It’s said that we live in an unfortunate season of time; a time when simple living and elevated thinking give way to complicated entanglements and diminished reasoning, when purity gives way to pollution, mercy gives way to malevolence, and truthfulness gives way to falsehood.
It’s a time when people are needlessly quarrelsome, consistently misguided, unlucky, and, above all, always disturbed.
On Wednesday, the diminished reasoning, persistent pollution, malevolence, and falsehood that’s been simmering for the last four years came to a rolling boil here in my adopted hometown of Washington DC.
The misguided hullabaloo that unfolded at our nation’s Capital was a clamorous demonstration of the power of fear, the incremental escalation of hostility, the disavowal of personal responsibility, and, most importantly, the invalidation of facts.
Neutralizing the illuminative influence of inconvenient facts is a two-step process. Step one: cut people off from sources of valid information. Step two: supply a set of ‘alternative’ facts so that those who are dissatisfied with objective reality can construct an alternative, subjective reality
And the key to creating a convincing subjective reality is to strip truth of its gravitational force, which is easily achieved by downgrading the criteria for truth from deference to direct perception, logic, and authoritative testimony to mere belief.
Thus, the fortunes of would-be authoritarians rely on the possibility that, as Hannah Arendt put it,
“…gigantic lies and monstrous falsehoods can eventually be established as unquestioned facts, that man may be free to change his own past at will, and that the difference between truth and falsehood may cease to be objective and become a mere matter of power and cleverness, of pressure and infinite repetition.”
Truthfulness, the second ethical principle of yoga, is thus the first casualty of political expedience in the iron age of quarrel and hypocrisy.
The Sanskrit word for ‘truthfulness,’ satya, indicates a direct relationship between the truth and eternality, sat, which is to say that a fact is always a fact whether one believes it or not. The correlation between truth and eternality is made explicit in this verse from the Bhagavad-gita:
“That which has no endurance does not truly exist whereas that which exists eternally never undergoes change. Seers of the truth have reached this conclusion by studying the nature of both.” – Bg 2.16
‘Seers of the truth’ translates the Sanskrit phrase tattva-darśibhiḥ. Tattva is a word that indicates ‘truth’ as a feature of reality. In contemplating the significance of this verse, we can consider two hierarchical levels reality: relative and absolute.
Relatively speaking, this too shall pass: the current convulsions of American politics will eventually subside. And with their abatement will come the opportunity to look for the root cause of the social diseases that gave rise to them.
Seekers of the truth would be wise to look beneath the surface of the social diseases to the spiritual amnesia that gives rise to the affliction of misidentification; the illusory perception of the eternal spirit soul as the temporary material body.
Our attachment to a temporary body, draped over the eternal soul like a cloak, induces an embrace of a bodily conception of life: we become convinced that ‘we’ are this nationality, race, gender, tribe, etc. and that ‘they’ are that nationality, race, gender, tribe, etc.
Ignorant of the fact that this distinction between ‘us’ and ‘them’ does not truly exist, needless quarrel ensues as ‘we’ try to align the universe with ‘our’ desires rather than allow ‘them’ to align the universe with ‘their’ desires.
And who’ll deny it’s what the fighting’s all about?
From a spiritual perspective, our blind acceptance of a temporal identity within a relative world as the sum total of reality is to accept a monstrous falsehood as an unquestioned fact.
The most important message that yoga wisdom has to offer us is that the relative truths of our temporary material existence play out within the context of the absolute truth of our eternal spiritual existence.
This is good news because knowledge of absolute reality, received through authoritative testimonials of self-realized sages, can revoke fear’s power, cool the consciousness, and support a level of existential courage that will make us immune to manipulation by authoritarian con artists.
The proposition that relative truths are nested within the context of an absolute truth is actually quite logical, akin to studying American history within the context of world history in order to get a complete understanding of how America came to be what it is.
And the practices of yoga constitute a spiritual technology that enables us to transform theoretical knowledge into realized knowledge, an undeniable experience of absolute reality by direct perception.
Taking advantage of the opportunity to pursue an awareness of our eternal spiritual nature while we’re passing through this unfortunate season of time isn’t an act of self-absorbed withdrawal from world events. On the contrary, banding together in pursuit of transcendental knowledge is our best hope for a revolution in consciousness that will simplify living, elevate thinking, restore purity, advance the cause of mercy, and establish the ultimate fruition of truthfulness.
