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From the Mat ... December 9, 2013
Ruth's blog

November 26, 2013 ... random thoughts

Early in my yoga studies, I read that my body is the temple of my soul. Mr. Iyengar said that (the) body is (his) temple, Asanas are (his) prayers. French philosopher Michel Foucault said that the soul is the prison of the body.

What do you think?
November 21, 2013 ... Foolish to lament

Foolish to lament the end of summer,
enough of that confused sound of grief
that only pleases the darkness. Listen,
a season's passing is not your oracle or
creation, not your personal farewell. Stop
playing the lover left tearful at the station
choking on inflated, maudlin words.
From the oaks on my street in late
August the leaves are already falling and
a night breeze bends even the thick sunflower
stalks. The garden lilies and roses turn their
wrinkled faces up into a starry sky. Why does
this withdrawal of summer convey sadness?
Isn't this occurrence a chance each year
to empty your heart into full attention to
change.? Get out of that stiffness, that
mental chewing on the sad,old bone that
has no taste for impermanence.
After all, it is not about you; it is the gift of
observing renewal in a way we have no words for.
Be content to enter a doorway into gratitude.
Listen to the murmuring of the rising wind,
the conversations between the trees. Remain
quiet as though you were walking the hushed
halls of a cathedral Leave your endless talk outside.
The world may have grown weary of your noisy
distractions and wants other voices to be heard.
Let go of that unnameable longing for what is always passing.

- Rich Meyers

November 18, 2013 ... Two Kinds of Intelligence

There are two kinds of intelligence: one acquired,
as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts
from books and from what the teacher says,
collecting information from the traditional sciences
as well as from the new sciences.

With such intelligence you rise in the world.
You get ranked ahead or behind others
in regard to your competence in retaining
information. You stroll with this intelligence
in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always more
marks on your preserving tablets.

There is another kind of tablet,
one already completed and preserved inside you.
A spring overflowing its springbox. A freshness
in the center of the chest. This other intelligence
does not turn yellow or stagnate. It's fluid,
and it doesn't move from outside to inside
through the conduits of plumbing-learning.

This second knowing is a fountainhead
from within you, moving out.

- Jellaludin Rumi
(Version by Coleman Barks)

November 14, 2013
... The Life of a Day

Like people or dogs, each day is unique and has its own personality quirks which can easily be seen if you look closely. But there are so few days as compared to people, not to mention dogs, that it would be surprising if a day were not a hundred times more interesting than most people. But usually they just pass, mostly unnoticed, unless they are wildly nice, like autumn ones full of red maple trees and hazy sunlight, or if they are grimly awful ones in a winter blizzard that kills the lost traveler and bunches of cattle. For some reason we like to see days pass, even though most of us claim we donít want to reach our last one for a long time. We examine each day before us with barely a glance and say, no, this isnít one Iíve been looking for, and wait in a bored sort of way for the next, when we are convinced, our lives will start for real. Meanwhile, this day is going by perfectly well-adjusted, as some days are, with the right amounts of sunlight and shade, and a light breeze scented with a perfume made from the mixture of fallen apples, corn stubble, dry oak leaves, and the faint odor of last nightís meandering skunk.

- Tom Hennen

November 12, 2013
... Homage to a Yoga Mat

I am the yogi, you are the mat
however long I've been gone, however I arrive
you are there to meet me

you don't expect perfection
you don't judge my form or habits
you ask only that I show up

you are the arms that refuse no embrace
you accept salty beads of sweat and tears
dropping warm from a fevered brow

wherever I've been in this battered world
however armored I am, you take me in
such is your power to heal me

each day I practice
I vow to peel back the stories
that can get congested around my heart

you need only that I lean into my pain
you ask nothing but my simple breath
and the heart of a spiritual pilgrim

ready to be tenderized and rejoined
into your ocean of compassion
for all beings great and small

- andrew zarrillo

November 11, 2013
... In Praise of Earth

We kept on dancing last summer though the dancing had been called subversive.
We weren't alone at the end of this particular world and knew
it wouldn't be the last world, though wars
had broken out on all sides.
We kept on dancing and with us were the insects who had gathered at the grounds
in the grasses and the trees. And with us were the stars and
a few lone planets who had been friends
with the earth for generations.
With us were the spirits who wished to honor this beloved earth in any beautiful
manner. And with us at dawn was the Sun who took the lead
and then we broke for camp, for stickball
and breakfast.
We all needed praise made of the heart's tattoo as it inspired our feet or wings,
someone to admire us despite our tendency to war, to terrible
stumbles. So does the red cliff who is the heart
broken to the sky.
So do the stones who were the first to speak when we arrived. So does the flaming
mountain who harbors the guardian spirits who refuse to abandon
us. And this Earth keeps faithfully to her journey, carrying us
around the Sun,
All of us in our rags and riches, our rages and promises, small talk and suffering.
As we go to the store to buy our food and forget to plant, sing so
that we will be nourished in turn. As we walk out
into the dawn,
With our lists of desires that her gifts will fulfill, as she turns our tears
into rivers of sweet water, we spiral between dusking and
dawn, wake up and sleep in this lush palace of creation,
rooted by blood, dreams, and history.
We are linked by leaf, fin, and root. When we climb through the sky to each
new day our thoughts are clouds shifting weather within us.
When we step out of our minds into ceremonial language we are humbled and amazed,
at the sacrifice. Those who forget become the people of stone who guard
the entrance to remembering. And the Earth keeps up her
dancing and she is neither perfect nor exactly in time.
She is one of us.
And she loves the dance for what it is. So does the Sun who calls the Earth beloved. And praises her with light.

- Joy Harjo


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