We can spend years chasing after it instead of Being it, completely unaware that this is what we’re doing. When at last we hear that first flicker of our heart’s desire, we can become so overjoyed, that we begin to chase after it in the same vein that we chased life before this new awareness. We don’t even know we’re chasing it because we didn’t know we were chasing life to begin with…it was just the only way we knew. Often, we’ll try to use the same skills we used before our heart’s revelation, but they don’t usually apply here. The heart isn’t something to be chased because it is already here, it is already us, it is already our Mastery…and it operates in an entirely different realm.
If there is anything new about this, it is the changed perspective that this is who we are. All that needs development is the being with that, not the finding it. The practice comes to be about giving the heart that space of silence, so it can increasingly come forward into our awareness. We confirm it by listening to it, and we bring it to life by acting on it….so instead of chasing, embody. Because we are literally bringing it to life…like resuscitating something that had been left dormant. And dormant is very different from dead or non-existent. We honour our very Being by activating this heart’s message. It so often feels like such a flicker at first simply because we’ve never developed it before. By developing this, the heart’s call grows in strength and volume, to where it lives us, and emanates from us. There is no chasing in that.
This is a way not often sought after, so there is not really a guidebook. Your heart is the only one that knows the way, and the guidebook begins with the understanding that this is where you’ve landed. You’ve landed in the heart and it is very, very different terrain, so it needs to be navigated in a completely different way. This is where the learning lies, this teaches us how to Be it. Step by step, gem by gem, taking that quiet walk along a very palpable yet unexplored path. Follow the gems that seem so quiet within the clutter of mass irrelevance which has been accumulated over time. This takes wisdom and it does take Grace…Grace while we face frustrations and fears of the learning, and of applying ourselves in a very different way. We’ve moved way out of the box of familiarity.
Selecting what is of value to the heart develops discernment. This is a depth of wisdom not commonly applied in the mainstream way. Initially, this can take huge effort to energize, simply due to the necessary weeding through heaps of information we have accumulated. It is this accumulation which is truly the overwhelm, witnessing where the stray bullets have landed, and coming to heal those or remove them. Now comes the time of allowing that heart’s call through all of that information, becoming familiar with how it speaks to you, how to read its signals and how to hear it. Here there is no overwhelm and no fear because the focus has become hearing and listening, rather than a focus on the enormity of the mundane which has become our reality. The focus has turned into developing a new skill and applying it, rather than looking at ALL we’ve been fed, and believing there is something lost in dropping that. What if you consider that your heart’s desire is not new, that it has been there all along, and is therefore, the most familiar thing in the world now that you’ve heard it. Anything seemingly alien or feared, is merely how it contrasts with your life up until that moment.
It’s natural to fatigue in any new practice, but this is not to be confused with defeat or giving up…it’s the fatigue from being driven by passion. Regularly checking in with “am I ready” makes it easier for the ego to join the journey…because sometimes we legitimately feel that we aren’t ready for the next step that is revealed. Our essence, our heart is ready, always has been…but sometimes we need to slow down to catch up with what has always been there. Being true to that authentic check-in “am I ready”, usually reaffirms that yes, indeed we are. So, look, look within the mass of useless information that has collected within from the outside world, and sift out the gems that are shining and pick those up. The overwhelm comes from assuming that ALL that is there is useful, or needs to be applied, or changed, or something. In reality we’re just seeing clearly all that has been ingested, a lot of which is useless to our heart’s aim. The reality of the heart is usually simple, clear, and quiet…that information is never too much, and it is brought forward in ingestible amounts. What is true is simple, clean, and clear, and the more we acquaint ourselves with it, deliberately look for it, and at it, the easier it becomes to decipher the heart’s message in the mass of garbage that we collect internally, simply by walking through a day in society. Take that slow time each day to learn how to best distinguish your gems and how to hold them and nourish them into your daily existence. This brings a seemingly slowness in time, simply because it doesn’t move at the same crazy pace of information we’ve grown accustomed to collecting….and just because we’ve grown accustomed to it doesn’t qualify it as fitting.
