~ by Sn Paramjyoti Howe
Late summer and fall at Ishtadev Niwas is a magical time of the year. All our efforts now are now baring fruit. We shift our focus in the garden, from growing food, to the harvest. To this date we still have copious amounts of ground cherries, carrots, beets, and tomatoes to either pick and eat, store, or preserve for the winter. Carrots and beets go to the root cellar while tomatos are turned into Niwas tomato sauce. The tomatoes are harvested, roasted in the wood fired bread oven until slightly charred, pureed, and canned. We are also doing some dehydrating of green onions and ground cherries. These little efforts make the long winter months feel a little more bearable.
This is also the time of year where we begin planning for the next season. Due to the generous contribution of the Vahana herd (manure), we are going to do some major soil building in the lower garden called Rakhini. The tractor is also getting a new tiller to make that process a lot easier. Once all the gardens are prepped for next season we can then plant the garlic. We estimate that we will put about 900 cloves in the ground this year. For now we wait for the first frost to finish everything off and start to clean up.
It seems that every growing season is an odd one here. Extreme heat at the end of June, a dry July and beginning of August, and a wet end to the summer keeps things interesting and offers many surprises, but the garden is always full of joy and some delicious snack. Today it is at its peek beauty with towering sunflowers, beautiful colours, and lush greens that will soon give way to the fall browns. I think i’ll go for a walk.
~ by Sn Gyanhira Huberman
Most parents work hard to give their children a better life than they themselves had. I've been reflecting on this as we begin to understand that human activities are indeed responsible for the Earth's changing climate. The UN's recently commissioned Climate Report issued a code red for humanity, but the good news is they say there is still time to avoid the worst outcomes of climate change if we come together and do the necessary work. After all, what kind of life will our children, and their children, lead if they are constantly faced with unbearable heat, threat of wildfire, decreased air quality, drought and food shortage, worsening hurricane seasons, floods. Are we working to give them a better life?
Recently, Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati said that the manner in which we live our lives, our lifestyle, our daily habits, is where most of our individual power lies in mitigating the effects not only of the pandemic, but also of climate change. Our daily habits, our lifestyle, when positive and constructive can benefit our own health greatly, can significantly reduce the carbon footprint this life leaves behind, and can be a great inspiration to others.
It is the same with raising children. If you are a caregiver, you know very well that what "monkey see, monkey do." Every day, our children are imbibing our values and commitment to the Earth simply by observing and participating in the lifestyle the family lives. When I lived in Swami Niranjan-ji's ashram in India for over 3 years, no one ever sat my class down and said, "here are the principles of Yoga Ecology that we live by and here are the reasons why." No. We lived the given lifestyle and we imbibed it's wisdom. We dove into the flow of ashram life, observed its guidelines, and eventually gained insight into the importance and the effects of the practices.
The ashram is a perfect model of living responsibly both with others and within nature. One acquires an acute awareness of the limited nature of Earth's resources. All water for drinking, bathing, cleaning, laundry, toileting, showering, teeth brushing, cooking, comes from the well. If the well became low, we had to manage our water usage, or there simply wouldn't be enough water to drink, to flush the toilet, to brush the teeth. I became very aware of my dependence upon nature for survival; in ashram, one is not so removed from that.
Even electrical power had to be managed. It was not taken for granted; it was very much appreciated. It wasn't uncommon to experience frequent and long rolling blackouts, and when that did happen, you just had to accept it. Power was limited and precious. "Okay, no power. 50 degree weather, and no fan to help with sleep. Sigh" What's more, one had to adapt to the temperature of the current climate. We did not spend power for the purpose of heating or cooling the buildings nor its water supply. If the weather was hot, you dressed accordingly and the water for drinking and your shower was hot. If the weather was cold, you slept with so many blankets that turning over could throw your back out, and the water for your shower was cold too (and I mean COLD). Yet, in this way, we learned to harmonize with nature, realized our total dependence upon nature, and thus blossomed a great appreciation and protectiveness of its resources.
