“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

… and it hurts

n

Just discovered that Katie Teague, who created Money & Life, has been producing short films to heal our “Sacred Deficit Disorder”:

I Love Therefore I Am from Katie Teague on Vimeo.

Posted in Expanding, inside | You are welcome to add your comment

A Living Sharpness

n

I’ve been experiencing an interesting convergence in my practice in recent weeks:

  1. As distractions dwindle, I feel more collected and focused.
  2. The short visit, at the end of practice, in maha-mudra is becoming more of a stay.
  3. I am settled again in a quality pranayama practice.
  4. I am experiencing more stability in my mind and so am able to sit peacefully.
  5. I’ve started to learn chanting and have added voice and chanting exercises at the end of my practice.

Arriving at maha-mudra used to indicate that the practice is nearing its end. Now it marks the beginning of an increasingly subtle part of practice. What used to feel like the core of practice is feeling more and more like a preparation and gradual movement into the “core at the end” of practice.

After almost 20 years of practice I am amazed that I can still experience such an expansion. Though it does also raise a question of why does it take so long? The answer … Life!

When I moved to Bhudeva I started using wood cutting tools like chisels and power saws in the workshop and especially a chainsaw for firewood. I had a REALLY naive assumption that the saws would keep cutting forever. I was wrong. All cutting tools need to be sharpened (or replaced) more or less regularly (depending on how much you use them). With every cut, blades get duller, with every sharpening, sharper. It is a continuous cycle. I missed this for most of my life when all I had to content with were kitchen knives. It struck my awareness bluntly with the chainsaw.

Practice is like that too. I feel that every practice session is an act of sharpening / tuning. In daily life I apply my edge and it gets dulled (sometimes less, sometimes more … life!). My overall well being is a sum-result of these motions. If I over-use myself or if I don’t tend to myself enough I get dull (and sometimes ill). If I tend to myself as much as I apply myself I end up with a steady state.

Things take on a different flavor when I can get past that steady state … when the edge isn’t just maintained but gets sharper and sharper. I had that experience coming out of last winter. Then life peaked … and now, again, I am beginning to sense that different flavor. The addition of chanting introduces another dimension of practice which extends and deepens the overall subtlety and depth of practice. As winter sets on, days get shorter and there is less work to do outside, I move inwards (into the house and into myself).

I can only imagine that if one lives in a monastery where distractions are kept to a minimum and life itself comes into service of practice, that this exploration can be somehow accelerated. Yet I also feel that this exploration gains a quality or depth, that it is somehow tempered differently when it is immersed in life itself. I imagine it to be like the difference between a fine sword that is displayed in ritual and kept in pristine conditions at all other times, compared to a sword that has seen battle and has been worn down but sharpened over and over again … a living sharpness.

 

Posted in Yoga, Yoga & I, Yoga & Life | You are welcome to add your comment

Be Just and Good

n

Al Franken on arete and goodness

Posted in Enjoy, inside, Quality | Tagged , | You are welcome to add your comment

Play and Joy

n

She was so funny in the mornings. Watching her trying to hold both the discipline of sitting for food and her joy at meeting again in the morning. She would jump in the air, do almost a full 360 twist and nail her ass to the ground … sitting at attention.

She was the first dog I’d been with from a small two month old puppy. I was amazed by the rate of her growth. It seemed every time she walked past the front door she was bigger. She had no issues, no fucked up history …

Her tail was like a separate being … the engine that drove her happiness … it didn’t swing from side to side … it twisted like a propellor. It seemed to also be where her eating originated … the rotating tail seemed to activate her mouth … and she didn’t eat … she vacuumed food.

She was the first dog I had that actually fetched. Chasing or barking at sheep … NO. Fetching … anything … YES. It seemed she could run back and forth forever … first her funny little duck toy … which lasted sooo long … I was really impressed by it given the treatment it received from her. At first it was the duck for short distances … she couldn’t see far … the grass was stll taller than her. Then the frisbee … longer and longer distances. We could have gone so much further … but not this time around 🙁

She had beautiful golden eyelashes and soft brown eyes.

She was soooo trusting … I could dig with a shovel inches from her sleeping head. No fear … loads of innocent curiosity.

The day before yesterday she seemed a bit weak, and slow … definitely not the enthused-with-life being she usually projected. Her gums where pale. We let her rest. Yesterday morning she was walking very slowly … sadness was creeping in. Iulia and I took her to the vet (local village vets offer only very basic services). She was given basic treatment of antiobiotics and fluids. The symptoms were of  Parvo Virus (even though she was vaccinated), but it could also have been poisning (intentional or incidental). She continued to dehydrate during the day. She was deteriorating.

