Beyond the World of Opinions

thoughts

Who doesn’t like to try their hand at philosophy every once in a while?   Not only among  those  who are interested in spiritual development,  but even those who aren’t –  so many people like to give their opinions. It would be a very rare person, who in the midst of some philosophical discussion, has never ventured forth with something to the effect of – ‘do you know what I think’. Continue reading Beyond the World of Opinions

Body Mind Spirit ~ What’s It All About?

refresh

‘Body Mind Spirit’ – most of us would have surely heard this term/expression at some point in our lives, but unfortunately its true significance is not so well known. I say ‘unfortunate’ because this lack of understanding makes it so that far too many people are wandering through the world without any clear awareness of their true nature, and the natural purpose that flows from this nature. This can be compared to having the lights switched off. The on switch, of course, is knowledge, and this is one of the primary functions of Yoga teachings – to provide some knowledge/light, so that we can have some meaningful direction for our lives. Continue reading Body Mind Spirit ~ What’s It All About?

Don’t You Want Somebody to Love?

marlonbrandokissingcat

Always wondering about the answer to life’s big question, what’s it all about? People oftentimes think that spiritual teachings are about some secret wisdom. The truth however is no great mystery – and we certainly don’t need to be big time philosophers to easily tune into it. It’s the most natural thing in the world – we want to love and be loved.

The real question then, is why is that love so elusive?  When the famous actor Marlon Brando was at the peak of his fame in the 1950s – he was asked by a reporter, ‘What do you want from life’?  His simple reply was that – ‘I want to be in love’. He obviously wasn’t talking about a sexual relationship, because this was a man who had as many of those as he wanted – and more. And yet still he was hungry for love. Were the women he had not beautiful enough, and that’s why he couldn’t truly love them?  No. Like him, they were the cream of the crop – Hollywood’s finest (superficially speaking at least). Continue reading Don’t You Want Somebody to Love?

Focusing On The Positive

yoga

Dear Friends,

In a previous post we talked about the temporary nature of the world and our place in it, and how any attempts to find permanence and security in worldly interests, which are temporary by nature, will inevitably lead to frustration and disappointment at the very least, and oftentimes, emotional trauma much worse than that. Does this mean then that a spiritual seeker should just immediately drop everything to go and meditate in the mountains or some forest or the desert?   No.

In most cases, the attempt to go cold turkey on materialism ends in failure. Many people who are reading this article would have tried that in one way or another, to one degree or another, and even in the very best case scenario – some temporary relief is the only gain, and most people invariably fall back into their old habits. Continue reading Focusing On The Positive

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

caitanyaA little over 500 years ago in India, the great spiritual teacher Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (also known as Gauranga because of his beautiful golden complexion), appeared in the small town of Navadwip. Both the time and place of his appearance were foretold in ancient scriptures, as were the specific reasons for it. He appeared to teach by his personal example, how a person could very quickly and easily experience the highest platform of yoga ~ love for the Supreme Person, by the sublime method of congregational mantra chanting ~ the hearing and repeating of Hari Nama, sacred sound.

Just as aspiring yogis had been doing since time immemorial, Chaitanya and his followers would sometimes chant their mantras quietly in some solitary place, but he also introduced a new element in the practice of meditation. It was called kirtan, where two or more people would get together and chant the Holy Names loudly.  Oftentimes their chanting was accompanied by musical instruments and dancing, and not only did Chaitanya introduce this practice, but he also infused it with the spiritual potency of his own wonderful and unique example, and by doing this he induced an ecstatic uproar in the general population. Continue reading Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

The Trauma of Impermanence

Image: Andres Amador via Colossal
Image: Andres Amador via Colossal

Dear Friends,

It’s oftentimes the case that people think meditation is supposed to make it so that we never have a bad day. This is true in one sense (and in the most important sense), but it should not be misunderstood to mean that our lives will always be perfect problem free zones.  Because we have a material body, we will all receive (based on our previous karma) certain amounts of happiness and distress whether we meditate or not.

