Test Drive

Today begins my one month (or more) adventure into 80/10/10.

 

I bought the book in December and have been reading it.  It is very similar to my very first raw food book, Love Your Body: Live Food Recipes, by Viktoras Kulvinskas.   (I bought my copy in 1972 and still have it.)

 

The largest difference between the two is, perhaps, emphasis on spirituality and science.  Love Your Body certainly has its share of science to support its claims, with much to say on overall health, woman’s health, and children’s health, but the focus is on living closer to the s/Source, of being one with nature (the environment).

 

80/10/10 .. not so much.  It’s focus is – either directly or indirectly – on athleticism.  For example, Love Your Body specifically recommends Yoga, and does include a section entitled “Body Building Program” (page 77), its stance is more on longevity through Metta (loving kindness) and Shanti (peace), digestion and healing, and overall mindfulness.  In all, Love Your Body has a very loving, nurturing and supportive approach .. but then, back-in-the-day, this is what being a ‘vegetarian’ was all about.

 

You see, during the late 1960’s early 1970s, no one ate “live food”, but “lived” this “lifestyle”; and we were all called ‘vegetarians’.  We simply did not demarcate or, as seen today, discriminate.

 

For us, it was all about living a simple life of devotion and grace, of gratitude and joy.  By way of comparison, today, many ‘vegans’, ‘raw vegans’, ‘vegetarians’, and the like, not only seem to love labeling themselves, but are often hate-full and intolerant towards others who do not share their ideas.  Its almost as if their approach to eating is more a burden than an expression of bliss.

 

But hey .. Im an old-schooler hippy-type so dont mind me and my ramblings.

 

Prem and Metta

Yoginiji

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Early Spring Fast

The Shala will be closed Friday, February 3 for Disting/Imbolc/Vasant Panchami – the first of Spring.

February 3 marks the beginning of Spring.  Not actual Spring – which comes with the Spring Equinox in March – but the seasonal shift that marks a turning away from Winter’s cold.

Disting means ‘woman’s assembly’, and is a traditional European tide that celebrates the beauty and strength of female energy.  Likewise, this time of year – between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox – was considered a time of Learning, a time for concentration and deliberation, of contemplative thought, and dreams.

Likewise, Vasant Panchami, meaning “Spring Fifth Day”, also falls during this time.  This holiday is dedicated to Saraswati, whose feminine energy is that of serene and calm expression.

Both tides are excellent opportunities to fast (meaning ‘refrain’ rather than ‘abstain’).  And with such occasions, there is also a central theme on which to focus .. in this case, a simple question:

Know what you are in the hour of sleep ~

a mere body, a subtle soul, or a secret retreat of Light.

A fun family tradition here is the making of Corn Dollies, which can be given as gifts or hung in the home to bring good luck.  (*)

I will be marking this tide in nature .. beneath moon and stars, sunshine or shade, at water’s edge and about a fire.

Have a joyous weekend and see you all on Monday (February 6).

Prem and Metta!

Yoginiji

~ ~ ~

*Earth Rites: Fertility Practices in Pre-Industrial Britain, by Janet and Colin Bord

Live Deliberately!

Our everyday should be an exercise in deliberate thoughtfulness, where we take action after careful consideration.

 

Every breath should be one of deliberate intent, for there is only one goal in life, only one yearning, one desire, one direction.  Live Deliberately because god – the creatively lifeforce – resides within you .. within all that lives.  That is the number one defining realization of all time, the one conclusion that all saints and sages have drawn to, the one direction that every heart is naturally inclined towards.

 

All knowing is within you.  The light that we see in the eyes of wise men and women is the light of their soul, the reflection of their superconscious mind.  That light resides within all of us!

 

Yet .. we feel far removed from this, as if it only happens to ‘other people’.

 

To begin, we must be taught Hatha Yoga, the ‘physical’ practice, the basic bodily movements.  Why?  Because most of us do not observe our natural inclinations.  We must learn by repetition because we have become de-sensitized to our natural, divine self.

 

But how did that happen?  Why is our life so complicated?  Why can we only touch the divine for mere moments, only to be dragged back down to the reality of daily stress?

 

This has happened because we have not been taught to use the mind.  For example, the moment we enter school we are taught that the rational mind is the only mind, and that rational pursuits the only worthy ones.  We have been taught that anything not rational is wrong or bad so needs be discarded; things like religion, ritual, mythology, sensitivity, environment, intuition, instinct .. we are told these are wrong so must be thrown it out!

 

No wonder we feel so disconnected.

 

Woman in ‘primitive’ tribal societies know the most natural means of childbirth.  In the West, woman have to take a class.

