I came across these guidelines for joyful living today in my early morning sadhana (spiritual practice), digging them out from an old primer. A simple protocol for living a sattvic (balanced, vital) life – from my 1st yoga teacher training with Baba Hari Dass from Mount Madonna Center near Watsonville, CA.
For those of you unfamiliar with Baba Hari Dass, he was Ram Dass‘ (my initial yoga influence) Hatha Yoga teacher back in the late 60’s in India and moved to the US in 1971. Baba Hari Dass took a vow of silence almost 60 years ago and has communicated only non-verbally ever since.
1. Express love and kindness in words and actions in dealing with others.
2. Express compassion in your actions toward those who are suffering physically or emotionally.
3. Anything that comes to you should be received as a gift from Providence. (…and I would add…the more grateful you are, the more that comes)
4. Do not hoard things that are not required.
5. Give away things to those who are in need.
6. Keep busy in Selfless Service. (Karma Yoga)
7. Reduce your needs to a minimum. (…one word: liberating!…what a concept for Westerners)
8. Avoid reading books or discussions that are contrary to your self-development. (watch what US magazine and gossip does to your psyche)
9. Do not indulge in any action that may cause harm to others in any form directly or indirectly. (this pretty much covers everything from vigilant recycling/green living to harboring critical/negative thoughts towards others)
10. Look for good qualities in others, rather than looking for their shortcomings. (hold others in their highest regard…and yourself!)
11. Do not get involved in unnecessary talks. (’nuff said)
12. Do not expect praise for your good actions. (trust…it’s all coming, otherwise known as Isvara Pranidhana)
13. Anger, hate, jealousy appear in the mind by comparing with others. They should be replaced by love to others.
14. Be humble and give respect to others.
15. Forgive yourself for any undesired actions, done knowingly or unknowingly.
16. Perform your duties towards your family, society, and country with pure and selfless intent.
17. Do not let laziness or dullness control your mind. (it helps if you eat more green food + less meat/dairy/alcohol/coffee…truly)
18. Be honest to others, as well as yourself. (The truth will set you free!)
19. Be firm in your spiritual convictions. (What do you really stand for?)
For those of you looking into 200-hr. Yoga Teacher Trainings – I cannot recommend the month long ashram-style teacher training at Mt. Madonna enough! You will not find a more authentic, rich and deep training covering the roots of the tradition and guided by a living Indian master.
Mt. Madonna 200 hr. TT – a rare immersion into true yoga sadhana from a living Indian master: shat karma, Samkyha philosophy, Ayurveda, Sutras, pranayama, mudras, mantras, meditation + asana – all on 355 acres atop a breathtaking mountain in the redwood forrest overlooking Monterey Bay.