Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Tenth Door: An Adventure Through the Jungles of Enlightenment by Michelle Herbert

Date: November 29, 2011
Time: 5:30pm-6:30pm
Location: Le Pain Quotidien, 801 Broadway, New York, NY

Golden Loop Scarf

Around this time last year I went to a knitting meet-up at the La Casita Yarn Shop Cafe. While there I found two balls of yarn on sale in this beautiful golden color. I wasn’t positive at the time what I would make with it, but I decided that I wanted to buy it anyway and keep it in my yarn stash for later.

Finally this summer I started the project – a loop scarf that I could wrap around my neck without worrying about it shifting or falling off. There was also some leftover yarn from a past project that I had wanted to use with the golden yarn as well. After a few months of knitting I decided today that I didn’t like at all where the project was going and since I was making the pattern up as I went along I felt no remorse to rip out the entire thing and start over.

Now I sit next to empty needles and two balls of yarn waiting to be crafted into a scarf – and I am so excited! There are endless possibilities! I still plan on making a Golden Loop Scarf of my own pattern, but now I also hope to use the second ball to make fingerless gloves. What I love about this project is not being attached to what it must look like in the end. Patterns are extremely helpful at times, but for now I am enjoying the freedom of my creativity.

Yoga teachings that come in handy when knitting are practice, non-attachment, and letting go of results. In the Bhagavad Gita we are taught that through practice (action) and not attaching to the fruits of our actions, we can attain steady peace. So rather than attaching to the perfection of a finished knitting project, continue to knit and enjoy the process. The journey of a knitting project can be even more enjoyable than the results of it.




What you can and can't change

Today I was walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, and I found that the sounds of the urban jungle were bugging me. The cars rushing below, horns honking, tourists causing traffic jams with pedestrians and cyclists, and the vibrations of the subways. When the agitation was building inside of me I began to wonder why I was wasting my time getting annoyed by the people and sounds around me; I mean, I’ve lived in NYC long enough to know that this is what it is like living in the city.

So then I just stopped to look around. And then I started to ask myself a new question: why was I wasting my time being distracted from the beauty that was all around me – the bright sun, gentle waters, skyline, my fiance, and the joy of a relaxing Saturday afternoon. At that moment I reminded myself that I had a choice to build on the bitter feelings of the crowded city or let go and enjoy my walk. Both the good and the bad were all around me at once, and I had the ability to choose which one I let in.

Sutra 1.2 in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is Yogas Chitta Vrtti Nirodhah (The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is yoga) and it teaches us that the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind is the practice of yoga. At that moment my choice was to practice yoga and recall that the entire outside world is based on my own thoughts and mental attitude.  Or, I could let my mind feel bound by the sounds around me.

There is a Sanskrit saying. “Mana eva manushyanam karanam bandha mokshayoho.” “As the mind, so the man: bondage or liberation are in your own mind.” This saying is a great reminder that if you feel bound, you are bound. If you feel liberated, then you are liberated. Nothing outside of you can bind or liberate you. So when I was walking on the bridge today I could have chosen to feel trapped by the sounds and people surrounding me, or I could have changed my thoughts and mental attitude to enjoy the walk.

When we stop looking outside of ourselves, we realize we have so much more control over the state of our lives. We have a choice at every moment to change our outlook on life and therefore change our lives.

Is there something in your life that you want to change but can’t? Can you change your outlook instead? If you feel liberated, then you are liberated.






This morning I watched a video of Steve Jobs delivering the commencement speech in 2005 at Stanford University.  I highly recommend you watch and listen closely to this inspiring speech.  His words are powerful, insightful, and unforgettable.

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