The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, And all the sweet serenity of books-
Teachers today often speak, lament – painfully about adjusting their techniques to a student’s learning style. Yet, very few have evolved to assist students who seek enlightenment, to learn about their essential ätman. The true identity of their soul …
Yet another kind of student, another kind of teacher … A kind of teacher who prefers to approach this enlightenment “thing” through work, and for me there is Karma Yoga.
I would like to share my fave passage from the Bhagavad Gita with you this morning:
Who dares to see action in inaction, and inaction in action,
he is wise, he is a yogi,
he is the man who knows what is work.
And if he works selflessly,
if his actions are made pure in the fire of knowledge,
he will be called wise by the learned.
He abandons greed; he is content;
he is self-sufficient;
he works, yet such a man cannot be said to work.
If he forsakes hope, restrains his mind, and relinquishes reward –
he works yet he does not work.
If you thought this post was about yoga? You would be dead wrong! Cycling, running, being a parent? Warmer. Being you, being authentic, being vulnerable … The individual, who wishes to attain enlightenment – union through work, must cultivate a particular view of his or hers endeavors … Let’s read the last line one more time, together.
If I can see pain in your eyes then share with me your tears. If I can see joy in your eyes then share with me your smile-
Contemplating a post from last week …
“Why doesn’t this school bus hurry up and get the out of my way!?!“
I used to utter the above words driving home from work, almost on a daily basis, years ago. What is standing in your way this morning? Soccer moms dropping their kids off at school? Cyber Monday deals overwhelming you? Maybe its unrelenting impatience, an addiction to “distraction“.
Maybe it’s just you? You, without a clear sense of center or balance. You, who unwittingly invites and creates chaos in your life.
At one point during the bhagavad gita, Arjuna asks to see Krishna’s true face. Arjuna is treated with a vision and myriad forms of the deity, ranging from the average (albeit beatific in a bright blue hue) form of Krishna, to the thousand faced god who is creator, maintainer, destroyer and “some” other things. Arjuna becomes terrified at this and pleads with Krishna to return to what is Arjuna’s “normal”.
This moment brilliantly captures the metaphor and experience(s) of looking inside ourselves. Arjuna is, in part, looking at his own reflection. By looking deep inside ourselves, we are able to see with clear vision all that we are, for good or ill … By contrast and reflection, all that we can be. This is the setting aside of self-deception to see our own personal truth.
Witnessing the truth of the self is a doorway to freedom … Allow me to hold the door for you …
Dreams and restless thoughts came flowing to him from the river, from the twinkling stars at night, from the sun’s melting rays. Dreams and a restlessness of the soul came to him-
During my studies with Rolf Sovik, PsyD this past weekend, I started to-day dream. I could cast blame on the beautifully clear class ceiling, allowing my eyes to wander the crisp blue sky. A handful of doves flying about carelessly to stay warm. To provide further context for this post, we were discussing teaching and learning – What follows are the notes I took detailing my little day dreaming field trip.
We are all subject to the voices in our head, I should know, seeing that I am an expert in this field of study. These inner “voices” tend to amplify our programmed lives, dial cranked to 11 – The old mix tapes that keep us stuck in a consistent loop, playing back the conscious and unconscious sides of our lives.
In the Bhagavad Gita, a conversation between Arjuna and Krishna is narrated by Sanjaya, who is charioteer to the blind king Dhritarashtra and gifted with clairaudience; which is the ability to see and hear the occurrence of events at an immense distance. Sanjaya, to me, represents our inner intuition. Sanjaya is the voice that informs the metaphorical blind of the truth, as it is, rather than as it might be interpreted or distorted.
By listening to our true-selves, rather than reading from a tired distorted script, an old mix tape … or worse yet, a “best of the 80’s” power ballads mix tape gifted to you long ago. By listening to our true-selves we experience the authentic “sides” of our lives.
A dove alighting on a tin chimney prompted me to learn myself, anew.
Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralysed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings-
A thought continued from yesterdays post
When we are at our center, we are in a place of power. We are able to stand still and see all that lies before us with perfect vision and precise understanding. It’s interesting to contemplate when we are off our center, how easily we fall into the chaos of imbalance.
In the Bhagavad Gita, The battlefield of Kurukshetra where Arjuna and Krishna are “hanging out” is (to this dude in Omaha) the center point of this inspiring and meaningful work. Kurukshetra is the land between the two vast armies, in one field the Pandavas, who represent the higher self and in the other field the Kauravas, who represent the lower self.
Don’t want to study the battle of Kurukshetra or the Bhagavad Gita? Spoiler Alert: Kurukshetra is the choice between the High Road and the Low Road.
What exactly does it mean to be centered?
My friends, to be in center, we need to seek and find our center. Pouring my heart out upon you this gentle morning, we need to understand what it is that brings us, and keeps us … Here. Is it Yoga, watching Netflix or running a crisp winter trail? Is our center a vanilla latte, meditation or reading the Bhagavad Gita ?
Our center, is a combination of many beautiful “things” and in seeking our center we find – balance, keeping chaos and imbalance … Under the center couch cushion!
We are all waves in one beautiful ocean-
Quick note before we start this amazing week:
* I had the pleasure this past Saturday to practice and study with Rolf Sovik, PsyD (president and spiritual director of the Himalayan Institute) at the Omaha Healing Arts Center. I would like to thank the staff and fellow students for what turned out to be a truly inspiring event, Thank you!
Events like the one I attended this weekend are truly magical and over the course of the next few posts, I am going to share what I learned with you, my Dear Readers. There really is only one place to start …
The Yoga Sutra, in the most simple explanation possible, is a “how to” guide of Yoga. How to be “In the world, but not of the world” … Another Dude back in the day uttered these profound words: Jesus of Nazareth. The Yoga Sutra is a guide to Action.
The complementary opposite of balance, is chaos. While there are many “things” in life which we have no direct control of: Your favorite sports team, whether it will rain on race day, the last Snickers bar getting stuck in the vending machine … When we are afforded the ability to impose ourselves upon a situation, this “situation” we are creating is dictated and directly impacted by each choice we make.
In considering our choices and their consequences, we can choose to eschew chaos and instead – seek balance. We engage in this beautiful process every time we step on our mats to practice, by carefully considering not only the choices that we are about to make, but the consequences of these choices, and recognizing that at the core of everything moving forward is Action.
To Act or not to Act? At the end of the day, it is you alone who both creates and engenders the circumstances of your life.
I had a bad feeling when that silly Snickers bar started to drop …