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.”
You know how Genesis says God gave humanity dominion over the earth? I read in Igniting a Revolution that most of us misinterpreted that to mean we can use or abuse the land and animals however we deem most efficient, when in fact God used the word ‘dominion’ to actually mean ‘keep’ Earth as a gardener keeps their garden or has dominion of the garden. When we treat the myriad of miracles the divine gave us with respect, compassion, love, and protection, we act in gratitude and in accordance with how God intended for us to treat the Earth that he hired us as caretakers of. The way a gardener lovingly cares for each plant is the intention behind setting us up as caretakers. Through loving service to all of creation we serve the divine, our Source, the Source each meal, each breath, and we really begin to understand what yoga, or communion with the divine, is.
Can we embrace the challenges? Can we observe emotions as internal events rather than being taken for roller coaster rides through the impulsive reactions and decisions that result from getting swept away by our emotions?
The yogasana practice is the practice-lab that gives ample opportunities to learn to breathe through challenges and observe internal drama without letting it hijack your mind.
Once we have this resilience, the challenges in life will propel us into spiritual growth spurts rather than tear us up inside and set us back.
Here’s my challenge to you to try right now: hold chaturunga dandasana (the asana in the photo above) for 4 slow smooth breaths.
Start in plank, learn to chill out here, with hands directly beneath shoulders, heels above toes, the whole body straight as an arrow, bend the elbows as close to 90 degrees that you can hold and keep your slow smooth breathing going! To modify if the low back is straining, release knees on the floor creating a straight line from crown of head to knees.
Enjoy the challenge and feel your emotional resilience grow!
Approach everything and every act with intent to serve nature and then life becomes yoga or sadhana, spiritual practice. The following is written by Sri Swami Satchidanda.
Spiritual Practice is Not What You Are Doing, But What You Are Thinking – November 30
When you repeat your mantram, you should feel, “I’m not doing it for my sake. I am doing it to train my mind. If I train my mind, I can serve better.” So even your mantra repetition becomes an offering. “I’m doing everything as an offering to God, guru and humanity,” Then you don’t make distinctions between, “Ahh, this is sadhana, this is spiritual practice. That is not.” Sometimes we say, “Oh, I don’t have time to do sadhana. I’m always working on the bulldozer.” So what is bulldozing then? Your working on the bulldozer is not spiritual? Do you think that only by going into a corner and closing your eyes and murmurinmg something you are doing spiritual practice?
Spiritual practice is not what you are doing, but what you are thinking. Remember that. If you could understand the meaning of sadhana you would know how to do it. You don’t have to change your activities and say “This is sadhana but this is not.” Even your eating. Even when you sit on the toilet you are doing sadhana. Remember that. Everything becomes a spiritual practice. We should transform all our activities into this kind of sadhana. That means “I am doing everything as a meditation, as an offering, as a prayer to serve God through service to the humanity.” I wouldn’t even say to humanity; do it as a service to the nature. Why only humanity? Humanity means only human beings. Serve the dogs, serve the cats, serve the rats, serve the mosquitoes. Serve the plants. Be nice to them, be loving. Even if you have to pull out a weed, do it in a loving way.
Om Shanthi, Shanthi, Shanthi
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