The Hridaya Yoga vision is the reason behind the Hridaya Community Project: the aspiration to create better conditions for more and more people to reveal their True Nature, the Spiritual Heart.
Many yoga and meditation schools primarily focus on the technical aspects of the practice. The ways in which the techniques are echoed in daily life are often ignored because it is difficult to inspire and teach people in real-life situations. This can be done much easier in a spiritual community.
But, in spiritual communities in which formal teachings and practices are missing there may be limitations. It is true that people like nice communities in which they can “feel good,” sharing the same aspirations, principles, ideas, etc. Nevertheless, even in such conditions there might be the risk of remaining on a horizontal plane, not having enough spiritual dynamism and efficiency. This problem can be easily overcome if people are supported by a 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.
This is a beautiful expression of Padmashambhava’s advice: “Descend with the vision while ascending with the conduct. It is most essential to practice these two as one.”
Therefore, the Hridaya Yoga Vision and our community represent the framework in which people are encouraged to have both a formal and informal spiritual practice, both collectively and individually.
In terms of inner transformation we can refer to two main approaches:
The improvement of the personality (becoming a better person)
The deconstruction of the ego (transcending personal patterns) and the revelation of the true Self
Even though these two approaches do not necessarily exclude each other, there may still be a huge difference between them.
The Hridaya Community is oriented towards the second type of approach (which naturally leads to the conscious improvement of behavior). Therefore the emphasis is not on “nice” social interactions, but on encouraging inner values, Self-Enquiry, Stillness, love, and joy. It gives support for affirming and sharing deep inner aspirations in a variety of ways.
We are not looking to bring spirituality into our daily life. That would mean that spirituality is just an annex, a plug-in, and daily life is what really 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 of people in which profound spiritual values are already very present, because of the deep transformations and inner spiritual maturity that have already happened in them.
In order to have Self-Enquiry, love, and the constant awareness of the present moment there is a need for spiritual maturity, a different level of consciousness that represents the background on which the relationships in the Hridaya Community happen.
If the experienced members of the community (the teachers and administrative team) naturally act with an open heart, 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 blasé and bored, then the living core of the community radiates. They can act as a catalyst and inspiration for all the other people in the community. They can be the living examples of the fact that the paradigms we use and the practices we do are valid. And thus, they can be an inspiration for other people to live in the same way.
The Characteristics of the Hridaya Community
- We respect each other beyond roles, appreciating the gifts each person can bring, supporting the beauty and the inherent creative power that lies in every soul. Thus, real love can grow.
- We encourage spontaneity, and this gives the freedom, freshness, and dynamic character of the school and of our relationships.
- We are inclusive. As long there is a real aspiration for transformation, even people with moral and psychological problems are welcome. It has already been shown that the community is a proper environment in which people with traumas and psychological blockages can cure themselves. But, the community as a whole needs to be strong enough in its radiant compassion and balance in order to support this.
- We bring enthusiasm into 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 in which specificities are ignored.
- 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 the faith that a meaningful education should come out of love. Thus people “learn” humbleness, honesty, the non-dual approach of meditation and hatha yoga, because they love it.
The Paradigms and Principles of the Hridaya Community
- Daily life affirmation of the Consciousness of Oneness (This means that essentially there is only one inseparable domain of the Heart. Really understanding this principle makes us able to apply it to all our activities.)
- Living with an Open Heart (an openness which is happening both inside and outside)
- Cultivating the background of the Stillness of our being—which is the Real Knowledge, jnana, which is also the radiance of Love, bhakti
- Learning together, continuously, as students and teachers, to be beyond roles. Here we are not learning how to assume a new role or position, but to be beyond roles
- Naturally cultivating the Hridaya Attitudes:
- Pure intention
- Generosity, charity
- Goodness (kindness, forgiveness)
- Sincerity (honesty, truthfulness)
- Patience, tolerance, forbearance
- Perseverance, diligence, discipline
- Enthusiasm, joy
In Love of Service,