Help us protect Blackburn Lake

Blackburn-Lake
Dear Satsang Friends,

I am writing to you this month to tell you about an exciting development in our neighbourhood. For several years, our next-door neighbour at the Blackburn Golf Course, has been trying to sell his 32.6 acre property that reaches around half of Blackburn Lake. Recent rumours have been confirmed that the Salt Spring Island Conservancy is planning to purchase this property and maintain it as a nature preserve.

SSI-Conservancy-Letter

SSI Conservancy letter of appeal

We heartily support this nature reserve project, in particular because of the special wildlife and water values on the property. The Conservancy has identified a dozen ‘Species at Risk’ on or near the property, as well as more than 85 bird species. The property also has a critical relationship to the Cusheon watershed, which supplies many hundreds of nearby residents with water.

As the property directly adjoins the Salt Spring Centre lands, we are delighted that our new neighbours want to protect the watershed and its rich wildlife by managing this property as a nature reserve. We invite you to read the letter of appeal provided by the SSI Conservancy regarding the purchase of the Blackburn Lake property, and to consider making a pledge to support this acquisition.

In supporting this initiative of the SSI Conservancy, the Centre stays true to its aim of ensuring that this land continues to be a place of peace for all who come here.

In peace,
Paramita,
On behalf of DS Board and SSCY Management

“…You are in the mountains where there is fresh air and water, where there are trees and plants and streams. Sit with them and enjoy the creation of God. God and creation are not separate. The idea is to attain peace.” Baba Hari Dass

Asana of the month: Gomukhasana for the rest of us

Gomukhasana (cow’s head pose)
(go-moo-KAHS-anna)
go = cow (Sanskrit “go” is a distant relative of the English word “cow”)
mukha = face

Full Gomukhasana pose (front view and back view)

Full Gomukhasana pose (front view and back view)

First off, I must admit that this is my least favourite yoga asana. Up until now, I have mostly managed to avoid practicing it and teaching it, but I often find myself in a yoga class saying things like, ‘Your greatest gift in yoga is finding a pose you can’t stand to be in. This is the pose for you!’ So, when asked to write an Asana of the Month piece for Offerings, Gomukhasana instantly came to mind.

I have short muscular limbs, a long torso, and naturally inwardly rotated thighs. This pose seems to stretch every tight muscle I have, all at once, which apparently includes ankles, hips and thighs, armpits and triceps, and chest. My fullest expression looks nothing like the images I’ve seen of this pose being demonstrated in books and online.

The traditional version of this pose is seemingly quite straightforward to execute.

  1. From Staff pose (dandasana) bend both knees and bring the soles of the feet onto the mat. Bend the right knee, bring the heel towards the left hip, and the thigh towards the center line of the body. Flex the foot to protect the knee. Bring the left knee on top of the right knee, bend it to bring the left heel to the outside of the right hip, and again the foot. Allow both sitting bones to rest evenly on the floor.
  2. Lift the left arm to shoulder height at the front of the body and turn the palm up to face the ceiling. Reach the arm overhead and bend the elbow to bring the hand to rest between the shoulder blades. Bring the right arm down by the right side of the body and rotate it clockwise so the palm faces out to the right. Bend at the elbow and reach fingertips toward the left hand. Clasp hands at fingers and pull arms towards center line of body.

Gomukhasana for the rest of us
For many of us, this full expression of Gomukhasana is not physically possible at present, or at least for any length of time. Here are some gentler variations of Gomukhasana for the rest of us!

Gomukhasana modifications

Gomukhasana modifications

  • Elevate the hips on a block or bolster to tilt the pelvis forward and allow for an upright neutral spine.
  • Allow the right leg to remain straight, bend the left knee over the right knee, and bring the left heel towards the outside of the right hip.

Modification 2

  • After bending the right knee and bringing the heel toward the left hip, bend the left knee but place the sole of the left foot on the floor on the right side of the thigh, and do not stack the knees.
  • If the hands do not reach each other, hold a strap in the left hand, and grab onto it with the right. Walk the hands slowly towards each other.

Modification 3

  • Bring both arms to your sides, with palms facing behind you, and grab opposite elbows.

Break the pose up

  • Move into Gomukhasana legs, and rest arms on knees, while holding for as long as is comfortable.
  • Release the legs and come into an easy sitting position to move into Gomukhasana arms, and again hold for a while.

