Meditation Offerings

Meditation At Be Yoga and Wellness Mondays at 7 pm,
Any Time Fitness, Okaville Tuesdays at 7:15 pm.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Gita Translation

My translation of the famous Gita phrase,

यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत । 
अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदात्मानं सृजाम्यहम् ॥४-७॥ 

परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम् । 
धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय सम्भवामि युगे युगे ॥४-८॥

may not be the same as many others

Krishna says:
 whenever one veers far from truth,
 to elevate Dharma( the sattvic evolution)
the atma creates aham (I).

For protection of spirituality and annihilation of evil (thoughts)
I make possible over and over through time.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Loving Kindness

Meta bhavana or loving kindness meditation is ascribed to Buddha. There are many versions of this practice, all leading to awakening within the body mind with pleasant peaceful after effects, sometimes lasting for long and with practice, even longer.

You need to make this practice your own for it to work not simply rote repeat of a mantra or prayer although those are essential starting points to let your body mind get curious and follow through.

My practice begins with first recalling  loving people, things, events in my life not as a daydream but a body scan practice. More recent the event, easier it is to feel the sensations. One way to do this is when you feel loving towards something like my cat for example, scan your body immidiately and look for points of bliss in your body, heart, stomach, tingling in your limbs and all leading to a peaceful stillness in your head. Try to lock in this memeory and recall it when on the cushion. And make that sensation the object of your meditation, bring the attention back to it over and over for at least five minutes. Also keep asking who is feeling this?

Second step is the most difficult as it requires you sharing your bliss with those who have done you wrong or situations that were or are hurtful. This practice for me is best with yoga. As you feel the stress and strain in your body, see the discomfort as the net result of causes and conditions of yoga. See your nemesis going through the same discomfort and even pain in their own body and mind. Now bring back the feeling of step one and see that compassion spill onto this difficult group as well. Keep asking who is feeling this? Now see that bodies are different the feelings are similar. See the unity not separation.

After at least ten minutes of second step, cast your attention to your third eye and visualise the entire creation as a functioning causes and conditions machine all working by itself from ever to forever. If you are mathematically saavy see the creation as fourrier integration of your bliss to all creation. Keep asking who is sending bliss to all?

Never forget to make the body feel gratitude for this practice.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Why Meditate


Is exercise or quitting smoking good?  This is not just a new wave of wellness paradigm but a change that is sweeping the world. Remember this, very few people wake up without an alarm. That alarm clock is ringing all over the world. You can only put it on snooze for so long. Or you can wake up.

A regular meditation practice is the first step in responding to the alarm and waking up. And waking up is not some complicated step, it is letting your true self shine through. I am sure you have come across people who have this ease about them and peace that resonates through. You are witnessing the truth. For some, it comes naturally, for the rest of us we have to do something. That something is not to acquire. You can't get it in a store or read in a book. It is a process of losing a whole lot of stuff. If you carefully look at yourself , you see millions of stories in everything we say or in the ways we act, even in the ways we sit or relax. This all happens because your body mind has picked up habits. Meditation is learning how to relax out of these habits. And just as we picked up these habitual stories that cloud over our true self, a regular mediation practice replaces them with a habit of self abidance, staying as true self, initially for some time and eventually all the time.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

I Child

 It is I child
It is I child that suffers
Not the lump of flesh n bones Not the hunk of a frame
Not the calm presence.
It is I child that pines To crawl back home To mother's lap
To love and peace.
It is I child that's abused By loud world
LuringI to fun and frolic, sex and wine
Power and fame Wealth and prosperity
Words and songs, Oh happiness.

It is I child that mimics Images I sees
Suave and expert The cool gang.
It is I child that cries Feeling inadequate Despondent and morose I must end this pain.

It is I child that wants
Desperately to run home
 But there is no one there
Vines of time pervade.

Nothing but memories
Only the sensations
of womb, warm, comfort, love
Yet more fantasies.

It is I child that dies
With each step forward
With each breath of stale air With each drink of putrid wine.

Save this I child
 Before you save the world
Build an empire
Or find happiness.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Chakra Meditation: Why and How?

Chakras are not just curious energy centres around the body but one way of liberation from the bondage of illusory existence. It is a progressive path from a constricted human existence to revelation of truth. The meanings of chakras are best expressed by the corresponding mantras.

