Ashram Weekly Newsletter Jun 15-21


Namaste, friends! Please see below a list of Citta Bhavana Ashram events this coming week. If you would like to host an event at the ashram, please contact Chraeloos Resident.

All events are subject to change. Events may be added or changed with short notice. You may join the subscribo at any of our invite stations in-world, join the group ‘Creativity; Karma’, or keep an eye on our calendar for more current information:

http://cittabhavanaashramsl.blogspot.com/p/calendar.html

~~Updates~~

Wayne will be away this week so his talk on Wednesday at 10amSLT will be postponed until next week, June 24.

Dar is returning with metta meditation Wednesdays at 11amSLT.

Dani from Inspiration Island will be presenting on the first Thursday of each month an Introduction to Mantra Meditation. Beginning in July!

~~Upcoming Events~~

☯ What? Awareness Intensive w/Chrae

When? Monday @ 10amSLT

Where? Ashram Indoor Meditation Circle

􀀈http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Allure/22/30/22

Event in voice and text. Week 7 of 8. Join us even if you haven’t been able to before!

☯ What? Talk with Tseten Thokmey, topic TBD

When? Tuesday @ 4pmSLT

Where? Ashram Indoor Meditation Circle

􀀉http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Allure/22/30/22

Event in voice with notes available.

☯ What? Metta Meditation with Dar

When? Wednesday @ 11amSLT

Where? Ashram Outdoor Meditation Tree

􀀋http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Allure/171/54/22

Event in voice and text.

☯ What? Interfaith Prayer Circle with Peter Newtone

When? Wednesday @ 6pmSLT

Where? Ashram Indoor Meditation Circle

􀀌􀀉http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Allure/22/30/22

Event in voice and text.

