I had the good fortune to recently spend a month in the chaos and grace that is India.
As we journeyed to temples, meditated in caves, dipped in the Ganga, and absorbed the rich wisdom teachings, I felt an extraordinary shift in my consciousness begin to occur. The big transformation happened on the banks of the holy river. Here are some of my insights:
1 – Grace is always available.
Beneath the surface of the fluctuating mind is a constant, ever-present ocean of grace. When you stay on the surface, you only experience the chaos. You get easily agitated by the commotion, the honk of horns, the cow pooh in your path. You resist and fear the unknown, wanting to control what is happening around you. You suffer.
In every moment, no matter what is happening on the surface, you can inquire deeper. Simply drop into your breath. Notice the beauty in the reflection on the water and in the eyes of those you see. Settle into the rhythm of your heart and soften into the flow of being. Experience the miracle of life happening in each moment. Here… Grace is here.
Grace is always available. Our task is simply to make ourselves available to Grace.
2 – Trust the natural flow.
Nature is ultra intelligent. Not only are the rivers and mountains and birds and bacteria a part of this natural intelligence, but so are you and I. The life thriving on this planet is a miracle of natural intelligence happening every single moment.
Nature’s got this.
You or I attempting to assert our “will” upon her is silly…futile. A much better choice is to harmonize with her divine flow. Don’t force yourself against the current. Surrender into the natural intelligence guiding you. Don’t try to control it, or mold it to the desire of your ego-personality. Get silent. Listen from deep within the silence. Be patient. Wait for it. When the knowing comes, trust and flow.
3 – Over-efforting is way over-rated.
In our culture, over-efforting is a way of life. Everyone is constantly trying to make something of themselves to avoid being a “nobody”. Being way too busy is normal and the status quo is constantly feeling “not enough”.
Whoa, nelly. Who agreed to that one?
Instead of encouraging us to be “somebody”, the essence of yoga really teaches us to let go into nobody — to merge our isolated, individual ego-personalities into union with pure consciousness. We understand that we are all sparks of the same brilliant light. We are all meant to shine, just as we are. We are born into this life innately enough. The journey is to remember that.
4 – It is all one big, happy paradox.
There is one, infinite and indivisible, AND there are many. They are both true. You are spirit AND you are human. They are both true. This universe is infinite and limitless AND from the perspective of the human nervous system, time is limited. They are both true.
We can embody and experience our infinite, divine nature AND live an ordinary human life, taking care of the kids and washing the dishes.
It is not one or the other. It is both and.
Open your mind to the understanding that paradox is the nature of life. Release the rigidity of “right” and “wrong”. Get curious about what you think you know. Open yourself to all possibilities.
5 – The mind will never go away.
Even if you achieve “expert meditator status” you will still have thoughts. You will still experience the monkey mind. Fears will come and go. You will sometimes feel irritated.
Something Anand Mehrotra said resonates so deeply for me: “Enlightenment is not the end, it is the beginning of life.”
You simply awaken to the paradox. You understand that the monkey mind is not everything. You get better at letting the thoughts pass right on through without sticking. When the ego rears its fantastical head, you ignore it and look towards grace.
As I integrate back into the rhythm of life here in Colorado, preparing for our annual yogi reUnion at Hanuman Festival this June and the launch of our new online Hanuman Academy, the course with Anand Mehrotra, I am so grateful for these revelations. Yoga is an ever-expanding journey. No matter if you are new to yoga or have practiced for decades, there is always something to understand and embody at a deeper level.
This June 15-18, 2017 in Boulder, CO we gather for Hanuman Festival, our conscious and heartfelt national gathering, to study with master teachers and grow in powerful ways. Featuring Seane Corn, Rod Stryker, Amy Ippoliti, Sianna Sharman and so many others. Experience the power of nourishing community to uplift and inspire your highest potential and wellbeing.
And next March I will be back in Rishikesh for another epic Hanuman Adventure, and until then and forever more I choose to live yoga each and every moment, on and off the mat. Jai Hanuman!