Prequel ~ How did I end up at Mount Shasta? 1994
As I have been recently marveling at how I ended up in Pennsylvania (described in my previous email), I realized that how I ended up at Mount Shasta is also pretty wondrous. In brief, I got interested in the mysteries of life when I finished college in 1987 and gravitated to the teachings and practices of yoga and Hinduism. I found the closest yoga center to my home in Chicago (Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center) and dove in with all enthusiasm. I loved all the teachings, especially as shared by Swami Sivananda through his many books, but he had passed away in 1963. I yearned for personal contact with a master of the East. That’s when Sant Keshavadas showed up at the very center I was attending. He would visit every year and share stories from the Hindu scriptures and get us all singing to God. After a few years of enjoying his occasional visits, I decided to move to his only property in the U.S., a small temple in Oakland, CA. They said I could rent a room there, so I planned to get a job in the Bay Area and looked forward to seeing Sant Keshavadas more often, although he would only spend a limited amount of time per year at this temple. I quit my job in Chicago, went to India for three months, then landed in Oakland, CA. Well, guess what . . . They had suddenly decided to sell that temple (which was in a pretty dangerous neighborhood). They wanted to acquire a retreat property somewhere. Within about a month of my arriving in Oakland, they had zeroed in on some place called Mount Shasta. Before I knew it, I was moving to Mount Shasta! As destiny would have it, the retreat property was never acquired, and within a few years Sant Keshavadas passed away at just 63. So, there I was, delivered to Mount Shasta, a place I had never heard of until after I left Chicago. A place that I fell in love with as soon as I got there, and am still in love with, even more so now that I know so many wonderful people there. What I’m noticing is that the biggest changes in my life are ones that I would never have predicted. Who’s in charge, here? Hmmmm
Meanwhile, all is well back in Pennsylvania. There is such a focus on self analysis in the teachings that I’m beginning to notice how I feel moment to moment; beginning to notice how my immediate circumstance and environment affect how I feel. If the feeling is anything other than peace and love, then I try to trace the source of the agitation or depression, as minor as they may be. According to Vedanta, I will almost always find that the sources of unpleasant feelings are attachment, aversion and expectation, all of which I have some degree of control over. Translation: outer circumstances are not the cause of unpleasant feelings. My attitude is the cause and solution. Hmmmm
– I like wearing flip flops (which I’ve never done before!)
– I really like having the surfaces in my living space CLEAR. : )
– I love the salad bar at the local Giant store!
– Meditating longer in the morning makes a big difference as to how I feel during the day. (30-60 minutes every day, just before going to the 30 minute guided group meditation).
So, that’s the update from the East (coast) ; )
QUOTES FROM MY NOTES
– Face every day with no expectations, no anticipation, no fears or worries. Live with freshness of consciousness.
– When you see a person, notice how you label them before you even get close enough to interact. Notice how you categorize and stereotype. Develop equal vision, spacious consciousness without pairs of opposites. Let each experience become communion with Reality, undistorted by conditioning.
– Realize that you can only take action. You cannot determine the result. You will be free from fear when you do your duty free from attachment to a particular result.
– When you truly accept what karma is, you will not get angry and blame others for your misfortunes or pain. You won’t hold them responsible. You won’t hold it against them in any way. Your love for them is not obstructed.