Oftentimes, there are hundreds of people living in ashram at a time. Resources are limited, and we became very aware of the impact to our fellow residents if we took too much of something for ourselves. For example, if I took longer than a 3-minute shower, there may not be enough water left for the next few people coming in after me. If I take an extra serving of food at dinner, there may not be enough left for those eating last. And if I wash too many clothes at once, there may not be enough room on the laundry line for others to hang their clothes to dry. In this way, consideration is developed for others and a measuring and discipline develops in one's actions and behaviour.
Having this experience living in Ashram has been the most powerful teacher of living a socially and environmentally responsible lifestyle. One develops a great respect of their place within Nature, as well as a great respect for others and their responsibility toward them. This is the manner in which I strive to educate my own children about their own social and environmental responsibility. By living a correct lifestyle.
My kids are still little, so we make sure to point out and explain in simple language why, for example, we are turning the water off (instead of letting it run) while we brush our teeth, soap our hands, or wash the dishes. "If we use too much water for ourselves, there might not be enough water for other people. Because there is only enough if we all share." We even say this when we go to the toy store to plant seeds about the yogic observance of aparigraha, or non-collecting. "If we buy too many toys, then there may not be enough toys for all the kids who want to shop here. Better we are happy with just 1 or 2 today." And when we leave a room in the house, we make sure to turn out the lights. "What do we do when we leave the room? We turn out the lights to make sure there is enough power for everyone, because there is only only enough if we all share." We also find opportunities to talk with our kids about the importance of reducing the amount of garbage we create through consumer buying etc, "because the garbage has to go back into the earth, and that is not good for the earth." Finally, my kids have little jobs around the house to help reinforce those ideas, such as turning out the lights themselves when they are finished in a room, and knowing to throw their banana peel in the compost bin (versus the garbage or recycling).
It may seem simple, but it slowly begins to build an awareness, a habit and a familiarity in the child about their connection with and responsibility to others, as well as their dependence upon the Earth's limited resources. They learn that their actions have consequences, for better or for worse, for themselves and others and my hope is this will culminate in attitudes and expressions of gratitude, appreciation, and social and environmental responsibility as their generation strives to leave a better world for their kids than they are inheriting from us.
~ by Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati, from YogaMag May 2000
The subject of ecology does not exist in isolation. It is linked with the economy and with industry, and for this reason it is very difficult for people in the world today to become environmentally aware. At the social level, the environment is related to industry and commerce. At the individual level, it is linked with how the individual perceives the environment in which he or she lives. Each individual either connects with or isolates himself/herself from nature because of other compulsions and needs.
Lifestyle is the keyOur relationship with nature is linked with our attitude towards life in general, whether we are happy and contented or dissatisfied and unhappy with our lifestyle. This will reflect the way we see the world around us and whether we respect or mistreat it.
The yamas and niyamas in yoga are indicative of this interaction within the individual, the laws of nature, and the Divine. Shaucha, for example, which is defined as cleanliness, is not only personal, it is environmental as well. It is not only hygiene, it is being responsible for the expression and experience of beauty in one's life and also in the environment. Beauty gives birth to joy and happiness; that is the outcome of beauty.
If the garden is beautiful, it also creates a change in the atmosphere and environment. When you walk into the garden, your spirits are uplifted. The beauty of the garden is physical, but at the same time it also has an impact on the environment and on your mental state. If the awareness dawns that you are responsible for making your home, your environment and your world a beautiful place, then that is the first step towards a proper integration with nature. It is an understanding of the individual's interaction with nature, on the one hand, and with the Divine, on the other, that can make one ecologically whole.
There are many dimensions to ecology – material and spiritual. No individual can make a difference to material ecology, especially where industry and commerce are concerned. To do this we would have to change the entire legal and political structure of every society. So, there will always be exploitation. Change can only come from our personal lifestyle. A change in our individual attitude and interaction with life is the only approach to changing the way we understand the world and its ecosystems.