Once you’ve found your appropriate expression of this pose, inhale and lengthen the spine, and open through the heart centre. Exhale, engage the pelvic floor, and the deep belly muscles. In a “yang” style, or more vigorous practice, one minute on each side is a good place to start. If there is obvious tightness on one side, you might start with the tight side and then end with it as well. To deepen the pose, press the arms away from the back, and bring the torso towards the thighs, with the intention of keeping a neutral spine. In a “yin” yoga practice, this pose is called shoelace; after a minute the arms are released, the back rounds forward, and the muscles relax completely to hold for another 2-4 minutes.

Regardless of what your pose looks like on the outside, the true yoga is what is happening on the inside. Close your eyes and allow the breath to be slow and full. In the (cow’s) face of strong sensations the mind will tend to wander away; bring it back to the breath. Watch with utmost attention the breadth and width of the sensations. Explore whether there is a temperature, color or emotion attached to them. Observe how the sensations shift and flow with the breath.

Coming out of the posture
Release from this pose slowly! First release the arms, roll the shoulders and shake out the arms and hands. Place the hands on the floor behind you and lean into them to slowly release the legs and then give them a shake as well. Bend the knees to 90 degrees, place the soles of the feet on the edges of the mat, and ‘windshield wiper’ the knees – first to the left, and then to the right – as many times as is needed. Come to stillness. Ask the body where it needs to go next. Be intuitive. Breathe.

YTT grad, Kenzie Patillo

YTT grad, Kenzie Patillo

About the instructor
Kenzie Pattillo is a householder yogi living in North Vancouver BC. She completed her Yoga Teacher Training at SSCY in 2002 and currently teaches Gentle Hatha and Yin Yoga. (You can find out more about Kenzie by reading our YTT Grad Feature on her.)

Meet our YTT Grads: Kenzie Pattillo

Kenzie-Pattillo1

YTT Grad, Kenzie Pattillo

Where do you live? What do you do in your life apart from yoga?
I have been living in North Vancouver for the last seven years but will always call Nova Scotia my home. I am a full-time mama to two divine little boy beings who are presently 4 and 5. I deeply appreciate attending life drawing classes and hiking into the North Shore Mountains in my spare time.

What motivated you to begin practicing yoga? How did yoga come to be a part of your life?
Yoga became a part of my life when I came as a “WWOOFER” to SSCY fifteen years ago, stayed for an entire season and met Babaji. Karma and Bhakti yoga came first – the former because it came easily, and the latter because it melted my heart and filled a deep spiritual need. I went on to complete a spiritual lifestyle training at Kripalu Yoga Centre, studied the teachings of many gurus in a myriad of yoga styles and lineages, and experienced some yogic misadventures along the way. But almost a decade later, I still had a tenuous relationship with asana and pranayama, as I both pursued and resisted a regular yoga sadhana in equal measure. It wasn’t until I sprained my sacrum after childbirth six years ago that physical pain required me to maintain a daily “back maintenance” yoga sadhana. Now that my home practice has taken hold it has finally become non-negotiable and self-sustaining.

What attracted you to the SSCY YTT program?
I had already lived at SSCY one season and was aching to return. In 2002 I had plans to plant trees in the interior of BC in the spring and attend art school in Victoria in the autumn. When I found out SSCY was offering its first YTT that same year the decision made itself. The year before I’d been asked by many friends to teach them yoga, and though I’d been studying it quite vigorously for three years, I knew there were some gaps in my knowledge. I needed a teacher training program that I could trust to help me fill in those gaps, while also allowing me to establish a strong personal sadhana and positive teaching experiences.

What surprised you the most about the practice of yoga? How has your understanding of yoga deepened?
I think I was first attracted to the more “far out” perceptions of yoga. I thought ‘yoga’ would happen in some supernatural, ethereal plane. I had spent so long trying to get out of my body and out of my ‘mundane reality’ that I was sure yoga had nothing to do with either. But what I eventually came to realize was that true yoga happens on the inside, breath by breath, in the eternal present, and it does not come easily. I was surprised by how much shame and judgment about my body I’d internalized and how unsafe I felt being present within myself. I was surprised by the negative thoughts about myself that played out in my mind when I observed it. But the real surprise about practicing yoga is that through my practice I have come to deeply know that I am whole and filled with peace and love, and I can heal myself. The deeper I get into my body and into the present moment the deeper my true understanding of yoga becomes.

