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I’m falling in love again.
The blood is rushing through my head, I can’t think straight. My face is blushing, my world is quietly, steadily spinning, and I have the biggest smile on my face.
So amazing. The beauty of an upside down world.
Yoga teacher training was absolutely buzzing with energy today. After a student-led practice with a radiating opening, an energetic flow, and a serene closing, Noell guided us right into inversions, where we could see the world from a different perspective, with a different light. With more blood in our brain cavities, we received more clarity. Not to mention building some sexy arm muscles, just in time for this summer’s flowy sleeveless dresses, ka-pow! I mean… we’ll get to wear those sleeveless dresses one weekend a month, when we are not in training… but these arms will still be rockin’ in those Lululemon tops, baby! Mmph!
After doing a few headstands by the wall, we were ready for handstands in the middle of the room. Our assignment was to assist each other safely getting in and out of handstands. I’ve only done handstand in the middle of the room a handful of times, and my very first time was nearly a year ago when I was in Noell’s Hearts Aligned workshop in Downtown Yoga Shala, with Kenny Graham. It was the most amazing workshop, and I was very lucky to be in a group with Morgan, who is a teacher at Shala. She practices yoga full of spirituality and grace.
Since then, I have not had the courage to believe that I could do a handstand without a wall. I’ve probably helped a few teachers here and there demonstrate handstands in the middle of the class… but they are teachers and I trusted them fully! For some reason, I believed that I was only doing handstands away from the walls because my teachers were sending me their magical yogic power through their fingertips and into my muscles, so that I was strong enough to whoosh into a handstand.
After coming back from Hawaii, I’ve been more and more drawn into practicing forearm handstands, scorpion, and full handstands; I feel so inspired! I think it’s my body signaling me, “I’m ready, I’m ready!”
The cosmic power of the Universe once again worked its magic, and the first weekend that I am back just so happened to be arm balances and inversions. Rock on, Universe!
Noell showed us how to support one another in getting into handstands in the middle of the room. I was in a group with Rama, Christine S. and my spirit sister, Lisa. I think Rama and Lisa have never gotten into a handstand in the middle of the room with support before, so Noell stayed with us and demonstrated how to send signals to your partner that’s doing the handstand, “I got your back!”
Well, what do you know, soon enough everyone was bursting into handstands here and there, like baby grass blasting through the soil and immerse itself in the radiating sunlight! What a strange analogy!
But it was pretty amazing to see that with a strong support system, we all achieved what we were afraid of; we overcame our fears and accomplished, as a community, a difficult task. We trusted each other that we would not let anyone fall. We all knew that we got each other’s back, physically and figuratively.
After the break, we gathered around in a circle, and Noell had us do a silent exercise for three minutes. Within that three minutes, we were not to speak with one another, but we were to communicate with our eyes and our bodies to show how we feel about each other… through hugs.
I freakin’ love hugs.
In 180 seconds, we were to hug all of our spirit siblings, and look into their eyes to send them our love within. I think everybody sent each other love… I didn’t get any death glares and I hope nobody did…
Did I say I freakin’ love hugs?
That warm embrace, those hands on your back, the pulling action, moving your bodies closer to mine, because I want to hold you close to my heart.
Not to sound creepy or anything, but when I looked into everyone’s eyes, I wish time could stop right at that moment, so I could lovingly put my cheek against theirs, wrap my arms around their backs, give them a tight squeeze. I wanted to touch their faces, sweep the hair away, and just gaze into their minds and hearts. Those eyes, the windows to their souls, they say so much about a person, and each person that I stared at today told me how lovely they are, inside and out. How absolutely wonderful, beautiful they are.
When the 180 second period was up, I was in utter disbelief. That was it? I didn’t even get around to hug everyone, for as long as I wanted! Though, I probably hugged some of my spirit siblings a little too hard, because I think I might have pulled the muscle just under my right shoulder blade from hugging… Oops!
