What's your take on the amount of hate people throw around? It seems like everyone needs to be a (jaded, condescending) critic. Things like: this band sucks, you use X products so you don't "get it", you do/don't eat that food so you're weird, you sleep later than I do so you must be lazy and useless... There's enough to fight about on big issues, I don't understand why so many people hate over petty differences. Where does it come from, and what's to be done in the face of it so often?
These people aren’t throwing hate around. They are trying to give away their own pain.
If you get mad at them, then you are receiving their pain. If you engage their anger and try to wrestle with it, then you are receiving their pain.
Hate comes from confusion and ignorance. There is, let me repeat this, there is NO way to hate and still be grounded in truth.
This doesn’t mean that people who are devoid of hate are therefore grounded in truth. But it means that if someone is grounded in truth, there is no hate.
There’s nothing you can do about someone else’s feelings. We are all responsible for our own feelings and that is all.
People judge and they are insecure. They want to validate their lifestyles and the easiest way to do that is by putting down someone else’s lifestyle.
It’s a joke, really.
Tibetan buddhists may breathe in another person’s hate and exhale compassion unto that person. Remember the fact that the most hateful people are the most tortured, for they are the ones living closest to hate.
A tantric yogi may just smile and politely give the hater the middle finger and keep on walking.
What is important is not addressing and changing someone else’s hate. The important thing is observing the hate in such a manner that it does not create a confused and hateful reaction within yourself.
In my opinion, no one should address anyone who says or does anything hateful until you can witness hate while remaining at peace. Only with peace can hate be nurtured into love. Otherwise hate will just breed hate.
These are just my opinions, though. Haters gonna hate! :P
“The technique of meditation allows one’s mind to gradually recede to a state of single-pointedness. It enables one to rise above the dualities of this universe and remain detached from the illusions of the mind.”—Sri ShivarudraBalayogi
Hi, Can we live a life without finding our soul mate? Are we really supposed to believe in the idea of 'soul mate' ? I have stopped looking - and living my life as it happens to me naturally. But I'm 23 and my parents are pushing me to get married for sake of ''society'' and ''security''. This makes me feel caged. I won't mind spending my life with a 'husband' rather than a 'soul mate', but I prefer to live alone for an indefinite period of time. Do you have an answer? Namaste, Brother.
An answer? lol I have no answers.
I don’t think the idea of a soul mate makes any sense. We are all One. How can one Being be any more perfect for another? Perhaps two egos may do well or may not do well. But Beings? We are all Being.
Don’t search for a soul mate. Look for a person you enjoy spending a lot of time with for whom you feel a great deal of chemistry and attraction. Then take it from there.
When we go out looking for boyfriends, girlfriends, or soulmates, we are just looking for people to fill a dead role. But when we go out looking for deep friends and lovers, we may find something that evades description and surpasses our wildest hopes.
Don’t marry because someone pushes you to. Why would you? Your parents have only well wishes for you and they are trying to encourage you in the only way they know how. Try not to let it bother you and walk your path all the same.
Many lives are lived on a moment to moment basis revolving around survival. You see it today in third world countries or the most impoverished stratum of a society.
Free time is a luxury, a moment’s rest can be a luxury. If you go back thousands of years, perhaps around the time of the agricultural revolution, you will see that humanity had to focus on survival. Food and protection, procreation and parenting, humanity was little more than the human animal.
Therefore, ask yourself this: How much had to happen for an individual to have the privilege of sitting for a meditation? How much evolution, how much revolution, how much invention, discovery, philosophy, fate, experimentation, understating, had to happen?
When you come out of meditation, don’t just jump back into the world. Take a few moments and breathe as you open your eyes. Extend your thanks and appreciation to your ancestors, to your teachers, to the universe, for providing and leading you to the pinnacle activity of existence.
What are the odds that a human in modern society turns away from the endlessly available diversions to look inward and learn what exactly it is that they are diverting?
When you can appreciate the opportunity to meditate and understand what a blessing it is on behalf of the cosmos, it transforms the activity into a prayer of its own. It isn’t a chore, a rejection of the ego, a wriggling away from our mortal bonds. It is a rejoicing of how far we have come to be able to begin to recognize what we really are.
When you feel gratitude, it keeps things in perspective.
In your blog about how to meditate (which is very helpful by the way), you mention God. What does God mean to you? Do you mean this in a traditional sense, or otherwise?
God is how I know I exist; god is existence itself. If someone were to ask you how you knew you were alive, what would you say? How could you prove your aliveness? But you, you know it. You feel your existence.
God is the feeling of existence without definition. It is in you and it is more than you. God is not something or someone that is somewhere else. God is here, now, in you, in burning jubilant silence.
