· Yoga Concept: Cultivating Quiet
One of the paradoxes of the Holliday season is the contrast of light and dark. The season invokes a spiritual connection to the light while we are experiencing diminished hours of daylight. Both our spirit and our bodies crave the light, especially as we approach the darkest days of winter. For some though, moving out of the angst that comes with the season is not an easy thing and the noise and activity of it all can become overwhelming. Pressures big and small affect our lives and the circumstances in which we live. It is my understanding that our experience of darkness—both literal and emotional—can be the very catalyst for profound growth and transformation.
We are born with an inner desire for spiritual fulfillment; our experiences from the time of birth to the present shape our sensitivity to that inner calling. Indeed, for many, the weight of life has eclipsed that yearning for connection to spirit. In times of darkness, hope and a sense of deeper meaning are lost to the circumstances before them. My message is that even in those moments when we feel a sense of diminished light, it remains steady and always accessible. The innate call to experience higher consciousness and to gain access to the deeper truths of our divine nature may wax and wane like the phases of the moon, but these are conditions of the individual. The reality of spirit is that it is always present, though it may be hidden from view, like the sun on a cloudy day or the moon on a stormy night.
These proverbial clouds and storms of life are forces for growth and spiritual evolution; they are opportunities to break through the occulting veil of maya, the limiting force of Consciousness that restricts the knowing of our true and splendorous nature as divine beings. The good news is that this limiting force is part of the divine order of things and serves as Spirit’s way to make it possible to exist outside of its own intrinsic unified consciousness. Yogis call this the divine dance, or lila, in which the Supreme, in its unlimited capacities, amps-down its own power and light as it pours itself out into the diversity of the material world. This transpires on such a high level that we seldom grasp the significance of our own source and how It is present all around us, indeed It is everything, ourselves included. We remain like a fish in the sea not aware that it is wet. Pondering the significance of this can make all the difference in whether or not we make peace with all aspects of our life, including the shadow side (or more accurately, the blocked light). Seeing through our challenges and how Spirit resides in all things, in all conditions, has the potential to bring in a stillness and quiet that can heal the soul and calm the heart.
Discipline, discernment and persistent spiritual practice are key in shaping our perception of our reality and remain our greatest hope for experiencing some inner quietude and peace. I’ve explored many paths to understanding the process and have found that of most importance is the willingness to open to the presence of Grace, partnering with the proverbial hand of God. As a yoga teacher, I find that it is my primary job to find the language and significant teachings that break through the cultural and personal experiences that tend to hide us from the truth of our own intrinsic goodness. In this light, Yoga is the art and science of creating a “union consciousness” between our humble humanity and our experience of life in partnership with the Absolute. This opens our doors of perception to the truth that we are an aspect of the Divine experiencing existence—in all its diversity and depth of feeling—through us.
My own life has given me ample experience to face the shadow and come to recognize that there is no prerequisite condition to live a spiritual life; all life is a spiritual experience of one degree or the other. Whether we see it as such or not. We all face many shared conditions shaping and molding us through our human frailty and limitations. The bottom line is that as we live through the limiting conditions of being earth-bound we can come to the realization that our life is not a mistake, nor is it a punishment. It is an opportunity to bring the highest of consciousness into the mundane.
In facing life’s challenges I choose to focus on how we are also given opportunities to experience the sublime. The Tantric teachings of Yoga use images of the contrary compliments—light and dark, expansion and contraction, connection and disconnection—to explore the reality that ALL of what we experience is an aspect of the Divine’s shakti, or creative power expressing itself before us. The contrasts are the very forces that create the power for transformation and can fuel our growing capacity to comprehending the diversity within the One and celebrate it. Whether we “see the light” of this connection or not, it is good to know that there is always room to grow and expand our understanding through personal practice and conscious choice. When we begin to look for the light and commit to refinement, the deeper meaning of our life unfolds and we begin to radiate in our own light; Grace descends and lifts us up. The proverbial storms that rock our world quiet down when we journey inward to taste the sublime recognition of the highest within. The source of all being and meaning can be found in the inner stillness.
My wish for us all is that we take the time to make the balance between the forces that diminish our radiance and those that draw us deep into the understanding of the wonderment that is the blessing of our life. Opening to Grace, as my teacher Paul Muller-Ortega states, is the recognition that Absolute Consciousness lights up our inner life as it calls itself to itself. He states that, “As the light breaks through the clouds, it brings with it exquisite sweetness.” I encourage you to look for the proverbial silver lining and explore what profundities of life are presenting themselves to you as you walk your unique path of life, as you work through your issues. Your journey has the potential to bring in great power and an understanding that will not only transform your perception of who you are but will connect you to the sweetness that is our shared spiritual nature. Change, challenges, and the dark nights of the soul can be profound catalysts for growth and as such should not be lamented. This teaching is summed up in the following poem by Rumi:
· Seattle Sacred Spaces: Local Places of Inspiration and Practice
· 2014 Mexico Yoga Retreat – May 4th thru 11th
A Week of Inspiring Yoga in Sayulita, Mexico with Will Doran
Come join me as we cultivate a sweet intimacy of yogic practice and shared community of Spirit. Explore practices that will teach you ways to cultivating space for delight in your every-day-life in this week-long retreat full of rejuvenating movement, meditation, nourishing food, and a deeply peaceful lifestyle. This special retreat in Sayulita, Mexico is a time for nurturing your soul and expanding your capacity for equanimity and the delight of being. I love sharing my time and teaching with yoga students and what better place to do that than on retreat in a beautiful “peace” of tropical paradise.
Class Schedule and Services
My annual New Year’s Day Yoga class has filled. If you want to be placed on the waiting list let me know and I will notify you if an opening occurs.
I also provide:
~ Private Yoga Instruction and/or therapy (Give a gift of a private session to a friend!)
~ Special group yoga and/or meditation classes at your location
~ Officiating wedding ceremonies
~ Personal Life Coaching
· Suggested Media
Movie: In One Voice. Featuring mystics from many of the great spiritual traditions around the world, this illuminating documentary explores the unity of humanity, reveals our essential oneness and spreads the single message that binds all faiths together. (Available on Netflix on demand)
Book: The Last Laugh by Arjuna Ardagh.
This is a moving story of a man’s adventure of the heart and spirit. “This moving story of one man’s journey from profound darkness to the light powerfully illuminates the central struggle of modern times to find a new way forward. The Last Laugh is chock full of wit and wisdom but also that rarest of qualities in modern fiction: hope.” (Amazon.com review).
May your heart be filled with peace, joy and light.
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