This past weekend, Diana and I spent our time at the birthday celebration of the spiritual leader (Sri Shambhavananda or Babaji) of the yoga centers where Diana has done her training. The celebration was held at Shoshoni Yoga Retreat, one of the Shambhava ashrams up in a beautiful setting in the mountains above Nederland, Colorado. The aspen trees are starting to turn colors and the weather was cool with clear blue skies – a perfect setting for a spiritual celebration. We brought Babaji some honey and lip balm from our bees as a birthday present.
The weekend was full of meditation, yoga, fire tending and sharing fabulous vegetarian meals (alas no bacon) with the members of the sangha (community). It was also an opportunity for the sangha to do some projects around the retreat – washing windows, building paths and cleaning up the gardens. They have fabulous vegetable gardens and solar powered greenhouses (and chicken coops) and grow much of the food for the meals which made them even more tasty. I helped out in the gardens (of course) and got some new ideas for irrigation systems and gardening for my plots.
I felt like a fish out of water most of the time during meditation because all the chants are in Sanskrit and most of the people have been doing this practice for years and know all the songs/chants. This was my first time to Shoshoni and I have only been to the Eldorado Ashram a few times so it was all Greek (Sanskrit?) to me. I just started meditating this past spring and rarely feel like I know what I’m doing.
One of the practices is the Guru Gita (Song to the Revered Guru) which is a long chant done at 5:30 in the morning. (Getting up at 4:30 a.m. wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.) The first day, I stumbled my way through the Sanskrit words – mispronouncing 95% of them. The second day, I decided to hum the tune and read the English translation. It talks about what a guru is and how he should be viewed and treated. One particular section caught my eye:
svayam tathavidho bhutva sthatavyam yatrakutracit | kita-bhramara-vat-tatra dhyanam bhavati tadrsam
Just as the larva transforms into a bee, similarly through meditation, one is transformed into that state in which one may abide anywhere.
I like that visualization and look forward to my transformation to a bee.
Julie · September 21, 2015 at 2:49 pm
What a spectacular location! Is that a moose or elk in the photo? So cool!
Your weekend sounds wonderful — chickens, solar power, gardens… Ok, the lack of bacon seems like was a drawback for you, but otherwise, it sounds very rejuvenating.
In college, I had a tae kwon do instructor who would have us meditate sometimes, but I confess that I never really got into it. Stillness doesn’t seem to be my strong suit. However, the image of the larvae becoming a bee that can fly is really beautiful. Thanks for sharing that!
Don · September 21, 2015 at 3:35 pm
I didn’t even see that, but it looks like a moose. Good eye! There are a bunch of moose up in that area. They used to be on the other side of the continental divide, but slowly they have been populating the east side as well.
I never thought that I’d be a meditator, but it’s amazing what you’ll try when life throws curves at you. I do like to sit in front of my hives and watch the bees as a form of meditation too.
They had pizza with vegan sausage for lunch one day which was the closest I got to bacon. I guess that was a concession to us carnivores, but as Diana said, “What’s the point if you are vegetarian?” They have some really talented chefs there. We had vegetarian “sushi” for dinner one night that was very nicely presented and some pieces looked like the real thing including the faux salmon eggs! Very delicious!
Julie · September 29, 2015 at 5:29 pm
LOL! I’m with Diana on this one. Been vegetarian almost 30 years now. As an ethical vegetarian, I don’t see the point either. Fake meat sort of negates the reasons I became a vegetarian in the first place.
Vegetarian sushi, though… Yum! I grew up on that stuff because my Asian mom used to make it for us as a quick snack. BTW, “sushi” means “vinegared rice” and is a nod to how the rice is seasoned. Veg sushi has a long and totally authentic history. 🙂
BTW, I have never mentioned it, but I hope you try to post at least every two weeks. When you don’t, your readers worry. 🙂
Don · September 29, 2015 at 6:11 pm
I’ve really cut back on my meat intake over the past few years due to the environmental impact of meat, but don’t think I can go totally vegetarian. 😉 And since my PCa diagnosis, I’ve really cut back on red meat and am eating more fresh fruits and veggies. I got my cholesterol checked last week and it was way down for the first time in forever! Since I haven’t really been exercising, I have to credit the change in diet.
Thanks for the info on origin of the word “sushi”. I always think of it as the fish part (which is what I like most ;-)), but the “seasoned rice” makes sense. I think I’m going to pick up one or two of the Shoshoni cookbooks since the food was so wonderful. I’m still in awe of how they made the roe – it was some pasty stuff that when they dropped into the water, formed these perfect little “eggs”. Seems like a lot of work, but I thought it was worth it!
I’ll try to be better about posting. I’m doing very well these days, but thanks for your concern! Like someone said, worrying works because most times the things you worry about don’t happen! I hope to get a new post out tomorrow.