Dharma Talk


In his 1733 work An Essay On Man Alexander Pope first issued the phrase, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” By contrast, in Inferno, the first part of the 14th century epic poem Devine Comedy by Dante Alighieri the author describes the inscription on the gates of Hell (Inferno in Italian) as saying, “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate.”, or “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” So, from these two passages we learn that 1. A state of hopelessness is equivalent to Hell and 2. Our hearts, what the yogis call the Hridayam or spiritual heart, is where Hope resides. 

A few weeks ago two Lotus In The Pines yogis and Scotti and I worked through a 21-day meditation series by Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey. The topic was Hope. The common theme throughout the program was that hope is not something that is out there. It is within us. It is a power that can direct our lives. It is real and we all have it; even in times of uncertainty, trouble, pain or grief. As Dr. Chopra said during the introduction, Hope is not the same as wish fulfillment. Hope is the act of tapping into the unlimited and eternal field of potentiality that is our true self and to know that the future is ours to create....through intention. 

We are living in troubled times. Uncertainty seems to be the order of the day. “Normal” is an elusive notion. All of that, however, is out there. Hope, that steady, reliable, infinite source of strength and purpose pulsates deep within every one of us. Here’s an idea. If you want to manifest hope in your life plant something. Anything. Tend it. Water it. Interact with it. And, most importantly learn from it. Learn that life and hope are in very real ways, synonymous. 

So, what are we hoping for here at Lotus In The Pines? We’re hoping that all of you are staying safe. We’re hoping that you’re all adhering to the guidelines for slowing the spread of the virus. We hope you’re finding ways to continue your yoga practice, or if not that you’re okay with pausing it. We hope that you may be inquiring into beginning or continuing a meditation practice. And, we’re hoping you’re hopeful. Hopeful for groundedness in the midst of uncertainty. Hopeful for a path to the future that is not fraught with danger and sickness and unhappiness. Hopeful for a deeper understanding of self through the application of the fourth Niyama, Svadhyaya. Hopeful for peace.

The state of Louisiana has extended Phase 2 of the re-opening well into late July. In all candor, it is hard to say when we will feel it is safe to resume classes in the studio. It’s small as all of you know. Air circulation in that small space would, in our opinion, put anyone in the building at risk of passing or contracting the virus. The first Yama, Ahimsa, is very clear on not engaging in any act of violence against any living creature. To bring our friends into that environment would blatantly violate that principle. So, what are we to do? There are countless advantages to living where we do but high speed internet broadband service is not one of them. Scotti is researching alternatives to what we have now in order to begin offering Zoom classes. As it stands right now, we have marginally good service until about the third week in the month and then our speed drops to snail’s pace levels. Okay for sending and receiving email but that’s about it. I will also be offering Zoom meditation classes. So we are beginning the process of developing some alternatives to how we have served you in the past. We may road test some of these during July and when we do we’ll notify everyone so those interested can join in.

Thank you all so much for your patience and understanding. We miss all of you so much and we are hopeful that we will be back together soon. Sat Chit Ananda. Richard and Scotti

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