May we look forward to a time when we’re all causelessly kind to one another, guided by wisdom, recipients of good fortune, and, above all, always peaceful.
What I remember most was how quickly I was able to accept what was happening.
An eastward swing down Porter Street, a long residential mediary between two busy thoroughfares, offers an easy and enjoyable tree-lined descent to cyclists with a modicum of common sense.
But am I a sensible cyclist? Nope.
I was coasting down a curve after leaving a friend’s house near the top of the hill when I realized that I’d forgotten to roll up my right pant leg to avoid its ruination by the grease from the chain.
On the assumption that I could easily correct this oversight without interrupting my ride, I bent my right knee to bring my foot up toward the seat and reached back to the cuff with my right hand.
Have you ever done something while riding a bicycle that seemed like a good idea at the time but turned out to be… not so smart?
An intelligent rider would have just stopped for a moment to safely attend to such sartorial concerns.
But am I an intelligent rider? Nope.
The little glance back toward my right foot was the last straw: my left hand followed my eyes and, with my front wheel suddenly perpendicular to my trajectory, the laws of physics demanded that I be launched out of my seat and up over the handlebars.
As time slowed down to let me fully appreciate the ephemeral sensation of weightlessness, along with its implications for what would come next, an inner voice spoke to me. The voice said, “Surrender.”
And that’s what I did.
I surrendered to the inevitability of gravity as I catapulted through the air en route to a rendezvous with the pavement below. I let go, both literally and figuratively, relaxing my body as I dove into my fall rather than resisting it, rolling to land across the backs of my shoulders and pop up to my feet just in time to see the eyes of the driver behind me pop out of his head.
I assured the concerned driver that I was okay, knowing that the bruises I had just sustained wouldn’t fully blossom until later.
And so it goes: one moment we’re gliding through life, the next moment life gives us a beating. We never know when the laws of material nature, such as the law of gravity, will turn effortless enjoyment into unwelcome injury. They say the only things that are certain in life are death and taxes. We should add uncertainty to our list of certain things.
Much to our collective chagrin and dismay, uncertainty is the new normal.
Psychologists tell us that uncertainty is unhealthy, that, for the sake of our mental health, we need to have some sense of certainty about the future, some confidence in our ability to control the outcomes of our actions. I think I can, I think I can, I know I can…
Yet, time after time, the will of providence pulls the rug out from under our feet, repeatedly proving to us that we’re not really in control, that we can’t really be certain about how things will turn out, that any presumption of control or certainty we may harbor is a product of illusion.
When we cling to our illusions despite their being revealed for what they are, we become unmoored. Set adrift in a sea of uncertainty, we double-down on a false sense of identity, we become angry, anxious, and bewildered, and our true nature disappears from our view like a distant shore sinking beneath the horizon.
As I crouched by the side of the road to see if my bicycle had sustained as much damage as I had (it hadn’t), I took a moment to reflect on how I had clearly been defeated by a the laws of material nature, the will of providence, and my own poor judgment.
And on how my immediate surrender in the face of my defeat probably saved me from more serious injury.
In yoga, ‘surrender’ means ‘to offer one’s self to’ (prapadyante) or ‘to take shelter of’ (śaraṇaṁ). It’s an act of humility rather than an expression of humiliation, an acknowledgement of reality rather than an admission of defeat. ‘Surrender’ in yoga is the recognition that the basic need for shelter extends beyond the merely physical or psychological but to the spiritual as well.
Spiritual surrender offers us a practical solution to the problem of material uncertainty. Krishna spells it out for us in the Bhagavad-gītā:
“My divine power of illusion, composed of the qualities of material nature, is nearly impossible to overcome. But those who offer themselves to me can easily cross beyond this bewildering power.” – Bg 7.14
We don’t usually notice how the force of gravity holds us to the earth or how the laws of physics dictate the nature of our experience. Similarly, we’re usually unaware of how the laws of material nature generate reactions to our actions that bind us to a cycle of alternating happiness and distress.
But the wisdom texts of yoga tell us that there’s an alternative to being thrown hither and thither by the illusory power of material nature: surrender to the source of that power.
