Archive for July, 2012

The Isha Upanishad

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

The thursday night Sutra and Scripture study group at Karuna has been meditating on The Isha Upanisad. Though this Upanishad is a comparatively brief verse, it reveals the nature of the Supreme being, Isha or God. Karuna teacher Vanessa Serotta has written this response.

Just as in the dark of night, the forest is moving to the touch of the sun, just as the ice of the glaciers was once a cloud, so too is God’s saturation.

Some look at the night and see the darkness, some at the cloud and see the cloud.

But those who look at the cloud and see their tears, blood, the suppleness of their beloved’s skin, the dried blood of a killed animal, tap roots, sap flows at winter’s end, the ocean floor, are absorbed into the Great Heart.

Vanessa Serotta, Karuna Yoga Instructor

When I look inside and see that I am nothing, that is wisdom…

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

When I look inside and see that I am nothing, that is wisdom
When I look outside and see that I am everything,that is love.
And between these two, my life turns.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Notes on Adyashanti’s Talk
Cambridge, MA
July 9, 2012
To know less, to explore, look in a new way, come into the present moment to discover.
You may see a new vista now. Paying attention to your own experience.
As humans, we love to create boundaries: us and them; in intellect and mind. We take
boundaries to be real moment to moment, day to day, unconsciously, identifying with them so they define us.
An instinct toward the sublime, timeless and indestructible, transcends one’s own desire
for getting something.
You dance around the fire and then the fire catches you, and you can’t go back to how you were before.
Spiritual birth can happen any time, anywhere.
The Delphi Oracle said, “Know thyself.” That is the door to everything. Who am I? Everything arises from that mystery.
We just want to feel better. All definitions of self create boundaries, but all are empty.
What good are descriptions? You have to see it for yourself. One of the greatest illusions humans have is that we are separate from what surrounds us.
When we don’t perceive what’s real, we suffer. Going against the grain of life, against what is, hurts. Suffering tells you you are going against what is. Resistance is futile.
Our beliefs, opinions are abstract and where most people live…this is ego consciousness.
Ideas are frequently at odds with what is. Ego consciousness takes ideas to be real and an idea collides with what is.
There is a deep essential fear that humans try hard not to notice.There is an unconscious
feeling that there may be no substance to everything we are standing on. Who wants to see that?
There is a void in the center of ego structure. The mind thinks there is something inherently wrong (as in the idea of original sin).
Right below the surface of the mind is an immensity of silence. The true significance of
silence every now and then just arises, like grace. You see something, recognize something, you are gifted. In silence, if you care to look, everything in your world is gone. What is significant in the silence is what disappears. What you are concerned with only exists as long as you think about it. As soon as your mind stops, everything that is nonessential disappears. What happens to what you believe? It only exists in thought. When you stop thinking about it, it is gone. In silence, divisions disappear because they are only in your mind, in your thoughts.What’s left of you when you’re not thinking about you? When you are not creating yourself in your mind and memory, you are there but not there as a someone.
In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus said, “Blest is she who existed before coming into being.”
Beyond the conditioned way of seeing yourself is your true nature. Not as a someone or
something, there you are. How heavy is this psychic, psychological, emotional energy to
maintain these illusions. We don’t know this until we wake up, like taking off a heavy backpack.
It is the end of confusion, beginning of getting to know reality (God, Buddha nature).
There are an infinite variety of forms in oneness. The one is now appearing as a limited
human being or sky or chair.
Nisargadatta said, “When I look within, and see that I am nothing, that’s wisdom. When
I look out and see that I am everything, that’s love. Between these two, my life turns.”
The revelation of nothingness is pure joy, pure being. Awake nothing is the substance of
everything. A spiritual question could never be resolved in the mind. In actual experience, it is very clear. To embody spaciousness, to evoke, not define, with a question, in the smallest little things, a resource, the connection between what you have realized and who you are in the world. Take it as it is given. Don’t look toward the past. As a tiny speck, a tiny seed, you are being asked to come to it. Sometimes grace comes to you and then it shifts. Tiny things begin to grow until you take them for granted, and then they get small again.
Beautiful grace, fierce grace-
-you don’t get to do it how you want it.
You can recognize the divine even when the other person doesn’t know it. Reconnect,
speak the truth, like learning to walk. Being born into a new way of being.
How does the silence speak, move? It takes awhile to get it to translate. The meeting of
awareness is the same, forms are different.
In answer to a question posed to him about relationships, Adyashanti said the following:
Unattached to ideas about each other, I accept you completely as you are, totally free of
potential. This is the foundation of real love and compassion. Truly seeing another person allows you to see the person as he or see really is. Then wisdom arises in you and wise and true actions come.
A relationship is “where the rubber meets the road.” It shows us our unfinished stuff.
Nobody is responsible for your happiness. I am the one who makes me happy or sad.
This realization takes the victimhood out of everything.

