Hey everyone! I’m currently in Maui on vacation, but filmed a special Myths of the Asanas video on location! The intro was filmed at Waimoku Falls on the Pipiwai Trail in Haleakalā National Park, and the story was filmed on the top of the Waihe’e Trail. For right now you’ll have to watch the video via the Jivamukti NYC IGTV channel (link below), until I’m back on the mainland…
The asana (or mudra) associated with this story is Viparita Karani (because it looks like a waterfall, but also see below…) Viparita Karani translates to “reversed attitude”. In the story you will hear how the urge to obtain more and more land and take over the Earth causes King Sagara’s sons to be burnt to ashes. Unless the human race reversed their attitude, we will also all be burnt to a crisp! Global warming is a real threat, but we can do something about it!
We live in a technological world, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing! We have become interconnected with other human beings in ways most of us couldn’t have ever imagined! I wouldn’t be able to connect with most of you if not for this technological world! But there should be a happy medium…we cannot solely rely on technology, and we cannot go off to live in a cave somewhere to meditate all the time and ditch life (Bharati also spoke about this at Ananda Ashram this weekend)
Here are some thoughts on this by Thich Nhat Hanh, from his book The Sun My Heart:
“Meditators have always known that they must use their own eyes and the language of their own times to express their insight. Wisdom is a living stream, not an icon to be preserved in a museum. Only when a practitioner finds the spring of wisdom in his or her own life can it flow to future generations. All of us must keep the torch of wisdom glowing in order to light the path ahead.
Our insight and our language are inseparable from the times in which we live. For many years, the East followed the West down the path of technological and material development, to the point of neglecting its own spiritual values. In our world, technology is the main force behind economics and politics, but scientists in the West have begun to see something similar to what the spiritual disciplines of the East discovered long ago. If we can survive our times, the gap that separates science and spirituality will close, and East and West will meet one another on the path to discover true mind. We can start working towards convergence right now, using our own daily mindful lives.”
First…Thank you Radiohead for your entire catalogue of music, and for the title of this blog post 😀
I have a slight addiction to working on jigsaw puzzles. Really CHALLENGING jigsaw puzzles – usually about 3000 pieces, but they have to be minimum 1500. Working on jigsaw puzzles allows my brain to work in a different, meditative, and creative way. I often come up with dharma talks or sequencing while puzzling! The one I finished this morning was 2000 pieces, but is of Monet’s Garden (pictured below), so it might as well have been 5000 pieces. Side note – Barnes & Noble carries a 5000 piece Ravensburger, my favorite brand (yes I have a favorite brand of puzzle), but it is like $85. I am obsessed, but not crazy – I refuse to spend this on a puzzle!
When I am working on a puzzle, and have been looking for a specific piece for a long time without success, I’ll start looking for something completely different. And then, all of a sudden I find what I was looking for in the first place, and it is usually, literally, right under my nose. Or, if I have been sitting in front of it for a while without finding any piece at all, I walk away and do something else. Then when I come back, I often find about 20 pieces immediately.
One of my teachers, Ruth, says that one of the results of a yoga practice is that your vision changes, and when you look at anything you are able to see the whole picture – the past, the present, and the future. You are able to see where things have come from and where they are going.
In our āsana practice, over time, you might realize that the poses we come into all link to each other, just like a puzzle, or that they strategically build up to a more challenging pose later on, the bigger picture. Or maybe you one day realize that all of the poses are exactly the same, just take on a different form! (The truly bigger picture!)
When you are faced with a challenging situation in your life, whether it is personal, or with another person, or more national or global, you may start to see how all of the actions, or karmas, you have taken so far have led up to this point, and how whatever you are about to put into the word as a reaction to this situation will lead to other future karmas. So how you act will affect not only you, and the immediate person/situation in front of you, but the greater world as well. Maybe if you start to look at the situation from a different perspective, from the other person’s point of view, or walk away for a bit and come back, you’ll get what you wanted in the first place, and all of the puzzle pieces fall into place…
Maybe your vision expands so much that, as Ruth says, when you are in the grocery store and you see the non-biodegradable plastic bags that are there for you to put fruit and vegetables in, you can see that they end up buried in the Earth, or in our oceans, and that this causes the Earth and oceans to become sick, and then all of the living begins on the planet become sick. Or when you look at paper plates, cups, napkins, etc., you can picture the trees they came from, and how when we cut down all those trees, it leads to global warming, because there are less trees to take in the carbon dioxide we are emitting, which they then turn back into oxygen, for us to breath, and also to go back into the atmosphere creating rain, which in turn allows everything to grow again. A lovely mandala of life.