If we try to control the material energy in an attempt to enjoy material happiness and avoid material distress, one thing is certain: we will be defeated. After all, death is certain.
If, on the other hand, we surrender to the source of this divine and bewildering material energy, we’ll experience an everlasting sensation of weightlessness as we’re lifted up from the ocean of uncertainty into a position of spiritual empowerment.
This doesn’t mean that nothing bad will happen to us; it means that we’ll be able to roll with whatever happens to us with the knowledge that happiness and distress are temporary conditions of material existence and that material existence itself is a temporary condition for one who has surrendered to the Supreme Controller of everything.
If I had tried to regain control of my bike once I’d lost it, I probably would have done myself more harm than good. My choice was to let go of the bicycle or have it taken out from under me. Either way, one thing was certain: I was going down.
Somehow or other, I chose to let go and the experience made me certain of something else: surrender is an enjoyable glide that can save us from the inherent uncertainty of life in the material world.
Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels
After a couple of weeks of watching the competing narratives coming out of the impeachment inquiry, I felt inspired to sit with the question: how do we know what’s true?
Conventional wisdom tells us that we live in a post-truth world where up can mean down, forward means backward, and left and right mean really left and right.
Separating fact from fiction has probably never been harder. And technology isn’t helping; it hasn’t the means and its handlers, for the most part, don’t have the will to be helpful when fake news is as profitable as real news.
So who or what do we accept as an authority on what’s true and what’s false?
There’s no question as to whether or not we accept an authority on any given topic; it’s just a matter of whose authority we accept: our own or someone else’s.
Personally, I don’t consider myself an authority on anything, at least not enough of an authority to rely on my own opinion alone. Instead, I rely on yoga’s theory of knowledge to help me separate fact from fiction.
The yogic theory of knowledge – pramāṇa in Sanskrit – has three parts: direct perception (pratyakṣa), logic (anumāna), and verbal testimony (āgamaḥ or parokṣa).
Since my senses are limited by imperfections such as the potential to be mistaken, to be influenced by illusion, or to interpret information according my personal biases, I start with the last item, verbal testimony, and work my way back.
‘Verbal testimony’ is also divided into three categories: guru (one’s teacher), śastra (scripture), and sadhu (exemplary practitioners). We hear from a teacher and, rather than accept what they say on blind faith, we look to authoritative yoga wisdom texts such as the Yoga-sūtra or the Bhagavad-gītā to see if what the teacher says is reflected in the traditional literature.
If it is, the next step is to look to those upon whom history has conferred a reputation for exceptional spiritual achievement to see if their teachings match those of our teacher and what we’ve read in yoga wisdom texts.
If all three – teacher, scripture, and exemplar – are saying the same thing then we can accept the teaching as legitimate, at least in the context of the tradition from which the teaching arises.
But does the teaching make sense?
There are four reasons why we might not understand something: we might not be smart enough, we might not be pure enough, we might not have heard a proper explanation, or it might just be that thing we’re trying to understand doesn’t make sense.
We shouldn’t be too quick to accept something just because it sounds authoritative or sell ourselves short on brains and purity if we don’t fully understand what we’ve heard. There’s plenty of ‘wisdom’ floating around the yoga-verse that doesn’t make sense once you think it all the way through, to say nothing of the flotilla of nonsense sailing across the ocean media-driven misinformation.
So the second step is to think about what the implications of the teaching are. This is where the practice of active contemplation comes into play: we have to ask ourselves if what we’ve heard makes sense when taken to its logical conclusion.
If a teaching passes the logic test, then the last step is to put the teaching into practice. The acquisition of knowledge in yoga is a scientific process: you take a reasonable theory into the laboratory of your life and do an experiment to see if the theory is true. The experiment validates the theory when we experience the truth of the theory by direct perception.
This is the practice of turning jñāna – theoretical knowledge – into vijñāna: experiential knowledge.
And experiential knowledge, acted upon repeatedly over time, eventually evolves into wisdom.
In a polarized world where convictions about right and wrong are intensifying toward the opposite ends of the spectrum, it’s increasingly important to have a way to distinguish between real news and fake news, between authentic, sensible, and beneficial teachings and speculative nonsense that’s bereft of any practical value.