After that all the hugs and sweat sharing, we went into supported meditation, where we sat back to back against our spirit sibling (shout out to my sister Lisa “Bhujang” Jang!), leaned into each other, and just closed our eyes and breathed. I could feel her breathing as her rib cage rose and fell, and I noticed that when I followed her breathing, I could not feel the rib cage movements at all! My mind wandered in the beginning, as always, but towards end, everything settled down, all senses fell away, and the world turned blank. I am not sure if I was falling asleep, but I felt so at peace and so serene, knowing that I was surrounded by a roomful of fantastic people, with my soul sister right here behind me, supporting me. I felt so blessed to be drowning in this utmost bliss, on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, in a room filled with warmth and sunshine. Even my butt was supported with the big bolster…
The alarm sound startled me awake, brought me back to reality. It’s kind of crazy when you went from nothingness into sensory overload. The bamboo cork floor resurfaced beneath me, the light’s in my eyes again, the quiet chatter filled my ears, as the light tea tree oil fragrance filled the room.
It was so, so sweet to meditate with someone you love sitting right behind you.
We all came to teacher training for different reasons. We carry a lot of baggage behind us, on our shoulders, when we walk around day to day in our busy lives. We are constantly challenged with pain and suffering, life’s multiple curve balls, lemons being thrown at us, and even coconut filled chocolates (um, yuck?). But we were brought here together, today, in this group, and for whatever reason, when we stepped through those glass doors, the weight on our shoulders slowly, ton by ton, started to fall away. We, as a community, help one another unload, taking off that backpack from each other’s back. We come together and though we might not have meant to, we unintentionally helped fixing one another. What you lacked, I provide. What’s broken within me, you mend. We give, and we take, and we each walk out of this place as whole again.
And isn’t that so beautiful, knowing that no matter what happened, there is no judgment here? Knowing that when you are completely torn apart out there, come back, come back here and we will patch you up, with our magical yogic powers combined, we will microwave you with our smiles and our embraces and our hearts until you are warm and fuzzy inside.
Isn’t it so wonderful to know that no one will say a mean thing to you even if you vagina-farted when you’re in a handstand?
What if today were my last day on Earth?
Noell posted the question in today’s yoga class, what would you do, how would your practice be, if today were your last day?
Treating the 5:30 class as my last yoga class EVER, I double-chatturanga’ed every time we went through a flow. I took every pose to the fullest extend that my body allowed me to.
So if today were my last day, I’d live my life to the fullest. I’d wake up at 4:30 a.m. and run the longest morning run that I’ve ever done. I’d come home and make my family the tastiest breakfast meal ever (I’d have to whip up some banana pancakes and some quiche, and some Chinese porridge for my Asian family!). I’d bring flowers to my mom who doesn’t live with me and tell her that I love her. I’d ask my mom to cook with me in her tiny kitchen one last time. We’d make some delicious chive dumplings and some beef noodle soup – her recipe is the best I’ve ever had! We might even make some summer rolls the way she did during Chinese New Year. I’d clean my dad’s house AND my mom’s house. I’d go out with my brother to do some grocery shopping, and invite all of my closest friends to my house and have hot pot together with my family… even though it could be 80 degrees outside. Nothing beats being surrounded by all of your loved ones and eating one of your favorite foods, cook everything together in a big pot of boiling broth.
If there’s time left, I’d ride my red bicycle around, to the park nearby and do yoga outdoors with all of my friends. I’d tell them how much I loved them and what impact they’ve made in my life. I’d take in every breath as if I’ve never breathed before, as if I’d never breathe again. I’d appreciate the color of the grass, the shapes of clouds in the sky, the fragrance each flower holds.
At 11:11 p.m., I’d wish today would never end.
It would be so nice if we were able to live everyday as if it was our last day. We’d be constantly telling our friends and family how much we love them. We’d appreciate every encounter, every minute and every second of the time we spent together, eating breakfast, chatting over lunch, grabbing coffee, walking around aimlessly. We’d savor exponentially more, of every embrace, every touch, every kiss. We’d look each other into the eyes and treat one another with kindness and courtesy.
We’d live on with a heart full of gratitude, for every nano second of our lives spent on earth with the people that we love, doing the things we enjoy. And shouldn’t we strive to live that way, everyday, for the rest of our lives?
Or we could key the heck out of our arch-nemeses’ cars!
- Thank goodness for Kona coffee and guava shortbread cookies :)
- Dina, for giving me free app cards from Starbucks, that she saved over the week that I was in Hawaii!