The mysteries of the universe often feel like one big jigsaw puzzle, but if we pause for a moment and take it piece by piece, and in the process set an example for others to follow, then slowly, maybe over many lifetimes, the jigsaw will fall into place.
This past Sunday, September 21st, 2014, I joined 400,00 others in the People’s Climate March in NYC. It was the largest of it’s kind, and amazing that so many people care about the future of this Earth we live on. Unfortunately, it was covered by only one news network, and only for about 23 seconds.
People’s Climate March 2014
One of the reasons for the lack of coverage is very same reason why I marched: our major “environmental” organizations, like GreenPeace, 350.org, etc., refuse to acknowledge the biggest cause of our environmental decline: the animal agriculture industry. The farming industry in the United States essentially runs our government. This industry has so much power in our country, that even high profile people like former Vice-President Al Gore, are afraid to talk about it. In fact, animal rights and environmental activists are the #1 offenders on the FBI watch list, rather than the actual bad guys.
It is estimated that at the rate our population is growing and the amount our word eats animal based food, we will only be around another 50 years or so. In 50 years I will be 84…I’d like to see the world last a bit longer than that! The farming industry is not only affecting the air and water we need to survive, but also killing off our natural wildlife. If you get excited when you see a fox or bear while on a hike, you better take advantage of it now, because natural wildlife won’t be here much longer.
There are a few things you can do:
The first is to educate yourself: watch the movie Cowspiracy. The movie highlights the fact that the largest cause of environmental decline is being hidden by all major environmental organizations, and our government. You can learn more about it here: http://cowspiracy.com/.
#2: Eat a plant based diet. It is completely possible to live a healthy, happy life on a vegan diet. Even if you are pregnant and/or raising children. Milk produced by cows is for their calfs to grow up into big strong cows! And if you love ice cream and cheese, you can get amazing tasting nut based ice cream or tapioca based cheese – it tastes the same, I swear! And you don’t even have to eat soy if you don’t want to! Sharon Gannon, co-founder of Jivamukti Yoga School, just released a new cook book called Simple Recipes for Joy. There are over 200 vegan recipes in the book, even things like meatballs and spaghetti and manhattan clam chowder! I happened to have helped make the food in pictures in the book and tested recipes before publishing! You can order it here: Simple Recipes for Joy
Please feel free to comment or ask questions. Here are some facts that are posted on the Cowspiracy website, all completely research based. I have a copy of the Cowspiracy movie if you are in the NY area and want to borrow it.
LOVE, PEACE & VEGETABLES!
The science and research done on the true impacts of animal agriculture is always growing. The statistics used in the film were based off the information below.
We will continually update this list with further resources as they become available.
Although there may be fluctuations in numbers from year to year and from researcher to researcher, the fact remains that animal agriculture, as a whole, requires tremendous amounts of resources and is a leader in environmental degradation.
Animal agriculture is responsible for 51 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than all transportation combined. [i]
Fao.org. Spotlight: Livestock impacts on the environment.
Growing feed crops for livestock consumes 56% of water in the US.
Jacobson, Michael F. “More and Cleaner Water.” In Six Arguments for a Greener Diet: How a More Plant-based Diet Could save Your Health and the Environment.
Washington, DC: Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2006.
5% of water in the US is used by private homes.
55% of water in the US is used for animal agriculture.
Jacobson, Michael F. “More and Cleaner Water.” In Six Arguments for a Greener Diet: How a More Plant-based Diet Could save Your Health and the Environment. Washington, DC: Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2006.
Every minute, 7 million pounds of excrement are produced by animals raised for food in the US.
This doesn’t include the animals raised outside of USDA jurisdiction or in backyards, or the billions of fish raised in aquaculture settings in the US. [v]
“What’s the Problem?” United States Environmental Protection Agency.