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Why Do We Do Namaste?


Indians greet each other with namaste. The two palms are placed together in front of the chest and the head bows whilst saying the word namaste. This greeting is for all – people younger than us, of our own age, those older than friends, even strangers and us.

There are five forms of formal traditional greeting enjoined in the shaastras of which namaskaram is one. This is understood as prostration but it actually refers to paying homage as we do today when we greet each other with anamaste.

Namaste could be just a casual or formal greeting, a cultural convention or an act of worship. However there is much more to it than meets the eye. In Sanskrit namah + te = namaste. It means – I bow to you – my greetings, salutations or prostration to you. Namaha can also be literally interpreted as “na ma” (not mine). It has a spiritual significance of negating or reducing one’s ego in the presence of another.

The real meeting between people is the meeting of their minds. When we greet another, we do so withnamaste , which means, “may our minds meet,” indicated by the folded palms placed before the chest. The bowing down of the head is a gracious form of extending friendship in love and humility.
The spiritual meaning is even deeper. The life force, the divinity, the Self or the Lord in me is the same in all.. Recognizing this oneness with the meeting of the palms, we salute with head bowed the Divinity in the person we meet. That is why sometimes, we close our eyes as we do namaste to a revered person or the Lord – as if to look within. The gesture is often accompanied by words like “Ram Ram”, “Jai Shri Krishna”, “Namo Narayana”, “Jai Siya Ram”, “Om Shanti” etc – indicating the recognition of this divinity.
When we know this significance, our greeting does not remain just a superficial gesture or word but paves the way for a deeper communion with another in an atmosphere of love and respect.

 Abstracted from here:

http://www.mudraa.com/trading/143829/0/why-do-we-follow-this-i-do-do-u-.html

Self Remembering – 24 Actual Excercises


Practicing exercises is the only way to experience the teaching. An exercise done with all your attention will bring you into ‘here and now’. Here are 24 exercises from Tom Campbell

  1. – Try to tolerate a characteristic of a person who annoys you immensely.
  2. – Be aware of the fact that those things that you find annoying about other people are the things you are still struggling with yourself. Things you have overcome will only result in compassion.
  3. – Taste the food you are eating with all your attention.
  4. – Listen to the sound of the voice of the person talking to you. Do not try to understand (catch) the words.
  5. – Listen to the silence, the intervals between the words or the notes of the music.
  6. – Direct all your attention at the work surface. The work surface is the surface between the instrument you are using and the object you work on, e.g. the surface between the sandpaper and the windowsill, or the space between the saw and the beam.
  7. – Listen to music and observe where in the body the music is heard. Observe the differences between the physical perceptions of rhythm, of melody and harmony.
  8. – See life as a game in which all roles are equal.
  9. – Observe one of your roles and try to unmask the identification.
  10. – Ban excessive arranging and fixing, and have faith that the right solution is always within reach.
  11. – As soon as you notice a prejudice coming up, let go of it immediately.
  12. – Really close activities by letting go of them / by completely coming to yourself. Practice with telephone calls. Start the next activity with a clean mind.
  13. – Stop unnecessary talking. If you notice the other person is not listening, stop immediately. If you catch yourself singing your standard tune, stop immediately.
  14. – Do not waste energy by excessive exertions: screwing the cap of the toothpaste too tight, ditto for the lid of the jar of peanut butter, slamming the door, a too heavy touch on your keyboard, etc., etc. In short, have a sense of measure!
  15. – Observe the functioning of the three centres in your daily work. What belongs to the head? What belongs to the heart? What belongs to the belly? Observe how each centre functions by seeing it while it happens. Everyone has to discover for himself his own way of functioning and his own falsity, so that this can be purified.
  16. – Watch your movements without intervening. Under an observing eye, which does not intervene, we can discern the right measure, and our movements and actions will become more precise, more correct, and consequently clearer and more distinct. Excessive movement will disappear and so a lack of effort. Start with observing the hands at work, without intervening.
  17. – Observe your thinking and the circling thoughts in your head while they are ‘circling’. Remembering this afterwards is not much use or no use at all, because what is done cannot be undone. We have to manage to stop such a stream of thoughts when it is in full swing. Only then something will change, in actual practice in other words. Under this observing eye, circling thoughts will have less chance to go their way. The same applies to associative thinking, inner conversations and imagination.
  18. – Consider: love starts where nothing is demanded in return. Explanation: In your relationship with your partner, or relationship with whomever, see whether you are behaving with love, with this text as a touchstone.
  19. – Practice: give someone what you think you are without. Explanation: sometimes you may feel that someone should pay you attention, listen to you or respect you. When you are stuck in this, switch the situation round and put that which you think you are without at the disposal of the person of whom you expect, demand or are trying to enforce something like this.
  20. – Practice: Take the position of the Objective Observer for 15 minutes. Explanation: This is the easiest exercise in the world, which is the least easy to put into practice. It is the exercise for filling so-called empty moments when waiting for the train, bus or people. The exercise is like this: resolve to just watch, listen, feel, smell and/or taste (these are the sensory functions) for 15 minutes. To optimize this exercise, the advice is to go to a busy environment, such as a park, a train station or busy shopping street. Naturally, you will notice that in no time, your consciousness will be stuck in one or other thought, association or judgement. When you see this, you open your consciousness again as wide as possible, and make sure you do not forget that consciousness is a fact. Every attempt at ‘doing things yourself’ will not work.
  21. – Observe how we continuously consider our world in opposites. Black-and-white thinking is a cultural pattern and is an invitation to discord.
  22. – Observe where you lose your attention and have fallen asleep.
  23. – Come to yourself regularly by, for instance, listening to the farthest sound. Enjoy the silence.
  24. – Listen to the sound of your own voice without wanting to do anything about this sound (without criticising it either).

