Saturday, May 28, 2011

Three Kapotasana Assists in a Single Month

It is the best of poses.

It is the worst of poses.

And my rendition of Kapotasana has been going backwards since my 2008 trip to Mysore (when I'd do it up to five times while waiting for Sharath to get to me. My left arm and fingers would tingle and go numb later in the day, and at some point I finally realized it was time leave. First, though, I had to get into a scooter accident to drive the point home).

Usually I work on Kapotasana at home, alone.

When the back and neck are feeling good, I try to do it three times - as Dharma instructed me.

He had us do the pose three times each time I practiced with him on a recent trip to NYC. Like Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (who adjusted me in Janu Sirsasana C the first time I practiced with him back in 2000), he zeroes in on the student's weak spot. Even with his help, the hands barely touched the toes and the elbows were nowhere near the floor.

(Dharma says that upper back tightness comes from anger; to loosen it he recommends actively moving the head towards the floor in Downward-Facing Dog).

On Thursday, Bill S helped me. We tried it twice (at my request), and the second time was much better.

Today Suddha gave me an assist in it. The fingers got on the toes, and more or less stayed.

(We won't talk about what happened in Karandavasana).

The other nice thing about today - apart from practicing asthanga with other people. And a teacher - was that MariKay, Joy N and Inside Owl were there, too.

Lovely group.

Lovely space (where Manju will give a workshop next month).

Lovely practice.

(The ego also thought it was nice to hear S. say that the new hairdo brought to mind Emmylou Harris).

NOTE: That pic is *not* of this body. I don't know whose it is. I found the image here.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Cartoon by Dan B.

"Do your practice and all is coming."
-Sri K. Pattabhi jois

"The secret to success in yoga is constant practice."
-Sri Dharma Mittra

I didn't practice while I was under the weather (I did, however, eat, sleep and watch TV and eat, sleep, and watch TV. So much TV in fact that I eventually came upon Animal Planet's stealthy charmer, "My Cat From Hell," which is actually about couples rather than cats). I did no sitting, no pranayama, no asana. Just japa - which can be done just about anywhere, even the deathbed.

Each day the body felt worse.

It brought the mind right down with it.

The mind started playing with its favorite toys - Doubt, Self-Recrimination, Judgment, Anxiety and Fear - and wouldn't give them up.

It started to think that Maid in Manhattan, Where God Left His Shoes and Delirious were masterpieces.

The mind also became convinced that the body would be sick for the rest of its life; that it deserved to be sick, and that the all-too-familiar accompanying depression would last forever, too.

In short, container felt like the hell - inside and out.....

Until Monday, that is - when the body felt a bit better, albeit weak, fat and stiff. So it did 5A, 3B, the standing poses, backbends and the closing sequence.

Suddenly, the mood improved.

Perhaps the body won't be sick forever
, posited the mind.

So the same practice was performed the following day.

Again, the mood improved.

The mind calmed down, and put down its toys for a few minutes.

There was energy.

The appetite began to diminish.

On Wednesday, the body was still weak. So it did half primary, backbends, and the closing sequence.

Even better.

And I saw clearly how in my case - again - that the key is to use the body to trick the mind into feeling normal..

It works again and again and again.

(I literally start to get sick when I don't practice ashtanga for more than three days - unless I'm with Dharma and doing his practice. Whatever the mind thinks I am is irrelevant; at heart it seems I'm a hatha raja yogi [with a minor in jnana.] For now, anyway.).

* * *

Morning classes were canceled Thursday because they were re-doing the floors at the gym.

Normally, this would mean one thing: time to sleep in.

Instead, I got up early and did some breathing.

Then I went to a 6:30am Mysore class subbed by Bill S.

The body felt good, so it did second series.

It was a treat to practice ashtanga with other people. With a teacher.

The body was even weaker, fatter, stiffer and sweatier than usual. It got assists in some of the dreaded K poses (Kapotasana and Karandavasana).

