AN OFFERING OF LEAVES

 
 

A collection of wisdom.

I recently stumbled across this beautiful book at my local yoga studio. I wasn't necessarily looking for a new book, but I took a quick glance as I was waiting for the class to ready itself. I found myself absorbed and a calmness began to flow through me. The stories are sweet, simple and eternally humbling. 

About the author

For many years at the Jivamukti Yoga School in NYC and throughout the country, Ruth Lauer-Manenti a highly regarded yoga teacher, has been offering her students 'dharma talks"– stories from her life that accompany her classes and represent the yogic commitment to ahimsa (non-violence), compassion and service. Some of these talks have now been collected in a book, many of them accompanied by a reading from classic Hindu texts. Composed with humor and sensitivity.

One story

Shakunthala's Birthday

Nadam is the sound of God, which can be heard by all when the mind is still.

Sometimes if you're at the right place at the right time, you may hear something that causes your own individual mind to stop. All of your thoughts dissolve, and all that is left is beyond. 

I have a dear friend in India named Shakunthala, Shakunthala means 'feather of a peacock". In my mind, she has a hard life, because she has polio. Her family saw her as being flawed and a financial hindrance, and so abandoned her, and she went from one orphanage to the next.

One year I was in India, Shakunthala's birthday was coming up, and I was thinking I'd like to do something special for her–maybe take her out to eat, or go to the spa up in the hillside. I asked her if she had plans for her birthday. She said, "Yes" and lit up. "I've been saving money all year and I have enough to buy rice and dhal to cook and take to the orphanage nearby in Mysore." So, on her birthday, she was gong to see these children to give them love, affection, and food.

Listening to her and thinking, "Gosh, I was going to take her to the spa or to dinner." As I was standing there, I could feel the shift of energy, as I was being lifted out of ordinary dullness. I recognized that I was standing in the presence of real wisdom. This ascension of energy is a fundamental principle of yoga, and what I heard awakened my goodness. I will always remember how I felt when I heard Shakunthala say what she was doing on her birthday. I know that having explored what that meant to me has completely changed what I do on my birthday. They say that what you do on your birthday sets the tone for the rest of the year.

An Offering of Leaves is the perfect gift for the aspiring yogini and any spiritual seeker wanting to live with thoughtfulness and integrity.