Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Learn to Die

Thou shalt understand that it is a science most profitable, and passing all other sciences, for to learn to die. 
  – Heinrich Suso

Over that last several years it has been my good fortune to be with my mother and my mother-in-law as they complete their lives. In our culture, it is not easy to talk about death and for many it stirs deep fear and an unwillingness to let go. It becomes a terrible struggle or a long slow painful nightmare.

All of the great teachers and gurus tell us to recognize we are not the body and to let go of whatever attachments bind us to this body. If we don't, the experience of dying will certainly be difficult. What a tragedy because death will come. It is only our response to it that we can prepare for.

Ethnath Eswaran, a great spiritual teacher, says, "There is great artistry in this. Death comes and growls something about how our time has come, and we just say, 'Don’t growl; I’m ready to come on my own.' Then we stand up gracefully, take off the jacket that is the body, hand it over carefully, and go home."

Monday, December 10, 2012

Eternity is...

There is a misconception that Eternity
is somewhere in the future.

If you want to touch Eternity,
dive deep into the present. 
~Ivan M. Granger~

We grow up with so many fairy tales. I loved them all, especially the ones where the handsome prince or dashing knight swept away the maiden from all of her misery and lived happily ever after. I think I became so enmeshed in the storyline that I quite literally waited for my prince charming to rescue me.

For many years I measured my life by the future. Three weeks until Christmas; two months until graduation; 15 minutes until his flight arrives. I was constantly waiting for my life to be begin or be better or different. If I wasn't wishfully projecting into the future, I was brooding or reminiscing about the past. I wish it were still summer. Why did I say that? What I would give to be back in that place or with those people.

I'm not sure when the change occurred, but it was certainly gradual. First a fleeting thought, perhaps something as simple as "just enjoy this moment" would appear. More and more often these thoughts would arise and along the way, a Yoga teacher or two would remind me "to stay with the breath."

It's a practice, they would say. I went through periods of trying, putting a lot of disciple and effort into the idea of "being present." It seemed an impossible task. But one day, quite unexpectedly, Presence found its way into my heart and has remained to this day.

That is not to say, I don't ever anticipate some future event or remember something from the past. But it's different; somehow, I feel free to just be in each moment and let this miracle of life unfold.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

It Simply Is...

Make everything in you an ear,

each atom of your being,

and you will hear at every moment
what the Source is whispering to you,
just to you and for you,
without any need for my words or anyone else's.

You are-- we all are-- the beloved of the Beloved,
and in every moment,
in every event of your life,
the Beloved is whispering to you
exactly what you need to hear and know.

Who can ever explain this miracle?
It simply is.
Listen and you will discover it every passing moment...

In Yoga Nidra we practice the art of blissful relaxation. Last month, I chose this Rumi poem to begin the meditation. Rumi has the amazing gift of reaching over centuries of time and mountains of cultural differences to touch me with the perfect word or idea. Exactly what I need to hear or know. 

Yoga Nidra offers the gifts of deep relaxation and profound inquiry. As the body/mind softens and releases tension, effort, thoughts, emotions and images, the practice begins its magic. Travelling inward this journey explores the inner realms of consciousness.

Peeling back layers of habits and thought patterns, moving through emotions and deeply held beliefs, we settle into that sacred space, the spiritual heart. From the vast inner place we find comfort, healing, nourishment, joy, acceptance, loving kindness and compassion.

This is where you connect with that eternal being ~ who you really are. From here you know, without knowing, exactly what you need to know as each moment of life unfolds.