Coming in March: Wednesdays With the BMCM

Dear Blue Mountain Blog Community,

We, the blog team, are writing to you with an exciting announcement. At the beginning of March, we’ll be launching our new weekly inspiration email: Wednesdays With the BMCM!

This weekly offering will replace our Blue Mountain Blog – but don’t worry, it’s designed to offer you the same spiritual support and inspiration with even more resources!

What is Wednesdays With the BMCM?

Wednesdays With the BMCM will be a weekly email sent out on. . .  you guessed it, Wednesdays!

Just like with the blog, each week we’ll feature an article with a story from a member of the community, or an article, audio or video from Easwaran, or a news update about what’s going on at the BMCM.

In addition, Wednesdays With the BMCM will offer you some curated resources on the topic of the article. For example, if the main Easwaran article is on Slowing Down, your weekly email might also contain a link to a story from the community providing an example of slowing down in action. Or, there might be links to specific passages to help you cultivate qualities or practice the eight points. Or maybe we’ll include links to instructional resources to help you refresh or deepen your practice.

Dive Deep on Topics That Interest You!

There are two main reasons we are making this change. The first is that we have many digital resources that we want to show you – from Easwaran articles, to community stories, to passages, to books, to eight-point program instruction. We want to facilitate your exploration of these offerings and help you dive deep on the topics that are interesting and useful to you. 

The second reason for the change is that we want to consolidate our digital offerings. So we’ll publish our new content on the bmcm.org website and share it from there. This means that although the yameditation.org site will remain active, we won’t be publishing new content on this site.

For those of you already subscribed to the Blue Mountain Blog, you’ll be automatically subscribed to Wednesdays With the BMCM, and at the beginning of March the email will come directly to your inbox! New subscriptions are always welcome – you can sign up in the box on the right hand side of this page at yameditation.org.

We look forward to continuing conversations with this community, and seeing all of you over at bmcm.org.

We can’t wait to spend our Wednesdays with you!

Best,
The Blue Mountain Blog Team
(soon to be Wednesdays With the BMCM Team)

Eknath Easwaran: Pursuing Peace

In response to the turbulent and challenging times the world is facing, this week the BMCM sent out a special message to its audience. Often Easwaran would respond to global problems by sharing words of deep spiritual wisdom. In this article, curated by our editors, Easwaran offers hope, inspiration, and direction.

Blue-Mountain-Blog-Easwaran

Mahatma Gandhi has said that to be well adjusted in a wrong situation is very bad; in a wrong situation we should keep on acting to set it right. But in order to reconcile individuals, communities, or countries, we have to have peace in our minds. If we pursue peace with anger and animosity, nothing can be stirred up but conflict.
 
Meditation and the allied disciplines enable you to take your convictions deeper and deeper into consciousness, so that they become a constant source of strength and security – even when you are severely challenged or threatened. When you practice meditation, you are working hard for the welfare of the world, for the regeneration of society, for the establishment of peace on earth and good will among all, which, as we know to our cost, cannot be done by governments or by corporations but only by millions of little people in little groups, working in all countries, through their personal example.
 
When I read newspaper accounts of individuals, factions, and governments unleashing provocative words and actions against each other at the same time they are trying to settle their differences, I am reminded of the wise statement attributed to Mahatma Gandhi that an eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind. 
 
These tragic confrontations are caused by utter forgetfulness of the deep unity that underlies all petty differences of religion, ethnicity, language, or national identity – a forgetfulness that leads to never ending violence, war, and destruction.  Speaking as a spiritual teacher, let me humbly submit that a true and lasting peace can only come about through the awakening of a deep sense of shared humanity.

How meditation helps

In the mystical tradition it is said that the human appeal and the divine response go together. If we deepen our desire for God’s help by memorizing and using in meditation sublime testimonies of the highest qualities a human being can attain, we can bring into our daily lives the deep faith and unshakable security of the great mystics of all religions. By training our attention on magnificent testimonies such as the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi (“Where there is hatred, let me sow love”), or the Twin Verses of the Compassionate Buddha (“Hatred can never put an end to hatred, love alone can”), or the twelfth chapter of Gandhi’s beloved Bhagavad Gita (“That one I love who is incapable of ill will and returns love for hatred”), we can become what we meditate on.  Through this method of meditation we will begin to understand that a human being can become an immense spiritual force barely contained in a physical form.

