In what do you believe? Enjoy
- yes ♫ http://blip.fm/~c63tj #
- Feminine can caress and devour: http://twurl.nl/bqicfk #
- "feels good, feels like poetry, don't ask me to explain it" ♫ http://blip.fm/~c645g #
- can it be that most projects actually are on time & in budget and that most planned budgets and schedules are off? #
- 1st Degree Burns: http://twurl.nl/ctuym8 #
- RT @erangalperin: RT: @danjas: RT: @shari: יופי של פוסט מאת @Thesharklady: טוויטר הוא לא הבעיה – http://www.revitalsalomon.com/?p=521 #
- stepping into Pranayama, introducing nostril control: http://twurl.nl/aubcyj #yoga #breath #
- I wish I had my own walkie-talkie that reached to god every night ♫ http://blip.fm/~c8h65 #
- My Enemy My Beloved – Oyvi Ahuvi: http://twurl.nl/fs8fni #
- my recent meditation are very "functional", they leave me with specific tasks to do #
- #Yoga – a first Pranayama breathing technique Anuloma Ujjayi: http://twurl.nl/xrv51y #
- wonderful movie 3 Monkeys: http://twurl.nl/knwuy0 #
- what we are looking for is where we are looking from #
- #Yoga – a second Pranayama breathing technique – Viloma Ujjayi: http://twurl.nl/lcfg36 #
- RT @erangalperin: great article on carsonified – top 10 UX myths http://bit.ly/2qw5RJ #
- Faith & Doubt in the Yoga Sutra: http://twurl.nl/hghx16 #yoga #
- RT @davewiner: keeping creative people out is not the way to build a community. [me: but unfortunately it is a way to sustain it!] #
- time erodes importance #
- today my colors are green & purple and my body is sensitive & resilient #
- "we can do it my way or we can do it your way, but I won't meet you half way" #
- my business model: http://twurl.nl/cu7xle #
- TKV Desikachar about the qualities of a student and a teacher: http://twurl.nl/qoztd0 #
- RT @ronenk: אגב, כשכתבתי שוקולד כתבתי שוקולד במלרע ולא במלעיל. שוקולד, ולא שוקולד. #
- a perspective on the Bhagvad Gita – why do we walk into traps? http://twurl.nl/r72j4w #
Powered by Twitter Tools
The Bhagvad Gita is a famous Hindu text. I studied the first 3rd of the text on retreat and I’ve read two translations. There is something that captivated me when I first encountered the text, though now I have less space and need for it, though it does call out to me. So over the past week I’ve been revisiting some of my notes and I came across two ideas that shimmered for me and I though to share. One is the cultural setting of the text and the other is a curious perspective about it. But, for the uninitiated, a brief orientation.
What’s the Story?
The Bhagvad Gita is a long poem and actually a part of an even longer poem called the Mahabharata. The Bhagvad Gita begins with a description of a battle that is about to take place. The story that led up to it is not unlike a modern soap-opera:
- There’s a blind king Dhritarashtra who has 100 sons called the Kauravas.
- The king has a brother Pandu who has 5 sons called the Pandavas.
- The Kauravas are a feisty bunch and they managed to cheat the Pandavas out of their rightful inheritance of land… which brings us to the war.
- Due to the familial relations between the king and his brother, there are friends, teachers & pupils on both sides of the battlefield.
- Arjuna is one of the five Pandavas and is said to be the greatest warrior alive – master of the bow and arrow.
- Arjuna was required to choose between Krishna (God incarnated) and Krishna’s army.
- Arjuna chose Krishna.
- Krishna’s army is on the side of the Kauravas.
And so our story begins.
The historical setting begins with the Vedas – the oldest written texts and roots of all Indian philosophy. This cultural branch of human spiritual development seems to have been very practical – and so it was focused on spiritual pursuit within the settings of family life. The Vedas were off-limits to ordinary people and remained in the hands of poet-priests – who provided guidance on how life should be lived (the Vedas are dominated by carefully prescribed rituals).
The Vedas were followed by the Upanishads – which rebelled against the domination of priests and rituals – this was a period of “power to the people”. God was said to be “within” and therefore available to all. Practitioners were considered heretics, they broke away from the caste system (and their families) and lived in hiding in forests.
Then came Buddhism which brought priest-like patterns back into the picture. Buddhism claimed that enlightenment was achieved under monastic conditions – and not in the typical settings of the Indian family values.
