A book review of sorts

I am swimming in a sea of words. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this engrossed in anything, which is saying a lot as technically I’m a PhD student. I am reading through blogs by white Western Hindu practitioners and a couple of books by academics (who often are practitioners as well). I’ll link to some of my recent favorites in a moment. First I’d like to start off with the problematic. One book in particular sent me… Read more

In which I trust that my confusion is actually a good thing

I’m discovering that the realities of my life don’t mesh so well with the ambitions of my project. This is not a surprise. When I began my own ashram project I knew there would be difficulties, I just wasn’t entirely sure what they would be. For example, having guests – a very needed interruption in my and my family’s life – means that doing morning yoga is out of the question due to the way space gets configured. I’ve already… Read more

Ahimsa

Ahimsa is the Sanskrit word meaning ‘nonharming.’ It’s one of the moral precepts (yama) of Yoga. I’ve been thinking a lot about this term as I debate whether or not to stick with vegetarianism. Georg Feuerstein has this to say about ahimsa: “…[O]ur life is built on the sacrificial death of others. We are voluntarily murdering creatures with every breath… [W]e constantly annihilate billions of invisible microbes so that we may live. We ourselves are a link in the great… Read more

Challenges on the path

I am ten days into Project Ashram. Some aspects of this project are very challenging, other aspects seems to flow. The biggest challenge for me is vegetarianism. I only started last weekend and I’ve already unconsciously and deliberately eaten meat and consumed wine. I feel a very strong resistance to this aspect of the project. I’ve been vegetarian in the past and enjoyed it. When factory farmed meat is my only option I choose to eat vegetarian. Many of the… Read more

Who’s your guru?

In my last post I wrote that nothing is all that different about life as a Hindu. But that’s not entirely true. Yes, I have early morning devotions (I read some where that devotions at sunrise were customary). At their core they are not all that different from what I’ve done in the past. There a few other minor things that are different. My altar is different. I don’t let my son touch anything on the altar if he hasn’t… Read more

Theory vs Practice

When it comes to religion and/or spirituality (take your pick) I’ve been struggling between theory and practice. These two poles seem to exist as twinned but opposite towers. One is removed and cerebral (theory), the other messy and personal (practice). Both are informative and educational in their own ways. In the best of all possible worlds, a person is informed of their tradition, perhaps informed of others’ traditions too, but also experiencing what they talk about and connected into something… Read more

Day the first

4.55 AM  – The alarm sounds. I struggle to open my eyes. It wasn’t the best night of sleep and I’d finally settled into a comfortable position. But I’m excited and I get out of bed. The baby doesn’t stir. I put on a clean white shirt, comfortable trousers. Yoga ideally starts with cleansing, so I use the toilet, wash my hands and face, brush my teeth. Down stairs I go. I enter the dining room/my study/altar room and begin… Read more

The ashram opens

You may be wondering what this blog is all about. Do I really have an ashram? It’s called a ‘spiritual field guide’ – where are you going? The answers, in order, are: No, but maybe? And, I don’t know. This blog is the outer face of a personal project I’ll be starting on 21 June, 2011. My goals are to see just what my own ashram might look like, to explore the spiritual traditions that have informed me thus far… Read more

Please hold the line…

I’m still building the ashram. Read more

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