- Michelle, for thinking of me and sending me lots and lots of love.
- Angie, for lovingly kicking my ass and telling me what’s up. Oh and helping me with my back bend. What’s a girl to do when she has a booty like mine? *shrugs*
- Noell, for a wonderful yoga class. OK, Angie’s class after was pretty bomb, too!
- Michael, the inversion/arm balance master, for giving me tips on scorpion and cheering me on. I’m almost there, ALMOST!
- I was fully covered in laser toner within one hour of arriving to work on a Monday morning after a week-long vacation. I thought it was pretty funny… it was like Indian Holi celebration but with only black… is that thing cancerous? But I ended up saving the company hundreds of dollars by repairing that old Konica Minolta all by myself (with the help of Google). I am pretty proud about it!
- Finding out I only gained about 3 lbs while I was in Hawaii. A good bathroom trip makes all the difference in the world. Are you still reading this?
I was awakened to the sound of pouring rain last night at 1 a.m., which was 4 a.m. California time – usually the time I wake up to run. Since 1 a.m., I’ve been waiting for my alarm to go off, so I could start the adventures in the day ahead of me!
Finally got out of the bed at 5:30 a.m. and decided to go for a run. The morning air was moist, with a hint of sweet, fermented smell of all the rotten things inside the rain forest. As I was running along the Kalapana-Kapoho Road with the ocean on my left, my eyes caught a glimpse of that golden ray and saw a glowing globe of radiating sunlight, hanging just above the seam of two shades of blue, slightly hidden behind a thin veil of clouds with silver lining. Seeing that wondrous sight, I laughed out loud in the middle of the road like a mad woman (which, I undeniably am). My chest was full of joy and happiness, and I was ready to explode.
Coming back to the lodge after the run, I found Kim taking photos around the property. After a quick shower and a very fulfilling breakfast, we headed into town to the Maku’u Farmers Market.
Breakfast of a Warrior
The entry way of the market was full of food vendors. Even though we just had an amazing plate of breakfast in Kalani, we wanted more food! We went around and sampled avocado dipped in salt, some nutrition bars, apple juice, dried coconut and papaya chunks, dried ginger chunks in various flavors, coconut syrup, and various teas and coffees. I also got to try homemade caramel, sweet chili kettle corn, and some blue agave & sea salt caramel kettle corn. In addition to that, we got samples of some of the most amazing exotic fruits, including mame sapote, rambutan, mangosteen, lychee (which seems to be quite common around here), star apples, guava, mountain apples, lilikoi (passion fruit), and of course mangoes, papaya, and all the more common tropical fruits.
My favorite would have to be the mame sapote, which tastes kind of like a cross between pumpkin pie and papaya. I really like the near-silky texture of the fruit and the light sweetness, not to mention that it is a happy orange-y color!
Kim ended up purchasing some locally harvested black salt (“once you go black…”), some mangosteen, and a beautiful hand-painted necklace, of a volcano eruption.
As we were wandering around the market, I was somehow drawn to a little booth that had all sorts of necklaces and bracelets made from natural stones, and one of the bracelets in particular really called my name. It is made from Australian mookite (jasper), which consists of many tiny sharp pieces of stones in various colors, such as mustard yellow, dusty rose, maroon, popcorn, milky white, and kidney beans red. Normally, I don’t like jewelry with those color combo, because it looks very earthy… but for some reason, they caught my attention. The merchant then told me that mookite helps promote:
- self esteem
- dreams & meditation
- moving forward
- release fear and depression
- new perspectives
- helps with loneliness
- self love
Not that I normally believe in the mystical power of stones and gems or anything like that, but that really surprised me, before I realize what this particular type of stone symbolizes, my eyes were drawn to them. Maybe that’s just what I needed to help me through this time of growth… so who has two thumbs and is the sucker who bought the bracelet? Yours truly.
As we were about to leave, a familiar smell tickled our noses and drew us closer and closer towards the entrance of the market. It was sweet… some kind of fried, sweet… DOUGHNUTS! Except it wasn’t any ordinary doughnuts, these are super techy! All the vendor had to do was to make the dough and put it into the machine. The little machine pumped out petite dough circles and dropped them directly into a floating river of golden oil. As the dough traveled downstream, a net would catch it at the end of each section of the river, and flip it over. Once the dough reached the end of the little river, a net would then catch it and dump the freshly fried petite doughnut into a metal box, ready to be eaten! If you are curious, here is a Youtube video on how this machine works (it was not taken by me).
