Monday, February 20, 2017

Facing Difficult Situations

Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering how to best face difficult situations.

You must learn an inner solitude, wherever or with whomsoever you may be. You must learn to penetrate things and find God there, to get a strong impression of God firmly fixed in your mind.

-Meister Eckhart

To give full attention to whatever we are doing isn't easy when we have a job we dislike, or must work with people who are difficult. Then our attention wanders like a child's - looking at this glass for a moment, then at this table, then out the window. If we could only attend a little more to the work, even when we dislike it, it would become quite interesting. When we can give it our full attention, anything becomes interesting. And anything, when we do not give it our full attention, becomes uninteresting.

Words to Live By: Inspiration for Every Day – Eknath Easwaran

The homework is to notice when you become distracted (Vrittis) when something is difficult (Duhkha). Take the time in that moment to sit with your difficulty and give it your full attention (Dharana). See if giving this difficult situation your full attention makes it interesting or at least helps you understand it more clearly and directs you to meaningful action (Karma).

Blessings,

paul cheek
Rushing Water Yoga
417 NE Birch St., Camas, WA 98607
360.834.5994
www.rushingwateryoga.com
info@rushingwateryoga.com


Serving Yoga to Camas, Washougal, and Vancouver Washington since 2003

Monday, February 13, 2017

Obstacles and What Really Matters

Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering the obstacles that are on our path that inhibit our ability to move towards "what really matters."

We need people who can dream of things that never were, and ask why not. *

-George Bernard Shaw

In an Indian movie I saw recently, a villager leaves home for the first time to travel to the city of Bombay. When he returns, his family and friends crowd around him, asking what it was like in the big city. His laconic reply sums up our era: "Such tall buildings . . . and such small people."

If we were asked to give an accounting of our society's achievements, we could claim many great technological developments and scientific discoveries, plenty of skyscrapers, and the amassment of huge sums of money, but few truly secure, truly wise, truly great men and women. It is not for lack of ability or energy, though; it is because we lack a noble goal.

To grow to our full height, we need to be challenged with tasks that draw out our deeper resources, the talents and capacities we did not know we had. We need to be faced with obstacles that cannot be surmounted unless we summon up our daring and creativity. This kind of challenge is familiar to any great athlete or scientist or artist. No worthwhile accomplishment comes easily.

Words to Live By: Inspiration for Every Day – Eknath Easwaran

The homework is to consider what obstacles are on your path that inhibit your ability to move towards "what really matters."  Use the two wings of Yoga: Abhyasa or effort, willpower, and practice; and Vairagya or letting go, acceptance, and detachment as your guide.  Work to find balance between your effort and letting go of getting anything out of your effort.  Take whatever little steps or attempts you can make.

*edited to make gender neutral

Blessings,

paul cheek
Rushing Water Yoga
417 NE Birch St., Camas, WA 98607
360.834.5994
www.rushingwateryoga.com
info@rushingwateryoga.com


Serving Yoga to Camas, Washougal, and Vancouver Washington since 2003

Monday, February 6, 2017

Pursuing Peace

Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering which Yoga practices can help us pursue peace.

Pursuing Peace
by Eknath Easwaran

Mahatma Gandhi has said that to be well adjusted in a wrong situation is very bad; in a wrong situation we should keep on acting to set it right. But in order to reconcile individuals, communities, or countries, we have to have peace in our minds. If we pursue peace with anger and animosity, nothing can be stirred up but conflict.

Meditation and the allied disciplines enable you to take your convictions deeper and deeper into consciousness, so that they become a constant source of strength and security – even when you are severely challenged or threatened. When you practice meditation, you are working hard for the welfare of the world, for the regeneration of society, for the establishment of peace on earth and good will among all, which, as we know to our cost, cannot be done by governments or by corporations but only by millions of little people in little groups, working in all countries, through their personal example.

When I read newspaper accounts of individuals, factions, and governments unleashing provocative words and actions against each other at the same time they are trying to settle their differences, I am reminded of the wise statement attributed to Mahatma Gandhi that an eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind.