☯ What? Yoga and Discussion w/ Chrae

When? Friday @ 10amSLT

Where? Ashram Yoga

􀀎http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Allure/23/66/22

Event in voice and text.

~~~~~~~

I look forward to seeing you around! Namaste, my friends, and big hugs to you all! ♥

Looking to keep in touch outside the grid? Went to a discussion and wanted the notes or links? Check out our blog and facebook page:

http://cittabhavanaashramsl.blogspot.com/

http://www.facebook.com/creativitykarma

♥ The Ashram Team

Sutra Study: Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4 Verse 1-23


Since it’s been so long between posts, I’ll start with a short introduction to the Bhagavad Gita. This book is a document of a conversation between Krishna (an avatar of one of the trinity of Hindu gods) and Arjuna. They are standing between Arjuna’s army and his cousins’ army, on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. This battle did in fact take place, but these days the Bhagavad Gita is used more as a metaphor for the inner battle we all experience. It is a primary teaching of the yoga lineage, and is referenced in many different schools of Indian thought.

Chapter one introduced the characters and scene. Chapter two was the basic teachings of non attachment and self-realization. Chapter three was about karma, or action. And now Chapter four we will begin, is about wisdom.

Krishna begins off this chapter by reiterating the knowledge shared in chapter three about karma (action) and acting from a selfless place without attachment to results of your actions. In chapter four, verse one, he tells Arjuna: “I taught this path of yoga to the sun-god Vivasvan, and Vivasvan taught it to his son Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu taught his son Ikshvaku, the King of this planet and forefather of the Raghu dynasty.”

If you are familiar with the history and mythology, you may recognize that this shows a true lineage of leaders. Vivasvan, as the sun-god, rules all the planets by providing heat and light. Manu, the father of mankind, is also the father of Ikshvaku. Iksvaku was King of this planet (Earth). So there is a direct line to humanity of this deep teaching. This all occurred in the second yuga (age, era) – the Treta-yuga – of Hindu cosmology, which lasted 1,296,000 years. We currently live in the fourth yuga – the Kali Yuga, which is thought by some to last 432,000 years, though other durations have been suggested. There are only four yugas, and we cycle through them endlessly.

Though, despite his effort to keep this knowledge abundant, Krishna continues in verse 2 with, “I taught it to them in the attempt of keeping it in a strong lineage of eminent sages, but through time the practice of yoga was lost in the world.”

This may be referring to the caste system, as it is the job of sages and kings to maintain this level of knowledge and devotion in their people. Though, it was also thought that they would keep the teachings more pure than someone who was out to benefit themselves rather than the whole.

Krishna finishes the intro with verse three: “I have given you this knowledge today because you are my friend and devotee, so I know you will understand the transcendental nature of this teaching.”

Remember, in this story, Krishna and Arjuna grew up together, so Krishna knows Arjuna’s worthiness and ability to understand.

Arjuna responds in verse four, “Krishna, you were born long after Vivasvat. How can you have taught him this yoga in the beginning?”

So here begins the teachings of this chapter.

“(Verse 5) Each of us have passed through many births, Arjuna. You cannot remember, but I remember them all. (Verse 6) My true being is unborn and changeless. I am the Lord who dwells in every creature. Through my own illusion, I appear in every millennium.”

Well, this verse has been translated so many ways, both dualistic and non dualistic. “Illusion” here was originally “maya,” which can be seen as a veil covering what is true but not separate from it (non duality), or an avatar-like manifestation of the divine in the simple human world as the humans are unable to see the true nature (dualistic). Surely, there are other interpretations and translations, too, but this may help you see how just one word can cause such a divide.

Verse 7: Whenever there is a decline in dharma (duty, path) and the true purpose of life is forgotten, I manifest myself on earth.” Verse 8: “I am born again in every age to protect the good, destroy evil, and to reestablish dharma.” (paraphrased from Eknath Easwaran)

This is where a lot of us might get put off. We are being asked to believe in reincarnation, and the ability of the divine to directly interact with our lives. But, if this is the case for you, I ask you to consider this on a level of personal experience. In every new year, every new time of our lives, we find something inside or outside ourselves that keeps us going. New struggles come up, new obstacles, and yet we persevere. Why? Because there is something we know to be true that guides us in the right direction. Whenever a text gets a little heady or transcendental, I like to think of all the layers it applies to. Especially in Eastern traditions, the macro is mirrored in the micro, and vice versa, so all things that may seem very large can be understood on smaller levels first.

Verse 9 has many different translations as well depending on the school of thought. I will directly quote two different translations that certainly speak differently. Easwaran: “Those who know me as their own divine Self break through the belief that they are the body and are not reborn as separate creatures. Such a one, Arjuna, is united with me.” Prabhupada: “One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.”

You can see quite clearly how the first translation is more nondual, and the second is very dualistic. So, take what you will of this one, as it will mean many things to many people. Please feel free to share your personal beliefs/interpretations in the comments!