On our way back, we decided to hit up the Lava Tree Park. Lava trees were formed when the volcano erupted and the lava flowed through the land, covering everything within reach, including coating the living trees with a layer of hot lava. After the tree inside died, the “lava structures” remain. Kim and I decided that these lava trees look like giant, erect, black… lava trees. The Lava Tree Park is very beautiful, and even though the trail was short and easy, we squeezed in enough songs during our little hike that it was well worth the stop, and that we should go karaoke together (“In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight…“).
After Lava Tree Park, we went to Isaac Hale beach and I got to dip my (very pale) toes into the ocean. We met a Hawaiian man, and he immediately recognized that we were tourists based on our translucent “Silicon Valley Computer Related Occupation” skin tone. He saw me and asked, “Where are you from?” Yup, we were nicknamed “California” by the time we left the beach. We saw crabs everywhere and did some yoga poses under the blinding sun. We also saw people selling burritos out of a van…
Kim wheeling it at the beach!
Since MacKenzie State Park is on the way back to Kalani, we were determined to find the lava tubes at the park. Lava tubes were formed when years ago, lava flowed through earth and the exterior of the flow hardened, but the molten lava inside continued its journey to the ocean. Once the molten lava emptied out, the “shell” stayed and formed a cave-like “tube”. Sounds intriguing to us, so we really wanted to see it and maybe walk through it… but we had no such luck since the map was very roughly drawn and I had no idea what a lava tube looks like. We ended up seeing a cave-looking entrance, but we were not sure if it was indeed the lava tube. It, however, looked like a good hideout for criminals and homeless peeps. It also kind of look like the cave that Katniss and Peta hide in, in the first Hunger Games movie. Either way, we did not want to risk it, so we did some wave-screaming instead and it felt very nice. :)
We returned to Kalani just in time for lunch. We sat with a bunch of guys and one of them said to me, after staring at me eating for quite some time, “I don’t mean to be rude… but you are very good at eating.” Huh? He said, “You just kept going and going, and every time I thought you were done eating, you lifted your fork and start eating again, and you are still so tiny!”
I gotta be good at something, right? There is a purpose to my existence! I just have a way to make food look absolutely delicious, because I eat very fast and take shamelessly big bites. Any commercial scouts? I’ll eat your high-fiber cereal and make it look like it doesn’t taste like cardboard!
Though, the food at Kalani does not need any promotion… every meal has been absolutely satisfying, delicious, nutritious, amazing.
This man, whose name is James, turns out to be one of the members in our workshop program, and we ended up spending many, many meals together :) And he would always make sure at the end of each meal to check with me to see if I were really done eating… because I always said, “I am soooo full…!” and then proceeded to take another bite of whatever was in front of me. And I’d pack snackies to go.
After we (I) devoured our lunch (loco moco, baby!), I went for a walk along the cliff. A group of two guys and one gal saw me and said, “Wow, those mosquitoes really ate you up pretty good!” I said, “Yeah, they love me. When I was in New Orleans and they bit nobody else but me.” The lady said, “that’s because you are so sweet!” I know… that, and all the sugar I consume! One of the guys said it has to do with my BTU and my Ph balance. He suggested that I put some aloe on my bites to balance out the mosquito saliva, which causes the swelling and the itch. He also told me where to find wild aloe on site, awesome! After thanking them, I continued my journey to the 1983 lava field. I passed by a fisherman along the way and observed him fishing for a while. We chatted about the types and sizes of the fish that he catches every day. Everyone here has been super friendly!
Kim and I went to the clothing-optional pool after I returned from my sweaty walk. She tanned alongside the pool while I did “laps” for a while (really was just me standing around in the cooling water), with my bikini on, thankyouverymuch…
Since it was still a while till our dinner and orientation, we decided to hit up the Black Sand Beach at the end of the road. The sand here just look dirty and polluted! Except they are from the lava rocks, so maybe they are not really dirty… but if they were, you wouldn’t know anyway!
