Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category
Kirtan and World Music recording artist Dave Stringer on his home base:
People come to Hollywood with all kinds of expectations — fortune, fame, self-fulfillment of a certain kind — and are generally greeted with nil. … You try to control the timing of things, and you simply have to wait. In the face of all your attachments and desires, the universe says “no”, and you spend a tremendous amount of time staring at the void.
… The doors of Hollywood open sometimes to those who are more or less desire-less, and also to those people who are incredibly driven and ruthlessly ambitious. Ultimately, of course, there’s a price. But so you spend a lot of time staring at the void, at emptiness and disillusionment and ultimately you start to ask those questions again: “What am I here for? What does it all mean?” There are a lot of people dealing with that in Los Angeles and I think this is one reason why yoga is so popular there, why it is one of the epicenters of things yoga right now.
… People have a lot of time on their hands, often with more money than not. Or even without money, it’s a place where you really have stare at yourself and ask what all this means. So many of the things Hollywood offers turns out to be specters, mayas, illusion, and you have to contend with that, and also, in turn, yourself. So there are a lot spiritual opportunities there, underneath the surface. And I have met many, many, very spiritual people in Hollywood, all trying to come to grips with this paradox of seeing beyond illusion. But at the same time they’re working to create it. That’s the paradox.
Source: The Yoga of Kirtan
David Williams was one of the first Westerners to study with Pattabhi Jois. The quote below is from a 2004 letter to yoga students in Oahu1. The sentiment he expresses is consistent with previous posts I’ve written on the subject of finding teachers and classes.
I am occasionally asked if someone is “good at yoga.” I quickly respond that the best Yogi is not the one who is most flexible, but the one who is most focused on what he or she is doing, the one most intensely doing the mulabandha and deep breathing … My goal is to convey the idea that the greatest Yogi is the one who enjoys his or her Yoga practice the most, not the one who can achieve the ultimate pretzel position. It is my belief … that in your practice of this moving meditation, what is really important, is what is invisible to the observer, what is within each of you.
Unfortunately the hyperlink to that letter is broken. I came across the above quote in this essay written by an Australian academic.
In the end, just three things matter: how well we have lived, how well we have loved, and how well we have learned to let go.
… I should mention here that even though the main ingredients are all vegetables, such dishes are not strictly vegan. At Eiheiji, curries and stews are made using standard commercial roux, which does contain meat products. Even so, this does not violate any Buddhist precept.
In Thailand and other countries practicing Hinayana Buddhism, which emphasize adherence to ancient precepts, monks go begging for their food. They eat whatever is placed in their begging bowl, be it meat or vegetable, without penalty. The Discipline of the Ten Chants stipulates three conditions under which it is permissible to eat meat: if you did not see the animal being killed for your consumption; if you did not hear the animal being killed for your consumption; if it is certain the animal was not killed for your consumption. As long as these three conditions are satisfied, the meat placed in Thai monks’ begging bowls may be eaten with impunity.
What really matters is the determination not to take life. In fact society is full of people who spend so much energy pursuing the means of doing something that they all lose sight of purpose. Rather than thinking about purpose, people are more attracted by, and more proficient at having various methods at their disposal. But methods that are devoid of purpose or detached from ultimate meaning will often — like war, and like development in the name of progress — lead only to disaster.
From Max Strom (A Life Worth Breathing, page 69):
Healing your own anger issues:
… If you feel that you tend to be competitive or aggressive by nature, I recommend that you avoid yoga classes that approach “attaining” postures as the main focus. Instead, seek out classes that are noncompetitive and more oriented toward healing. Release your addiction to “power” and seek out breath and alignment. You will discover a new kind of power that will astonish you. …
One of the best things I attended last year was a breathe workshop conducted by Max Strom. Max has such a gentle way about him, notwithstanding the fact that many regard him one of the finest yoga teachers in the US. These tips are from his recent book, A Life Worth Breathing (see pages 55-56).
1. Listen or read the news once a week — no more. … Does this mean we should go into denial and ignore the problems? Absolutely not. … If anything momentous happens you will hear about it; everyone will be talking about it …
2. Read inspiring, life-affirming books before going to sleep at night … Whether it is the Bible, the Upanishads, the Torah, the Koran, great philosophers, or inspiring poetry — to go to sleep with hope and inspiration will improve the quality of your sleep and dreams.
3. Watch no violent or disturbing images on TV or at the movies. No explanation is necessary.
4. Get to sleep by 10 PM. According to traditional Chinese medicine (those who practice acupuncture), the period between 10 PM and 3 AM is the most vital for the body to replenish and repair itself.
5. Give up caffeine gradually. Sorry but this is important. … What will amaze you is that you will find you have more energy, not less.
Happy New Year to all! Here are a couple of quotes on compassion, to get your 2011 off on the right footing:
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. (from the Dalai Lama)
If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete. (from the Buddha)
How many pranayamas should a typical yoga practitioner do? Since the start of the year is traditionally a period when people fine tune their practice, I thought the following quote would be helpful:
“How many pranayamas should I do in one day?” Krishnamacharya responded by asking, “How old are you — about forty years? … Then you must do four times that number daily. Do 160 pranayamas a day.” (By “one pranayama” he meant one round of inhalation and exhalation.)
Early in 1975, Krishnamacharya had tol me, “You must do pranayama for half the time you spend practicing asanas.” And in a class on the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, he had told me, “One must practice pranayama for at least three hours a day.”
… I asked Krishnamacharya why he had made different recommendations about pranayama. He answered, “The person who asked me in the lecture a few days ago was a yoga teacher. A teacher must always be ahead of his students in his practice. Therefore I told him to practice more. … You are also teaching yoga, but you are only around thirty years old now. He is ten years older than you. At your stage of life, you can do pranayama for half the time you spend practicing asanas. As you grow older, you must do more pranayama. When you are sixty years old, you must do pranayama for twice the time you spend on asanas.
Some words to ponder as you start reflecting on the year that’s drawing to a close, and as you begin to look ahead to the next year. I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, but I always relish quiet time at the end of the year. From Ram Dass in Living the Bhagavad Gita (pages 240-245):
If you have any doubts about whether you should be doing a practice, stop doing it. If you have any misgivings about doing sadhana, if there is any question in your mind as to why you are doing it, stop. Go back and live your life just the way you lived it before … you ever meditated or prayed, before you knew anything about all of this nonsense. Go and live exactly as you did, and forget this whole meshuga business. And then watch what happens. Watch the way you are drawn by some inner thread to open a spiritual book and read a few passages, or to sit quietly and watch a candle flame.
… We keep thinking we have to get behind ourselves and push, when all the time we are actually being propelled full speed ahead. When we see that, we recognize that sadhana isn’t something we do to get ourselves somewhere; it’s something we do to get ourselves out of the way, so we can stop being obstacles to the process.
… My final suggestion for a strategy of sadhana is this: Trust the dharma. Trust it, even if you feel at some ego level that you’re shucking yourself a bit. It’s very helpful to our sadhana if we can start looking at the laws working around us and upon us as benevolent. Notice that I don’t mean benevolent as “nice”, in the sense of something that’s trying to keep our ego happy or even trying to keep us alive. I mean something that’s benevolently guiding us through our karma — that is, something that’s benevolent because it’s helping us to awaken.