The science of ecology is linked closely with human society and its needs, the needs of industry and commerce. The human component, our understanding of human participation and involvement in nature is relatively small. Still we see ourselves outside of ecology and the ecosystems we depend upon. There may be hundreds of 'greenie' rallies every day involving thousands of people, but they won't make a dent in the policies pursued by industry, commerce and governments. This can be seen globally.
Interdependence of all speciesEcology is a study of how different species and aspects of nature can work together and support each other. According to ancient calculations, there are 8,400,000 species in nature. Since the time scientists began to record different species, it has been found that approximately 1,500 species become extinct every year, species from the plant, animal, insect and bacteria worlds. To date only 200,000 varieties of species have been recorded by scientists.
In the Vedic tradition it is clearly stated that the life of each species is meant for the well-being of all other species. All of the 8,400,000 species on the planet live for each other, except for one. One species lives for itself and that is the human species. If the human species could also live according to the laws of nature and in harmony with other species, the planet would become a very different place in which to live. This is where the yogic perspective of ecology slowly begins to develop.
There was a time when humans also supported nature and the planet. The Vedic tradition believes that dead bodies should be burnt, not buried. It is not a religious or a cultural belief. The Vedic tradition is against burial because bodies are subject to different kinds of diseases. When you die of disease, the viruses and bacteria remain alive in the body. When the body is burnt, the diseases are also destroyed, but if the body is buried, those viruses and bacteria spread underground and affect the water, the trees and plants, making the environment polluted and diseased, eventually contaminating the food we eat.
In the Vedic tradition only yogis and small children were given the right of burial. Small children's bodies are believed to be pure. Yogis can make their bodies pure through sadhana. Therefore, there is no harm in their being buried, but everyone else must be burnt. This is an ecologically conscious practice and belief.
In Christianity and in Islam this belief does not exist for different reasons. These two religions developed in arid, desolate desert places in the Middle East. There were no trees and, therefore, no wood, so bodies were buried under the sand. The quality of sand and the intensity of the sun in the desert is such that when the sand gets hot, it is like a furnace, One grain of sand can hold a great degree of heat. If a body is buried in the sand, the body with its viruses and bacteria will be destroyed by the extreme heat. Soil, however, retains far less heat. If a body is buried in soil, the bacteria will spread.
In our ignorance we have incorporated such traditions into the religious system and situations arise where a body may not be burnt for 'religious' reasons. It is the apex of human idiocy.
Benefits of a natural lifestyleThere are many other rules followed in the Vedic tradition that are part of lifestyle and show concern for the environment. When a culture follows a rule created with an understanding of the laws of nature, then that culture can survive any onslaught from nature, no matter how great the destruction.
A few years ago there was a study comparing the agricultural potential of the United States of America, with a population of 200 million, and India, with a population of 900 million. With its present system of agricultural production and use of chemicals, the USA has the potential to feed the entire population of the world for 50 years, on the strength of its soil. In India, which supports 900 million people and in land dimensions is smaller than the USA, the agricultural land has the potential to feed the entire world for 300 years. Why is this so? America is a young country, about 400 years old. We don't know the age of India, but logically speaking the equatorial belt would have been populated from the time humans first walked on this planet.
The difference is the lifestyle. If you can adopt a natural lifestyle, living according to the laws of nature and not trying to alter the natural conditions, then you are more ecology conscious. When it is cold, you put on a sweater. When it is warm, you remove your clothes. But if you try to heat a room or building by artificial means, then the chemicals will affect the atmosphere, as is already happening with the breakdown of the ozone layer due to the use of aerosols and CFC gas in air-conditioners and refrigerators. So, more luxury and comfort go against nature.
Why not do without momentary comforts? These comforts are artificial needs, not actual needs. Artificial needs support industry and commerce. You can cook your meals simply, as in our ashram kitchen, with coal and wood, or you can buy a microwave to make quick meals. What will happen then? You will become aware that you don't have enough time and will need to do things as fast as possible.