Susan Yard Harris, Karuna Yoga Instructor

Response to the Katha Upanishads: Vanessa Serotta

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

I am falling into the cave of the heart*. The beautiful words and images are like a balm that soothes the inflammation of my distraction away from that cave as I read them. I am left to wonder: How much is enough? How much do we need to know the Self to be delivered into immortality? How much is enough? Don’t we know- isn’t it true- that whatever we can go into, we can go into more? When we know, then later, still more deep knowing reveals itself. Is this why Nisargadatta says “I am” itself is God? That there is never an arriving, always a going towards?

Vanessa Serotta is an area Iyengar Yoga teacher, a graduate of both the 200 and 500 hour trainings at Karuna and a teacher at Karuna . Her Level 1&2 class meets weekly on Monday, 9-10:30 am.

*”The wise, who by means of the highest meditation on the Self knows the Ancient One, difficult to perceive, seated in the innermost recess, hidden in the cave of the heart, dwelling in the depth of inner being, (he who knows that One) as God, is liberated from the fetters of joy and sorrow.” Katha Upanishad, Verse 12

Banaras Soul Music : Music of India at Karuna July 5th!

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012


For those attending Thursday night’s 5:30 asana class, you will be transported into a blissful Savasana accompanied by these master musicians! To be followed by a free concert for all starting at 8:00pm! Thursday night’s class will be open to everyone, all levels may attend (class is $15 with no additional charge for the concert) Join us to experience Pandit Rabindra Goswama and Ramu Pandit, two of the most senior artists in the musically rich city of Banaras, India.

Sitarist Rabindra Goswami has been a professional musician for 40 years and is recognized as a senior artist in his musically rich city of Banaras, India. Unlike many Indian classical musicians who have become well known in the West, Goswami plays pure, traditional raga music. Goswami is a disciple of the late Amiya Devi, and also studied the ancient Dhrupad style with Pandit Ramakant Mishra. Later in life, he studied the advanced intricacies of raga with the great Dr. Balchandra Patekar of Bombay and Banaras. Goswami has won a number of national awards in India, including first place in the Prayag Sangeet Samiti All-India Competition in 1967, and second place at Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Academy in 1972. He is an “A level” Artist of All India Radio and Television, and has performed throughout India (Delhi, Bombay, Lucknow, Indore, Patna, Allahabad, many others) and the world (Greece, Nepal, Switzerland, United States). Goswami is also one of Banaras’s foremost sitar teachers.

Tablaist Ramu Pandit is a long-time professional performer of classical, semi-classical, folk, and popular music. A life-long disciple of Pandit Sharda Sahai, he is a colorful performer and experienced educator who specializes in demonstrating and explaining Indian music to Western audiences. A Master of Music, he has also performed for All India Radio, and played percussion on film soundtracks in Bombay for the legendary composer S.D. Burman. He currently directs the Sarangi Institute of Banaras, an organization that he founded to preserve the sarangi, an instrument with a long pedigree in Indian Classical music but which now has few masters. He is also the former coordinator of the University of Wisconsin College Year in India Program, a position that he held for nearly 30 years.