Please share some memorable moments – or a favourite moment – from YTT.
At one point in our training we were all asked to do our own versions of surya namaskar at our own pace for ten minutes or so. The energy in the room was so captivating. The commitment to practicing together yet the deep honouring of our own unique approach was evident.

I also remember how absolutely terrified I was to do my teaching practicum. I was in torment. The strong sadhana aspect of this YTT can really strip one bare. My witness was observing my insecurity clearly. But once I began teaching, that openness also allowed me to feel the tremendous support and love emanating from my YTT peers. We were all in complete support of each other’s transformation into yoga teachers. I remember looking up at the class I was teaching and feeling such awe that they were doing what I said! I was guiding them in and out of yoga postures and holding the space to allow them their own experience.

What can students expect from the yoga teacher training at the Centre?
We all come with our own perceptions of what yoga is and what it means to practice it let alone teach it. I think students can expect to be respected for where they are at on the path and for what they bring to their practice. But I think they can also be expected to expand and grow their practice to acknowledge and hopefully embody a wider, fuller vision of what yoga means and can mean to the diverse range of students they may eventually teach. When I am at the Centre, I am deeply connected to my best self, and I see that best self in everyone around me. That in itself is a profound gift that I believe all YTT participants will receive and carry with them back out into the world.

Check out Kenzie’s Asana of the Month post: Gomukhasana (Cow’s Head pose).

Keeping the Flame Burning & AGM 2013

Keeping the flame burning...

Keeping the flame burning…

Keeping the Flame Burning
June 14 – 16, 2013

The Annual General Meeting of the Dharma Sara Satsang Society will be held on June 15 during the Keeping The Flame Burning weekend: a gathering to celebrate Babaji’s teachings in a weekend of stories, practice and celebration.

More information will be posted on the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga website as it becomes available.

Potting Tomatoes, Planting Squash

Farm haiku of the day:
Lovely tomatoes,
Awaiting in the future,
Such sweetness to come!

Great news! We recently potted-up our tomatoesSalt Spring Centre of Yoga Greenhouse Tomatoes and they’re looking mighty fine. In early May, they’ll be transplanted into one of our greenhouses, taking the place of our soon-to-be harvested crop of carrots, and thus creating the “House of Tomatoes” (we will also have the “House of Eggplants and Peppers”, not to mention the very fragrant “House of Basil”).

Along the same line of summer harvests, we recently seeded the first batch of summer squash (zucchini), winter squash, cucumbers, and melons. Of the varieties we seeded, some of you may remember the remarkably scrumptious–and cute–Lemon cucumbers, and the UFO-like Sunburst summer squash. We also have some you may no know, but may be very interested in trying, such as the Ninja Asian cucumber–likely the winner of the best name category, but also distinct from Western cucumbers in that the skin is very soft of sweet–and also the Dumpling winter squash, a delicious and beautiful acorn squash with tiger-like green striations. For a little fun, we also seeded a few of Dill’s Atlantic Giant Pumpkins, which have fruit that can easily get up to 100-200lbs or even 1000lbs!

Our spring crops are ongoing, of course, and you’ll find our farm stand stocked every Friday afternoon with a fresh batch of salad mix, spinach, and kale. A new addition this week will be French Breakfast radishes. Try them with just a dab of salt! Be sure to come early in the week, as we do tend to sell out!

May the sun be bright and plentiful!

The Farm Team

An Amazing March Yoga Getaway To Start Our 2013 Season

Yoga Getaways: a time for people to get away from their usual busy lives. A weekend that includes a variety of yoga classes, breathing & meditation classes, great meals, time to indulge in a Wellness Centre treatment, explore the Island or just relax at the Centre. It seems like a pretty straightforward retreat.

Being new to the Centre and as the new Programs Manager it was exciting as our first Yoga Getaway drew near. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But fortunately for me, most of staff here were familiar with these retreats from previous years. (I use the term ‘staff’ loosely as almost everyone here is here practicing karma yoga or selfless service).

People started arriving in the afternoon, bags in hand, glad that they had arrived and ready to begin. Some were returning guests, knowing what to expect and the ‘lay of the land’. Others had never been to the Centre or even the Island. Lakshmi, a long time community member, was our House Manager for the weekend. She sat with each small group as they arrived with a cup of tea and a warm smile and welcome each of them. I noticed how people started to settle in.

