20170320

Experiments with Truth and Untruth

I have developed my meditation practice from experiments in truth and untruth. Gandhi titled his autobiography My Experiments with Truth but I think it is just as important to experiment with untruth as it is to experiment with truth. 

Just as I was developing my meditation practice as a teenager, my cousin was possessed by a spirit. My uncle, concerned about his daughter's well-being, consulted with his sister, my mother, as well as their mother, who was grandmother to both me and my cousin. 

They all decided to pay attention to what the spirit had to say for himself, for it was a male voice that my cousin would speak in when possessed. Every night the spirit  would appear to enter my cousin's body and over time the story of his life was presented to us. He was a man who had lived in a different time and place, had done terrible things including beating his wife, and was now, in spirit, asking for help to be released, to be free. 

Through their extensive network of contacts aaji, grandma, aai, mother, and mama, uncle found masters of the dark spirit arts, and enlisted their help. They all said the same thing: the spirit had to be passed off to an unsuspecting victim. But each had a dramatically different method that had to be followed to the letter to work. One of them made a toran, long string of lemons and chillies, claiming to have cajoled the dark spirits to push the possessing spirit into the toran. All that remained was to find a volunteer who would visit the temple toran in hand, then cast the toran into the street, and not look back. The next person to step over the toran would then be possessed by the spirit and my cousin would be free of her possession. 

Aaji volunteered to carry the toran containing the spirit to the temple. Then she left it lying in the street.

The thing about untruth is that even when it seems to work the solution is never wholeness. Untruth leads to further splitting and splitting, as illustrated by J. K. Rowling's Lord Voldemort, is the fundamental problem facing humanity. Even wizards are not exempt from it! So the spirit returned to my cousin's body and possessed her even more firmly than before. In our desperation the family experimented further with untruth, pushing my cousin deeper into the dark world of spirits.

Then unexpectedly we heard from a simple man, a retired government servant, who had prayed to Ganesh, the elephant-headed god, all his life. He offered to help. He would light incense sticks during his prayers to Ganesh and collect the ashes. He believed that the ashes from his life-long practice of praying could heal my cousin as well as heal the spirit possessing her. That what they needed was not exorcism but healing. 

At that point the family had tried everything else so they resignedly accepted this simple man's offer of healing through the ashes of prayer. A little bit of ash was placed upon her forehead each day after the simple man finished his prayers. Bit by bit my cousin got better. A year later the spirit had left her. They had both healed. 

This experience taught me that truth is simple, it does not involve manipulating energy, forcing of any kind. That it takes time. That if I was going to meditate, I needed to simply follow rather than lead and spend my entire life doing it.

Peace and love,

Abhay

20170131

We meditate to integrate

By paying attention to our body we become aware firstly of our body, and secondly of our awareness of our body. 

The predominant physical sensation in our body naturally draws our attention to it. Following this becomes our first act of awareness. Awareness then expands to include colors, images, words, and knowings. 

Later we become aware of the awareness of our body. This is our second act of awareness. We start seeing the effects of our meditation on our physical lives and in the material world. 

Thus meditation is not only a movement from the dense to the subtle but also simultaneously a movement from the subtle to the dense. It is not just leaving the world and climbing up to the top of the peak of the great mountain. It is also bringing the peak down to our lives and to the great, imperfect, heavy world around us. 

Meditation is a cycle and both parts, the up and the down, are equally important. We don't meditate to escape but to integrate.

Peace and love,

Abhay

20170104

Satyagraha of the soul

All life is interconnected, not only in our world, on our earth, right now, but across the cosmos, in all worlds, and at all times. When life brings us something, pleasant or unpleasant, wanted or unwanted, we discharge past rna, or spiritual debts, in all worlds and at all times. 

We treat all experience with equilibrium, poise, and acceptance; we engage in deep listening. We acknowledge that past spiritual debts have been repaid; we respond from that place of deep listening rather than react to what is happening. 

If we react to what life brings us with further action that comes from the will, we lose touch with our selves. We force things to happen and in doing so create rnanubandhana, or spiritual debt bondage. 

Once when Gandhi was walking down a 'whites-only' sidewalk (a sidewalk thus designated by the whim of a bullying policeman) in South Africa, he was attacked and badly beaten by a policeman. Friends and supporters who rushed to rescue him urged him to proceed against the policeman. Gandhi simply said, "I have pocketed the insult," and having thus forgiven the man, spoke no more about the incident. However, in the next few years, he created Satyagraha, put it into action, and brought hope and justice to all people of color in South Africa, and eventually all over the world. 

Meditation is a nonviolent practice. It is inner SatyagrahaSatyagraha of the soul. We never force anything to happen. We pay attention to our own bodies, sensing the predominant physical sensation nd listening deeply to it. When colors, images, and emotions come up, we listen deeply to them, returning to our predominant physical sensation when they run their course. When our predominant physical sensation travels and changes character and intensity, we follow it with our attention. 

Every minute spent in meditation allows us to discharge our past spiritual debts, be less reactive and more nonviolent in our daily lives, and be free of spiritual debt bondage.

We need less force and more love in our lives. And love is just another word for deep listening

Peace and love,

Abhay

20170101

Happy New Year!

I wanted to get better at my practice. Every day after school I would ride my bicycle from the most rural part of Baroda, where we lived, surrounded by orchards, nomadic herdsmen, and gangs of fierce monkeys, to the old city. I would ride into the insane crowd of the railway station, then on broad avenues past the grand palace of the Maharaja into the madness of the old city, and finally get to the ashram, always a tranquil oasis of calm. Once there, I would practice.

But I wasn't getting any better. I would try to get my teacher to be more involved in my lack of growth but he always seemed to be distracted when I would talk about it. One day I confronted my teacher and demanded that he tell me there and then: How could I get better? My teacher looked at me in an odd way, then keeping his eyes on me said,

"I see you ride your bicycle into the ashram every day and hop off your bike. You always do it on the right side. For a month try hopping off your bike on the other side when you arrive."

It wasn't an answer that I expected. It was a strange answer, but then my teacher was a strange man.

For a month I practiced hopping off my bike on the left side. I started awkwardly but in a few days I was comfortable with the new hopping off routine. I found myself exploring new aspects of my bicycle riding, like riding with no hands, hopping off the front of the bike, singing and whistling while riding, and even riding with my eyes closed. My bike was becoming a friend, and riding was becoming play.

A month passed. The bike routine was now effortless. As for my practice, it was no better than before. My teacher didn't seem to notice. We never talked about it again.