People have many hang-ups about time, especially in modern, industrialized countries. They work very hard to fulfil the demands of artificial needs. You can live without a microwave. In fact, the food is tastier without it. Taste, health and many other benefits are sacrificed for the sake of an instant meal.
Cooking is a joy. Sit down, peel and cut up the vegetables. Imagine how you are going to prepare the meal. The flow of information from the vegetable to you and the flow of your interaction with an organic material is a very beautiful relationship. If you can't devote one hour a day to cooking, you have lost the joy of living. If you can't take a cold water bath in the middle of winter, without thinking, “Oh, I wish I had hot water!” you can't enjoy the feel of that cold water, which gives better health, stamina and immunity to the body.
GOD: Generation, Organization and DestructionWith all the environmental movements and theories, one thing is certain. The cosmic consciousness is much more aware of the growth and destruction than the entire human population. If there is an imbalance somewhere, the consciousness of nature will take care of it. The only way it can do this is by creating destruction. That is the concept of the trinity: GOD – Generation, Organization and Destruction; Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
Generation and creation seem to be complete at a gross, physical level, but generation is continuing at a subtle level. Organization, maintenance and continuation are happening. In fact, human beings are very much part of Vishnu consciousness – preserving, maintaining and nourishing. We don't have Brahma consciousness, the aspect of God, in us. We are in Vishnu consciousness, the O of God. An encounter with Shiva is like an accident. Earthquakes, tragedy and death are encounters with D, which is Shiva. Whenever we have such encounters with D (destruction), it comes as a big shock to our system.
So, from the cosmic viewpoint, we are in Vishnu consciousness and at the level of tamas. We don't want change. We are shocked and get upset when we see the rajasic nature of Shiva, which is come and clean everything, come and destroy everything so that a new birth can take place. This is the way nature will heal and renew herself from the impact of the human race.
- Ganga Darshan, January 9, 1999
~ Satsang by Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati on August 20, 2021 at Ganga Darshan Ashram, India
Welcome to Sanyasa Peeth Paduka Darshan, the event of Chaturmasa and the program of Krishna Aradhana. And a big ‘Jai Ho’ and ‘Hari Om’ to all of you.
It is my Anushtana that I perform every year in (the) form of Chaturmasa. And there are two aspects of it, one is personal and private, and the other one is to share with the people the residents and the citizens of the town, the country, and the nation.
During Chaturmasa different activities are conducted and guided at Sanyasa Peeth Paduka Darshan. One of the activities is the yoga flow, and in this yogic flow we learn the practices and the principles of the yogic tradition, the yogic science, the yogic culture and the yogic lifestyle; along with the practices of asanas, pranayamas, relaxation, and meditation. And this is to acquire fitness and health which is physical; which is psychological; and which is spiritual. Along with this current of yoga, another current flows as well, and that is of jnana. Jnana means knowledge: Cultivate the correct understanding. And in this tradition, there are studies of Upanishads, Gitas, Vedas, Sutras, and Vedantas by the eminent personalities and sannyasins who are masters on these subjects. (The) third current, is that of Karma through Seva and through Dhan; through correct and positive interaction with people all around with the intention to uplift their life, the intention to bring health, peace, and beauty in their life. Different activities are undertaken. The next current is that of Bhakti. And, in the current of Bhakti there are the chanting of mantras, kirtans, bhajans, namasmarana, japa, different invocations, different aradhanas, and upasanas which bring one closer to inner purity and inner wholeness. There are cultural programs to introduce people to the different spiritual traditions and the folk traditions of the country. And in this manner, two months pass very fast. Due to the pandemic, the Chaturmasa Anushtana is a private affair this year. And in this Anushtana we are performing Krishna Aradhana and you are participating in this Krishna Aradhana. This is not a religious function, but an awareness to cultivate purity and wholeness in life, the determination to cultivate love in life. And Krishna represents love. The definition of bhakti is also love. And the definition of bhakti is also service. Bhaja sevayam indicates ‘express your love; express your devotion through service.'
