Ignorance is Anti-bliss

I saw this posted in the storefront of where Srila Prabhupada set up shop in NYC to share prashad and kirtan.

The root of all problems is our ignorance of who we really are. We aren’t solely the body, or the mind, we aren’t our thoughts, jobs, hobbies, liked or dislikes, but we are spirits connected to all sprits. If we can recognize our underlying unity, we would no longer need borders, no longer need to compete with each other for resources, but instead we’d do everything in support of everything.

Avidya, or ignorance, is the root of the ego, attractions, aversions, and clinging to life, these are the obstacles on the path. Once we realize our connection and yoke to it, we attain vidya, or knowledge, and then we will find harmony, fairness, and peace.

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Defending Earth is Self Defense

We will realize protecting Mother Earth is self defense.

Yoga, or the realization that the self exists as an inseparable part of the whole and our meaningful existence is found by serving the whole, is the first step to overcoming the obstacles in battling climate chaos and eradicating humanity’s egocentric thinking that Earth and all its creatures and resources exist solely for human use.

Destruction of the environment and our stable climate is a direct result of the mistaken thinking that humans are on top with the rights to use, abuse, manipulate, and destroy as they like.

Malcolm X said, “I don’t even call it violence when it’s in self defense; I call it intelligence.” At what point will standing in the sidelines be more violent than resisting the destruction of the planet and its ability to provide for future generations?

Excerpt is from a highly recommended read titled Igniting a Revolution: Voices in Defense of the Earth:

Is Yoga at its Roots Anti-Civ?

I read a great essay by Terra Greenbrier, titled, “Against Civilization For Reconnection to Life!” This essay confronts our attachments to the norms and why we need to break free from the current status quo in order to realize our true nature, which is connection to nature and each other. Science has started to prove that social relationships are just as crucial to health and longevity as exercise. We don’t need to wait for science to catch up to realize the importance of our connection to all of life and to Earth. Here are the highlights from the essay:

“School, work, media, science, medicine, religious institutions, the nation-state and its military, political systems, economies, concepts like Progress, patriarchy, domestication, reason, morality, and politics are institutions that separate us from directly experiencing the diversity and inter-relatedness of the living world. Living within the circle of life, as an integral part of a whole organism, forms a basis for our relationships with other humans.”

How can we free ourselves from our dependence on civilization and all of its destructive distractions from our True Nature?

1: create or participate in catalyzing situations

2: inspire people to question human-centered, control-oriented culture

3: move towards decentralized, anarcho-communist, worker-controlled, ecologically harmonious, classless, international networks of syndicates/affiliations

4: figure out which seeds to scatter that will sprout from the compost of current society and then scatter those seeds. For example, teach people how to grow their own food, compost, mend clothing, fermentation as food preservation, etc.

5: confront the subtle, psychic logic of Civilization within ourselves and reclaim our Self from the false self that we were taught to create and project into the world

6: share, cooperate

7: earthen-building

8: DIY, permaculture, edible landscaping

Yoga teaches us that we are either living in yoga, a spiritual connection, or bhoga, enjoyment of the senses. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna warns that the more we indulge in the senses the further entangled we become with maya, or the material. This inevitably always ends in misery because all material enjoyments are temporary and it hurts when we get separated from our attachments. If we find fulfillment in yoga, or this spiritual connection to the Supreme, which is infinite and unchanging, we find eternal contentment. The Srimad Bhagavatam asks us to turn away from all of maya’s distractions such as movies, politics, even friendships that aren’t based on spiritual connection, so that we might find meditation, which is defined in the Srimad Bhagavatam as an unbroken stream of one thought on the Supreme.

To solve our problems we must turn towards the divine, and with realization that all living entities and the Earth are marginal energies of the divine, then each act of preserving, respecting, connecting with life, becomes a devotional act that liberates us from climate chaos, from the binds of society and civilization, and ultimately from the Maya and its inevitable miseries.

Eco Karma Yoga and Prepping

My partner and I went around the neighborhood and sowed some seeds into the planters. I’ve always been inspired by guerrilla gardening. Look up Ron Finley’s Gangsta Garden project to feel inspired yourself! He even has a TED talk about it.

As we exist on the tipping point of destruction or saving our planet, each act as small as a seed being planted could make a big difference! How will we survive if things do collapse? By adapting, figuring out ways to DIY, growing edible landscapes and then knowing how to cook what was grown from scratch, networking into smaller communities, prevention of diseases through self care practices, etc. Collapse really could happen any time, a peculiar piece of evidence that I caught was a commercial on TV for 15 year supplies for a family of prepackaged meals in case of an emergency.