But something had changed. I no longer cared about getting better. I realized that life is a circle. Getting better or getting ahead simply brings us back to where we started. What really matters is not to change our practice but to change our selves; to be open to strange answers, to the unexpected. Happy new year!

Peace and love,

Abhay

20161227

We are the change

We cannot change circumstances, events, and people. But we can change ourselves. Gandhi asked us to "be the change you wish to see." We cannot be the change by willing it. To be the change we must meditate. 

All life consists of the dense and the subtle. The world of matter, what we think of as reality, is dense. The subtle consists of energy patterns that are just as real as matter, though invisible and unknown to the dense. 

In everyday life we often work only with the dense, trying to make things happen with great effort. This is a very difficult approach to change. Great effort in the realm of the dense often leads to little real change. 

When we begin to meditate, we bring the subtle to the dense. We feel the dense in our bodies as physical sensations. By focusing on the predominant physical sensation in our own body, we join the subtle (focus) to the dense (physical sensations). 

We don't try to change anything. In meditation we are the change. We simply pay undivided attention, a state that I call deep listening. We may experience shifting bodily sensations. Sometimes colors, images, or memories appear. We listen deeply to whatever comes up. When the episode of colors, images, or memories runs its course, we return to the predominant physical sensation as the base of our meditation. 

If we really want to change our reality we must make meditation our reality. It is the union of the subtle and the dense that makes us the change we wish to see. 

When we change the world changes.

Peace,

Abhay

20161225

work + mindfulness = nonwork

Vinoba Bhave, the saint and amateur mathematician, derived a wonderful formula from the Bhagawad Gita:

karma + vikarma = akarma

or,

work + mindfulness = nonwork

We are being asked to engage in our work--whether it is washing the dishes, making artwork, teaching, healing, or running a business--mindfully, that is to say, 

1. with complete, undivided, attention to the work at hand,
2. with playfulness,
3. with no thought of the fruit of the work. 

When our work is done with mindfulness what results is nonwork--that state of joy that is called lila, or divine play.

Peace and love,
Abhay

20161221

The energy ball

I sit with my hands comfortably in my lap, palms facing up and slightly facing each other. I feel a ball of energy in my hands. If I watch this energy ball very carefully and with patience, it will change in color, size, and shape.

Sometimes it is a little, soft, golden ball of energy. At other times the ball turns into a blue crystal tower shooting up from my palms. When I play with the energy ball with others, our energies seem to blend. I do not control the process. I understand my work to be simply to engage deeply, to focus on what is happening.

Each of us, regardless of who we are or what we do, has our own energy ball. As children we intuitively know what to do with a ball. We were all children once so we can trust that we'll know what to do with our own energy ball if we take it out and play.

Peace and love,

Abhay

20161218

Disappointment as a seed of lightness

In seventh grade, a school trip during the Diwali vacation took us from Bombay, where we lived, to Madras. We traveled from the West coast where we overlooked the Arabian Sea to the East coast overlooking the Bay of Bengal on a very slow train pulled by a steam engine. There were no showers on the train and two days later when we arrived we were covered in black soot. I was restless.

From Madras we traveled south to Pondicherry, once a French colony, the site of the Aurobindo Ashram. The atmosphere of the Ashram grounds, right on the beach and water was wonderful after the long journey. Most of us settled down to a routine of play and sleep. But I was still restless. When a small group of tenth grade students asked me to join them in meditation inside the ashram I was delighted.

Sitting cross legged on the cool floor of the ashram I could smell incense, sense the presence of my fellow students, and relaxed into my first experience of meditation. We must have sat there for an hour. But when we left I felt only a little less restless than I had before. I was disappointed.

In eighth grade my father abruptly moved our family from our family home in Bombay to Baroda, a small city just north of Bombay, which was once the center of culture and spirituality under the Maharaja of Baroda. Although I found it hard to adjust to being in a smaller, less Westernized, less cosmopolitan city, I soon found an oasis of peace and tranquillity--the home of Sri Aurobindo. He had lived there when he first moved back to India after being educated in England. It was a large wooden house with a beautiful courtyard and garden. I would spend hours here after school. 

One day I went up to the second floor of the house to what had once been Sri Aurobindo's bedroom. I sat down cross legged on the floor. And I began to meditate. Soon I experienced a oneness, a lightness, and my restlessness lifted. 

My visit to the Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry was linked, in a circular, non-linear way, to my experience at Sri Aurobindo's house in Baroda. My disappointment in Pondicherry was the seed that sprouted as lightness in Baroda. 

Peace and love,

Abhay

20161215

Meditation is deep listening

The cosmos speaks to us through our bodies. Our bodies speak to us through physical sensations.

We look for the predominant physical sensation in our body and pay undivided attention to it. This predominant physical sensation may move and change. This is how our body speaks to us. Our work is to pay attention.

Just keep paying attention. I like to call it deep listening.

Meditation is thus a threefold process: firstly, the cosmos speaking to us through our bodies, secondly, our bodies speaking to us through predominant physical sensations, and thirdly, us listening deeply.


Peace and love,

Abhay

20161213

Chakras

What do we mean when we say that we are not our bodies? Our bodies are not our selves. They are organs of transformation. 

Our body is made up of visible and invisible elements. While science has made great strides in understanding the visible aspects of our bodies, the invisible aspects are only approachable through expanding consciousness. As our consciousness expands we are able to 'see' that the invisible elements of the body comprise the twelve energy portals known as chakras, or circles. These chakras range from the dense to the subtle and working with them, starting with the dense and moving on to the subtle is the work of a lifetime. Or perhaps many lifetimes to the Indian and other open mind, comfortable with the idea of lifetime after lifetime of working towards wholeness. 

The chakras have three characteristics: color, location, and attribute with color being the most important identifying characteristic. 

The twelve colors, going from dense to subtle, are:

Red
Orange
Yellow

Green
Blue
White

Gold
Clear
Silver

Purple
Pink
Violet

The ancients believed that the colors themselves had healing powers when used as a mantra. I have found this to be true in my own experience. Simply going through the colors in ascending and then descending order creates balance in our lives. It is a wonderful way to meditate. 

Peace and love,

Abhay

20161210

Self Path



When you lose confidence in reality you are ready for the work. While the sages down the ages disagree about just what 'the real' is, they all agree that what seems to be reality is not really so, that there is a reality beyond our perceived sense of it.

Life provides us with many opportunities to question what we see as reality. Some of these present themselves as opportunities, others as adversity. 

