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Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing,

there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,

the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase each other

doesn’t make any sense.

Source: Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks.


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Sitting alone in peace before these cliffs
the full moon is heaven’s beacon
the ten thousand things are all reflections
the moon originally has no light
wide open the spirit of itself is pure
hold fast to the void realize its subtle mystery
look at the moon like this
this moon that is the heart’s pivot

Poet: Han-shan

Source: http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/Poets/H/HanshanColdM/Sittingalone/index.html

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Buddhism is roiled in violent politics in Sri Lanka and Myanmar–the countries that Western Buddhists associate with the various styles and teachers of peaceful, non-violent insight meditation. Yuriko Koike wrote a commentary for Project Syndicate to highlight the prejudice, chauvinism, extreme intolerance and the politics of religious hatred. The monks who fought for their own religious freedoms suppress and decimate those of others. It serves as a reminder that unless we are individually and collectively vigilant, there is no religion or philosophy that is safe from various misguided people (and personal prejudices) who claim to uphold it or practice it.

Yuriko Koike, Japan’s former defense minister and national security adviser, was Chairwoman of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party’s General Council and currently is a member of the National Diet.

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We must laugh and we must sing,
We are blessed by everything,
Everything we look upon is blessed .

May the holidays and the New Year be full of Peace, Love, Grace, and Blessings. May everyone be happy. May everyone be well.

It is hard to feel this in times of darkness, but it is the only guiding Light that we can hold to guide us through.

Am sharing with our circle of readers, from over 125 countries, this holiday poem sent to me by dear Anahita.

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With a record 175 countries as co-sponsors, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution for the observance of International of Yoga on June 21 each year. The UN does not incur any budgetary expense as the day would be observed by private sponsors and events. The Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, had proposed holding an international yoga day in his September 27 speech to the UN General Assembly in New York. June 21st is the summer solstice (equal day and night) and has many significances. The day presents balance in yoga.

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For a perfect treat, there is a spectacular, quiet, beach resort for a yoga and meditation retreat in Goa. It is Taj Exotica (click on the link for virtual tour) on Calwaddo Beach, Benaulim, in South Goa. Tucked away in a small village, away from the discos, nightclubs, beach shacks and flea markets, is this luxurious and serene treasure spread over 56 acres. My first thought when we arrived (complimentary car service for airport pick-up and drop-off) was that it was a glorious place for a winter or spring retreat. Winter is their peak season! Yoga and meditation teachers can take their groups and personalize the program.

The sprawling property has superbly thoughtful service as my husband and I just experienced. The place manages to be elegant and yet informal. There are bike paths (bikes available), tennis courts, table tennis, billiard tables, various chess sets, swimming pool (but only 4 feet deep), a small golf course, children’s programs, a wonderful ayurvedic spa, and yoga classes.

There are restaurants on the property, taxis right outside, and the brunch is truly spectacular with an amazing spread of dishes including Western, Continental, Indian and Indian Chinese. The staff makes every effort to take care of individual needs.

The accommodations manager is very thoughtful and goes out of his way to make the guests happy beyond their expectations. This is the first time this blog has made a recommendation for a yoga meditation retreat location! We also saw some family get togethers.

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The passing away of the legendary master hatha yogi B.K.S. Iyengar may be the ending of an era. He brought the light of hath yoga to the West and it came back to reflect in India. He was 95 and his loss is felt throughout the yoga world, regardless of style and school.

With the passing of so many “gurus” in the last decade and the democratization through successful mass yoga, the role of a guru has been greatly diminished–some may say it has been eliminated. Many have been deeply flawed with inappropriate behaviors. Gurus are still important in India and within the global Indian diaspora, especially with regard to the teaching of the scriptures/texts and meditation. How will yoga, particularly hatha yoga, evolve without the gurus who brought it to almost every country, from shore to shore? Perhaps the time has come for a more organic, scientific evolution.

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On Tuesday, July 8th, to raise funds for the Nick Currey Foundation for childhood cancer research, I am hosting a 90-minute meditation session, Insight into Problems. It will be from 10 to 11:30 AM (please come at least 15 minutes early to settle in) at The Fellowship Room, The Unitarian Society of Ridgewood, 113 Cottage Place, Ridgewood. Please bring a padded mat and small cushion if planning to lie down. Chairs will be provided for everyone. Registration is $20 and will be donated to the foundation (possibly with a match).

Wednesday, July 9th, sees the beginning of the Teen Meditation Series: Reducing Anxiety, Developing Focus 7/16, Enhancing Problem Solving 7/23. Please click on the link below for free registration if a Ridgewood resident. If not, please contact Gina Mitgang, the young adult librarian. Please come 10-15 minutes early and bring a beach towel/blanket/yoga mat.

Teen Meditation Series
1st class: Reducing Anxiety Wednesday, July 9, 4-5:15pm
Led by Ridgewood resident Meena Modi, who has over 30 years studying, practicing and teaching yoga and meditation to people in all walks of life. Click here to register.
Upcoming dates: 7/16, 7/23

The feedback on the three-hour meditation “retreat” on June 24 has been very positive and we did well with our fundraising for The Polaris Project.

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It’s sad but true: here in this country, people are being bought, sold, and smuggled like modern-day slaves, states the FBI. Over 100,000 children in our communities are estimated to be in the sex trade in the US each year. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal activity, according to Polaris Project. The non-profit organization, named after the north star, operates a national hotline, provides training to police, and vital services to victims.

Annual Mahasri Yoga fundraising meditation and yoga events raise money and awareness of selected charities. It is a strong community service and outreach commitment. The charity selected this year is Polaris Project.

The event is a three-hour Mini Meditation Retreat on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, from 9 AM to 12 noon. It will be held at The Fellowship Room, The Unitarian Society of Ridgewood, 113 Cottage Place, Ridgewood, New Jersey. Prior registration ($35) is essential as space is limited. Registration can be done online through the “Donate” button on the home page of the website mahasriyoga.com. For questions, please contact info@mahasriyoga.com.

Meena Modi, a master yoga and meditation teacher will be conducting the retreat.

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The summer is a perfect time to slow down with meditation and Mahasri Yoga has a wide range of programs. They will raise money for the Polaris Project (fights human trafficking and slavery in the US and globally) and for the Nick Currey Fund (childhood cancer/Ewing sarcoma). Please join us by contacting me at info@mahasriyoga.com. Our programs tend to fill fast and we have waiting lists, so if you know that you would like to join, e-mail me.

The Ridgewood Library Young Adults Programs

Young Adults/High School Age, please contact Gina Mitgang for registration for the following programs:

Wednesday July 9, 4-5 PM Meditation for Anxiety

Wednesday July 16, 4-5 PM Meditation for Focus

Wednesday July 23, 4-5 PM Meditation for Problem Solving

The Unitarian Society of Ridgewood

Please contact me and more information will be posted closer to the time.

Tuesday June 24, 9 AM to 12 noon Mini Meditation Retreat (we will take breaks!) Polaris Project fundraiser

Tuesday July 8, 10 AM to 12:30 PM (Embracing Fear) Nick Currey fundraiser


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