This brings us to the period of the Bhagvad Gita – which comes to rescue family-values. It is a call to arms to reinforce the position that a pursuit of spiritual enlightenment goes hand in hand with full family-life. You can work, get married, have kids and still achieve enlightenment. It is literally a call to action – about living a full life – about pursuing your Dharma. It is tainted with the cultural needs of its time – when it suggests “better to follow your Dharma badly then someone else’s good” – it lays the foundations for social control – manifested in India as the caste system.
At the beginning of the story Arjuna asks Krishna (God incarnated, acting as Arjuna’s charioteer) to take him to the middle of the battlefield. Once there he rises to stand and looks to the enemy lines. There he sees his uncles, cousins, friends and teachers. He then collapses back into his seat in despondency and depression saying to Krishna that he cannot fight this war. The greatest warrior alive gets depressed at the outset of the greatest war in history.
The Bhagavad Gita documents the ensuing dialog in which Krishna teaches Arjuna’s the true nature of reality. Simply put – Krishna explains to Arjuna that his own misapprehensions are blinding him. His opposing cousins and uncles are already dead, because that is the nature of things and of their choices. Krishna says to Arjuna that it is his nature and fate (Dharma) to fight this war – and that he must not let his fleeting human nature blind him from his course – “You are a warrior – go and fight your war”.
I recall the first question that Paul set out for us to contemplate when we began studying the Bhagavad Gita – which to this day I feel paints in a simple and relevant light: “What is it that prompted Arjuna in the first place to ask Krishna to take him out into the battlefield knowing in advance what he will find there?”.
I have a feeling that if you peel enough layers from the question, it boils down to the question Vedanta attempts to answer: “What causes the initial disturbance from which all reality manifests?”. I take solace in an answer provided by Samkhya philosophy – which says “Don’t ask – because it doesn’t really matter, all that matters is that we are here now and we are clear about how ‘here now’ works”. I don’t know about you, for me “being here now” is a full-life-job.
The following is an excerpt from “What are we Seeking” by TKV Desikachar & Martyn Neal.
What are the qualities of a good student?
A good student is one who is inquisitive and is searching….
A good student will have pertinent questions… and this will bring out the best in the teacher… It is up to him to learn about all the aspects of himself through the teacher.
Patience is a must. Patience is where we do not change track, irrespective of whether something happens or not, after our efforts. Patience is [also] one of the most precious qualities a teacher should have.
A good student manifests his trust in the teacher. Trust and confidence develop gradually in the relationship…
Respect and faith are essential qualities because they help a student to find his center. This is a mysterious effect of the correct relationship: the divine aspect in the teacher will reveal the divine aspect in the student.
What are the qualifies of a good teacher?
A teacher is someone who can recognize the potentials in a person and aid him in developing them. A potential is a predisposition which may not develop if certain elements are lacking… We in India believe that there is some sort of continuity and that the potentials of any person are influenced by past actions… Some things need to be done to open the way for their [potentials] development… [the teacher] will help the student learn how to use the right techniques, in the appropriate manner and at the right rhythm. He will adapt the teaching in order to respect temperament, age, health, way of life and all other factors, in such a way that the least possible conflict is caused, both to the student and his environment.
The teacher must meditate on the student in order to discover his positive features and to find the best way of removing the obstacles which prevent their development. The primary concern should be for the well-being of the student above all other considerations, and if the teacher does not have the necessary resources he should advise him [the student] to go elsewhere, in order to get the best out of the gifts which God has given to him. This means being open, humble and realistic.
Observation is one of the foremost requirements for teaching. If a teacher is just distributing technical information without observing the people who are receiving it, he will fall short of the real goal. Teaching should be like meditation, where the teacher’s focus is on the student.
A good teacher encourages independence. Dependency, loss of freedom on the part of the student, is undesirable. It is a negative result and avoiding it is a constant challenge to any teacher… Unfortunately, there are teachers who seemingly prefer that their students remain dependent.
Mutual respect is indispensable in the student teacher relationship. Without respect it is impossible for a teacher to help a student in his quest. This means taking full into account his beliefs, ideas and possibilities, understanding his lifestyle, family situation, and so on – on factor whatsoever should be rejected …Without this approach we can make mistakes. Being faced with a problem is like being in a maze; the mind creates a labyrinth around the problem and one of the worst things that a teacher can do is to take the student by the hand and show him the exit… sometimes the student is very happy in his labyrinth.
… A teacher should always look after his own personal discipline … The efforts he makes to evolve, and to see more clearly, are the best preparation for his teaching and a mark of respect for the students.
