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Reflections on the teachings of karma yoga from the Bhagavad Gita

I realize that the attempt to draw the teachings of karma yoga into my daily life has had a significant impact in making challenging life circumstances much more bearable, and even exciting, providing material to work with on the journey of my spiritual evolution. I find the teachings empowering, as they offer very practical guidance on living more skilfully and, importantly for me, more peacefully. I feel more efficient, decisive and productive, while also more able to relax into the spaciousness created around work. I feel more detached from the drama of life and consequently more able to make better decisions.

Guru Purnima greetings

As humans, we have specific functions and capacities: the ability to think, to feel and to perceive through the senses to make sense of the world in which we live. We can also develop, or awaken the innate faculty of intuition. But in terms of spiritual awakening, a ‘faculty’ that is most important is the Guru Principle which lies in our heart space.  To access the inner Guru, we just have to remove the cobwebs of mental and emotional blockages, misguided concepts and blind beliefs.

An unspoken sense of Joy

Our minds are numbed to the Mystery of existence. This is just the way that life has designed and conditioned the human mind. This numbing may also be due to lack of contact with wise teachings which can open our eyes to new vistas of experience and understanding – that is, to our deepest potential.

Expansion in the Garden and the Self

Alongside our designated sacred spaces - our temples, mosques, churches and cathedrals - nature supports us in connecting with the Divine (or if you prefer a different label which points to the same essential mystery - the Self, Consciousness, Spirit or God). As one of my teachers would say; ‘Nature is the visible face of Spirit’ and if we open our hearts and look and listen we are shown many mysteries, lessons and metaphors for our spiritual path or sadhana.

What does an Ashram teach?

The first time I came to this obscure hilltop in Wales it was a month after passing my driving test, but the draw was enough that I braved the motorways and backroads to get here, over safety objections from my brother.

What I initially found was a friendly group of people, very welcoming, and some old pirate singing sea shanti’s on a harmonium. I felt like I’d lived here a long time, or that it’d been built just for me (and I still sometimes suspect that).

A me... or not a me

A me... or not a me (1) - a couple of years ago I was at work doing what had to be done. I walked off the shop floor into the warehouse, with a degree of tension and disquiet in the mind (which is nothing remotely unusual), and….bang! I almost stopped dead in my tracks as the realisation arose that there is no-one in here, in reality there is no me. This has come many times before, as it does for many, however this felt almost cellular – deep down. It was so abundantly clear that this ‘me’ is a collection of experiences, conditioning, attitudes, concepts etc. The effects of this ‘knowing’ seemed to spread out, almost instantaneously, into so many other concepts, assumptions – into ignorance.

Overcoming Challenges

During my Sadhana (yoga practice) there have been many obstacles to overcome, both small and large: all bringing with them a process of discomfort and challenge but all giving way to growth and expansion. I would like to share with you a recent challenge in the hope that it may inspire you to continue to let go of old patterns and limiting beliefs.

A message from Swamiji

Alongside joy, life also presents us with pain, suffering and frustration. No-one can deny this. But if we look deeper and open our heart then existence can offer us joy and meaning. In all of us, there is a jewel – obviously not a material jewel, but a metaphoric jewel, the jewel of explored potential. My wish is that this jewel becomes evident to all.

Intuition in the Seemingly Mundane

We are often taught to look for our intuition in the third eye, the Agya Chakra. But that is not its only home. It manifests in our thoughts, our emotions, physical tension and release. It is there in the headache, the sickening feeling in our stomach, the anxiety, the dread, the guilt...or in the absence of these! Of course there are times where these thoughts or feelings are based on some false perception (most of the time some may argue!) e.g. fear of a perfectly harmless house spider. But there are times when they are guiding us and we need to take the time to listen deeply in order to hear their real message.