When I pray, I go inward. When I meditate, I go inward. God is not to be found anywhere else. :)
“There has never been a time when you and I have not existed, nor will there be a time when we will cease to exist. As the same person inhabits the body through childhood, youth, and old age, so too at the time of death he attains another body. The wise are not deluded by these changes.”—The Bhagavad Gita
Dear yogi, lately I've been noticing that I have negative feelings towards certain people, ideas and practices that I never really meant to feel negativity towards. I've never felt dislike towards what I find myself disliking now, but all of a sudden, it seems I've become averse to some things. How can I understand where this sudden animosity is stemming from, and how can I rid myself of it? Namaste.
You don’t need to understand where it comes from; it comes from you. Everything you feel is self-created, whether it’s a reaction the world around you or a creation from the worlds within you.
You are too focused on other things, too judgmental of the things you experience.
All of the problems you have described are problems that arise when YOU come into contact with the OTHER. You have negativity toward this idea or feel dislike towards that person. New things you are finding to dislike in new ways.
It sounds like if we just threw you in an empty room, you would be happier. There would be nothing to dislike! And yet even the nothingness you would dislike.
This is the issue with looking outward for the things you should find inward. The things in the world aren’t there to make you happy, they are there to live and grow and change. If you can allow yourself to feel joy, and if things can bring you joy, then wonderful. But that joy does not come from the world, it comes from you.
You feel negative towards things because they do not bring you the joy you want. You are starting to dislike the taste of the world. And that is fair. When you want peace, freedom, happiness, and joy then the world is no longer dependable.
When you go inward for the things you really need, then there is less to feel negative toward in the world. Who cares about these things? Holding onto the negativity only dampens your own experience of existence.
Let go of your thoughts and feelings about the things that pass through your sensory experience. Thoughts, ideas, people, practices, they will all fade away in time.
Stop comparing things. Nothing is comparable to something else, everything stands alone in eternity. Turn your attention from outward to inward. Pay attention to what remains the same in your experience of existence from moment to moment, day or night.
Don’t fight your dislike but don’t hold onto it either. Go where it is pointing you: the Soul.
I often find myself taking what others say or do personally. I'm really trying to break that way of thinking, but so far have been pretty unsuccessful. I've read a couple of "self-help" books that touch on the subject but nothing really seems to help. Is there any advice you can give on how not to take everything so personally?
This isn’t a problem unique to you. In fact, you see it A LOT on tumblr. People LOVE to get offended. Or more specifically, the ego loves to get offended.
When you get offended about something, it inflates the ego. The ego thinks ‘this is me’ and ‘that is that’ and ‘me’ is bigger and better than ‘that’ so I shall pass judgement on ‘that’ and express ‘my’ condemnation.
When you understand that you are equal with the tiniest sprouting plant in the soft dirt and the biggest whale in the deep blue sea then you will understand: who are you to get offended at anything?
Things happen regardless of whether or not they offend you. That is the tao of Things. To be offended means to reject the Tao. Don’t reject the tao; harmonize with it.
If something is bad and needs to be changed, what use is offense? Just take control and change things. Other times your ego will be damaged by embarrassment, jealousy, or other such things that provoke offense to be taken.
To transcend the ego phenomenon and cease taking things so personally, you have to learn how to drop the person. You only understand and experience the world through your separate sense of existence, through your I-ness.
When you meditate, you learn to drop your drama bit by bit. You become less inflamed by things, less reactive. You understand that the experience of taking things personally isn’t fun and isn’t healthy, so you just become less combustible. It’s hard to put words to but it’s not that hard to ‘get’.
Meditation, meditation! Always my recommendation. But it must be daily. One sitting of meditation will not unravel your ego. Three or four times a week for a month to two months may see you progress.
Hi there! Was scrolling through your blog (lovin' the new yellow background btw) and saw a photo of your visit to the Los Angeles Yogananda Lake Shrine Temple. It's actually not that far from me (discounting fretful LA traffic) but I haven't as yet gotten around to visiting. Just wanted to ask if you have an opinion on the place? Thanks!
haha thanks! Although I changed the background again—I’m fickle like that :P
The Lake Shrine is *awesome*. I recommend you and anyone else in LA to go see it.
It is one of two places in the world that houses Ghandi’s ashes in a shrine. So that enough is worthy of a visit.
They have a lovely meditation room inside of a random but beautiful dutch windmill. I’ve meditated there a few times now. The scenery is beautiful, the swans there are gorgeous, and there’s a cool little museum and gift shop.
I definitely consider the Lake Shrine a place of pilgrimage. I took a bunch of pictures that I’ve just been too lazy to post. Maybe I’ll get around to that tonight!
