“Fright never injures anyone. What injures the spirit is having someone always on your back, beating you, telling you what to do and what not to do.”
Carlos Castaneda

Journey to Ixtlan

Student & Teacher

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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.

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Posted in Getting Started, Yoga, Yoga & Life | You are welcome to read 3 comments and to add yours

Where can I get WordPress?

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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.

WordPress.com

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.

Posted in outside, Tech Stuff, Wordpress | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

My Business Model

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This is a business model I have started using in the WordPress projects I do. I try to apply it to other things as well.

Like-Hearted People

I am getting involved in projects with people who are involved in some kind of personal spiritual practice. This indicates to me that there is a good chance that these people share some of my core beliefs.

  1. They live as if their actions have consequences and they are aware of and care about those consequences.
  2. They are conscious of their intentions and their intentions are meticulously selected and constantly refined.
  3. Their intentions go beyond themselves – their work is dedicated to others.
  4. Their work touches other people – they are sensitive to individual predispositions and preferences.
  5. They have faith in what they do and in the people with whom they work.

This connects me with people who are caring, sensitive, curious, passionate and trusting.

A Simple Objective

I don’t enjoy doing complex things, so I do simple things. If there are complicated needs I break them down into small things and choose one as a starting point. The rest are set aside for a later time. A project starts when we can embrace a simple and shared objective – something that can be stated in one or two sentences without any technical terms. A good objective brings a smile to everyone’s face and a general feeling of lightness.

No Schedule

There is no project schedule, though due to their simplicity projects are relatively short. Time is not an issue. The most precious resource I allocate to a project is my caring attention. It is a limited resource so I treat it with care. The people I work with naturally recognize this because they do the same in their work. A project receives a limited share of my attention.

Pricing

I do not have and do not give set fees. Payment is up to the people I work with. I have faith in their perception of value and  their ability to translate that into money. Whatever the payment, it is offered and received with a smile and an open heart.

Success

A successful project is an enjoyable project. This is pretty much guaranteed when working with like-hearted people.

Posted in AltEco, Business, outside, Wordpress | You are welcome to add your comment

What can I do with WordPress?

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Well the simple answer would be almost everything, which to some extent is true. But there is one thing WordPress does really well, and the closer you to stick to that the more you will enjoy using WordPress and the better it can serve you. WordPress is wonderful at creating Blogs.

Time

Blog is short for Web-Log – you can think of it as an online diary. A core idea around which blogs operate is Time. The most basic Blog is like a list of diary entries – where the most recent entries are displayed first. In a way its like newspapers and magazines where time is a reference – what you are reading pertains to the time it was written. Some things, like news, are tightly bound to time – yesterdays news is almost not relevant for today. Some things are less bound to time, such as articles in a fashion magazine – they last longer then the news, but they also fade with the passing of seasons.

So a Blog is one specific kind of website where the pages are presented in reverse chronological order – the newest & latest entries are always presented first. WordPress is an exceptional tool for creating Blogs.

Do I Want a Blog?

This is key question and now is a good time to ask it (before we delve into the specifics of WordPress).  A few years ago it was fashionable to create web-sites as a kind of “online business card” – and there still are many websites that have a few pages that rarely (if ever) change. Blogs are not like that and not intended for that kind of web-site.

When you create a blog you open yourself up to the force of time. This force can support you and it can weigh you down. A blog is great if you want to create a continuous and fresh presence – it has tools to support you in doing this (we’ll talk about some of those tools a bit later). One thing a blog does not have is a motivation to create – that has to come from you.  A blog works when you keep it alive, you write consistently, you write well and you write from your heart. If that sounds like something you want to do then a blog is just the thing for you. So, do you want a blog? If so, read on.

Posts

A Post in WordPress is the equivalent of an entry in your diary.  In slightly more technical terms, a Post is a web-page with a time-stamp on it. When you publish a post it is given a time-stamp that indicates when it was published. This places in a relationship with all the other posts in your blog.  Posts that were published after it will appear before it (remember – the most recent posts are displayed first). Posts that were published before it will appear after it.

