Yes

The third eclipse in this short span of time comes to us with the next full moon, and with it, is a time to say “goodbye,’ – a time to release, and perhaps even let a whole section of yourself die.  Most of us are uncomfortable with endings and a lot more of us don’t like talking about death.  It is the final end. The place where you can’t go back to what once was.  It is that place where your footprints get washed away by the sea and all that is left is to go forward, into the unknown.

There is comfort in the old, a familiarity, a certain safety, and to hold on is so much easier than to let go and step towards the future.  We might say that we don’t believe in these things, but sometimes, something greater just moves us in this direction.  Without ever intending to, we leave the past and head towards the future.  Something closes, something else opens.  Like my teacher Mel would say of a backbend, “it is like everything in the past pushing you forward from your heart.”  There is a beautiful sadness but also an excitement of what is to come.

It can be comforting having just that one string so that we can hold on to the past, but sometimes that string needs to be cut.  In that space where there was left the faintest of connections, there needs to be just emptiness.  The faint imprint left by a former lover is wiped away by the rain, allowing the glow of a new sun to spread it’s warmth on a clean foundation. Sometimes a lover becomes a friend, other times, even the friendship can’t be salvaged and the lover becomes a stranger.  A friend or even a stranger becomes a lover.

You think your heart died the last time it broke.

Going back into that space where you allow things to enter seems crazy.

But something stirs again – Perhaps the tiny flickering flame of affection, growing into desire and in the future, who knows?

You died once when your last life ended.

And you are reborn into this new life.

The heart beats.

It lives.

It wants to soar.

It wants to go into the unknown.

You’ve found your centre and don’t want to lose it, but your heart, the centre of it all is ready to bring you off your axis.

It is time. 

The final goodbye led to the first hello.  And the darkness makes the light seem so much brighter.  Something different, someone different, is scary.  It is the possibility of your universe being flipped upside down in a way that is beyond your control. It is two movements in one – allowing something unknown into this comfortable and familiar space that you have painstakingly built while you yourself move into an unknown dimension.  It is a doorway to another part of yourself, yet undiscovered.  How do you know that you will like this undiscovered self?  How do you know that you won’t?

Right now the questions are being asked and not answering is no longer an option.

Will you let go?

Will you let the past rest where it belongs?

Are you going to release fear and step over a threshold into a new life?

Can you allow a glance to become a lingering look?

When someone reaches out their hand to you will you take it?

Are you ready to immerse yourself into the unfamiliarity of the future?

A million questions, and the only answer that will make a difference is…

Yes

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From Light to Dark and Back Again – A Trip Through the Gunas

Over the weekend, I attended a talk by Swami Govindananda on the three Gunas. In Sanskrit, the word Guna can hold two meanings; the first being thread or string, and the second meaning quality.  Swami Ji, as he is known, was speaking to us on the second definition.  In the Hindu scriptures, these three qualities are satvic from the word satva (calm, peaceful, conscious, etc), rajasic from the word rajas (fiery, driven, selfish, etc) or tamasic from the word tamas (heavy, dark, angry, etc).  The thing is, all three of these qualities exist in every one of us. Within a matter of moments, one can go from being happily on that satvic cloud to being down in the dredges of tamas.

Most of us live in a state of rajas. Society in fact thinks very highly of the rajasic state. This is the state where one is driven, ballsy, a go getter, a doer, and this is the state where it’s all about the “I” – I am, I want, I will be.  It’s all well and good. You can sit in whichever Guna you want as long as you are aware of the consequences of being there. The only problem is that rajas is only a breath away from tamas. What is tamas? When you see people go crazy, getting into bar brawls, fighting, shouting, in acts of uncontrolled anger; that’s tamas.  People who live in satva, to put it simply include your Mother Theresas and Ghandhis of the world, and even then, it takes one incident to bring a person from a satvic state to a tamasic state, and of course, right after learning about it, the universe had to test me on it.

Participating in Yoga Aid on Sunday, coupled with all the big hugs, a lovely brunch with amazing people and a nice evening had left me feeling all mushy and gooey.  Then the tamas hit the fan. My credit card had been stolen, and used to an inch of its life on things like McDonalds, pizzas, art supplies and cigarettes (I know right?). To top it off, when I called the bank, although the customer service personnel were great, they did not have any information for me. Herein starts the descent into rajas.  Mind you, now my balance has gone into a negative number, and if I were to transfer funds to the account so that I could withdraw it, the bank would take it. In fact, I did, and it did. Side note: the Occupy movement is well justified to me at the moment.  This morning, I went to speak to a local bank manager, and again, not only was everything that I was told in the last couple of days repeated, the lady who was serving me proceeded to school me on checking my mailbox.  And there it was, Ms Rajas ripped out through her shackles and let loose.

Having this happen to me, I can see now how a person can change their mailbox number from the highlands of satva to the dredges of tamas in a matter of seconds. It only takes one instant of losing control, one action to change the story of your life. We would all like to think that we are “better than that,” but while we hold this mentality, we don’t hold ourself in check for the darkness that lurks somewhere in there.  The thing about knowing that the lightbulb can go out is that we can are prepared for when it happens. Everyday, there is something in the news about buildings being burnt, people murdered, fights and the like, and you wonder how they got that way. Sometimes, they themselves wonder how they got that way. All it takes is one moment of being unconscious, not present, unchecked. A friend once said to me in a pub where people were going crazy, “I understand why Muslims don’t allow drinking. You feel like you lose control of things.”  And although alcohol and drugs do limit your control over yourself, things can happen even without them. All it takes is one moment, one breath, one unchecked action or train of thought.

Yes, some situations upset you, and you have a right of speaking your mind, but today, I realized that I could easily have been one of the people who trashed the bank, threw out a laptop, or broke something.  It might not have been likely, but it was very possible.  When we see people in prison, in debt, homeless; sometimes we think “oh, that could never be me.”  The thing is, we don’t know their story.  Where the cycle of the world goes, we don’t know.  It takes a string of thoughts and actions, but if we don’t pay attention, we don’t know where in that string we are currently sitting.  So as Swami Ji said, always pay attention to your mind. Know where it is, feed it with your compassion, because where your string was yesterday is where you are today, and where your string is today determines where you will go tomorrow.

Swami Ji likened the three states to light. Satva is that state where you are in a room and everything is bright and clear, Rajas is that state where the light has dimmed and everything is red, and Tamas, well that my friends, is when the room is completely dark. And who controls this light? Well, you do.  It’s there, in the power centre of your mind.