This speaks to the atman/Brahman idea. Atman is the true self, Brahman is the universal consciousness/god/etc. In nonduality the atman and brahman are the same, atman being like a wave in the ocean – not separate, though appearing to be. In dualism, they are in fact separate.

So the first quote is speaking to the fact that though the body and conditions surrounding it may appear separate, one who realizes their sameness will be liberated from the cycle of rebirth. One who realizes that the divine energy/figure/etc is in everything and not ever separate from the whole.

Verse 10: “Removed from selfish attachment, fear and anger, being fully aware of me and being purified by that knowledge, many have reached a state of unity with me.”

Once you achieve all the things that Krishna has taught so far, you will be able to be united with the divine, in whatever form you feel it is. Traditionally, this would be in the form of not being reborn, which, as we have discussed before, was a good thing as being reborn meant redeath, which was suffering. So to stop being reborn is something we all should wish to achieve, as we are then united with the whole (non duality) or with God (duality).

Verse 11 has Krishna saying: “All who approach, will be received. All paths lead to me, Arjuna.” I’m quite sure this is self explanatory.

Verse 12: “Those who desire success in their actions worship the gods; through action in the world of mortals, their desires are quickly fulfilled.” (paraphrase from Easwaran)

This one took me a while to understand. And perhaps I still don’t, so your input would also be fantastic. I think it is saying that those who see the bigger picture and act from that place will find fulfillment. By “bigger picture” I mean, not striving to ‘worship’ those humans who are in power, such as government officials, etc, with the hopes of attaining something more “rewarding” in this life, such as a higher status socially – but to act from a place of worship for that which is bigger than us. What are your thoughts?

Verse 13 is a bit controversial these days, but let’s see if we can take it as a grain of sand, “Because of the material laws of nature (gunas), the four castes exist. These distinctions have come from me, but I am not of them. I am their cause, but I am changeless and beyond action.”

When this text was written, the fifth caste – untouchables – which are so controversial now, was not in place yet. So Krishna is simply saying that the way in which we live, with our actions having consequences on a very human scale, does not affect him. He is beyond all of that as he is everything. The divine is part of everything, and therefore beyond action.

Verse 14 reads, “There is no work that affects me because I am not attached to the results of actions. Those who come to understand this and practice this will be free from karma.” Verse 15 follows with: “Even in ancient times, those who knew this truth engaged in action. You, too, can engage in action – pursuing an active life in the manner of the ancient sages.”

Karma here is “the fruits of actions” – the effects that need to play out from every action we take, and typically play out over many lifetimes, causing us to be reborn.

Krishna continues the chapter with verse 16, “What is action and what is inaction? Even the wisest sages have struggled with this question. Let me teach you the secret of action, which can free you from bondage.” And verse 17, “The true nature of action is hard to understand. It is important to understand what is action, what is inaction, and what kind of action should be avoided.”

Before we get the answer, would anyone like to take a guess about the difference between action and inaction?

Verse 18 begins the answer, “One who sees inaction in action, and action in inaction, is very wise. They have transcended the limits of the mind, and are with complete awareness even in the midst of activity.”

What do you think this means – inaction in action and vice versa?

Every thing we do or do not do is a choice. Choosing to “do nothing” is a form of action. Even though we aren’t acting towards something, we are acting away from it. Every time we say yes to one thing, we are saying no to another, and every time we say no to one thing, we are saying yes to another. There is no escaping action/inaction – as long as we are alive we are acting or inacting in some way. Just as with every breath there is in, there is out, there is a “mini-death” as they say. We are gaining something and that something is immediately falling away. So it is with action.

Verse 19: “A person is wise when all their undertakings are free from anxiety about results, and when ‘all their selfish desires have been consumed in the fire of knowledge.'” (quoted from Easwaran)

When we come to a place in our lives when we are comfortable with trusting the way things are and will be, and when we act from a place of great understanding of all the teachings so far, we will not be anxious about results of our actions for this is karma, and it will not be of concern. This does not mean that it is okay to act from a bad place, as when these truths are realized, one will only see the value in acting in good ways.

I use the terms “good” and “bad” here relatively as nothing is either inherently good or bad, and when we reside in awareness of the Self, this duality falls away and we begin to see the bigger picture.

So, what is this quote that I’ve borrowed from Easwaran, “all their selfish desires have been consumed in the fire of knowledge?” When we consider the force or applicability of knowledge, or I prefer wisdom in this case (I’ll explain why later), it is quite a powerful force. What we know to be true drives all of our actions even in the most subtle of ways. So, by coming to know these deep-seated truths that Krishna is teaching, all selfish desires will dissolve as the knowledge/wisdom consumes the “need” for them.

