“Descend with the vision while ascending with the conduct.
It is most essential to practice these two as one.”
A Spiritual Community Founded on the Teachings of the Heart
Hridaya Yoga aspires to create better conditions for more people to reveal their innermost Self, the Spiritual Heart. This vision was the impetus for the creation of the Hridaya Community.
Many yoga and meditation schools primarily focus on the technical aspects of the practice. The ways in which the techniques echo in daily life are often ignored because it is difficult to inspire and teach people in real-life situations. This can be done much more easily in a spiritual community.
However, in spiritual communities in which formal teachings and practices are missing, limitations may arise.
While it’s true that people like “nice” communities in which they can “feel good,” share the same aspirations, principles, ideas, etc., such conditions may inadvertently keep them on a horizontal plane, failing to cultivate spiritual dynamism and efficiency. This problem can easily be overcome if people are supported by regular practice, as taught in a yoga and meditation school.
Therefore, a yoga and meditation school (the spiritual teachings and practices) and a spiritual community should be like the two wings of a bird: they support and balance each other to bring real spiritual transformation.
The Hridaya Yoga Vision and our community represent the framework in which people are encouraged to have both a formal and informal spiritual practice, collectively and individually.
There are two main approaches to inner transformation:
- The improvement of the personality (becoming a better person)
- The deconstruction of the ego (transcending personal patterns) and the revelation of the true Self
Although these approaches don’t necessarily exclude each other, there may still be a vast difference between them.
The Hridaya Community takes the second approach, which naturally leads to the conscious improvement of behavior. Our emphasis is not on “pleasant” social interactions but on encouraging inner values, Self-Inquiry, Stillness, love, and joy. This supports the affirmation and sharing of deep inner aspirations in a variety of ways.
We aren’t looking to bring spirituality into daily life—that would mean that spirituality is just an annex, a plug-in, and everyday life is what matters. Instead, we reintegrate daily life into spirituality. The ocean contains the waves, not vice versa.
We consider that an authentic spiritual community should rely on a core group of people in whose profound spiritual values are already very present because of the deep transformation they have experienced and the inner spiritual maturity they have developed.
To have Self-Inquiry, love, and a constant awareness of the Present Moment, spiritual maturity is needed. This deeper level of consciousness represents the background upon which the relationships in the Hridaya Community are formed.
If the experienced members of the community (the teachers and administrative team) naturally act with Open Hearts, deeply understand the attitude of Karma Yoga, are honest and humble, have the will to help and serve, and meditate and practice yoga regularly to avoid becoming indifferent and bored, then the living heart of the community radiates. This core group acts as a catalyst and inspiration for everyone in the community. They are the living examples that the paradigms we use and the practices we do are valid. And thus, they can be an inspiration for others to live in the same way.
Characteristics of the Hridaya Spiritual Community
- We respect each other beyond roles, appreciating the gifts each person can share, supporting the beauty and inherent creative power that lies in every soul. In this way, real love can grow.
- We encourage spontaneity. This is the basis of the freedom, freshness, and dynamic character of the school and our relationships.
- We are inclusive. As long as they have a real aspiration for transformation, even people with moral and psychological problems are welcome. Our community has already shown itself to be an environment in which people with traumas and psychological blockages can cure themselves. But to support this, the community as a whole needs to be strong in its radiant compassion and balance.
- We bring enthusiasm to our life. Work and practice are approached not through quantity but quality, and therefore awareness, intelligence, love, and creativity are present. A community can risk rapid degeneration if it is focused only on quantity and a franchise-like style that ignores specificities.
- We hold the radiance of the Heart as the only authority. Temporal authority, which our administrative roles provide us, flows from this knowledge, this love. And, love has its own ultimate authority.
- We have faith that a meaningful education should come out of love. Thus, people “learn” humbleness, honesty, and the non-dual approach to meditation and Hatha Yoga because they love it.
Paradigms and Principles of the Hridaya Community
- Daily life affirmation of the Consciousness of Oneness: This means that there is only one inseparable domain of the Heart. Understanding this principle helps us apply it to all of our activities.
- Living with an Open Heart: Experiencing an openness that happens both internally and externally.
- Cultivating the background of Stillness: This background of our being is real Knowledge, jnana, as well as the radiance of Love, bhakti.
- Learning together, continuously, as students and teachers, to be beyond roles: We aren’t learning how to assume a new role or position, but to go beyond roles and our identification with them.
- Naturally cultivating the Hridaya Attitudes: Pure intention, love, humbleness, courage, generosity (charity), goodness (kindness, forgiveness), sincerity (honesty, truthfulness), patience (tolerance, forbearance), perseverance (diligence, discipline), aspiration, gratitude, enthusiasm (joy), wisdom, and compassion