 

Hatha Yoga is a Philosophy .. the practice of the mind, a practice that re-establishes our relationship with the external world and the internal world, with the lower world and the higher world.  Hatha Yoga helps us exercise our life deliberately.

 

Sthira Sukham Asanam, means “Steady Joy Existence”.  That is a single verse from the Raja Yoga Sutras, a book on the mind practice that comes with Hatha Yoga.  Raja Yoga is akin to Taoism or Zen Buddhism, for it is The Way .. the ‘eternally nameless’  effortless action that prompts us to live as we were born to .. to Live Deliberately!

 

Prem and Metta!

Yogini Devi

 

 

Ancient Wisdom Now

As students of Yoga, many of us understand that our practice is more than physical .. after all, the body does not last forever.  So it is that the dedicated student has come to realize that Yoga is the practice of self.

 

I frequently remind my students and shishyas alike that, ‘Some days are diamond and some days are stone.’  This applies not only to the poses but to our daily thoughts, which are either concerned about the future or worried about the past.  Such thoughts cloud our perception.

 

Thinking ahead to the future over activates the emotions and desires, and thinking about the past keeps us from realizing the now.

 

Traditional Yoga Studies have been passed down to us from great sages who cared enough to share their wisdom.  Their experience of how to rule the unruly mind, to cast off shadow for sun, to do every duty with full attention, to see in each day an opportunity for fulfillment, and to realize that there are no problems, only challenges.

 

So it is, when we read the ancient Yogic texts, that when we are told that before even beginning the practice of Yoga, we must first seek the grace of Ganesha, and before embarking on the deeper studies, we must first have the grace of Shiva, we are not being told to worship gods.

 

Ganesha is the energy of success and good favor.  Think on this: whenever we begin a new endeavor we set out with all best intent, we envision achievement.  Likewise, when we have decided to dedicate our self to seeking the ancient wisdom of Yoga, we invoke the energy of Shiva, which is auspiciousness.  After all, who doesnt start a new project filled with an adventurous spirit, a hopeful outlook, and feeling lucky!

 

Without these two – success and auspiciousness – no matter how hard we try, our Yoga remains only a physical practice.

 

Which is why the ancient sages also advised us to seek a teacher.  Not a fitness instructor who teaches yoga in a gym, or a personal trainer who uses yoga poses in their workout, but a real teacher .. and not just a certified one either .. but someone who has dedicated their life to the living of Yoga.

 

With the help of a true Yogi or Yogini, our meditation moves from beyond sitting in silence to being charged with Shakti, the energy of ability.  Again, the ancient texts tell us that without Shakti, there is no fire – the fire of vigor, eagerness and passion.

 

Prem and Metta!

Yogini Devi

Guidance

Guidance.   We all need it .. whether we like to admit it or not (darn that ego thingie!).  But honestly, guidance is what we have needed since birth .. no one has ever truly gone it alone.

 

That makes guidance paramount.  Likewise, it makes it something that comes in the most unexpected places.  Such as, when we dont think we need guidance .. when we are strumming along at a nice pace, then someone comes along and makes a suggestion .. which we then see the simplicity of .. then implement it, then .. Viola! .. we find ourselves at a new level.

 

And thats just daily stuff.  So what about the real issues .. like spiritual matters?

 

Well, first its a matter of finding out, ‘What sort of spirituality’.  (Ok .. for those of you who know this answer .. no shouting it out and giving it away to those who havent arrived yet!)   😉

 

So .. here are a few ideas for you to ponder regarding guidance.

 

First, is your personal practice assisting in quieting your mindbody energies?  Meaning, is what you are doing along the inward path helping to purify and refine the mind and body?  If what you are engaging in eases the emotional tempest, soothes restless sensations, calms longing, keeps a positive perspective within reach, and gently nudges you towards generosity instead of greed, contentment instead of jealousy, loving kindness instead of hate, and joy instead of anger .. then your doing just fine.

 

Many of us need guidance to realize that we are not the mind, and we are not the body, but that we are radiant, conscious and eternal souls.  And it is our splendid soul – our true self – that guides the mind and body.  Or, as C.S. Lewis so clearly reminded us:  “You don’t have a soul.  You are a Soul.  You have a body.

 

When we realize this .. truly real-ize this .. then the soul that we are directs the mindbody towards the fulfillment of duty and the resolution of action.  (Or, in other words: the fulfillment of dharma and the resolution of karma.)

