Even in the midst of a world weary with heavy and depressing events, I still, everyday, aim to live as fully present and awake as possible. On occasion it comes easily. Most days I rely on practices of meditation and mindful movement to illuminate the path that reawakens me to the realities of joy, love, and bliss.
Today is the 199th birthday of Henry David Thoreau. His timeless wisdom on what it means to be fully awake…
We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.
“A lamp does not flicker in a place where no winds blow; so it is with a Yogi, who controls his mind, intellect and self, being absorbed in the spirit within him. When the restlessness of the mind, intellect and self is still for the practice of yoga, the Yogi by the grace of the spirit within himself finds fulfillment. Then he knows the joy eternal which is beyond the pale of the senses which his reason cannot grasp. He abides in this reality and moves not therefrom. He has found the treasure above all others. There is nothing higher than this. He who has achieved it, shall not be moved by the greatest sorrow. This is the real meaning of yoga – deliverance from contact with pain and sorrow.” ~BKS Iyengar
“I would say that the thrust of my life has been initially about getting free, and then realizing that my freedom is not independent of everybody else. Then I am arriving at that circle where one works on oneself as a gift to other people so that one doesn’t create more suffering. I help people as a work on myself and I work on myself to help people.”
Abhyasa: continuous endeavor; constant practice; repetition; exercise; exertion (from A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy; Sanskrit Terms Defined in English)
“And so I practice without knowing how it will all turn out. Clearly, along with clarity and faith, my commitment requires some will and effort. As Patanjali says in verse 14, establishing a firm foundation in practice requires sustained exertion over time. Commitment to practicing means I practice if it is easy for me, and I practice if it is hard for me. If I am bored, I practice; if I am enthusiastic, I practice; if I am at home, I practice; if I am on vacation, I practice. There is a saying in Buddhism: If it is hot, be a hot Buddha. If it is cold, be a cold Buddha. This is the consistency and determination in practice that Patanjali means when he speaks of abhyasa. In the beginning, this sustained exertion may be an act of will, an act of ego. But as we continue, the practice itself creates a momentum that propels us through the difficult moments of fear and boredom.”
-From Yoga Journal article, Hot Buddha Cold Buddha by Judith Hanson Lasater
Being able to stop and be aware of the present moment is part of the definition of happiness. It is not possible to be happy in the future. This is not a matter of belief; this is a matter of experience.
This weekend while paddle boarding with my mother and her sweetheart on Fish River in Lower Alabama, dolphins appeared and swam beside us. It was an extraordinary blessing and reminder that all sentient beings are essentially bonded to and by
Nature, Spirit, and Love.
In their honor I did a variation of dolphin pose on my board.
“Dolphins have a wise, innocent, purity of being which reaches out to our inner nature. Follow their lead and open yourself to the energy of love, harmony, and balance. Express your inner truth, be true to yourself. Follow your inner joy. Dolphin is asking you to go back to your roots, to the depths of your being and rediscover the love that you truly are.
Dolphins spend most of their day playing. Their life is lived in joyful harmony with each other and their world. Apparently they have learned the lesson that love is the most important factor in life.
Dolphin wisdom includes – knowledge of the sea, change, patron of sailors, harmony, balance, communication skills, freedom, trust, understanding the power of rhythm in your life, water element magic, unselfishness.
Dolphin reminds us to get out, play, breathe and most importantly to love.”
-from shamanicjourney.com, Dolphin Power Animal, by Ina Woolcoat