Wearily I open my prayer book,
Sepia photographs of sage on amber page,
Flaming raven Sanskrit, strange syllables, Intone, chant, repeat.
Number vows with beads:
Every resolution is inspiration petrified.
There are some days when one is disengaged from God, not interested in devotion, and everything just becomes empty form. Gone are spiritual bliss, deep insight, and integration with rhythm of the universe. Instead, there is duty, form and stiff discipline. One can try to remember the reasons for oneâ€™s quest, and still not be inspired to do oneâ€™s practice. What do you do?
Every once in a while, it is permissible to skip things for a day. If you are angry, under great stress, or ill, then it is best simply to rest. But if one has made vows if it is only a matter of laziness or indifference, then you must exert your discipline and practice even if it means you are just going through he motions. In at least half of the cases, something significant will happen. The rest of the time, going through your forms is in itself good practice. It builds tremendous momentum that will manifest itself in later times.
The Function of Education
I wonder if we have ever asked ourselves what education means. Why do we go to school, why do we learn various subjects, why do we pass examinations and compete with each other for better grades? What does this so called education mean, and what is it all about? This is really a very important question, not only for students, but also for parents for the teachers, and everyone who loves this earth. Why do we go through the struggle to be educated? Is it merely in order to pass examinations and get a job? Or is it the function to prepare us while we are young to understand the whole life process? Having a job and earning oneâ€™s livelihood is necessary-but is that all? Are we being educated only for that? Surely, life is something extraordinary wide and profound, it is a great mystery, a vast realm in which we function as human beings. If we merely prepare ourselves to earn a livelihood, we shall miss the whole point of life; and to understand life is much more important than merely to prepare for examinations and become very proficient in mathematics, physics, or what you will.
So, whether we are teachers or students is it not important to ask ourselves why we are educating or being educated, and what does life mean? Is not life an extraordinary thing? Is not life an extraordinary thing? The birds, the flowers, the flourishing trees, the heavens, the stars, the rivers and the fish therein- all this is life. Life is the poor and the rich; life is the constant battle between groups, races and nations; life is meditation; life is what we call religion, and it is also the subtle, hidden things of the mind- the envies, the ambition, the passions, the fears, fulfillments and anxieties. All this and much more is life. But we generally prepare ourselves to understand only a small corner of it. We pass certain examinations, find a job, get married, have children, and then become more and more like machines. We remain fearful, anxious, frightened of life. So is it the function of education to help us understand the whole process of life, or is it merely to prepare us for a vocation, for the best job we can get?
What is going to happen to all of us when we grow to be men and women? Have you ever asked yourselves what are you going to when you grow up? In all likelihood you will get married, and before you know where you are you will be mothers and father; and you will then be tied to a job, or to the kitchen, in which you will gradually wither away. Is that all your life is going to be? Have you ever asked yourselves this question? Should you not ask it? If your family is wealthy you may have a fairly good position already assured, your father may give you a comfortable job, or you get richly married; but there you will decay , deteriorate. Do you see?
Yoga (Sanskrit: à¤¯à¥‹à¤— Yoga, IPA: [joËgÉ™]) is a group of ancient spiritual practices originating in India. As a general term in Hinduism it has been defined as referring to "technologies or disciplines of asceticism and meditation which are thought to lead to spiritual experience and profound understanding or insight into the nature of existence." Yoga is also intimately connected to the religious beliefs and practices of the other Indian religions. Outside India, Yoga is mostly associated with the practice of asanas (postures) of Hatha Yoga or as a form of exercise, although it has influenced the entire Indian religions family and other spiritual practices throughout the world. Hindu texts discussing different aspects of yoga include the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Shiva Samhita, and many others. Major branches of Yoga include: Hatha Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Raja Yoga.    Raja Yoga, known simply as Yoga in the context of Hindu philosophy, is one of the six orthodox (Ästika) schools of thought, established by the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) Intro Yoga obviously means a lot of things of different things to a lot of different people. So I Am Going to demonstrate to you what Yoga means to me. It is a amazing form of exercise, but for me it goes a lot deeper. It is a form of discipline that I implement in my life so I can maintain stability, both emotional, physical and spiritual. I practice daily meditation, whether I want to or not, I just keep meditating, because I know it is good for my spirit, body and mind. Yoga is really a practice that keeps me in balance; especially when times get tough, and believe me times get tough. I guess it is all a matter of perspective. Well I really doubt that I can really teach you any thing in regards to Yoga, but I will try to bring up some interesting