Om Bhuh, mantra for the earthly life at mooladhara located in the anal region on the spine.

Om Bhuvah, mantra for the basic instinct of procreation, swadhistahana located in the genital areas of the spine. This mantra releases one from lust.

On swah, mantra for the self centered body instincts  located at the core region of the spine. Chanting this mantra releases one's selfish instincts.

Om mahah, mantra for the heart region of the spine opens up ones heart to all there is in love for all truth.

Om Janah, mantra for the throat and neck region of the spine opens the channels of communicating the truth internally and externally.

Om tapah, mantra for exploration of all there is in meditation, located at the third eye, using the mind and brain for its true purpose of liberation from the bondage of all chakras.

Om Stayam, mantra fro the crown is liberation when it is seen that the only truth is here and empty.

To meditate on the chakras, sitting is the preferred posture as lying down short circuits the energy flow into earth and makes the process much slower. Breath is allowed to infuse each chakra with the mantra ideally expressed verbally to resonate through the body and working through the base of the spine until Om Satyam at the crown.

Gayatri mantra is a melodious way of doing the same meditation as you cycle through each chakra as the mantra unflods in the follwing sequence.

Om Bhur (mooladhara) bhuvah (swadhisthana) swah (manipura or core) tat savitur varenyam (heart)
bhargo devasya( throat or vishudhi) dhimahi dhiyoyonah (third eye or agyan) prachodayat (bright crown) OM.

A simpler version is practicing this meditation by breathing into the chakras as we either chant the sounds or listen to a recording of the corresponding sounds of each chakra, Luung, Vaang, Rrrrrung, Yunnnng, Huuung, Ommmm, Satyam..

Monday, November 6, 2017

Ripples in Still Waters



No matter how much effort you put in, throwing a pebble into a lake will create waves.




With the mind, all you can hope to achieve with clear knowledge, is that those waves are not imagined into a tsunami.




Mind having imagined tsunamis in the past will again try to do that. Reason, another part of the mind comes to the rescue.


When all these forces work together, peace results. Some call it unification of minds. But in my opinion its just nicorette subbing for cigarettes, far less toxic.




You have it, you lose it, you have it again, and so goes the waves in the real stillness which never really changes.


Another perspective; what is calm waters for a super oil tanker feels like a storm to the little sailboat caught in a the middle of the ocean.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Hard Problem of Consciousness

You may have heard of this. There is a philosophical conflict brewing between spiritualists and neuroscientists getting worse each time a new artery is opened explaining yet another channel of explaining why sentient beings do what they do.

My understanding of the problem is as follows. Science can explain or extrapolate all the way from big bang to living bodies. There are some gaps such as how do amino acids which can be created from simple hydrocarbons, air, lighting and heat in a flask, somehow make it to proteins and then to single cell orgasims or the self replicating dna's. Even that can be assumed to be just a matter of time before we find the answer. The Hard Problem is how do we go from a body which we have in common with a wide variety of species to something called consciousness?

What about consciousness? Isn't it also extrapolated from natural principles? Not quite. Why is there a survival instinct? Electrons are attracted to protons becuase of the charge but they don't have compassion for other electrons. Although entanglement questions that also. We spend most of our lives in self interest but often we have a desire to help and perpetuate the species. Why? Why is consciousness generous?

Neuroscientists, some, believe that consciousness is an emergent property of matter. We just don't know how that happens yet. Spiritualists, some, believe it is the be all and end all of all creation. Some call it god, some call it flying spaghetti monstor and some knowingknown. 

Why is this important? Because all else is not. Everything in the universe is trying to find a steady state of happiness and peace. A conscious mind quickly finds out that real peace and happiness only comes from the nonmaterial aspects of life, peace, silence, generosity, true love... all clealry real and all without a foundation in materailism.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Nirvana of a New Born

Teachers often point to the serene simplicity of a new born as a metaphor for Nirvana. A newborn sees no separation, sees the universe as its own extension, doesn't yet know how to delineate snensations; a loud noise or intense hunger both  have the same feeling to a child, that of a general discomfort. And the child cries until it gets the desired result releasing dopamine or the happy chemical. A purturbation subsides back to its ground state or serenity and nirvana.