Yet afterwords there was energy to spare.

There was love for humanity.

The body and mind felt good.

So good in fact that I was able to tackle several unpleasant tasks that have been piling up (getting lumber cut at Crafty Beaver, picking a book up at the library, having the car serviced, doing the recycling in the wind and rain, going to the bank for a new ATM card, eyebrow threading, etc).

And it was all due to the practice.

As I told a student earlier this week,

"When I practice, the arrows that life throws at me are deflected.

"When I don't practice, each one hits its target."


My favorite episode of My Cat From Hell featured a yoga teacher who did not get along with her boyfriend's cat. She's allergic to the cat, and the cat always attacks her.

The rock 'n' roll cat whisperer who is the star of the show determines that the yoga teacher is bringing tension to the situation.

So he asks her to pretend she's teaching a yoga class, and that he's the student.

She agrees, and instructs him to stand comfortably. He complies.

Then she says, "OK, let it go."

"What?" he asks.

"Just let it go!" she says brightly.

"Let what go?" he asks.


Thursday, May 26, 2011


The hits keep comin'..,
By Dan B:

Check out the rest of his oeuvre here.

- Posted while having the car serviced, using BlogPress from a mobile device.

Monday, May 23, 2011

When things fall apart, put your hand on your heart, exhale and say "All izz Well...."

I was under the weather this weekend, and on Saturday spent $4.99 to watch the 2009 Hindi megahit 3 Idiots on pay-per-view.

It was worth every rupee.

Here're the lyrics - followed by the English translation - from one of the movie's hit videos, above:


Jab life ho out of control
Honthon ko kar ke gol
Honthon ki kar ke gol
Seeti bajaa ke bol

When life goes out of control,
Draw back your lips,
Whistle and Exclaim!!
Aal Izz Well!!

Murgi kya jaane aande ka kya hoga
Aree life milegi ya tawee pe
fry hoga
Koi na jaane apna future kya hoga

How can a hen know the future of its egg?
Will it get life or get fried on a pan,
No one knows what our future will be.

Honth ghuma
Seeti bajaa
Seeti bajaa ke bol
Bhaiyaa aal izz well
Aree bhaiyaa all izz well
Aree chachu aal izz well
Aree bhaiyaa all izz well

So Draw back your lips,
Whistle and Exclaim,
Brother, Aal Izz Well!!
O Brother, Aal Izz Well!!
Uncle, Aal Izz Well!!

Confusuin hi confusion hai
Solution kuch pata nahin
Solution jo mila to saala
Question kya tha pata nahin

Confusion Prevails,
Nobody knows the solution
When a solution is found,
We lost the track of ‘What was the question?’

Dil jo tera baat baat pe
Dil pe rakh ke haath usae tu fuslaa le
Dil idiot hai pyaar se usko samjha le

When your heart is restless everytime,
Keep a hand on your heart and console it,
The heart’s an idiot, knock sense into it with kindness

Honth ghuma
Seeti bajaa
Seeti bajaa ke bol
Bhaiyaa aal izz well
Aree bhaiyaa all izz well
Aree chachu aal izz well
Aree bhaiyaa all izz well

So Draw back your lips,
Whistle and Exclaim,
Brother, Aal Izz Well!!
O Brother, Aal Izz Well!!
Uncle, Aal Izz Well!!

Scholarship ki pi gayaa daaru
Ghum to phir bhi mitaa nahin
Agarbattiyan raakh ho gayi
God to phir bhi dikha nahi

I guzzled te liqour of scholarship,
but the despair, didn’t lessen.
The incense sticks burnt to ash,
But we didn’t see the God!!

Bakra kya jaan uski jaan ka kya hoga
Sekh ghusegi ya saala Keema hoga
Koi na jaane apna future kya hoga

How can a goat know what happens to it (life)?
Will it be skewered or will it be minced?
No one knows what our future will be.

