Quotations From Classes
Be soft in your practice. Think of the method as a fine silvery stream, not a raging waterfall. Follow the stream, have faith in its course. It will go its own way, meandering here, trickling there. It will find the grooves, the cracks, the crevices. Just follow it. Never let it out of your sight. It will take you.
Some say that my teaching is nonsense.
Others call it lofty but impractical.
But to those who have looked inside themselves,
this nonsense makes perfect sense.
And to those who put it into practice,
this loftiness has roots that go deep.
I have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.
- Tao Te Ching (Trans. Stephen Mitchell)
Yoga is first and foremost the discipline of conscious living.
- Georg Feuerstein & Stephan Bodian
To be born means to be embodied. . . . from the moment of our first breath to the moment of our last, we live in and as our body. So, we must come to terms with our embodiment, with ourselves. If we fail to do so, we reduce our aliveness, cutting off the life force wihtin us. . . . So long as we are in conflict with our body, we cannot find peace of mind.
- George Feuerstein & Stephan Bodian
For all to practice the Way
you must coil, you must contract,
you must uncoil, you must expand,
you must be firm, you must be regular [in this practice] . . .
when you enlarge your mind and let go of it,
when you relax your vital breath and expand it,
when your body is calm and unmoving . . .
and you can maintain the One and discard the myriad disturbances.
Relaxed and unwound, yet acutely sensitive,
in solitude you delight in your own person.
This is called "revolving the vital breath."
- Anonymous (4th century Toaist)
Turn around the light to shine within, then just return.
The vast inconceivable source can't be faced or turned away from.
Meet the ancestral teachers, be familiar with their instruction,
bind grasses to build a hut, and don't give up.
Let go of hundreds of years and relax completely.
Open your hands and walk, innocent.
Thousands of words, myriad interpretations,
are only to free you from obstructions.
If you want to know the undying person in the hut,
don't separate from this skin bag here and now.
In truth it matters little how far you can bend forward or how far you can twist, for wherever the point of resistance lies is the place where you have the greatest opportunity to learn and change.
If you can meet yourself just where you are rather than always looking beyond yourself to where you'd like to be, this attitude of steadfastness and compassion will bring the fruits of yoga to you.
- Donna Farhi
"To be in one's head" means not to be present as the entire body-mind. and it is only when one is bodily present and open at the heart that the Self beyond the ego is likely to reveal itself.
- Georg Feuerstein
To the heavens be peace,
to the sky and the earth,
to the waters be peace,
to plants and all trees,
to the Gods be peace,
to Brahman be peace,
to all men be peace, again and again
--peace also to me!
- Yajur Veda XXXVI, 17
When our inner nature is truly free, we find within ourselves a wealth of treasure: love, joy, and peace of mind. We can appreciate the beauty of life, taking each experience as it comes, opening our hearts to it and truly enjoying it. Realizing these qualities within ourselves is the greatest freedom that can be gained.
- Tarthang Tulku
Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling.
Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.
"Com on, girl," said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.
Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. "We monks don't go near females," he told Tanzan, "especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?"
"I left the girl there," said Tanzan. "Are you still carrying her?"
- Zen Flesh, Zen Bones
Integrated inner work does not seek to overcome or perfect the body. It does not cultivate an aversion to any aspect of our humanity, nor is it about trying to get somewhere other than in our bodies. Rather it seeks to become more self-aware, self-accepting and compassionate within the lived experience of our bodies.
Compassion is an attitude of empathy toward the reality of human suffering. On the mat this means turning toward yourself with the same level of kindness and care you would offer a very close friend or dearly beloved.
- Julian Walker
When we are willing to sacrifice our preconceptions about life, the identity we cling to, we invoke within us the Divine Fire that is our true Self. For what is sacred is the sacrificial mind that is ever willing to set aside the accumulation of its past knowledge and look at life with open eyes, with the eyes of Fire. This state of reverence for all life, in which we set aside all our attempts to manipulate it, is the being of reverence that is the Godhead. To become conscious of the sacred nature of all life is to accomplish the real sacrifice, the sacrifice of our manipulative motivations and struggles. It is to be reborn in the Fire of presence that is life as a seer. It is no longer to think, judge, analyse, criticize, or in any way try to gain some special position or advantage. It is to know the center and the periphery are present at every point where life sees itself.
- David Frawley.
Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people’s approval
and you will be their prisoner.
Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.
- Tao Te Ching