Saturday, November 26, 2011

Inspiring words from Steve Jobs

In his commencement address at Stanford in June 2005, Steve Jobs tells 3 stories -- the first is about "connecting the dots", the second is about love and loss, and the third is about death. I found it to be a very inspiring piece filled with words of wisdom. I keep going back to it again and again, reading through the full text. Here are some excerpts:

On "connecting the dots"...
"Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever."
On love and loss...
"Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers."
On death...
"No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life."

Friday, November 25, 2011

Concert at the Yoga Farm: Stephen Longfellow Fiske

Following the Thanksgiving dinner at the Yoga Farm, and after the meditation and chanting, we had a concert by Stephen Longfellow Fiske. Stephen was an acid rock musician in San Francisco before he became a disciple of Swami Satchidananda, who was a contemporary of Swami Vishnudevananda (the founder of the Yoga Farm) and they both shared the same guru, Swami Sivananda.

Stephen visits the Yoga Farm multiple times a year. He usually has a concert performance on the opening day of the Teacher's Training Course at the Yoga Farm, a month long course where people train to become teachers of yoga in the Sivananda tradition. The courses are held twice a year in May and in October.

I've sat through several of his concerts here at the Yoga Farm and always find his music inspiring even though the concert has more or less the same format and songs every time. This Thanksgiving, he entertained us with songs such as "In my imagination", "Go for it", "Green City", and some peace chants. About the only one I can recognize on a commercial album is "Green City" which is part of his album titled Stephen Longfellow Fiske.

He shared with the us the inspiring story of Andy Lipkis, whose dream was to plant a million trees, and who at the time didn't have a clue as to how he was going to accomplish it, but then went on to found Tree People.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Concert at the Yoga Farm: Jai Uttal

Yesterday evening at the Yoga Farm, instead of the usual discourse following the evening mediation and chanting, there was a concert by Jai Uttal, a Grammy nominated kirtan musician. He was accompanied by Joss Jaffe on the percussions and Dr. Dennis Chernin. The event must have been well advertised as it was very well attended. The Yoga Farm was packed and there were many familiar faces that I have met over the years -- ex-staff, ex-students, etc. I've only seen the Yoga Farm this packed on events such as Thanksgiving.

Jai Uttal's singing filled the room with a lively energy. The format of the songs was call and response. Between songs, he'd tell us stories from Hindu mythology such as the story of Hanuman. At one point, he was in the middle of a story at a really interesting part of the plot and he asked "Should I finish the story or should I sing?" The crowd was unanimous -- "Sing!", they chorused. On the way out, I bought one of his CDs, but I found that it is really not possible to capture the energy of the moment in a recording.