This summer I made a first trip to the west coast, where two of my sons currently live. Along with a wonderful chance to drink in the verdant beauty of Victoria, BC, the trip also afforded me some precious time to rethink how I am called to “mother” now.
When my children were small, so much energy went into loving them and making sure they were safe and happy. As they’ve become independent and moved on and away, there have been little moments of panic – how can I keep them safe now? They’re so far away…!
The realization crept upon me that it was always only an illusion that I was ever keeping them safe. The universe flowed through me to nurture and protect them… and the universe still does this, not only through me, but through other channels as well.
There is a sweetness in this truth. Love is infinitely creative, constantly manifesting in new and unimagined ways.
The universe truly has “got our back”!
There has been a little turbulence in my life lately – some of my own making, some from other sources… I’ve been looking at how I respond/react… At times, it’s in such a way that increases suffering, at other times in such a way that is a little more skillful, and may even invite in the possibility of happiness.
But in all this, the question: who is the one doing these actions? A good person? A bad person?
I’ve recently concluded: neither. It’s all a flowing context that includes me (and everything else). And what is important is, do my actions increase the suffering in this context – or do my actions lessen the potential suffering in this context – ?
I cannot rest on any previously acquired “laurels” saying that I am a “kind/compassionate/patient/loving” person, because then I go ahead and succumb to anger and have a meltdown that places me into a different category entirely!
The “suffering/happiness” that my actions create is all that matters.
If only I can bear this in mind when it comes down to the crunch! A little pause to reflect on the potential consequences of my actions, enough to allow reason to influence the decision to respond with kindness, compassion, patience, and love.
Through all of life’s turbulence, may I respond with kindness;
Through all of life’s turbulence, may I respond with compassion;
Through all of life’s turbulence, may I respond with patience;
Through all of life’s turbulence, may I respond with love.
– pranayama and prayer, poetry and Paterson.
Starting with Paterson , a brilliant and unconventional film exploration of what it means to move through the world as a poet. Please find space to let it move through your world.
Pranayama and prayer: I’ve been thinking a lot about these two lately, with the conclusion that they aren’t two, but one. The pulsation of breath is prayer, although we mostly remain unconscious of it. Life is about becoming conscious breathers and aligning our life force with the greater Life Force that moves through us in these tidal waves.
Prakrti pulsating (more P words!) in praise! (Pure poetry…!)
set in motion
by primordial vibration
the universe blossoms into being
unfurling in colour, shape, texture, sound
Yogasana, when practiced steadily and for a long time (dirgha kala nairantarya) , prepares the way for an awareness that moves beyond the “little S” self and out into the universe.
Saint Paul exhorted the early Christians to “pray continually”. I don’t think he meant that one needs to go around saying Hail Marys and Our Fathers continually. The whole of creation prays continually – our very breath is a prayer. Krishnamacharya said that as we breathe in, God moves towards us; as we hold the breath in, God remains with us; as we breathe out, we move towards God; as we hold the breath out, we remain with God.
Cultivating an awareness of this sacred breath in asana and pranayama will allow our practice to radiate out into the universe and become a tool for transformation.
So this practice that I love so much is really not meant to be something just for me. It is seva, service, to the world.
(We personify this nurturing aspect of the universe, from Mary, Mother of God to the tiger-riding, weapon wielding Durga. Mother echoes in all the Indo-European languages…)
first tastes the universe
riotous manifold manifestation