A teacher should also be accessible, able to listen to the student’s problems with an understanding ear… a teacher should know how to facilitate communication and this will inspire confidence.
[A teacher] should be an example. However, his example should not go beyond his true capacities. No one can learn from a teacher who over-stretches himself.
Continuity of learning is the basis of teaching, and any teacher who loses the will to learn, loses at the same time the capacity to teach … the guarantee of the depth of his teaching is the desire to learn, to constantly search beyond what has already been understood.
There are two ways for you to use WordPress. To appreciate the differences we need to get acquainted with two terms: Domain & Hosting.
What is a Domain?
A domain is a reserved name on the internet. For example “iamronen.com” is a domain that I have reserved for myself. It’s really just that – a reserved name that appears in the “yellow pages” of the internet. A domain is not a web-site! If we want to create a website we first need a place to put the web-site. Essentially what you need is a web-server – a computer that can run the WordPress application with all of your posts & pages. This brings us to Hosting.
What is a Hosting?
Hosting is the term used to describe a storage space for web-sites on the internet. The simplest way to think of it is as computer that you rent for your web-site. You maybe asking yourself “Why do you need to rent a computer, why can’t I simply have my web-site on my home computer?”. The truth is that you can, but you would run into some problems such as:
- Connectivity – you would have to make sure that your computer is on and functional at all times, because you don’t know when people may be visiting your website, this could be at any time.
- Bandwidth – your home internet connection has a limited capacity, you can only send & receive a limited amount of information to and from the internet. Remember when you chose your internet connection speed – it was 1.5MB or 2.5 or something like that? That number indicates how much information you can transfer at any given time and it’s fairly limited. Your internet site may attract lots of visitors and some of them may not be able to get through because of your limited internet connection.
- Security – all of your website visitors will be accessing your computer and that could lead to some security issues – such as (1) exposing all of your private information to the world; (2) allowing people to place damaging software – such as viruses on your computer
- Backup – if your computer malfunctions, your site will not be available (it will offline) and if you lost any information (people are not too good at making backups!) you may also lose the information that is required to run your website including all of your web-pages.
Hosting takes care of all of this for you. The word “hosting” comes from the idea that your web-server computer is hosted in a place called a data-center. These data-centers are designed to ensure that your web-server is always connected to the internet, that it’s connection is fast enough to handle all of your visitors, that your web-server is secured, backed up and even protected from electricity failures.
What is Shared Hosting?
Most web-sites, especially personal web-sites that are just starting out don’t really need an entire computer (which can be prohibitively expensive) to operate. They probably use only a fraction of the capabilities of a web-server. So along came some ingenuous people and companies and invented Shared Hosting. What they do is magically transform a single powerful web-server computer into smaller virtual computers – which are just right for most web-sites and much more affordable. It’s kind of like renting an office-space in a large office-building. You don’t need an entire building to run your business, a one or two room office is more then enough.
The simplest & fastest way to get started with WordPress is at WordPress.com. This is hosting service dedicated to WordPress. They offer a basic service that is free of charge and what you get is:
- An automatic, secured and updated (WordPress releases new version 3 or 4 times a year) installation of WordPress.
- A domain name of your choice at WordPress. For example: myname.WordPress.com.
- A (limited) set of themes- visual designs (we’ll talk more about later in this series) for you to choose for your blog.
This service imposes some limitations to what you can do with your WordPress. Matt Mullenweg (the lead WordPress developer) once described it as living in an apartment complex – you have to be considerate of your neighbors. It’s very easy to get started – all you have to do is write your content – everything else is automatically taken care of by the team at WordPress.com. You can check out the free features here and the premium (paid) features here.
WordPress.org – Self Hosting
Remember we mentioned that WordPress is open-source and free for you to use? WordPress.org is where you go to get it. But getting it is the easy part and unless you are technically proficient in computer and internet technologies – you will probably need help to pursue this option.
You will need to get your own domain, find a hosting service, install WordPress, install & customize a theme, install & activate plugins, etc. If you encountered a few words in that last sentence that you don’t recognize, that’s OK, it just means you’re going to need help. If you are inclined to do it – you may try to tackle these issues on your own. There are many resources online on how to do this, you will need patience and perseverance.
There are many people who can help you create your self-hosted WordPress installation, I am one of them. You can find others here, or on freelance sites such as Guru, oDesk, or you can search the internet for WordPress freelancers.
Next up in the series – laying the foundations for your WordPress web-site.