A bit of a side note…why do I prefer the term ‘wisdom’ when speaking of these things? Simply because knowledge is something which can be taught, whereas wisdom is something which needs to be experienced. Perhaps wisdom is always there, and it is experience which lifts the veil that covers it. Either way, what Krishna is teaching is not just concepts, but things to be put into practice and experienced for ourselves. No teacher can make you understand it, it is something which must be understood for oneself. A knowledgeable person is not necessarily a wise person, and a wise person might not have much “formal” education.

Verse 20 speaks to karma again – or the results of our actions: “Those who have learned this truth have no attachment to the results of their actions, for ever satisfied and independent, he performs no fruitive action although is always engaged in activity.”

This is a very Hindu idea, and is one of the ideas that Buddhism (specifically nondual and Advaita-Vedanta) disputes – that anyone can be independent. What Krishna is saying here is that once you understand that there is a universal truth behind these apparently separate bodies, our actions have less impact on that universal part of us (less, to none at all). That universal part is known as ‘atman’, which is the part of us which is the same as Brahman, or the divine, consciousness, energy, whatever you see it as.

There are a few verses I struggle with, this is one of them because it is so highly disputed and in my own experience this understanding leads to a deeper sense of connection, interdependence, rather than independence. However, if we take Krishna’s teaching as saying we become independent of the gunas, the forces of nature/material elements, then it seems to make more sense. The Self is free from the gunas, though the mind-body is certainly bound by them.

Verse 21 follows from the previous verse which speaks to coming to a place that has no more attatchment to objects because they attained the most true wisdom. “One with such wisdom is free from expectations of reward and acts only with basic necessities in mind. Thus, they do not get affected by sinful reactions.”

So, first of all “sinful reactions” – I’d like to define this. All actions have consequences. Not always can we foresee what those consequences will be. When we act from a place of deep understand and without desire for selfish gain, our actions already are sure to be wholesome and therefore not incur sin, but also we are unattached to the results of the actions so we will be less affected by it.

Verse 22 explains further the traits of wisdom in action: “Those who live in freedom from duality, who are content with both success and failure, are never attached, although are still performing actions.”

I’d like to come back to the concept of duality shortly. This is saying that self and other, matter and spirit/consciousness, etc. are not the same things, that they are two separate things. What Krishna is saying here is perhaps that one needs to go beyond the illusion of duality that the mind and natural world creates and see the unity or similarity in all things. Once that occurs, they are deeply content, and don’t need material things to enhance their contentedness.

Verse 23: “The one who has realized this wisdom, free from duality and the modes of material nature, they have no selfish attachments. All work is performed in the spirit of service, and their karma is dissolved.”

So again we come across the idea of karma. Please keep in mind that this is not the same ‘karma’ that us Westerners have deemed, ie. you say something mean, then bang your elbow, and someone says “ha! karma!” This isn’t the same idea. Karma is translated most directly as “action.” It can be seen as a description of cause and effect, but some will say it’s played out over many lifetimes. Karma is quite simply human action,when spoken of in the Bhagavad Gita, and the results of that action.

When Krishna is speaking here about dissolving the karma, it means that you will no longer have any results to your actions, and all the results that were waiting to occur are complete. In some traditions, this means you will not be reborn – which is the goal as reborn means redeath, and life is suffering. It is only once we can overcome the limitations of the physical, material world that we can no longer suffer.

When you are acting in the “spirit of service” it means that you are performing action with the divine (whatever that means for you – consciousness, true Self, God, energy, etc.) in mind, rather than yourself and the ways you could benefit from the action.

For example, a common desire is to work your way up the economic chain. Say you work for a company. You usually start in a “low” position within the company and most of us desire to move up that chain. But why do we desire it? So we can have more income, a better house, more money for activities, support our family, etc. What would happen when one realizes the wisdom Krishna is speaking of, is that either of the first two desires would dissolve, and you would work to benefit the community, your family, the company, etc. For those who believe in a higher power, God/s, divine etc. then you would act to serve them and their creation.

To put this into action in your daily life, I suggest picking an activity that you do regularly, such as make tea, and begin to do it in service to someone or something. As it becomes easier to do on a small level, you can begin to apply it to bigger things. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section!

Until next time,
Chrae

Dualism vs. Nondualism Intro Notes


Dualism Photo

Check out the intro notes from this afternoon’s philosophy discussion. If you missed it, feel free to leave a comment here!


Welcome to the Citta Bhavana Ashram everyone! Thank you for joining us today. I’ll give a brief introduction before opening the floor for discussion. Please hold all questions and comments until after the intro.

Please consider leaving a donation if you like what you see and want to see more. All donations go towards the sim tier. The donation jar is the candle just beside the fire.

It is most often thought that dualism is a Western idea and non-dualism is an Eastern idea. But, even within traditions we find opposing ideas. Let’s explore a bit what dualism and non-dualism are.

