We have become a junk culture with a voracious appetite for embracing things of poor quality and little value: junk food, junk toys, junk clothes, junk mail, junk tweets…
The 4th yama, Brahmacharya literally means “walking with the sacred”, yet we live in a culture that invites us to “walk with junk”. What would happen if the 5000 advertisements we are exposed to daily turned our attention to what is holy? To what nourishes our entire being? Instead, our attention is directed to that which disappoints and so quickly finds its way to a landfill.
How to be in these times? What is the relevance of practice? Jane Freedman interviewed 26 influential practitioners and scholars in the fields of meditation, yoga, writing, nutrition, emotional intelligence, coaching, and more to ask them these important questions.
“Practice is the place where we activate the inner yes and live an empowered life!” states Jane. Sign up now to access these free interviews by clicking this link: Journey into Courage.
Summit begins May 3rd.
“Water sustains all life. Her songs begin in the tiniest of raindrops, transform to flowing rivers, travel to majestic oceans and thundering clouds and back to earth again. When water is threatened, all living things are threatened.” Indigenous Declaration on Water 2001
All life is dependent on water, yet we, who, at the mere turn of a faucet have constant access to clean water, tend to take it for granted. The careless habits of big business and complacent individuals are creating worldwide consequences. United Nations statistics are daunting: “Some 663 million people are currently living without a safe supply of water close to their homes; … over 1.8 million people frequent a water source contaminated with human waste; … 80 percent of the Earth’s wastewater returns to the ecosystem without being treated or recycled.”
“The yogi cannot allow himself to take anything which does not properly belong to him, not only in the way of money or goods but even such intangible and yet highly prized things as credit for things he has not done or privileges which do not properly belong to him.” -I.K. Taimni
In an interesting turn of events, a court in Italy recently ruled on behalf of a homeless man who stole some cheese and sausage. The court, stating that the man was acting “in a state of need” ruled that “if you’re hungry, stealing food is not a crime”. Makes me wonder if that same court might accuse those of us who carelessly let food rot in our refrigerator or mindlessly discard excess in garbage cans might be held in contempt as the real culprits of stealing.
“Truth is like a vast tree, which yields more and more fruit the more you nurture it. The deeper the search in the mine of truth the richer the discovery of the gems buried there, in the shape of openings for an even greater variety of service.” -Gandhi
Week Three. Contemplate what the impact of post-truth, alternative facts, fake news, and truthiness is on yourself and the world at large. Note that it has become “normal” for emotions, gut feelings, personal beliefs and personal convenience to take precedence over observable facts and data.
Glenn Fairman wrote, “Truth is a lot like virtue — in that most everyone claims to desire it, but the general consensus deep down is that they would rather have pie.” This week notice in what ways your desire for ease, convenience, and personal preference determine your willingness to settle for “pie” rather than to seek Truth.
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble, it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Mark Twain
Truth has often been a long time sufferer. Under dictatorships the comedians, journalists, artists, and educators, who are often some of the most poignant truth tellers, are first to disappear from the scene (along with whatever group of people is being scapegoated). We know that truth is often at stake in our personal lives as we do mental gymnastics to avoid or enhance certain details about ourselves. Partial truths are often advantageous.
Yet, when Patanjali reveals the 2nd restraint, he is clear. He does not say “non-lying”, he says “truthfulness”, a direct mandate to stop at nothing short of the full truth. I call this a “go all the way” yama. What is the difference between non-lying and truthfulness? This is an interesting question among many in a world where truth has become dangerously irrelevant.
“The ultimate question for a responsible man [sic] to ask is not how he is to extricate himself heroically from the affair, but how the coming generation shall continue to live.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born on February 4, 1906 in Germany. He possessed a great intellectual capacity and faced a promising academic career as a Lutheran theologian that was abruptly altered when Hitler ascended to power on January 30, 1933. From the start, Bonhoeffer was an outspoken critic of the Nazi regime, yet he stood firm in his pacifist views.
All of this began to change as Bonhoeffer learned the full scale of atrocities being committed in his homeland. In what must have been an agonizing conversation with morality and ethical choices, this pacifist began to turn his attention toward stopping Hitler and eventually joined in an assassination attempt on Hitler’s life. He was imprisoned and ultimately hanged for this failed attempt.
There is a danger to these times we live in, and that is the ease with which we can let ourselves off the hook. Violence is in its glory, and we, by comparison, can look pretty good. It’s the ole’ good apples, bad apples thing….we certainly don’t belong in the bad apple basket so we must belong in the good one.
But in the essence of our hearts and minds, there is only one basket, the human basket, and it is a mixed bag. Now, more than ever we are called to scrutinize the deep corners of our being for signs of our own moral weaknesses.