourself that there is nothing you need to work on, is beyond me. Somehow though, it is thought that if you admit you have things to work on, you are admitting to being irreversibly flawed. That there is something ‘wrong’ with you. That you are unworthy of love and attention because you are not perfect. That, my friends, is the first thing to work on. It is not awful to admit to yourself that “I can be a real bitch/bastard sometimes”. It is actually pretty freeing. And it’s scary at the same time. Still, just because you grow to accept that about yourself doesn’t mean you go around being one. The point is to go toward the unpleasantness, toward the things you’re afraid of, the dislikes, the repulsions. This work is not dwelling on the negative, as the New Agers fear (something else to look into) nor is it holding on for dear life to the positive, the light that everyone seems to be seeking.  You may find as some have often done so, is that the thing you fear the most is your beauty or your talent, etc. As human beings, we don’t only hide the stuff of anger, jealousy, envy. Go, see what you can learn about yourself.

We Are All Perfect In Our Imperfection

There are many aspects of ourselves we don’t know and won’t know if the idea of admitting to our flaws repulses us. So the next step is acceptance of yourself. Can you accept that you are not perfect? And that Perfection IS in the acceptance of all that is you! When you accept that can you accept that people aren’t perfect. That means everyone. If you can open your heart to that then you are well on your way.

Surround yourself with those who know that it is not readily accessible in just a few months. When you are with others who know, then when your ego flares up because it is fighting for its life, those around will show you the way to go deeper. Trust them even if what they say ‘hurts’ you or ‘insults’ you – that’s a good way to tell your ego has a hold of you.

The Playground That Is Yoga

There’s nothing wrong with being playful. In fact, all of this is play in one way or another. The key is to pair your asana practice with counseling, reading and meditation. Ask questions and accept guidance. Be wary of those who tell you to ignore or forget about the dark and move only into the light. Be wary of classes which only stress to appease your tendency to look for distractions and your ego-ic nature’s incessant whining. And as well, be wary of those who say yoga is about being stern. Even the most disciplined class of Ashtanga, practiced with an open heart can be light-hearted and very loving.

Joy Joy

Truly the joy comes from within – and when you and only you are ready to express it, will you find “joy” in your practice. No one can give you that and show you it. The teacher is just there to give you the practice – meaning the practice is what teaches not the teacher. The moment a teacher really feels that within their bones that’s the minute they’re a good teacher.

The wonder of it all is that when you do not hide from yourself or others, there is joy. When you can stay focussed and present in the most difficult, challenging posture (for you) or situation, there is elation. When you can accept guidance and assistance (teacher and student) without expressing arrogance, there is love. When you can look at yourself without criticism, there is peace. Let YOGA teach you this. Then life will be so much fun!

This was inspired by this blog post: http://yogaspy.com/2011/07/22/hooping-and-the-hybridization-of-yoga-in-america/#comment-4309

We should find perfect existence through imperfect existence. We should find perfection in imperfection. For us, complete perfection is not different from imperfection. The eternal exists because of non-eternal existence. In Buddhism it is a heretical view to expect something outside this world. We do not seek for something besides ourselves. We should find the truth in this world, through our difficulties, through our suffering. This is the basic teaching of Buddhism. Pleasure is not different from difficulty. Good is not different from bad. Bad is good; good is bad. They are two sides of one coin. So enlightenment should be in practice. that is the right understanding of practice, and the right understanding of our life. So to find pleasure in suffering is the only way to accept the truth of transiency. Without realizing how to accept this truth you cannot live in this world. – – Suzuki Roshi Zen Mind, Beginners Mind

On Our True Non-Dualistic Nature…

Present-centeredness…

Present-centeredness...

So resolve yourselves. It’s not just by sitting with your eyes closed that you develop wisdom. Eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind are constantly with us, so be constantly alert. Study constantly. Seeing trees or animals can all be occasions for study. Bring it all inwards. See clearly within your own heart. If some sensation makes impact on the heart, witness it clearly for yourself, don’t simply disregard it.

Ajahn Chah

Photo by Daniel Nahabedian

(from tumblr blog: ombuddha)

(my tumblr blog: 1barfootgirl)