Welcome The Light. #21
Solstice, the stilling of the sun
As the days grow shorter and the night lengthens in the northern hemisphere the winter solstice arrives and marks the apparent stopping of the sun’s march southward. The opposite journey unfolds with the summer solstice.
It is a pause. Then, the lengthening of the day begins. We are now in that trajectory. The light is coming with or without our assistance. In the darkest time we celebrate the light, we welcome the light.
Our truest power is in our response. Don’t curse the dark, bring the light!
Two cycles- two streams- inhale/exhale- contract/expand- two currents: extroversive and introversive. Yoga is the exploration of interiorized states of awareness. It is the trajectory of growth in consciousness, the steeping of awareness in the light that is always present and full and thus an expansion of our sense of self.
Through the practice of yoga, in its fullest capacity- postures, breath, quieting of the mind, deep meditation, we are able to rest awareness in the space of that pause, as it were. Emerging from the source we are refreshed, renewed and refined. We are changed, subtly at first, but it is cumulative in its effect and we recover the never to be lost knowing of our fullest self.
Imagine living life from this standpoint? Imagine living life in and from the light with the true knowing that you are indeed of that light. We do not have to imagine.
First introversive, go in, explore the vastness of interiorized states, then the exploration of outer life, the exterior states that comes so naturally to us are supported and heightened; possibility expanded, joy increased, steadiness rooted. Light that is the source of everything expands naturally, spontaneously.
Life indeed looks different at different stages. Life is different at different states of awareness. As we celebrate this season of light we recognize and embrace the light that is source. Welcome the light of your own heart.
Sacred and Profane #20 December 18, 2017
When one enters a cathedral, be it man made or the halls of nature’s creations, deep woods or soaring canyons, there is a sense of sacredness. The arches reach up to the heavens in yearning and exaltation and we, small creatures that we are, come into the womb of vastness. They are designed to put us in our place as it were. There is more here than first perceived.
We enter and take a breath, deep and full as if drinking in the sense of sacredness. Taking into self that which is regal and majestic. Yet, there is something that speaks clearly, ‘I belong here”. There is a recognition of something deep inside that resonates with the sacred. We feel at home. Perhaps this is our higher self meeting self in the world. Recognition is a mysterious thing, comforting, inspiring and sometimes frightening. No matter, to be seen for who we truly are is a gift of unreasonable value. It is also our brith right.
We work in many ways to develop a true sense of who we are and then set out to marry it to the life we build. If we are fortunate it is present in our work and our day to day activities but often not. We are seen for what we do, not who we are. Still we seek outwardly to find that which will validate our worth even if we do not say it in those words. All humans long to be of value. It is natural.
The problem is, if we do not know our own worth how can we ever be satisfied at its appraisal? And what of the appraisers we give this power to?
Life is both sacred, full of wonder and mystery; joy and light that is aching in its presence. It is also profane, ugly, unfair; dark and sorrowful. We grow in the presence of that which is sacred, even if we feel small. We shrink and shrivel in the face of the profane even if we momentarily feel bigger.
How is it we can know our true worth? How can we know it directly with no intermediary, in our own experience? Meditation is the trajectory of growth in consciousness, our own consciousness. The evolution of inner interiorized states. We do not indict life. Far from it, we understand its preciousness, its temporariness; its capacity to induce in us a sense of the scared and profane. In doing so, we are compelled, in a deep profound manner to honor it by finding the best way we can to add, to increase, not diminish life and to embrace our capacity to live it fully.
We are not journeying anywhere foreign in deep meditation. We are simply taking awareness to the cathedral we hold within. It is vast and un-bounded, teeming with creativity and when we bring attention here, we merge with that which is scared. Coming out we bring something of that with us, subtle at first but palpable as our sense of subtlety increases. We begin to see life with fresh eyes. Senses that are in tune with the sacredness that underlies everything.
We mirror this sacredness in our very bodies. This vessel itself is a cathedral. We stand on the arches of our feet drawing the energy of mother earth; the pelvic arch connected by the sacrum, the ‘sacred’ bone, teams with the energy that is the procreative seat of human kind; the voice resonates in the arch of the mouth as we cry out to the heavens, I am here! And the dome at the crown of the head, protects even as it opens to the light streaming down from above.
