We all have a multi-leveled, “real world” playground for practicing the spiritual lessons we learn from our Masters. But how about the reverse — the “real world” giving context for spiritual life? Among my immediate family members, there is a guiding principle that governs every waking moment of their lives. I’m referring to that phenomenon in the body-sculpting world known as “bulking” and “cutting”.
It’s especially entertaining and educational (AKA, the meaning of life according to Yoganandaji) when family members are not on the same spiritual path as you, and yet, they offer food for thought that propels you forward. After all, we grow through relationships. In my household, the four males are committed to the path of Bulking and Cutting to shape their physiques into something beautiful. They have done a marvelous job. The woman of the house is not on board yet, but she’s looking on interestedly. Instead of working hard in the gym, I’m thinking, hmmm… do I do this spiritually? 😀
In the bulking phase of body-building, you eat as much as you can, especially protein, and you work out often and hard. This builds your muscles. Once they’re nice and plump, you start cutting your calories to melt away the fat so those muscles can pop. But there won’t be anything to show if you didn’t feed them during the bulk. Isn’t this analogous to life on the spiritual path?
For me, the beginning phases of the path, which can be long or short in duration, are like a bulk — a binge of ingestion and practice. Books, talks, songs, techniques, satsang, classes, all these things feed us in a swirl of inward and outward activity. It is like an “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!” kind of living — joyful, intentional, all-consuming, and dedicated to the battle.
Then comes the cut. Life’s demands, duties, challenges, chores, other people, events… These are not necessarily sad or bad, but they take us out of the bulk. We surrender to them, since to serve is also why we are here, according to Yoganandaji. However, this is also the opportunity to see those spiritual muscles pop. Maybe instead of large biceps, we have huge compassion. Swole quads? Well, maybe not, but look at this swole patience! Take a gander at my growing intuition! Don’t mind while I flex my inner joy at you! 😀
For sure, we all influence each other, and perhaps someday I will join them in their lifting and they will join me in meditating, each trying out a new kind of “bench”! Until then, throughout the ever-alternating phases of Bulk and Cut, all we need is LOVE.
Please come “bulk” with us this and every Sunday. Other options include zooming with Dallas at 10:00 a.m. or Ananda Village 1 p.m. Central. And if Sunday is out of the question, you can find lots of replays of Sunday Services and other talks on YouTube if you search. There is also the Ananda Meditation app. See you soon!
Where: Be Well Yoga Studio, upstairs yoga room
1906 W. Koenig Lane
Austin, TX 78756
When: Sundays 10:00 – 11:15 a.m.
What: Energization, prayer, chanting, meditation, affirmations, healing prayers
Details: Park behind the house. Look for the driveway between Be Well Yoga and Bare Body Day Spa to park in back. It’s OK to park behind 1908 as well and walk through the gate. Take the outside staircase up to the deck to enter the yoga studio. Bathrooms can be accessed through the downstairs back door. Suggested love offering $10 for rent. Venmo: @Kim-Pradhan
Afterwards: Optional brunch at Brentwood Social House, walking distance down Koenig Lane.
Joy is within us,
for Ananda Austin,