Parama prema rupa means bhakti is the ultimate form of transcendental love. And these are two things that we need to understand in order to grasp the subject of bhakti. People define bhakti as devotion to God. That is one path. People define bhakti as ritual; karmakāṇḍa- Going to temples, worshipping that is another path. People chant kirtans, the name of God. That is another path. And all these different paths represent different traditions, and customs, and aspects of religions. But the yogic perspective is different. The yogic perspective says you have to discover that purity, you have discover that wholeness, you have to discover that love inside you, and the moment you do that you are united. You are one with the element of Krishna, and Krishna represents the effulgent love. He is the premavatar, the incarnation of love.
So, there are different paths of bhakti as well. And a yogic path has its own views and understanding, because there are two aspects of life; one is experience and the other is expression. And experience and expression go hand in hand. In the state of wholeness and purity you experience Ananda and you express Love. You experience bliss, and you give love, you receive ananda and you give prem. And they both are complimentary to each other, the bliss and the love. They both are complimentary to each other and they can not be separated.
But in order to perfect bhakti, just following a method; a ritual; a path is not enough or sufficient. In order to explore the dimension of purity and positivity and quality in one’s life, just following one path is not enough. But also an awareness has to cultivate as to how we can become stable in that experience of bhakti. And there are two aspects that have to be considered; if you can cultivate the aspects that I am going to enumerate now then you will be able to stabilize yourself in the path of bhakti, in the dimension of purity and love.
And what are these conditions? The first two conditions are saman and namratā, these are the two qualities that need to be cultivated first. Saman means respect and honour; namratā means humility. if you can cultivate the ability to respect and honour everyone around you; the downtrodden and the rich affluent both, the poor and the rich, the miserable and the happy, then you will be able to control a very big block in your life which hampers your identification and your expression of bhakti or love. And that barrier is ego and the various expressions of ego. When you are able to honour someone and respect someone, you are setting aside your ego for the time being. You are setting aside the arrogance for the time being, and you are honouring what the other person represents. When you go in front of a master a guru, you bow your head out of respect. Bowing of head symbolizes ‘I am setting aside my arrogance and my ego and I am coming to you as a friend, as a seeker. So the idea is, that in order to honour and respect people, set aside the ego for a little while and develop a positive and uplifting constructive relationship and communication/association with the person- without the intervention of the ego in different areas and actions and ideas. And when you are able to set aside the ego for a little while, humility will be the natural outcome. So honour, respect and humility… if we are able to cultivate these qualities, then we shall take one step in the path of bhakti.
Two more qualities that have to be developed are kartavya-parayanta and nishtha. kartavya-parayanta means performance of one’s duties in the correct and timely manner. And Nishtha means determination.
The first aspect of ‘respect, honour, and humility’ represent the dissolution of arrogance and egocentric behaviors and attitudes. Making one more simple and innocent. More connected, more harmonious, more balanced. And when ego is set aside, then the path to bliss and love opens before us. Then we come to the other aspect: kartavya-parayanta performance of one’s obligations and duties in correct manner and in timely fashion. And nishtha, conviction and determination. These also have to be developed because they aid the process of satkarma. The appropriate and the correct action done for the upliftment of the individual; and that is Seva.
