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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States
Karen is a yogini, writer, student, teacher and meditator. She founded Garden Street School of Yoga in 2000. Karen lives with her husband Chris. They have two amazing sons, Eli and Leo (both of them young men).

May 27, 2011

Clear Light

Life has been fast and full.  Each week it has been as if I set myself in a sling shot and let fly and before I know it I'm at the end of the week.  There's been the regular classes and 2 Immersions in tandem - and a retreat which was so great - and which the whole family attended.  (Eli, Leo and Emmanuelle are all here at home - back from India).  And last Sunday we had the 10 year Garden Street Anniversary party.   And so on.

So I have been overwhelmed and staggering under the weight of the cornucopia of the good fortune and abundance that is my work and home life.  I let go of everything I could possibly let go of so as to keep my head above the water.  The blog entries fell by the way. I hate that becasue writing is an important practice for me.  And my sadhana suffered for awhile. I kept up on meditation, I sort of kept up on Asana,  but I did not keep up with study or mantra / chanting.  And here is what I learned: the great teachers are right and the world really is a reflection of my state of being and my state of practice.  "Thought is verily the world and therefore should be purified with care. As one's thought is, one becomes.  This is the eternal mystery."    ~~Maitri Upanishad

Practice clarifies and purifies my consciousness and this purifies the world.  With less consistent or incomplete practice I am more easily whipped along at the periphery of the whirlpool of the external world.  When I am steadier in practice I see the world in a hopeful light - I see how much innovation and energy and heart is going into the work and the Work that is being done.  With less steadiness and depth of practice - I really do start to see the world as through a glass darkly.  I see only climate change, radiation, poverty, war, etc.  I am more easily overwhelmed by knowledge of the world at large. "Heart shadows" happen faster and stay longer.  I more easily start to feel like Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita - sunk down in a hopeless lump on the chariot floor (where it's probably kind of damp and dirty, cluttered with Skittles wrappers and Taco John containers) and feeling it's too much -- hopeless.  As Arjuna says, "I will not fight". (I will not recycle, I will not teach with presence and heart. I will not be transparent and vulnerable. What's the use. Like that.)

Everything is connected to everything and so it is no surprise that I am teaching the Bhagavad Gita in the Immersion cycles right now. And maybe my spotty practice was a good thing in the end - becasue in retrospect I can see SO CLEARLY how less practice remade my perception of the world into a darker, less hopeful place.  

For the past few days I'm back on board with the level of practice that the Work has come to expect of me.  That's how I see it.  The Work (the great process of divine evolution) gets used to me showing up for a certain level of purification and clarification of self and world and is not amused when I let the whirlpool of life whip me around without a tether to what is Real.  The whipping around is OK - is not a problem -  as long as I am tethered by a strong cord to what lives in the middle.  Like the Love and teachings I have been given by Lee - my spiritual teacher; like the Blessing Force of the lineage of Yoga; like the Clear Light that abides and grows brighter with each successive practice.  

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