We are invited to see them all as opportunities and contemplate them deeply. The ancients thought of every moment as quietly presenting such opportunities; quietly, for if ignored they vanish but if paid undivided, deep attention to, they flower. 

That is following our svadharma, or self path. 

Peace and love,

Abhay

20161121

When times are hard our yoga practice becomes our sail-boat that helps us cross the stormy sea. Our yoga practice is not only the daily practice of physical postures known as yogasana or simply asana but also the daily practice of living our lives. 


When times are hard we feel fragmented. It is a great challenge to stay focused, to move forward with our lives. Such times demand that we make conscious use of our most precious resource, namely time. The ancients have given us three modes of being that, to continue our metaphor, allow us to cross uncharted waters in our sail-boat. Any one of these can take us safely across when combined with our asana practice. 

The first mode is known as bhakti yoga. This is the devotional mode. One dedicates every waking and sleeping moment to a cause, a deity, a principle, anything that one believes in whole heartedly. Bhakti yoga is very effective when you have something that you can single-mindedly focus on. That then becomes your meditation, night and day.

The second mode is known as gyan yoga. This is the mode of the intellect. One immerses oneself in the discovery of new knowledge, gaining a deeper and deeper understanding and perspective upon our subject of study. Gyan yoga is not simply book-knowledge. You study for your self the practical implications of that knowledge and act upon your understanding.

The third mode is known as karma yoga. This is the mode of work-for-the-sake-of-the-work-itself. The Bhagavad Gita defines this mode as follows: You have the right to your work but not to the fruits of your work. You simply immerse your self in your work with no thought of the results but simply connecting to the act of working as your meditation practice. The beauty of karma yoga is that anyone can do it in absolutely any kind of work that one is engaged in. You could be hand-washing dishes, working in a library, painting a house, directing a movie--all that matters is that you do your work with no ego-attachment to the results of the work. 

Which mode we pick depends on our personality and personal preferences. Joining any one these modes with our asana practice allows our sail-boat to stay afloat and cross the stormy seas. After all the word yoga means to join: we must join the practice of living and the practice of doing to create wholeness in our lives.

Peace and Love,

Abhay

20160924


When you hurt yourself listen to your body very carefully. Usually the warning signs are all around us and we ignore them. Which is why we hurt ourselves.

The remedy is to listen. Notice without judgment. Your body is saying perhaps: pay attention to me. I am all you've got to participate in this earthly life. Ignoring me and my call is inviting disaster. 

Hurt is not a bad thing. It is your body talking to you. All you have to do is listen. 

20160516

Yoga means to join. Our individual consciousness (atman) wants to join with universal consciousness(brahman).

Have you ever thought of how beautifully we have been created? We long for wholeness. More than anything else we want to join.

That is yoga.

20160311

What is stillness? That is a very good question because stillness is what we want to develop. It is a strength beyond all others.

Stillness is not static. It is not a matter of sitting or holding a pose as stiffly as possible. Consider an analogy. When you think of a movie you think of motion, movement and a movie still is a moment frozen in time. Nothing changes, nothing moves, all is fixed.

Friends that is a false analogy. Stillness is dynamic! Stillness is being able to discern the quiet voice of Life amidst all the clamor seeking our attention each moment.

The voice of life flows ever changing like a river and following it is what stillness is.

Peace and love,

Abhay

20151106

We are gathered in a circle. We are among friends and the conversation moves to meditation. 

Someone says, "When I meditate it brings out the best in me. When I don't it brings out the worst in me." There is a murmur of agreement in the circle. 

Then silence. 

They wait for me to say something.
I say:

The best and the worst and everything in between is a part of us. We are each if us a Mussolini and a Mother Teresa. We are perfect violence and perfect nonviolence. We are greed and selfless service. 

What meditation does is that it makes clear to us who we really are. When we see that evil, corruption, selfishness as well as good, truth, selflessness are us we develop compassion for ourselves

It is only when we develop perfect compassion for ourselves that we are able to embrace others, the world. 

That is when we realize that we are one and love is the only answer.

Peace and love,

Abhay




20151105

Goldcrest

Green woodpecker












Two of the beautiful birds my friend Robert Leonard and his family see everyday in Montevecchia, Italy. 


20140113

Do you ever sit quietly?

What is quietness? It is a delicious quality of participation without the senses.

When we sit quietly we don't quieten the mind. Instead we awaken our souls. 

20130726

How many yogas are there?

Infinite.

In every village in India there are several yoga teachers who are part of a live tradition. They speak no English and were taught by their teachers verbally and physically. This line of teaching yoga from teacher to pupil goes back in an unbroken line many thousand years. There are no books assigned no texts to look at as authoritative and absolute statements of truth. The tools are experience and consciousness and with trust something magical happens. A new yoga is born with each student and it grows exponentially with each generation. You can not possibly count the number of yogis in India.

Each practices one of an infinite number of ways to do yoga and through their practice expands that infinity.

20130725

Slow down. Pay attention. What is happening in your body? What is happening? Notice and relax.

It is that simple.

20130723

We can not change what happens out there in the world. If there is violence out there it is because human beings are violent. We are violent. Violence is not separate from us.

I am 13. I am sitting in the Aurobindo Ashram meditating. And suddenly and very easily I understand that we are one. It changes my life. Later, over the years I find others who have had this experience. The great philosopher J. Krishnamurti wrote about this happening to him when he was a child.

If we accept the insight gained from a meditation practice that we are one, then I must accept that violence is not only out there, it is also in us. If it is in us then it is in me.

The problem is not that violence is out there, the problem is that I am violent. And greedy, and selfish, and lustful, and materialistic, and ignorant, and mistrustful, and demeaning of others.

I am all that and that is the problem we are faced with. 

We are one

I am not separate from you. I am not separate from the world around me.

When I see something sad happening in the world I know that this thing is not separate from me. If I want to change this thing in the world I must not fight it outside in the external world. That merely creates fresh rna or debt. That is the essence of karma.

What I must change is myself because this thing out that that bothers me, that saddens me, the state of the world, the condition of women worldwide, this thing is in me. It is me.

I must change to change the world. It is hard work and there is no time to waste. 

20130720

I like listening to my body when I do yoga. I don't always do it very well. The listening that is. I am never interested in doing yoga well. That is the wrong approach.

I have found that the best way to do yoga is to have a minimum of instruction on the posture. Just the idea of what it is. Then I try to listen to my body and watch myself in my mind as my body walks me through the asana. I particularly like it when my body does the pose crooked or inelegantly. That gets me to listen and pay attention.