These two also you have to develop. And then there is another group of two. You know you have two eyes. The left and the right, and these eyes represent rag and dwesh, attraction and repulsion. the left eye represents rag- attraction. The right eye represents dwesh- repulsion. And we look at the entire world with our two eyes and what the eyes see either I like it or I dislike it. Rag and dwesh is a natural expression of the eyes. If eyes see something nice they will like it if eyes see something not so nice they will dislike it. So the experience of rag and dwesh happens through the eyes. And this association of eyes happens with every object, individual, person, situation, place, time. We are always saying I like and don’t like, I like and I don’t like, I see this and I don’t like; I see this and I like. So just the vision of raga and dwesha which controls and guides our life all the time and raga is the ida function; it receives. Dwesha is the pingala function; it gives. And these two have to be balanced. Raga has to be balanced with vairagya and dwesha has to be balanced with viveka. Raga is what comes to you, what you like, what you desire, what you aspire for, what you are passionate about, what you crave, and dwesha is the opposite of that. So if you are able to observe and analyze in your meditation for five minutes: my attachments; my desires. And think, that are they appropriate for this time, this moment this period in my life or are they just my fantasy and imagination? And develop slowly, non-attachment. Become non-attached to those things which today attract and attach you. I am not saying reject them. I am saying do not reject them but be aware of their effect and influence on your thoughts, on your behavior, and on your performance and manage that. If you are able to manage these things, then you will begin to cultivate vairaghya in your life. I am not using the word detachment; I am using the word non-attachment. Things can be there, but you are not attached to it, you don’t have to reject anything you just accept it, but don’t identify with it. That is vairagya. And the second aspect, which helps to manage dwesh is vivek. Because dwesh is repulsion, non-acceptance; rejection. And with viveka the correct understanding with the right wisdom, with the right knowledge, we can control and modify this behavior which leads to rejection and strife which leads to separation and difficulties. Which leads to not wanting anything forcefully, but internally craving for it. So viveka is the right understanding and vairagya is non-attachment. And these are the six conditions, which if we can live in our bhakti Aradhana, then we shall definitely experience Ananda and express love. And the moment that we are able to do this we shall be one with Shri Krishna. Because Krishna means the element that attracts you towards it. “karsha te iti Krishna’ the element that attracts you towards it, and what attracts you, what holds your awareness, what holds your attention is always love. If you find love, you will always be attracted there, you will always gravitate there. So Krishna is another name for bhakti, bhakti is another name for prem, prem is another name for the unconditional love. And this can be attained by tweaking and modifying certain dimensions of our personality and nature in which we live on a day to day moment to moment basis. In order to experience purity; in order to experience internal peace and harmony; in order to experience an integrated personality – follow the path of bhakti, follow the path of love, follow the path of purity, follow the path of wholeness. And that has been the message of Shri Krishna which we see in his teachings, which we see in his life. And that is the aspiration of yoga as well. To connect with the dimension, to experience the dimension of Anandamaya kosha and premmaya kosha and to express the pure quality that we are able to live when we connect to that higher dimension. This is our Krishna Aradhana. And, you are all welcome to participate in this Aradhana by invoking the positive, the benevolent and the graceful satyam, shivam and sundaram in your life.
Hari Om Tat Sat.
- by Swami Yogatirthananda Saraswati (Switzerland), from YogaMag September 2002
Watching movies is a test of adaptability. How far do I adapt my mind to story and character? When does adaptation become identification? The same goes while reading a book, where it is necessary to adapt to the style, language and intentions of the author.
Besides adapting to others, there is also the need to adapt to decisions taken. It is very important that once a decision is taken, the mind and action adapt to the new situation. This is not always easy, as the attachment and identification with the old situation may be very strong. Adaptability is the expression of constant change. Adapting to others is only one way, adapting to the changing self is another.
Adapting to new people, their expectations and demands makes one forget one's own needs for some time. It is necessary to take time, a few moments to evaluate the situation and the person I am dealing with before adapting. It is a discipline to take this time.
I feel how much personal habits and role patterns are in the way of adaptability. As soon as an old and maybe even well tested behaviour pattern is used, adaptability is less spontaneous and threatens to disappear. Adaptability does not allow for any identification. Besides, applying adaptability is a wonderful means to counter daydreaming; maybe daydreaming is the opposite of adaptability.
Adapting to the needs of another person makes one also aware of one's own needs and ambitions. Adaptability is awareness and expression of our strengths, the S in the SWAN; when we act or adapt out of a weakness, be it fear, timidity, lack of clarity or indifference, then we act without awareness and it is more a case of submitting to a situation rather than consciously adapting to it.