The big question is how and why does it get lost? Why don't we maintain this state all our lives obviating the need for spiritual seeking later in life when dissatisfaction sets in as nothing produces enough or sustained level of happy brain chemicals?

The answer lies in the natural buiild of the body that supports life and has an inherent program to sustain the species. Happy chemicals are naturally designed to reward actions of the body towards preservation of the species.

Consciousness on the other hand starts and stays in nirvana but starts to identify with the body more and more as the quick hit of happy chemicals create a state which has the same albeit temporary characteristics of serenity or nirvana.

We end up chasing the quick fix to have small hits rather than stay in the all pervading. This creates craving and aversion. Only after ignorance is lifted and wisdom of impermanence, suffering and annatta is the only way to return back to the child state of nirvana.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Unscholarly Buddha's Four Noble Truths

Great spiritual masters like Buddha or Christ didn't write a prescription for elite scholars and bourgeois  Yet millions of pages fill interpretation of their work through the centuries. Followers struggle to understand and follow the paths pointed by the Buddha. Perhaps a better way to follow him is to use your heart and place yourself in his heart. Something happens when you do.

Become a privileged young man with all pleasures of a principality, castles and servants. Or become a privileged child today with no financial worries, a good job, seemingly good life. Then cast your heart onto billions who suffer. Do you feel their pain? That's the feeling that caused Buddha to abandon it all, like doctor without borders or volunteer workers in war torn parts of world even today. Just like you, Buddha searched for an explanation of why all this suffering in a world that is apparently protected by an almighty benevolent kind God. He followed priests and gurus, did penance, chanted hymns, performed yoga and rituals. Found no answer. Only when he gave up the prescribed contemporary methods and sat under the bodhi tree in resignation that truth dawned on him. This he summarised as four noble truths, not a Sanskrit or pali dissertation for a Ph.D in Asian and Buddhist studies but a compassionate sharing with rest of humanity as his suffering ended.

He didn't use big words to describe his findings. He told,
  1. The truth of suffering (dukkha)
  1. The truth of the cause of suffering (samudaya)
  1. The truth of the end of suffering (nirhodha)
  1. The truth of the path that frees us from suffering (magga)

These pali words are still in use where Buddha was born. They are simple words. All he meant by them is that indeed there is a cause of suffering that can be ended by following some simple techniques. 

All hell broke lose after, as gurus and priests then and now preach arduous and complex path to liberation, some suggesting an impossibility, only death can free you. So the wise ones, perhaps the same scholars who were writing texts for the priests and gurus got busy and wrote long elaborate Buddhism practices.

Just take the simpleton approach like Buddha. Be compassionate not scholarly. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

If You're Unhappy Clap Your Hands

I tweeted a while ago that if you're unhappy, you are making a mistake. Actually you are making two mistakes.

First is you are identifying a suffering emotion as being unhappy. Your mind is creating this feeling of unhappiness to protect you from further harm. Remember the prime objective of your brain and mind is to keep you happy, healthy, safe and at peace. Unfortunately it often acts without deep wisdom and makes mistakes. So these mistakes cause another suffering and then it acts again. This is life. And this is why Buddha said life is suffering.

Second, there is no one to be unhappy.

So, he prescribed something to end suffering. Mindfulness meditation to gain wisdom. A natural outcome of ultimate wisdom is compassion. Compassion for all and hence a wish to make everyone happy, safe, healthy and at peace. Without this, we are all unfulfilled.

So, anger is mind's way of releasing the body's frustration from being unable to achieve its perceived contentment. Sadness associated with a broken heart is mind's way of dealing with unfulfilled desires. Fear is false evidence appearing real as Hedderman says. Mind's action to prepare for a potential threat.

All of this is mind acting according to its plan to make you happy. It will keep making these mistakes until you eliminate its ignorance by gaining wisdom.

But this is still acting in the realm of the body. Brain, a body part acting to protect the rest of the body. An endless loop until full enlightenment or buddhahood.

What is enlightenment? A recognition that there is no one to be enlightened!

No one to be enlightened means no one to suffer or be unhappy.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Why do anything?