In one sense, the news is always changing and, in another, it’s always the same: conflicts come and go, disasters arrive and subside, losers become winners and winners become losers. All of these little pictures fly by within the context of a bigger picture. Seeing the ephemeral events of the material world in the context of a changeless spiritual reality can help us find a peaceful center in the midst of all the breathless whirligig news cycles.
To ride the roller coaster of current events without getting queasy, we need to be anchored by the bigger picture. Yoga wisdom tells us that there’s a permanent spiritual reality beneath the paroxysms of material insanity. We can apply yoga’s theory of knowledge to both in order to know what’s true and what’s True.
I don’t know why I’m so surprised when I meet young people who have no interest in voting. After all, I didn’t vote the first few times I could have. Watching the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement play out on the nightly news inspired my youthful interest in politics. But by the time I graduated from high school the war was winding down, it seemed as if Dr. King’s dream might come true, and Nixon was letting the door hit him on the way out. I thought that the world would get along just fine without my participating in its affairs. Politics faded into the background as my interests gravitated towards spirituality and music instead.
As I became more and more focused on my spiritual life I became less and less focused on “material life”… including politics. I was blissfully unaware of the fact that my indifference was a privilege: as a straight white man living in New York City I wasn’t subjected to the kinds of injustices that motivated others to be politically active.
In my spiritual immaturity, I also failed to realize that my primary source of spiritual inspiration, the Bhagavad-gita, was a book about how a yogi should respond to the most extreme kind of political problem: armed conflict. The response the Gita advocated wasn’t to walk off the battlefield and go do yoga in the forest; it was to step up to the call of duty and fight the good fight.
Yoga is, among other things, a moral philosophy that calls us not just to refrain from harming others but to act for the benefit of others as well:
“One who finds happiness within, relishes delight from within, and whose light shines from within, is a perfect mystic who is liberated from the forest fire of material existence… This supreme liberation is attained by those for whom impiety has been destroyed, for whom dualities arising from doubts have been severed, whose minds are engaged in self-realization, and who live for the welfare of all living beings.” – Bhagavad-gita 5.24-25
According to the Bhagavad-gita, there’s no contradiction between cultivating an inner life of personal spiritual development and an outer life of active social engagement as long as that engagement is dedicated toward “the welfare of all living beings.
From the standpoint of yoga, the ultimate welfare work is to give the gift of transcendental knowledge. Forgetfulness of our shared spiritual nature is the root cause of all suffering. Therefore, the objective of spiritual activism is to create a social setting that’s conducive to everyone’s spiritual upliftment.
The Gita’s criteria for spiritual activism are principles of universal morality collectively known as dharma. In the Vedic yoga tradition, dharma is composed of four values: austerity, purity, mercy, and truthfulness.
Austerity means to simplify our lives by letting go of the desire to acquire wealth and possessions beyond what we need to be comfortable.
Purity means to maintain cleanliness of one’s body and mind, to refrain from polluting the environment, and to be honest and virtuous in our relationships.
Mercy means to be kind, generous, and compassionate to everyone, to both refrain from harming others and to give protection to those in harm’s way.
Truthfulness means to acknowledge and abide by objective reality, to speak truthfully and to act in accordance with the truth.
A society that is obsessed with economic development, that fetishizes material wealth, that disregards environmental protection, that glorifies mean-spirited selfishness, and treats the truth as an enemy, is a society moving in opposition to dharma. Politicians who move society in opposition to dharma invite the opposition of yogis who are committed to defending dharma.
For a yogi, defending dharma is an integral part of a complete yoga practice. And in America, one of the easiest things that we can do in defense of dharma is to vote.
You may not be excited about any of the candidates on the ballot. You may believe that none of them exemplify dharmic values. You may be right.
But guess what? One of them is going to win. So you should ask yourself, ‘which candidate will do the least harm, be the least dishonest, and move society in a more dharmic direction?’
You may think that it doesn’t matter which candidate wins because your life won’t change either way. You may be content to let politics fade into the background because you’re not subjected to the kinds of injustices that motivate others to be politically active. You may think that the world will get along fine without your participating in its affairs.
And perhaps it will get along fine without my participation. If I vote or if I don’t, it won’t change anything for me. I could sit out this election on the plea of enlightened disinterest and go off to the forest to meditate.
But voting is not just about me. And it’s more than just a civic duty: voting is a service. And service is an integral part of our eternal nature: everything we do is a service to someone or something. There is no question of serving or not serving, only of how we serve.
On Election Day, A yogi serves by defending dharma, by taking a stand for simplicity, virtue, generosity, and truthfulness. Our local polling station is the battlefield and a ballot is our weapon. On Election Day, yogis are called upon to fight for the welfare of all living beings.
On Election Day, yogis vote.
Underlying Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash
During a recent visit with my in-laws down in Southern Virginia, we drove out to Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson’s retreat home. Built as a perfect, single-story octagon with four elongated octagons set around an almost-perfect cube, Jefferson designed this architectural and engineering masterpiece to be his getaway from the hubbub of public life.
Every year on the Fourth of July, Americans remember Jefferson and others who co-authored a document that boldly declares:
“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Most of us in America are familiar with this passage from the Declaration of Independence – having heard it so many times in our grade-school social studies classes. What we aren’t as familiar with is why Jefferson thought that these truths were “self-evident” and where they came from in the first place.
A ‘self-evident’ truth is a truth that proves itself without need of further validation. In other words, it’s so obviously true only a fool or someone who’s willfully ignorant would contest it.
And as far as America’s premiere expression of enlightened thinking is concerned, our equality is not just true; it’s so true as to be ‘self-evident’.
However, all varieties of objective measurement clearly demonstrate that we are not equal: some people are faster than others; some are stronger than others, some are more attractive, more artistic, better at making money, better at math, better at cooking or flower arranging and so on. The world is awash with contests and comparisons large and small that clearly demonstrate to even the most casual observer that inequality is a self-evident truth.
So how is it that America’s founding fathers thought otherwise?
It’s because the equality to which Jefferson and the other authors refer is spiritual, not material. They’re talking about a metaphysical equality; equality that’s not based on physical attributes or social constructs. This metaphysical equality is the philosophical foundation of the Declaration to which America’s founding fathers pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor.
At first read, one may wonder if this be presents a conflict between church and State. As evidenced by the First Amendment, it doesn’t. While Jefferson and many of the other Founding Fathers believed in a Divine Being, they were not Christians in the way that the word has come to mean in contemporary American politics.
Rather, Jefferson and his colleagues simply recognized that for any discussion of “rights” to make philosophical sense, they must be based on the metaphysical conception of spiritual equality rather than anything in the physical world. Rights that are divinely bestowed are also ’inalienable’, which means that no human agency can infringe on them; they are intrinsic to our very being.
Of course, it’s all too evident today that Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers neglected to extend those self-evident rights to a significant part of their fledgling country’s population. Similarly, we can also see that no matter what lofty metaphysical truths it’s based upon, the American system of justice is failing to live up to its own ideals today.
From the perspective of yoga philosophy, the root cause of this failure is forgetfulness of our shared spiritual nature. Yoga is the art and science of remembering our true spiritual nature. As such, practicing yoga is an inherently political act. In fact, it’s the most radical form of political action we can take.
By “political action” I don’t mean unfurling our yoga mats on the Washington Mall and aiming a ‘Warrior Pose’ at the Capital building (however gratifying it may feel). What I mean is advocacy, service, non-cooperation, and direct action that’s in line with the values of yoga: the renunciation of gratuitous materialism, purity of thought, word and deed, kindness to all beings, and truthfulness.
Truthfulness means more than pushing back against ‘fake news’ and leaders who are obviously liars; it means defending the metaphysical truth that establishes our equality and rights, it means ringing the ‘Liberation Bell’ that will wake us from the spell of spiritual forgetfulness that’s at the core of almost all of our political conflicts.
Yoga doesn’t encourage us to adopt nationalist sentiments; it encourages us to engage in service to an all-inclusive Absolute Truth.
The Fourth of July – America’s ‘Independence Day’ – is a secular holiday with a spiritual seed. The opportunity for realizing the American ideal of liberty and justice for all lies in watering that seed.
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In Search of the Highest Truth: Adventures in Yoga Philosophy
A clear and concise guide to seeing the modern world through the lens of yoga’s ancient wisdom.
“Distills ancient yogic wisdom into modern-day practically” —Tiffany K., Kindle Customer
My first opportunity to learn a second language came when I was in Junior High School, what we now call Middle School. Back then, Latin, Spanish, French, and German were the standard choices and perhaps they still are. By the will of providence, my school district offered the rare opportunity to take Russian. I have both a penchant for novelty and a tendency to make my life more difficult than it needs to be so choosing Russian was the obvious choice.
In addition to Ivan the Terrible, Catherine the Great, and our 45th President, Russia has also given us Leo Tolstoy. In his later life, Tolstoy became both a spiritual ascetic and a political activist bent on putting an end to politics. Basing his position on the premise that the evil of violent force was the foundation of every nation’s existence, Tolstoy considered the existence of government in any form to be inimical to any prospects for personal and social happiness.
Obviously, yoga is antithetical to violence since non-violence is its first ethical imperative. But yoga also shares something of Tolstoy’s anarchistic philosophy insofar as the idea of nationalism is concerned. Yoga rejects nationalism, regarding it as one component of our illusory misidentification of the body as the self.
You can’t step into the same river twice
Because I was born in America I may think that I’m an American. As such, I may further subscribe to the notion that America is an exceptional nation with a specific culture that’s connected to a particular ethnicity, which is my ethnicity and not somebody else’s, that America has a reason for being that’s connected to a particular conception of religion, etc.
Yoga thinks that this is all bunk. The technical term is ‘upadi’, temporary material designations that have nothing to do with the eternal identity of the individual consciousness that inhabits one body today and will inhabit another body tomorrow.
Just as we can’t step into the same river twice, we can’t breath into the same body twice. By the time we finish a cycle of breath our bodies have changed; cells that were here a minute ago are gone and new cells that weren’t here a minute ago have appeared. At every moment our bodies are changing, our minds are changing, our intelligence is fluctuating, and our personalities are developing. However, we, who witness all of these changes, remain unchanged, constant as the Northern Star.
The great curse of youth
To experience our selves as an immeasurable quanta of pure eternal consciousness rather than as a temporary complex of biological machinery is the ultimate goal of yoga. In his yoga-sutras, Patanjali tells us that one arrives at this perfection of yoga only when our practice is steady and sustained over a long period of time. Steadiness in practice requires determination and patience.
Impatience is the great curse of youth. In my experience, one of the great ironies of getting older has been that as the time I have left in this world decreases my level of patience increases. Perhaps I’ve simply grown accustomed to the fact that things take time. It’s an interesting mix: a sense of urgency about completing the mission of my human life on the one hand and relative equanimity about the crazy state of the world on the other. Somehow it adds up to a kind of peaceful perseverance in both my spiritual practice and my social activity.
Yogis are spiritual warriors by nature: on a spiritual level we fight the forces of illusion, on a material level we fight the forces of injustice. Our aim is to harmonize our eternal nature with our temporary situation so that our actions serve to elevate consciousness, our own and everyone else’s.
It’s helpful, of course, to have powerful allies in our fight against illusion and injustice. Which brings us back to Tolstoy, who said,
The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.
Patience is the recognition that time is the all-consuming destroyer of all. And time will destroy our illusions if we see time as a relentless ally on whose currents we can flow toward our true and eternal selves.
The way of the world
The way of the spiritual warrior is to understand time as a manifestation of divine energy, to practice patience, and to patiently practice. The key to having a patient practice is consciously cultivating our love for all beings, even those we think of as our enemies.
Like all political upheavals, the current brouhaha about Trump and Russia will come to a head and then fade into the oblivion of history. The dark days will be followed by brighter days, only to be followed by darker days again. Such is the way of the world.
However bright or dark our days may be, making a conscious effort to act from a position of love, even when we’re not feeling it, is part of a spiritual practice. This is because a spiritual warrior knows that, ultimately, love conquers all, even unconquerable time. Or, as Tolstoy put it,
Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is united by it alone. Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source.
And there you have it: from Russia, with love. Dosvedanya.
—— —— ——
Feel free to offer an opinion
How do you feel about patience and time? What are your thoughts on nationalism and government and how they relate to spiritual life and our prospects for happiness? Please contribute to the conversation by leaving a question, comment or a suggestion about how we can act from a position of love, even during our darkest hours.