I remember when I was 13 I would do yoga on the lawn of the Aurobindo ashram in Baroda, India. I would try a new pose with no effort whatsoever and no intention to get it right. I would play with the pose for weeks, trying to listen. One day my body would speak to me very clearly. And I would listen. Outwardly I probably looked just as crooked and silly as I did before. But inwardly I had listened.

After all these many years yoga to me is still the act of listening to my body. 

20130715

What is yoga?

breathe move stand still
elongate
and wrap every muscle fiber
turn into a lotus!
Yoga means to join, to make whole. How is it that yoga, whose purpose if wholeness, is currently split up into so many so-called schools, with so many self-appointed gurus? Is it not a good idea for us to come together and communicate, share, and at least make an attempt to create wholeness in our lives?

My idea of raw yoga, which I created over twenty years ago is this: yoga is free, so learn it in a raw, uncooked form, from many different teachers and then crystallize it into your own personal practice. Shun trademarks and run away from the so-called schools of yoga.

In the silence of rawness you await yoga. In time she comes to you.

20130714

Why use the old names for asanas? I mean the Sanskrit ones that no one pronounces correctly and even fewer understand. Someone a long time ago came up with a name, say, shavasana. I don't think 'corpse' is a very inspiring name. Moreover, you don't want to be corpse-like when you perform the pose! You want to be supple and happy and very much alive.

Let go of the old names. Make up new names for the poses. In yoga the yogi is the creator of the practice.

20130615

We must remember to have fun while doing yoga 

20130418

From 26 short discourses on yoga (published in the Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy)

20120928


20091204

Compose

What life asks of us is simple. It is to compose ourselves.

But what exactly does that mean? It means that we must use our creativity to garner our resources in such a manner that the outcome is a whole. And that whole must be us. Many of us gather our resources about us in a haphazard manner and then what we have is a half-baked us. The end result does not reflect us, the inner us.

So let us learn to compose ourselves better. The gift we receive in doing so is this: we attain our self.

20090121

karma and ahimsa

Ahimsa is the absence of violence. Gandhiji's practice of Satyagraha, or truth-force, was built on this idea of ahimsa. What confuses the student of yoga is how the idea of karma is to be reconciled with the idea of ahimsa.

Karma is seen by many as a law that teaches an eye for an eye. It has been compared to Newton's laws. The idea seems to be a quaint one: a violator will be violated, a thief stolen from. That is a common, though violent and misinformed idea of karma.

Karma is seen in our practice of yoga as a repayment of rna, or debts. If someone does something to you, let us say steal from you. In doing so they are simply repaying past rna. With that act, the olds debts have been paid and you are now free as long as you do not respond to the act by creating a fresh act. Governments get entangled in ever increasing violence by being reactive and recreating new karmas that are then acted out and reacted out infinitely.

The key to understanding karma is this. The act has no power whatsoever on your essence, the real you or your higher self. As Vimalananda has taught us, it is only with your ego-identification with the act that you create rnanubandhana, or debt-bondage.

Ahimsa, the absence of violence, is the only reliable way to end karmic ties with what is undesirable. For once we have paid our debts we are free!

20090120

Mind

The mind is not separate from us. The mind is a concept, a construct. It is an axiom that we start our analysis of our selves with.

The mind is that constructed part of our selves that thoughts come from. It is this identification of the thoughts, which after all can be observed, with that construct that we call the mind which causes us suffering.

Freeing thoughts of the concept of the mind is a lightening, subtracting experience. Then we are free to observe our thoughts and also to see that they are separate from us. Thoughts have a life of their own and observing them in their nakedness, unclothed by the mind is a revealing experience.

In parts of India it is customary to greet others with the question, "what are your thoughts?" instead of hullo or how are you.

Why not bid goodnight to your mind and say hullo to your thoughts?

20090115

Prana

The purpose of physical activity, including exercise, is not to condition the heart or strengthen the sinews. Those are merely pleasant side-effects of exercise.

From a yogic point of view, all physical activity, including cleaning the house, walking to the farmers market, caring for our pets, and doing the yoga postures, are intended to increase the absorption of prana, or life-force. When you keep that in mind you will be a lot less worried about getting your heartbeat up or exercising your muscles optimally, and can instead focus on prana.

Next time you exercise try letting go of the notions of exercise you have learned and focus whole-heartedly on absorbing prana. You don't have to do much. Just observe. With each in-breath prana is moving into your body. Can you feel it expand throughout your body? Or are there body parts long forgotten, ignored. Allow the breath into those parts. This can be life-changing!

The Sanskrit word prana means not only life-force, but also breath. After all breath and life-force are one.

20090114

Microdiscipline

If you are like me, you love the freedom of doing what you want, when you want, and not caring about what people think. In fact people may call you lazy, or even a bit wild.

That's all very well but even we freedom-loving individuals need to get things done, like maintaining a meditation practice and a yoga practice. The way I approach this is through what I call microdiscipline. It consists of 10 minute intervals that you agree to do something for. Meditate for 10 minutes. Go through your mail for 10 minutes. Yoga for 10 minutes.

The beauty of doing things for 10 minutes is twofold. Firstly, the psyche offers almost no resistance at all to such a short interval of time. Secondly, the ego stays out if it, 10 minutes being beneath contempt for the ego to comment upon!

10 is a number that the Ancients thought of as lucky and they ascribed near-magical properties to the number. I like 10. Try it and see, for no more than 10 minutes.

20090113

Sitting on the floor

I like to sit on the floor as far as possible. I had got out of the habit until I watched a Japanese movie and saw everyone sitting on tatami mats, even guys in business suits.

Sitting with our legs crossed without a wall to support our backs is one of the easiest ways to get fit while doing nothing at all! This asana, or posture, is called sukhasana, the happy pose.

Asana in Sansrit means both the pose AND what you sit on. There is no difference between the act of sitting and what is sat upon! Ponder this, preferably cross-legged on the floor.

20090112

Waiting

Much of life is about waiting! We may have started to make a cup of tea. We waited for the water to boil. Then we warmed the teapot. Then we boiled some more fresh water as we prepared the tea leaves for the shock of being submerged in boiling water. Then even after pouring the water from the kettle into the teapot, we wait.

So most of our lives are spent waiting. We must learn to enjoy waiting. This is one way to do it: Instead of thinking of the discrete moments of our life that are exciting and tangible as our life with the waiting sullying the otherwise eventful life, we start thinking of our life itself as waiting!

Your life IS waiting. It consists of waiting. Isn't it time you learned to enjoy waiting?