This vessel is sacred and contains the sum total of all our possibilities nestled in the womb of our very own vastness. In deep meditation we rest in the inner most sanctum, in the heart at the core of reality merging with the sacredness that is life. Take time to care for your whole self. The profane will always be with us, but knowing the sacred expands its presence in the world. Know your sacredness. Meditate.
Where Is Genius To Be Found? December 11, 2017
What does it mean to open to grace? For me it is an invitation to welcome the impetus of life anew. It is the opportunity to do so with wonder and amazement at what the partnership might bring.
Wonder is innocence enacted that contains the spark of genius. To be ‘in-genius’ is to be characterized by cleverness or originality of invention; to be resourceful. To see, hear, taste, sense in new and wondrous ways. To be inspired, in-spirit. No matter the authorship, it is never done alone.
Myths offer the opportunity to grasp universal truths that transcend the limited construct of the individual. Partnering with grace is the dance depicted in the symbol of Nataraja enacted on both the cosmic and individual level. To dance in a perfect pas de deux one needs to surrender and flow in time with the music played. Nataraja taps out the beat of life on his ḍamaru drum and life moves. It never stops, until it does. It is the Ananda Tandava, the wild dance of life. One palm facing out in the gesture of ‘have no fear’, as the finger of another hand points gracefully to the extended foot inviting poise, balance and steadiness as the rhythm pulses to and fro. He steps on Apasmari, the symbolic depiction of our cosmic amnesia. The loss of the wholeness of our truest nature and fullest capacity is represented by that demon of forgetfulness.
How do innocence and surrender play into something so clearly in need of skill and intelligence? Innocence is a supreme practice in that it lends itself to total presence of what is with no forced configuration of what might be created, while holding the outline of container. It is possibility without imposed contraction. It is wonder with all cylinders firing. Surrender too is a sublime practice in that it frees one to move with grace. Neither is mindless, though both require release of the limited mind in order to create. In truth every sort of intelligence is necessary in life. Indeed we must open to expand our intelligence in every possible way if we are to reach our potential. In this we must open to grace, to the possibility of a more fully realized life, a more fully realized humanity.
Grace is the light that is the source of this day, this moment, this breath. She is the light that beats our heart and pulses the blood through our veins. We are vessels of light as it moves through every fiber of our beings. The container has only to be cleaned. To dance with grace then is to be innocent without relinquishing intelligence; surrender without complacency, with all senses heightened to possibility.
And what of genius, where is this to be found? In deep meditation we melt our limited identity in its cosmic source and reclaim for a time, the wholeness that is each individual’s source and birth right. We emerge refreshed and subtly changed . Daily, that reclamation is built upon and we find latent talents and skills brought to the forefront. Possibility is expanded and courage the spontaneous byproduct of effort because it is rooted in our deepest core.
To be inspired then is to be ‘in-spirit’; to dance with the muse that is not other but our very highest purest self. Merging, melting individual awareness in the embrace of source Is to know subtlety, expansion and possibility because it is the source of every creative impulse. There genius is revealed.
Come, open to grace that is always present everywhere. All that is needed is innocent surrender to what you already possess and a practice that will effortlessly move awareness to the core of deepest reality. Meditation is the natural practice of innocence and surrender that effortlessly brings us home. Home, not as a barricade but as the source of support and power.
Emerging dance gracefully, skillfully with wild abandon and poise no matter the tune. Hear the music of your muse. Surrender to the charms of your light. Open to Grace. Meditate.
Wisdom and Growth #18
“Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”. Joni Mitchell
Yup. It takes such courage to be human. To wake up, greet the day and move through it with purpose, hope and service. We build our lives on a tacit belief in certainty: the sun will rise again, my eyes will open, my breath will nourish me, my heart will beat, my mind will provide me with information necessary, my body will perform accordingly. My life will be better today then yesterday or at the very least, as good.
And then, something happens. Our health declines, injury occurs; the job is over, insurance vanished, the foundation we thought was there turns out to be a house of cards. We move through life as if there is certainty built all around us but in truth, everything, everything on the surface of life is mutable. We believe we have control until we experience we do not.
