Photos

Found Exhortation (Less Clearly Seen Than Would Be Most Optimal)

I cannot tell from looking at the image on my Blackberry whether the words “faith” and “hope” that appear on this statue can be discerned in the photo, but they are there when standing and seeing the statue in person.

This morning, when I was reading through the news, I came across a curious headline that averred that the killing of Osama Bin Laden had brought us a “rare moment of unity.” This saddened me, as did the reportage of spontaneous celebrations.

I am calling on my reserves of practice so that my sense of faith and hope for humanity, for peace, and for social priorities is not as faint as the way the words appear in the photograph.

Peace and light, E — Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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Morning Walk at the National Arboretum (Happy May Day)

A place to drink in the beauty.  For information on how to help preserve the azalea collection (which is under siege from budget cuts), please visit:  “Save the Azaleas.”

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Nyaya of the Rosebud and the Rose

As I walked through the neighborhood for the past couple of days, going from one place to another, I have seen hundreds of rosebuds. In enjoying the exquisite form of the buds before they open, I thought about the teaching I have heard from Paul Muller-Ortega of the rosebud and the rose.

The buds are lovely ad perfect in their on right, and at some level, we hate to see them go. But the rosebud itself must dissolve or be destroyed for us to get the rose. The transformation into the full-flowering of the rose requires the dissolution of the bud.

So too, with everything in life. When we can fully appreciate this cycle of dissolution as part of creation, we will be less attached in a way the leads us to be bound up in grief and loss, and instead find a fuller appreciation of whatever beauty is present in where we are in the cycle.

Peace and light, E — Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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High Desert (and the Plains of Consciousness)

I am not drawn to the desert.  I prefer the lush fullness of a wetter climate, but the very otherness of the desert from my usual environment fills me with awe and appreciation for the immense variety of existence.  I went to the desert on this trip because that is where my teacher was teaching, and the teachings were more important to me than any preference for visiting a particular outer landscape.  One of the great benefits of combining intensive meditation with travel is that it can demonstrate at the most profound level that the infinitude of the inner landscape is the same no matter where we are and no matter what are the features of any outer landscapes we visit.

 

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Balance of Stability and Freedom

Last night, we were talking about the parameters of cultivating a steady and fruitful meditation practice, and Paul Muller-Ortega suggested that it was about the balance of stability and flexibility. He had learned the principle from a different source, but I have contemplated and explored the principle in depth from teachings I have received from John Friend.

A critical aspect of the Anusara alignment principles is to find the perfect balance of stability and freedom. We need stability to stay fully and safely in each pose. We need freedom to achieve the fullest and most delightful expression of the pose.

We find the stability both by making certain that we have established our foundation (which is an aspect of the first principle of opening to grace). By then using the three aspects of muscular energy–hugging the muscles to the bone, drawing into the midline, and drawing energy from the periphery to the focal point, we make possible an expansion of our edge, whatever that might be. Having a solid, aligned foundation and affirming our very core with these actions, gives us security and balance. We also want to reach out, to be playful, to expand to our fullest, which we do using the expansive, outreaching organic energy — from focal point to the periphery, from the midline to our outer edges, from the very marrow of our bones through bone, muscle, skin, and beyond.

If we over-emphasize (including natural inclination) stability, then we can get stuck. If we just let ourselves be free, then we end up all over the place. When these elements are perfectly balanced, we can safely find our deepest freedom of expression.

When I teach this principle as the focus of a class, I always invite my students to think of how important the balance of stability and freedom is for every aspect of our lives.

The discussion last night put this principle in the context of the regularity and steadiness of our practice, with the recognition that to stick with our practice, we will sometimes need to vary the time or amount of our practice, or what elements are included in the practice.

To get the fullest benefits of a practice (this applies to any practice and not just to meditation), we need to show up consistently and to practice in accordance with how we have been taught. To stay steady, though, we need to give ourselves the permission or freedom not to show up, or within appropriate parameters, to modify the practice when life gets in the way of what we think would be the ideal practice. If we think we have to do things at the exact time and place every day in a perfectly precise way, we become rigid. On the other hand, if we are loosey-goosey about it, then we do not have much of a practice and will not realize the benefits that we could get.

Where in your practice or life would more stability and steadiness give a field for greater freedom and happiness? Where could you give yourself a little more flexibility so that you feel that steadiness brings the possibility of joy, rather than tying you down?

Peace and light, E — Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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