Showing posts from January, 2012

Wrap Yourself in Wonder

Recently, I was captivated by a newsletter sent out by certified Anusara yoga teacher Abby Tucker , who referred to this wonderful Sanskrit word - "camatkara." Abby quoted the Tantrik scholar, Christopher Wallis , the author of the exquisite book, Tantra Illuminated: The Philosophy, History, and Practice of a Timeless Tradition , who defined this word as the highest state of consciousness "that is, wonder, or aesthetic rapture." Abby, in her newsletter describes this word as "the state of fully self-aware expansive wonder." As I worked with the Anusara Yoga Universal Principle of Alignment of both "Muscle Energy" and "Organic Energy" in my yoga class this morning - I considered how if we draw in, and wrap ourselves in wonder - that in time, wonder would wrap itself around us, enabling us to embody both of these principles. When we apply muscle energy to anything - we draw in and connect ourselves to that which matters and grounds u

Living in Gratitude

Recently, I picked up the book Living in Gratitude: A Journey That Will Change Your Life , by Angeles Arrien . Marianne Williamson , one of my favorite authors, wrote the Forward. This is a practical book designed to enable you to cultivate the practice of gratitude throughout the year. Arrien begins her book with this often quoted pearl of wisdom by Meister Eckhart : "If the only prayer you say in your whole life is thank you, that would suffice." The introduction contains such rich and wonderful material that fed my themes and comments in my classes this past week. If you wish to increase your gratefulness a thousand-fold - or even just ten times, this is the book for you. Let me end by sharing some of the wonderful insights from the Introduction to this book... "Every language in the world has a way of saying 'thank you...' Gratitude crosses all boundaries... Gratitude is essentially the recognition of the unearned increments of value in one's ex

The Fog and the Malas

I had a free morning today, for the first time in a while. So I slept in, and after a hard rain went down to the river before delving into my designated activities... The morning began with some fog, but by the time I arrived at the river, the sun had started to shine and the fog had partially lifted. It almost seemed like it was hovering - somehow hanging on over the river - in suspended animation. Earlier this week, I went down for a quick peak of the river on a day that the fog was much more dense, and at that time the sky was virtually indistinguishable from the river. I love those moments when you cannot tell where one begins and the other ends. It reminds me of Infinity. Of the Divine. of Unity... Observing the fog this morning reminded me of a teaching in yoga philosophy called the "malas." The malas are impurities that occlude our ability to see. Some of my yoga teachers have in the past used the analogy of dust on the mirror to explain them. We want to clear the du

Be Silent. And Open to Grace.

"Love said to me, There is nothing that is not me. Be silent." ~ Rumi I read this quote a few days ago, and it was perfect in every way. It defined my weeks, and defined my days, so far this crucial year of 2012. And, it even showed up in my theme during my first week back to teaching yoga. Since the holiday season ended, I have had the wonderful and delicious opportunity to make a slow re-entry back into daily activity, and I am grateful for the many wonderful opportunities to slow down. To be still. To enjoy solitude. And to be silent... There have been cold days when I visited a wind-swept river or walked among barren trees in prayer. And even once, on that rare day, when snow flurries came down as well. There have been many moments of reflection. Punctuated by goal setting. Days of assessments made - with one day flowing seamlessly into the next. I began my first week of classes by working the First Principle of Anusara Yoga - "Opening to Grace," as I

What I Learned from Roosters and Earthworms

Yesterday was one of those days that seemed beautiful beyond description. Here we were - the very beginning of January - and the weather was exquisite. The sky was blue, and the temperature - well - shall we say - it was delicious! On my way to teach a meditation introduction class at Willow Street Yoga , in Maryland, my heart was brimming with so much joy and well-being. I felt as fully present to each moment as I could possibly be, taking in every detail of my surroundingsl. I felt one with the trees in downtown Silver Spring - with every twig, and each and every color that I perceived looked so brilliant and radiant. After a wonderful class, attended by some lovely people, I drove home, ambling up the bucolic Georgetown Pike, taking in the broad expanses of rolling hills and the beautiful landscape, in addition to the occasional horse here and there. All of a sudden, traffic came to a virtual stop on this two lane road. And as I looked ahead, I saw three roosters crossing back and

New Year's Musings at the River

When I woke up this morning, I headed straight for my meditation space to celebrate the birthday of Paramahansa Yogananda, whose writings have enriched my life and nourished my soul for decades. It is said, that the energy on the birthday of a guru, spiritual teacher, or saint, is strong - and that the prayers we offer and the intentions we set on this day - are very powerful indeed. I have felt that in the past, and I felt it again this morning during my meditation and subsequent prayer. Without disturbing the deep sense cultivated during that hour, I headed down to the river with a cup of coffee in tow. I had not visited my beloved river for a while, and when I arrived, no one else was there. The riverbanks were frozen at the edges, but I could side step those thin areas quite gingerly so that I could survey the broad expanse of the river. It was wide. But not as wide as the heart of God, or the Love of God, I imagined... Eventually, I walked up to the the high point, and from m

God Speaks in the Heart's Silence

In the last few weeks, three events occurred in quick succession, that knocked me out of my orbit. Each one more dreadful than the preceding one. Yet, in the midst of it all, I entered fully and joyfully into the celebration of the Christmas Season. And while I spent a few sleepless nights, and many cold and windswept days walking around, saying many different kinds of prayers - rosaries, mantras, and so forth - since I am comfortable in the spiritual practices of many traditions - I chose not to share the experiences with anyone at first. But as the year began, I realized that turning to wise friends would actually help me put them all behind, and so I did. Each one, offered words of wisdom and insight, that were similar to ones that had come to me in the silence of prayer and meditation, for it is there that God speaks. Mother Teresa of Calcutta , once said, during an interview for a documentary, that "God speaks in the silence of the heart, and we listen." But the truth

New Determinations for 2012

We enter into a new year - this long awaited, and mysterious year of 2012. It a year we have speculated about for years and decades. Some of us are fearing it. Others are embracing it. Many know it will be a turning point. We cannot really anticipate what will unfold with each day and week to come... As we begin this year, let us be enriched by these wise sayings and instructions by Paramahansa Yogananda , that they may indeed, provide a framework for us to chart our steps and this year's journey, enabling us to walk in the path of Light! Enjoy! Make New Determinations: Be What You Want to Be! by Paramahansa Yogananda The following excerpts are from a talk given by Paramahansa Yogananda at the International Headquarters of the society he founded, Self-Realization Fellowship, on New Year’s Eve, 1934. The entire talk is published in Journey to Self-realization, Volume III of Paramahansa Yogananda’s Collected Talks and Essays. (Self-Realizati