Common sights around Yoga Vidya

I’ve been here a month now, so last week I took my camera around with me to take photos of some of the more common sites around Yoga Vidya Bad Meinberg. These are things I pass everyday.

This is a slideshow so click on the first picture to get started.

Flowers in Germany

Om om Everyone,

Since I last posted I took the major step of moving to Bad Meinberg, Germany to live at Yoga Vidya Ashram. So far it has been wonderful, but I’ve been super busy trying to learn everything and deal with the paperwork and things on this end. I took a few minutes the other day to take some photos of the beautiful flowers around the area. Enjoy!

bleeding heart blue bonnet 1 blue bonnet 2 buttercup leaf magenta 2 magenta moss orange pansy blossom pansy pink purple rhododendron 1 rhododendron 2 white

Header Photos

A number of people have asked me about the images of flowers that randomly select for the header for each page of this blog. They are original photos that I took over the years. I like to do macro photography and I have mediocre at best equipment, but for me it is calming and relaxing.

1

Stay tuned for more.

Give Love

One of the most pervasive and difficult to grasp concepts in yoga is Prem, or universal, divine love.

Pervasive because every single great Saint and yogi says that in the true reality all there is, is love. Love is Truth. Love is the essence of everything.

Difficult to grasp because the Love they are talking about is not the kind of “love” that most people experience on a daily basis. Most normal relationships that would be described as loving involve attachments and are influenced by our own emotional and mental issues and attitudes. They come with a fear of loss and lots of desires to fulfill your own needs through someone else. The closest we usually come to Prem in our daily lives is the unbounded all-consuming and all-giving love of a good mother for her newborn child, and even this might be said to include attachment for the one baby that is hers. Because we can’t get away from our minds, it’s difficult to grasp the kind of love that doesn’t involve the judgments of our minds.

hearts

Prem, divine love, has no attachments or requirements. It is unbounded joy and giving. It is Bliss that bubbles up from your core. It includes everyone and everything – even people that don’t look or think like you, that come from somewhere or sometime else so you can’t understand why they think that way. It includes all animals, plants, rocks, rivers, everything. Because it taps into the essence of all these things.

Only by experiencing divine Prem can one be said to truly be working in the spirit of karma yoga or selfless service.

Recently I have been taking an Ayurveda course to learn more about the medical branch that supports yoga. Ayurveda is a natural healing method, which believes that food is medicine, and it affects your mind and your body. So the important thing is to eat foods that are good for you according to your body type and the seasons, so that you can live a long and healthy life, and have more time to practice yoga.

Eating proper food and living a spiritual life will help your mind have the clarity to understand (digest) relationships and concepts that are difficult, and to see them in their True light.

The course is written by Dr. David Frawley, an Ayurveda expert, among other things. I found this quote in his course that is particularly poignant talking about Prem and what you have to do if you really want to feel love:

Love is the only emotion that can really be digested. The others we must learn to deflect with the detachment of our awareness. Love, it should be noted, has many forms as compassion, devotion, joy, etc. It is our failure to love, to be loving, which is the source of all emotional disturbances. The desire to be loved, on the other hand, is a failure to give love. Our real emotional nourishment comes from within as the power of love. We cannot simply pick it up form the outside like we can good food, though as children, when our inner connections are not entirely formed, we require love from outside to sustain us. ~Dr. Frawley

So give love. All the time. It will come back to you.

Lance Armstrong and the Media

So Lance Armstrong is all over the news again, this time because he allegedly confessed to Oprah yesterday in an interview to air at a later date that he did use performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) during his cycling career.

Honestly I think this illustrates a problem that has more to do with our media and how we judge what is important than it does with Lance Armstrong and what he did.

Of course I should say here for the record that no cyclist should rely on the use of PEDs to advance their career blah blah blah, and that it was wrong, blah blah.

The thing is that all cyclists who are well-known probably use PEDs. And the events with Lance Armstrong occurred many years ago. Some as long as 15 years ago. Lance was really good at not getting caught. And most likely he has a huge ego-driven urge to prove himself because of the extent he went to to sustain his lies. That is his issue and now his karma to deal with.
Lance Armstrong Headshot (BlackWhite)

However, since that time, Lance Armstrong took the money that he got from cycling and he used it to create the Livestrong organization that has helped millions of people to overcome their own cancer and to improve their lives.

In the main Lance Armstrong has done a lot of good for the world. By comparison his cheating in a sport and lying about it afterwards are pretty minuscule. It’s a sport in the end.

People say well the organization is based on a lie! How can I believe him now he lied to me! But the truth is, even with the PEDs he still overcame cancer and he still had to ride the races and win them. He still had to create the organization and run it.

So I wonder why the media is all over this, their need to air the details hourly, and crush Lance Armstrong like a bug into dust until he confesses in a fit of tears or whatever in a press conference and pays back the money and we can all go righteously on our way because we saved the world from a guy who cheated in a sport and then lied about it.

I want the same news coverage for the corporate CEOs and financial business people and military hawks who truly do bad things to the world. Who decimate our planet and plunder its resources, and who indiscriminately kill innocent people all over the world to advance some agenda they have and satisfy their greed. And then lie to us and say it’s to further peace in the world, and to spread democracy, and we all have to sacrifice.

Those are the people who are truly bad. They are the ones killing the planet and the people who live here and there is not a word of real coverage about this, and they are not going to have to go to prison or pay back the planet or the families of the dead people. Where is the righteous indignation for these guys?

ecologicaldisaster

Lance Armstrong is just a guy with a big ego problem and he did some questionable and wrong things on a public stage. But in the main he’s not that bad a guy, and the media should focus on more important things.

New Year’s Resolutions

It’s almost that time again. Time to think about your New Year’s resolutions and priorities. This January counts 11 years since I made the New Year’s resolution to practice yoga in a meaningful way.

One of my favorite quotes from Swami Sivananda is excellent to reflect on when deciding your spiritual New Year’s resolutions. I find it to be very inspiring. It’s from the book Sadhana:

“In the spiritual path it is a case of progress or regress. There is no comfortable “sitting on the wall” frequently. To rest is to rust. With a flaming aspiration push forward. Every day must show that you have taken one step more upon the path. Progress is not to be counted in number of days that have passed in practice. It lies in how far you have outgrown your former ways of thinking and living. What is the extent of your victory over external environments? Do you maintain a calm and balanced mind? Do you remain unaffected by little annoyances and irritations? Are you more ready to forgive and less ready to offend? Has your aspiration grown stronger? Are you doing increased Sadhana or are you expecting Divine grace to help you to carry out your resolves and vows? Are you waiting to get blessings or Asirvad from saints and Avatars? Blessings are always there, but unless you prepare to boldly struggle upwards and onwards blessings are just as useful as staff and shoes to a traveller who does not care to march ahead.”

sivananda from life archive

Swami Sivananda