20090108

26 short discourses on yoga, life, and joyful healing.
--Abhay Ghiara
(The lecture will form a Gestalt, a meditation that will set the stage for insight)

Lecture delivered at the Yoga Therapy for Cancer Recovery workshop, Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco, Jan 10,2009. Later published in the Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Summer 2010, volume 7, issue 1.


Akasha
Akasha is Sanskrit for the boundless sky. The Ancients believed that every thought and action leaves an imprint, a memory. This is known as the Akashik record.

In accordance with this notion, a trace of the trajectory of movement, breath, and energy generated during our yoga practice is vibrationally imprinted onto the great sky above.

Breath
The nature of the in-breath is very different from that of the out-breath. The in-breath should never be forced. The deepening of the breath in yoga is achieved solely by focusing on gaining conscious control of the out-breath.

The Ancients knew that we can not force the breath in. It is as futile as trying to get a cat to do something she does not want to do. What we can do, however, is create the conditions for the in-breath to deepen on its own. Allowing the air to completely empty out of the torso creates an inviting space for a powerful in-breath to flow into.

The Sanskrit word for breath, prana, also means life-force. In our yoga practice we create a space for life-force to enter into us. That is what breath is all about.

Connection
Our sense of connection to the land has been eroding. With it has emerged the difficulty of connecting with others.

What is important to remember about connecting is this: You must first of all develop a deep and lasting connection with your self. If you can not love your self, pamper your self, nourish your self, how can you connect with another?

Connection is all about the flow of energy. Allow your yoga practice to reinvigorate the flow of energy in your body. However, the practice of yoga is not just the performing of some postures. Yoga can be and should be sitting in the sun, caressing a flower, playing with your pet or children, laughing!

Duality
Our everyday lives involve choices. That is so obvious! Or is it? Seen under the light of yoga, these seemingly real, valid, and important choices fall away, like leaves off a tree in fall.

The set up of life as a series of choices, good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, violence vs. nonviolence, is what the Ancients called maya, or illusion. As the great mystic philosopher Krishnamurti said in his last Bombay talk, Much violence has been done by the idea of nonviolence.

Dualities are unreal. By paying attention to anything we increase it. By focusing on disease we create more disease. By attempting to fight illness we create more illness.

Yoga provides an alternative to duality. It is not for or against. Yoga means to join. When duals merge they become one.

Embrace
Years ago when I was a student at Bombay University I would stay up late at night reading George Leonard's articles on mastery published in Esquire magazine. I was fascinated by George's ideas! Even though George was a 5th degree black-belt in Aikido rather than a yogi, his thoughts on the process of learning leading to mastery resonated with my own. His central idea is that learning proceeds in small spurts followed by long plateaus. Learning is taking place as much in the plateaus as in the spurts! Most of us expect a linear, upward sloping learning curve and when we reach our first plateau, we give up. Instead we should be celebrating the plateau!

A common friend arranged a meeting with George last week. It was lovely to see him in person after admiring his work from afar for over 20 years. T played the cello and then E played the piano and George and I talked about yoga and mastery. He is 85 years old, has written 12 books, is the President of Esalen but is humble about his accomplishments.

As we leave he scribbles something in a copy of his masterpiece and pushes the book in my hand as he hugs me tightly.

Later I look inside the book. George has written in his elegant scrawl, "Abhay, love the plateau- George"

Friend
A student once asked a yogi how she could improve her balance poses particularly the Tree pose. I keep falling over, she said. The yogi asked, when you are in Vrksasana, what kind of tree are you? What are your branches like, your leaves? Do you provide shade for a weary pilgrim or a cow? How exactly do you sway when the monsoon winds pregnant with water droplets appear from the south? Get to know your tree like a good friend and over time its roots will take hold.

Get to know your yoga postures with acceptance, understanding, and humor. Your breath and your imagination are your allies in this endeavor. There is no way to fail in yoga. Remember this!

Gandhiji
Gandhiji did not follow the written word. He preferred personal experience to dogma. His autobiography is entitled, My Experiments With Truth, and he was constantly experimenting to discover new truths.

As Gandhiji started experimenting with natural medicines at Tolstoy Farm, he asked everyone he met for information on the use of natural approaches to healing. He was not interested in what someone had learned from a book but the smallest personal experience with healing was of great interest to him.

Over the rest of his life, bit by bit, through personal experiences and experiments, Gandhiji developed a system of natural healing.

Today his system teaches us not so much what but how.

How
How we do things is more important than what we do. Our approach to anything we do is a reflection of our inner selves, our inner structure. It is helpful to notice how we walk, how we talk, how we do the many everyday things that makes up our lives.

Don’t try to change anything. Just notice, how.

Imagination
The new student of yoga is pleasantly surprised to find that the yoga postures are named after animals, plants, and objects: Cat, pigeon, tree, plough. But sometimes it is hard for a student to see how the name of the posture relates to the posture itself.

What we must remember is that the names are not supposed to be taken literally. Instead they are metaphors, rich in multi-dimensional meaning.

Deep in her practice, if a yogini will hold the name of the posture in her mind's eye, the fullness of the posture will reveal itself quietly.

Move away from the literal. Embrace the metaphor. The Ancients thought that was a good guide to a life of wonderment.

Joy
Yoga is a complete system of physical and mental attunement that was developed in Ancient India. The word yoga in Sanskrit means to join. Yoga joins the mind and body, breath and movement, resulting in an enhanced physical ability to experience the world while remaining spiritually centered. In other words, it helps us experience more joy in our lives.

Kripa
Our practice of yoga aims at developing kripa, or grace, in body and mind. The idea of grace was very important to the Ancients and is the foundation of spiritual yoga even today.

The Ancients preferred the natural undulating curves of the belly, gently rounded shoulders, lengthened muscle fibers. Modern day preoccupations with body fat content and the development of unnaturally shortened muscles (such as the six-pack) go against the vision of the great yogis.

What is it about yoga that makes it so different from western exercise? The yoga asanas, or postures, are designed to lengthen the muscle fibers while at the same time working on the glandular level to create harmony and balance. The major joints, glands, and organs are stimulated and recover their innate abilities to function flawlessly. Western exercise, on the other hand, simply tightens and shortens muscle fibers in an attempt to reduce bulk in some places and add bulk in others. This purely mechanical view of the body can only lead to a machine-like body.

Yoga sees the body as an organic whole and the practice of yoga is the practice of kripa or grace.