To Honth ghuma
Seeti bajaa
Seeti bajaa ke bol
Bhaiyaa aal izz well

Aree bhaiyaa all izz well
Aree chachu aal izz well
Aree bhaiyaa all izz well

So Draw back your lips,
Whistle and Exclaim,
Brother, Aal Izz Well!!
O Brother, Aal Izz Well!!
Uncle, Aal Izz Well!!

The other megahit song from 3 Idiots is "Zoobi Doobi," which has a funny, sophisticated video that makes our American ones look rather sad. Like the fillum, it stars the great Aamir Khan, along with Kareena Kapoor, Boman Irani and others:

The song is a sendup of Italian crooner Paolo Conte's "Via con me." I saw Mr. Conte perform at Symphony Center some years ago and he was all that and then some. Chips! Chips! Chips! Da-du-du-du-du!. See for yourself:

from Moira G. Weigel's WSJ review of "3 Idiots":

Directed by Rajkumar Hirani, with a screenplay he adapted from a novel with Abhijat Joshi, “3 Idiots” satirizes elite institutions of higher education in India. Set at the fictitious Imperial College of Engineering, which it depicts as mere a way-station where rote learning ushers students toward corporate advancement, the film relates the story of three rebels against this system, who become friends while living in a hostel (residence) together. Aamir Khan, whom American viewers may recognize from the 2008 hit “Ghajini,” (or from the critically-acclaimed 2001 film “Lagaan”), plays the protagonist “Rancho” Chanchad. The most gifted of the trio, he is a wealthy student who pursues knowledge for its own sake, while his compatriots Farhan (R. Madhavan) and Raju (Sharman Joshi), struggle under pressure from families of humbler origin. Rancho’s cheeky idealism brings him and his comrades into conflict both with his more cynical rival, a fellow student nicknamed the “Silencer” (Omi Vaidya), and with the professor they dub ViruS (Boman Irani), who in turn labels them “idiots” and seeks ruthlessly to destroy their bond. Add to this the fact that Khan’s character falls in love with ViruS’ daughter, a toothsome medical student played by Kareena Kapoor, and you have the makings of some two hours and forty minutes of tuneful capers.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

....Unless you watch this:

Thanks to Jafet for the tip.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sign up Soon! Early Bird Discount Ends Tuesday, May 24
Use Promo Code MID15 to get $50 off the weekend conference
Learn more - and sign up - here.

This is a rare opportunity to study with Sri Dharma Mittra in the Midwest. He tends to share everything he knows at these events, and this one is not to be missed - especially for those who understand that yoga is more than just postures. (Learn more about Dharma's amazing, life-changing workshops in my 2005 article, here).

For those on a budget, he'll be doing all all-day intensive on July 8:

All in One
Sri Dharma Mittra - Course ID: AFMITT
Friday, July 8 — 9:00am - 4:30pm
Friday All-Day Intensives
Mixed Levels

A comprehensive day of yoga instruction incorporating the many facets of Dharma Yoga and including spiritual discourses, yoga asanas, and knowledge for the goal of self-realization, the true goal of yoga. The absolute best of Sri Dharma Mittra's 50 years of yoga practice is offered here. Highly recommended for all levels. Newcomers are especially welcome, since Sri Dharma is known to accelerate the practice of attendees on the physical, mental, and astral levels.

Asana and lecture.

Cost: $225 ($285 after May 24)

He'll also teach smaller segments during the weekend conference ($460/$495 after 5/24; Use Promo Code MID15 to receive $50 off):

Maha Sadhana
Dharma Mittra - Course ID: M1MITT

Saturday, July 9 — 8:00am - 10:00am
Main Conference - Session 1
Mixed Levels

This One Great Practice of Sri Dharma Mittra is modeled after his packed monthly workshop in New York City. Built around Sri Dharma's formidable Shiva Namaskar vinyasa posture practice, this class is designed to bring the highest radiant physical and mental health. As always, Sri Dharma will introduce spiritual and practical everyday topics to the session, which can be applied to your daily life.