These tragic confrontations are caused by utter forgetfulness of the deep unity that underlies all petty differences of religion, ethnicity, language, or national identity – a forgetfulness that leads to never ending violence, war, and destruction.  Speaking as a spiritual teacher, let me humbly submit that a true and lasting peace can only come about through the awakening of a deep sense of shared humanity.

How meditation helps
In the mystical tradition it is said that the human appeal and the divine response go together. If we deepen our desire for God’s help by memorizing and using in meditation sublime testimonies of the highest qualities a human being can attain, we can bring into our daily lives the deep faith and unshakable security of the great mystics of all religions. By training our attention on magnificent testimonies such as the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi (“Where there is hatred, let me sow love”), or the Twin Verses of the Compassionate Buddha (“Hatred can never put an end to hatred, love alone can”), or the twelfth chapter of Gandhi’s beloved Bhagavad Gita (“That one I love who is incapable of ill will and returns love for hatred”), we can become what we meditate on.  Through this method of meditation we will begin to understand that a human being can become an immense spiritual force barely contained in a physical form.

It all depends on us
If each of us, through the example of our own lives, can inspire two more people every year to meditate and to live at peace with those around them, it will have an incalculably great effect in creating a climate of peace.

That is my ambition, and that is why I say I am a terribly ambitious man.  You and I make peace. You and I make war. It all depends on us.

Source - Special Message from the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, 6 February 2017

The homework is to discover for yourself what practices you can turn to that support you in pursuing peace. Yoga prepares us for contemplation be it prayer, meditation or other. See what works for you.

Blessings,

paul cheek
Rushing Water Yoga
417 NE Birch St., Camas, WA 98607
360.834.5994
www.rushingwateryoga.com
info@rushingwateryoga.com


Serving Yoga to Camas, Washougal, and Vancouver Washington since 2003

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Love and Mercy and the Forces of Life that Reside Within

Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering which Yoga practices can help us rule our decisions by Love and Mercy. And which practices helps us cultivate or connect with the “forces of life” that reside within.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

                                      -The Gospel According to Saint Matthew

Even if we agree intellectually with the Sermon on the Mount, how many of us act as if its words apply to us? We let mercy wait while we pursue goals we understand. A luxurious home overlooking the sea through a forest of pines, prestige in our job, success for our children: don't all of us dream that such things can make us happy?

"That is not enough," Jesus would say quietly. Our need is for love, and we can get it only in the measure that we give. Instead of pursuing external satisfactions, we need to let love and mercy rule our decisions from day to day, and our long-range goals as well.

Then the forces of life will rise up from within to protect us. They will protect our health by keeping us clear of physical addictions. They will protect our mind by keeping it calm. People will surround us with affection and support when they see we care about them more than we do about ourselves.

Words to Live By: Inspiration for Every Day – Eknath Easwaran

The homework is to reflect on how training the mind through Yoga practices can help us rule our decisions by Love and Mercy. Consider as well which practices helps us cultivate or connect with the “forces of life” that reside within.

Blessings,

paul cheek
Rushing Water Yoga
417 NE Birch St., Camas, WA 98607
360.834.5994
www.rushingwateryoga.com
info@rushingwateryoga.com


Serving Yoga to Camas, Washougal, and Vancouver Washington since 2003

Monday, December 5, 2016

Applying the Practices of Yoga to your Life off of the Mat

Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering how to refine the practices of Yoga through Asana and apply these practices to our life off of the mat.

Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day.      

                                                                     -Ralph Waldo Emerson

A compulsive desire is like any other thought over which we have no control. It flows continuously: "I want that; I want that; I want that." There seems to be no space between the thoughts. But when your meditation begins to deepen, two things happen. First, the thought process slows down. Second, you develop a new attitude toward desires - you begin to realize that you needn't give in to the desire. You have a choice.

