One of the nice examples of rich symbolism that can be found in Yoga teaching is the comparison of spiritual growth with the growth of plants that in their maturity produce sweet smelling flowers. Some people may think that this example is overly naïve and simplistic, but sometimes simple is the best way to go. So it is proved with the example of the flower – a simple story, but one that is full of meaning. Continue reading The Flowers of Spiritual Growth Part I
One of the problems that many people have with regard to their meditation and yoga practice is maintaining consistency. I know because I’m one of them. Fortunately though I have a good teacher, so I know what to do when I sometimes get distracted. The advice that he gave me a long time ago is as relevant today as it ever was, and this is what I would like to pass on. Like so many aspects of Yoga teaching, it is something so simple and obvious, that it’s almost embarrassing to even mention it – and yet it is of such great value that people need to be reminded of this age old advice. Continue reading How To Maintain Consistency In Your Meditation Practice
A 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
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