I love teaching at Samadhi ~ The space and energy is amazing ~
Join me on
Mondays 4:15 -5:15 is Gentle Yoga ~ Great for a nice peaceful flowing class
Mondays 5:30-6:45 Power/Jivamukti Yoga ~
Sweat, Open your Heart ~Breathe, be Inspired and dive deep into your practice!
My first real spiritual teacher was an alchemist. By “real spiritual teacher” I mean that he consciously gave me teachings and practices to help me understand the spiritual principles underlying all of existence. By “alchemy” I mean the ancient practice of transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. My teacher was a photographer by profession and his knowledge of chemistry was not only practical but metaphysical as well. I initially came to him because I wanted to know the cause of physical matter: what makes form form? Under his tutelage I studied the basic building blocks that constitute matter-the twelve cell salts. These salts, being crystalline in form, actually provide a mathematical or geometrical grid that attracts subtle vibrations and organize them into what eventually becomes manifest form. I also learned how to grow crystals in test tubes in a laboratory setting and assisted him in classical alchemical long-term projects that dealt with elemental properties of minerals, especially mercury and gold. He taught me the value of meditation and how to look deeply into ordinary things to discover essence, which included the investigation of words and their root etymological meanings. He infused our lessons with practical science, providing what he promised was an experiential connection to truth.
During this time I was also drawn to The Theosophical Library, an occult library where I spent a lot of hours reading books about yoga, saints, Eastern religions and enlightenment. Several books stand out in my memory-all biographies: The Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahamsa Yogananda, and two books by W. Y. Evans-Wentz, Tibet’s Great Yogi: Milarepa and Padma-Sambhava’s biography. After I read these, I professed to my teacher that above all else I wanted to become enlightened and asked if he could help me. He raised his already very arched eyebrows and slowly with a kind smile said, “first you must master these three things, which are by the way, basic to alchemy: 1. Cooking-You have to learn how to become a good cook; 2. Cleaning-You have to learn how to keep the place where you live clean and organized; and 3. Gardening-You have to know how to grow, nurture and care for plants.”
I was incredulous at his response; it disappointed me, and at the time I wasn’t able to embrace his advice seriously as it didn’t seem “spiritual enough” for me. Cooking? I was an impatient skinny girl who found disdain in eating and was trying to reduce my food to a minimum and eventually live on air: how did he think that I could get into cooking, what possibly could be the point? Cleaning? Oh come on, that’s for housewives? I was a liberated woman! Gardening? How old fashioned-in the modern world we all live in cities; farmers grow crops, and landscapers deal with flowers and such; I’m too intellectual and spiritual for these types of pursuits. Besides, I didn’t want to waste my life in such ordinary activities; I wanted God/Self realization right then.
My teacher taught by example and could often be seen in the kitchen mindfully preparing a vegetarian meal, focusing on each moment of preparation-scrubbing carrots, slicing cucumbers or measuring out rice as if he were in deep meditation. His living space was immaculate, sparse, Zen-like, with every item carefully placed and cared for. His altar was simple but beautiful. He often reminded me how important it was not to allow clutter or dust to settle on one’s altar, as it was the mirror for one’s mind. On most windowsills in his place you could find vibrant potted plants, and in the summer he grew organic tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs in window boxes.
It took me many years to realize the wisdom of my teacher’s advice. Without mastering the seemingly ordinary basics of living, no spiritual maturity, much less real spiritual evolution, is possible. One has to first grasp the magic in the ordinary before the extraordinary dawns, and once it does the everyday is the same as it was before-only sweeter.