To be responsible is to be prepared. To be prepared through the various mentioned ways would undoubtedly soften human’s load on the planet anyways and thereby reduce whatever consequences we would face if we didn’t start preparing now.

This week we move into Spring, so it is time to practice growing some edible plants, especially those of you who think you can’t!!! Herbs are a good place to start. Lay some seeds down, connect to your community, bicycle instead of drive, and know that this is all part of our ahimsa practice towards the Earth and all of its current and future inhabitants. This is our karma yoga, to selflessly serve the earth and al it’s people, plants, animals, and insects, even when it’s not the most convenient for your self.

PS. If you’re in Milwaukee, you can come to Eco Yoga Sunday’s at 10AM and know that 20% of total proceeds from your asana practice is donated to organizations that keep rainforests intact!

Yoga Teacher Training

Yoga teacher training isn’t just an opportunity to learn to teach yoga, it’s where you refine all levels of your yoga practice. The yoga teacher trainings I have participated in always felt like stepping into a cocoon to emerge at the end with glistening wings of knowledge and love.

Yoga changes your life, yoga teacher training is the acceleration of your evolution into the best version of yourself.

Join me for an unforgettable 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training at the Institute of Beauty and Wellness (IBW)

Yoga brings the body, mind, and spirit together into one harmonious existence. This 200-hour Yoga Teacher Certification program is centered on both the physical and meditative properties of the practice. You will graduate with a strong understanding of:

Asana and how to sequence and instruct it

Patanjali’s Ashtanga (Eight Limbs of) Yoga

Anatomy

Role of the Yoga Teacher

Pranayama

Meditation

Working with specialty populations such as elderly & pregnant

Ayurveda

We will meet for 9 modules either the 2nd or 3rd weekend per month.

Friday: 5-9pm

Saturday 9am-5pm

Sunday 9am-5pm

This program begins April 13, apply and reserve your spot at IBW.

Equality and Yoga

The Bhagavad Gita states that when one knows Truth, one sees all living beings as equals with equal vision. One sees oneself, the trees, plants, insects, birds, animals, and all varieties of humans as all children of the same source.

“One who sees Supersoul equally present everywhere, in every living being, does not degrade himself by his mind” (13.29).

If we awaken to this commonality, Earth and all of its waters, forests, wetlands, oceans, creatures, crops, and all humans whether or not we agree with them, deserve equal reverence, protection, rights, and most importantly love.

Because many humans think we’re more important and more deserving than the rest of life is how we got to be in this state of climate catastrophe and social injustice. Like children raised by parents who are more interested in their own selves, nature is beginning to aggressively cry and act out for the attention and love that it had always deserved.

In degrading nature we degrade ourselves. For example, if the water is polluted and we rely on the water to drink, cook, and bathe, we ingest the pollution through our bellies and skin. Same goes with the air, soil, etc.

Yogis: you have the knowledge. You must act on this every moment, embracing all life as your family. It is time to put the rainforests and respect for animals before our taste and diet preferences. It is time to bury consumeristic conveniences in the past by spiritualizing the way you cook, eat, walk, and live. It is time to recognize the sacred in everything, and then turn towards and serve the Supersoul. After all doing so is our True Nature.

Making Peace with Death

According the the Bhagavad Gita, death isn’t the loss of life, but it is the soul’s exchange of one body to it’s next. The soul is infinite and simply acquires and lets go of bodies just as we acquire clothes and let go when they’ve become worn out.

Fear of death is one of the kleshas, or obstacles of Yoga, which is resolved in the Bhagavad Gita, death really is not an issue because the essence of a being is eternal. Sadhguru stated a question that illuminates this point, that I paraphrase: when someone loses weight, have they lost part of themselves? No because they are not the body. When a tree loses its leaves it is still the same tree.

When you love someone are you in love with their body? When parents love their children and after ten years their children have completely different bodies, yet they still love them, so they must be loving something much deeper than the body.

Our thoughts and state of mind at death determines the body and the conditions of our next life, and death could arrive at any time. So, we must tend to the spirit as if today was our last. How do we know the state of mind or what we will think of at the time of our death which could happen at any moment? Look at what you fix your mind on. What are your daily and moment to moment focuses?