These are ideas put forth in the philosophy of mind, as well as religion. Very generally, there are two fundamental categories of things. Typically these are the difference between mind and body, and sometimes even mind and brain. In other words, the dualist/nondualist debate is arguing whether or not mind is separate from matter.

Now, since we don’t have an agreed upon definition of mind, I’d like us to explore it from the point of view of whatever it means to you – whether it is consciousness, spirit, soul, awareness, divine, whatever. I don’t want us to get caught up in this, since it could mean any of these things or more, and I feel that it’s meaning is a bit of a personal matter. I’d rather we focus on the difference between this and the material world.

On a personal level, body can be considered to be the physical experience, including, sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch. Mind can be considered to be immaterial experience: thoughts, patters, self, ego, memory, awareness. If you think of it like a venn diagram, what comes in the middle?

It has been debated, too, that body has memory – some may say “muscle memory” but others also speak about fascia as holding physical memory. Hence why sense objects can be a trigger for memories. However, this is not of as much importance in our discussion today.

In Indian philosophy, there are two concepts: purusha (consciousness, spirit) and prakriti (matter, nature). These are considered in nondualist philosophy to be AND – as in, they are inseparable and of the same importance; whereas in dualist philosophy it is purusha versus prakriti – as in, one always struggling for importance. In some dualist traditions they may consider that either purusha or prakriti is more important (depending on the tradition), though most often they say purusha (conscoiusness, spirit) is more important, and in fact more true reality than the material world.

We find this same idea all over religion, spirituality, and philosophy. Many dualists do consider that the material world is real – we can all experience it more or less the same. What is in debate is the non-material world, or mind.

Descartes, in his “Meditations,” argues for the point of view of mind and God as being one and the same. This is echoed in Eastern traditions through the concept of prana and qi (energy or life force), and even Atman and Brahman (individual consciousness and universal consciousness) – in other words, the part of us that is also in everything else. The most true essence of existence.

We know that all material things are subject to change. All things change over time, and this is unavoidable. So many schools of thought would argue that if it changes, it is not real. So that which is unchanging, this purusha (consciousness, divine, etc), is the most true, or the most real.

In nondualism, it is recognized that all things are ultimately the same. That nothing is unique, and even our consciousness is not our own. By that, it is meant that we are all drops of the same ocean – that we are all small parts of one big whole. That we are not existing without everything else, and everything else is not existing without us.

So, do you think that we have something in us, something perhaps divine or extensive in nature, that exists separate from the material world, or do we have an innate connection to that which surrounds us and can be experienced?

Are we unique individuals, or are we really part of one big whole?

Can our minds exist without our bodies?

Does whatever makes up the “I” exist in our minds, our bodies, or neither?

I open the floor. What do you think?

Ashram Newsletter Jan 5-11 2015


Happy New Year to all! We at the Ashram wish you all the best of joy and love in the coming year.

Namaste, friends! Please see below a list of Citta Bhavana Ashram events this coming week as well as some exciting updates. If you would like to host an event at the ashram, please contact Chraeloos Resident or Sunshine (szavanna).

All events are subject to change. Events may be added or changed with short notice. Please keep an eye on our calendar for more current information:
http://cittabhavanaashramsl.blogspot.com/p/calendar.html

~~Updates~~

We have redone the landscaping here at the ashram to better suit your needs! Feel free to come by any time to explore and use the facilities at your leisure.

Advanced Notice: biweekly Poetry and Storytelling with Lyle and Chrae on alternating Fridays at 6pmSLT. Starting date Thursday Jan 15 at 6pmSLT (strange date due to RL, normally will be on Fridays).

We have some space for artists to showcase their work. We also have a community room where we have posters advertising friendly sims and events. For inquiries about how to take part in this, please contact Chraeloos Resident or Sunshine Szavanna inworld.

~~Upcoming Events~~

☯ What? Meditation, Talks and Discussion with Swami Luminos
When? Tuesday, Jan 6 @ 10amSLT
Where? Ashram Entryway, to the left at the meditation circle

Event in voice and text, clothing optional.

☯ What? Meditation, Talks and Discussion with Venerable Wayne Ren Cheng
When? Wednesday, Jan 7 @ 10amSLT
Where? Ashram Entryway, straight ahead􀀅

Event in voice and text, clothing optional.

☯ What? The Nature of Faith Discussion with Rhiannon Dragoone
When? Wednesday, Jan 7 @ 2:30pmSLT
Where? Forest Meeting Area

Event in text, clothing optional.

☯ What? Interfaith Prayer Circle with Peter Newtone
When? Wednesday, Jan 7 @ 6pmSLT
Where? Ashram Entryway, to the left at the meditation circle

Event in voice and text. Clothing optional.

☯ What? Meditation, Talks and Discussion with Swami Luminos
When? Thursday, Jan 8 @ 10amSLT
Where? Ashram Entryway, to the left at the meditation circle

Event in voice and text, clothing optional.

☯ What? Yoga and Discussion with Chraeloos
When? Friday, Jan 9 @ 10amSLT
Where? Ashram Entryway, to the right at the yoga mats

Event in voice and text, clothing optional.

☯ What? Sandia Beaumont Live Piano
When? Sunday, Jan 11 @ 2pmSLT
Where? Ashram Entryway, straight ahead

Event in stream, clothing optional.

