Love Serve Meditate Realize

Monday, Feb 22, 2010 This week’s Food for Thought – February 22, 2010

…As we have seen, compassion is one of the principal things that make our lives meaningful.  It is the source of all lasting happiness and joy.  And it is the foundation of a good heart, the heart of one who acts out of a desire to help others.  Through kindness, through affection, through honesty, through truth and justice toward all others we ensure our own benefit.  This is not a matter for complicated theorizing.  It is a matter of common sense.  There is no denying that consideration of others is worthwhile.  There is no denying that our happiness is inextricably bound up with the happiness of others.  There is no denying that, if society suffers, we ourselves suffer.  Nor is there any denying that the more our hearts and minds are afflicted with ill will, the more miserable we become.  Thus we can reject everything else: religion, ideology, all received wisdom.  But we cannot escape the necessity of love and compassion.

This, then, is my true religion, my simple faith.  In this sense, there is no need for temple or church, for mosque or synagogue, no need for complicated philosophy, doctrine, or dogma.  Our own heart, our own mind, is the temple.  The doctrine is compassion.  Love for others and respect for their rights and dignity, no matter who or what they are:  ultimately, these are all we need.  So long as we practice these in our daily lives, then no matter if we are learned or unlearned, whether we believe in Buddha or God, or follow some other religion or none at all, as long as we have compassion for others and conduct ourselves with restraint out of a sense of responsibility, there is no doubt we will be happy.

May I become at all times, both now and forever

A protector for those without protection

A guide for those who have lost their way

A ship for those with oceans to cross

A bridge for those with rivers to cross

A sanctuary for those in danger

A lamp for those without light

A place of refuge for those who lack shelter

And a servant to all in need.

Tenzin Gyatso (Buddhist Monk)

YOU CAN HELP:   Your support is crucial to continue the fight to help “downers ” (an animal too sick or injured to stand or walk on her own, ending up in a slaughterhouse and used for human consumption) by raising your voice on their behalf.  They cannot speak on their own or they would!  Learn more about this campaign and sign the petition to President Obama at:

Monday, Feb 15, 2010 This week’s Food for Thought – February 15, 2010

Books or yoga classes often give the impression that there are prerequisites for the study of yoga.  We may be told that we should not smoke, or that we should be a vegetarian, or that we should give away all our worldly goods.  Such ways of behaving are admirable only if they originate within us—and they may as a result of yoga—but not if they are imposed from outside.  For instance, many people who smoke give up the habit once they begin a yoga practice.  As a result of their practice they no longer want to smoke; they do not give up smoking in order to practice yoga.  We begin where we are and how we are, and whatever happens, happens.

When we begin studying yoga—whether by way of the asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing), meditation, or studying yoga sutras (Spiritual text)—the way in which we learn is the same.  The more we progress, the more we become aware of the holistic nature of our being, realizing that we are made of body, breath, mind and more.  Many people who start studying yoga by practicing asanas continue to learn more poses until the only meaning of yoga for them lies in physical exercise.  We can liken this to a man who strengthens only one arm and lets the other one become weak.  Similarly, there are people who intellectualize the idea of yoga; they write wonderful books and speak brilliantly about complicated ideas such as praktri and atman, but when they are writing or speaking they cannot sit erect for even a few minutes.  So let us not forget, we can begin practicing yoga from any starting point, but if we are to be complete human beings we must incorporate all aspects of ourselves and do so step by step.  In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali emphasizes all aspects of human life, including our relationships with others, our behavior, our health, our breathing, and our meditation path. —TKV Desikachar, The Heart of Yoga

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill

Where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.

—Jalal ad-Din Rumi

Monday, Feb 08, 2010 This week’s Food for Thought – February 8, 2010

Love is far the most important thing of all.

It is the golden gate of Paradise.

Pray for the understanding of love; meditate upon it daily.

It casts out fear; it is the fulfillment of the law; it conquers multitudes of sins.

Love is abundantly invisible.  Love will conquer all.

There is no disease that enough love will not heal today.

No door that enough love will not open.

No gulf that enough love will not bridge.

No wall that enough love will not throw down.

No sin that enough love will not redeem.

—Tagore, Cloud of the Unknowing

TIP OF THE WEEK: YOGA MATS—A SECOND LIFE   Don’t let your mat languish in a landfill.  The Boulder Mat Company, ( will gladly take it off your hands, clean and refurbish it, and donate it to a yoga-inspired charity.  Or visit to find out how you can give your mat a new life through a participating manufacturer.  Both programs sweeten the eco deal with a discount toward a new mat purchase.  —Yoga+Joyful Living


Happy Valentine’s Day to YOU!

Monday, Feb 01, 2010 This week’s Food for Thought – February 1, 2010


“The path of love and devotion is the easiest way to attain the Divine.”

—Bhakti Sutras of Narada (verse 58)

The path of love and devotion, bhakti yoga, is the path of the heart.  It is our deep longing to become one with that which is eternal and unchanging. By attaining the purest, highest state of unconditional love, we can overcome our sense of pain and separation and experience an abiding inner peace and joy.

The 84 aphorisms of the Bhakti Sutras, written by the sage Narada, is the principal text of this path.  According to Narada, bhakti is the easiest way to attain the Divine, because it is our very nature to love and to be loved.  However, we often want others to care for us, to heal us, to make us whole—and are constantly disappointed when our expectations are not met.  But if we can begin to see those around us as manifestations of the Divine, and start treating them the way we want to be treated, then our worldly relationships are transformed into spiritual ones.  As we learn to love others without conditions, without expectations, without selfishness, we start to see the face of  Divinity reflected in their eyes.

Gradually, as we learn to let go of our sense of duality, we experience a complete openness with others, for we come to understand that we are all the same, there is no separation.  That is the highest state of realization—the true nature of love.

—Irene (Aradhana) Petryzak

TIP OF THE WEEK:   Want to stay warm and energized?  Instead of depending on caffeine, which stresses the adrenals, try this ayurvedic tea.  Bring 8 cups of water to a boil.  Pour it into a thermos with 3 thin slices of fresh ginger, 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, 2 black peppercorns, and a few mint leaves.  Steep for an hour and sip slowly through the day.