Sometimes in the midst of chaos and anxiety and activity and wellness programs and satsangs and sadhanaa, a question like this has to pop up. The mind wants to know why are we doing anything at all. Gita does have an answer. When Arjuna asked Krishna about inaction and action. Krishna replied that there is really no such thing as inaction. Sure, it may seem like you have solved your immediate problem of facing adversity and unpleasantness by withdrawing from the battlefield or picking up a good book and vegging out on the couch but that too is an action. Whatever it is that you are avoiding by ignoring never eally goes away.

 Like Buddha said, even if one person is unhappy in the world, that  will someday come to you or your progeny or what you call home. He went on to instruct his bhikkus that you must act to bring about enlightenment and happiness by ending suffering for all not just yourself. One enlightened being is a very temporary affair and no enlightenment at all.

You may go on further and ask but why even do that i.e. why seek end of suffering. Think deeply on this, even when you avoid trying to end suffering, you are actually trying to end suffering. Acting to end suffering is not an option, you are doing it even when you are not.

But "why do anything" is even a deeper question once you truly realise that you are not the body. Krishna taught another gita called the Uddhava Gita which is the next step, once you have transcended the mind and body. For then, there is truly nothing to do as all actions are in this realm of what Buddha called the conventional reality. However if you delude yourself into thinking that you have transcended the body mind, inaction will be premature and bring suffering. That is not nirvana.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Gems from Culadassa

Insanity

Paraphrasing Culadassa(at 1:31 to the end. you tube clip}, Insanity is whenever you do not accept or rather reject what is at the present moment.Definition of insanity is to resist what is.

This summarises Gita's teaching on Karma very well. Your action at any moment is based on your mindfulness principles now. You have a vision now what is the right choice. When the future arrives you must accept what is. Any time you resist what is, you will gain insanity.

Doesn't mean you don't do the absolute best every moment what you think has to be done without resentment without prejudgment. We are born every moment. Live in that space.Outcome is what outcome was, you are just noticing it now.

Suffering and Empathy

Suffering is essential for awakening otherwise it is simply a theoretical or hypothetical exercise. How else could a Buddhist know what compassion is? Be mindful of compassion done to you, that is the best teacher and will linger in your mind longer than any theory or preaching.

Nirvana and Samsara

They are the same thing. Nirvana is to accept samsara completely, a radical acceptance. Yogi in a cave is waiting for completion of his knowing. Body and speech is in the market place but the mind of the Buddha is in nirvana.

Loving Kindness

Your ability to rejoice in other's happiness loosens the knots of craving and suffering.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Are you the body?

The first and toughest block on the path to liberation is the body. From the moment of birth, everything in the body is designed to establish itself as a separate, successful and protected unit. This is of course a throwback from the days as hunter gatherer when we neded protection against predators. Animals are gone but the threat is still encoded. We act 24/7 as the body with a name, owner of stuff, related to other bodies with a vague feeling that there is more.

Is there any direct evidence to support that you are the body? First, is there such a thing as a body? Well, there is flesh, there are bones, there is blood, there are limbs, there are glands, all conceptualized into a label called the body. Even the components are labels attached to cells, tissues and further down into molecules and atoms and so on.

There is another organ called the brain which receives inputs from five senses in form of electrical signals translating into images of vision, taste, smell etc. What makes the taste your taste and your palet? Look carefully and you will find just a signal and an idea rushing into calling it your taste. Stub your toe and first there is a signal which quickly become my hurt toe. Light signals become my vision by a complex software riding on your mental hardware which it labels as mind. First there are sensations and then there is ownership claim.

All sensations and thoughts exist already in a very quantum mechanical probabaility way. Certain signals from one of the five detectors prompts the mind to label it red or painful and then attach a tag of mine. Paul Hederman calls it selfing.

In reality there is no body just an idea claimed by an imaginary algorithm called the self created by the brain and mind.

It gets worse. Not only we walk around, thinking erroenously that we are the body but often we say this is my body. Now here we are really sending confusing and paradoxical messages to our mind, we are the body which owns a body. No wonder much our life is upside down.

Let's see if there is any reason to believe we own a body. The body which is a bunch of chemicals grew from a couple of complex molecules from our parents fed by natural stuff that came from earth, wind and sun. Did you actually do anything to acquire this body that you claim to be yours?

Hmmmmm !