~~~~~~~
I look forward to seeing you around! Namaste, my friends, and big hugs to you all! ♥

Looking to keep in touch outside the grid? Went to a discussion and wanted the notes or links? Check out our blog and facebook page:
http://cittabhavanaashramsl.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/creativitykarma

♥ The Ashram Team

It’s Winter at the Ashram…


Winter Ashram

Come see our newly designed sim:
􀀑http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Dreamworld%20Crystal/105/148/22

So, you wonder, why have we decided to honour this winter season at the ashram?

The simplest answer is many, many reasons. We believe that the winter season is a time to be spent with family and friends – which all of us here in SL are for each other. We at the Ashram provide a space for community to develop beyond the common marginalizations of society. In honouring that, we have decided to hold a space for hot cocoa and cider, snowmen, bonfires, music, and kindness, amongst various other things.

Around the world there are various traditions which are celebrated during the winter season of the northern hemisphere, including Chrismas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, and various other things of course. We do recognize that it is only winter in the northern hemisphere, but who doesn’t love snow and cuddling by the fireplace in the company of friends?

All of these traditions have similar heart-qualities, which are traits or aspects recognized universally. I’m sure

we could go on forever making a list, but some that we are focusing on are gratitude, kindness, selflessness, faith, unity, cooperation, and fun!

Come to the ashram to learn more by interacting with the various decorations and activities around the sim, as well as spend some time with friends. There may be some gifts around, too😉

If you have a tradition that is not represented at the ashram, please contact Chraeloos Resident and we can arrange it to be included! Yes, this means new things will be added regularly so please come by often!

Thank you for your continued support and sharing this space with us!

Yours truly,
♥ The Ashram Team

Read a bit about these traditions below:

Christmas – December 25
This is a celebration held by all Christians and many non-Christians world-wide that commemorates the brith of Jesus Christ. Most often it is celebrated through church services, gift giving, family and other social gatherings, and symbolic decorating. Christmas trees, caroling, David’s star, and hanging

lights are examples of symbols used in decoration for this holiday. It is from this holiday which Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, etc. emerged. This figure is a common figure in many Western cultures who brings gifts to the homes of good children on the night before Christmas day, known as Christmas Eve.