It all depends on us

If each of us, through the example of our own lives, can inspire two more people every year to meditate and to live at peace with those around them, it will have an incalculably great effect in creating a climate of peace.
 
That is my ambition, and that is why I say I am a terribly ambitious man.  You and I make peace. You and I make war. It all depends on us.

New Online Course: Q&A with the BMCM Programs Team

We're excited to announce the launch of a new six-week online course focusing on instruction in meditation and the eight points. The new course launches on February 24. This post features an interview with the BMCM Programs Team, in which they answer questions about the new course and its content. Learn more about the course.

Photo from our interview with the BMCM programs team!

Photo from our interview with the BMCM programs team!

It's great to see a new type of program being offered. Can you give us an overview of the new course?
Sure! We're thrilled to be trying out this new type of online learning. This new course is a six-week introductory program to learn meditation. Each week we'll cover one or two of the eight points so that by the end you'll have learned the whole program and have everything you need to start your practice, with plenty of support and inspiration along the way.

That sounds really helpful. How will participants be engaging with the material and the course?
Each week we'll be sharing readings or videos from Eknath Easwaran, the founder of passage meditation, so you can get instruction directly from him. These will be complemented by videos from BMCM presenters, who will offer suggestions on how to implement these instructions in your own life. We'll also be sharing video stories from our worldwide community of meditators sharing tips on how they use the eight points, and describing how they've seen the benefits in their own lives.

We'll also be offering a discussion forum, where participants can ask questions and share reflections about their own experiments with passage meditation. You'll be able to share as much or as little as you like, and will have the opportunity to call on the group for shared wisdom!

How is this course different from other BMCM offerings?
We have lots of programs for friends who are already established passage meditators, and you can learn more about them on the Programs page on our website. For anyone who is looking to start a passage meditation practice, in addition to this course we have two other offerings: our free, one-hour webinars, and our in-person introductory weekend retreats.

Our webinars are a great opportunity for anyone, anywhere, to learn the basic instructions in passage meditation. It's a free offering held several times a year. But, it's only an hour! This course will provide much more in-depth instruction, and allow you to actually try out this practice and have an opportunity to come back and ask questions based on your experience. There will be lots of opportunity for interaction with the presenters as well as with your fellow participants, so you'll experience spiritual community too.

Our introductory weekend retreats are held at our beautiful retreat house in Northern California, and each retreat has around 20 participants. This is a wonderful immersive experience, since you'll be participating in workshops on the eight points, with plenty of time for trying out meditation and getting questions answered. Of course, not everyone can travel to California! The online course allows you to get in-depth instruction regardless of where you are in the world, and to self-pace your participation so that it works for your schedule.

Speaking of schedules, how much time will this take?
We recommend that you plan on spending around an hour a week going through the course material. In addition, we recommend that you start meditating for 30 minutes every morning as soon as you can. The course is completely self-paced, so you can manage your participation to fit your needs. You're welcome to participate in discussions as much or as little as you like.

Who is this course right for?
Short answer? Anyone who's interested in meditation!

If you don't know anything about meditation, this course will give you everything you need, and will give you time and space to figure out if this practice is right for you. The same holds if you do know about meditation, but are looking to see if passage meditation is a good fit for you.

If you've read some of Easwaran's books before, or learned the instructions in meditation, and are working on starting a daily practice – this course will be a great help! Each week we'll help you integrate this practice into your own life and make it a habit.

If you're already a passage meditator, this course is a good resource for anyone in your life who's been looking to find out more. If you need an extra boost yourself, or if you're not yet practicing all the eight points, you might find it helpful too.

Where can we register?
You can visit our webpage for the course and register there. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions – we hope you'll join us in February!