Saturday, August 18, 2012

LOAY 800-Hour, Day 6

The Life of a Yogi

Today was a heavy day for me for lots of reasons.

“I see all the old ladies on the street as my mother. They look at me indifferently because they don’t know [we are the] same.” (Regarding how everyone is you, and you are everyone)

I always think that Dharma is full of the most useful advice, but it is not always complete. He leaves quite a bit of room for people to have their own experiences, and figure things out for themselves. The above quote was not a revelation to me, but it was on my mind as I left the studio to go buy food.

I haven’t really left the studio unless it has been at the end of the day, because the very advanced practices whose results I am experiencing are making me ULTRA-sensitive to the vibrations around. Walking down the street, one sees all the different faces of the Almighty One. And, as I found out today, it isn’t always Heaven and Love. In fact, today at noon walking around reminded me of coming off some terrible drug trip (not that I have ever, ahem, done that). Down on 23rd Street, everything was bizarre, busy and loud, and I wanted nothing more than to go up to the sixth floor and sit still and quiet. After exiting Whole Foods with my roommate and spiritual sister, we noticed a commotion on the street. As we approached the corner, a man was yelling very loudly at another man, who was on the ground. The man standing had a pole, and I heard the sound of it hitting the man on the ground’s bones. I became very frightened, because for all the love and bliss I have gotten to experience over the years in NYC with Dharma, I was all of a sudden seeing the Devil, and Hell, and seeing it very clearly. Naturally I was frightened (I couldn’t even look at "normal" faces, much less that situation) so I made a mad break for the other side of the street. Erin later told me that she had had the impulse to help the man, but by the time we had reached the other side of the street, we heard cop sirens probably summoned by the numerous bystanders. I was near tears and very shaken when we got back up to the Temple because I could feel both men’s fear and suffering. But where Guru is, there is an abode of peace so I had nothing to worry about. This story happened after experiencing a very disturbing dream during savasana after the Dharma IV class where I saw a very graphic motorcycle wreck and the sound of crunching bones jolted me awake. Yikes!

This is not a story meant to scare anyone away from these practices, but it certainly has reinforced my belief in proper preparation for them. Personally, following the vegan diet, constantly trying to follow yama and niyama, using techniques that reinforce the personal aura, etc. can not only be tremendously helpful, but are absolutely necessary. I can see why the Psychic Development series should not be shared with just anyone, and I will not be sharing it with the public when I return to Dharma Yoga Missouri, as people with weak psychic faculties could be subject to attack. It is imperative that they exercise themselves (ESPECIALLY deep relaxation and Yoga Nidra) and practice in a purified space, where there is very high, sattvic energy (Dharma talks about how to prepare a space in his Maha Sadhana DVDs if anyone is interested). Having been practicing this series once a week for the last couple years has made me very familiar and comfortable with it. Someone in my group today was practice teaching and presented many of the techniques incorrectly. In the same way that Dharma says that using your left hand during pranayama will make you “kooky”, I can only imagine what doing Psychic Development techniques incorrectly would do. It is very humbling.

As for the rest of the day, I was quite frustrated. I get upset when I see people disobey Dharma or when they are not reverent. I consider Dharma to be God in the physical form, and to think that people practice in front of him with so much skin showing, or do not observe the silence, or are constantly late makes me really upset. I am ashamed of judging people, and not being more compassionate, but I have devoted my life to being a channel of him, and I get angry when I see people being disrespectful (sigh). I may not have known him for very many years in this life, in this body… but I know that I love him so deeply that it must be some impressions from previous lifetimes.

One of the best classes today was Andrew Jones giving us the lowdown on teaching basic Raja Yoga. I love that guy too. I think he may have been my uncle in a past life.

Earlier, Adam told Cindy (the other blogger) and I that this blog experiment has had over 50,000 hits (I’m not all that literate in technology, so I am not exactly sure what that means). I want each of you reading this to know how humbled I am by this opportunity to be one of the voices of this training. May reading this bring you something helpful. May all beings develop a strong desire for liberation. May Brahman bestow upon us the fruit of knowledge. May we cherish no ill feelings towards each other. OM shanti shanti shantih!

~Olivia Foss

 Yogi Brian Burturla grabbed my phone and took a picture of me this morning doing japa with a mala at 6:30 this morning.

 Beloved Guru between classes, and my Cosmic Bro Andrew doing what he does best... meditating!

Study materials

In between sessions


“Engaged in the yoga of constant practice and not allowing the mind to wander away to anything else, he who meditates on the supreme, resplendent Purusha reaches Him, O son of Pritha.”
The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 8, verse 8

Anyone who knows Sri Dharma and his history knows how sacred The Bhagavad Gita is to him and how it was the first book he found when he arrived in New York. It is the foundation of his practice. During spiritual discourse, after Sri Dharma explained how to teach Psychic Development, he read from the chapter entitled The Way to the Imperishable Brahman. He reminded us that we move in this world of name and form according to previous conditions, and even when realized, we still function through this world; but deep inside, one is hooked to the Supreme Self, and nothing can break it. Yoga, with constant practice, will not allow the mind to stray, particularly when one meditates on the supreme Self.

Bernadette’s noon class: long, long holds. Again, I remind myself, “I am not this body, I am not this mind”. Yesterday, dizziness developed suddenly during Dharma’s class and still continues when I practice backbend type poses. I suspect it is the increased amount of breath retention in pranayama and many Psychic Development classes.

Adam led a discussion on teaching Dharma Yoga. Kim, Bernadette, Yoshio, Melissa, and Andrew shared their experience with teaching the many different practices.  Dharma Yoga includes both outward and inward elements that complete the practice, and those elements are special because of Sri Dharma’s distinct voice. His Yoga has something for everyone. It is amazing how, over the 50 years he has been teaching, hundreds of thousands of students have practiced with him and he constantly adapts to meet people’s needs. Melissa added, “As teachers, it’s better to honor him and to share his teaching in the purest way. It is our duty.”

That statement really impacted all of us. He has given us so much and each one of us has been impacted in different ways.  We, as representatives, must prepare ourselves to be of service and must obviously observe the yamas and niyamas, ethical restraints and observances, first and foremost operating with love and compassion, ahimsa. We must model integrity at all times and adhere to the yogic code of conduct.  As Sri Dharma says, “copy the teacher”, lead by example, and develop sensitivity to all. 

Sri Dharma is so humble and ego-less, that he doesn’t expect or require special attention. But we are also eager to express our gratitude. Dharma does say to be ‘obedient to the teacher’ – to be reverent… “perfect obedience is to listen to the Guru”.

~Cindy Ley-Sepe

Spiritual discourse

Small group teaching

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