But of course, before we got to the beach, we hit up a little ice cream shop called “Kalapana Village Cafe” and got ourselves some ice cream! I got the banana macadamia nut crunch with bits of toffee in it, so good! Next to the cafe, there is a karaoke bar and we recognized a couple of guys from Kalani. Hm! But people were mostly singing depressing, heartachy songs. Why!
After we hiked approximately 10 minutes to the beach, I sat down and started jotting things in my journal while Kim went around and explored the beach. Kim kept contemplating whether she could keep one of the beautiful lava rocks, but I told her the myth behind taking Hawaiian nature resources, that she might anger Pele, the volcano goddess, and bad luck would follow her. So even though I, too, wanted to keep a piece of volcano as keepsake, my superstitious mind convinced me not to.
Let me once more reiterate how amazing the food is here at Kalani. I’ve been overeating the fresh veggies and fruits every day. The dessert tonight was a nutty tahini pie… to die for! I kept taking chunks from Kim’s plate, too…
The workshop officially starts today, so we gathered in the Rainbow Room after dinner, and sat in a circle for some logistics and going over the schedules and the basics. There are 25 of us and each of us is here for a different reason. For me, not only that I am here to experience a different type of yoga (we will be doing a lot of Kundalini and some Vinyasa), but I shared with the group that a lot of my issues stemmed from me not loving myself enough, and it ended up affecting the people that I love. My mission here is to find myself, and learn to love myself.
The group consists of many different levels of yogis and yoginis. Some have never done yoga, and many have done yoga for more than 10 years. I am very impressed with the stories everyone shared, and they have touched my heart in many different ways. Can you imagine I just met some of these people over dinner, merely hours ago?
The style of yoga Will practices is Kundalini. Totally sounds like a type of pasta to me. He said, “unlike Hatha, where you are on a ‘path’ to find ‘something’, with Kundalini, you are already ‘there’.”
We did some meditation and breath works tonight. Many of us already bonded over dinner and orientation. The night ended with laughter, tears, a rainy trek back to the lodge, and me stepping into a mud puddle in the darkness. :D
After four hours of falling in and out of sleep in a pressurized airplane cabin; after one cup of coffee, one cup of tea, and one glass of complimentary mai tai, I opened my eyes to a cloudless sky, clear blue ocean, and the dark lava rocks beneath me.
Stepping off the plane, I was immediately hit with a wave of warm, humid air and realized that my comfy yoga pants were indeed too hot for the tropical climate. After quickly changing into shorts and tank top in the backseat of our rental Ford Fusion (amazing how quickly and easily it was to get naked in Hawaii), Kim and I embarked the journey of our super-zen, Hawaiian oceanside yoga retreat at Kalani, located in Pahoa…
Except not before stopping by Kona Brewing Company for a glass of cold one and some pepperoni rolls!
We both got their seasonal beer: Lemongrass Ginger Blonde. It was so refreshing and perfectly set the mood for this relaxing journey. We were also recommended by Scott, Kim’s sister’s boyfriend, to get the pepperoni rolls. It was pretty much the first meat dish I’ve had in a long, long time… I imagined it to be similar to pizza pockets, but they were more like a chicken bake at Costco, but were stuffed with pepperoni instead, and sliced into five pieces. It was completely satisfying, and pretty much the only junk food we had (aside from cakes and ice cream, brownies and some automated donuts from Maku’u Farmer’s Market… but those are good food for the souls so they are not junk food) on the island!
Lemongrass Ginger Blonde
When we planned the trip back in December, we decided to drive from Kona to Kalani in Pahoa, and stopping along the way to see anything that would interest us. Aside from the very tantalizing beer, we stopped by Pu’uhonua o Honaunau, which was “a natural place for the ali’i – royal chiefs – to establish one of their most important residences.” It was also a place of refuge for defeated warriors, noncombatants, and those who violated kapu, the sacred law.
Kim and I examined the totem poles, the lava rocks, the luscious plants and colorful, chirping birds. In the middle of a shallow pool of seawater, amongst the lava rocks, I spotted it… a sea turtle! A real, living sea turtle, resting in its natural habitat! I was so ecstatic I could cry… it was so lovely, slowly and gracefully moving through waves of water.
