Friday, June 25, 2010

breath is life

how the novice should practice solar-lunar (alternate nostril) breathing, from the shiva samhita (sanskrit text on yoga):

"the wise beginner should keep the body firm and upright...close the right nostril with the right thumb, inhale air through the left nostril and retain the air as long as possible without discomfort. afterward breathe out slowly, not forcibly, through the right nostril. again, draw in the breath through the right nostril and retain it as long as comfortable, then release the air carefully through the left nostril. according to this method, try to practice twenty retentions of breath at each session, while keeping the mind free of all anxieties, doubts, and dualities. this exercise should be practiced four times daily, early in the morning (preferably at sunrise), at midday, at sunset, and at midnight. when it has been practiced daily for three months, all the subtle channels of the body will be fully purified and karmas will be destroyed."

you don't have to believe it, just try it...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

what should we do about that moon?

A wine bottle fell from a wagon and
broke open in a field.

That night one hundred beetles and all their cousins

and did some serious binge drinking.

They even found some seed husks nearby
and began to play them like drums and whirl.
This made God very happy.

Then the "night candle" rose into the sky
and one drunk creature, laying down his instrument,
said to his friend ~ for no apparent

"What should we do about that moon?"

Seems to Hafiz
Most everyone has laid aside the music

Tackling such profoundly useless

By: Hafiz

From: The Gift -- versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

a song with no end

drumming/music student damith, dear friend taeok, and group leader yatren

a couple who came all the way from pohang (2 hours away) to take part in the evening
wren and prem...
playing such a sweet little bird instrument

teddy on guitar and his friend who played stunningly on the violin
my student, "song"

when Whitman wrote, "I sing the body electric"

I know what he
I know what he

to be completely alive every moment
in spite of the inevitable.

we can't cheat death but we can make it
work so hard
that when it does take

it will have known a victory just as
perfect as

~ Charles Bukowski ~
From: The Night Torn With Mad Footsteps

drumming has come to daegu! as we gather every other saturday night in a circle at a friend's cafe downtown, the group is different each time...last saturday, two of my students and a dear friend joined me...we started out for an hour with only drums and later other instruments joined in...about 15 of us spent the evening drumming on djembes and congas and bowls turned upside down! a couple of folks brought guitars, one woman played the violin, yatren played his was a wild magic.

singing...dancing....chanting..."om tara tuttare ture soha," which built up into an ecstatic, joyous rhythm.

"om namo bhagavate vasudevaya" (a chant for liberation)

teddy led us in a beautiful native american chant:

"the earth is our mother, we must take care of her,
the earth is our mother, we must take care of her,
hey yana, ho yana, hey yan yan,
hey yana, ho yana, hey yan yan."

when the clock struck midnight, no one wanted to go home...

creating spontaneous music egos...only heart...experiencing the feeling of inhabiting the body, the present moment so fully. each person so brightly shining. bringing the essence of true being out to play...the collective energy pulsing with passion and joy. truly ecstatic!
the name that yatren has chosen for this drumming/music jam phenomenon is "sho ju ah tu," which has two meanings: "to be brave" and "when something comes, let it come...when something goes, let it go."

Friday, June 4, 2010


"it's like so many other things in life
to which you must say no or yes.
so you take your car to the new mechanic.
sometimes the best thing to do is trust.

the package left with the disreputable-looking
clerk, the check gulped by the night deposit,
the envelope passed by dozens of strangers—
all show up at their intended destinations.

the theft that could have happened doesn't.
wind finally gets where it was going
through the snowy trees, and the river, even
when frozen, arrives at the right place.

and sometimes you sense how faithfully your life
is delivered, even though you can't read the address."

-"Trust" by Thomas R. Smith, from Waking Before Dawn's friday night and i'm sipping a mug of warm rooibos tea...fresh brownies are cooling on the stovetop...i can hear the laughter of the neighborhood kids outside...i'm home from the last day of this semester's classes...feeling richly full.

one student, who goes by "song," said to me this afternoon, "i will never forget the time we all sat together in a circle in the dark, looking at the candle burning in the middle, listening to the music. i felt like it was something spiritual, like all of our spirits were connecting...and that you were like the mother, holding us all in your heart."

as i walked home this evening under the setting sun, i thought about how much loss there can be in this life...and how much beauty. that no matter how much loss there is, there is always beauty. and the invitation to open the heart is always there.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"Peace requires us to surrender our illusions of control. We can love and care for others but we cannot possess our children, lovers, family, or friends. We can assist them, pray for them, and wish them well, yet in the end their happiness and suffering depend on their thoughts and actions, not on our wishes."
— Jack Kornfield