As we experience an unseasonably sunny winter, I see the joy it brings to those around me. The sun is such a radiant aspect to all transformation. But when it fails to shine, we feel the absence of a most specific joy. What I want to share with you today is that we all have such a bright sun within. Always shining. Always present. Always ready to shed light on the secret to creating a joyous life. To do this, we must venture into nature. The nature all around us as well as our nature within.
Understanding our true nature is partly possible by studying nature. Every day Mother Nature wakes up and knows exactly what to do. No self-judgment, no second-guessing. She just wakes up and gets on with it. She doesn’t hold on too tightly to the seasons, thus allowing powerful transformations to happen. Over and over again. The beauty of powerful transformation is hard to miss. What a gift. The bound winter limb bursts forth with radiant cherry blossoms signaling the most beautiful spring to come. We should all embrace how nature reveals our next season.
Cultivating the ability to hold onto everything with a silver thread is the key. Doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy what you experience in the moment. The challenge for most of us is how we go about wanting to possess a certain experience so we can “own” it; so we can turn it on and experience it wherever desire manifests. Patanjali’s warning: Our nature will bind us; trap us in a never-ending cycle of yearning that leads to despair if we hang on too tightly to a pleasant experience. So, what to do?
ENJOY THE MOMENT as a contained experience. Be still in that. Let the moment be enough, as it will offer you such a deep contentment (santosa). Listen to the stillness with ease and without strain, and you will discover a great transformation taking place within you. This happens without doing anything. Recognize the moment and the stillness of the moment to gain the perspective of beauty and insight in this life. So much can be revealed when we do this.
Rolf Gates speaks to this as he says, “Allow a yoga posture to bring you deeply into the moment and you will experience contentment – not resignation but as the vibrant experience of all living beings, as the song that is sung by a world that is sacred.”
BOND WITH NATURE: Physically get into nature more and look up, look around, feel your connection to the changing that is going on here, as it’s happening within you too, every second of the day. Relinquish your doubts about change. We are constantly changing. Let nature be your guide to take this change with ease and grace. Resistance is futile and leads to fear of not being able to maintain a frozen moment in time. Change is the only constant and the sooner you embrace this truth, you will begin a new journey into freedom.
SELF-REFLECTION: Review your present-day life: what experience do you not want to let go of? What are you holding on tightly to? Is this possession bringing you joy? Is it bringing you fear of losing it? To get to a deep experience of joy, we must understand what possesses us, what binds our emotional experience. Then ask yourself is this experience positive or negative to your life. Most people want to let go of only negative experiences, but positive ones too must not be held too tightly. Look at your patterns of what you yearn for, what you want to push away. Just acknowledge them.
PRACTICE VAIRĀGYA, NON-ATTACHMENT: Learn to enjoy an experience, fully enjoy it. Gently look at what that experience is fulfilling within you, acknowledge it, then release it gently into the river of life and take your next step without the desire to repeat your last. Allow life to unfold, as your spirit needs it to. Allow for the interaction of your spirit’s magnetism to simply manifest what is necessary for you to experience what you came here to learn and what you came here to share. This is called being in your flow. No obstacle is capable if stopping your flow. Like lava coming down the side of a volcano, it will carve its own path. Nothing will stop it. The key is to not get too attached to outcome.
GRATITUDE FOR LIFE and the awareness to see its beauty. Being self-aware can be a slippery slope. If you are too much so you become self-critical. We don’t want this, as it’s another form of bondage. Recognize all that’s around that feeds your understanding of experiences in this world. Be thankful for the insights you gain and the experiences you’ve had thus far. See the big tapestry that the sum of your life to date has woven. Be thankful for the beauty of simple acknowledgements and reflections such as this.
[Photo by Jacky Yang – CC BY]
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