The kitchen is a place that we spend a lot of time during the holidays. Want to learn to use it as a place for spiritual practice? Read on …
Recently, I prepared similar videoblogs for students in our Yogic Mystery School and School of Mantra at this time. This one is just for you.
A lot of our therapy gets done in the kitchen. My wife, Asha, and I do all our dishes by hand not only because it is energy saving, and saves water, which is very important here in Austin, but also because it allows us to relax our minds.
Our work today, (and yours, too) is so cerebral, so doing dishes helps to reconnect to the body. Additionally, the kitchen is a great place to do this practice.
Why? The mind is always thinking and washing dishes is a great way to let go of the thinking mind. The kitchen is also such a comforting place for us so it is a good fit.
However, we should also be sensing something more than ourselves. There is always that sense of the “sacred other” that is knit into the invisibility of space.
Early Christian monks did simple jobs to keep themselves occupied (like weaving baskets), yet, and the jobs were simple enough to pray at the same time. This is how they learned to “pray without ceasing”.
I have trained myself to tap deep states throughout all the work activities of my daily life, including computer work, but doing dishes offers a special opportunity for spiritual practice.
It is easy and enjoyable to say a mantra while doing dishes and it can be powerful. The danger is that the joy of saying the mantra can replace a sense of divine presence.
This is like being in the presence of a good friend but loving the sound of our own voice so much that we are not paying enough attention to the other and their reactions.
This is why sensing divine presence and the response from consciousness while doing our spiriutal practice, especially mantra, is important. Otherwise, we are just enclosed in our own self-created spiritual world. Take care to avoid this. You will catch yourself at this repeatedly, so keep returning to the sense of presence repeatedly.
As you return to “presence”, pay attention to the stillness and silence both within you and around you while doing your mantra. This is not always clearly apparent so you will need to “attune” to it.
One way to tap this stillness and silence is to Llearn to speak and chant your mantras without thinking. It helps to hone this habit while doing your dishes.
This year both Christmas and Channukah happen at the same time. How wonderful to be doing spiritual practice in the kitchen after gathering with family and friends. You will probably find yourself in this situation at least once so embrace it:)
It is also post Diwali and pre-Pongal, the harvest festival in South India where we are from. And Kwanza time, too! We want to embrace all spiritual traditions as inter-spiritual seekers.
Spiritually, this season, we are preparing the coming darkness of winter. There is also the darkness of negative projections that occupy so much of our news feeds. Do not be pulled down by this.
And don’t get excessively elated by the holiday spirit in ways that make you loose your connection to the Great Spirit. Both depression and excessive excitement can pull us towards extremes that make us loose our connection with Spirit, with Holy Spirit that is. (Lot’s of the other kind going around this season, right
So learn to walk what in the Upanishads is called The Razor’s Edge. This is the fine balance that is required on the spiritual path. Don’t loose sight of it during these holidays and holy-days!
Wishing you all love!
Russill and Asha
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