Kwanzaa – Deceember 26-Jan 1
This is a celebration held in the United States and Western African Diaspora which honours African heritage, unity and cultura in African-American culture. It was first celebrated in 1966-7. During this week the seven principles of Kwanzaa (Nguzo Saba) are celebrated, one for each day. These are umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity), and imani (faith). A common wish recited: “May the love of family and the heritage we share light the way with happiness and pride for generations to come.”

Hanukkah – 25 day of Kislev (dates change yearly as it

is based on the Hebrew calendar rather than the Gegorian calendar).
This tradition is also known as the Festival of Lights and Feast of Dedication. It is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. A common symbol is the menorah or hanukiah, a candelabrum of nine candles, one lit each night of the holiday. The ninth spot is usually above or below the rest and is used for practical candle-use, as lighting the eight lights for purposes other than publicizing and meditating upon Hanukkah is forbidden.

Winter Solstice – December 21 or 22 (depends on the year)
This is an astronomical event which has been celebrated by many cultures over history, but these days is mostly recognized by Wiccans and Pagans. It is a celebration honouring the Sun reaching its lowest excursion relative to the equator. For those in the Northern Hemisphere, this is the shortest day of the year, and for those in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the longest day of the year. It represents

rebirth, and is celebrated world-wide in various cultures involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals and other celebrations including all three listed above. Many figures in mythology can be said to represent this time of year, bringing about new crops. It is also related to light winning over dark and rebirth in all it’s aspects.

BURN2 main landmarks to visit 2014


What an amazing event Burn is! And Sunshine has a little area with the World Brain Health Fair of SL too. They are doing daily events there this week. I highly recommend checking it out!

Daniel Voyager's Blog

BURN2 2014 is open until 26th October in Second Life and here are some of the most popular landmarks to visit when exploring the six regions. Click the blue links to teleport to the selected destinations below via SLURL and enjoy!:)

BURN2 2014 Map BURN2 2014 Map

Greeters Road

Burn2 2014 Welcome to Burn2 2014

The Man

The Man The Man

The Temple 

The Temple The Temple

The Lamplighter Village

The Lamplighter Village The Lamplighter Village

LIVE STAGE / Temple Stage

Live Stage Live Stage

DJ STAGE / Man Stage

DJ Stage DJ Stage

The Casbah Stage

The Casbah Stage The Casbah Stage

Ranger Outpost

Ranger Outpost Ranger Outpost

And there is so much more to explore on the playa this year!😀

View original post

Citta Bhavana Ashram Opening Speech


Citta Bhavana Opening Poster

 

The Ashram is officially open! Come visit us in world any time. Below you can read the speech that I gave after the guided meditation. Our opening address:

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone for coming and showing their interest and support today! None of this would be possible without each and every one of you. A special thank you must be given to Sunshine, Swami, Rhia, and Lyle for all of their amazing work and support in making this beautiful sim come to life.

I’m going to try to make this speech as short as I can. I know how much we all want to get to the food and dancing! But, I’d like to share with you a bit of what we’re about.

I am a yoga teacher in real life, and the community that grew between the people in the training inspired me to pursue deep, raw, and pure relationships in all aspects of my life. Over the years, SL has been a big part of life for me. I’ve been able to meet the most amazing people here and form some of the strongest bonds with people from all over the world. Despite our cultural differences, the distance between us, and our philosophical or religious beliefs, we were still able to connect with each other. This is what I’m looking to provide here; a space to learn from each other in a supportive and caring environment and community.

There is a quote from Osho that I’ve always held true to my heart. It goes like this:
“My whole teaching consists on two words, “meditation” and “love”. Meditate so that you can feel immense silence, and love so that your life can become a song, a dance, a celebration. You will have to move between the two, and if you can move easily, if you can move without an effort, you have learnt the greatest thing in life.”

I built this ashram with the purpose of having a space for these two concepts – meditation and love – to grow. Both of these things take effort to start, which can also be considered action (even non-action is a form of action). All action is composed of four things: intention, awareness, method, and manifestation. We must have the intent to pursue something, an awareness of what exactly that something consists of, a method of how to do it, and finally we will be able to manifest it.

