At the end of June, Erika Indrani Eddy led a weekend workshop at Sunburst that addressed Chinese and Ayurvedic approaches to summer. “Tune In To Your Fire” gave us a yoga practice appropriate for the hotter months of the year, as well as one that tuned our digestive juices and supported the heart.
In Erika’s talk on Chinese medicine and Ayurveda she explained, among other things, how the heart takes over and works harder when other bodily systems are impaired. With props, handouts, and interactive segments, this was an extremely informative and helpful afternoon segment of the workshop.
Saturday evening treated us to an authentic Vedic fire ceremony, or havan, just as one would participate in a puja or homa while in India. Erika is an accomplished student of Niranjananda Saraswati (Bihar School of Yoga), as well as a licensed acupuncturist and practitioner of Chinese medicine. She led chanting at the next day’s Sunday service as well. It was a magical weekend, filled with blessings for body, mind and spirit.
To renounce the ego is a little different than what we may think of as renunciation. The Upanishads say that letting go of ego is not a renunciation of life; it’s a renunciation of all those things that make us unhappy—anger, selfishness, and desires for things or people, desires for money, for relationships, or to be recognized.
What is ego? I think of it as being like a grain of sand in an oyster. The grain of sand is irritating. It causes development of layers and layers of belief systems and sense impressions around it, eventually becoming a sphere of what we identify with. The ego builds up this whole concept of what we think we are.
I find when I’m working during the day, if I’m not staying centered on the work at hand. I’m thinking about results—thinking, “I want to get this job finished, so I can go on to something else.” This is ego talking. Or, when I get done, if I keep looking back and thinking, “Oh, that’s a great job. I hope someone notices my beautiful work.” That’s the ego talking.
The ego is a slippery little guy. It has all this inner dialogue. It can look at a person and all of a sudden form a judgement: “Well, that’s probably somebody I wouldn’t want to know.” Ego creates a whole culture of stereotypes that we’re familiar with. if we watch the news, we’re constantly confronted with it.
The ego has created what we see in movies, and in our daily lives. But, we can look at our lives and ask ourselves how we’ve really enjoyed life over the years. What experiences have we found most enjoyable? Looking back upon my life, I see the most joyful times are when I’m giving a present, or making a gift for somebody. I’m not thinking about how much I’m going to receive for this; I’m just giving it. I’m not thinking, “If they don’t like it, then I can always get it back and resell it on e-bay.” My ego has had those ideas, but I had to say to myself, “Let go of that thought, and bring it back to center.”
Each of us is exploring our inner world and learning to use our God-given abilities to bring heaven on this earth. Whatever talents or gifts we have, let us remember to give those gifts unselfishly, for the enjoyment of others and the inspiration that we might give to others. This is our true enjoyment.
We give ourselves over to the influence of the breathing Earth. Sleep, the shadow of the Earth, seeps into our skin, spreading throughout our limbs, dissolving our individual will into the thousand and one selves that compose it—cells, tissues and organs taking their prime directives from gravity and the wind as residual bits of sunlight, caught in the long tangle of nerves, wanders through the drifting landscape of our Earth-borne bodies like deer moving across the forested valleys.
Where Spirit, Nature and Humans meet in oneness—in activity, as well as non-activity—I find my center. Permaculture is not just about growing gardens; it’s about growing infinite possibilities. It’s the marriage of the spiritual with the natural and social, and therefore, one of the highest expressions of co-creating with Spirit.
Everything belongs to Spirit; it’s designed, created, operated and maintained by Spirit. We humans are merely caretakers of this divine creation. As such, we are obligated to share all Spirit’s gifts fairly with others.
The basic principles of Permaculture are Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share. It’s at the intersection where these three practices converge that infinite possibilities exist. In meditation we strive to commune with Spirit inwardly; in Permaculture we strive to connect with Spirit outwardly.
Acknowledging this fact, I’m faced with the questions: “What does Permaculture look like at Sunburst?” and “What infinite possibilities can I co-create with Spirit moving forward—not only for the immediate future, but for generations to come?”
We sleep, allowing gravity to hold us, allowing Earth, our
larger body, to recalibrate our neurons, composting the keen encounters of our waking hours (the tensions, joys and terrors of our individual days), stirring them back as dreams into the sleeping substance of our muscles.
As we move forward, the future of Sunburst looks brighter than ever, for what can be greater than honoring our Divine Mother and Father, by loving and caretaking Mother Earth and all her creatures, utilizing her natural resources with utmost respect and care, loving others as we do ourselves, sharing the fruits of our labor and our God-given talents with passion and commitment?
In the vast, endless sea of eternity, My body, mind and Spirit with Thee,
In truth I strive to be the best I can be,
Better than none, but simply all I can be.
In silence amidst the inner worlds I dance, Feeling Thy presence. Oh the Divine Romance!
How can I contain this gift from Thee, How can I let it flow unceasingly?
Awakening gladly to the Sun-kissed day, Knowing love cannot be held, simply shared, Given to Nature and to all brothers, sisters dear. This gift, my offering, I humbly bear.
Join us July 18–31 or Sept. 2–16, 2011 to experience living in an intentional spiritual community during a two-week service exchange program. Live and serve with others amidst the peaceful beauty of nature. Give yourself time to nurture your inner quest with daily spiritual practice and selfless service in a supportive environment. Enjoy the company of friends as you participate in projects, consciously prepare and eat meals together, and learn hands-on about organic gardening and landscaping with drought tolerant plants. Private time is also available throughout your stay. Our bi-annual Meditation Retreat, which teaches Kriya, the awakening
and liberating path of Self-realization, is included if you attend through July 31.
Sunburst, founded by Norman Paulsen, direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda, is located at 7200 Highway 1, Lompoc, CA. Meals and activites by donation. Lodging available.
Rousing Devotion through Kriya Meditation from “Sayings of Yogananda” “Though I try to calm my mind, I lack the power to banish restless thoughts and to penetrate the world within,” a visitor remarked. “I must be lacking in devotion.”
“Sitting in silence trying to feel devotion may often get you nowhere,” Yogananda said. “That is why I teach scientific techniques of meditation. Practice them and you will be able to disconnect the mind from sensory distractions and from the otherwise ceaseless flow of thoughts.” He added, “By Kriya [meditation] one’s consciousness functions on a higher plane; devotion to the Infinite Spirit then arises spontaneously in one’s heart.”
Comments from Sunburst Kriya event participants:
“I can’t stop thinking about the retreat!! Such a blessing to learn Kriya meditation…I met so many amazing people. Thank you to Sunburst for this past weekend, it was a great spiritual tune up!”
“What a gift—a gift that keeps on giving to my heart and soul. I feel expanded and full of love and Spirit.”