“Someday, after we have mastered the wind, the waves, the tides, and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of Love.
Then for the second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered Fire.” ~ Teilhard de Chardin
I love this quote. I was first introduced to it this summer by Grammy award winning singer songwriter Jennifer Nettles, of Sugarland. It is so meaningful to her that she included it in the release of their new CD, Love on the Inside. Love on the Inside is a beautiful Mantra, and is in essence what this newsletter is about. Recalling the love and Fire that is enkindled within our own hearts.
I recently returned from a week-long retreat in MayaTulum, where I studied with my teacher, Yogarupa Rod Stryker. The nature of the training was The Six Gems of Para Yoga, of which Agni (Fire) is one. Fire is a main theme in Tantric Hatha Yoga, and according to Yogarupa, Fire is the basis of what we are attempting to become. There are techniques in yoga to draw from in order to create an internal, bright blaze, powerful enough to consume those things (our patterns, habit and tendencies) that are not helpful to us. The result is enthusiasm, passion, courage and creativity. One becomes more fearless and powerful, a shining example to others what a human being is capable of. The first verse of The Rig Veda (sacred text of Vedic hymns) is “Om Agni Mide”. I meditate on the Fire who moves me to the front of existence. I awake to this Fire and I myself become awake. This Fire is living Spirit and is at the heart of every sacred tradition.
During the retreat I was able to remember and experience first hand the power of this tradition. Even though it has been an extraordinary year for me I came to the retreat a little more disheartened and fearful than usual due to the current economic status, insecurity, and self-doubt.
One of the first things Yogarupa said in his welcoming notes was to use this time together to fortify and create sthira (steadiness). This is an opportunity to stand at a precipice, to go deep and light your own fire, to make it strong so that nothing can disturb your peace. He also reminded us of another practice called Vairagya, which one of its meanings is to let go and trust. The intelligence that has our best interest at the forefront is still alive. It is a matter of letting go of our illusions and shifting our view.
Thus began a week of refined practice using fewer postures with more focus and emphasis on breath, in fact, using the posture to change the way you breathe. Within a matter of days there was a palpable shift in my whole Being that continues to this day with consistent practice. This is Vidya, or the Science of Yoga. Combining skillful use of posture and breath, energy will change and move you to a better place, where you can remember yourself as embodied spirit. We also did hour-long meditations each morning. A little daunting, yes, but that is a form of fire in and of itself!
The result: abundant inspiration, a deep sense of Gratitude, and renewed commitment to growing myself on this Path and transmitting these teachings in a more meaningful way.
Rod also encouraged us not to be too hard on ourselves; that of course our first thought or inclination in these current times may be toward fear and doubt. That’s human. Acknowledge the thought, and then remember that you have choice over what the second thought is. Will you stay mired in turmoil or access Agni, your own inner light, to process and move forward? The tradition teaches us to become the master of our mind and to recognize that we have choice.
Forgetting can be painful but remembering is soooooooo sweet!!!
A wise and tender quote from Rumi-
“If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished”?
So... I forgive myself my self-forgetting and today, choose to remember myself as Divine.
Following this timely message, pertinent and powerful, my soul craved the beauty and mystery of the vast ocean. I took a walk on the beach and deliberately paused to look up at the stars twinkling, studded across the inky sky in an array of organized chaos. I sat down to take in and appreciate this extraordinary, ordinary wonder hidden from city-dwellers, when suddenly a gossamer cloud, milky grey covered my view, thin not viscous, so as to only veil briefly the beauty behind its mask. As the soft evening breeze teased the cloud away, the stars flamed brightly. Nothing had changed except the illusion that they had disappeared. As my eyes adjusted, the sky was even more abundant than ever with these fiery gems of brilliance, and I saw more and more clearly how Nature is a beautiful metaphor for Life. As I adjust my view and dissolve the illusion, my natural grace and contentment is revealed and remembered. I have rediscovered the fire and love that dwell within!
Wishing you a Bright and Brilliant New Year of Joy and Delight!