After a yoga postures class and dinner, the orientation started with a little information about the Centre and included an opening circle to really begin the retreat. Personally I felt that this was a gift to be a part of. We talked about what we were leaving behind in order to be here for this weekend. There were moms leaving their children for the weekend for the first time, wives leaving husbands to fend for themselves, men and women leaving work, leaving stress, leaving email. Some left wedding plans, pets, moving plans, traffic and schedules. The lists were varied but the nods amongst the group confirmed the concepts were shared. We discussed what our intentions were for the weekend and again there were more similarities than differences.

The group itself was a collection: mothers and daughters, sisters, friends, husbands and wives and individuals. I watched how people started to meet through shared stories, humour and the desire to just be here now. A guided meditation closed off the evening and I watched as people physically began to unwind and let go.

The weekend moved between the various types of classes to chose from and free time, punctuated by meals. Guests saw the connection of the food they ate with the farm they wandered through in the afternoon and the karma staff they met who harvested or prepared the food. There were many questions about the idea of selfless service and some guests were interested to hear how many of us found our way to the Centre to live and work.

As the getaway came to an end, we gathered again for a closing circle. This made the biggest impression on me by far. People shared what this weekend did for them; allowed them to relax, to unwind, to breathe, to just be. The energy felt different in this same group of people from when we sat here just two days earlier. It was still playful but just a little lighter.

For me, this is what it was about. Not just what the Yoga Getaway itself is for, but even what the Centre is here for. I can’t say for sure what this weekend will do for our guests when they returned to their homes, returned to their routines. For some this may just be a reset button and they will continue on as usual. Perhaps for others, this will have a rippling effect that will cascade into their lives in unknown ways. But for me as a karma yogi and as the Programs Manager, I found my purpose in that circle. My reason to be here. To help create a space for people to come, take a breath and find some peace. And now with a busy season ahead of us I can look forward to being a part of that again and again.

Contributed by Kris Cox.

Meet our YTT Grads: Kishori Hutchings

Kishori Hutchings, YTT grad of 2002

Kishori Hutchings, YTT grad of 2002

Where do you live? What do you do in your life apart from yoga?

I live on Salt Spring and have for over 30 years. Apart from volunteering at the Centre and teaching aspects of yoga, I’m retired, now living about 10 minutes drive from the Centre. I spend a lot of time gardening, walking and swimming – and of course, spending wonderful times with my husband of almost 40 years and playing with my sweetie-pie dog.

How did yoga come to be a part of your life? What attracted you to the SSCY YTT program?

I started practicing yoga in 1971 – quite a while before I met Babaji – mostly because of listening to a recording of ‘Be Here Now’ by Ram Dass, after which I bought the book. When I came across the photo of Babaji, I remember thinking – and maybe even saying out loud – “Oh I’d love to meet someone like that!”

In those days, I went to asana classes for a while but never really got it. I met Babaji in 1974 after my husband and I had gotten together, and I was completely smitten. I tried to do the things that Babaji suggested. Although I wasn’t into asana, Babaji gave me his blessing to continue teaching fitness and going to dance classes; he told me it was good for me. I didn’t really get into asana until much later when I met a wonderful asana teacher on Salt Spring.

We moved to the Island shortly after the Centre property was purchased in 1981 with our then 3 month old daughter. I did a lot of karma yoga in those days – getting the centre ready for all the programs and trying to clean up and organize the property; it was a mess back then and needed a lot of tlc – and we worked hard at cleaning, painting, and many other things. I had started teaching yoga as well, and then in about 2000 or 2001, my friend Kalpana told me I needed to get certified. I was in the first graduating class of 2002. .

What aspect of yoga has had the most transformative effect on your life? What surprised you the most about the practice of yoga? How has your understanding of yoga deepened?

Through the program, which I found very challenging, I learned that I had a lot of strength and that some of the teachings I actually knew quite a lot about, which gave me time to focus on the stuff I had not learned before. I was 50 that year – with sore knees, sore back, injured hips – and I found the sitting very difficult, but I also surprised myself by how well i did in the program and how great it was to graduate.

I think what transformed me the most was learning to relax and not try so hard, not to force the pranayama and meditation, but to relax and go deep into the practices, especially kirtan. I Iearned to open myself and see what was inside.

Please share some memorable moments from YTT.

