Wisdom in Practice

I would like to comment on how the teachings of SRV have impacted my life in a supportive way.  From all that I have been taught,  this typical day reflects how I have incorporated the teachings into my daily life.

The harp sound goes off and starts emitting sound from my cell phone. The hour is usually 5:15 am, but sometimes 5:30-6:00am depending on how much sleep I got the night before. The gross body seems to do best with 8 hours of rest at night.

OMI open my eyes to register conscious thought and my mantra begins. I look up and see Holy Mother and I think “I love you.” There is a picture of her hanging on my wall opposite my bed in perfect view for my first morning glance. My sangha sister, Annapurna, brought it for me from India. I descend downstairs to fill a mason jar with a slice of lemon and I bless the water with the “water blessing.” First it is recited in Sanskrit and then in English with a low but audible tone. I pour a little of the blessed water into my to-go bottle before I fill that bottle up. I will take this second “to-go” bottle with me to work to be my drinking water for the day. It feels like prasad to me.

Morning Household Blessing
I then light an incense stick and ring the bell with my left hand while waving the incense in my right. I hold the stick in the “deer” mudra that signifies what is “out there” is inside. I start with opening my front door and salute Goddess Tara who stands outside as a garden sculpture. I bless the four corners of my front door to represent the four directions and the barrier between the inside and outside. I chant one of the seven Peace Chants. I make my way to the mantel in my living room. After the English translation, I pause to let its meaning sink in. Often, my partner, Anuraga, might walk up and find himself witness to the scene. He will pause in silence and support the blessing. I salute my Guru, Babaji Bob Kindler, his Gurus, Swami Aseshananda and Lex Hixon, Sri Sarada Devi, Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Paramesthi (Sri Kali) and Ganesha. I then salute Shiva, Krishna, Ram, Lakshmi with her mantra (three times).  I then salute my Shiva partner, Anuraga, and then I salute myself, Nischaya! This is a new addition and I see the import and I honor my spirit in that moment. I salute my family members-daughters.  Next, I trace a downward facing triangle on the floor to represent Shakti/Holy Mother and then an overlying upward triangle to represent Brahman/Shiva/Ramakrishna. I outline it with a circle and then a square. I pause the bell, step inside, and focus on the peace in my heart. It is usually the most peaceful moment of my day.  I then proceed to my meditation up in the household shrine. If it is a day of work, the time I get to spend is usually variable and depends on when I need to be at work. If I don’t work then I sit for an hour of meditation. I start by reading a couple of pages in the Gita, which paves the way for my meditation on the scriptures. My mantra practice these days consists of saying one mantra for Holy Mother and then the next bead is for Sri Ramakrishna. I picture an upward facing triangle in my heart center, Anahata, when I say my mantra for Ramakrishna and then a downward facing triangle for Holy Mother. It completes the image of the triangle that represents that chakra. After a while I have a go at trying to completely quiet my mind. I close with the Gayatri mantra and a pranam.

Work and Worship in Unison
We eat breakfast as a family, but  bless the food first.  Recently, my oldest daughter, Allegra, suggested we use the following mantra when we are out in public eating or at a family member’s house.  Anne hidam sarva prathistham.  All is supported by food.  She taught it to us because she was able to refer to her notes from Babaji’s class during the summer retreat.

I try to have two spiritual pillars in my week. The first on Wednesday by attending our Upanishad class taught by Anuraga, and the second on Saturday, performing puja at our Portland ashram.  Now I have an additional opportunity to anchor spiritually, and that is going to Coffee Creek Correctional facility. Currently Anuraga and I are holding a monthly class with a group of dedicated SRV devotees and we have taken up the study of the Bhagavad Gita. It is wonderful to experience the gratitude they have to receive the valuable teachings within the Gita.

As I dash off to work during the week, I really try to approach my work as worship. I fall short a lot of the time. I have many moments when I feel like I am one step behind and that I don’t have “enough” time. Babaji has taught me that if something affects your peace of mind then it is not worth it. In other words, acts done in Rajas will continue to create karma.

Saturdays are my special days of the week. During my Saturday morning meditation I always do the puja in my mind. It starts my purification process and preparation for the evening puja. I prepare the main course offering keeping a sattvic mood and mind, filling the food with mantra and trying not to experience the food with my five senses. I pick the flowers from my garden and I am quite content with their fate that they will be offered to God. Isn’t that the highest attainment for a flower? If my children are with me then they attend the service as well.

Sattvic Evenings
On weekdays, our family meets in our household shrine before bedtime and we meditate for 5-8 minutes. We set a timer and we try to focus on the peace that is already in our heart center. We talk about straight spine posture and cultivating the ability to focus as being beneficial to all aspects of life. We end with the Gayatri mantra and the girls recite both the Sanskrit version and the English translation. Then we leave the shrine and do what we call “the 3 gratitudes.” Each family member has a turn sharing 3 aspects of their day that they are grateful for. When the girls have a friend over, we find that their friends are always eager to participate as well. We try and talk about the Yamas and the Niyamas of the first 2 limbs of yoga. They know Ahmisa (non-violence) and Satya (truthfulness) quite well. I taught them to think of it as non-harmful thoughts, words and deeds and to simply relate the facts as they are (tell it as it is).

Recently on the American river summer retreat, my daughter, Allegra was infused with these valuable teachings during Babaji’s class and during her teen svadhyaya class in the afternoon, called Chela Dharma, lead by Mahesh. She really appreciated the concept of Brahmacharya as moderation for the householder, as it was presented outside the usual moral constructs of right vs. wrong. She is able to grasp the concept and consider it worthy because it is more beneficial to her. We now have a code word between the two of us. You can imagine that the concept of moderation comes up a lot. As a mother, it is the greatest gift of all to know my daughter is entering high school with the Yamas and the Niyamas in her back pocket, as well as access to “GodBlogs” by Babaji and Annapurna on the internet.
Om Great Self,