An Attitude of Gratitude



Can you ever have too much gratitude? I doubt it?

This is a repost from 2014; however, I was reminded, through a cascade of`teachable moments, to be eternally gratefully–for every moment.  There is no need to anticipate, and this does take effort, the next moment will get here!

Prayer is an interesting activity.  Like meditation, it is an opportunity to go inside and merge with stillness.  However, so many people pray their power away–they ask for assistance, intervention, and blessings; but, they do not, simply, offer gratitude for what is going well.

Recently, I was challenged by a dear friend to post 3 statements of gratitude, for a week, on my Facebook page.  Over, the years I have done several exercises in gratitude– which is something I continue to work on cultivating.  Whenever, I make a conscious attempt to find something to be grateful for, the gratitude flows in abundance.  One positive thought, attending to one gift, becoming aware of an inkling of Prasad becomes a river of plenty.

Many people mistakenly believe that prayer is not part of the Yoga tradition.  Conversely, this tradition has consists of four pillars: meditation, contemplation, mantra, and prayer.  However, it is taught, prayer begins as a dialogue and converges into a unification.

Prayer instills us with bhava, the strong emotion of devotion–but, we don’t have to pray our power away.  Offer gratitude for what is working.  You and the Divine Source are one and the same– therefore, nothing can be against you.  Sit with the blessings before asking for intervention.  You may discover that you are all the resources you need.

My Mental Meditation Pillow


I’ve been recycling a bit lately because being a good teacher isn’t about finding new things to say all of the time.  Sometimes, it is about restating and reframing.  The path of Yoga isn’t about complicated techniques.  It is about depth; it is not about breadth.  You don’t need to know a million techniques to know the Center of Consciousness.  Whichever path you choose, you have to commit to going to the threshold again and again.

Originally posted August 27, 2014

A few months ago I was being coached by a wonderful teacher, Radhika Shah-Grouven, about how to keep doing “this” when I am so busy.  I know we all feel very busy– and, with regards to scheduling, I am: the family, full-time job, additional clients, commuting, this blog… this list could be endless.  However, I find that I am only as overwhelmed as I believe that I am– of course, this falls within certain physical parameters: I must get sleep (although I get 5.5-6 hours), I must eat well, I must drink water, I must exercise, and I must meditate.

Meditation doesn’t cause me to suddenly have a “stress”-free life.  However, it does cause me to be very aware of my reaction to stress.  It has afforded me enough self-awareness to realize how much I can take on or how much I must put down. I definitely experience times of ambivalence and apathy– times where I would rather sit on the couch and veg-out.  However, I would rather allocate predetermined amounts of “free-time” to meditation.

My lineage recommends four times a day– that may seem daunting to a newcomer.  I would recommend a newcomers dedicate time for one to two sittings.  As I have stated previously, five to seven minutes; but, commit and do it.  In the same way you wouldn’t consider leaving the house without brushing your teeth, commit to going inside.

My teacher, Swami J, says to make it an appointment, like lunch with a friend.  If you are late, you postpone and make it up, as soon as possible– like your lunch date.  Life happens!  But, as Radhika taught me, you have a “mental mat”– it goes with you every where.  She explained that there were times when she just touched the mental mat while riding the train!  The more you return to center, the more it stays with you.  Many times my meditation pillow is in the cockpit of my car and my meditation room is a parking lot.

How Do You Qualify Yoga?


It’s been awhile since I last posted.  I am so grateful to Chad for holding down the fort with his amazing poetry.  If you didn’t get a chance to read his evocative piece, “Aghori” you should definitely do so!  If you are not familiar with that name, the Aghori are an obscure Tantric sect from India who engage in unconventional practices to bring them union with The Center of Consciousness.  I have to admit, even finding a great link to share on them was nearly impossible.  Most pages are super-sensationalized and prejudiced.

I first learned about the Aghori from, the late German-Canadian Yoga Historian and Philosopher, Georg Feuerstein.  His in depth, and provocative, work, “Tantra“, demystifies the various aspects of the, often misunderstood, aforementioned philosophy.