Pause by Janan Scott

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Last month the 200 hour teacher trainees were assigned to study sutras I.33-I.37. Janan Scott wrote this poem in response to the instruction to persistently focus on 1.34 (pausing after the breath flows in and out) and 1.35 (steadily observing sensations as they arise from moment to moment).



Lid against lid, lashes meet
like soft teeth sliding into place.

I trace along the dotted line,
unzipping myself from the crown of my head
to the backs of my heels, until my skin falls away, inside out.

And now unencumbered by this outer shell
I am opening to the delight and curve of each comma,
wandering through what is delicious and unapprehendable,
upswing, spiral, space, the places of betweenness and pause.

1.33 maitri-karuna-muditopeksanam sukha-duhkha-punyapunya-visayanam bhavantas citta-prasadanam By cultivating an attitude of friendship toward those who are happy, compassion toward those in distress; joy toward those who are virtuous, and equanimity toward those who are non-virtuous, lucidity arises in the mind.

1.34 pracchardana-vidharanabhyam va pranasya Or [stability of mind is gained] by exhaling and retaining the breath.

1.35 visayavati va pravrttir utpanna manasah sthiti-nibandhani Or else, focus on a sense object arises, and this causes steadiness of the mind.

1.36 visoka va jyotismati Or [streadiness of mind is gained when] the mind is pain free and luminous..

1.37 vita-raga-visayam va cittam Or [the mind becomes steady when it has] one who is free from desire as its object. One can meditate on the pure-minded yogi

Urticophilia by W. S. Merwin

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012


Oh let me wake where nettles are growing

in the cool first light of a spring morning
the young leaves shining after a night’s rain
a green radiance glistening through them
as their roots rise into their day’s color
a hue of sunlight out of the black earth
they made of their lives in the underworld
touching the darkness of their whole story
from which their leaves open to the morning
into a world they know and a season
they inherit let me wake where nettles
were always familiar and come and go
in the conversation their growth this year
compared with other years in the same places
the way they sting if barely brushed but not
if grasped firmly without hesitation
the best recipe for nettle soup with
new potatoes oh let the world’s sense
come to me from the spring leaves of nettles
my true elders and not from the voices
with something to sell nor from the spreading
scar tissue of pavement numbing the flayed earth
not from the last words of the fast talkers
to whom the nettle leaves never listen

––W. S. Merwin

Ich verrinne, ich verrinne

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

In our practice of Svadhyaya: the study of the sacred scriptures and of one’s self, we find echoes of what the scriptures help us to know, the right knowledge, all around us. After spending the last month in svadhyaya of the Katha Upanishads, Eileen shared this Rilke poem as an example of that echo.

Ich verrinne, ich verrinne

I’m slipping, I’m slipping away like sand

slipping through fingers.

All my cells are open, and all so thirsty.

I ache and swell in a hundred places, but

mostly in the middle of my heart.

I want to die. Leave me alone.

I feel I am almost there—

where the great terror

can dismember me.


Adyashanti in Cambridge

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Cambridge Satsang

July 9, 2012

Monday , 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Cambridge, MA
At-the-door registration only
$20 at the door on July 09

First Parish Cambridge
Unitarian Universalist
Harvard Square
3 Church Street
Cambridge, MA 01238

On July 9th author and spiritual teacher Adyashanti will be holding a satsang in Cambridge, MA. Adyashanti is a beloved teacher of Eileen Muir’s and many of us have experienced some of the wisdom offered by him through readings in class. Check out some of the clips below to experience more. If you are planning to go to the satsang plan to arrive early as there will be no pre-registration for the event.

on non-duality:


On sitting in silence:

“Relationship With Thought”