points. But before I begun let me direct your attention to the fact that I am not really very educated, and I am not a strong writer yet, so please understand that I am trying to do the best I can to at least entertain you. I also hope you realize that this is a draft, not a finished paper and that I just let it flow instead of really following the format. I am hoping you will look past the errors. I see so many people whose lives are in chaos running from their fears, practicing escape artist chasing drugs, alcohol, television, sex, control, money, prestige, gambling ,work ,food, approval, rescuing, dependency on toxic relationships, physical illnesses( hypochondria) exercise, cosmetics, clothes, cosmetic surgery, trying to look good on the out side, academic pursuits and excessive intellectualizing, religiosity or religious legalism(preoccupation with the form and rules and regulations of religion, rater than benefiting from the real spiritual message, general perfectionism, cleaning , organizing, and materialism. (OVERKILL I KNOW) Just to list a few and I assure you I am not immune to these things. I just simply got tired of all the suffering all these things can do to a man when he starts down the dreary and dark road of obsession, compulsion and, addiction. Some days it is a real struggle to stay in balance . â€œOnly those who partake of the harmony within their souls know the harmony that runs through nature. Whosoever lacks this inner harmony feels also a lack of it in the world. The mind in chaos finds chaos all around. How can one know what peace is like if he has never tasted it? But he who has inner peace can abide in this state even in the midst of outer discord.â€(Where There Is Light Paramahansa Yogananda PG.77) And I think that you are teaching people to touch that inner peace. I also think that you are touching people souls and making them see that there is a truth, in themselves and in this world that can be experienced that can change their lives through yoga. The truth is that you have changed more lives than you know, and in return those people whose lives you have touched are reaching out and touching others, helping, caring and loving each other to make it a better world. Your work I feel is very important, because you are truly shifting humanity. â€œUnless the aggression of our inner adversaries ceases, the more we fight them the more they multiply. Similar, until we have mastered our own mind, negative forces will invade us. To discipline the mind through love and compassion is a practice of the bodhisattva.â€ (Essential Teachings His holiness the Dali LamaPG.64) So you see it is very important to me that I surround myself with people of a positive nature. So I can learn the ways of a real warrior, not to say I stay away from people who are discontented, because what purpose is there in learning the path of contentment unless I can give it to the people who need and want it. â€œTo be Happy, to me, is to suffer less. If we were not capable of transforming the pain within ourselves, happiness would not be possible. Many people look for happiness outside of themselves, but true happiness must come from inside of us. Our culture tells us that happiness comes from having a lot of money, a lot of power, and a high position in society. But if you observe carefully, you will see that many rich and famous people are not happy. Many of them commit suicide. The Buddha and the monks and nuns of his time did not own any thing except their robes and one bowl. But they were very happy, because they had something extremely Preciousâ€”freedom. According to the Buddhaâ€™s teachings, the most basic condition for happiness is freedom, but freedom form the mental formations of anger, despair, jealously and delusion. These mental formations are described by the Buddha as poisons. As long as these poisons are still in our heart, happiness cannot be possible. In order to be free from anger, we have to practice whether we are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish. We cannot ask the Buddha, Jesus, God, or Mohammed to take anger out of our hearts for us. There are concrete instructions on how to transform the craving, anger, and confusion within us. If we follow these instructions and learn to take good care of our suffering, we can help others do the same.â€ (Thich Nhat Hanh, Anger PG2-3). It is very important that I can see how happiness manifests in others, so I can also use the practice so I can be free of unnecessary suffering, and truly offer help others. Like the old saying goes if it isnâ€™t practical it probably isnâ€™t spiritual either. I feel that yoga does qualify as spiritual and also practical. I will use yoga the rest of my life to ensure that I keep a discipline and a good heart that will be useful to others. I have only been meditating for about four years and I was lucky enough to be taught by someone who really cared about me. A person whom I feel lucky to have met, a man whose has genuinely saved my life and taught me how to really love. He taught me how to love myself and he introduced me into Buddhism, he introduced me to life. A life I had never known before, a life that wasnâ€™t full of fear, a life that I could enjoy, one with purpose. He taught me that itâ€™s o.k. to be alone. â€œUsually we regard loneliness as an enemy. Heartache is not something we choose to invite in. Itâ€™s restless and pregnant and hot with the desire to escape and find something or someone to keep us company. When we can rest in the middle, we begin to have a nonthreatining relationship with loneliness, a relaxing and cooling loneliness that completely turns our usual fearful patterns upside down. ( Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart, PG,64) He taught me so much about life, He was there