This morning, on my way to work, I was listening to another Feuerstein pearl, “The Lost Teachings of Yoga“–even his voice is mesmerizing.  Georg elucidates ten points that demark “Authentic Yoga”.  Now, whether or not you agree with this list, he provides poignant arguments.  Additionally, we (myself, obviously, included) can find our feathers ruffled by the Truth.  Perhaps, if these points cause disequilibrium, like Piaget, you can consider them opportunities for growth.

1. Yoga is a Liberation Teaching.

2. Yoga has many branches.

3. All Yoga paths subscribe to Dharma.

4. Yoga is a continuum of theory and practice.

5. All Yogic approaches require a commitment to radical self-transformation.

6. All Yogic approaches require the implementation of discipline and detachment.

7. The closer we come to Enlightenment the more ordinary we become.

8. All Yogic approaches account for surprise and/or grace.

9. All Yogic approaches are initiatory.

10. All Yogic approaches involve the replacement of old habit patterns with new benign patterns.

I will begin a series of 10 posts based on each of Georg’s posits.  I hope you enjoy them.

Om Shanti Namasté
ओम शांति नमस



There is a question at the center
From which all this emanates
The story of this mark
is what these lines are connecting.
Sticks and stones of habit and bones
are woven under careful roofs thatched.
The chicken came first
because the scheme of the egg
had not yet been hatched.
The three streams converging are quite a map,
diagram upon diagram of your ship and the treacherous landscape.
A much fussed over plan spelling out the means to escape
to a question mark.
Only sheer speculation to give it shape.
Destination unknown.
Is this carrot on a string sufficient bait?
I pursue and at times lash out
hungry and enslaved by fate
But that’s really not me,
just this body on mother earth
Hurling through space.
I am the question and the mark
operating this computer that animates.
I may not know exactly what I am
but I do know I must return home to consummate.
So I embrace living for the mysterious
punctuation at the end of the sentence.
Happy to contemplate…



Looking for love
from all of the wrong
when I should be looking above.
Looking for love from the
when I should be looking within.
Falling out of love with my
fellow man
when I should be falling in.
Shouldn’t be asking so many questions.
I don’t need suggestions!
I know love’s going to win.
Stopped, dropped, surrendered,
And I’ll never stop giving in.
Already knew, just had to remember.
All is well under this powerful spell.
A perfect life for me,
conflict is done.
The truth is and always will be
that love’s already won.


The Spiritual Path is Purification


Recently, I was very moved by my beloved teachers words, “There is a myth circulating that to experience the truth you must first be completely, 100% purified, and that is simply not true. First seek the direct experience of the top of the spiritual mountain, and then learn to purify the subtler aspects“.

This seems like a paradox–even in contrast to the Yoga Sutras on which Swami Jnaneshvara was commenting.  The penultimate treatise on Yoga begins with the expulsion: prior work must be done before the endeavor of Yoga is to begin. Furthermore, as the Sutras unfold, Patanjali recommends adherents develop a moral base before the endeavor of meditation. The 10 “Suggestions” (not Commandments) of the Sutras are yamas and niyamas.  Among those we find tenets, such as: ahimsa (non-harming), aparigraha (developing greedlessness), and tapas (which means fire and austerities)–it all sounds a lot like purification to me!

To those of us (notice I say us), who grew up in the West, with a guilt-inclined (misinterpreted) Christian background, ate junk food, cursed, and were occasionally inebriated–this sounds daunting.  However, again as one who speaks from experience, it should not make us feel less than worthy.

The simple, not easy, effort to adopt a spiritual lifestyle (and perhaps to embark on a path to Our Highest High) is inherently purifying.  <Sigh> Again, the spiritual path is purification.

Now, I am going to share a very personal experience… But, it is important for readers to understand that everyone’s path is different.  As you proceed, understand that in Sanatana Dharma (the group of traditions from which the Himalayan Tradition emerges) a Guru is not a mere person.  The Guru represents the Highest Consciousness–Superconsciousness.

