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    Living according to Dharma

    This past weekend I attended a wonderfully inspiring workshop on the Bhagavad Gita, one of the central source texts of yoga. Its┬ácompelling story sets the stage for timeless spiritual guidance on how to fulfil one’s highest life purpose as well as how to determine the right choice to make in tricky circumstances. This is known as dharma, and it’s so fundamental it is the very first word in the text. Dharma has numerous meanings, depending on context and spiritual tradition. One of dharma’s primary meanings is universal law, or the right way of living, which is how it’s used in the Gita. This is known specifically as samanya dharma: the…

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    Turning the corner

    Better indeed is knowledge than mechanical practice. Better than knowledge is meditation. But better still is surrender of attachment to results, because there follows immediate peace. ~Bhagavad Gita, 12:12 Non-attachment is one of the principal teachings of all ancient wisdom traditions, and allows us to remain in the flow of life where the only constant is change. Called aparigraha in Sanskrit, it is the fifth of the five Yama, or observances, in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. It’s a profound concept, but essentially it means taking only what we need, keeping only what is necessary in the moment, and – most importantly – letting go when the time is right! This is…

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    The real nature of karma

    With so much madness in our world it’s really hard to avoid being drawn into the negativity and dualistic thinking (good/bad, us/them…) that perpetuates it. We say we want peace but we attack others for their opinions, whether it be what food to eat (as in “go vegan to protect animals from violence, or else you’re a murderous, ignorant scumbag”) or which religion to follow (“mine is the best” – including the religion of no religion!). While we (usually) censor ourselves outwardly for social acceptability, our thoughts can harbour judgements and hatreds that stretch back generations, as well as resentments and jealousies that spring from recent experience. In the true…