Spiritual Festival 2012
May 22 - July 03
The Spiritual Festival has been going on for about 20 years, so for older initiates the general procedure is familiar.
Basically two things are done:
(1) increased japa practice, and
(2) making spiritual lifestyle changes.
Below you will find more helpful information for cultivating special practices during this 40 day festival.
GUIDELINES and SUGGESTIONS FOR SPIRITUAL FESTIVAL 2012
In reviewing the guidelines and making your own commitments, please keep in mind your own capacity. Success with a series of smaller goals will lead to greater purification and capacity for next year. Assess your own capacity and do not try to push to complete "on time." Accommodate for your family responsibilities.
· Maintain mindfulness and an attitude of self-examination throughout the day. Observe thoughts and emotions asking oneself, “What transgressions did I commit?” “
· Where there was fearful or aggressive thoughts/words/actions ask,
“What was it in me that evoked that response and reaction
· What right thing that should have done have I omitted, replacing such negativity with kindness and compassion.
(Refer to Swami Veda’s Yoga Sutra summary of I:33 on Chitta prasadhana.)
· For any thought critical of anyone, do 11 recitations of Gayatri.
· Recite the Guru Brahma Prayer and the morning & evening prayers
· Nadi Shodhanam (channel purification) 3 times a day
· One to three malas of personal mantra japa daily
· At juncture points in your day (or about every 2 hours), sit for 2 minutes, observing the flow of breath in the nostrils and repeating your personal mantra.
· Your last formal thought at night should be the Gurur Brahma prayer and entry into meditative mode as you fall asleep. Your sleep will become a meditation. awaken with a Yoga Nidra practice or simply breath awareness in bed before rising.
Meditation & Mantra Japa
· Resolve to enter into non-self-centered meditation
· Surrender samskaras & random thoughts to the inner Guru
· Om Tat Sat Brahmarpanam Astu - dedicate prayers to the enlightenment and happiness of others.
· Make a sankalpa (resolve) of how many repetitions of the New 2010-2013 Mantra you will do daily. Minimum would be 3 or 7; or better 11. Middling: 33, 51, 71, 91. Maximum would be one mala (108).
· Participate in World-group Meditations. (See dates for 2011: http://www.swamiveda.org/html/full_moon_meditation_dates.html)
· A practice of hatha yoga to purify the body, breath and mind. Consider undertaking a practice of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) during this 40 days. (Please refer to the section in Swami Veda’s Philosophy of Hatha Yoga where he talks about asana as worship.) Use whatever asana practice you undertake as a way to strengthen your link with the lineage through whom all blessings flow.
· If possible do not eat alone. Take a small portion and give it to a companion or co-worker. If it is embarrassing and not socially acceptable, then surrender the first portion to the Great Prana of theUniverse.
· Recite Grace.
· Eat 5 mouthfuls less than enough to fill the stomach at each meal.
· No solid food after 9:00 p.m. A glass of liquid may be taken at night. Special health and medical situations are exempt. Total fasting is not suggested.
· Try to avoid eating meat or fish during the month although you may serve it to your family.
· Ask the Center's guidance regarding balanced diet.
To further deepen your practice
· On Guru Purnima day you may decide to undertake further observances of self-purification for next year. (Ask for the Year of Sanctity Guidelines.)
· Vow to give special love to your family and reach out to others, beyond your blocks and fears
· Keep a personal journal on subtle violence in personal life, e.g. an unjustified sharp tone of speech, or in using objects obtained by violence and disregard for the rights of other living beings.
· Conquer anger, laziness and selfish thoughts.
· Consider taking a vow of one month's celibacy, but only with the happy consent of your spouse.
· Look for ways to reduce your possessions, acquisitions and energy consumption at least percent.
· Dedicate 10 percent of your month's income plus one dollar to a charity of your choice (not necessarily the Center), in addition to your usual commitments.
· Experiment with a practice of silence (see Swami Veda's booklet on Silence for more details). This could be through observing your speech in daily life to see if you are using more words than necessary, speaking louder than necessary and if your tone and voice evokes a positive response in the listener.
· You could undertake a weekly, biweekly or monthly practice of a half day of silence or a longer period.
· Take a one or two-day, or longer, personal retreat. (Contact your Center or any of the Spiritual Committee members for arrangements or suggestions.)
Read and contemplate themes from past Festivals such as: (Transcripts are available at the Meditation Center.)
o vasu-deva principle,
o inner cycles & transitions,
o silencing past habits,
o contemplation & stillness,
o refinement of pleasures,
o surrender to the Guru within.