Archive for September, 2012

The Usefulness of Contemplation


Thomas Merton on what may be the true usefulness of contemplative activities like yoga, the non-doing of Zen Buddhism or Christian monasticism.

“The monk is not defined by his task, his usefulness. In a certain sense he is supposed to be ‘useless’…He does not live in order to exercise a specific function: his business is life itself…The monk seeks to be free from what William Faulkner called ‘the same frantic steeplechase toward nothing’ which is the essence of ‘worldliness everywhere…Poverty and work are, it is true, essential to the monastic life: but so too is a certain authentic solitude and isolation from the world, a certain protest against the organized and dehumanizing routines of a worldly life built around gains for its own sake.”
from Contemplation in a World of Action

Elizabeth recommends an interesting site called IHanuman which lets people download classes for practice and has a lot of other material as well. The site shares the teaching of a number of yoga teachers including one of Elizabeth’s teachers, John Schumacher.

They describe themselves as follows: We are an online community of yoga teachers dedicated to serving the yoga world. iHanuman is the monkey bridge between students, teachers, and the ancient wisdom of yoga. We have created an avenue for people to connect with others through new technology and positive social media. We offer audio and video of your favorite teachers. Our focus is yoga including ayurveda, sanskrit, philosophy, meditation, and yoga therapy.

To visit the site click on the image above or go to .

Fall Quarter Begins Monday! Note new Monday class times!

For a downloadable pdf, click on the image above.

Yoga and the Quest for the True Self



Elizabeth is reading the following this week, a passage quoted in the book above :

Inside and outside her head, a billion, trillion stars, beyond count, circled and exploded. A million frogs croaked, trees fell in forests echoing down valleys; children cried.

The flux of everything throbbed on and on.

Songs were heard in spheres within spheres, electric, crackle, sharp.

She heard nothing.

How could she, when not once had she even heard the sound of her own breathing.

Duane Michaels.   

The book, Elizabeth says, is very accessible and a worthwhile read. To see the book’s listing at the Bellingham Public Library go here.