Draupadi (Mary Ruth Green) has provided a very timely and insightful reflection on “discrimination’ for your teaching plans and personal reflection.
Discrimation is represented by the first cakra tool: the Khadga (Sword).
The khadga is symbolic for discrimination, without which numerous mistakes can be made. The practice of discrimination helps to develop a good mind that can reason effectively. Discrimination has to be applied right from the beginning of one’s path, at the onset of the spiritual life. The essential and nonessential must be recognized and sorted out. When the strong tool of discrimination is used during the time of reflection, mistakes are cut down very quickly, emotional or mental pain is minimized and mechanical habits are controlled. Life becomes enjoyable in a very positive and good sense.
(Kundalini Yoga for the West, Swami Radha, p 59)
May the sword of discrimination bring you clarity and awareness….and move you gracefully along the spiritual path.
Using HLHY to Establish a Foundation
- Each morning for a week stand in Mountain pose and ask: “Where am I physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually?” Make some notes.
- Repeat this practice in the evening.
- At the end of a week review your reflections. Ask: “Where am I? What are the obstacles? What is being revealed to me? What action can I take?”
‘Looking at Facts Clearly’
What happens when you assume an opposite position from your beliefs? If you can follow through with this process of looking at facts clearly, there will be no flaring emotions if someone else opposes your beliefs, because you have already done it yourself.
(Kundalini Yoga for the West, Swami Radha, p 147)
- Reflect on a cherished belief. Write down your belief.
- What supports it? Why is it ‘cherished’?
- What is the ‘opposite position’ of this belief? What happens when you look from this position? Write.
Symbolism and Awareness
If we can see how much symbolism we use in daily life – consciously and unconsciously – it becomes clear how important it is to pay attention to symbolism in all areas…If you keep your eyes and ears open and are a good observer, you will see that much is revealed that is thought to be hidden. The conscious mind is so busy; it is always occupied, sidetracked, diverted, so it barely ever listens to the messages. If you want to know yourself, be open to everything possible…..Understanding and working with symbolism is a learning process where we find out for ourselves. Each of us can change our situation in life and live with more awareness.
(Yoga: A Path to Awareness, Swami Radha, pp 79-80)
- Straight Walk to a chair: Place something – a concept, a problem, an emotion, etc. – on a chair, imaging how it looks.
- Walk to the chair from each side, observing what you have placed there. Then walk in a circle around the chair.
- Make notes on what you have observed. Review and note what has been revealed.
- Is there an action or change you would like to make as a result of what you have observed?
- Read chapter 12, “Keys to Freedom” in Yoga A Path to Awareness by Swami Radha. She writes about the symbolism of this practice and her experience in Thailand and of the Buddhist practice from which she developed the Straight Walk.
Imagination and Awareness
If you watch your mind, you will become aware that every little stimulus sets off the power of imagination, resulting in numerous images….By their very detail and power these images can tell you not only about the power of your own imagination, but also where your awareness happens to be.
(Divine Light Invocation, Swami Radha, p 35)
- Positive cultivation of imagination:
See yourself going through a complete day, beginning with the moment you awoke. For this you should place yourself in a very comfortable position. See yourself opening your eyes. Stretching will help you recapture that very first thought before you got up and began the activities that make up the day. Recall these activities and then ask yourself if there are any that you would change. Make a note of these. Later on, think of improvements.
(Divine Light Invocation, Swami Radha, Chapter 4, Exercise 1: Cultivate the Imagination, pp 35-6)
Dreams and Awareness
What are the symbols in your dreams, and how should you approach them?
(Realities of the Dreaming Mind, Swami Radha, p 46)
- Choose one of your dreams and choose one of the symbols. Look at all possible meanings for this symbol and write them down.
- Think about this symbol for a week, making notes each day of insights or how the symbol manifests in your day.
- Review at the end of the week. What new understanding do you have now?
Breath, Clarity and Awareness
The work is never only physical work. It is also the invisible work. A practice manifests in many ways, in our physical work, in our daily tasks or studying, but there is also the invisible work of breath and Light, of clearing the mind, connecting with our inner wisdom, an ability to listen, of letting go of resistance and selfishness. A simple practice such as breath may not seem like much but, for me, it is the saving grace in my work. I prepare my work, but I also prepare myself with the practice. With this in mind, I know that I am doing the best I can do, and that I give everything I can.
(Living the Practice, Swami Radhananda, p 105)
- Take some time before starting a task or teaching a class to do a breathing practice.
- What do you notice about your body? Your mind? Write down your observations.
- Later note if your breathing practice supported you in the doing of your task or teaching.
Mantra and Awareness
Make your mantra practice a communication with the Divine. Invite the Divine into your life, into that special place you create in your heart. You can make a physical place in your room that is sacred. By saying the words out loud, by thinking of the Divine, by using the mantra to chant your emotions away, you can open the inner space for a powerful perception. Think that you are actually speaking to the Divine. You are chanting for the Divine’s pleasure. Then gradually feel the Divine chanting through you. Prepare for mantra practice by filling yourself and your space with Light. Remind yourself that you are going to speak to the Divine. You can tell Her everything. Get clear. Listen to the messages that come back. She is real. If you invite Her in, your practice will never be routine or mechanical.
(Mantra Initiation, Swami Radha pp 46-7)
- Chant at the same time each day for a week/month. Make notes on thoughts that come up. Notice any shift in feelings.
- What do you want to tell the Divine? Do you feel/sense Her listening? What is your response to being heard?
- What do you hear?
- Have you opened an inner space for a powerful perception?