when I needed him the most, right at the end of my divorce. He introduced me to the book When Things Fall Apart, and I assure you my whole world did fall apart. It is strange they say the teacher will appear when the student is ready, and so it is true. So I grabbed a hold of the principals that he taught me with all the fervor of that of a drowning man. And something changed in me. He has written several books in one of which is named â€œPower In The Principalsâ€, It is a book based on how to apply spiritual principals In your life. Some thing that I couldnâ€™t or at least wasnâ€™t ready to do. He is a very powerful and yet humble man who no doubt has changed many peopleâ€™s lives. He also wrote another book entitled â€œThe Noble Pathâ€ The Way Of The Bodhisattva. He did not and will not publish the â€œpower in the principalsâ€ because he said it is his way of giving back. He told me not to let any body have the book â€œThe Noble Pathâ€ because someday he will publish it. Glen also said to give away the Power in the principals to any one who would read it, and so I have tried to introduce anyone and everyone to the book. I want to give you a little taste of â€œThe Noble pathâ€ I am sure my friend would not mind. Gossip â€œItâ€™s just gossip!â€ â€œWhatâ€™s the Harm?â€ Have you ever said or thought this when confronted about speaking about others who are not present? I know I have. But is it true? Is gossip harmless? Have you ever wondered why gossip occurs? Websterâ€™s Dictionary says of gossip: 1: â€œA gossip is a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts. 2: Rumor or report of an intimate nature.â€ Did you notice some of the words used to describe the nature of things said when gossiping? The dictionary used words Likeâ€ personal,â€ â€œ intimateâ€ and â€œSensationalâ€ to describe what is being said. It also indicated that it is done habitually â€œHabitually?â€ Is gossip an addiction? Are addictions beneficial? When a person is addicted to something, they are seeking something through the practice they are addicted to. They are getting something out of it. Therefore the practice is basically self-serving. How is gossip self-serving? What could I possibly get out of doing it? Actually there are many results I could be seeking. One might be seeking a feeling of importance;â€ Iâ€™m in the know, privy to things that no one else is in.â€ Iâ€™m seeking feelings of superiority. But why would I want or need such feelings of importance or superiority? Could it be because in reality I have â€œlow self-esteem? Once I began doing it, I become attached to the attention I get from it. It makes me feel good when others look to me for something. But, it doesnâ€™t last. Sooner or later the feelings of low self-esteem come back, now made worse by a feeling of guilt for revealing something I shouldnâ€™t have. The building up of ego was a temporary fix at best. I havenâ€™t really helped myself by gossiping. Another reason for gossiping could be because I want someone else to look bad. This intention again is fueled by negative thoughts. Perhaps Iâ€™m jealous of the person Iâ€™m gossiping about and I want others not to like him, so that Iâ€™ll appear better than him. This again is self-serving. But does it work, or is this anther temporary fix? Will jealously go away by doing this? Do I really become â€œbetter thanâ€ Someone by making him or her look bad in the eyes of others? Is this not also being done as a result of my ownâ€ low self-esteem?â€ These are tough questions to even look at them I must have an open mind. Self- honesties necessary as well. Maybe I feel that I have to warn somebody so they wonâ€™t be hurt. On rare occasions this might be true, but once again I must examine my motives carefully. This could be my mind justifying a self-serving action. It could be an attempt to manipulate the person Iâ€™m talking about. This seems to happen a lot in romantic relationships. If I feel you like another man a little â€œtoo much,â€ I may seek to make him look bad in your eyes due to my own jealously and feelings of insecurity. Is this â€œright Viewâ€ â€œright intentions,â€ â€œright speech?â€ When I began to look at gossip, I felt that I did not need to work on improving. I felt as if, compared to others, I was doing well. But still. I took some suggestions given to me It was suggested that I observe myself with regard to â€œlisteningâ€ to gossip. I might be telling myself that Iâ€™m not a gossip, while enjoying listening to it. If no one listened to a gossip, to whom would they talk? Another thing suggested, was to go one day without talking about anyone else unless the person is present. I thought this would be easy. Mindful observation of this proved to be enlightening. All day long I noticed my willingness to talk about others when they were not around. I couldnâ€™t believe the frequency with which this occurred. Mindfulness is necessary if I am to become aware of my speaking habits. These discoveries about myself were â€œrude awaking s.â€ But again this is a form of self awareness can lead to wonderful growth and honest relationships. Self- honesty, coupled with willingness to change, has truly been a blessing to me as well as to those around me. My own feelings of guilt and shame have been replaced by feelings of self- worth, love and understanding. My own suffering is relieved. I am not contributing to the suffering of others either. So there is much to think about with regard to speech, and it is directly connected to â€œright viewâ€ and â€œright intentions.â€ I can no longer speak thoughtlessly, selfishly, abusively to others if my speech is connected to the other folds of the â€œEight Fold Path.