Amazing Sea Turtle at Pu’uhonua o Honaunau
After the park, we continued to drive on Highway 11 towards Pahoa. Along the way, we continuously encountered many hitchhikers on the side of the roads. We couldn’t help but wonder – where are they going? Where did they come from? Why don’t they have any vehicles? We wanted to stop and interview some of them… but given that we are two girls on an island that we are not familiar with, and some of them look (and possibly smell) questionable, it would be against our better judgment to stop. I also had to swerve and dangerously brake quite frequently to avoid wild animals crossing the street, which startled Kim quite a bit…
We saw a tiny farmer’s market and decided to stop by and get some coffee because I was quite tired from traveling and driving. We were at the Punalu’u bakery shop and Kim got a guava malasada, which was a denser, chewier ball of doughnut, and got me a large iced coffee (which I gulped down without sugar, cream, or hesitation). The malasada wasn’t as sweet as regular doughnuts, but sadly, I couldn’t taste much of the guava flavor, either.
Surrounded by tall trees and cheerful birds, it was so easy to find laughter on the island. I was amazed at how easily and quickly loud, resonating laughter bursts out of my mouth and from the depth of my chest. We were chatting with the vendors and learning about various beading materials that are native to the island. These natural handmade jewelries were truly beautiful, and Kim, who is so talented at beading, was in jewelry heaven.
After roughly five hours of driving and endless story-sharing, Kim and I finally arrived Kalani. As soon as we set down our bags, we explored the beautiful natural grounds. Our room has a glassless window – only the screen is attached to the frame, so as I was writing this down on the notepad, I could hear different insects and animals creating a naturally soothing symphony right outside the window, merely feet away from us. So far, we found a gecko and a centipede in our room, and two little booger-size spiders at the head of my bed. Kim kindly escorted the gecko and the centipede out, but since I am a scaredy cat, the spiders met their death that night, with the last image being the bottom of my red flip flops.
We could hear and see the ocean from the edge of the retreat center as we walked around in the beautiful Hawaiian sunset, and suddenly we heard a horn – dinner was served! For dinner, we had miso soup, BBQ teriyaki chicken, wakame salad (so good!), tofu poke (so good!), sesame snow peas with cabbage slaw, hapa rice (just like regular rice but with a cool name), and macadamia nut bar (so amazingly good!). Kim and I sat down in the outdoor lanai and scarfed down everything on our plates, me more so than Kim. Each of us also had an additional bowl of salad from the salad bar, full of various fresh toppings and dressings. Dinner was truly magical as we sat outdoors, staring out at the meadow and the trees, facing the ocean, enjoying the last ray of the sunshine. It was romantic and very remarkable.
We felt the need to burn off some calories after dinner, so we got into our swimsuits and hopped into the warm pool. I scratched my hot pink toe nail polish at the bottom of the pool! What a bummer, but not going to let it ruin this lovely swim! The pool was warmed by the sun, and is clothing optional, so we saw a couple of guys hanging out with their junks out. I guess it takes some time to get used to fully exposed human bodies… I mean, nothing to be ashamed of, right? They are just… skin and flesh… Even so, I couldn’t really stare at them. Not that I wanted to, anyway?
We got into the hot tub after a few “laps”, and a Maui guy came over and asked us if we would like to have some beer with them, and they were heading to town to celebrate Cindo de Mayo. Since Kim and I were not there to flirt with boys (with our super-pale skin), we kindly declined them and the Maui boy just left us alone to enjoy the starry sky and the Super Moon, hanging just above the coconut trees.
Total mosquito bite count at 8 p.m. – 13. Not too shabby for Day One!
There is a coconut tree right outside of our room, reminding me of a boy who always joked about being a coconut tree climber.
[Chapter Two – Part One]
Chapter Two is so, so much. So much wisdom. Too much wisdom, that if I don’t process slowly, I will choke and perish.
Krisha seemed pretty adamant for Arjuna to start the battle and kill. This surprised me a little bit because the practice of yoga consists of ahimsa. Being harmless. However, as he went on further into the text, I can sort of understand why this murder is OK.
Well, first, it apparently was Arjuna’s duty to fight this battle, so he can’t just cop out last minute with some excuses. It’s his job.
Secondly… the definition of harm.
