Tag Archives: Rumi

Brighter Than The Sun

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“There’s courage involved if you want
to become truth. There is a broken-

open place in a lover. Where are
those qualities of bravery and sharp

compassion in this group? What’s the
use of old and frozen thought? I want

a howling hurt. This is not a treasury
where gold is stored; this is for copper.

We alchemists look for talent that
can heat up and change. Lukewarm

won’t do. Halfhearted holding back,
well-enough getting by? Not here.” Rumi

The word Niralambaya comes from the Anusara Yoga Invocation.  The invocation is about the true teacher, within and without, the auspicious, intrinsic goodness within our hearts.  Niralambaya suggests that the essence of this teacher, the “Tejese”, the divine luminosity within is independent in existence and completely free from limitation.

At times external circumstances can make us feel rough and worn down.  It can be challenging to trust or believe that our light is still there.  Our yoga practice helps to polish us from the inside out.  We do the work so that we are able to tap into something bigger than us, to source, to an effulgence that can not be extinguished.  Our practice creates an alchemy that melts obstacles, transforming the dull and rough into something that is brilliantly bright.  I have been told that sometimes, at the end of your practice when you have all but exhausted your physical strength, can be an opportunity for you to achieve the greatest metamorphosis.  That when you have to rely on your intention alone, a shift will occur.  We can often find our greatest strength and teachings from those moments when we are tested and feel most vulnerable.

Diwali, The Festival of Lights, began yesterday in India and will last for five days.  During the festival, thousands of candles and lanterns will be lit to celebrate the victory of light over darkness.  Symbolically, the lights can also represent the triumph of good over evil.   Dipali Desai states, “Diwali represents ‘rows of lighted lamps’ but also it represents a time of  lighting up millions of lights or lamps (individual awareness) to dispel the darkness and ignorance, and expand the radiance (Consciousness) of wisdom…”

I hope that we will all light a candle or a lantern to celebrate our increasing awareness and grace.  It is my deepest wish that we will continue our individual practices, both on and off the mat, in order to keep sight of our wisdom even in times of struggle and darkness.  Let us all continue to burn brightly, so that we can collectively set the world on fire with a love that burns brighter than the sun!

Let the Rain

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On the Other Side

     When I sustained a serious wrist injury during a yoga workshop, it was a hard lesson to learn.  It required surgery and months of rehabilitation.  Students would arrive at my classes and upon realizing that the person in the cast/brace was the instructor, they would inquire if they were in the right place.  I found this question mildly amusing due to the fact that during the whole process, from injury, to surgery, to healing, I would frequently ask myself the same question.
     The forecast for this entire week was, originally, all rain.  Even though the earth desperately needed this forecast, I did not.  I was not happy.  Saturday morning I began to feel a bit “under the weather” (pun intended).  By Sunday I had a full-blown cold and my mood continued to deteriorate.  I was sullen about the rain, my cold made me irritable, and I was downright furious that I was grumpy.  This morning, I decided to try a different tactic and to just let everything be as it is.  I stopped trying to resist my mood and gave myself permission to get a little rough-and-tumble with my dark side.  I also began to entertain the idea that a low-key week with plenty of precipitation might be just what I needed.  Ironically enough, both my disposition and the sky began to lighten as I made this shift.
Rumi’s Poem “The Guest House” says it all so eloquently:
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

     The inability to get into a certain posture, the injury, the illness, the weather, the bad mood…these things are not the problem.  It is our resistance to them that creates the problem.  Our struggle with the the things that we have the inability to change or control simply stand to make matters worse.  When we are in the middle of these circumstances, it can be challenging to find the switch, to change our sign from “closed” to “open”.  The illnesses can be severe and the storms can be devastating.  The clearing out process can be painful and finding gratitude for that discomfort can be difficult.
My Grandmother use to say: “Let go and let God.”  I say, let the rain.
 

Fire

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“Fire burning me up
Desire taking me so much higher
And leaving me whole”~Augustana

It has been a particularly long month full of circumstances and situations that have been challenging and uncomfortable.  It has been sprinkled with difficult conversations that I simply could not put off any longer.  My Yoga Practice has allowed me to arrive, on the other side of these events and discussions, in a better place.

Ode Magazine recently published an article called “Championing difficult conversations: It’s not what you say, but how“.  The author, John Kinyon, states: “The human mind, I believe, often wants the peace and security of knowing – as much as possible and ahead of time – what to do.”  This, of course, is unrealistic.  The more time and energy we waste getting caught up in all of the different possibilities and outcomes, the less strength and integrity we possess when actually having the conversation or interaction.  He suggests that one way, perhaps a better way, to have a difficult conversation is to “focus on the how, the process through which knowing what to say and do next can arise out of the present moment, independent (but also inclusive) of one’s worldview, value system and role.”

This is what Yoga prepares us to do.  We learn that with breath, compassion, and honesty we can see ourselves through challenging practices with beauty and grace.  Our practice teaches us to “sit in the fire of the heart”.  Danny Arguetty talks about this In “nourishing the teacher”.  He writes:  “Giving ourselves permission to be present with uncomfortable and intense situations, though often difficult in the moment, is ultimately of tremendous value.”

If you are able to be present, you can place yourself in a less reactionary state of mind and being.  Take a few deep breaths as you witness what comes up for you.  In that pause we are often able to find clarity and we are able to decipher skillful action.

Danny also shares this powerful and pertinent poem from Rumi:

“A chickpea leaps almost over the rim of the pot

where it’s being boiled.

“Why are you doing this to me?”

The cook knocks him down with the ladle.

“Don’t you try to jump out.
You think I’m torturing you.
I’m giving you flavor,
so you can mix with spices and rice
and be the lovely vitality of a human being.

Remember when you drank rain in the garden.
That was for this.”

Grace first. Sexual pleasure,
then a boiling new life begins,
and the Friend has something good to eat.

Eventually the chickpea
will say to the cook,
“Boil me some more.
Hit me with the skimming spoon.
I can’t do this by myself.

I’m like an elephant that dreams of gardens
back in Hindustan and doesn’t pay attention
to his driver. You’re my cook, my driver,
my way into existence. I love your cooking.”

The cook says,
“ I was once like you,
fresh from the ground. Then I boiled in time
and boiled in the body, two fierce boilings.

My animal soul grew powerful.
I controlled it with practices.
and boiled some more, and boiled
once beyond that,
and became your teacher.”

I am grateful for my practice, my teachers, boiling, and the fire.  I am also grateful for my discipleship, for being a chickpea : )

Fire