On 2007

Browsing all posts on 2007

Pranams at Thy Lotus Feet

I have recently returned to NYC after a week-long trip to the North County area of San Diego, California. The main reason Dana and I went was to study/practice with Tim Miller of the Ashtanga Yoga Center in Carlsbad. Tim is the first American certified by Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois to teach Ashtanga Yoga and began studying with him in 1978. Guruji (Jois) teaches according to the methods taught to him by the legendary Sri Tirumali Krishnamacharya. Ashtanga Yoga is an ancient system of Yoga that was taught by Vamana Rishi in the Yoga Korunta. This text was imparted to Sri T. Krishnamacharya in the early 1900's by his Guru Rama Mohan Brahmachari, and was later passed down to Pattabhi Jois during the duration of his studies with Krishnamacharya, beginning in 1927 - courtesy of the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute. Guruji also calls Ashtanga yoga Patanjali Yoga because the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are the spiritual and philosophical foundation of Ashtanga Yoga.

Tim is a sweet, funny, humble and supremely generous and gracious teacher and his studio has a light-hearted and yet profoundly dedicated vibe to it. A very different energy than that of NYC yoga studios in general. Almost the polar opposite – very nurturing and light (sweet? playful? feminine?) as opposed to the frenetic and dense (driven? competitive? masculine?) energy of NYC. It was a magical vacation and I have a very special place in my heart for Tim and the Encinitas/Carlsbad area. The surfing, the fish tacos, the yoga, the California beach-town vibe, etc. Not only is this area the birthplace of Ashtanga Yoga in the U.S. - I should also mention that there is a long spiritual tradition in that area, specifically that of the Self-Realization Fellowship founded in Encinitas in 1937 by Paramahansa Yogananda. It is at the Hermitage where he wrote the spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi, one of my transformative influences. Because of this trip and the experiences, I feel as though I’ve had a breakthrough of sorts. I had been feeling rather stuck for a very long time prior to this vacation and I feel that I’ve finally taken another important step in my own progress along the path (I wrote about feeling stuck in a previous posting). I don’t know if was Tim, surfing, the big fight I had with Dana, walking in the footsteps of Paramahansa Yogananda or what - but I felt a lot lighter coming back into NYC and I’ve been able to hold (somewhat) that feeling since. I spoke to a friend about this feeling and I think it’s about recognizing the fact that no matter what transpires, that we always have possibilities in our lives. I forget who, but I remember a great teacher speaking of the fact that because we’re alive, that anything is possible. I couldn’t see a life for myself in any place other than New York prior to the trip, and now I see that there are other places that would (could) sustain me. Not that I’m through with New York by any stretch, but it’s nice (crucial?) to have another possible home - even the fantasy of it. It’s the associated feelings of expansiveness that I’m trying (with great difficulty) to describe. It’s as if due to this trip, that I’ve expanded the boundaries of my perceptions in inumerable ways – ways that I hadn’t anticipated. Travel (experience) really is the greatest teacher one can have. The famous cook book author Anne Willan taught me that - but that's another story...

Sri Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Ammachi) was just here in NYC for her Summer 2007 tour. I again tried to receive her darshan only to fail due to my own impatience (cynical ego?) and scheduling conflicts. You really need to set aside an entire day (or night) to see her. You can get a token for the darshan line and then time/estimate how long it takes for a few of the letters of the alphabet (represented on the tokens) to cycle – each alphanumeric combination representing a large group of people waiting to receive her darshan. You can then leave and then go back to the center at the appropriate ETH (estimated time of hug). I tried this methodology, but came back too late and missed my opportunity. This is my second attempt. The first time on her previous tour, I went at night and was looking at a very, very long wait – into the early morning hours at the very least. When you’re looking an early start and a long one at work the next day, it becomes an issue of resolve and dedication. I bailed that time too. A dear, sweet friend was able to go and I’m happy to say was successful in her quest. She attributed my advice and tips to her successful experience, but we both know that there was another guide at work. She related to Dana and I a story that sent shivers down my spine – that a complete stranger commented on her tatoos (symbols for enlightenment) and said that she “needed to do more work on that”. Prior to this point my friend was on the fence about going to see Ammachi – knowing very well the possibilities of a formidable undertaking. Upon hearing the admonishment of this complete stranger, she made a bee-line to the Manhattan Center and in under an hour was able to embrace the living saint who has embraced somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 million people (talk about LinkedIn!). According to my friend this was no ordinary embrace and her story (and glowing aura) was testament to the blessing she received by the divine mother. It was an amazing recounting and one that filled me with joy not only for her, but also that I had a small part in such a profound experience. There are no coincidences. Thank you Blessed Mother and all my teachers, pranams at your lotus feet.