There is a lifestyle in India knows as sannyas. Sannyas means, roughly, renunciation. In India, when a person becomes a wandering monk, they take the sannyas vow. Thereon out they are known as a sannyasin.
When you take the sannyas vow, you attend your own funeral. You are declared legally dead. And you leave society.
You practice meditation, do rituals, and beg for food.
This is a way of life that has gone on for thousands of years and still exists today. It has more nuance than it seems, indeed, in the process the renunciate becomes the body of the cosmos itself.
However, this is not possible for the western societies. Our cultures do not tolerate dropouts. We westerners are terrified of death and the true spiritual path means to meet death with a smile. No, there can be no sannyasins in America.
And then Osho came along. He was controvertial—beyond belief. Somewhere between having 93 rolls royces and a staff of followers plotting bio-terrorism, Osho’s party seemed to be counter-intuitive.
In my opinion, his followers were ridiculous hippies. But Osho…his brilliance is undeniable. And when Osho came to the West, he brought sannyas as he saw it.
In the east, Osho said, the sannyasins renounced the world. In the west, he declared, the sannyasins would celebrate the world! Furthermore, sannyas was not a religious movement. Osho did not personally initiate his followers but witnessed their pacts with the cosmos, with themselves.
All religion, all belief is abandoned in favor of the bliss of now. It is the same as zen, which evades all description and meets reality head to head in the moment, only to melt into a puddle.
For Osho, sannyas was an agreement of an individual being with itself. To accept every moment, to hold our attachments loosely and journey inward, to celebrate without discrimination, and assert nothing. Sannyas is a way of being, the way of being. To call yourself sannyasin would not be sannyas, because it would be an identification. And yet sometimes words need be said.
Osho’s sannyas existed before him, will exist now, and infinitely into the future. Sannyas is the way of scientists and artists. Too look at the world on its own terms, reality on its own terms. And to look for nothing outside yourself because nothing truly exists beyond it.
This is possible for any being, any person, any lifestyle. It doesn’t require you change a thing about your life. It simply revolutionizes the way you experience it.
Make the agreement with the universe. Try it. And if it ever holds you back, drop it. That would be the true sannyas attitude. Cut the shit and get to the point.
How does one look into themselves and find comfort? I want to tap this stream that I can feel within me, but the process of getting through these walls to get to it illudes me.
The walls are the movements of your thoughts and the resolved judgements you have made about yourself and the world. In stillness, there are no walls.
Comfort isn’t something you find, it is not added. Comfort is the absence of these walls. Comfort is love and when you have removed the boundaries you have built against love, love will flood your Being. Love is your Being.
When you accept yourself and accept the world, extending both sincere compassion and understanding, you will weaken those barriers. At the very least, you will stop building them. Just to stop building barriers is a powerful thing to do. Then bit by bit your walls will fall away.
Meditation will bring you into silent stillness. You must keep at it, chipping away at your walls until they crumble.
It will happen. Comfort, love, bliss, peace, whatever you want to call it. It is already there to be re-discovered in you. And I’ll promise you this: it is not what you expect. It is far, far better.
A lot of you may feel inspired by reading certain quotes or teachings. But do you act on them? And do you try it once, or do it daily for a month just to see what happens?
It’s not enough to have interesting thoughts or to decide what beliefs appeal to you. Spiritual practices like meditation and prayer aren’t there to symbolize anything. Those practices exist to change you into You.
Meditating seven days a week is not 1+1+1+1+1+1+1 = 7. Instead, it is 1+2+3+4+5+6+7 = 28. When you meditate daily, your progress begins to snowball.
Similarly, when you set aside a time every day to pray, read, contemplate, learn, then you will experience a rapid ripening of your Self. Granted, you will face obstacles. It can get hard. You might easily lose your way.
They say one in a million choose to turn away from worldly addiction and seek the Divine. They say one in a million who turn away might find the right path. And finally, one in that million may realize the journey’s end.
Of course these numbers are bullshit. Statistics mean nothing to the individual. You are that one in a million, if you want to be.
It’s not enough to know this stuff. It’s not enough to read it. Knowledge and wisdom are different, because wisdom is felt and experienced. When you are wise, you don’t need to know a damn thing. Not because you know it already. You just don’t need to know.
So act upon these spiritual inspirations. Again and again.
For a yogi, spiritual practice is never work. It is adventure.
Hi, is there in fact anything called ''Inner Voice''? Is this the same as Intuition? Namaste, Brother :)
There is but it is a voiceless voice. It is a stillness inside of you, a stillness that you are. The quieter you become, the more you can hear.
When you bring your silence to any activity or observation, you will find insight.