I remember doing my practicum for both asana and pranayama, and feeling great about how well those had gone. There definitely were and still are things that I have to look up sometimes, but that’s why we have a primer and a binder packed with information. I remember the laughter and the singing. And I remember so many of my classmates – both young (my daughter’s age) and older than me. It was wonderful.

I love teaching at the Centre – pranayama and meditation and restorative yoga classes. Those are my favourite things – plus I love to sing and am involved with the Centre’s satsang committee and am at Satsang most Sundays, singing my heart out. As I age, I’m working on positive qualities – being tactful, being compassionate, being tolerant, being kind and being warm and welcoming to everyone. And as I work on these things, I’m finding happiness and contentment in most aspects of my life. It’s really true: you work on yoga and yoga works on you.

Do you have any favourite quotes?

I think my favourite quote is “teach to learn” – I have learned so much more by teaching – doing research to make sure my classes are right, learning from the students, working to solve their problems, and in doing so, many of my problems go away. What a wonderful thing!

What can students expect from the SSCY Yoga Teacher Training?

For anyone wanting to enrich their lives, this program is fantastic. It will deepen your own practice even if you decide not to teach.

Read more about Kishori’s story and her connection with the Centre in her Founding Member Feature.

Hello, Farm Yogis! Hello again, Farm Stand!

There are many exciting things happening on the farm these days, not the least of which is a new name for our truck: Jai Mazadananda.

Two weeks ago, our seasonal farm yogis arrived. There’s Lisa, who joins us from Winnipeg/Montreal and who is looking forward to growing all 29 varieties of tomatoes we have in the greenhouse; then there’s Sherri who joins us from Vancouver Island, and who’s excited to grow eggplants and basil; and, finally, Christine, who just came from our sister Centre, MMC, and who is excited to grow shiso!

Having become a full farm team, we put our backs into it and put in all the potatoes for next season… 6 varieties of them! We also seeded a whack of carrots, spinach, lettuce, peas, radishes, and arugula. Lots more is coming this season!

Also, our farm stand is opening this Friday (earlier than expected… hurray!). We’ll be stocking it with salad mix and very delicious spinach. Remember, if you wish to pre-order anything, please join our mailing list, and we’ll send you an update of what available on Thursday morning, and we’ll be happy to put aside your order.

Sharada’s April update

nettles

The nettles are here – a sure sign of spring

Although it’s been in the air for a while, spring officially arrived a couple of weeks ago. It may not be so on the day this arrives in your inbox, but today the sun is shining and the sky is clear blue with only tiny wisps of clouds.

Our community has grown once again, and we are delighted to welcome our wonderful team of karma yogis – several for the full season, others for the 3-month KYSS program. The meals are amazing, thanks to both the farmers and the cooks. The housekeeping crew has been doing some deep cleaning in the house, while the maintenance and landscape crew continues to beautify the grounds and keep everything working. Meanwhile the office staff is busy with all the work related to programming, registration, scheduling and the many, many daily tasks of keeping the Centre organized.

Dinner time with Karma Yogis  Laura, Sam, Sherri, Lisa, Christine and Van

Dinner time with Karma Yogis Laura, Sam, Sherri, Lisa, Christine and Van

With such a strong team in place, the first Yoga Getaway of the season went off with nary a hitch. It’s always a pleasure to be able to welcome people to the Centre and provide the teachings, the best food on the island (and beyond) and the experience of peace.

A week prior to the Yoga Getaway, the DS Board and Panchayat (group of elders) and the department managers held a strategic planning meeting with the same facilitator who guided us through the process a couple of years ago. It was gratifying to note that so many of the goals we had set at that time have been met, with others in progress.

Strategic planning with Chandra, Lakshmi, SN and Carol

Strategic planning with Chandra, Lakshmi, SN and Carol

Jack reports that the farm yogis are an enthusiastic group – all women except for him. The salads that are coming from the farm are amazing! The big news of the moment is that all six varieties of potatoes are planted – a lot of potatoes. There are also 29 varieties of tomatoes in the greenhouse. Last week the farm crew spent a day repairing and recovering one of the greenhouses after a big wind ripped the plastic off. In other farm news, the new (to us) farm truck has a name, following the truck-naming competition on our Facebook page. The fifty suggestions were winnowed down by community members’ votes, and the six names with the highest number of votes were posted on FB for the final vote. The envelope please: Welcome Jai Mazdananda! – and congratulations to Patrick Hogan for suggesting the winning name. His prize was a copy of ‘The Salt Spring Experience’ and a variety of saved seeds from the farm.