OM Shantih,


Amazing Grace

How do you describe ‘grace’? How do you capture it? Would you recognize it if you saw it? All I know is when you are honored to be a witness, it is undeniable. Your heart resonates. We were all just so honored when the painfully shy and supremely humble Paul Potts mustered the courage to step toward his dreams. It is glorious to behold.

OM Shantih,


If the YouTube Flash object doesn't appear above, simply use the following link:

Paul Potts Audition on 'Britain's Got Talent'

Recognize the Value in Uncertainty

This particular installment came to me with great difficulty - hence the length of time between posts. So, I decided to incorporate this dilemma into my essay. Many times what happens to me is that ideas come in a torrent – and the challenge I face is in the separation of them into some sort of distinguishable and understandable cohesive thought or theme. And I’ve got so many ideas and themes – the proverbial fuel is never-ending! Example ideas are Daniel Ellsberg and the ‘military-industrial (and congressional-executive-think tank) complex’, ‘expanding consciousness with entheogenic/sacred medicines’, ‘the American middle class no longer exists’, ‘the mystery of 2012’, etc. – and part of the challenge is to keep these ideas/themes separate, to do them justice - I don’t want to ramble and have these topics blur into each other. And then I come up against a block of sorts – an upwelling of self-doubt that represents my fear that what I write – what I have to say – is irrelevant or pegs me as some sort of nut case- or both.

I have been living in a sort of energetic limbo – almost as if I have an impression of a life or evolutionary ‘staircase’ that climbs-up away from me and I am hanging on the upward impulse of my next step. It’s an awkward position to be in and I don’t quite know how to ‘be’ with it. A great teacher (Dr. Robert Svoboda) with whom I had the pleasure of a private consultation said that I need to “recognize the value in uncertainty”. That’s the trick isn’t it? But at what point does the ‘uncertainty’ become pleasant or at least comfortable? It seems that struggle is an inherent part of my path. My Rahu Dasa period as Dr. Svoboda said. And it doesn’t look like it’s going to change much any time soon - until 2012 - and that’s the difficult part for me. It’s all part of my karma – a playing-out of the consequences of my actions in the past. However, I am the eternal optimist and I have more dreams and aspirations than almost anyone I know and I reserve a secreted-away little space in my heart for these dreams to live and breathe. They are with me always and can never be taken away. It is from this little wellspring that I find my strength and hope – no matter the circumstances of my day-to-day life or my relationships. My Mother used to call me ‘smiley’ as a child and I often reflect on this as a means of remembering how profoundly beneficial this disposition is for our well being and of those around us. The eternal optimism of a happy child – isn’t that a blessing worth manifesting and holding?

I have been blessed lately in that I’ve discovered other remarkable teachers and teachings via Podcasts in iTunes on the Internet. Of particular note are Zencast and The Psychedelic Salon. Some of the most profound thinkers and ‘searchers’ of our time have been immortalized in digitized audio recordings and then distributed freely for all of us to access if we choose. For this I am extremely grateful and appreciative. I have been listening to some of my greatest heroes; Ram Dass, Terrence McKenna, Eckhart Tolle, Myron Stolaroff, Daniel Siebert, Rupert Sheldrake, Ralph Abraham, and Matt Pallamary just to name a few. These intrepid explorers of consciousness represent to me the finest in bravery, integrity and yearning (burning) curiosity - for their work in expanding our knowledge of the human consciousness condition and its potential. Of particular note should be those people (and teachers themselves) who work to provide a forum and method of exposure and distribution for these teachers and their messages – Lorenzo at The Psychedelic Salon and the producers of Zencast – to them I am extremely grateful.

OM Shantih,