Yoga, Meditation and Budhism Magazine
Hatha Raja: Yoga’s Path to Liberation
By Chip Hartranft
If meditation is to move from doing to being, the other intention one must keep in mind is softening. Again and again, the yogi unclenches, relaxes his psychosomatic grip on the moment, and allows events to be just as they are. Success is proportionate to one’s willingness to let each new impulse to control or improve simply appear, bloom, and fade. As a result, it becomes ever clearer that each bodily contraction was conditioned by a mental contraction, arising from desire, aversion, or simply holding a self-image in mind. The yogi realizes how much of mental life has been engaged in reconnoitering for stimulation and gratification, and how attaining them never produces anything like a lasting happiness. This perceptual reeducation, called vairagya, or “non-reacting,” involves entrusting oneself to one new experience after another. As each fresh agitation or stab of resistance is recognized and permitted to settle, one unexpectedly notices that familiar triggers of disturbance no longer have any effect. A profound equanimity has quietly developed.
Excerpted from: Hatha Raja: Yoga’s Path to Liberation, Chip Hartranft, Shambhala Sun, July 2008.
Earth Gathas: Meditations for Mindful Living
By Thich Nhat Hanh
Touching the Earth
Earth brings us into life
and nourishes us.
Earth takes us back again.
We are born and we die with every breath.
The Earth is our mother. All life arises from her and is nourished by her. Each of us is a child of the Earth and, at some time, the Earth will take us back to her again. In fact, we are continuously coming to life and returning to the bosom of the Earth. We who practice meditation should be able to see birth and death in every breath. Touching the earth, letting your fingers feel the soil, and gardening are wonderful, restorative activities. If you live in a city, you may not have many opportunities to hoe the earth, plant vegetables, or take care of flowers. But you can still find and appreciate a small patch of grass or earth and care for it. Being in touch with Mother Earth is a wonderful way to preserve your mental health.
Excerpted from: Earth Gathas: Meditations for Mindful Living, Thich Nhat Hanh, Shambhala Sun, September 2008.
The World We Have
By Thich Nhat Hanh
Buddhism is the strongest form of humanism we have. It came to life so we could learn to live with responsibility, compassion, and loving-kindness. Every Buddhist practitioner should be a protector of the environment. We have the power to decide the destiny of our planet. If we awaken to our true situation, there will be a collective change in our consciousness. We have to do something to wake people up. We have to help the Buddha wake up the people who are living in a dream.
Yet everything, even the Buddha, is always changing and evolving. Thanks to our practice of looking deeply, we realize that the sufferings of our time are different from those of the time of Siddhartha, and so the methods of practice should also be different. That is why the Buddha inside of us also should evolve in many ways, so that the Buddha can be relevant to our time.
Excerpted from: The World We Have, Thich Nhat Hanh, Shambhala Sun, September 2008.