Bringing Ancient Wisdom to Your Mindfulness Practice with Richard Freeman & Mary Taylor
Ancient teachings still exist today because the wisdom they carry is timeless. Modern interpretations are made by philosophers and teachers so that we can understand the books better using familiar language and context. In this unprecedented time of COVID-19, life goes on, and these lessons are more relevant than ever to apply to our daily practices.
In today's episode, Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor will provide insights on the Bhagavad Gita—a text widely considered to have influenced yoga, especially in Eastern philosophy. Richard and Mary are eminent yogic teachers who will discuss what it means to wake up to your intelligence to live a balanced life. They will also share their travel experiences as a manifestation of how it feels to be radically loved.
If you feel stuck in your mindfulness practice and want to bring wisdom into it, this episode is for you!
Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:
- Discover the message of the Bhagavad Gita and how it can help you in your practice.
- Learn how to bring consciousness to your actions and inactions.
- Find out how Richard and Mary feel radically loved by listening to the full episode!
- When Love Comes to Light by Richard Freeman & Mary Taylor
- Freeman + Taylor website
- FREE workbook! Apply the lessons you learn from this episode as you listen! Enter your email below, and I’ll send it right away!
Studying the Bhagavad Gita
- Richard and Mary published a book called When Love Comes to Light as a practical interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita.
- When you read the Bhagavad Gita as a guidebook, it provides a lot of teachings you can apply to your life.
- The world is one organism, and all of us are interconnected.
- Richard and Mary approach the teachings to learn to look at the context of the situations we encounter.
The Relationship Between Mind & Ego
- Problems arise when the mind and ego start to work together.
- The ego wants to be the hero solving problems.
- The mind makes decisions and guides you in taking action.
- Mary says that you should determine your motivations to know and decide the appropriate steps to maintain a healthy relationship between your mind and ego.
Waking Up to Your Intelligence
- We wake up to moments of intelligence every day in different situations.
- A moment of intelligence would be akin to your gut feelings or what you feel when speaking the truth.
- It's also a feeling of vulnerability rooted in strength and knowledge of your connection to others.
- Yoga practices wake up the body so that you start to become more attentive.
- When you get that feeling, you don’t care whether you’re any more enlightened or not.
On Practicing with Your Ego
- The ego is the identification with the self as separate.
- To practice discernment is to bring consciousness to every action or inaction.
- Richard described that ego is a divine function, but attachment to your ego is not.
- You can use your ego to learn how to act and do things to get feedback, but don’t identify with it.
Teaching Mindfulness Through a Book
- The Gita teachings are supposed to be difficult because it asks you to look again and again to learn mindfulness.
- Mary says that keeping a sense of humor, laughing at your mistakes, and learning to let go are acceptable mindfulness practices.
Dealing with Exhaustion at a Global Scale
- Finding it difficult to sit with your practice is normal under current circumstances, but you should still show up and do it.
- Those who have learned yoga and meditation practice in less turbulent times will feel prepared to face the difficulties even though it is sometimes inappropriate.
- People who haven’t developed their practices before the pandemic will feel exhaustion, fatigue, and fear more strongly than others.
The Gita as a Love Story
- Mary sees the Bhagavad Gita not as a war story but as a love story about connecting to the divinity within ourselves.
- Richard says that the book names the enemies like lust, anger, and greed.
- A war inside the mind is one interpretation of the teachings in the Bhagavad Gita.
5 Powerful Quotes from This Episode
[14:07] “It’s a way of learning to look at context. You see things and to look at all the different religious manifestations and to see through them, to what they’re actually trying to accomplish rather than let your ego buy into some formula that makes you superior to others.”
[28:01] “Life is a wave pattern. If you can ride those waves with the ability at any instant to engage, that would be amazing.”
[34:55] “It's an important time to be kind to yourself and to be really careful. And not to be so dogmatic that you become more tight or tuned out from the Other.”
[35:48] “When there’s this genuine sense of connectedness and a genuine concern for the world, the environment, etc, then that’s when it starts to stabilize enough that we take the context of what’s going on and we help see each other see what we can do.”
[38:07] “If you feel like you've been injured by someone else or by a situation and you respond, take the moment, even in just a flash, to really see if your motivation for your action is in line with bigger intentions in life, say, the intention to relieve suffering. Are your motivations self-serving more than they are truly in line with your intention?”
About Richard & Mary
Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor are yoga teachers based in Boulder, Colorado. They teach public classes and frequently travel as guest instructors at studios worldwide.
Richard has produced many instructional videos on yoga asana, philosophy, breathing, and chanting. Mary has written three cookbooks. She also teaches within the caregiver and hospital setting as a member of the core faculty of the Being with Dying program at the Upaya Zen Center.
Richard and Mary have written two books together, namely The Art of Vinyasa and, most recently, When Love Comes to Light, both under Shambala Publications. They also appear in online communities that teach yoga, meditation, and wellness practice to help students navigate challenging life experiences.
If you want to connect with Richard and Mary, visit their website.
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To feeling radically loved,