|Newsletter - July 2012|
July 9 - 12, 2012
July 13 - 15, 2012
July 14, 2012
July 20 - 22, 2012
July 23 - 26, 2012
July 27 - 29, 2012
July 30 - August 2, 2012
August 3 - 5, 2012
August 6 - 8, 2012
August 13 - 16, 2012
August 24 - 26, 2012
August 27 - 30, 2012
September 10 - 13, 2012
SAVE THE DATE
December 22, 2012 - January 3, 2013
Om Namah Sivaya!
Blessed Yogis & Yoginis,
Now is the best time to plan your vacation to the Bahamas. Whether you are coming for a summer getaway or thinking about a vacation in the fall, we have programs just for you. Pre-book your trip to secure your space early. Deepen your practice and broaden your depth of knowledge by signing up for the first Teacher Training Course of the winter season. If you are a certified Yoga teacher and would like to renew and expand your practice, join us for the Sivananda Yoga Teacher Renewal Course. Or bring your family to celebrate unity in diversity this holiday season during our Christmas & New Year Symposium. Check out our website for a detailed list of all programs. We look forward to welcoming you to paradise.
Om Shanti. Om Peace.
How to Overcome Grief, Develop Courage and Attain Durable Bliss
When people to whom we are attached die, we experience grief. How can we best cope with something like the loss of a partner or an unborn child, and find peace?
Answer: The yogis tell us that we do not die, that we are the immortal Atman, or Self. The physical body, which was born, has to disintegrate one day, but we are not the physical body. So in reality, we do not die. Nor do our friends and relatives. Nobody really dies. The yogis tell us that death is a transition to a different state of existence.
Nevertheless, in spite of everything, I have seen yogis grieving. They are aware of what happens, yet they are grieving. Then, patiently, the person has to go through the process of grief. A grieving person can also do sadhana like meditation, japa, kirtan, spiritual study, satsanga. This is very helpful.
Other people should be compassionate, and give the grieving person the space and support they need to go through the process of grief. It's not an intellectual thing, it's an emotional thing -- and not just an emotional thing -- that many people have to go through. Someone having this experience needs to accept this process -- even if the person is a Yogi. But parallel to the grieving, do the yogic practice.
Is this kind of loss a result of negative karma?
Answer: Pain is the result of negative karma; suffering is the result of negative karma. Loss, the very fact that we are dying is the result of negative karma. It's even worse than negative karma: We die because of ignorance, because of avidya. We are in samsara, the cycle of birth and death, because of ignorance.
We have bodies that are born and will die so there is always some loss. Swami Sivananda said: "If you want to attain Self-realization, there are two methods: either think of God constantly, or think of death constantly. Either way will lead you toward liberation." He puts "think of death constantly" on an equal footing with "think of God." Loss is going to be there but, on the other hand, there is no loss. There is change but due to avidya, to ignorance, every moment of change is loss. Karma is the result of ignorance. We are dying because of karma. The prarabdha karma, the result of past actions, determines the moment of our birth, and it also determines the moment of our death.
In Vedic astrology you can actually see the moment of death. We are born because of karma, we go through this movie of life because of karma, and the physical body dies because of karma, and karma is because of avidya, or ignorance. Is this suffering? Yes. Is suffering due to negative karma? Yes. The way to stop suffering is to remove avidya, or ignorance. How do you remove avidya? By practicing yoga. So, is loss due to negative karma? Definitely. How do you prevent loss? Practice yoga!
How does one summon the courage to walk into the unknown?
Answer: Little by little. The development of courage is a very long process. We need to face dangerous situations, to overcome obstacles, to come out victorious during many lifetimes in order to have the courage to step into the unknown -- into the real unknown. At every step, there is fear, and at every step we have to learn how to overcome our fear. Each time we think that we have overcome our fear, a new level of fear appears; a new level of unknown appears. There should be no fear of the unknown, but we have to take into consideration that fear is going to manifest, and we have to overcome that fear -- little by little; we cannot do it all at once. We also have to accept defeat occasionally. Not ultimate defeat -- temporary defeat. Sometimes we need to accept failures, but we also need to use failure as a stepping stone toward success. Courage leads to greater courage, and so on. Those who do not fight in battles cannot develop courage. I'm not talking about violence; I'm not talking about killing people. I'm talking about the inner battle, about the unknown. This is definitely necessary, and we cannot go around it. It's a process in which we develop courage, little by little.
How can one make the blissful experience one has after pranayama, or from devotion to God, more continuous and durable?
Answer: By having a guru and following the spiritual instructions of the guru; going through the process of yoga. Practically that means karma yoga and raja yoga, then the higher yogas -- bhakti yoga, and then the ultimate yoga, which is jnana yoga, or the yoga of knowledge. It's a long path. And of course, there is the Yoga of Synthesis -- the integral yoga of Swami Sivananda, which integrates all of these processes. But we have to go through the process.
Making the blissful experience durable is done by regular practice and non-attachment, and the most important thing -- bhakti. Devotion to your guru, and devotion to God, and devotion to the Atman, to the Self -- to the Ultimate Reality. Bhakti is a key. So, regular practice, non-attachment, and devotion -- these are the three keys. Bliss is not guaranteed. Bliss is our nature but that nature is only occasionally seen, and it takes the shape of bliss. The deeper we meditate, the greater the bliss. When our meditation becomes steady, so does the bliss. We might say that the bliss becomes steady, but it would not be accurate -- bliss is never steady. When bliss comes, we need to appreciate it. As the meditation becomes deeper and deeper, and steadier and steadier, the bliss becomes greater and greater and more continuous. Just as fire's inherent nature is to burn, we also have an inherent nature, which is bliss. That nature, though, is veiled. The veil is removed through meditation, but meditation cannot come unless we purify through karma yoga. Ultimately, devotion, or love, must be there, too. The best meditator is the bhakta, the devotee. Ultimately, we attain wisdom or knowledge, and then the bliss is steady. The bliss then is like an ocean, without end. Only the jnanis have that steady bliss.
The Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Course (TTC)
This inspiring video describes the history of TTC and the personal transformation that empowers graduates to become peaceful, self-controlled leaders and citizens of the world.