Mostly asana.

Shortcut to Bliss
Dharma Mittra - Course ID: M3MITT

Saturday, July 9 — 3:30pm - 5:30pm
Main Conference - Session 3
Contemplative, Mixed Levels

Sri Dharma Mittra often refers to the "most important part of yoga" being the spoken lessons, not the postures. Come discover the critical and effective ancient practices of pranayamas, learn powerful tools for developing one's own creative powers, and listen to talks on self-knowledge and bhakti. An essential course for those looking to deepen their overall yoga practice beyond the physical layer and who want to quickly advance on the esoteric understanding of yoga.

Mostly lecture.

Maha Sadhana
Dharma Mittra - Course ID: M4MITT

Sunday, July 10 — 8:00am - 10:00am
Main Conference - Session 4
Mixed Levels

This One Great Practice of Sri Dharma Mittra is modeled after his packed monthly workshop in New York City. Built around Sri Dharma's formidable Shiva Namaskar vinyasa posture practice, this class is designed to bring the highest radiant physical and mental health. As always, Sri Dharma will introduce spiritual and practical everyday topics to the session, which can be applied to your daily life.

Mostly asana.

Learn more - and sign up - here.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

7:30-9:30 at YogaNow

I just returned from studying with Sri Dharma Mittra, and boy am I sore!

But I'm thrilled to be teaching a Dharma Mittra Vinyasa Yoga Maha Sadhana workshop This Friday night at YogaNow.

There will be asanas and philosophy, chanting and breathing.

And perhaps I'll share a new (to me) balance pose I've never seen before, which we did on Tuesday....

as long as I master it first, of course.

Click here to see a video of Dharma chanting the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra and inviting students to his Saturday Maha Sadhana in NYC.

Om Tryambakam yajamahe sugandhim pushhtivardhanam
Urvarukamiva bandhanan mrityor mukshiya maamritath

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

PATTABJI JOIS, JULY 26, 1915 - MAY 18, 2009

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

5 Facts about LaGuardia Airport

-The e-ticket scanner for smart phones isn't working (it's a full moon)

-Many flights are delayed (it's raining)

-There are more people than seats in the waiting area - even if they cleared all the luggage off the seats (they're renovating)

-Au Bon Pain serves vegan soup (tre' comforting on a rainy day)

-There's a Ganesh murti in the (overlooking everything)


While walking down 23rd Street this morn I realized I an again staying in a favorite (cheap, clean, safe) hotel near the old Shala & making the trip across town to see the guru in the new Shala.

Just like in India in 2004, 2006, 2007 & 2008....

Only this time around I'm quite certain that I'm meant to be here.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sri Dharma!

From Swami Sivananda's book, "May I Answer That?"

What are the qualifications of a real Guru or a true guide? Is it possible for an ordinary human being to select a real guide? If so, how?

A real Guru is a Srotriya and a Brahmanishtha, one who is learned in the scriptures and established in Brahman. He who is wise, desireless and sinless can be a true teacher and guide. The Guru, by virtue of his wisdom and capacity, draws towards himself the souls fit to be guided by him. When one feels that he is thus spontaneously drawn to a Mahapurusha whom he cannot help loving, admiring and serving, who is an embodiment of unruffled tranquillity, mercy and spiritual experience, such a great one can be taken as the Guru. A Guru is one in whom the disciple can find no defect and who serves as the ideal to be reached by the disciple. In short, the Guru is God in manifested form, and when Divinity is seen in a person, he can be chosen as the Guru. The relation between the Guru and the Sishya is genuine and unbreakable, even as that between God and man is. It is a natural law that when a certain event has to take place in the universe, the conditions necessary for the same are brought about exactly at the proper time. When the disciple is ready to receive the higher Light, he is brought into contact with a suitable Guru by the Supreme Dispensation.

