During my Earth Ways Yoga teacher training, our yoga classes, led by wonderful Kate Mulheron, consisted of three sacred hours of moving, breathing, feeling, releasing, weeping – the essence of what this brilliant creation is all about. Before one of these classes, I was feeling really unwell: depleted and exhausted, a state of being not unfamiliar to me. The tendency of my physical state to affect my mental, emotional, spiritual, SPIRAL, began.
I started to go into the dark hole of feeling down about my health, as though I can’t practice, I can’t keep up – the whole story of it. I could actually feel it draping over me like a shadow. I lay down on my mat and started to breathe. A few minutes into class, something happened. Something shifted, unlocked, opened and I simply but profoundly heard “I choose the light.” As these words were spoken, my whole being expanded into receptivity and oneness. I felt the light, a feeling of serenity and peace. I could no longer feel my physical ailments. They no longer existed as part of my consciousness. I felt calm and connected, deep breath filling my lungs and opening my heart. I was fluid like water, buoyant but grounded at the same time. I could feel my breath exploring new places in my body that it hadn’t seen or felt in years, maybe lifetimes.
It was a sacred prayer to my body, feeling overwhelming love and patience for it, a stark contrast to the frustration and defeat at the start of class. I felt the rise, away from shadow and into light. The shadow had been fighting to hold on, to beat the light and take over, for weeks and months manifesting as depression and tears. My release was letting the shadow go and letting in the light, the surrender of the dark shadow to the light. In savasana, I would normally reach for something to cover my eyes to create darkness, but that day I didn’t need shielding from the light because I was the light, I am the light. After savasana, I bent my knees and placed my feet flat on the mat. All of a sudden, my hips started tremoring uncontrollably. As I reflect back and write about this powerful experience, it felt as though the vibrations in my body were coming from the Earth’s core, a seismic shift in my consciousness. I grounded my feet, breathed through it. A new pathway was opening up to the energy and vitality of Mother Earth, a new pathway for my essence to travel through to my heart. I am the light. I choose the light.
In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali declares that yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Lord Krishna says, “Evenness of mind is yoga.” If the mind is our obstacle to our true Self, then isn’t yoga anything that helps us to quiet the mind? In preparing to write my first ever blog post, I noticed myself telling my mind: “Okay, it’s time to be still now so that I can receive my Truth. Divine inspiration. In a world where we are trained from a young age to cultivate sharp minds, that our brains and the ability to think critically is what will get us ahead in this life, it is no wonder so many of us feel disconnected from our creativity. We are training our minds to do the very thing Patanjali states as preventing union. Our culture teaches us to depend on our minds and our egos to survive, creating separation and with that, fear.
Meditation teaches us to observe our thoughts and patterns, the awareness of which will ultimately lead to the ability to control them. But what I would like to pose, rather than control, rather than ego meeting ego, is the idea of surrender.
I believe, deep down in my core, that surrender is ultimately the seed of liberation. Surrendering to the notion that we cannot heal alone, because our very nature is one of union and connection. We are all one Divine light, when let in, has the power to instantly absorb all darkness, heal all pain, silence all thoughts. For surrender, we need to trust, and when we trust life, we realize we have absolutely nothing to fear. Surrender, to me, is sitting in openness and receptivity. Rather than outwardly searching or moving our energy towards something, we sit in humility; we ground our roots deep into Mother Earth, and remain open to the downward current of manifestation.
Being rather than doing
Instead of trying to use the mind and ego to create, how about surrendering to a higher consciousness. When we experience this, we know that we are not separate from Supreme Consciousness. We are ultimately surrendering to our Selves, letting go of control. We are silencing the mind, putting the ego to rest and diving deep inside to discover the infinite well of wisdom that lies within us.
We can look to nature, our greatest teacher, and observe how a plant receives light to nourish its existence without reaching for it or expecting anything, just being and receiving. This is trust. This is surrender.
My experience of surrendering to the light doesn’t mean I now have the key. It doesn’t mean I am miraculously healed and free of pain and suffering. But it does mean that I know what I truly am, I know that light is in me, all around me, and I will keep working, keep practicing, to remove the obstructions that seem determined that darkness prevail.
“The pictures you hold in your mind’s eye are like a stained glass window that the light of consciousness shines through on its way to manifestation. If there is nothing in the way, we get exactly what we visualize.” – Anodea Judith