The Rich Vegetarian

An Examined Life

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What is Spirituality?

As part of the takeover of the Instagram profile of abcdyogi, I wrote the piece below.

The word “spiritual” comes from “spiritus” (Latin), meaning breath. So, a “spiritual” person is quite simply, someone who breathes. Now, the term “spirituality” is used to mean an inner awakening of sorts, a journey towards meaning and purpose. But I like to think of spirituality as the “journey of the breath.” And what is the journey of the breath, if not the journey of life?

The story of the breath, as it moves from one moment to the next, IS the story of our individual life, and it is our personal spiritual journey.

The breath is an intimate, essential, and unique aspect of our individual selves, and so is our spiritual journey. It is our solo agreement with Life/Universe, and it is wholly unique and personal. No one can write the story for us, and no one can walk the path in our place — it is simply not possible. Because the path unfolds moment to moment, one breath after another, in real time.

Our life is our individual spiritual path, the way of our individual spirit. And we become better travelers too, as we start understanding the signs and signals, directions, etc. This is the gift of “choiceless awareness,” where we are aware of the path and its existence, and we are led forward by faith in the Universe, yet completely aware and present. This is a journey of loving faith and awareness, and it exists for each one of us.

So walk fearlessly, my friend.

Video: Yoga & Authenticity

As part of the takeover of the Instagram profile of abcdyogi, I made this video.

I feel that Yoga helps us lead a whole, integrated, and authentic life. If there is a point to the path of Yoga, this must be it. And whatever emerges from that state of wholeness is truth — plain, simple, beautiful. (Also, is Yoga even a “path?” Is anyone not on it?)

Meditation & Awareness

As part of the takeover of the Instagram profile abcdyogi, I wrote a short essay on meditation and awareness. Here it is.

In September 2004, I attended a Sahaj Samadhi meditation workshop, taught by Michael Fischman. Mikey was a FANTASTIC teacher who had been meditating for many years. Mikey had such a basic, fundamental take on the practice of meditation… it was just what I needed. “Sahaj Samadhi” means “effortless/simple transcendence,” and initially, I was doubtful. The technique felt too simple, nearly non-existent. I thought, how does this work? Can I do it? It took me years to realize that this was a SIMPLE practice, not necessarily an easy one. It was truly about withdrawing effort, being still, letting go.

“Doing nothing” is how Mikey described it. How does one “do nothing?” I examined the “do nothing” instruction from all angles. Finally exhausted, I gave up, and in that “giving up,” I understood what it meant.

People talk a lot about having a “good meditation.” Honestly, I think that’s missing the point. What I feel is that meditation IS the point. The idea is to be still, quiet and unmoving, drop effort, just be. Whatever follows after (transcendence, dreams, creativity, rage, A-Ha moments) is secondary. Because what we are practising is the art of being still, watching, barely watching, just being. It is this simple, natural and effortless practice of sitting/being that then extends into our daily life and activities. Becoming an observer of one’s body, mind, thoughts and emotions, the world, people, all of it… Observing becomes a fundamental aspect of who we are. To me, this signifies the beginning of awareness, or Pragnya.

I like to think of awareness as a tiny flame. With meditation and observation, it grows larger and brighter, illuminating worlds within and without. This is the real gift of a human incarnation. We can reflect on the world, we can reflect on ourselves, and we can reflect on ourselves reflecting on the world. It is about growing into the Saakshi (witness) consciousness.

I often joke, “One of these days, I am going to write the Lazy Person’s Guide to Spirituality. Just watch.” I really think it IS that simple. Watch the changing, watch the unchanging, watch the one who watches. #abcdyogilakshmi @richvegetarian

Video: How It Began/How It’s Just Beginning

I was invited by Tejal Patel to take over the Instagram profile of abcdyogi for a day and share my Yoga story. It was a fun project, as I recounted the beginning days of my life in the United States, feeling lost and blue in this new country, trying to make sense of my life and me.

Here’s my “Origin Story.”

“I came upon the path of yoga at a low point in my life. Yoga delivered me from pain and misery. It may seem as though the journey started years ago but it also feels that it is just beginning. Despite the many years of practice, the path feels fresh and vibrant, filled with everlasting wonder.”