by Yogi Bhajan, August 21, 1985
Lord God: Give me the compassion, the kindness, the virtues, so I can share with others my own self. Give me the inner self and give me the depth.Give me the sacredness or the death. Let me live in peace, harmony and tranquility with all that is, that was, and that shall be. May Thy grace exalt me to forever be worthy of Thyself. Give me the power to serve. Give me the power to surrender to Your will. Give me the power to live in the ecstasy of consciousness to obey Thee. May this day be a beautiful day in my life and may tomorrow be the best of it. Sat Nam.
We often do things because we have to. And if we're lucky, we get to do things because we want to. At the end, it's all in the mind whether we have to or want to. The energy or intent that we bring to everything we do matters, both in the experience of it, and evidently, what comes back to us. Here's what yogi, mystic, and author, Sadhguru, has to say about it. You may want to read this several times. And then maybe pay attention to see how this rings true in your life.
Karma yoga has unfortunately been described as service, but it is not so. It is a way of undoing the impressions that you have gathered. If you can joyfully involve yourself in any activity, that is karma yoga. If you do it with great effort, only karma will come, no yoga will happen!
Generally it is through various activities that you perform that you get entangled and enmeshed with life. But if the activity becomes a process of liberation instead of entanglement, it is karma yoga. Whether it is work or walking on the street or talking to someone, the nature of the activity is not important. When you do something only because it is needed, where it does not mean anything to you but you are capable of involving yourself as if that is your life, it transforms you and action becomes liberating.
A famous Vedic story
There is a famous story about ahimsa* told in the Vedas, the vast collection of ancient philosophical teachings from India.
A certain sadhu, or wandering monk, would make a yearly circuit of villages in order to teach. One day as he entered a village he saw a large and menacing snake who was terrorizing the people. The sadhu spoke to the snake and taught him about ahimsa.
The following year when the sadhu made his visit to the village, he again saw the snake. How changed he was. This once magnificent creature was skinny and bruised.
The sadhu asked the snake what had happened. He replied that he had taken the teaching of ahimsa to heart and had stopped terrorizing the village. But because he was no longer menacing, the children now threw rocks and taunted him, and he was afraid to leave his hiding place to hunt.
The sadhu shook his head. "I did advise against violence," he said to the snake, "but I never told you not to hiss."
*ahimsa means respect for all life and practicing non-violence towards all living things
[Repost from May 5, 2014]
Thank you to all who joined us on Saturday, May 3 for UYC's Grand Opening Event, and to everyone that had a hand in making the space what it is:
The participation and generosity that came from our community was totally unexpected and touched our hearts beyond words. Urban Yoga Chicago is truly a space built out of community, from the flowers and plants (Nancy Mattei) to the glasses, bowls, dishes, utensils (Denise Babicz) and gorgeous wood cutting boards (Jenilyn Francis), to the text messages of well wishes from those who could not make it (you know who you are), to UYC tees (Reuven Gitter) to the string of lights and the labor of love put into making the upstairs loft space as beautiful as it is (Jeff Stitely) to the incredible paint job on the walls of the Tratakum Cove (Laurel W and Madie D), and to the hands that labeled all the spice jars and folded all of the brochures from 10 pm to midnight of opening day with her 4 month old beside her (Irene Rojas)... thank you!
Amanda Wultz opened with one hour of the Miracle Mantra Meditation. In all the years that I have practiced meditation, this was the fastest, most impactful one-hour meditation I had ever experienced. Was it the new space? Was it Amanda? Was it the company? Was it the Miracle Mantra? Does it matter?
Jodh Kaur then led an 11 minute gong session, going between two gongs (a 24" and a Neptune gong) that arrived on loan, and with love, by Surinderjeet Kaur.
Laura Briscoe led us in one of our favorite community activities-- vegetarian cook together. It included kitcherie by Matt Lavoie and Laura Keil and Solstice Soup by Adam Braun. Sait Kinay made his famous grilled eggplant "salsa". Mary Waldon brought over a delicious home-made gluten free bread, and Robbie Bogard a divine dish of homemade chocolate pudding (vegan!). Robbie also made a satisfying quinoa salad which I think everyone asked for the recipe. Our talented graphics designer, Jeff Lacdan poured his labor of love into the root vegetable salad, and Jeff Stitely into his delicious citrus salad-- that dressing is a keeper (and so is Jeff)!
After a wonderful meal, Jeff Stitely led us in a perfect-for-after-a full-meal-and-to-ease-into-self-expression drum circle. What an experience! We are hoping that Jeff will lead this again and again.
Then I led our 2nd 11-minute gong session with our 34" Paiste house gong. Good time for it to let us know it needed some strengthening of the screws before our triple gong bath to come...
GuruNischan led the yoga kriya, "Renew Your Nervous System and Build Stamina." If you aren't familiar with this one-- keep coming to class! It's bound to come up again. It's intense pranayam with moving mudras to open you up and expand your capacity, followed by wild dancing to bhangra music.
Good news-- we learned we could fit many more people in the upstairs space than we originally thought!
The layout was a 31-minute triple gong bath played by me, Surinderjeet and Jodh Kaur. The feedback was that it felt like one unified gong, out of this world, and "how did we do that"; we must have practiced for hours... we'll take it!
Then back downstairs for a surprise treat: dark chocolate covered organic strawberries hand-picked and dipped by Irene Rojas! Yes, we had flourless chocolate and chocolate mousse, but they had to bow down to the hand-dipped strawberries, hands down the winner. Then a light dinner of left-overs and a fresh serving of lentil salad compliments of Arshiya Khan.
What, don't you have dessert first at your house?
Our spice cabinet:
We hope you enjoy this partial tutorial & meditation given by Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa to Urban Yoga Chicago's Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training Class 2013-14.
On AUM (aka OM) as written by Karen L. Hudson on About.com:
Om and Aum are the same thing; it's just written two different ways. Think of "Om" as the phonetic spelling and "Aum" as the actual spelling. The sound of "Aum" - the slow, calming chant many associate with the word, is the sound that was made when all of creation came into existence. The essence of the universe and all creation, wrapped up in one unimaginable and indescribable aggregate (for lack of a better term), is known as Brahman. The "Om" represents the four divine states of Brahman - metta (loving kindness), karuna (compassion), mudita (sympathetic joy), and upekkha (equanimity). Brahman is actually a core belief system in both Hinduism and Buddhism, both of which use Om regularly in their daily life. (Feel free to research further on this with the links below - it's quite fascinating.)
At first read, some -or none- may seem helpful, especially if you are in desperate times. Keep them close to you. Read them again. And again another time. Try and plug them in when they seem to most fit your situation and watch how they evolve.
Let us know how they work for you. You might even find yourself with a favorite go-to!
[Repost from December 31, 2013]
One of the things that we have realized is that what we pay attention to grows. We may have heard this before, butrealizing moves that knowing from the head to the heart. From the intellect to knowing at the cellular level.
An incredibly wise wife, mother, Zen Buddhist priest and writer, Karen Miller, says Love is Attention.
In 2014, pay attention to what you love. Let go of what you don’t. In this way, that which you love will grow.
Kundalini Yoga Quotes:
“I’d never felt anything like it; it was just an opening of energy and a feeling of such liberation.” -Marika Bethel, owner, Glowing House