Juniper berries. I continue practicing this lesson from every fruit-bearing tree, which is to selflessly offer the fruits of my labor without hoping to receive anything in return. Often when I do expect something in return, it ends up causing deep pain, because I am not living according to Truth and love. However, when giving without attachment to receiving anything, it leaves my mind and heart at peace. Right work done well and in the mood of serving the Lord without attachment to the fruits is a form of prayer. Through karma yoga, we can obtain mukti, or liberation. “Remain evenminded in success and failure. Evenmindedness is true yoga.”
Murray and I each voluntarily taught 30 yoga classes and 30 meditation classes for the Bali Silent Retreat this past March that ranged from 45 minutes to 90 minutes. Many students were new to yoga and many did not speak English as their first langauge. Since it was a silent retreat, we were the only people they got to listen to each day, so we wove dharma talks into our classes to help them progress on their inward journey. A reoccurring theme I incorporated was oneness or connection that they have to all life and that each of their actions effects everything and all beings in some way.
Murray and I also maintained the “Bale,” or open air studio space, blessing the space with mantra or bhajans, sacred songs, sweeping the floor, sending blankets and mat towels to laundry, refilling mosquito lotion bottles and the holy water, so as to set a more sacred space with fewer mosquito bites.
In addition to teaching and maintaining the space, we also replaced faded signs and dyed 30 napkins yellow with tawas, which is hydrated potassium aluminum sulphate (I think?), and temulawak, a big tuber similar to turmeric (see photos below).
It feels rewarding to have offered 30 days of my time and skills to the Bali Silent Retreat, a utopic place that is almost entirely sustainable- solar energy illuminates all of the spaces and walking paths, most of the food is grown on site to feed the guests, and the founders are working to educate people on sustainability and trying to replace plastic bags with a plant-based material. It feels good to offer my service to those doing good work in service of humanity.
If you go to Bali and want to stay at an eco-friendly yoga and meditation silent ashram out in the rice paddies of Tabanan, check out balisilentretreat.com