Most of your web–pages will be posts. A post can contain almost anything you want: text, images, video, audio, etc. You can publish as many posts as you want. Just remember – posts will always be displayed in reverse chronological order!

Pages

A Page is exactly the same as post except for one thing – it is not given a time stamp. Pages are used to display information that is static and doesn’t change often. Here are some example of pages:

  • An “About” page that provides general information about you and what your blog is about.
  • A “Contact” page that contains a contact-form visitors can use to leave you a message.
  • On this site I maintain a “Reading” page where I keep an updated list of the books I am currently reading (and books I’ve read in the past).

Pages are usually made  available to visitors at  all times. You don’t want them to mix with your posts, because they would quickly disappear from view.

Categories

Categories can be used to group posts together – like sections of a newspaper. This is helpful to readers who want to go directly to one topic instead of sifting through everything to find what they’re looking for. With WordPress you can create as many categories as you want (though it may be prudent not to over do it so visitors to your web-site don’t get lost). You can then assign a post to more then one category. This is one of the perks of technology – you can find a relevant article in more then one section of the newspaper.

You don’t need to decide in advance whether or not you want to use categories or what your categories will be. You can create and modify categories as you go. For example, you may, after writing for some time, recognize a recurring theme and you may want to bring that them to the attention of your readers. All you need to do is create a new category, and then add that category to the relevant posts. WordPress will automatically display the new theme to your visitors.

Comments

Comments facilitate a dialogue between you and your visitors.  WordPress makes it simple for visitors to comment on your posts & pages. Comments are usually displayed at the end of every post or page in what is called a comment thread. Each comment is added to the end of the thread – so a conversation can develop around your posts. You can decide whether or not comments are allowed (you can open some posts to comments, and close others), who is allowed to comment, you can review comments before they are published and you can also partake in the conversation by adding your own comments.

Trackbacks

Links are so common on the internet you hardly notice them. A link is something that points to a page on the web – links are usually intertwined with content and given an emphasis (such as a different color or an underline) to get your attention. For example – this is a link to my Reading page.

But there is more to links then meets the eye. Lets have a look at a sample scenario:  a visitor who reads your blog comes across an interesting post; this visitor also has a blog of her own and she writes a post on her blog about your post – and she includes in it a link to your post. This link symbolizes a relationship between you and her, it means you have something in common, something she cares about enough to write about and share with other people through her blog.

When this happens, wouldn’t you like to know about it? It’s not unlike a comment, only it’s not created on your blog. WordPress takes care of this too – it’s called Track-backs. In many cases WordPress can automatically identify when someone creates a link back to your blog and make a note of it. It can also display this information inside your comments – so when someone reads your post and then reads through the comments, they may benefit from reading what someone else wrote about it.

Track-backs also work the other way around. When you write a post and link to another person’s web-site you can also send them a track-back to let them know about it. It’s pleasant, polite and you never know who you will find on the other end of the line.

Comments & Track-backs are a doorway to connecting and socializing with visitors to your blog and with other people and their blogs.

Posted in outside, Tech Stuff, Wordpress | You are welcome to add your comment

Yoga Sutra – Chapter 1 Sutra 20

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“For others Faith precedes firmness, remembrance, integration and insight”
Translation by Paul Harvey

This sutra describes a kind of positive feedback loop which is rooted in and nourishes faith:

  • Faith leads to resolve, a focused quality of energy.
  • Resolve acts as marker, it highlights the things that need to be done – right action.
  • Right actions leads to attention.
  • Attention to insight.
  • Insight nourishes faith.

YS1-20-Faith

There is another, less functional feedback loop that feeds on and breeds doubt:

  • Doubt leads to heaviness and lethargy, a dispersed quality of energy.
  • Heaviness breeds forgetfulness (of remembering of wrong things).
  • Forgetfulness leads to distraction.
  • Distraction to confusion.
  • Confusion increases doubt.

YS1-20-DoubtDoubt is the fire that consumes wisdom.

Posted in Yoga, Yoga Philosophy, Yoga Sutra, Yoga Texts | You are welcome to add your comment