The heart reveals the gems as timing is right…not before and not after. This is because there is Honour in this way, there is Respect and there is Integrity. It’s in the acknowledgement of these gems that reveals more and develops strength. This gaining of strength makes it easier to see the gems amongst the bramble.
When you come to see this with such clarity you begin to wonder how you missed it all along…but how could you not miss it, given the amount of distracting information we’re force fed each and every day. It’s a constant rush of what we don’t need. When we’ve never been taught how to keep the unnecessary at bay, to simply observe it all, and instead tread that soft unbroken path of the heart, then of course we’re going to believe this onslaught is real and that it’s who we are, and what we think, and what we believe. No doubt we’ll take that in as us. How could it be otherwise if we’ve never been taught? It’s up to us to shift, because we can’t stay that way. There does come a time when it is up to us to recognize this and to do something about it. The time to take the reigns in our lives and discipline our practice, led by our own light. Like any muscle, exercising discernment, is not easy at first because it’s rarely given credence in today's world, but the more it’s applied and put it into practice, the stronger it becomes.--with love, Letters In Yoga www.lettersinyoga.com
I tuned into a program the other day…the characters in the show had decided to experience the outdoors for the weekend at a lodge retreat. While fishing, they caught bundles of fish, only to find out from the owner of the lodge later on, that he stocks the lake with fish then seals it off so people can catch fish quickly…”we stock it because people have busy lives, they don’t want to waste all their time fishing, they need to get back to the city”, he explained. Of course, this took away from the entire experience for the characters of the show. But this made me think how frequently we approach Savasana in much the same way.
Savasana is such an integral pose in a yoga class (as a teacher I witness it almost as a sacred integration time). It’s the assimilation of and the experience of, all the energy we worked and worked through, in the asanas which led up to Savasana. And yet, I’m so often perplexed at how common it is to offer only two or three minutes of Savasana (lucky if we get five) “at the end of class”…it’s not a pose which is considered part of the class. It’s squeezed in, before the mayhem of rolling up mats, packing up bags, and hitting the road back to work, or whatever is next in our lives.
Often at the beginning of class, teachers will ask the students what they might like to work on…many lively suggestions for shoulder openers, hip openers, inversions, even scorpion(!) come rolling forward…but rarely have I heard someone request to practice Savasana…and if someone does, chuckling will cross the room, as though it can’t be a pose taken seriously enough for practice.
A long Savasana is critical to a good yoga class. Some people fall asleep, and others are still whirling in their minds, restless in whatever they’re thinking about; but a long Savasana (hopefully 10-15 minutes) allows that time needed, for the breath to rustle through those last edgy bits, before a person’s entire being can settle into the floating space of that stillness of Savasana; that experience of being whole in mind, body, and spirit. I practice with a teacher in India who always says, if you want to meditate, practice Savasana.
Savasana heals deeply, and it ties together all the pieces of a yoga class. Without it, we walk away from a class feeling somewhat off, in a way we might not have words for but in a way of knowing something isn’t quite complete. Unfortunately, it’s easy to shrug this sensation off, as we busy ourselves with what we’ve planned next; but that doesn’t make it right….it makes it the same as what we often do in life…shrug off something which isn’t quite settling in or sitting right. I don’t believe yoga class should leave us feeling in that way. There is already too much of ignoring our own Being in the world. We usually walk into an asana practice somewhat fragmented from our day, it doesn’t make sense to leave a class feeling the same way as when we came in.
Savasana is a pose which we don’t have to “Do”, it’s one which we consciously allow (“consciously” is the “doing”). Allowing ourselves to receive relaxation is not a habit we’re used to. Even the most active mind ultimately surrenders to Savasana if given the time to do it. Give yourself a chance to honour Savasana and the time you spend there. Receive its benefits, its offering, and all that it’s doing for you. So when you get up from your mat, you can carry it with you.--with love, Letters In Yoga www.lettersinyoga.com
“By relaxation of all strain in the yoga posture,
there is a merging with the infinite.”
– Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 2:47