By Ruth Lauer Manenti, from the Introduction to Sweeping the Dust
pattram pushpam phalam toyam / yo me bhaktya prayacchati tad aham bhakti-upahrtam / ashnami prayata-atmanah
Whatever is offered to Me with a pure loving heart, no matter if it is as small as a leaf, a flower, a piece of fruit, or a sip of water, I will accept it. -Bhagavad Gita IX.26
When I first went to India, I was eager to look at Indian miniature paintings from the sixteenth century. I had seen many of them in museums in the West, and I assumed that in India I would find the best collections. But the museums in India are poorly lit, so I couldn’t see anything. What I did find, though, was incredible artistic beauty in a hand-painted spoon, the tapestried seat of a chair, a clay cup, an embroidered shawl, a hand-woven man’s skull cap and carpets made from rags called rag-rugs. So I gave up looking for art in a museum and instead found it in daily life. Worshipping is like this also. We may look for God in the museum, church or temple, but God is not limited to such places: He is everywhere. But how do we find God everywhere? By treating everyone as God. And how would God like to be treated? In this verse, the Lord says bring me a leaf, a flower, a fruit or some water, with devotion. He wants something unpretentious that expresses affection. If we can do this with everyone, we will know the meaning of this verse. One stick of incense, a single good word, food for one dog, memorizing one text, bowing down one time or one warm cup of tea-all are acceptable to the Lord. In 2009, my guru Sri K. Pattabhi Jois passed away. Shortly afterward, I asked his daughter Saraswati for something that had belonged to him. She presented me with an old and worn-out shawl. It was folded in her hands, and she extended it toward me saying, “It was Guruji’s favorite. It is very simple. You will like it. He didn’t like the fancy ones.” This shawl, torn in several places, was a perfect offering. It greatly pleased me; in this way, Saraswati had pleased the Lord. Pleasing the Lord releases us of tensions. Making me happy made her happy, even in the midst of such a sad time.
There is a man I know in India who doesn’t have any legs; he is cut off from the hips down. He has a piece of wood he has tied himself to, and he pulls himself around with his arms. He sits in a spot I pass and asks for money, yelling, “Amma, Amma.” He is calling me mother. He wants me to offer him kindness; he wants me to see God in those who suffer. Guruji once told me that that man was God, “disguised.” The word asana means a seat, something to lean on, a support. Offering someone support can take shape in a myriad of ways. These ways can be the threads that tie everything together. Offerings join the giver and the receiver spiritually. Sadly, leaves, flowers, fruit and water are disappearing as we destroy the earth. The best offering we can make in these times is to become vegetarian, a gentle diet that causes the least harm to plants, animals, the climate and human beings. If we continue to clear away the forests, trees, shrubs, prairies, meadows, marshes, grasslands, plants, roots, flowers, creeper and weeds, in order to grow one kind of crop to feed to animals who will be slaughtered, there won’t be any more leaves, flowers, fruit or water in our landscapes. Scriptures are prophetic with obvious and not-so-obvious meanings. Perhaps the Lord is telling us in this verse that leaves, flowers, fruit and water are offerings from the Lord for us to protect and offer back.
My husband Robert and I live in a cabin in the woods. Often bees, wasps, flying ants, even an occasional snake come into our home. My husband knows how to handle these animals appropriately. Without upsetting them, he puts a container over them, slides a piece of paper underneath and carries them back outside. “Sweeping the dust” is a way of saying that taking care of the ground has value. Traditionally, the yogi has always sat on the ground. Only an elder or a greatly esteemed master would be given a chair. Everything rests on the ground. The ground is the support. It’s where we can sit together and tell our stories. “Sweeping the dust” is a metaphor. In that spirit, I offer this book, like a tiny piece of Guruji’s torn shawl. -
Ruth Lauer Manenti, from the Introduction to Sweeping the Dust
October 1st, 2010 by T. Harv Eker
In the past the type of work we as humans did was based more on necessity than choice. You’re a farmer, or metal-smith, scholar, soldier, weaver—you did what you had to do, and circumstances were largely out of your control.
There have also always been people who dreamed of being more than their environment, but breaking out of the path many were born into certainly had to be more of an exception than what is possible today.
Things have changed. The internet, just as one example, is one of the greatest equalizers of opportunity ever! Anybody with a great idea, the skills and the resources can capitalize on a worldwide audience. Hopefully you’ve realized that but you know what? Out of habit many people still don’t.
As a society we haven’t figured out that the necessity of “doing what we have to do” isn’t as ironclad as many would be led to believe; that we have way more options today and way more opportunity then we can even handle. Yes or yes?
The fact is, though, most people do not love what they do for a living. They suffer through it. They do it because they “have” to do it, because they should do it, or because they’re skilled at it. I especially love that one.
