News & Thoughts on Yoga in DC

Posts Tagged ‘Meditation’

Be Like the Tortoise

In Essay, Religion on April 24, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Maryland Tortoise in deep prayer

As luck would have it, I came across a tortoise out walking this morning. It had pulled in its limbs to the extent Lola, my dog, seeing me crouched over, and unaware the tortoise was a living being, flopped down on top of it.

My meditation and prayer room has a beautiful view of  fields. It also shares space with my desk and computer, and as I have a somewhat scattered mind, every time the iMac pings to notify me of a new deposit in my e-mail inbox, I want to jump up to read my mail.

Sea Tortoise, Flying Pig Pottery

My mind is like a tiger on the prowl. Its ears perk at anything new, and it pounces first right and then left, forgetting the path it was taking.

My mind prefers a Webpage with juicy links promising new information — the bliss of eternal distraction never having to follow one thing through — to a cloth and paper book with type running into the future like endless train tracks.

The Bhagavad Gita offers some advice to the spiritual seeker:

Even as the tortoise draws in its limbs, the wise can draw in their senses at will. Aspirants abstain from sense pleasures, but they still crave for them. These carvings all disappear when they see the highest goal. Even of those who tread the path, the stormy senses can sweep off the mind. They live in wisdom who subdue their senses and keep their minds ever absorbed in me [Krishna].

Like a tiger, my mind feels alive and important in action. But like the tortoise, it finds life in prayer.

Oprah Editor’s Second Life

In Essay, Essays & Scattered Observations on January 14, 2012 at 12:35 PM

We start out in life intending to change the world. At 25 we hold ourselves responsible for being different and more successful than our parents and peers.

Amy Gross, Mindfulness Meditation NY

Thirty  years pass — children, houses, husbands, and jobs, at which we perhaps succeed brilliantly but don’t in fact change the world in any significant way. The contract we signed with society — the covenant by which we raise educated, healthy children and support our shared American economy, in return for status and paved highways — is fulfilled. And now, at age 50 or 55, the second journey begins.

Amy Gross left Oprah Magazine, where she was editor in chief, to become a teacher and meditator, she reports in The Daily Beast.

In Hindu philosophy they say that you leave off being a “householder” to become a “forest dweller,” seeking God away from the rapid beat of the city. You become who you are.

The key shift is in turning toward pain, when all your life you’ve turned away from it, Gross writes of meditation. You give it your full attention—you yield to it—and, paradoxically, its hold on you diminishes. 

She began studying and teaching Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Designed in 1979 by molecular biologist Jon Kabat-Zinn, Gross says, “MBSR is an eight-week course that delivers the benefits of mindfulness meditation to people who may have no interest in Buddhism. ” She asked her students how they had changed, and received stories of reduced pain and increased patience and joy in daily lives.

Listening to them go around, I thought: I never teared up like this at a magazine award, Gross writes.

Jesus said something about that, too: Give and it shall be given to you (Luke 6:38).

It’s a funny thing that happens when we turn from the world to the spirit, that it enters into us and we give back to the world. We are no longer fulfilling a contract — the script has run out, with a big #30 marking the last child’s departure for college or marking an anticipated career promotion. We are forced to entertain nothingness. And if, as we enter the void, we are brave enough to listen to our own panic, a sense of who we are, and what God wishes for us, begins to form.

Amy Gross appears to have had the mighty courage to face the void and to let the work of the spirit settle in her.

Walk Your Yoga

In Photos on May 3, 2011 at 7:00 AM
 2011 Valerie Brown

It’s best to go to the Tidal Basin early to catch the morning light reflecting off the pale water, or late in the day after the tourists have left.  Mid-day is very noisy with street traffic and families.  Approach it at the right hour, especially when the cherry trees are in bloom, and you will be rewarded with a meditative walk along the water’s edge.

The Tidal Basin sits near DCs other monuments, like the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument. It  is 107 acres in area, planted along its periphery with Japanese cherry trees given to the city of Washington by the mayor of Tokyo in 1912.

Take the Orange or Blue Line to the Smithsonian Metro stop and walk 10 minutes south east.

Boys Will OM

In Photos on April 2, 2011 at 4:17 PM

Declan, Liam and Rowan meditating by the front door in Frederick, Maryland.

“Do you know how to meditate?” I asked the boys.

“Yes,” said Rowan. “We meditate before karate.”

“For 10 seconds!” said their mother. Rowan paused to think.

“No,” he said. “We meditate for 17 seconds.”


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