Live Music – video streamed from the Ashram!
Live Music – video streamed from the Ashram!
I was restocking the snacks today; re-filling the chocolate bars and trail mixes that we had run out of and putting into storage the ones we still had out on the shelves. I couldn’t help but buy a bag for myself to munch on in my mid-afternoon energy slump. I’ve been hungry lately. Partly it has to do with my participation in the hatha teacher’s determination to go to morning class. The beginning of January marked a noticeable shift in early morning attendees. We’d all met to plan how to implement the teaching theme of symbolism into daily hatha classes and came out of it agreeing that the best way to see how it was going would be to actually go to class. The subsequent classes got so full alternateroom arrangements had to be made with some teachers even having to be told they wouldn’t be able to go. (Swamis certainly don’t usually go to morning classes, anyway). I’ve been, therefore, increasing the amount of waking hours in my days. This change, as well as the increase in the amount of physical activity in my usual sedentary days, has increased my appetite.
Is that really it though? What is it that I’m hungry for? When I compare my daily activities to what they were a year ago at the beginning of the last YDC I can’t help but notice an incredible change. I’ve changed and with that my roles have changed. It’s with some measure of incredulity I pass by the two year mark of living here. Two years that don’t include the four months I spent here when I first came nor the four months I scrambled around in Lethbridge striving to make it back here. The latter of which give me the mental image and memory feeling of some sort of frantic break-dancer that doesn’t quite realize the role of gravity, lying prone on the floor beseechingly and ineffectually searching for something to hold onto, trying to stand. Eventually the task proved not so futile. After Satsang the other night I, along with 54 other people, prostrated at the altar and walked the guru-lined corridor to the coat room. There I noticed how we entered into some sort of elegant dance with meditation benches being returned to their pegs on the wall, scarves wrapping around necks, prayer shawls being folded under arms reaching to return a pillow to the shelf. It was like this spontaneous, free flowing dance in time with the gentle hum of mantra from the temple seeping into the simple choreography. Maybe it’s all this dancing that’s got me so hungry.
The Divine Light Invocation mantra affirms that I am sustained by Divine Light. Truly feeling that at every level of my being is what nourishes and satiates me. Sometimes I get this broad perspective on my life. I can see that there’s really no such thing as an answer, career, or feeling that will last forever and that really being content in a single moment will bring me to fulfillment of my potential in this epic dance we are all a part of. It is in those moments of expansiveness that I know we’re all playing this raucous game with ourselves, fooling each other into thinking we’re anything other than the pure Bliss of the Universe. There’s the occasional wink off a reflecting wave crashing on the shore or the simple flip of an evergreen branch in the wind that tips me off. It’s all a big playground here. Like a Vegas buffet – a true feast for the senses. We get to take it all in and nourish ourselves with every single part of it.
I know I’m not really hungry for food. I’m hungry for the stuff of life. Each vibrant, effervescent moment that expresses itself in the most mundane and awkward exchange as much as in a heartfelt expression of easy compassion. Taking it all in with acceptance frees me of thinking I want or need more. Really, I am provided with exactly everything I need in every single moment.
Check out my TEDx talk if you haven’t already
It was a lot of fun and a great community event.
My lack of posts certainly reflects a large part of my reality: I’ve been really busy. It’s a really wonderful kind of busy where I can watch myself signing up for things to do or being assigned things to do or creating things to do that are all really quite wonderful.
The holiday season was, in the end, a time of Light and rest. It started off pretty bumpy and full and finished with space and nourishment. The YDC has begun! Another three months of a group of people fearlessly facing themselves with courage and willingness. Ok, there’s sometimes a bit of fear – but certainly loads of courage and willingness. This year it’s an honour to be teaching in it and watch both the students and myself learn and grow (and it’s only been 5 days!).
I’ve been thinking about Satsang lately. Thinking about this time at the end of every evening where the community gathers to sit together in quiet and worship. I remember with acute vividness the first Satsang I ever offered. I spoke about Mantra and forgot my notes in Mandala House. By the time I realized it the building had been locked up. Luckily some people were leaving at just the right time and I was able to get in and retrieve my carefully prepared homily. I nestled into the beach prayer room with those that were supporting me – we were practicing in small groups and with partners to ease the responsibility of it all since it was so new – and I offered satsang.
As the weeks wore on we moved back into the temple, filling that great white dome with our thoughts, prayers, and gratitude. A couple of months passed and Satsangs were prepared and offered. I remember one day about a year and a half ago there was some sort of mix up and I didn’t realize I was offering that night. At lunch someone asked what I was going to talk about and I was surprised it was me who was offering. I had a wicked headache siege me later that day but nevertheless was able to gather it together to lead the community through this ceremony we participate in. And with half a days notice! I took it as a great sign I was able to integrate and communicate what it is that I’ve learned here.
I think back to my experiences offering Satsang over the last two years and how the experience has evolved. A couple of weeks ago I only realized I was offering satsang at 7:00 that night. It had been a long day with the weekly deposit going awry and I was commiserating with the person who takes up the second half the duties after supper to complete the deposit. When she mentioned she probably wouldn’t make it to my Satsang I was a little confused and then simply headed up to my room with the exact theme and reading I would share convalescing in my head. Upon retrieving the book I opened it so just the page I was looking for, made a few notes, and headed over to the temple.
In this progression of my response to offering Satsangs I see how it’s begun with me first being comfortable with myself. I had an image yesterday while teaching a workshop of this huge, wide mountain being filled with Light. This mountain was volcano-shaped with the base spreading to incredible depths. That’s me, I realize. I’m this big wide base that gets my foundation filled first. That’s what it is I’ve been doing here and that’s what allowed me to expand and grow; now embodying all of these roles I carry and these tasks I complete as I fill up right to the very tip-top of me.
Being comfortable with myself is only possible through knowing myself. And that’s where the courage and willingness comes in! Prayers it will continue – that we all receive what we need.