Friday, June 25, 2010


Transcript of Swami Cat's first Youtube teachings:

So many people today, wonder why they cannot find a quiet of the mind.  My, oh my, so much needless suffering.  People stop me and say, “Swami Cat please tell me how to meditate.”  I’ve decided to do a video to help those who need it.  My lovely assistant Yoga Girl will demonstrate, mostly because I do not have opposable thumbs. 

You can start with the breath. 

(Yoga Girl demonstrates alternate nostril breathing.)  

                        SWAMI CAT
Analoma Viloma.  Good to focus the mind, balance the mind.

(Yoga Girl breathes deeply and mucus comes out of her nose.  She scrambles for a tissue, embarrassed.)

                        SWAMI CAT
Consciously tell the mind to relax.  Now is your time, your time to go within, listen to your higher power.  Or maybe there is only silence.  And maybe that is a lesson in itself, no?

(Yoga Girl sits quietly and we notice her falling asleep.  Her head leans forward and touches the candle on the altar.  Her hair catches on fire and quickly she wakes up and pats her head.) 

                                                            YOGA GIRL
Ow, Ow, Oh my—I’m sorry.  Please forgive me.  Continue.

(Swami Cat shakes his head disapprovingly.  He looks directly into the camera and sighs.)

                                                            SWAMI CAT
If your mind wanders, bring it back to the breath.  Try a mantra.  If you do not have a specific one, try simply Om Shanti.  Breathe in “Om,” exhale “Shanti.”  First say the mantra out loud.  Then just mouth the words and lastly when you are calmer, say it only in your mind. 

There are many other ways to come into one-pointed-ness.  You can stare at a candle, this is Trakta meditation.  You can do some kirtan chanting or singing of uplifting songs. 

(Yoga Girl gets fidgety.  She uncrosses and re-crosses her legs, scratches an itch and then sees dust on the altar.  She uses her finger and finds that it is a thick layer of dust.)

                                                            YOGA GIRL 
I should dust the altar.  I’ll get a rag.

                                                            SWAMI CAT
(to Yoga Girl)
Later.  Sit.
                        (to camera) 
Pick up one of the great spiritual texts, read a passage and meditate on that.  Maybe you need to dedicate the meditation to a certain person.  Send love, light, healing to them with your whole heart, mind and soul. 

(Yoga Girl chants and waves the candlelight in circles around the picture of Swami Cat and then around a picture of his master, Gurudev Purrananda.)

                                                            SWAMI CAT
And remember when you sit in meditation you are not alone—millions are sitting at the same time all over the world, sitting in quiet, tuning in to the love and wisdom of the universe and there is enough love and wisdom to go around.  It is true.  So enjoy, it is all for fun!  Enjoy this present you give to yourself. 

(Yoga Girl spoons a tiny bit of water into her hand from the cup on her altar.  She sips the water and it goes down the wrong way.  She begins to cough and choke.  SWAMI CAT chuckles kindheartedly.)

                                                            SWAMI CAT
Ah yes, we all have to start somewhere.  Remember it is a practice.  It is not called a “perfect.”  I hope this was a little bit helpful.  Namaste.

(SWAMI CAT bows to the camera.  YOGA GIRL bows too, as she continues to cough.)

                                                            YOGA GIRL

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Break Through

The other day I had a breakdown.  Why Oh why is it so hard to know what the universe wants us to put our energy into?  Sometimes the teachings say that you make opportunities happen which is part of the Divine plan.  Other times the teachings say that you must let go of thinking that you “do” anything, for if you think that it is you, then God does not have to step in, for you’re already doing it. 

I had a breakdown because I didn’t schmooze the other day.  I was seeing a brilliant play and when I saw someone I knew that worked for the theatre, instead of telling her that I had just finished my masterpiece and I’m looking for a home for it to come to life, I gurgled something to the tune of “Things are good, good and you?”  I don’t know how I’m going to be successful if I can’t talk up my own work?  The play’s really good.  It has to be done more than any other play of mine because it is inspired and written for my cousin who is quadriplegic.  It’s about his love of dance.  He’s been living unable to move much for almost twenty years.  I don’t know how much longer he has left.  I want to get it done and maybe he can come see it, or a video of it at least.  Selling this play to a theatre is a priority and feels doable because I am not thinking of myself, I’m thinking of my cousin.