“But do you like what you do?”
“I hate it but I’m good at it!”
Are you supposed to love work? Yes!
You know how we can make everyone successful? We’ll all just do one thing. We’ll all be internet marketers. Everyone will get rich, how about that? NO! It’s boring! Maybe not for you, but maybe for someone else who needs, wants and loves to personally interact with as many people as possible. The challenge for them is to find a way to get rich incorporating that into what they do or whatever their passion is.
So it’s imperative to do what we love to do, what we truly enjoy. Joy is a clue from the heart, different from pleasure. When you invoke the feeling of joy you’re tapping into your higher nature, your truer self, and the source of your full power, your full creativity, your full wisdom.
Passion creates energy. Energy creates enthusiasm. When you are passionate about what you do does that come through? Will people want what you’ve got? Have you ever bought anything or wanted to buy something from someone just because you liked that person, versus a person that’s got a really good product, but who shows none or—even worse—false enthusiasm? You don’t want to buy like that. It makes a huge difference for people.
Human energy, at its purest form, is love. And that energy transfers just like any other energy. When you’re passionate about something, you don’t have to sell it. You’re simply educating others on something you really believe in, and their lack of enthusiasm doesn’t temper yours, but rather the other way around. If you don’t love what you do, then what the hell are you doing?!
Now it’s your turn! What do you think? What are the barriers that keep people from realizing that there doesn’t have to be a discrepancy between becoming rich and becoming joyful in what you do? We want to hear from you!!
As I start my day, week, first of the month with Meditation, I am excited about the day. I sit at my candle lit alter at 6 amish and close my eyes. In front of me, my alter is full of inspirations, from a statue of the Buddha, Ganesha reading the Bhaghavad Gita, items from my Tibet trip, my yoga and spiritual teachers, the Serenity Prayer and Just for Today, incense, angle cards, my over-sized 1 Million dollar bill, a picture of my daughter and I together and several card of inspiration.
I begin by exploring the mind, or shall I say watching and getting caught up in thoughts.., then I remember I am not these thoughts… so I go to the the place behind them. There I find stillness, as a very visual person, it appears as if I am looking up into the sky at the stars and seeing the vastness of never-ending-ness. I hang out there for a little bit in silence and it feels like a warm soothing bath.
Then suddenly I hear my breath!!!!! Wow, this body is breathing…. it’s not mine, yet simply a vessel that I experience life in.. this leads back to thoughts and quickly I lose this larger sense of oneness that I know I am. I am back to me… getting excited about the experience and wanting to share it with you here on my blog.. that I have neglected forever as I went through major transition in my life this last year.. that’s another musing…
Words can barely touch the surface to explain the feelings and sensations related to experiencing the breath as shared above. For me to just notice the beauty of the breath and it function in my life is truly a miracle. As I write and reflect on this time that has just passes over 30 minutes ago…
I can correlate it to a time when I was 5 year old. I used to lye awake in bed asking “Why Me”, I don’t know who I was asking, maybe the God in the sky with the white beard who was punishing me (as I was conditioned to believe, yet no longer do). At 5 I did experience this same vastness of time and space, as if there was none… it was this never-ending-ness- some would say nothingness, but back then as a small child it was full of fear, anger, overwhelmed and so much pain that I just couldn’t wait for it to end. I wanted out of this body (it hurt to much) I wanted out of this miserable life. I could not breathe and every moment was pure agony.
Now I not only feel so much joy for the ability to be on a peaceful realm, but to be able to actually leaved the body so to speak…. by experiencing that I am something, a creative being that is more than this body and to see the pure beauty of this life experience is beyond excitement.
I have had reservations for a long time about really sharing my heart with the world here on my blog..(it means I have healed a great deal for you to be reading this) but now know that it is a healing process for me and for others and am finally beyond the caring what others think of me (if it’s negative of course) and putting myself out there…
the kids in my life are about to be abounding into it… so it’s time to be ready for them and jump into the daily life.. i do my best to find these meditative moments in the day and remember that the breath is the key to really bringing me back into the present moment.
Please leave your comments, i would love to hear what you think.. if they are positive or supportive that is…