Love
What exactly is love? Is it a feeling or state of being? Some mystical thinkers have described the development of the human being in terms of the development of love. When you can love everything, right and wrong, good and evil, you have reached nirvana, the state of oneness with All-That-Is.

Yoga teaches us a different kind of love. A love of every aspect of our bodies. Consider the wonder that is your body that allows you to experience the beauty of each passing breath, the gentle breeze, the magic of a moonlit night. Why not take the time to appreciate each part of your body, to call each part beautiful: toes, ankles, calves, shins, knees, thighs, buttocks, anus, vagina, penis, belly, internal organs, chest, breasts, back, shoulders, upper arms, fore arms, elbows, wrists, palms, fingers, neck, face, scalp.

Our yoga practice is a love-fest of sorts. The point, according to the Ancients, is not to exercise each part, but rather to pay homage to each and every part of your body.

Mumbai
Mumbai means mother Mumba, the great goddess of the fisherfolk of the region. The land is seen as the mother, source of nourishment. She has seen attacks before. As a child I remember looking up at a sky glowing red and being fascinated by the 'lolli-pops' hanging in the sky. We survived that war.

Back then we called our city Bombay, beautiful bay in Portuguese. We would stuff hankies in our mouths and duck under our desks in school when the air raid sirens would go off.

We are all survivors. And we have mother Mumba watching over us.

No
I love to talk about yoga. The yoga with no rules. The yoga with no copyrights. The yoga with no trademarks. Will it take a revolution to recognize the radical nature of yoga?

Friends, yoga is free. All you have to do is breathe and you can feel that. Yoga is free, you are free, and in that freedom and only in that freedom is discovery possible.

O
The letter O is a circle. In western culture we are taught to "think straight," and guard against "circular reasoning." The western approach works well when your goal is to build something inorganic and inanimate, a modern skyscraper for instance. However, it does not work very well when you are dealing with something organic and animate like your body.

The Ancients believed that yoga practice moves energy along the 7 energy centers in the body that we call chakras. Chakra, in Sanskrit, also means circle.

Padma
The padma, or lotus, is a tropical water plant that grows in ponds all over India. The lotus motif runs through much of yoga reminding us that our bodies, contrary to appearances, are composed almost entirely of water. Yoga literally means to join. Our practice of yoga joins us with our water nature and the lotus motif symbolizes this reunion.

We sit in lotus. We invert in lotus. That is not all though. We keep the lotus motif as a guiding principle that informs our form throughout our practice. In yoga, our mind-bodies develop the tenacity of the lotus stem. It is a form of undiluted amusement for rural folk in India to watch a city boy or girl filled with an inexplicable longing for a lotus flower plunge hands into a pond and pull, and pull, and pull to no effect whatsoever. The lotus stem is almost impossible to break!

The lotus motif connects us to that ephemeral tenacity that Gandhiji called Satyagraha or Soul Force.

Quiet
The mind is naturally frolicsome. Think of your mind as many little kittens. They want to jump and bite and run around in circles even late into the night. Especially late into the night.

Meditation, which is an essential part of yoga, is simply quieting the mind. Seeing the mind as a handful of kittens tells us just how easy that is going to be! Nevertheless, it is important to try. Let us try it right now for a minute.

Root
At the base of the spine resides the power, known as kundalini, the coiled-up cobra. This is our root, where we draw sustenance from. The Ancients described this as the first of seven major energy points along the spine which they called chakras, or circles.

The root chakra is the first and most important energy point. We can visualize it as a rotating disc in the perinium, between the anal sphincter and the reproductive organs.

The magnificence of the beautiful redwood tree depends upon strong and stable roots. Keeping our attention upon our root allows our yoga practice to bear leaves, flowers, and fruit.

Soul
There is a central energy point in your body. It is not a static point, located in one place, as many seem to think. Instead, it is fluid and can move to every part of your body. That takes practice. And time.

In the meantime, there's yoga. During yoga energy diffuses from the central point to the rest of the body. I remember my seventh grade science teacher (who was also a famous sitar player) in Bombay demonstrate paper diffusion. A drop of ink is added to a blotting paper. Then as drops of water are added, the ink moves all the way to the edges.

That is precisely what yoga does. Call it soul diffusion.

Thread
The word yoga means a joining, a connection. The Energy System of the body is connected as though by a thread. Imagine a web of energy strings joining the various energy hubs together. That in a nutshell is your energy body.

Now if you think about the connections in your energy body as thread you will realize this simple idea: You can pull on thread but you can not push on it! Furthermore, if you pull too hard or too quickly, the thread will break.

The practice of yoga is enhanced by this simple understanding. We may say that the only rule to keep in mind in yoga is to pull, never push, and to pull gently.

Untangle
A block is a temporary energy knot. It is good to see it as energy. Then you know it is simply a matter of untangling some wires and the current can flow again.

I was visiting my mother in Mumbai recently. She had renovated her home and while I was there a fancy Italian light fixture simply blew up, the bulb shattering. Having grown up in old Bombay, this was not particularly alarming to either of us. A calm investigation showed a blockage, a set of tightly mangled wires. In a few minutes the wires were untangled. Energy flowed into the fresh naked light bulb.

Untangle. Let the energy flow. You don't need fixtures, a naked body will do.

Very little effort
I would like to emphasize a yogic principle that I like to call the principle of very little effort! I know that for many, it seems like a contradiction to talk about a yoga practice and effortlessness in the same sentence.

If this idea is new to you, all I ask is that you try it. Undertake all actions, movements, and holds with the very minimum effort required.

Waken the serpent
One of the primary goals of Yoga is to waken the sleeping serpent that the Ancients called Kundalini and imagined as a tightly coiled queen cobra. This slumbering queen was said to reside at the very base of the spine. The rhythmic contraction and relaxation of the area known as the mooladhara or root chakra results in the gradual awakening of this mighty power. A warmth moves up the spine, a tingling perhaps, indicating the release of this energy. Our yoga practice then harnesses this energy, moving it upwards.

Through our yoga practice we then learn to stimulate, harness, and finally modulate this fine feminine energy that can move worlds. Some choose to experience this energy through intimate bonding with a lover. Others like Mahatma Gandhi direct this energy towards the creation of a just world and moving people to own their lives and destinies. Whether experienced as intimacy or emancipation the power of the release is real, powerful, and earth-shattering.

X
X is the symbol of the cross.

For me the cross brings back memories of being four. My mother would have us play a game. It involved crossing the legs and then crossing the arms behind the back to reach for the toes. Starting with the big toe on each side all the way down to the little toes. We would wiggle our little toes as soon as we were done.

