I love the Himalayas. I have felt blessed to spend a lot of time communing with its nature and its people. I felt inspired in import hand-loomed woolen shawls from the Indian Himalaya. Here’s why:
1. I wanted to develop a source of income to help me take the time to write and speak. I’m trying to keep my spiritual work by donation as much as possible.
2. I wanted to support the simple local economy of the Himalayan foothills. Simple people raise sheep and goats that range freely. They weave their wool in hand-looms to make shawls that are ideal for meditation. It was Mahatma Gandhi that championed hand-loomed textiles as an ideal way to provide a livelihood for India’s people.
3. I have always used shawls for meditation. It is said that wool insulates our energy from grounding and dissipating. When we mediate sitting on a shawl, or with a shawl wrapped around us, it becomes charged with our energy. Our minds become accustomed to retreating into silence when we prepare for meditation by assuming a meditation posture and wrapping a shawl around us. I always bring a shawl to sit on when I attend a satsang, church, or spiritual event. (note, shawls are just a help and not essential in any way)
4. I wanted to model alternative ways of doing business, with consideration for the product, the makers, the environment and the customers.
Shawls have been used in India for generations instead of jackets. They aren’t practical to wear when working on your car, but they are nice for wrapping around you in mediation or at a gathering of friends. You can bundle up in one or wear it as a scarf.
I’ve admired the idealism in folks wearing hemp clothing as an environmentally sound, sustainable fabric. For cooler climates, I feel that hand-loomed wool from free ranging sheep and goats is a viable source of sustainable garments.
I recently gave up a mediation shawl I carried and used for 22 years. It was time for a fresh start. I picked up one of shawls to replace it. They feel great to me and I was inspired to share. At some point, I hope to transcend the need to sell shawls and delegate it to some dear friends.