â€ They are all interconnectedâ€. (â€œThe Noble Path Pg, 67â€) â€œWow what a mouth full. I still am working on first learning and secondly implementing all of the things I have mentioned in these writing. â€œKnowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a libraryâ€¦.â€ (Chief Luther Standing Bear Oglala Sioux), â€œThe Wisdom Of The Native Americans.â€ So I search with a thirst for wisdom in all avenues available to me. I look in the worlds religionsâ€™ and in school I look in nature I look in myself. â€œLook at me â€“I am poor and naked, but I am the chief of the nation. We do not want riches, but we do want to train our children right. Riches would do us no good. We do not want riches. We want peace and love.â€ â€œRed Cloud From the book entitled, The Wisdom Of The Native Americans.â€ So Yoga is essentially a spiritual path for me that really leads to happiness. â€œEmpty yourself of everything: Let your mind be at peace. While ten thousand things rise and fall, the Self contemplates their return. Each of them grows and flourishes and then returns to the source. To return to the source is stillness, which is to fufil the way of nature. The way of nature is constant. Knowing consistcy is insight. ( Lao Tsu, TAO Te CHING ( 4thCentury BCE),Meditation,PG19â€. I learn more and more everyday, but the problem is that I forget. My body and mind get in the way of my spirit, so Yoga is a way for me to control My Ego, My body and it enriches my spirit. Yoga seems to me to encompass what the worldâ€™s religions have been teaching for years. And I feel that the message is simply, I love you if you love me, and I love you if you hate me, I love you. This is of course easier to write on this paper than it is to really apply it to my life. But I do feel with enough practice I will attain it, and as they say, â€œpain is a great motivator.â€ Of course I would rather do the right thing willingly than have to go through all the pain it some times takes to get and keep my attention. But how I get there is not really of too much concern to me, the important thing is that I finally get there. I hope you donâ€™t feel that I think that love is on the other shore I know it is right here and right now, but I do feel that yoga is a good vessel to cross over to the other shore, even though Iâ€™m standing on it right now. The problem is I sometimes become afraid that Iâ€™ll lose what I have or not get something that I want. There are various ways for different people to cross over, and since Iâ€™m speaking of the cross I feel it would be a grave mistake for me to miss this point. â€œThe disciplines had forgotten to bring bread, except for the one loaf they had with them in the boat â€œBe careful,â€ Jesus warned them. â€œWatch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.â€ They discussed this with one another and said,â€ it is because we have no bread. â€œAware of there discussion, Jesus asked them; Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And donâ€™t you remember? When I broke five loaves for five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?â€ â€œTwelve,â€ they replied. â€œAnd When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?â€ They answered â€œSevenâ€ He said to them Do you still not understand?â€ So yes I still forget how blessed I am. I still get down, upset and pissed off. I am glad I am human, and I realize that I still have a lot of work to do on myself. I have to put this in the paper this is the coolest thing and here is the introduction. I love religion it makes me realize that I am human, but I feel that it needs to change with our changing world. â€œThe religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should Transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as meaningful unity. Buddhism answers that description. ..If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhismâ€. â€“Albert Einstein from Awakening The Buddha Within. I really work very hard at keeping an open mind to new concepts, and I try very hard not to judge others peopleâ€™s concepts. I guess Iâ€™m learning that itâ€™s all o.k., and that we all will be all right. I still have problems with others trying to rearrange my concepts so they will fit into there concepts of the world, but Once again I have been given an answer for that problem also. â€œIf one comes across a person who has been shot by an arrow, one does not spend time wondering about where the arrow came from, or the caste of the individual who shot it, or analyzing what type of wood the shaft is made of, or the manner which the arrowhead was fashioned. Rather, one should focus on immediately pulling the arrow out.â€-Shakyamuni, the Buddha, from The Art of Happiness, PG 246, HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA and HOWARD C. CUTTLER, M.D. I am really grateful for the things that are occurring in my life today. I was brought up very well, I just felt like there was a puzzle that I couldnâ€™t solve, and that was life. Itâ€™s not that I had bad parents or that itâ€™s a bad world itâ€™s just that they donâ€™t know any better. So I feel every thing is finally going to be o.k. Itâ€™s been a very hard road for me to learn the lessons that I have learned. And I am not willing to go through the kind of suffering that I did. So it truly is a very happy ending to sad story. Where There Is Light, Paramahansa Yoganada copyright 1998, 2000 Self- Realization Fellowship. Essential Teachings, His Holiness The Dalai Lama. Living Buddha,Living Christ, ThichNhat Hanh copyright 1995. When Things Fall Apart, Pema Chodron,copyright 1997. The Noble Path Glen Perna, No copyright available The Wisdom of the Native Americans, copyright 1999. Meditation, Bill Anderton,2002. Holy Bible, New international version,copyright 1973. Awaking the Buddha Within, Lama Surya Das,copyright1997. The Art of Happiness, HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA and HOWARD C. CUTTLER,M.D