* All these quotes are from Swami Sivananda's book
'May I Answer That?', available for purchase
on line at

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, May 13, 2011

Presented by Yogacharya T. Krishnamacharya
(English Version by TKV Desikachar)

Shiva loaned this obscure 1998 book to me awhile ago. It's time to give it back.

It is a text attributed to the Vaishnavite saint and disappeared from the yogic heritage more than a thousand years ago. It was revealed in a vision to Krishnamacharya the sixteen year old pilgrim on the banks of the River Tamraparni in South India.....

Here are some highlights....


Through the practice of pranayama, the koshas are rid of impurities. When the koshas become clean, the body in turn will be rid of impurities. Through proper intake of food, the indriyas [ten senses], including the mind, will be rid of impurities.

If the mind is controlled, there is said to be happiness and peace. All yogi achievements are possible for one whose mind is strong and calm. For people whose minds are disturbed by the objects of the senses the practice of pranayama is the best remedy.

Tiredness is removed by uddiyana bandha. All the benefits of uddiyana bandhas can be obtained only when a proper diet restriction is maintained. The food taken should be sattvic in nature, limited in amount and should be appealing and agreeable to the individual.

Now we will talk about what is called Jalandhara Bandha
Through a nadi between the nose and the throat flows the essence of life which is responsible for the sustenance of life. It is called amrtam or jama. The essence of nourishment which is stored above the throat slowly trickles down, being consumed by jataragni. The jalandhara bandha regulates this.

This bandha earns the name jalandhara in yoga. The flow of this amrta pervades all over the body and regenerates the body and senses which depend on this. Therefore it is called jalandhara.
This essence if not regulated, will reduce the life span. Jalandhara bandha controls this movement so that the essence is distributed to the different parts of the body. The world jala here means the 'essence of the life.' this is supposed to be in the center of the head. Bandha is the term given in yoga for the technique that regulates the flow of this amrta.

According to the capacity and faith of the person, he should think of different mantras while doing the pranayama. Pranayama done along with a mantra has a role to play in the therapy of all kinds of diseases.

The teacher must first examine the movement of breath and the physical strength of the sick or afflicted person before teaching him anything. Emphasis is on a thorough and complete examination of the person prior to introducing pranayama. Otherwise, there will be no benefit. The mantra should be careful designed and introduced into practice.

Breathing should be done by the student in such a way that a subtle sound passes from the throat through the nostrils. The mouth is kept closed.
Breathing should never be done through the mouth, but should be done only through the nostrils. Breathing should be smooth with a hissing sound.


Srstikrama consists of the asanas in the following slokas: different variations of sirsasana, sarvangasana, mahamudra, tadakamudra, baddhakonasana, baddhapadmasana, dandasana and pascimatanasana.
Mahamudra is usually followed by baddhakonasana.

A person must practice pranayama in a quiet place four times a day. It must be done before sunrise, at midday, in the evening and at midnight.

Pranayama must be practiced according to the instructions given by a teacher - with or without a mantra respecting one's family tradition.


If a pregnant woman has disturbed sleep, regular practice of ujjayi pranayama in the padmasana posture with a short retention is suggested.

Kapalabhati and bastrika pranayama must be generally avoided. All the other pranayamas can be done without uddiyana bandha and mula bandha.
Kapalabhati and bastrika reduce the fluid in the body. Uddiyana bandha and mula bandha will disturb the normal bowel and urine functions. Sleep may also be disturbed.

Jalandharabandha is very important for a pregnant woman for it will reduce the formation of gas. That is why all the sastras have approved of the practice of jalandharabandha for pregnant women.

After five months of pregnancy, the most comfortable pranayama will be sitali and naidosodhanam. When there is a stomach upset, suryabhedana must be done.

Only the correct practitioners of pranayama can purify the koshas. Disturbed breathing patterns lead to diseases.

It is through the proper praccice of asana and pranayama and proper discipline that one can master breathing. There is no other way.


Favorable or not favorable is only in the mind. The mind itself is a changing entity.