Now, when a very strong desire starts to overtake you, and your mind is just one long string of "I want that," you catch sight of a tiny opening between the demands. It may be only a split second in duration at first, but in time it grows long enough for another thought, another kind of thought, to make itself known. "Hmmm," we think, "maybe part of me does want that - but do I? Is it really in my long-term best interest to gratify this desire?"

Words to Live By: Inspiration for Every Day – Eknath Easwaran

The homework is to reflect on which of the eight limbs of Yoga help you to learn to slow your thought process down. Consider your breath (Pranayama), one-pointed attention (Dharana),  and ??????  Discover how you learn and cultivate these practices in Asana and how to apply them in your life off of the mat.

Blessings,

paul cheek
Rushing Water Yoga
417 NE Birch St., Camas, WA 98607
360.834.5994
www.rushingwateryoga.com
info@rushingwateryoga.com


Serving Yoga to Camas, Washougal, and Vancouver Washington since 2003

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Source of all Strength and all Joy and all Love

Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering how our Yoga practices can move us move closer to the source of all strength and all joy and all love.

Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven, and all else shall be added unto you.     

                                          -The Gospel According to Saint Matthew

The mantram is one of the best of prayers - one that we say not just when we get up or when we go to bed, but countless times throughout the day, and throughout the night as well. This prayer is not addressed to someone outside us, but to our deepest Self, the Lord of Love, who dwells in the hearts of us all. When we repeat it, we are not asking for anything in particular, like good health or solutions to our problems or richer personal relationships. We are simply asking to get closer to the source of all strength and all joy and all love. To use Jesus' words, we are asking for "the kingdom of heaven," and we find at the same time that our health improves, our problems begin to be resolved, and our relationships blossom.

Words to Live By: Inspiration for Every Day – Eknath Easwaran

The homework is to reflect on how your Yoga practices can help move you closer to the source of all strength and all joy and all love.

Blessings,

paul cheek
Rushing Water Yoga
417 NE Birch St., Camas, WA 98607
360.834.5994
www.rushingwateryoga.com
info@rushingwateryoga.com


Serving Yoga to Camas, Washougal, and Vancouver Washington since 2003

Monday, November 21, 2016

Ishvara Pranidhana

Greetings Sadhakas,

This week in class we are considering Ishvara Pranidhana - surrender to God.

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity....It turns problems into gifts, failure into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates vision for tomorrow."

                                                                                                                                - Melody Beattie

Consider Ishvara Pranidhana the fifth Niyama. Ishvara represents that living symbol of the divine that is in our hearts and Pranidhana a profound recognition of that which sustains us and gives meaning to our lives. Literally it means surrender to God.

Ishvara Pranidhana is fundamentally about a relationship to something higher than or beyond ourselves.  It may be a higher force, as in the context of traditional religious traditions, or it may be in relation to human values, such as kindness and compassion.  In either case, it will manifest in our lives as the ability to let go of the tyranny of our self-importance – whether it reveals itself as pride and arrogance, or self-pity and low self-esteem.  It will awaken in us attitudes such as gratitude and appreciation.  As a result, we will be able to simply wake up in the morning and say,”Ah, I’m alive another day.”  We will feel grateful in our hearts for the gift of this life.  We will take the time to look and appreciate the beauty around us.  In our relationships we will become open to receiving each other with respect and appreciation.       

Homework:  What does the concept of “sacrificing your own self-importance” mean to you to?   Does this sacrifice have to come before the qualities of kindness, compassion, gratitude, appreciation and respect can be cultivated?  What little step can you take today to begin or deepen your practice of Ishvara Pranidhana?

References:
Quoted and paraphrased from Iyengar the Yoga Master, edited by Kofi Busia, Kriya Yoga: Transformation Through Practice – A Western Perspective, by Gary Kraftsow.

Blessings,

paul cheek
Rushing Water Yoga
417 NE Birch St., Camas, WA 98607
360.834.5994
www.rushingwateryoga.com
info@rushingwateryoga.com


Serving Yoga to Camas, Washougal, and Vancouver Washington since 2003