I did not know then that the games we played were yoga. Perhaps that is why I still think of yoga as play!

You
You are the most important person in the world. Focus on your self, on your needs. Love your self. You have only as much to offer to others as you offer to your self. Put your self first. This is very important!

Zindagi
Life is good! This simple idea is at the heart of a yoga practice. The Ancients captured this idea perfectly by calling life Zindagi, an Urdu word that captures not only the literal meaning of life as a physical experience but also the more powerful sense of the word: Life is a game of births and rebirths. We have all been here on earth many, many lifetimes. In some lifetimes we were good and in others bad. Successful in some and utter failures in others.

So why are we here? The first reason is simply that we want to be here. Face it, we like our earthly existence. So we come back to experience more.

Secondly, we all want to learn and integrate the lessons of our learning in each fresh lifetime. This is not a linear process however. It is messy and complex but we do grow as a result of these experiences.

Lastly, we come back to planet earth to try and achieve a connection with All-That-Is, the divine. Anyone can do it, at any age, with any background. Yoga was created to facilitate that connection and eventually to release us from Zindagi, the game of life!

20090106

X

X is the symbol of the cross. It is an ancient symbol that reminds us of the vertical, qualitative dimension in a world seemingly preoccupied with the quantitative in all spheres.

For me the cross brings back memories of being four. My mother would have us play a game. It involved crossing the legs and then crossing the arms behind the back to reach for the toes. Starting with the big toe on each side all the way down to the little toes. We would wiggle our little toes as soon as we were done.

I did not know then that the games we played were yoga. Perhaps that is why I still think of yoga as play!

20090105

Aduality

Our everyday lives involve choices. That is so obvious! Or is it? Seen under the light of yoga, these seemingly real, valid, and important choices fall away, like leaves off a tree in fall.

The set up of life as a series of choices, good vs evil, right vs wrong, violence vs nonviolence, is what the Ancients called maya, or illusion. As Krishnamurti said in his last Bombay talk, Much violence has been done by the idea of nonviolence.

Dualities are unreal. By paying attention to anything we increase it. By focusing on disease we create more disease. By attempting to fight illness we create more illness.

Yoga provides an alternative to duality. It is not for or against. Yoga means to join. When duals merge they become one with the One.

George

Years ago when I was a student at Bombay University I would stay up late at night reading George Leonard's articles on mastery published in Esquire magazine. I was fascinated by George's ideas! Even though George was a 5th degree blackbelt in Aikido rather than a yogi, his thoughts on the process of learning leading to mastery were right on. Like his idea that learning proceeds in small spurts followed by long plateaus. Learning is taking place as much in the plateaus as in the spurts! Most of as expect a linear, upward sloping learning curve and so when we reach our first plateau, we give up. Instead we should be celebrating!

A common friend arranged a meeting with George today. It was lovely to see him in person after admiring his work from afar for over 20 years. T played the cello and ten E played the piano and George and I talked about yoga and mastery. He is 85 years old, has written 12 books, is the President of Esalen but is humble about his accomplishments.

As we leave he scribbles something in a copy of his masterpiece and pushes the book in my hand as he hugs me tightly.

Later I look inside the book. George has written in his elegant scrawl, "Abhay, love the plateau- George Leonard"

20081230

String

The word yoga means a joining, a connection. The Energy System of the body is connected as though by a string. Imagine a web of energy strings joining the various energy hubs together. That in a nutshell is your energy body.

Now if you think about the connections in your energy body as string you will realize this simple idea: You can pull on string but you can not push on it! Furthermore, if you pull too hard or too quickly, the string will break.

The practice of yoga is enhanced by this simple understanding. We may say that the only rule to keep in mind in yoga is to pull, never push, and to pull gently.

20081229

Rest

The body needs rest. More than that the body's energy system needs rest. It is not enough to sleep! The quality of the sleep has a profound effect on whether or not we really achieve a state of rest.

Dreams are wonderful aren't they? I sometimes see our cats napping and twitching and wonder what they are dreaming about. But some dreams can be stressful. Nightmares can shake the body's energy system up. And then no amount of sleep is really rest.

We can use our imagination to go to bed in a positive state that will induce rest. As a child I used to suffer from nightmares which I cured by the time I was 11 by imagining a white dog very vividly. I would go to bed and imagine him walking down our street in Bombay and after about 20 minutes he would come to me. The white dog was my imaginary friend and I have slept restfully ever since I conjured him in my mind.

When I am not fully happy, content, and cheerful at bedtime, as happened recently with the terror attacks on my beloved Mumbai, I invite the white dog back. He walks down the streets of Berkeley taking his time, examining life around him with wisdom and compassion and by the time he gets to me I am fast asleep.

20081220

Gandhiji

Gandhiji did not follow the written word. He preferred personal experience to authoritative dogma. His autobiography is entitled, My Experiments With Truth, and he was constantly experimenting to discover truths.

As Gandhiji started experimenting with natural medicines at Tolstoy Farm, he asked everyone he met for information on the use of natural approaches to healing. He was not interested in what someone had learned from a book but the smallest personal experience with healing was of great interest to him.

Over the rest of his life, bit by bit, through personal experiences and experiments, Gandhiji developed a system of natural healing.

Today his system teaches us not so much what but how.

20081215

Gravity

The principle of Minimum Effort becomes easy to practice with the use of gravity as a friend. Let us use the universal language of film to visualize this.

When panning left or right, let gravity move you, allowing the moving body parts, such as the limbs, to move slightly downward in a large arc. When tilting down, move towards the gravitational pull along your line of least resistance. Most often that would not be a linear movement down but a small circling, like an aircraft landing.

Tilting up then is the only movement that seems to defy gravity. But meditating on this movement helps us see that defying gravity is impossible and sets up an unnecessary duality, for and against. Once in meditation my arms shot up and were suspended in the air.

That's when I learned that letting go of human resistance allows our bodies to move with gravity in all directions.

There are no straight lines in nature. No up and down. Yoga is about letting go.

20081214

Block

A block is a temporary energy knot. It is good to see it as energy. Then you know it is simply a matter of untangling some wires and the current can flow again.

I remember visiting my mother in Mumbai recently. She had renovated her home and while I was there a fancy Italian light fixture simply blew up, the bulb shattering. Having grown up in old Bombay, this was not particularly alarming to either of us. A calm investigation showed a blockage, a set of tightly mangled wires. In a few minutes the wires were untangled. Energy flowed into the fresh naked light bulb.