In the back of my mind for a year now, is another avenue that might lead me into a successful writing career:  Yoga Girl.  I have been thinking lately about the teachings of “making opportunities happen” and therefore dreaming about putting together an evening of live Yoga Girl and Swami Cat skits that I could perform at the Yoga studios I know.  That seems doable, and fun.  I don’t like acting, the pressure, the memorizing, etc. but I could do it if I focused on it as a teaching tool.  Then again it is not for me, it is for others.

And on the way home tonight, it hit me—how to tell when the universe wants you to focus on a particular path.   I was coming home from a very exciting meeting on the Yoga Life Society’s ashram.  Guruji and several others spoke about opening up a YLS home and in a few years this will hopefully become a reality.  We spoke about when, not if.  And even more than that, I could see how my love of creating art and my love of Yoga could fit into life at the ashram.   After the evening Hatha classes end the space could then be used to hold readings of uplifting plays, watch Spiritually minded movies or chant the night away. 

All the way home I thought about this and sang out loud, no radio necessary.    My body was tingling, fizzing with excitement.  Then I started speaking aloud to myself as if I was writing this blog.  I had to rush home and type it.  I figured it out!  When my whole being is engaged and fully alive that must be the universe saying – Yes this way!  Full steam ahead.  This is what it feels like when I’m in the middle of a script and I just know it is going to be good.  This was the opposite of a break down, it was a break through!

Now all I have to do is practice the art of schmoozing and maybe the bubbling excitement will come from that too.  I doubt it.  But maybe someday I can hire a publicity person to do that for me.  Now that gets me excited.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

De-Stress Your Life, The Reality Show

You know what I’m going to do?  I’m going to start up a De-Stress Your Life Reality Show.  I’ll hire a cameraman, go into people’s homes of whom have the craziest, most toxic lifestyles and I’ll do what the Nanny or Jillian does, I’ll show them how to live better.  This’ll be great.  Swami Cat is shaking his head again.  Why Swamiji I’ll do it in a loving Yogic way?  I’ll wake them up early, and show them how to meditate.  Then I’ll dramatically throw the caffeine in the garbage.  Caffeine bad!  Chamomile good!  I’ll have them practice surya namaskara instead of checking their email before work.  Do a few rounds of analoma viloma breaths instead of making the kids’ bagged lunch.  I’ll ask their spouse or the kids to do it themselves.  Remind them that the heart always pumps to itself first so it is important to take care of their mind/body/spirit in order to take care of others.  Maybe we take the cameras and follow them to work.  Remind them to stretch and breathe instead of that smoke break.  At noon, the crew and I drag them outside in nature instead of staying in florescent lighting and eating a heavy meal.  This is going to be a hit.  At home, I’ll make sure that the newspapers are thrown out and spiritual texts are brought in.  I’ll be there at night to turn off mindless television and Facebook activities and inspire a few rounds of pranayama before evening meditation.  And if they refuse, we’ll firmly remind them that stress kills.  We’ll force Yoga into the lives of Americans everywhere! 

Swami Cat where are you going?  Why are you leaving?  Oh, you can’t force Yoga onto anyone, that’s against ahimsa?  Hm.  One can not force anything in Yoga, yes I have heard that in Hatha class.  Yes, I remember, but it would benefit them so much, and they would see eventually that… Yes, Swamiji you are right. 

And so my brilliant, although misguided, moment of Saving the World has ended before it began.  I guess there won’t be a reality show like this.  I’ll just keep waking up at dawn and practicing on my own.  I think I’ll start practicing outside on the lawn, therefore if someone wants to learn they can find me.  I could put out a Yoga mat and a sign that says, this mat is reserved for you.  Hm…

Saving the World one breath at a time.

Until next time.

May you experience light, love and laughter today and everyday.
Om Shanti.