According to Krishna, the being is eternal. Only the body dies (more on that later). If that’s the case, murdering the “body” that the Self wears, is like, dirtying a shirt. The pain on the physical body, the deterioration of the flesh, could it be called harm, if what’s inside, the “Self”, the consciousness, is eternal, is never-ending? That when the physical being perishes, the being, the light within, does not dim – would it still be harm?
Beings can never not be.
The presence that pervades the universe
is imperishable, unchanging,
how could it ever vanish?
Like a cycle, our being will continue lifetime after lifetime, just cycling through. Every lifetime we are a “new person”. New background, new circumstances, new body. But the being inside is the same. Just cycling and recycling like a plastic bottle. Recycled, different molecules added, subtracted, various forms, purposes, but the essence remains the same – same old plastic bottle.
But apparently enlightenment will break you free from the karmic bondage. Sounds sexy but it isn’t. Well, it could be.
The pain invoked on physical body is transient, it comes and goes. These bodies are ageless, fathomless, eternal. So if Self = eternal, then Self can never be harmed or killed.
And even if Self can really be born and be dead (page 50), death is inevitable, so why be sad for death?
Krishna further teaches Arjuna to just perform his honorable duty. Do what he is to rightfully do and he shall be liberated. If he didn’t, Krishna said it would bring down ruins… because people will gossip about his failure to perform what he must do. He will be shamed.
Wait, what? Is Krishna telling Arjuna that not only Arjuna will be a disgrace if he does not carry out his duty, but the shame will come from people (who, theoretically shouldn’t matter) talking and mocking Arjuna’s weakness?
On one hand I feel that Arjuna’s sympathy should not be used against him, that if he thinks he shouldn’t do it for reasons he believes are right, then who are these other people to tell him no, and mock him? Why do other people’s opinions matter? As long as he can face himself, believe that he did the right thing, and be able to sleep at night, who are these noisy bitches to tell him that he’s a coward?
But then again, say if Arjuna were an astronaut and people were relying on him to kill the Martians invading the Earth, but he couldn’t do it because he believed Martians have families, too, then he failed at his duty to protect his people, then… maybe he should put himself aside and look at the bigger picture, which, in this sense, is the karmic bondage – his duty that he was born to do.
For some reason, I thought of what we Americans categorized as “terrorists”. In their mind, they probably think that self-sacrifice (such as suicide bombing) is part of their duty in their holy war, so they won’t and can’t think about the consequences, the people that they killed, in what they considered a rightfully performed duty. I wonder, in their eyes, such detachment, would they be considered as enlightened? These people that the Westerners condemn, have they broken their karmic bondage, and are freed from lifetimes of suffering?
In class, Noell said that nothing that you do in this lifetime is going to be wasted (page 53). It’s a great promise to ourselves, even if things that we’ve done look shameful when we look back, well, at least we learned from it, knowing that that’s shameful.
Then, Krishna talks about religion, how foolish people follow scriptures and interpret things as God says this, God says that. They pray to God, asking for pleasure in life. Asking for safety, love, wealth, healthy. Asking for things with a selfish aim (though, who can blame them?). Krishna says, that really enlightened people don’t need these scriptures. God is within them as the truth is within them.
Well, I thought, yeah, reminded me of the people that use God’s name and fight against gay marriage, against birth control/contraception/abortion. Where is their self gain from this? They use God’s name to take away other people’s rights. They use God’s name to empower themselves, but do they really see that’s what God would have wanted, or did they simply rely on their own interpretation of God’s words? No. God is love. That higher spirit is love. Ultimately what we should take away from religion, in my mind, should be love. How to love yourself, by the means that God lives within you, so if you love God, you love yourself, as God is the answer and the light that lives within your heart. You do not need to seek out God through scriptures and rituals.
And to love, love all that’s around you. Love your family, your friends, strangers, love the dog that barks at 3 a.m., love the bird that poops on your brand new car, love the man that broke your heart… because nothing in this life is wasted, he must have taught you something.
So why use God’s name to take away other people’s happiness, choices, love? When these people have NOTHING to do with you? Shouldn’t you just follow your own belief and live/discipline yourself, instead of trying to control other beings?
OK – I am too worked up to write any more and this is turning angry.