Archives for posts with tag: Atman

As the last days are passing here at Sivananda Ashram the satsang lectures continue. There have been some interesting points of view for me to evaluate and to see what comes up. And what comes up are the still unresolved feelings and beliefs around the car crash. Not surprising! There  is quite a bit of work to be done to clean up the mess, and I find myself more than slightly annoyed and distracted. Though I decided not to pursue any legal recourse over the harm done to my property for reasons I explained earlier, my mind, heart and pocketbook still feel the pain. (See https://soundyogatherapy.com/2012/05/13/life-lessonsquestions-the-car-crash-and-yoga-ethics/The honest truth is that I have been feeling a large resentment toward a whole community of people who I feel have let me down.

Along comes Kathy White, long time student of Byron Katie. Katie is a non-dual (Advaita), consciousness guru. Her story in becoming who she is now is extreme. The result of her “awakening” is her ability to accept what is happening exactly as it is and remain completely peaceful. Her students attest to this fact. Now doesn’t that sound nice?

At the end of last night’s satsang Kathy gave us a page titled: Judge-Your-Neighbor Workshop. She had already explained that in The Work (as it is called by Byron Katie) there are four essential, starting questions related to each and every belief around any stressful situation in life. For example, in regards to feelings around the car crash I write:

I am angry at (name of person) for breaking his agreement to take care of my car.

Next I ask myself these questions:

1. Is it true? Yes. He did not take care of the car. He crashed the car due to his own negligence and then he refused to make any reparations. Only a yes or no answer is allowed here which keeps you from falling back into the details and complexities of the story in your mind–but of course more beliefs arise as you can see in what I just wrote. Each of these beliefs may need to be dealt with separately, eg, I am angry at _______ for being negligent. Or: I am angry at _____ for refusing to take responsibility for his actions, etc.

2. Is it absolutely true? Only to be answered if you answered Yes in No. 1. Doubt about having absolute knowledge and wisdom may start in No. 1 or it may not.

3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? You list all your feelings and attitudes, eg I blame, get angry, feel disgusted and judgmental, am deaf to any excuses or explanations, only want reparations paid NOW!

4. How would I be if I did not have this belief? Eg. I would be open, supportive, able to hear and to listen to his story, generous about finding a solution together.

Doing The Work with the worksheet has helped me get clear about my feelings and beliefs. I actually emailed the person asking him if he would speak with me to share his thoughts and feelings and to hear mine. Whether or not he responds is not the point–and I really doubt that he will respond. Writing the email asking only for dialogue without any agenda, allowed an opening of the tight space in my heart. With this opening I began to look at promises I have made to myself or need to make. And how I may be being negligent in life by taking obvious risks and not taking care of myself responsibly. And how I might take better care with myself.

I may not be taking good care by putting trust where it does not belong. Or by having unfounded expectations. Or by not asking directly for clarification. This is hard stuff. Most people –myself included–do not like to be held perfectly accountable or to think things through. Most people do not care to strive for such clarity. It takes time and effort between people. It is rare in life to find people who are willing to take the time and spend the effort for such honest, clean and clear communication.

As I grow in my ability to care for myself by keeping promises to myself, by being responsible to myself for my well-being and by paying the dues I owe to myself when I make a mistake, I will be more able to see in others the level and quality of care a person is able to enact in a relationship with me. Those who have learned that self care is an essential part of loving others begin to offer freely, and more selflessly, yet with boundaries that are appropriate for themselves. I know as I grow in my own self care I will be able make better choices about with whom and in what way I entrust my life (and my “stuff” such as a car) to others.

Life is a process we are all learning.

Om shanti

When I left Brooklyn last January 11th I knew I was taking an incredible journey just by the act of committing to being at Sivananda Yoga Retreat Center for over three months. It turned out to be over four months and now the journey is winding back toward life in Brooklyn.

I say “winding” because the path as I have experienced it in these past months has not exactly followed the original, outward intention I set, to do Karma Yoga for three months. It has followed the intention I held within myself to “re-group and see what appears”. There have been some remarkable appearances.

The Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Course was and continues to be life altering on a daily basis for me. Just the aspect of 28 days of such a rigorous discipline of schedule and activity opened the mind to let go of much of the unnecessary. To further connect through the lineage of Swami Sivananda by mantra initiation has brought wisdom and knowledge of the master into my work in Sound Yoga. The openness to the receipt of a new name for myself has given me a support and inner strength through the Hindu Mother Goddess Durga beyond what I could imagine possible.

The Path took me to these places. The Path or Self does that, I am beginning to understand, when the mind  begins to let go of all of the thoughts, beliefs and patterns that we believe to be our life and our self.

The greatest teaching I have received is that I am and my life is, so much more than I imagined. We all are so much more than we imagine. And by surrendering to and embracing a lineage and tradition of gurus and teachers, there is the possibility to be supported and to discover our True Nature within the form of our limited self.

There is no greater gift than such a recognition that we are all on the Path, winding as it is, forever connecting the True Self Home.

Shiva’s Sunset

Am I not, still, the gentle essence of a new born child?

Miami is steamy hot even at 9 AM in the springtime. I am not complaining, just stating a fact. I love the heat, even if, when the body rubs up against the hot, moist air it makes me sweat and creates a rash. Nothing too bad and only in those places on the body that tend to hold the heat: the arm pits.
So I went to Walgreens to search for a remedy. I found Aveeno Baby made of colloidal oatmeal. Oatmeal is such a good food with so many healing properties. And for the the past two evenings I have soaked in a warm, silky bath to sooth the irritation. As I was soaking tonight I started thinking about the relaxation I was feeling and how gentle it felt. Just like the gentle feeling that comes when you hold a baby in your arms.

That gentle, loving feeling I can have for a baby, is what I can have for myself. I can have this experience all the time when I come to know the experience of Atman, or the True Self. Through choosing to connect to that place within that is like the feeling I have for the baby, I can know my own eternal, blissful, True Self.

After all, was I not once in the form of a baby too?

Next time you take some time to care for yourself, I invite you to remember the baby you once were and the gentle truth of the eternal self you still are.

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What does it mean to be “on” time?

How can you be “on” something that has no form or substance? How many words come to mind in English (or your first language) that are related to or imply something related to, time:

  • Now
  • Then
  • Before
  • After
  • During
  • While

Sitting at Starbuck’s this morning is in the past. Now in my tent is the present. Tonight listening to Krishna Das’s last concert here, is in the future. Didn’t I just move through three different dimensions of time as I typed those sentences? I felt the cushion of the the round rattan chair under my legs, smelled tonight’s dinner cooking in the kitchen not far from my tent, and heard the sound of Krishna Das’s voice “Hari Krishna”.

What can meditation teach about time?

At the ashram we “officially” meditate every morning and every evening. I find there are many other times of meditation for me during the day:

  •  looking at the blues of the Caribbean sea
  • letting the waves take me into the shore
  • dragging my feet in the sand as I walk along the beach
  • listening to Krishna Das sing
  • singing in response to him
  • singing raaga scales
  • listening to the ocean’s roar
  • feeling the ocean breeze across my face

These experiences teach me how to be me newly in each moment. Past time falls away. Future time does not exist. Now is all there Is. Sometimes in that Now I am lifted up and out into an experience of something beyond myself, yet completely a part of, my Self. Eternal. Ever lasting. Presence.

Hear what Swami Atmananda, a direct student of Swami Sivananda, has to say about meditation and “where to sit” to meditate

coming soon …

 Kirtan with Krishna Das