If we look back on our lives over the last year or so, or even longer than that, we could all make a long list of problems, great and small, that we have had to deal with – and there is no doubt that we will all inevitably have to face more as the future unfolds.  All these various kinds of traumas were categorized many long ages ago in Yoga teaching, so it’s not that we are dealing with some specifically modern affliction here.  Because we live in a technological age, the problems may manifest differently than they did times past, but their essence is unchanged.  It would take much more space that we have here to list and discuss them all in detail, but they can be summed up in one word – temporariness. That is the root cause of all our traumas. Continue reading The Trauma of Impermanence

Beyond the Days of Our Lives

Image: hqwide.com
Image: hqwide.com

Out of all the gifts that you’ve ever been given in your life, is there one that you value above all the others? For most of us, it’s a difficult question to answer. For example, someone may have given me a million dollars, but if there are strings attached to the ‘gift’ ~ some expectation of return, then I don’t really value it as a true gift of love. Rather, it’s just one side of a business equation.

How about the old cliché of what’s more valuable to a hungry person ~ food or the knowledge of how to grow food?  Or say for example, someone has given me one hundred dollars, but it’s all they have. Isn’t that hundred dollars a greater gift than one thousand dollars which is given by a billionaire? Maybe, but the hundred dollar gift could be a ploy of some kind, while the thousand, may truly be a gift from the heart.

What about the gift of true and meaningful friendship?  Shouldn’t that be valued above and beyond money or the things money can buy? Surely most of us would agree that the most valuable gift is not only one that is freely and loving given, but it is one that is given with due regard for what we really need. Continue reading Beyond the Days of Our Lives

A Question of Influence

Guru-and-Sishya

I was recently asked a question about the importance of having a spiritual teacher. This provided a nice opportunity to explain in some detail that, yes, according to Yoga teaching it was important for a person wanting to advance in spiritual understanding to have a teacher.

In modern times however, the concept of a spiritual teacher is oftentimes unfortunately viewed with significant misgivings if not absolute dread. One of the major reasons for this kind of reticence is arrogance – not wanting to accept that someone else may know more than I do. Another reason is that many people have been put off by their knowledge or experience of charlatans of one stripe or another.

The matter of arrogance is something that each of us should try to become aware of in our own lives, and hopefully to see it as something that is undesirable. It’s not such an easy thing to do, but nevertheless we should try as much as possible to overcome our arrogance otherwise we will surely be deprived of the opportunity to gain spiritual knowledge. One aid in overcoming arrogance is to appreciate that in any field of knowledge or expertise we need a teacher who can provide us with information about that particular field. Continue reading A Question of Influence

A Spectacular View

Credit : Felicia M. Flickr
Image : Felicia M. Flickr

Many people would have had the experience of being lost at least once in their lives, especially those of us who have visited a foreign country.  It’s usually not a problem though because we can easily consult a map.  Even better than that though – if we can get the help of a person who is familiar with that foreign place (a local resident, for example) then our anxiety can be immediately relieved. Whether we get it from a map, or a person, or perhaps a combination of these, the point is that we need a vision of the territory if we are ever going to get ‘un-lost’/ found.

Not so long ago I saw a movie where some people were lost in an Amazonian jungle. Although they were hopelessly lost, they got out of their predicament simply by climbing a tall tree and thus they were able to get their bearings. The movie reminded me of an almost identical experience I had many years ago, when I was lost in a rainforest in north Queensland. I had somehow wandered off a walking track in a remote area, and I had no idea where I was. The sun was of no use because it couldn’t be seen through the thick canopy of foliage, and so in that perpetual semi-darkness, I had absolutely no way of knowing which way to go. I may have been lucky enough to head in the right direction, but maybe not. I could have just as easily proceeded deeper and deeper into the forest. My panic was somewhat mitigated however, when I happened to come upon a huge tree, because attached to it, was a  natural ladder made from some thick vines which, (after what must have taken many many years) had gradually grown and encircled the tree from the ground all the way to the top.  Amazingly, I was able to climb this ladder without much difficulty, to a point where I was able to penetrate the forest canopy. Continue reading A Spectacular View

Dear Friends

Meditation

I hope that you are all doing well, and that you will find my writing to be of some value. My desire is to communicate the timeless wisdom of Yoga teaching to as many people as possible, and this website is dedicated to that purpose.

Yoga teaching is not a narrow confined field, but rather, it is a complete system for physical, mental and spiritual well being. In other words, it is a complete lifestyle, and my attempt in these pages is to provide information for interested people, so that they can adopt at least some part of the Yoga lifestyle. In that way, the quality of their life will certainly increase.

Because we are essentially spiritual beings, only temporarily residing in our physical bodies, spiritual development must necessarily take center stage in any genuine Yoga practice.  The needs and well being of the physical body are catered for, but in the context of knowing that this present physical body, even if it is perfectly maintained, it will certainly grow old and eventually expire at some point. Continue reading Dear Friends