“They say reach for the stars and you will get to the moon. I say reach into yourself and you will get to the stars.” Francisco Leon
I think it’s not too early to start talking about the end of year, is it? We all know it will soon be with us, as we make our plans for the season’s festivities through December and into the New Year.
I’ve been planning for the past weeks what has now become a regular year end Yoga day of Thanksgiving each December, in which we reflect on the year’s blessings and difficulties, lessons learned and gifts received from Life: and a repeat (with different practices!) to the very positive start to the new year that many of us shared last New Year’s Day morn in which we gather for practice and to vision quest for the year ahead.
Over these past years I’ve been touched to hear some of your own year end rituals of thanksgiving for the year passed and goal setting for the year ahead. Many of you seem to acknowledge with awareness the passing of one year, and arrival of the new. However, how often do we set ourselves goals, visions and missions for the year ahead and yet lose the momentum to see them through and realise them?
There’s a definite agreement in the world that goal setting, affirmation and positive thinking all go a long way to helping us move forward in our personal and professional lives. Yet, why are we so often held back?
Well the Yogis have a very clear understanding of why this is so. Modern perspectives on the matter might include the fact that we need to be setting the goals higher and making the dreams bigger to keep ourselves motivated and inspired. “Reach for the stars” they say. And also that we need to make sure that our goals and dreams really are aligned with our essential nature, with the deepest, most intrinsic part of ourselves. These modern day so-called “new” perspectives completely align with what the Yogis have understood for thousands of years on this matter. What we think we want, or should have, or need more of can often be the inner talk of our conditioning – social, cultural, familial – and not necessarily our truest, heartfelt soul’s longings and needs.We can be so disconnected from this level of our being. I guess this is why we have the saying, “Be careful what you ask for!”
Our hurts, the expectations that have been imposed on us and that we impose upon ourselves, veil our true longings. And we don’t want to face those hurts. In fact, consciously or unconsciously we try everything to avoid meeting them. And in not meeting the hurts, we are constantly driven to feed all that will keep us disconnected from them. The thing is, as many of you know, in doing this we become so disconnected from our innermost centre that there is always that sense of ” something missing”, and this keeps us running, driven, or just quietly looking for more. And so we stay locked into all that the parents, society, our culture, the media and other forces around us tell us are the causes of our feelings of emptiness, loneliness, low spirits and all that we need to be happy. I think you know what I’m talking about? We develop a will, a drive instead within us to attain, acquire, achieve all that will keep intact the covering of the pains and hurts, and, the Yogis tell us, keep us from feeling the pain of separation from our own true nature, from our soul’s calling. It’s a universal human tragedy: it’s the root cause of most suffering in the world, inflicted upon us and by us upon others, even more so when it’s due to a sense of disconnection from a love, an understanding, a joy that Yoga teaches us is ALWAYS at the core of being and in which NOTHING is missing. We get glimpses that this is so in meditation, in deep pranayama practice, or in relaxation practices, don’t we? We get glimpses when we see and feel one with a wondrous sight or event in nature, such as a beautiful morning sunrise.
OK, you might ask, but why do we lose the momentum to keep going with those new year resolutions, or to bring into reality all that we’ve decided will make us happier, slimmer, healthier, wealthier, less lonely? Well, it’s EXHAUSTING keeping it all together and steam-rollering onwards and upwards, doing all we can not to feel what is really speaking to us from our broken parts (cos it’s SCARY to face and feel those parts again), without connection to and remembrance of that place within us that is already and always Love, joy and wholeness. And the biggest irony, the Yogis would tell us, is that it is not really that we re-connect: we ARE that Love, wholeness, contentment, joy, boundless potentiality already in truth. It’s just that for our whole lives we have believed the lie of the mind that we are NOT that, that we have to try hard to become it, and moreover we have forgotten that this heart of being is even there.
I love the quote at the top of this page, by Francisco Leon. It sums up so succinctly the whole promise and understanding of Yoga on the nature of things. Modern psychologists might say that we need to investigate and enquire into the root causes of our hurts and explore our conditioning and how it limits us, and affects our health, happiness and well-being in life. There’s a place for that of course. The Yoga masters however would say that ultimately we simply need to see what is essential and what is not, what is real and what is unreal; what is coming from your true, essential core of being, and what is arising from impressions attained from memory, past experience, and all that has been learned first-hand or inferred by rational deduction or teachings from others. This requires a building of awareness.
The whole goal of all Yoga practices could be said to be just this, to build this awareness, this discernment. When we do this, when we can reconnect even for moments through Yoga/spiritual practice with that essential core of our being, of who we really are, then within that space we discover there is pure, unbounded potentiality: within that space…we dream a thing, we think a thing and it has already happened. Here we can know, manifest and realise our highest aspirations for ourselves, our families, communities and our planet.
My prayer for you, for us all is that we realise the beauty, the love, the promise that we truly are. Then and only then, Yoga tells us we may realise the world we dream of.
With great love and respect, for all the Yoga masters and all the teachings of all times,
With love to you
:Winter Thanksgiving Day Retreat Saturday Dec 15th 10am – 5pm inc seasonal vegetarian lunch, More Info
Winter Solstice Yoga and Meditation Practice, Friday Dec 21st, 5.30 – 7.30pm More Info
Christmas Eve Morning Special Hatha Class, Monday Dec 24th, 10 – 11.30am More info
New Years Morn “New Year, New Vision” – Hatha Yoga & Special Intention Setting Yoga Nidra (enlightened sleep) practice More info
Om Shanti Shanti Shantih,
Om peace, peace, peace.