This vast world which consists of many visayas undergoes changes every moment, leading to duhkha and sukha.

Some people sit quietly in the belief that all that happens is God's will. Why then do they take the trouble of complaining of what is happening around them?
Therefore instead of being adamant and spending time wastefully describing whatever is happening around them, they must take to abhyasa (kriya yoga).

Through the practice of yoga one realizes that the association with the senses leads to sukha and dukha.

When his/her body becomes strong on account of yoga practice, a person will be inclined to do those things that will give him sukham.
Yoga sadhana can never encourage tamas (laziness). The alertness that yoga practice provides can give little room for dullness.

If a person becomes even a little weak on account of yoga sadhana, he must examine the various causes with great attention and remove them.
Such weakness could arise out of wrong practice (which is not guided by a teacher), and one's own habits and food.

Just as an idle person cannot cross the river sitting in a boat which is leaking, so too a person who follows the instructions of an ignorant teacher cannot attain moksha.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Guru Brahma Gurur Vishnu
Guru Devo Maheshwaraha
Guru Saakshat Para Brahma
Tasmai Sree Gurave Namaha

Guru is verily the representative of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
He creates, sustains knowledge and destroys the weeds of ignorance.
I salute such a Guru.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Film Forks over Knives opens Friday in Chicago

The first reason to go veg (from a yoga perspective) is compassion. The foundational precept of yoga is Ahimsa, or not harming any living being in word, thought and deed.

The other reason to go veg. is for health. (Which seems selfish but in fact is a form of self-compassion, or non-harming of one's own body).

The feature film Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods.

Learn more about the movie here.

Starting Friday, it's playing @:

Webster Place 11 (Regal), 1471 W. Webster Ave., Chicago, IL
Century Theaters (Cinemark), 1715 Maple Ave., Evanston, IL

Thanks to Boodiba for the movie tip.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Jai Parama-Guru!

Swami Kailashananda, also known as Yogi Gupta, was one of the very first Yoga Masters to bring Hatha Yoga to America. In 1954, he was invited to speak at a Health Convention in Chicago, and thereafter he began teaching in the U.S. Born in Kanpur in Northern India, he practiced law before renouncing all worldly ties and being ordained as a monk in Benares (in the Holy Order of Sanyasa) as Swami Kailashananda. He practiced yoga in the Himalaya Mountains until mastering 9 forms of Yoga; and he was an Acharya of the Yoga Vedanta Forest University. In 1952, he established the Kailashananda Mission Trust (including the Kailashananda Nature Cure Centre), in Rishikesh, India, which has been serving humanity continuously since that time.

He is the Guru of Sri Dharma Mittra.

He was an early proponent of a live diet.

He was a Master of Nine Main Forms of Yoga: Raja, Kundalini, Bhakti, Mantra, Tantra, Yantra, Jnana, Karma and Hatha Yoga.

He's the author of Yoga and Long Life and Yoga and Yogic Powers.

When I first saw his picture in one of those books, the heart melted. How could I not love him; he is my Guru's Guru.

He left his body last Friday.

In class last night, Dharma said that no one dies and that God is everything and everywhere.

Om Tryambakam Yajamahe
Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam
Urvarukamiva Bandhanan
Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat

We Meditate on the Three-eyed reality
Which permeates and nourishes all like a fragrance.
May we be liberated from death for the sake of immortality,
Even as the cucumber is severed from bondage to the creeper.

Read some of Yogi Gupta's writings, here.

Learn about Dharma's famous poster - a selfless gift to his beloved Guru - here and here.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Better Late Than Never

The final segment on Sunday began with the longest pranayama session I've ever done with Dharma; we did at least six different types. It was intense.

Partway through, the mind and body began to feel very good indeed.

Between breathings Dharma spoke of various things, including the need to copy the teacher (which he says about as often as SKPJ said that yoga is 99 percent practice, one percent theory). He said that Indra became the king of gods just by watching.

