Tag Archive: dharma

The Murtis Rearranged Themselves Again

murtis

It’s an idiosyncratic grouping, but it is my weaving of stories for the moment.

I believe the brass dish under the cactus on the left was a wedding present, though I am not absolutely certain of that.  It was a long time ago.

The cloth with the tassels came from a shaman in Peru; I was there for 9/11.

I bought the gray scarf when I was in Costa Rica on a retreat with John Friend from a world-traveling fellow yoga practitioner who had brought an array of beautiful scarves to Costa Rica from Thailand.

Other things were brought home from India–mostly by me, but one a treasured gift from a friend.

The porcupine quills were also an inspired and loving gift.

The square of marble under the cactus on the right I found on the street in the neighborhood.  The cactii came from a yard sale over a decade ago.  They were being sold for only blooming once a year.

The bit of mother of pearl comes from Centerport beach on Long Island. I went there last fall the day before my father’s memorial service.

Other things came from vendors at Eastern Market and one from New York City.

The chestnut is from Stanton Park. I picked it up on my way to work one beautiful day last year.

The heart-shaped stone came from Arizona when I was on a meditation retreat some time late in the last decade.  I’ve been to some really lovely places on this planet.

The mala Kuan Yin is wearing I strung and designed:  rudraksha beads from my first meditation mala (which had broken), labradorite, and emeralds on silk thread.

The jet beads belonged to my grandmother Rose.

There’s a story about the lump of black and red rock behind Ganesha, but I think I’ll leave that for another day.

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Sankalpa + Lila =

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We can set all the intentions that we want, we can live according to our dharma (whatever that means), but that will not stop the cosmic play. 

If setting particular and timely intentions (sankalpa) helps us to live day to day most sweetly and efficaciously in the play of chance and chaos, though, then it is a worthwhile practice.  I have found that to be true for me.

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Signs Around Town (and Symmetry)

Advancing
The practice.
Community.

I spied this sign yesterday in the exhibitor hall on the lower level of the Marriott in Woodley Park. I was attending a portion of the 38th Annual Conference of Enrolled Actuaries. (Go ahead: I dare you to put that into your favorite search engine).

Although this sign was to invite enrollment in one of the actuarial professional organizations, it seems most similar to the stated aspirations of various yoga groups and schools.

I’m not surprised by this symmetry. I think that anyone who seeks to live so that employment and dharma (aligned life) are in harmony and who supports, participates, and works in community, is living like a yogin, though perhaps never knowing about or having any interest in yoga per se.

There are many life paths and humanistic and spiritual practices that guide life towards a contented path of service, the true reason, to my thinking, for a steady, long-term yoga practice (including asana, pranayama, and meditation).

I personally find the yoga practices to be among the most helpful ways to engage my body and mind for my health and well-being. Among other things, the practices have helped me listen with open enough awareness to be able to comprehend with my law-trained mind some small portion of the language of actuaries.

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

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Signs Around Town (and Things Attributed By Some to the “Divine”)

Whether or not one believes in an uber-creator, such belief is no excuse to abdicate one’s own need to be conscious of how individuals are part of the whole fabric of being and our duty (dharma) to act in recognition of that interrelationship. Taking responsibility for our own lives and relationship to others and our place in the ecosystem is an essential part of aligning with the ideal of the divine.

It is reasonable and perfectly appropriate to practice to enhance our own peace, joy, and well-being. Equally important is that the practices lead us to live with more mindfulness and compassion.

Doing the practices without ever refining how we are in the world is not, as some claim, enough to serve as a grand contribution to making the world a better place, though if we are happier and healthier we are likely to be more pleasant to be around.

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

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How Do You React? (and Dharma)

How do you react when you see signs of neglect, disinterest, disregard for the health and well-being of the earth and other beings?  Do you get stuck in a sense of helplessness or rage? Do you think we’re all screwed anyway and decide no effort to make things better is worth it?  Are you moved to political action?  Are you moved to take better care of self, family, and friends, even if you think you cannot make much of a greater impact beyond your intimate circle? Can you remain engaged and still find joy, whatever the apparent immediate results and how hard the battle seems to be?

The Bhagavad Gita, says that to live a life of yoga, we must do the last of these.  The first teaching from the Bhagavad Gita on this point is that we must live in accordance with our  dharma (duty).  The second teaching, and more important for having peace of mind in a life of duty, is that of “actionless action.”  The true yoga is to live a life of action in accordance with dharma, but without attachment to the outcome (i.e., live in an orderly way, accepting the tendency of the universe to be chaotic). 

Dharma in the Bhagavad Gita, of course, contemplated rigid roles in terms of livelihood and place in society.  In the paradigm of citizenship in a democracy that does not so narrowly circumscribe one’s livelihood or place in society, I wcould argue that it is all of our dharma to participate as a citizen, voting, speaking out for our beliefs, and otherwise using the freedom we have to live a life that best supports the twins of individual and common good, including not just human good, but the whole ecology in which we exist.  The actionless action part is to keep seeking (without despairing) to make things more in alignment even if the forces against healing, nurture, and alignment seem to conspire against positive results that we will see or actualize ourselves.

Are you registered to vote?  Have you watered your trees?  Casey Trees reminds us that this week in DC is dry; trees need about 25 gallons of water or 1 1/2 inches.

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Artha, Kama, Dharma, Moksha (and Politics)

Last night, Paul Muller-Ortega, as part of the introductory talk for the meditation intensive, spoke at some length about the principles of ardha, kama, dharma, moksha.

As I have written about before, in the classical yoga view, it is the renunciation of the first three–material well-being, love and relationship, and right work or path, that leads us to the fourth–liberation. From a tantric yoga perspective, it is living and having the first three from the perspective of illuminated wisdom and discerning (viveka) insight (pratibha) that makes us free (jivanmukti) in this life.

One of the most exquisite things about a steady practice and study, is that each time we revisit a core concept, we hear and understand new aspects to bring into our lives.

When speaking of approaching these elemental aspects of human being, Paul noted that ardha includes not only material well-being, even wealth, but also the power that wealth brings and how we use it. Although he only mentioned that briefly amidst several other concepts, it really resonated with the current state of my being in relationship to the world and our country.

I have been contemplating deeply about wealth and power in this time of budget debate, and how they can and should be used to bring nurture, peace, and health to the maximum degree possible. (You might guess that I don’t think increasing spending for war and decreasing spending for education and health is going to bring us freedom).

Thinking about the power of money as part of our contemplation of our material well-being is something of critical importance at this time. If we shun or disdain in our minds wealth and power while still yearning for our own comforts, than we have lost an opportunity to bring the yoga principles into our lives as optimally as possible. (Of course, grasping and coveting money and power is completely destructive of the possibility of happiness, but most of us think about that, and it is why some say they are bad — money being the root of all evil, etc.).

If we are really in the world and want to be happy and to share and spread happiness, while living in accordance with the principles of the yamas and niyamas, especially the yamas: ahimsa, satya, aparigraha, brahmacharya, asteya (non-harming, truthfulness, non-greediness, aligning with spirit, and non-stealing), that is when we will start opening up the possibility of true living liberation.

Imagine, instead of thinking about material well-being as a “guilty pleasure” thinking of ways in which you can use your own well-being (and work through your practice to discover greater health and strength) to be a voice and power for good in your own individual way.

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

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