Still we must move, we must live and so we embrace this unspoken belief, that it will be there, all of it, until it isn’t. Why then do we ask for certainty before we will move when it comes to change, to risk? Where is this to be found? Yes, there is the need for due diligence, intelligence and what we might call ‘soul searching' before we make big changes, but how many times do we prevent ourselves from growing simply because of doubt?
Doubt. The Tanrtic tradition says this too is a form of the goddess. Doubt can drive us to get clear, to search out information, gain knowledge or she can play the role of demon, and stop us from shifting, from growing to whatever degree possible at the moment. If we waited to be truly certain, to have the 100% conviction that arises from the experience of certainty we might never move. It takes great courage to be a human. How much more so to be a fully realized one.
Practice listening to out hearts and mind, that is a practice of courage. Wisdom of the heart that can only be heard when we take the time to truly listen; that can only be applied when we marry it with our intelligence and knowledge. Naturally we look to expand the later, we go to experts of every kind, teachers, professionals. But what of the heart? How do we learn to listen, to truly hear its voice?
We must clear out the debris, quiet the noise of everyday life as beautiful and awe-inspiring as it can be and go inside to the silent depths of the heart. As the days grow darker, we are naturally invited in to settle, to snuggle near the flames of hearth and home. The spark of that flame emanates from the core of reality, the core of our very beings. Here there is wisdom.
Courage does not mean foolishness though it may look as such to one who is not listening. We perform due diligence and then we leap. The practice of asana teaches us to have confidence, flexibility and a certainty born of experience. We quiet, go inside, listen to the teacher, take our courage and manifest. What the pose looks like, how far we go is not important. Only how we meet it.
And still, we look for certainty, for what is un-mutable and unchanging. It seems to be inbuilt. We know that 100 % certainty it very very short on supply, if at all. Even though we say we know we will die, no child truly believes it or should. Life is too precious to think about its ending no matter that as we age that is exactly what we are asked to do.
What then is un-mutable, unchanging, eternal? And why are we driven to taste it? Consciousness, energy does not die, does not end. Where it goes after death is a mystery and the answer dependent on our beliefs. But this science tells us, energy does not die. The yoga tradition tells us that is the same energy that breaths the body and beats the heart and so too, is eternal.
Meditation then is the trajectory of growth in awareness; the journey into source that is dynamically alive, pulsing at such a high rate it appears silent yet is the source of everything including certainty.
We have an inkling, an inbuilt mechanism, the call of the siren that sings to us that says, there is more. There is something that is unchanging, eternal and I want to find it, experience it, taste it. This is what sets us on a path. Some call it a spiritual path and indeed it does fill the spirit but I prefer to think of it as a life path because it permits the fullest living of life possible now. Not at some future date. There is more but we have forgotten. This is the dance of Natarja as he steps on the demon of Apasmari. The demon of forgetfulness.
Naturally we ask, how do I recover what has been forgotten, lost? What is the method? How do I find that path and travel it? How do I rest awareness in that which is the place of all dissolution and eternally the source of every creative impulse?
Meditate. We do not meditate for any one time as beautiful or peaceful as it might be. We do not judge any one session as inconsequential or unsuccessful as fiery it might be. Meditation is cumulative in nature. We soak awareness in the light that is colorless and contains all colors. Such that when we come back to the surface we bring something back with us and we are changed. This change is subtle at first and asks us to to take note. To do this we must heighten our senses, strengthen our body and mind, pay attention. In a word, practice.
It is a double benefit too. Yoga in its fullest, brings us experience and knowledge of this eternal never changing condition and it refines the very mind body we use to take note, to recover, to remember. We do not practice to get out of life or because it is all an illusion. Far from it. The Tantric masters say this life is a gift so much so, that we need everything working on full throttle so we can partake and delight in its joys and be steady and helpful in its challenges. It matters a great deal. Over time, with practice and stabilization, our senses heightened, we bring what is known in deepest meditation out to our so called ordinary life. Though we come to understand more fully that there is nothing whatsoever ordinary about this life.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary OliverThese words remind me that life is entirely what I make of it. I am compelled to make the most by being the most fully realized human possible.
Courage. It takes great courage to be a fully realized human. Do not let doubt stand in your way. Use her to know your heart for certain. Meditate