He also said, "Control your food and you will easily be able to control your mind."

This was hard to do at Omega, which features an amazing organic, locally-sourced vegetarian buffet for each and every meal. Most of the food is vegan, and it was GOOD. I especially liked the giant vats of lightly-cooked beets and kale, and the fact that there were three types of gluten-free bread. Three!

It was also difficult to practice asteya, and not save seats for friends.

The little dorm room was as cozy and comfortable as could be, and I was thrilled to be housed in the same cabin as Parvati and Kim, who assisted Dharma.

The former and I went on a delightful post-dinner walk through the woods on Saturday.

But the best part was of course seeing Dharma.

He concluded the intensive by doing one of my favorite things in the whole wide world (no, it was not the hands-free headstand):

He read a chapter from the Bhagavad-Gita, and paused from time to time to give commentary.

It was like heaven.

And then he thanked us, and that was that.

There are three gates leading to this hell--lust, anger and greed. Every sane man should give these up, for they lead to the degradation of the soul.

Monday, May 02, 2011

A Measured Response from The New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good*

"Do not rejoice when your enemies fall"
Statement by David P. Gushee
on behalf of the New Evangelical Partnership
May 2, 2011

"Do not rejoice when your enemies fall,
and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble."
Proverbs 24:17

We feel compelled to respond today to the killing of Osama bin Laden by the United States and to the jubilant response across the nation.

A nation has a right to defend itself. From the perspective of the fundamental national security of the United States, this action is legitimately viewed as an expression of self-defense.

But as Christians, we believe that there can no celebrating, no dancing in the streets, no joy, in relation to the death of Osama bin Laden. In obedience to scripture, there can be no rejoicing when our enemies fall.

In that sense, President Obama's sober announcement was far preferable to the happy celebrations outside the White House, in New York, and around the country, however predictable and even cathartic they may be.

For those of us who embrace a version of the just war theory, honed carefully over the centuries of Christian tradition, our response is disciplined by belief that war itself is tragic and that all killing in war, even in self-defense, must be treated with sobriety and even mournfulness. War and all of its killing reflects the brokenness of our world. That is the proper spirit with which to greet this news.

This event does provide new opportunities for our nation.

President Obama's respectful treatment of Islam in his remarks, and his declaration that Osama bin Laden's body was treated with respect according to Islamic custom, offers all of us an opportunity to follow that example and turn away from the rising disrespect toward Muslims in our nation.

A second opportunity is for the United States to reconsider the questionable moves we have made in the name of the war on terror. From our perspective, this includes the indefinite detentions of scores of men at Guantanamo Bay, the failure to undertake an official investigation of detainee interrogation practices, the increase in Predator attacks in Pakistan, and the expansion rather than ending of the ten-year-old war in Afghanistan.

We also now have the opportunity for national reflection on how our broader military and foreign policies--including the placement of our troops throughout the largely Muslim Arab world, our posture on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and our regular military interventions around the world, create a steady supply of new enemies.

There can never be any moral justification for terrorist attacks on innocent people, such as the terrible deeds of 9/11. But we must recognize that to the extent that our nation's policies routinely create enemies, we can kill a Bin Laden on May 1 and face ten more like him on May 2. Might it now be possible for us to have an honest national conversation about these issues?

May we learn the right lessons from the news of this day. For Jesus' sake.

*I don't know anything about this group; I just like the statement.

Thanks to Merrilly Mac for the tip.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Dharma @ Omega II

"If anyone here is still eating meat, don't eat meat anymore. Eating flesh is out of date. Think about it: eating animals - that's for cavemen.

"You should visit a slaughterhouse. I myself visited one in Brazil. You see it and it makes you cry. You see animals being skinned alive. ...

"When you eat meat, your meditation goes nowhere. The subtle body becomes polluted with the vibrations of the slaughtered animal. Before they die they experience a terrible fear. Their glands release poison into their bloodstream before they die, and you eat it....."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone