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Jivamukti Focus of the Month

Gathering of the Tribes

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sat-sangatve nissangatvam
nissangatve nirmohatvam
nirmohatve nishcala-tattvam
nishcala-tattve jivanmuktih
bhaja govindam, bhaja govindam
bhaja govindam mudha-mate

Good and virtuous company gives rise to non-attachment. From non-attachment comes freedom from delusion. With freedom from delusion, one feels the changeless reality. Experiencing the changeless reality, one attains liberation in this life. I-AM is the ocean of awareness. Realizing this, one feels “I am not the body and mind, although I have a body and mind.” Realize Govinda, realize Govinda, realize Govinda in your heart, O wise one!

From carpata-panjanka by Shri Sankaracharya. Translation by Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati

Satsang is often defined as the company of like-minded people in pursuit of the truth. When a tribe’s common interest is pursuit of truth – then it is a satsang. The Jivamukti Yoga global satsang is a tribe.

Suffering is the result of bondage stemming from bad company, and misperception of the true nature of reality; resulting in the pursuit of sensory entertainment to avoid the gathering sadness. Good association leads to freedom from bad association. When we experience the support and community of good association and the freedom from bad company, we experience freedom from a life of misconception on a level of mental disorder. Then we no longer perceive the world mistakenly we start to perceive the subtle and real nature of the world at an essential level. This process leads to jivanmuktih, or the condition of total liberation from suffering.

Together we are on a vision quest for a world living in peace and harmony among all tribes – Forest tribes, water tribes, air tribes, tribes on plains and deserts, tribes of animal people, fish people, bird people, mountain people, valley people, and even city people.

We are sending out a drum call for the 2018 Tribe Gathering, and we are all getting very excited. We are excited because so many of you will come to New York City from all over the world and once again we will feel the support and benefit of our amazing global satsang. So many of you tell me that you feel isolated in your little corner of the world. Well, we can feel isolated in New York too! There is really nothing more lonely and isolating than living in the midst of bad company. When you feel the support of others, you can be the change you want to see.

The experience of tribe is universal. All cultures in the world today emerged from tribes of all kinds in our distant past. These tribes predate the creation of nation states, and are rooted in cooperation in order to thrive. We learned how to form tribes from studying herds of bison, flocks of birds, and schools of fish. We formed tribes to lessen suffering…and it worked! We all practice yoga to lessen suffering…and it works!

The meaning of the word tribe has changed a lot through history. Tribe even became a disparaging term during the times of colonialism. The actual etymology of the word is somewhere between the Latin tribus and old French tribu, probably referring to the three tribes of ancient Rome, which became 35 tribes 240 years before Christ. Perhaps you feel a kinship with the twelve tribes of Israel, or the Norse tribes of Vikings or the Germanic Iron Age. Do you count yourself among the members of Native American Tribes or First Nations, or even a Maasai, Himba, or Zulu? There are too many tribes to name. The important thing is that you know we can all find our common ancestry in these social groups existing outside nation states and largely self-sufficient. Then we can gather together the tribes into a modern tribe of diversity and compassion.

“In his 1975 study, The Notion of the Tribe, anthropologist Morton H. Fried provided numerous examples of modern tribes that encompassed members who spoke different languages and practiced different rituals, or who shared languages and rituals with members of other tribes. He concluded that tribes in general are characterized by fluid boundaries and heterogeneity, are not parochial, and are dynamic.” Wikipedia

Modern tribes are clearly different from the mainstream and dominant society. Jivamukti is a modern vegan tribe of truth seekers who gather together to experience satsang and empowerment to liberate others from suffering – and to make history.

Teaching Tips

  1. Dedicate part of your class to a mini-satsang. Use the focus of the month, not as a lecture, but as a launching platform for sharing and expansion of liberation technology.
  2. Read and discuss stories from many tribal sources.
  3. Use a simple circle dance to unify and charge the class environment with shared group experience.
  4. Encourage people to share a story of experiences of their tribe or clan, in the physical world or dream world.
  5. Use guided meditation to take people on a vision quest to give inner guidance to their life and guidance about how to work effectively to end the suffering of all beings.
  6. Encourage students to reduce excess, become more self-sufficient and hold potlatch.
  7. Encourage students to create small gatherings (pot-lucks) of friends to discuss philosophy, history, cosmology, and veganism.

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