We have  a hole in the ground behind our outdoor kitchen where sink water flows to. Yesterday afternoon, before going into practice, I found her lying in it. When she saw me she could barely move but her tail still wagged at me … for me … in pain … dying … the source of happiness to see me lived on … that was the last time she wagged her tail. I carried her out and placed her in a shaded spot.

When I came out of practice she was in it again. I felt her surrendering to dying. I didn’t want to leave her in that hole. I carried her out again … put her down on some grass and covered her with a sheet … I sat in the hammock next to her. I remembered she so enjoyed being in it with Iulia … so I carried her, packed in the sheet in with me … and we swung gently for a short while.

I then felt that I was interrupting her surrender. So I lay her back down on the ground … and stayed near but not in contact. Iulia (who was gently holding another delicate loss) joined us and we sat together. A bit later Iulia decided to put in a last effort. She contacted some vets and was given a supportive treatment plan. She went to the village to collect what she needed. While she was away Sia’s breathing got heavier … it sounded like there was liquid in her lungs.

Iulia got a first injection of liquids into her. It was too late. Within a few minutes Sia’s eyes faded … and a few minutes after that she took her last breaths.

pffhhh

….

Sia departed last night. She lived a full, free, joyful life for 5 months and a week.

For me she was a reminder of pure play and joy … the world was a game to her … everything in good spirit.

When she died I felt I didn’t want to bury her. We chose to cremate her body. After a few of hours of soft departure … lying in her sheet with a candle burning … we lit a long purifying fire that burned into the night and released her form into the heavens … and we were left with her essence of play and joy.

The Hebrew word for Dog is “Kelev” … I have heard that it is a combination of two words “Kol” (which means all) and “Lev” (which means heart).

Today her play and joy are aching in my heart …

Today I feel tired of living …

שלום יפה

update: last night was quiet cool, wind-free, clear-skies … serenity incarnate … 14 hours later crazy powerful winds passed through here for 10 minutes … swept the remaining ashes away … then a light cleansing rain to cleanse

update: more on Sia from Iulia

Posted in About | You are welcome to add your comment

Ceptr: Well-Being Do-op Proposal

n

This is a proposal for forming a new do-op focused on well-being.
It is also an experiment and demonstration of an unfolding process of emergence rather than assembly.

Initial Members: Laureli, Jarod, Jean, Ronen
Coherence holder: Ronen

Initiating members of this do-op are already present and active in Ceptr and, in different ways, caring for well-being. The purpose of this do-op is recognize and focus on well-being as a fundamental aspect of the Ceptr project. The current intense state of work (focused on the upcoming crowdfunding/ICO) together with the physical instability (lack of a physical base, much moving around, unclear personal prospects for the core group, etc.) highlight how challenging it can be to reside in well-being.

The challenge of well-being is fundamental in these early days of forming a Ceptr community. How can we come together in a way that expands us as individuals? How can community be built to support and nourish its individuals? How can we avoid well established patterns that lead to communities that achieve growth at the expense of the vitality of individual members?

It may be worth reflecting on the fact that Ceptr has been and continues to be a long-term effort. It fundamentally questions the very ground we all stand on. It brings us face to face with an unknown and for now unknowable future. Given that scope, we may be embarking on a journey that will outlast our lifetimes. Given that scope, most of our work and its tangible (software and hardware) creations are likely more temporary then we care to admit (think of how the Internet has a continuous existence even though all of its original parts, software and hardware, no longer exist). Time shreds importance. Though in the intensity of the present moment we may feel we are creating important and lasting solutions, the reality of it is more likely that we are conducing experiments. What matters most is a long term process of learning and adapting from these experiments. Well-being is key for us to be able to be around long enough for this learning to take place.

A well-being do-op will act as an intentional seeding of well-being within the project. The group itself will seek first to establish well-being for itself and its members. This may manifest in things like its pace (not being bound to ever-dominant schedules), scope (small, soft actions gently embracing sharper, more massive ongoing projects within Ceptr), tools and methods (evoking spacious, peaceful and reflective qualities).

Its presence will, hopefully, demonstrate well-being within the project. From that place, the group, whose members participate in other do-ops, will try to highlight opportunities and offer subtle points of intervention for introducing well-being in the specific and varying context of other do-ops.

It is our wish that well-being become a fundamental quality and skill within Ceptr. That well-being will become a starting point. That well-being, through tangible experience, will be appreciated and valued as a productive approach (and not as a decoration that we tend to after the “important” work is done and when we are exhausted).

When the do-op is formed, it will start to create a soft, background presence within Ceptr. The team will discover itself and what coming together in the spirit of well-being can be. Initially, it will not be involved formally with any ongoing activities. Informally, its members are already present as keepers of well-being and will continue to do so with renewed focus and grounding.

 

 

 

Posted in Ceptr, outside | You are welcome to add your comment