Many years ago, I was chanting an ancient text of Kashmir Shaivism, the Guru Gita, with my meditation group.  I came across this verse, “Blessed are all the relatives, Blessed are the ancestors, Of one who serves the Sadguru; Such a soul is rare indeed“.  That stanza changed me forever; such a soul is rare indeed.  

What the Guru Gita is revealing is the rarity (not the perceived flawlessness) of an earnest seeker.

Knowing that rarity can spark a fire of passion, which is was one needs to obtain the Highest Realization.

As an earnest seeker pursues the path, they will begin to live more ethically–because they will come to know (not intellectually; but experientially) that they are connected to everyone and everything.  This desire to be non-harming, greedless, and have temperance will come naturally–as opposed to being taught such behaviors dogmatically.

Then, of course, there is grace bestowed on the earnest seeker–but, that will be another post.

It helps to remember, you are who you are seeking.

As We regularly go inside, we steep in Our true nature.  The longer the steep, the stronger the brew.



Smash the glass chains of negativity
They shatter so beautiful, so easily
under the hammer of your positivity
and as the negative blood spatters
in a Pollock on the walls of possibility
Take your seat with the Mad Hatter,
Partake in his intoxicating tea
Get caught in a whirlwind of creativity
And wake up to a wonderland born
from a happy authenticity

Blow Us Away

holding hands
helping each other stand
much more than a friend
the best of us strongly depends
on the goodwill we send
in intricate crafts unmanned
releasing bombs of intensity and number
that no man can outrun or withstand
perfect explosions shake us from slumber
drawing us to the front lines
divine weapon at our command
us and them surrender and combine
to a nuclear reworking that demands
peace and compassion as our mission
an art to be practiced and refined
beginning the proud tradition
of improving each other’s position
freeing our brilliant minds
from the confusion of opposition
setting the stage for our grandest designs

The Zen of Anger


It would be ludicrous to think that as a practitioner of yoga meditation I don’t get angry. In fact, my inclination toward getting annoyed is one of the reasons I am so dutiful with my practice. If we follow the DISC personality typing, I am an “I”–which means Influence–but, it can also mean Impulsive!  However, the same energy that is the source of my strengths is also the source of my lesser strengths.

This morning I got angry with my son–the people that we are closest to can be the source of our greatest joy.  Paradoxically, they can be the catalyst of our greatest frustration!  I have a lot invested in my son–he is after all, my son.  With an investment comes an expectation.  When the investment does not yield a return it is a disappointment.  This investment is an attraction and the disappointment is an aversion.

According to the Yoga Sutras, both attraction (raga) and aversion (dvesha) are two faces of the same coin–attachment.  Both of these stem from a lack of knowledge of our true nature (avidya)–our true nature is perennial, not ephemeral.  However, the nature of the physical world is transient.  We cling to the things and experiences of the physical world that we love.  We push away the things and experiences that we abhor.  But, both the pushing and pulling cause us suffering (dukha or dukkha).

I am attracted to my son doing what I believe is best for me, he does something other than that, my attraction to my expectation is not met, I experience disappointment, my disappointment is a form of suffering.  To the unmastered mind, all worldly experiences yield suffering because they are impermanent.  However, this does not have to be the case.

When we are rooted in our true nature from earnest abhyasa and vairagya (practice and non-attachment) then we are aware of the fleeting nature of our experiences and we can be released from the suffering of attraction and aversion.  It does not mean we are apathetic or ambivalent–I am still going to parent my child–with the hope that he leads a skillful and happy life.  But, I am working on not expecting him to do what I want.  We still have rules.  If he breaks them, he is punished.  But, now it’s not a big emotional tirade–because I didn’t get what I want.

Today I got angry, I felt the blood pump and my temperature rise.  But, I was very aware that this was a bodily experience and not who I am at the core; moreover, not an emotion I have to act on.  I didn’t resist the anger–that is aversion–I just let it come.  I went for a drive and returned as the person I want to be.