For instance, you want to have tea. Your intention is just that, wanting tea. The awareness will be of what sort of tea and when, these sorts of things. The method is standing out of your chair, going to the kitchen, boiling the water, picking the tea, pouring the water, etc. The manifestation is when you actually follow through with this action.

You may or may not know that the word ‘karma’ literally means ‘action’. Many people think of karma as a factor of fate, or determinism. But, really, karma is creative. It is unbounded. The common interpretation is when someone has something bad happen, we call it “bad karma.” But this interpretation of karma is misunderstood. Karma is really human action composed of the four things I mentioned before. It does not control us. In fact, we control it with intention, whether consciously or subconsciously. When we utilize action (and remember, even non-action is a form of action), we are influencing karma.

The term ‘ashram’, which comes from the sanskrit root ‘srama’, means “giving the meaning of making an effort towards liberation (moksha).” Liberation, in some schools of thought, is liberation from the cycle of karma and dukkha, otherwise known as the cycle of suffering. At this ashram we ask you to invite into your life what you want to share with others as well as yourself since we are all connected. If any one of us suffers, all the rest of us suffer. It is through positive, intentional action which we are able to change our perspectives and lessen our suffering. I strongly feel that as a community, we can provide the support and friendship that we all wish for along our journey. And, because of our amazing diversity, there may be something for everyone.

The name of the ashram is Citta Bhavana, meaning ‘cultivating heart/mind.’ Bhavana on it’s own means ‘spiritual cultivation.’
All the events here are organized to support this inner growth in some way or other, whether it’s through meditation, yoga, discussions, dances, music, ritual etc. Our hosts and guests come from many traditions from around the world, and are not limited to one path or another. Instead, we believe that all paths are useful and that each person will find meaning in different perspectives. All things offered here invite you to examine your self and those around you rather than telling you how things should be.

All of us come from other communities in SL, some of whom have regular events. We are not here to replace them, but rather to supplement them. You may notice on our calendar we list some events from other communities. We do this so that all of our hosts are aware of events they should not overlap with, so all of our communities can exist together in harmony. All of us here believe that each individual follows their own unique path through life, and we hope to provide space for that to flourish even more.

There are a few main areas around the sim for you to explore. Lyle was kind enough to build this beautiful waterfall for us (huge thank you!)! This is the Music and Gallery Area, where we will have regular world-music events and an art gallery. If any of you are artists who would like to take part in the gallery please contact myself or Sunshine for details. There is a forest campsite meeting area, where Rhia and various others will host philosophical dialogues. Swami has a beautiful skybox set up with a library, a video screen, and a stage for performers. And up the hill you may be able to see the big building. That is the main ashram building, with space for meditation and yoga, casual discussions and many other things. Please feel free to have a look around at your own convenience.

The next thing I wanted to share with you is our private skyboxes. We have six skyboxes set up which you can rent free of charge at the main landing point. They are intended for those of us who are homeless and need a place to change or relax or whatever it is you want to do. The very last thing I will take your time with is our events for the next week. We have at least one event planned for every day this coming week. Sunday we have the beautiful and talented Sandia Beaumont playing her piano for us at 3:30pmSLT. Monday, Swami is starting a four day series on “Reflections of South Asian Spirituality” at 10amSLT (same time every day); as well as Rhia’s discussion on the Nature of Faith at 2:30pmSLT. Sunshine will play a dharma talk over the stream on Tuesday at 12pmSLT.

Unfortunately, my RL has demanded my attention this week so I won’t be around for all of these, but any of them will be here to answer any questions and act as hosts. I have complete faith in their abilities to manage this place while I am away.

You can join the group “Creativity; Karma” for notices.

You can find our calendar on the blog which I posted in local chat.
http://cittabhavanaashramsl.blogspot.ca/p/calendar.html
Once again, thank you all so much for your support today and hopefully for many more to come! There is pie by the deck, as well as games and activities scattered around the fire. I will be walking around with tea so please feel free to grab one off the tray if you’d like.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu…May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.

Namaste _/\_ Thank you.