The art of adaptability might be a skilful juggling between one's own needs and those of others, the art of finding a compromise to suit all. Maybe one's own needs and the needs of others have to be evaluated and balanced. But how about a classroom situation, with the needs of the teacher (respect, discipline or simply survivable conditions), of each student (personal attention), of the class (its group dynamic and social interaction) and the needs of a given program (syllabus, examinations). I must decide all along which one of these four elements has priority and then act and adapt accordingly. In order to manage the demands of a class, in a highly personalized classroom setting with twenty highly-strung teenagers as well as a syllabus to follow, adaptability is essential to survival. Yet the invested effort must be well managed and balanced or over-exertion may result.
The practice of adaptability is a necessary preparation for the next ITY, humility.
Entering a provocative destructive game with someone is not adaptability but weakness and lack of awareness. When caught up in a 'let's-see-how-far-we-can-go-teenage-student-game', it is absolutely necessary to adapt to excitement, anger and frustration with an efficient antidote; and adaptability means to change the direction, to look for alternatives. An important aspect of adaptability therefore is to have always one aim in mind and adapt according to that aim rather than to any situation at hand. The situation must be seen in regard to the aim.
It is an ITY that might be difficult to live in our over-individualized society. It seems almost that adaptability goes against the nature of a teenager who is out to identify her/himself, to find her/his place and role and who sometimes feels she/he must fight for it all. Adaptability is the opposite of self-centredness.
Adaptability is also a quest for responsibility: what are my responsibilities and what are the responsibilities of the other in a given situation? I feel that responsibility is something not very popular among the young, something they would rather postpone and ignore for a while longer. Maybe adapting means also being aware of one's responsibility and the sharing of responsibility.
Maybe it is also an important ITY for women who often go beyond adaptability and lose their own direction, their own needs and ambitions in order to attend to those of the family. Adaptability is not self-denial and it is definitely a positive attitude and should never give way to negativity or a destructive situation. One has to adapt only if all involved benefit; blind adaptability without awareness is maybe nothing else but a giving in, submission out of weakness and not out of strength.
Sick and trying to adapt bodily needs, like rest, with a workload waiting on the desk. Besides, there are the needs of others. Again it seems like setting priorities before adapting. Adaptability turns more into an energy management; maybe that is what adaptability is all about, finding the right amount of energy for the right task at hand as well as the ability to generate the required amount of energy. Sickness is a good teacher as one has to deal with a reduced amount of energy at hand.
It is impossible to adapt to the needs of all people, especially when there are many at the same time, and I feel the trap of controlling. To control a situation is maybe the opposite of adapting to a situation, controlling is like 'killing' as it does not allow for change and movement. It does not seem an alternative to adaptability.
The magic key to adaptability seems to be extra-super awareness. I am frustrated and discouraged, and I feel that teaching teenagers who do not want to be taught has been a rough, and almost unfair, test of adaptability. Somehow there seems to be no end to fine-tuning adaptability, but at one point it might just get unrealistic and above all useless for any practical application.
The juggling of needs, my own and those of others, has been very difficult, to know when to let go and when to be firm and impose. Imposing is necessary sometimes, but has to be done not out of self-interest but in the interest of all, not with an attitude of forcing but in order to serve the other. The test is actually very simple: if the outcome is more tension, uneasiness or conflict, then either the method or motive was wrong; if the outcome is a positive, constructive move ahead, is mutual understanding and harmony, then imposing one's will has been done with an attitude of adaptability. Awareness, understanding, discrimination, setting priorities as well as taking one's share of responsibility for a given situation are all necessary ingredients for adaptability. The aim is to solve conflicts of different needs and desires and to create an atmosphere of harmony.
Living Yoga Blog
Learn to LIVE YOGA! Welcome to our collective blog with Ashram life and traditional Yoga articles, musings and recipes for living Yoga every day.