Echo From The Cave: 173

Saturday March 26, 2022 NYC

Talk at the End of the Asana & Meditation Class
Friday, March 25, 2022:

Reflecting Daily Life in Practice of Asana:
Asana is for Filling Our Heart with Silence

During asana, I have been trying to forget about the body, and instead place my focus much more on the long and complete exhalation. It is very difficult to forget about the body altogether in asana, but because I have come to realize that I really need to work a lot on my mind, this instruction of Shri Mahayogi—“long complete exhalation”—has become a crucial tool. I would like to really experience the transformation in my mind that Shri Mahayogi says can take place if we truly work on this long and complete exhalation.

One of the reasons that I am feeling more urgency to work on my mind at this time is that, here in New York, from this winter in Study in Practice, we have been trying to learn from reading a book of teachings together, like a Book Club of sorts. Last week, a senior disciple mentioned that there is a crucial need of learning how to read. She posed a question: “What does it mean ‘to read’?” On another occasion, she said, “Shri Mahayogi and the scriptures say, ‘Listen to the Truth, think about the Truth and meditate on the Truth,’ and the first part is to listen.”  Actually, I identify this issue within myself, that listening is something that I personally struggle with for certain! One of the fundamental challenges that I face when it comes to reading scripture comes from not being able to truly listen, which is in fact step one in Shri Mahayogi’s simplest indications. So then, the next question was posed, “What is ‘to listen’? Do we really know how to listen? We need to learn how to listen.”

When reading, Where There Is Love, There Is God, the book of Mother Teresa that really inspired me two years ago, I found out that to the Mother listening is absolutely necessary so that we can Love God. In addition, she said that the prerequisite for listening is silence. Reading this at that time made me long to know and reach silence. But recently, I have concluded that my mind, impulsive and active by nature, needs help in this journey toward silence. So, as I mentioned, I very recently decided to use the practice of asana more proactively, in the way Shri Mahayogi has taught us, to give support to my mind in becoming more silent.

During asana, in addition to trying to bring the attention away from the body and onto the breath, I have been reframing the idea of the “long complete exhalation.” I have begun to consider the exhalation as a path or road that eventually leads to complete silence, endless silence. When exhaling along this path, the exhalation can continue, on and on, without end. From the few times that I have practiced this way, I feel a much deeper serenity during and after practice. It brings a sense of continuity between each breath, and between each asana even, which seems to contribute to heightening concentration.

This “experiment” with asana and the breath began very recently. I am hoping that this serenity and concentration will naturally extend on to my daily life at some point and settle in me as silence. I am aware that the most important part is to continue and persevere, every day. To inspire my on-going practice, I went back to the words of Mother Teresa about silence that hold so much meaning for me. I hope they also inspire you to move toward the silence from which we can Love God.


I think it is very important: that union with God. You must be full of silence, for in the silence of the heart God speaks. An empty heart God fills. Even Almighty God will not fill a heart that is full—full of pride, bitterness, jealousy—we must give these things up. As long as we are holding these things, God cannot fill it. Silence of the heart, not only of the mouth—that too is necessary—but more, that silence of the mind, silence of the eyes, silence of the touch. Then you can hear Him everywhere: in the closing of the door, in the person who needs you, in the birds that sing, in the flowers, the animals—that silence which is wonder and praise. Why? Because God is everywhere, and you can see and hear Him. That crow is praising God—I can hear its sound well—that stupid crow; we can see Him and hear Him in that crow and pray, but we cannot see and hear Him if our heart is not clean.

—Mother Teresa, from Where There Is Love, There Is God

~ Karuna

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