Monday, September 24, 2012

Grace, Ease and Lightness

To offer no resistance to life is to be in a state of grace, ease, and lightness. 
This state is then no longer dependent upon things being in a certain way, good or bad. It seems almost paradoxical, yet when your inner dependency on form is gone, the general conditions of your life, the outer forms, tend to improve greatly. Things, people, or conditions that you thought you needed for your happiness now come to you with no struggle or effort on your part, and you are free to enjoy and appreciate them - while they last. 
                                                                               ~Eckhart Tolle

I know this quote is not written in poetic verse, but occasionally the thought touches me in such a way that I want to include it. Here Tolle offers some great advice about surrender. Not easy to do, but actually quite simple. 

To just let go and allow life to unfold is a lifelong practice for me. When I can "be" without struggle or effort, it truly is amazing ~ that state of grace, ease and lightness.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

We Are Nothing, the Light is All

From within or from behind, a light shines through us upon things, 
and makes us aware that we are nothing, but the light is all.
                                                                                               ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every wisdom tradition talks about the light and how life comes from it. We are told that we, too, are made of light. In fact, at my recent Yoga immersion weekend, I learned a chant that has become my favorite mantra: I am light, only light, eternal light.

There is something incredibly comforting as these sounds resonate within me. I find myself repeaing them at the most unusual times. While making dinner, I look out the window at the setting sun and softly chant, "I am light, only light, eternal light." Walking through the grocery store, the words ring gently in my ears. Again, driving to an appointment or returning home, I hear this lovely thought. 

This wisdom has woven itself into the fabric of my being. Engaged in conversation, checking email, writing, weeding the garden, walking our dog, watching television, preparing for sleep ~ whatever the activity, this mantra returns reminding me light shines through us all and we are that light.  

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fresh and Alive

There are two things: to be and to do.
Don't think too much about to do - to be is first. 
To be peace. To be joy. 
And then to do joy, to do happiness - on the basis of being. 
Being fresh. Being peaceful. Being compassionate. 
This is the basic practice.

It's like a person sitting at the foot of a tree. 
The tree does not have to do anything, but the tree is fresh and alive. 
When you are like that tree, sending out waves of freshness, 
you help to calm down the suffering in the other person.
                                              ~ Thich Nhat Hahn  

Last night I was at a meditation with over 50 other people. It was a 
lovely experience. I think what impressed me most was this idea of 
"being." We sat sending out waves of just being. The calm peacefulness 
in that room was palpable. An amazing side effect for me was a deep, 
restful sleep; one the best I've had in years!

I like the image of being like a tree. They are strong and grounded. 
They can endure extremes in the weather and they move gracefully 
with the wind. They have the uncanny ability of bringing joy and 
equanimity to those who gaze upon them with gratitude. Buddha 
found enlightenment under a tree. Mary Oliver, Wendall Berry, Rainer 
Maria Rilke, and many others write beautiful poetry to trees.

Such grace to be like a tree...       

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Something Terrific

I have become my own version of an optimist.
If I can't make it through one door,
I'll go through another door - or I'll make a door.
Something terrific will come
no matter how dark the present.

~ Rabindranath Tagore

These last several months have been intense. During other times of my life, I might have called them hard or even painful, but I have become my own unique version of an optimist. One thing that Yoga has taught me is that nothing remains the same in this world; life is constantly changing. If there is sadness or pain, it will arise and dissolve. If there is awe, wonder, happiness, and joy, it will come and it will go. 

If I can remember this, detachment is easier and I am more likely to find another door or if I'm feeling a wave of creativity, I might make a unique pathway through whatever is happening. Of course, it is never as easy as the words sound. The pain and the darkness are very real, even when they are hauntings from the past.

This is when the breath takes front and center stage. Yoga is all about the breath. Returning again and again to each inhale, each exhale, each pause, brings me gently to my center. Resting back into the breath, my core being connects me to all of life, to oneness.  

It is then I know beyond any shadow of doubt, something terrific will come...

Monday, September 17, 2012

It Is Lovely

I am the spirit within the earth.
The feet of the earth are my feet.
The legs of the earth are my legs.
The strength of the earth is my strength
The thoughts of the earth are my thoughts.
The voice of the earth is my voice.
The feather of the earth is my feather.
All that belongs to the earth belongs to me.
All that surrounds the earth surrounds me.
I am the sacred works of the earth.
It is lovely indeed, it is lovely indeed.
                                 ~ Navajo Song of the Earth Spirit

I attended a Yoga Immersion weekend in St. Louis and the teacher, Saul David Raye, weaving beautiful teachings from the Mayan and Native American cultures into our practices created a space for amazing and deep connection. There are a couple of thoughts that continue to resonate for me. 

First, he reminds us Mother Earth is in peril. She needs for each of us to not only connect with her, but to change the many ways we hurt her. For we all are contributing to her cruel suffering and she will die if enough of us don't wake up.

As well, it is so very important for us to live each moment fully present, fully grounded. He suggests we go outside and touch the earth each day ~ to be in nature as much as we can. Just breathing the air and seeing all of nature will help to stay awake.

Of course, Yoga is so intimately connected to the breath, the prana, the life force that being in the breath is absolutely crucial to our survival and to our ability to be in the present moment. There are simple deep breathing techniques to practice every time we notice our breath. Coming back again and again to the breath and letting go into who we truly are.

The Yoga we practice is prana- and heart-centric. It is vital that we open our hearts in each moment ~ to ourselves, to each other, to every living thing in creation. It is through the open heart that we truly flow with life. It is through the open heart that we find our way. It is through the open heart that we connect with our divine purpose.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wisdom for Living Each Day...

Yield and overcome, empty and be full.
Have little and gain, Have much and be confused.
Not putting on a display, not justifying,
Not boasting, not bragging.
Be really whole and all things will come to you.

                     ~Lao Tsu~

Over the years I have returned again and again to the teachings of Lao Tsu. The Tao Te Ching is so concise, yet packed with wisdom, the kind you can read differently each time the words appear. This morning what touched me were these: 

                   Be really whole and all things will come to you

Wholeness is basic to who and what we are. But so often we don't recognize we are whole. We feel disconnected, or powerless, or hopeless, or sad. For me being whole isn't about having everything. It's more about yielding, surrendering to that divine source of all creation. Being empty, just being...