“O profound, silent tree, by restraining valour with patience, you revealed creative power in its peaceful form. Thus we come to your shade to learn the art of peace, to hear the word of silence; weighed down with anxiety, we come to rest in your tranquil blue-green shade, to take into our souls life rich, life ever juvenescent, life true to earth, life omni-victorious.” ~From ‘In Praise of Trees’, by Rabindranath Tagore
“One of the classic Buddhist teachings on hope and fear concerns what are known as the eight worldly dharmas. These are four pairs of opposites–four things that we like and become attached to and four things that we don’t like and try to avoid. The basic message is that when we are caught up in the eight worldly dharmas, we suffer.
Even ordinary people like us with hang-ups and confusion have this mind of enlightenment called bodhichitta. An analogy for bodhichitta is the rawness of a broken heart. This is our link with all those who have ever loved. This genuine heart of sadness can teach us great compassion. It can humble us when we are arrogant and soften us when we are unkind. It awakens us when we prefer to sleep and pierces through our indifference. This continual ache of the heart broken open is a blessing that when accepted fully can be shared with all.
The birds’ favorite songs
You do not hear,
For their most flamboyant music takes place
When their wings are stretched
Above the trees
And they are smoking the opium
Of pure freedom.
It is healthy for the prisoner
To have faith
That one day he will again move about
Wherever he wants,
Feel the wondrous gift of life —
Find all wounds, debts stamped canceled,
I once asked a bird,
“How is it that you fly in this gravity
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
“This first glance of a soul which does not yet know itself is like dawn in the heavens; it is the awakening of something radiant and unknown.”
―From Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Those who train wholeheartedly in awakening … are called warriors – not warriors who kill but warriors of nonaggression … They are willing to cut through personal reactivity and self-deception. A warrior accepts that we can never know what will happen to us next. This not-knowing is part of the adventure. It’s also what makes us afraid.
Wherever we are, we can train as a warrior… Our tools are sitting meditation, tonglen, slogan practice, and cultivating limitless qualities of loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity.
The training offers no promise of happy endings. Rather this “I” who wants to find security – who wants something to hold onto – will finally learn to grow up. If we find ourselves in doubt that we are up to being a warrior-in-training, we can contemplate this question: “Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?”
-from Comfortable With Uncertainty By Pema Chodron
Yesterday my students gave me a sweet send off. Then after scurrying all day doing last minute prep for the trip, I was grateful to be able to attend Grace’s strong vinyasa practice at the studio. I needed it. I am blessed to be a yoga student and a yoga teacher in Fairhope. I love Yoga Birds and I am proud of what is has become and what is yet to come. I have so many new friends through yoga. And really this is what its all about. Grace talked last night about ‘plugging in’ to our bodies (physically and mentally). And that when we do this, we inevitably become more aware of everything around us, ultimately reconnect with our innate compassion, and then all of our actions reflect that. Did I mention that I LOVE yoga and being a yoga student? I feel prepared in body mind and spirit for this journey to to the ‘Motherland’. I offer a huge thanks to everyone who is supporting me in making it a reality. All Love, Melanie
– YogiPod posting with iPhone
My grandmother would call Bear and Reggie (my beloved rescue dogs, and two of the main characters in my own play of life) joyfully rambunctious. At leash time, which happens twice a day, they literally lose their ever-loving minds with excitement. This morning was no different. They were swirling around me in circles, drooling uncontrollably, appearing more like ‘hyper-kinetic swaths and swooshes of Black and Gold’ than the ‘good boys’ I constantly brag on. If I try to move around with the intention of catching one to place his leash on—it just creates more chaotic energy and I too am chasing my tail in tiny tight circles in the living room. This dance can be fun (occasionally) but only to a certain degree. Most of the time it is not a pretty sight to behold. Back to the daily dog walk…I have learned that if I become super earthy in my feet, stand with Mountain Pose awareness in my legs, initiate a few mindful Ujjayi breaths, and connect with my own center still point, the dogs come and sit at my feet and allow me to leash them. I now realize that this desired sequence of events is not random (as if it’s all just a game of luck-not), and that I can, through a set of sequential actions recreate the scenario day after day. This is yoga off the mat! I am grateful for daily my yoga practice on the mat that helps me to remember my center, connect with it, be still within it, allow and observe the natural course of things to unfold, and then to respond skillfully. When movement and action originate from that place of stillness and clarity, then I am operating from a level of oneness with Nature. The dogs feel it, I feel it, and we are literally connected by it. Now I can’t wait to get on my mat to practice it! PEACE DOGS!
I came across this passage in morning reading about Centering Prayer which is an ancient Christian Prayer form that comes from Catholic tradition. I just love it when teachings from the religion of my birth and teachings of yoga and meditation intersect in sheer oneness and beauty.
The Greek Fathers distinguished between chronos and chairos. Chronos is chronological time: the steady flow of minutes, hours, days, and years. It moves along relentlessly, with steady, unflagging pace –no matter what is going on. It is totally equalitarian, flat, unvarying. Chairos is the time of grace, the fullness of the present moment, the all that is now. Each moment has its own uniqueness, its own fullness, its own quality. [Through methods of meditation and Centering Prayer we will more quickly) graduate into a life of chairos, a life that is filled with luminous Presence, great peace, a constancy in joy…–M Basil Pennington, O.C.S.O