I am moved. I am moved by an awakening within my body and spirit to come alive, to leave no stone unturned, no question ignored. I have been inspired by the discovery of a beautiful light within, as though life itself has begun waking up in me, galvanized by a practice consisting of conscious breath and posture. Exploring the physical practice of yoga has been like unearthing a jewel. A jewel of infinite light revealing facets of brilliant colors and quiet, mysterious pathways. The enchantment of body and breath coming together in sweet unison evokes a remembrance, a recovery of an inner beauty of the soul, obscured by years of neglect, fear, disregard and even personal disdain. A surprisingly honest exposé maybe, but how easy it is to lose yourself in the day to day existence, getting caught up in societal pressures and ignorant of the sweet taste of the oasis within.
This practice has produced a pearl. A pearl of courage to finally and fearlessly explore who I am, re-discovering and redefining my relationship with Spirit. This has been an area of my life that I had buried, stuffed away. Resisted. An area I had not made peace with. A big part of my childhood that I had disowned. The strong spiritual influence of my family as a child had been rejected so that I could find acceptance in a world that rarely made space for God. I have found that the very nature of religion provokes a friction between people that I preferred to avoid. I had abandoned spirituality because I had not been able to find a path of resonance. I was disenchanted by any association to religion and turned off by the establishment.
The discomfort had immobilized me for years and the time has come to stop pushing it aside.
To be moved in the direction of the heart may be a broad definition of the spiritual, but I have found it is this feeling that is waking up my desire for connection. I believe heart consciousness is one of compassion, devotion, offering and unconditional love for all beings. It is all encompassing, all inclusive. To me, this is the essence of spiritual connection.
My own glimpse of "atma hrydaya" or heart consciousness has drawn me to India. I must admit I was not excited to visit a country known for its masses, poverty, disease, corruption and lack of infrastructure. But, India offers the opportunity to disorganize and re-organize my whole world. After a fair number of years studying yoga asana (postural practice,) pranayama (breathing), mantra and Ayurveda (sister science of yoga in lifestyle and health) I felt called to overcome my resistance, acknowledge my path as a Bhakti yogini, and make the leap across the ocean to honor the roots of this ancient practice that has changed my life in every wonderful and positive way.
It's been just over a week since I arrived in Mother India. India's religions are Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. I find it completely fascinating to see these religions in all their fullness here. I love seeing the devotion of the heart represented in all forms. I feel the tender nature of spirituality as humility, surrender and love for this gift of life.
Yoga for me has become the bridge back to relationship with the organizing intelligence that supports all life, to that which is greater than the individual. To God.
I have come to India to explore how the physical path ultimately connects us to ourselves and each other. In this way I am finding my own way back to a sweet relationship with Spirit, myself and all aspects of this life. As Kahlil Gibran so delightfully and peacefully relates, “I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are of one religion, and it is the spirit.”
(Thank you Maria Garré, my wonderful Ayurveda teacher, for sharing this quote.)