Jack and the new members of the farm team, Sherri, Christine and Lisa

Jack and the new members of the farm team, Sherri, Christine and Lisa

Coming up in the third week of May is a big celebration of Babaji’s 90th birthday at Mount Madonna. Please follow this link to read the invitation. If you would like more information, or if you plan to attend, please contact either Lakshmi – lakshmi@saltspringcentre.com or Sharada – sharada@saltspringcentre.com.

Some features to check out this month: The Founding Member profile (now renamed Our Satsang Community) this month features Chandrika Lajeunesse. Chandrika has been part of our satsang community since the 70s; her brother, AD (Anand Dass) was Babaji’s first North American student, and the first yoga teacher in the Dharma Sara community. Chandrika began learning yoga from AD before she met Babaji.

The YTT grad article features Kishori Hutchings, one of the Centre’s founding members, who did her yoga teacher training the first year it was offered here, and who continues to teach, along with the many other gifts she shares with the community.

The Asana of the Month – Child’s Pose – is by Neil Mark, who teaches at the Centre during Yoga Getaways. He graduated from our YTT program in 2003 and describes himself as an extreme athlete turned yogi.

Planning for our Annual Community Yoga Retreat (August 1 – 5) is underway, and we are actively seeking an ACYR Coordinator. This will be a short-term contracted position. If you are interested, please contact Lakshmi: lakshmi@saltspringcentre.com for more information.

Sharada visits Van and Hannah in the kitchen

Sharada visits Van and Hannah in the kitchen

We welcome you to keep in touch by commenting on the various articles in this newsletter and by reading – and commenting on – postings on our Facebook page. It’s always wonderful to hear from people in our extended family.

With gratitude and love in this season of growth,
Sharada

Staying centred in the midst of life’s turmoil

babaji-1999We are all familiar with stress in its many manifestations. Why do we get so caught in the drama of life and in our habitual reactions? Sometimes life seems to flow along smoothly and we are calm, open, loving. Then something happens – and boom – we’re right back into our old patterns, even though we may have thought we had evolved, and were ‘done with that one.’

Babaji has written: We live in the imagination of others. When we see a person, we don’t see the reality of that person – we see only our projected desires, which is our imagination. In this way, as long as we have not yet realized the truth, we all live in the imagination of each other.

In our everyday life we identify things as good or bad. If something doesn’t support our ego, the mind labels it as bad, and if it does support our ego the mind says it is good. Our ego, according to its likes and dislikes colours every object, thought or idea and gives judgement accordingly.

This is a very simple teaching, yet we’re often not aware that that our response to something is our view and not the truth. In fact it usually seems perfectly obvious to us that our version of reality is true. What can we do? Babaji suggests that we live life in the world as a duty. Duty is one of those words, along with discipline, that is easy to misunderstand because of our associations with it. It is not a heavy-handed dictum; rather, it is a shift from our usual self-centred view of life – changing the angle of the mind – to an open-minded curiosity about what’s best for the whole rather than just for ourselves. Instead of assuming that our opinions are right, we can inquire: Is that really true? I once saw a wonderful bumper sticker that said: You don’t have to believe your thoughts.

Babaji reminds us that developing positive qualities is the foundation. Tolerance, compassion and contentment are the three pillars of spirituality. God can’t be seen in a form sitting in heaven but can be experienced by loving every person. Although the habit of blaming others is common, many of us turn the blame against ourselves. “Loving everyone” includes ourselves.

How do we develop these qualities.? By learning to notice when we are moving into reactive mode, taking time to centre ourselves, acknowledging that this is challenging for us, and by listening. It takes a lot of practice to be able to have that kind of awareness in heated moments, but we have many opportunities throughout the day to stop and check in with ourselves: Is there tension in my body? Why might that be? It’s really a practice of Svadhyaya, self-study. Swadhyaya is also scriptural study, which reminds us of our aim, of how we want to live.

Watching the ego becomes a habit; you have to become as alert as a thief. If we want to be free of suffering, we need to stay true to our aim. We can be serious about our practice, but we needn’t be somber and serious in our lives. As Babaji has told us repeatedly, life is not a burden; we make it a burden.

Don’t think you are carrying the whole world.
Make it easy.
Make it play.
Make it a prayer.

Contributed by Sharada. All quotes in italics are from various writings by Baba Hari Dass.