Found and abridged from http://tomcampbell.tumblr.com/post/54399874/gurdjieff-self-remembering-exercises

‘Raeding’ Nature


Heard of Tom Brown, one of the most revered naturalists in America? His tracking skills and his spiritual philosophy offer us a rare insight into the habits of the natural world, but he is often overlooked by others as a new age loon.

In perhaps his most famous book, The Tracker, Tom introduces the concept of, ‘Concentric Rings’—->

…the first thing when learning concentric rings is to establish the base rhythm of the symphony [Environment/Forest]. Once the symphony is established, any disturbance in the flow becomes a concentric ring. Whether the symphony or disturbance becomes more dramatically loud or whether it becomes quieter, it is a concentric ring. Any change at all means something.

Tom Brown later explains the value of this systematic but silent appraisal of an environment. And with regards to Alchemy the CR concept has a great deal of practical merit. He offers a bridge between  the spiritual world and the real world, this is where most mystical literature falls short —->

A good way to practice is to learn to establish the symphony. Any time a fluctuation occurs, go quietly over to see what has made the disturbance and how far out the disturbances or concentric rings can be detected. Try to stalk so that you do not create a concentric ring that interferes with that which is going on at the moment. The more you practice, and it will be frustrating at first, the more will be the rewards of being able to read what is going on at greater and greater distances.

From The Tracker, 1984, published by the Tracker School

It was once said that a good Apache scout could read the concentric rings of one, ‘white man’ eight miles away.

In the big city, these rules are utterly real! With a suitably detached mindset, one can watch the Aristotelian Causal network in full flow. There is usually something, “keeping time”, perhaps a builders hammer, which dictates when the next event will occur, the real skill comes with noticing the flow and transference of meaning between Egregores, something that could be likened to Mercury, Qi or Tao.

How to Feel Rhythm and Harmony – Videos


Bold assertion? Well  read on.  having scoured YouTube for the following 3 videos, i have placed them side by side, to get across a particular feeling. You may feel a subtle Ariadnian thread connecting them. The first piece is  ‘This is Love’ by Bob Marley played on Mbira. Do you sense the underlying Yin – Yang poly-rhythm?

The Second, is a jaw dropping display of Yang virtuosity.  Rhythm like (or if not) DAO is hard to explain, but it is here for you too see, watch the interplay between the two Hang players,  (if impatient skip to about 3:30).

The final clip, Coventry Carol, is much more Yin, it has emphasis on Harmony.

I found the latter helpful in ‘retuning’, the first the soul, the second the body, the second the spirit.

Inayat Khan A famous Mystic, explains these life principles thus;

Nature demands, life demands a certain standard of understanding, of thinking, of living, and this can be learned by learning the tune and the rhythm – not only learning it, but putting oneself to that tune and setting oneself to that particular rhythm which make the music of life. It is in this manner that happiness is attained-that happiness which is the seeking of every soul-and it is in this manner that one will progress continually until one touches the divine Spirit, the Spirit that pervades all and is everywhere.

Rhythm teaches us that the whole of life is as music and in order to study life we must study it as music. It is not only study, it is also practice which makes man perfect.

Inayat Khan

Levity Third


Oil painting – 2008