Untangle. Let the energy flow. You don't need fixtures, a naked body will do.

20081207

Cancer and Yoga Therapy Lecture by Abhay Ghiara

I will be lecturing on yoga at an all day workshop on Cancer and Yoga Therapy: a cross-disciplinary workshop bringing together yoga instructors and health professionals to exchange information about cancer treatment and learn new ways to help support survivors through alternative treatments such as yoga.

The other two speakers are pioneers in the field of alternative treatments to traditional cancer treatments. Anand Dhruva, M.D is a cancer specialist at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion. He provides integrative medicine consultations for cancer patients with specialized knowledge in both standard and non-traditional approaches to treatments and supportive care. Kelly McGonigal, PhD is a leading expert on the mind-body relationship and the psychology of yoga. She teaches yoga, meditation, and psychology at Stanford University, and is a passionate editor and freelance writer in the areas of mind-body psychology and integrative health care.

January 10th, 2009 10 AM - 4 PM at the California Pacific Medical Center

It is a free BUT space is very limited! Please register soon to avoid disappointment! For more information, maps, etc. please click here.

I hope many of you can make it to this paradigm-shifting workshop. Regardless of your background you will surely have a deeply transforming experience!


photo: John W. Sisson Jr

20081203

No on Prop 8

William came out in my class today. He was sharing his journal with the class. His eyes were in blood red tears as he shared his entry from the day of the elections. I am gay, he said. I admit it. I am gay, and I am still devastated. Those of you who are minorities should have voted no. Not so long ago you were in the same position that I am in. Denied your rights. You should have voted no.

I gave him a big hug, enveloping him in my arms. There is work to be done. As radical yogis we can not follow the ancient books, the ancient ways. Those contain so many injustices, so many misguided attempts at controlling people. The ancient yogic texts are full of stupid proclamations about women for instance. The sex-manuals ban homosexual intercourse. We must leave the books and the traditions behind. Leave to gurus behind. And embark on the path to self-discovery. That is the only way. That is my promise to William.

A Radical Yoga

I love to talk about yoga. The yoga with no rules. The yoga with no copyrights. The yoga with no trademarks. Will it take a revolution to recognize the radical nature of yoga? To move yoga away from the 'namaste-mongering' folks who blindly and unthinkingly spread a form of conservative, follow-the-guru or so-called school of yoga?

Friends, yoga is free. All you have to do is breathe and you can feel that. Yoga is free, you are free, and in that freedom and only in that freedom is discovery possible.

photo: John W. Sisson, Jr.

20081130

Mumbai


#Mumbai means mother Mumba, the great goddess of the fisherfolk of the region. The land is seen as the mother, source of nourishment. She has seen attacks before. As a child I remember looking up at a sky glowing red and being fascinated by the 'lolli-pops' hanging in the sky. We survived that war.

Back then we called our city Bombay, beautiful bay in Portuguese. We would stuff hankies in our mouths and duck under our desks in school when the air raid sirens would go off.

We are survivors. And we have mother Mumba watching over us.

Photo: I took this photograph just outside Leopolds, where the carnage began these last few days. When I took this photo, however, it was another late night in Bombay, as we thought of our city then, the cool air blowing in from the beautiful bay.

20081129

Diffusion

There is a central energy point in your body. It is not a static point, located in one place, as many seem to think. Instead, it is fluid and can move to every part of your body. That takes practice. And time.

In the meantime, there's yoga. During yoga energy diffuses from the central point to the rest of the body. I remember my seventh grade science teacher (who was also a famous sitar player) in Bombay demonstrate paper diffusion. A drop of ink is added to a blotting paper. Then as drops of water are added, the ink moves all the way to the edges.

That is precisely what yoga does. Call it soul diffusion.

20080812

Connection

Our sense of connection to the land has been eroding. With it has emerged the difficulty of connecting with others, especially that special person in our life.

What is important to remember about connecting with your partner is this: You must first of all develop a deep and lasting connection with your self. If you can not love your self, pamper your self, nourish your self, how can you connect with another?

Connection is all about the flow of energy. Allow your yoga practice to reinvigorate the flow of energy in your body. Hopefully your partner can join you in this. However the practice of yoga is not just the performing of some postures. Yoga can be and should be sitting in the sun, caressing a flower, playing with your pet or children, laughing!

20080809

A new food blog!


I have teamed up with Krista, my partner in yoga, food, and all things fun and life-affirming to create a new food blog entitled, LOVE TWO EAT. We have been enthusiastic cooks all our lives and are excited about our first blog project together!

We plan to share recipes and tips for quick, tasty, home-cooked meals!

Check our blog out at lovetwoeat.com

20080802

Upma -- the divine Indian hot cereal

The secret to the good life is a good breakfast. Here is, in my opinion, the best comfort food and hot breakfast ever invented: The Indian Upma (pronounce oop-ma).

I just made it paying careful attention to all measurements which I do not usually do, being by nature an improviser. But this turned out fantastic so here goes:

Warm 2 tbs of olive oil with 1/4 tsp. brown (they look black) mustard seeds.

When the mustard seeds start popping like popcorn, add 1/4 inch ring of jalapeno (chopped) and 1/4 onion (cubed). Sautee for a minute or two.

Add 1/4 tsp turmeric and 1/4 tsp cumin powder. Stir. Add a handful of cilantro (chopped).

Add 1/4 cup green peas.Stir and cook 2 minutes.

Add 3/4 cup cream of rice. You can find cream of rice amongst the hot cereals.

Mix and add 2 cups of boiling water very carefully! Now the whole thing will look like a watery soup. Don't worry, keep stirring for about 2 minutes until it thickens to the consistency of steamed rice.

It is done! Top with a 1/4 tsp of ghee and enjoy! Let me know how it goes, OK?

20080731

A sandwich

I woke up this morning with about 10 minutes available to make a lunch to carry with me on my 7 mile bike ride to work. No time to cook so I made a sandwich.

I don't like eating wheat. And I don't like yeast. So in my family we eat Kamut bread that is yeast-free, made by hand, and tasty. Made by Pacific Bakery in Oceanside. I set four slices on the cutting board. Lemon mayonnaise on two slices and spicy hummus on the other two. Then I cut up an entire avocado and put it on the two hummus slices.

I added an heirloom tomato all chopped up to the avocado and then closed the two mayonnaise covered slices onto the juicy contents. A small piece of wax paper (instead of plastic wrap) to wrap the two sandwiches and I was ready to go in about 9 minutes leaving me a minute to smile broadly at my creations.