You see, the founders, my teachers Sharon Gannon and David Life, are big proponents of saving lives, including but not limited to wild life. Where they live now is a land they bought when a real estate broker friend told them that a developer was about to buy that piece of land. That piece of land was going to displace a lot of wild animals, so they gathered all the money they could, and even though they couldn’t really afford it, they bought the land so the animals will continue to keep their forest home. They built their own home within a small fraction of that land so as not to disrupt the animals who were living there before them.
And so, yes, Jivamukti is a little bit different, because while it may be common for other similar practices to teach breathing exercises and yoga poses and meditation, Jivamukti is the only practice I know of that explicitly teaches feeding the birds. My teacher Sharon Gannon just published a book called Magic 10 and Beyond, and yes, one of the practices there is to, you guessed it, feed the birds.
I think it’s rather kind that when most practices are focused on what we can get out of something, this is all about giving, providing, supporting, nurturing, protecting, and caring for someone from whom we want nothing in exchange. If you have a garden, put out bird seeds, feed the birds. If you’re like me, and you live in a building and don’t have access to wild life so much, we can still practice by feeding other animals, we can feed stray cats who are often out in the streets; we can feed homeless human beings; we can donate to feeding programs. It’s a wonderful thing we can all do to nourish other beings, and keep our own spirits full.