One morning during our winter break vacation, I sat meditating on a beach. The sound of the ocean, the spray of fresh air and the beautiful blue of the water and sky captured me. The Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas has thrived for thirty plus years on a little island just off of Nassau. And every year, I go as a guest teacher. I experience the sensation of sitting in the midst of Maya, like a lotus floating on the water. The ashram serves people with love and care, daily meditation and yoga practice, and the opportunity to do Seva or selfless service. Their neighbor is one of the world’s largest and most commercial enterprises, a hotel called “Atlantis.” So as we meditate there are these little reminders of the greater world. My mind wandered from my meditation that morning as a woman passed by with her coffee cup in hand. Knowing that she must have come from Atlantis, (because coffee is simply not available at the Ashram) the experience plunged me into a distracting set of thoughts from my worldly life. I wished to go deeper, to find that place where God would let me into his heart. I was chanting at the time. Yes, indeed, all of these things can happen while you are chanting. And even more than you can imagine – as the sacred mantras themselves pull out subconscious garbage.
Although the negative energy is pulled up, only Grace can let it go, and give you a sense of peace. That Grace can, and must, work through the human being. There is a step, a quiet little movement, towards the One. An enticement, or even flirtation. And so, as I wished to go deeper, I listened to what I was chanting. Although the words were beautiful, my heart was not so drawn into the melody. With that realization, I switched the tune. I made it something that would entice my own heart.
There it was, as beautiful as the sun rising in the morning sky. As my heart was enticed, so too, did I feel a welcoming into God’s heart, an enticement into his Grand Vastness and Love. I chanted, I loved it, and I felt loved.
I share this with you in these times of great challenge. We cannot forget our hearts, because the heart holds the key to the opening to our love with God. From this place of opening, we can and will find the way to love ourselves, love our neighbors, love our nations, and this incredible world that we live in.
Transformation of this planet is no longer the work of the leaders of our countries. It is the soul, each of our souls, shining bright and strong, who are being asked to carry the day. It is in our communities; our yoga centers, town hall meetings, our libraries, our grocery stores, and our clinics. The work is to be done where we live. Through our breath, our practice, and our presence we can heal and uplift. No longer can we separate ourselves from others because of political divides, religious beliefs, or economic status. We are Divine, and we are all connected to the Divine.