May Greetings from Jonathan Foust: Three Kinds of Faith, Photography and More



To receive a monthly newsletter,
please signup here.



A coin has two sides.   Here in Northern Virginia it has been remarkably cool and wet, which has prompted yearning for some consistent and reliable warmth.   On the other hand, it's probably the most vibrant year I've ever seen for wild flowers. The cool weather has retarded the leafing out of the trees and has made for an optimal environment for the the ecosystem of the forest floor.   May you flourish through the spring and onward.   spacer-25

Three Kinds of Faith

Years ago I was driving through the deep south. I turned on the radio and heard a preacher say, "To be a good Christian, don't think. Obey. Obey what your preacher tells you."   "Wow," I thought. That's one way to live your life.   The more I thought about it, the more I realized thats exactly I lived my life for many years in relationship with a spiritual teacher. "The guru sees what you cannot see,” we were told. “If there is any discrepancy between what you think and what your guru tells you, follow your guru."   There's some wisdom in that teaching. If someone is further along in their spiritual journey, one would hope they have cultivated a greater sense of wisdom and compassion and can serve as an helpful and benevolent guide.   There's a shadow to this teaching, too. Many people believe what their doctor tells them and would not dare question the opinion. Many believe what the news tells them and what the leaders of their particular political party tell them. When we fail to question authority, we lose our power.   Blind Faith cultivates an innocence that can be sweet, but can also be naive.   There's another kind of faith that comes with practice and rigor. Verified Faith.   The Buddha repeatedly said, "Do not believe a word of what I am telling you. You need to investigate through your direct experience and determine if it is true for you."   Verified faith only comes with intentional investigation and a healthy dose of doubt. For example, consider the 'Three Characteristics of Reality' as outlined in Buddhist philosophy:   Anything born of causes and conditions is subject to change?   Anything you try to control will lead to stress, dissatisfaction and suffering?   There is a relative self and an absolute self?   We can take these three characteristics of reality with blind faith, but true transformation arises when you verify them for yourself.   Follow this link if you’d like to listen to a talk I gave recently called "Three Kinds of Faith", or play the video below.      

Upcoming May Events

May 2:

A Meditative Journey: Mindful Movement, Meditation and Deep Relaxation Learn More

May 4:

Evening Class at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington Learn More

May 11:

Evening Class at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington Learn More

May 14-17:

The Energy Intensive at Kripalu Center Learn More

May 18:

Evening Class at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington Learn More    


  Bluebells are the first to emerge in the Spring.   1a spacer-25 Since it’s been like a refrigerator around here all Spring, the bluebells have stayed longer than ever.   2aspacer-25 At sunrise.   3a spacer-25 Canada Geese stars pairing up early.   4a spacer-25 Defending the nest. You’ll find nesting geese about every thirty feet along the islands. This year most of the nests may be flooded out by the river, which rose about three feet due to recent storms.   5a spacer-25 The local Great Blue Heron rookery, way up high, is safe on a remote island just above the falls.   6a spacer-25 Nature looks a little insane sometimes.   7a spacer-25 Baby Skunk Cabbage.   8a spacer-25 Early blossoms.   9a spacer-25 spacer-25

No Time for Meditation

"I like what you say about meditation, but I have no time to practice!"   A manager at the World Bank, where I was teaching a course on meditation, was complaining about how busy her schedule was.   "Do you have, say, ten minutes a day?," I asked.   "No! I do not have ten minutes!," she said emphatically in her thick eastern European accent.   "How about five?"   "No! I do not even have five minutes!"   I steered the conversation to what we call, "mindful moments," creating rituals during the day to pause or shift your attention.   Some of my favorites: * Take a breath before you answer the phone. * Close your eyes connect with the breath while your computer is booting up. * Take one slow deep breath at a red light. * Drive with the car radio turned off. * Pause before eating a meal. * She liked some of these ideas and then rushed off to her busy day. * The next week she came into the classroom beaming.   "I have figured it out! I now have my meditation time! When I put my electric tea kettle on in the morning for my tea, from the moment I plug it in to when it whistles, that is my meditation time! I breathe, I scan, I relax!"   I was happy for her. What a clever way to find a ritual for pausing.   Later I wondered how much water she actually puts in the tea kettle.  

Latest from the Blog

Meditation: Space and Effortlessness 30′

Conscious Conflict

Trainings and Retreats

Three Kinds of Faith

Going for Refuge

The Hero's Journey


Upcoming at Kripalu

I head up to Kripalu Center to lead The Energy Intensive with Shobhan Richard Faulds in a few weeks. This intensive three-day program is heavily experiential. We joke that the didactic section is about seven minutes long.   The program focuses on raising both energy and awareness. Here are Seven Principles of Energy that serve as our guide:  

1. Yoga teaches that our universe is made up of prana and chitta, or energy and awareness.

2. When our inner flow of energy and awareness is blocked or out of balance, we experience separation from our true nature.

3. As we release into the flow of energy and awareness, we return to a natural state of harmony and balance. Balancing energy and awareness is the Kripalu path.

4. When energy and awareness flow freely through the emotional body, we experience optimal emotional balance and health.

5. When energy and awareness flow freely through the mind, we experience inner peace, clarity, and insight.

6. Energy is intelligent and evolutionary.

7. Energy follows awareness.

To learn more or to register for the retreat, click here.    kripalu-event-may spacer-25  

Five Breaths, Five Scenes: At the Falls

These scenes are from Great Falls, one of the largest waterfalls on the east coast of the United States where the Potomac River falls 80 feet in a quarter mile. The river is in mild flood stage, providing some nice drama with the morning light.   Previously these videos used a four-second inhalation and exhalation. This one stretches it a bit with five-second inhale and exhale.   Best at high definition.   spacer-25


To receive a monthly newsletter,
please signup here.

      iTunes podcast here, online listening here, stitcher here, and Jonathan’s YouTube channel here.