And coming into the Oakland airport I heard people talking about what looked better on them while checking their cell phones at the same time, and I thought, “Welcome home.”
We are here to enjoy. It’s about 200% of life, and we don’t want to be without this world. But you want to be very conscious of what you bring into your life. Yes, you can love everyone, but you don’t have to welcome everyone into your home.
At the same time, we walk this path so we can help others. It was a great way for me to find non-judgment and not to think we can guide others by describing where we are at: “I’m at the top of this mountain, and let me tell you, there are these beautiful flowers and fresh air here. Come join me!”
I have to remember where we have all come from and where we can all go and step by step help other people to put the right foot in front of the left. Sometimes you have to join them in that darkness and still whisper something. It really helped me find this perspective. Yes, it’s nice to have sunshine and rainbows, but that’s not all the truth.
It’s like that quote by Rabindranath Tagore: “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted, and behold, service was joy.”
You never know when that one person is listening or whom you can learn from. Sometimes the person blinded by anger can be your greatest teacher in that moment. Everyone deserves to be helped and to be listened to and to be thought of equally.
200% of life: Follow your Self
You teach both Transcendental Meditation and yoga. For you, how do the two complement one another?
JULIA TULSI BAGNOLI: There are some people who have this belief that they are not able to sit still. Or that they don’t want to be spiritual and that meditation somehow involves spirituality. There are many walls and veils that we can put up. It’s like that Rumi quote: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
Meditation takes us right there. We slip in innocently, like a drop of water returning to the ocean.
Yet some people are not ready for it, and they need one more taste to draw them deeper. Yoga is a nice way of helping take down those walls, whether physical pain or destruction in the mind. In the modern world, we’ve forgotten the purpose of yoga, which is to help prepare the mind and body for meditation.
Sometimes yoga can light this fire inside, this yearning: “What comes next? I want more!”
Some people come to my yoga class just for the exercise and then they experience the benefits. So one day they say, “I’m curious— tell me a little more about this.”
So, for me, yoga is that gateway to either taking down those walls or sparking that inner fire, to acquire the thirst for more. Whenever people are ready, they will approach. So I like to be here on all these different levels.