 

You see, daily living often includes fear and sickness, worry and doubt .. which work to distract us .. keeping us from the truth of our brilliant self.  After a time, we begin to think that we are these things .. even affirming, “I get sick a lot”, “I’m always stressed out”, “There is just so much to worry about”, “I cant do it”, and the like .. all of which are a brick-in-the-wall, or the acceptance of limitation.

 

This is where we need guidance, for before beginning any spiritual path we must first better our self, which means finding out where we are hurting our self.

 

Wow!  Talk about Catch 22!

 

Lots of time is needed here on self-examination .. lots of contemplation and meditation.  Lol .. in fact, this is where we get ‘brutally honest’ with our self.  ‘Brutal’ because many have become adept at sweeping things under the rug.  But you know what happens when you always sweep things under the rug?  Well, after a time, a pile is created, and that pile grows into a road block, which trips you up.  Which is when many ask, ‘Why is this happening to me?’  When it truth, that ‘trip’ was created by you.

 

You know .. the whole ‘forest for the trees’ scenario!    😉

 

So, in truth, there is nothing to do .. no ‘spiritual path’.  There is only realizing that you are already that which you seek.  There is only realizing that you must allow your true self to be; and when you do, it will transmute – like an alchemist – those base qualities into gold.

 

Prem and Metta!

Yogini Devi

 

Ah .. Absolute!

So how does one know when they are enlightened?  Does a light bulb come on over the light bulb?   😉

 

Enlightenment.  Illumination.  Inspiration.  Unclouded . Transcendent . all words that relate to ‘plugging in’ or standing in ‘direct light’.  Words the world over that reveal our inner true nature.

 

So many seek to drop out to better attune to self, yet this is not the best option.  You see, every brilliant diamond begins as a darkened lump .. and it is only through effort, through discipline, that the inner light is revealed.

 

Are you ready to suffer the hardship of discipline?  Are you ready to bury the ego?  What stage of life are you currently at?  Are you living a life of service, expression, discipline or true being?

 

Well, I guess its best to start at the beginning. So, before asking the question above, how about asking, “What have you done about the elephant in the room that is blocking your path to eternal law?”

 

You see, only through the elephant will you be able to release the mental, emotional and physical fetters; which means living fully in the world .. living the life of a householder.

 

Ah .. the slings and arrows of the householder.  Paying the bills, washing the car, going to work, raising the kids, living with a significant other, all seemingly obstacles on your way towards a peaceful life!  If only these things were not in the way!

 

Yet, it is exactly these things that are needed to polish that lump of black coal that you call ‘self / I’ .. exactly the discipline needed to realize true self and the perspective afforded by that vantage.

 

Prem and Metta!

Yogini Devi

 

 

 

Forgetfulness

As we walk through life we tend to forget that we are all that and a bag of cosmic chips!

 

We forget that our mindbody is here to remember the eternal law of the absolute.  We forget the four threads that – woven together – help us re-realize that.

 

Those four threads are: duty, wealth, love and liberation.

 

So what is duty?  If you made a list of your duties you could be at it for days!  And yes, these are, no doubt, all very important, but in that list, have you included the ‘realization of self’?

 

We all want to be spontaneous and gracious, pure and direct in word and deed, to rightly dwell in our inner peace .. yet the world about us seems to conspire against us.  It is only through bhakti – through love – that we will ride upon the uncertain currents of life, to realize the constant flow and blessing of the eternal law within us and about us.  Love is the awakening of our nature through devotion and giving .. for in devotion we open as lovers, and in giving we open to receiving.

 

So what is wealth?  For many, it is but a word, or something they are ever chasing, but true wealth is both monetary and fulfillment.  You see, tantra – ‘weaving’ – is best used for attracting wealth, for physical need is often more pressing than spiritual matters.  For example, wealth is having sufficient money for all necessities, and a good affirmation for that would be, “I will always have sufficient money to meet all my needs.”

 

So what is liberation?  Well .. it has a great deal to do with ‘old souls’ and ‘new souls’, but directly, if one maintains discipline, then liberation will follow.  Making liberation then more an effort (or inconvenience) than many have bargained for!   Nor am I referring to the sort of discipline that means meditating every day, or visiting temple once a week, or any other form of spiritual discipline that is not well grounded.  But specific discipline .. focuses and directed discipline.  And that is quite the adventure to find!

 

Well there you go .. tie the threads of duty, wealth, love and liberation about your finger and you will never stumble!     😀

 

Ok, ok .. so its a bit more involved than that.  But honestly, the absolute is realized when we turn away from distractions (deal with them, just dont become tangled in them) and enter the cave within.  For only there will we re-discover the self of our self .. patiently await our arrival home.

 

Prem and Metta!

Yogini Devi

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