How the Internet Changed My Faith

Ever since I was a little girl I longed for community. I didn't feel like I belonged anywhere and I was envious of people who were born into tight-knit communities. My best friend Sarah is Jewish and when we were kids I went to her temple and learned about Judaism from her, seriously considering converting because of the community I saw in her culture. I was fascinated with the Amish who draw together into a tight community against outsiders. The strange thing is I was part of a cultural … [Read more...]


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Radicalized

I'm not quite sure how to say this. I don't want to be misunderstood here. And I'm going to say something that may sound a little outrageous. Please don't have me committed!My trip to India dramatically changed my perspective on the world and I can kind of see how outfits like Isis recruit westerners.We talk about how people become "radicalized" by bad influences. But from their point of view, their eyes are being opened to the truth and everyone who says they've fallen in with a bad … [Read more...]


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Only The Eye of the Bird

My dance teacher posted a message on her Facebook page for new graduates and I thought it was the most perfect message they could get so I'm going to repeat it!For all the new graduates out there, remember what Arjuna said to his teacher, Drona. "I can only see the eye of the bird." It's that tremendous focus that leads to success.And for those who don't know this story, this is part of The Mahabharata. At one point the teacher Drona is teaching the brothers and cousins under his … [Read more...]


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Bhakti Is The Foundation

Advaita Vedanta has a reputation for being very cerebral. It's a path of study, thinking, debating, talking, and learning. In very general terms it seems that if you want the path of study, you become an Advaitan. If you want the path of devotion you become a Vaishnava. If you want action you become a Shivite. If you want mysticism you become a Shakti. But as I've said before, there is a balance of all these different elements and it's a very rare person who can be fully one and not any of the … [Read more...]


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Does Everyone Experience Unity?

As I interact with so many more people every day now, I started to wonder if there are people who go through an entire lifetime without experiencing the serene awe of the universe.I don't mean to cast judgements and I can't know people's life experience from seeing them in a grocery store check out line, but it really seems like some people have a very narrow and dark perspective. Even when I'm mired in the mundane details of life or upset over something in the play, I find that I'm never … [Read more...]


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The Wrong Mantra

I've spoken before about how challenging meditation has been for me. Part of me wants to still my mind but the mind hates that! What a lot of meditation resources leave out is the fact that it is really hard work. Stilling the mind, ceasing thoughts for even a single moment, is enormously challenging.If you're trying meditation you should know that it isn't easy. But you should also know that there are things that could make it a little easier. Such as practicing a style of meditation that … [Read more...]


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The Paradox of Prayer in AARP Magazine

My mother handed me one of her AARP magazines to read about Bob Dylan, but I kept reading finding lots of good articles. I stumbled across this one about prayer and it was very interesting. It was asking the question why people pray more often as they get older when being older means also experiencing many more times that prayers seem to go unanswered.Prayer is an interesting subject to me. I don't relate to the type of prayer I see around me so often, the begging for something prayer, the … [Read more...]


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Language Learning Update

Amazingly it's been around seven years since I first started stumbling towards learning Hindi.For those who are new here is some background: my parents study Sanskrit and so I grew up with some influence of that. I knew the letters of the devanagari alphabet (which both Sanskrit and Hindi use) by the time I was in college. I knew some Vedic prayers. I had a little kid's learn Sanskrit book from the St. James school (affiliated with SES). The one I had is Stories of Krishna part one. Back … [Read more...]


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Sringeri Week: The Guru Knows My Name!

A big change is coming up in my life!When we arrived at Sringeri (location of my guru, His Holiness Sri Bharati Tirtha) some of the people who were helping coordinate our stay called me Ambaa. It must have been my new friend Sundar who told them about my Hindu name. In real life only one or two people call me that.I've debated internally for years about my name and whether I should officially change it. After all, it is pretty standard practice when converting to any religion to take on … [Read more...]


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