Meditation helps return you to your natural stillness. People talk about inner voices and intuition like they are extra things, things that are like special powers. But intuition is really just your ability to listen to your inner silence and trusting that over your mind.
Taoists are well-versed in this respect. The tao of anything is its inner silence.
dealing with a hangover the west coast way while watching zombieland. while I hate drinking, last night was totally worth the hangover. dinner and wild karaoke in koreatown for my friend’s bday, lotta fun.
“You will find meaning in life only if you create it. It is not lying there somewhere behind the bushes, so you can go and you search a little bit and find it. It is not there like a rock that you will find. It is a poetry to be composed, it is a song to be sung, it is a dance to be danced.”—Osho
I had been a Christian for most of my life. After studying Buddhism, practicing it alongside my Christianity, and feeling spiritually unfulfilled in my Christianity, I have made the leep into unlearning my former way of life. I meditate daily, have read and studied Buddhism, and found a great Buddhist study group. My question to you is, what do I do now, and do I really even need to become an "official" Buddhist, or should I just believe it in my heart and keep along the path I am already on?
That worry about what you need to label yourself is a societal thing. You’re imagining yourself from the outside, from another’s perspective.
If you were living alone on a beautiful tropic island with everything you need readily available and you were practicing your usual buddhist path, would you bother yourself with this question? Does it really matter what you call yourself or what is official?
Those things are just descriptions that are mere shadows of what they describe.
Apply yourself to your spiritual path. Discover what your existence truly is, what it feels like when you remove all confusion from your Being. The aim of buddhism is to discover the end of suffering, that was Siddhartha’s aim.
With this sincere intent, you are just as much a buddhist as the Buddha. The path isn’t a label or something pretty to wear; the path is your way of Figuring It Out.
This is something a lot of people miss. They wear the path like a statement rather than walk it as a means of self-transformation. The fact that you’re asking this question now means that you are emerging from one into the other. :)
Keep to your path as it leads you this way and that. Be open to everything, reject nothing, keep what works, let whatever doesn’t fall away, rinse and repeat.
May the divine tickle you endlessly. haha namaste!
I know you smoke, so I was wondering if I could get your opinion. I smoked habitually for about a year and it had the same effects on me as it normally does for anyone else. Once I started really cracking down with my spiritual path however, the effects reversed. It made me anxious, paranoid, depressed, stressed, pretty much all the things I wanted to avoid. I was wondering if you knew why that would be the case? Can you smoke if you follow a spiritual path? Was it because I was attached to it a
If you don’t enjoy smoking anymore then why in the world are you doing it? If something makes you anxious, paranoid, and depressed then end that shit!
Who cares why? If you are habitually doing a drug for a year and suddenly don’t care for it then drop it. You will find much of what you once thought was one way to be another way entirely. The path will change you.
Don’t cling to old habits when they turn toxic. And though it may not be fun, those are the exact signs of progress. Bad habits turning toxic and falling away.
Exploring Tibetan Buddhism and the Bodhisattva Path
When it comes to learning to practice ways of compassionate love, no tradition exceeds tibetan buddhism in providing technology. Tibetan buddhism aims for enlightenment like any other spiritual path but the reason for the aim is different.
Many paths are profound and intimate, a love affair and intellectual relationship between a seeker and the divine. The tibetan buddhist path, however, seeks enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. Not just you.
When you can be enlightened, everyone will benefit. An enlightened being never causes harm and always brings harmony, good or bad.
Tonglen is the tibetan buddhist practice of learning to relate to other beings as if they were yourself. To put it simply, when you practice tonglen you are practicing the art of relating to other people as if you were an enlightened being.
Someone who has become experienced with the art of enlightened relating is called a Bodhisattva. A bodhisattva is someone who to human eyes would appear no different than an enlightened being. A bodhisattva is all but enlightened. An ego remains, however, for one compassionate reason or another.
Right now I am taking the journey of the bodhisattva in addition to my daily meditation and spiritual practices. The Bodhisattva Vow that I took is as follows:
As earth and the other elements, together with space, eternally provide sustenance in many ways for the countless sentient beings,
So may I become sustenance in every way for sentient beings to the limits of space, until all have attained nirvana.
As the sugatas of old gave birth to the bodhicitta and progressively established themselves in the training of a bodhisattva,
So I too, for the benefit of beings, shall give birth to the bodhicitta and progressively train myself in that discipline.
There are many translations and versions of the vows. This, excerpted in one of Pema Chodron’s books, is one of my favorites.
I am beginning to think that if I want to live in this society earnestly while at the same time maintaining a spiritual lifestyle, the way of the Bodhisattva is the best manner (for me) to continue to relate with fellow humans and the rest of the world.
We’ll see how it goes. You all will be the first to find out! :P