Last Fall in Guatemala, I sat with a Mayan woman named Paulina in a sort of underground pyramid. She asked me what I most wanted to know.
My questions were fairly simple and often asked, yet they were the truest I had. "Where would God have me go; and to do what, give what and to whom?". Paulina offered what insight she could, but basically said to stay true my course and to "accept with conditions the right shoes" . . . take on the actions and walk the walk that serve both my own well-being and the greater good. In the Yoga Sutras (written about 200 AD, a couple thousand years after the first mention of yoga in the Vedas), Patanjali said anyone can stay the course of their path by practicing Kriya yoga - translating to action of the soul. Kriya yoga includes 3 pillars: self-discipline, self-study and surrender to the divine.
Self-discipline is controlling our reactions to triggers and others by consistent practice of alignment in our own mind, body and spirit in order to show up in action in the world as a reflection of who we really are and not a reflection of external forces.
Self-study in yoga means inner work and immersion in learning that which inspires us beyond the fleeting senses.
And in yoga, the divine is the infinite who is called by many names - not to be polytheistic, but to remind the reader that quintessentially the divine is not finite and a name cannot define the undefinable.
Of course Patanjali also lays out the 8 fold path (one of which is poses) as an effective guide to exist joyfully and do good in the world. I look at the 3 pillars as ways that I can get myself back on that path when I've fallen hard . . .not because I'm bad, but because I'm human. It is not in the perfection, it is in the practice. The Course in Miracles sums it up well - "You may have been taught freedom, but you don't know how to be free". The age old story recycling through time. Really BEing anything requires integration and action, so that your purpose will manifest in lasting goodness for yourself and others. I considered all that is present within me, to my left, to my right, in front and behind me, above and below me - and decided to put on the shoes of a Warrior, the shoes of Yodha. We can only meet ourselves in our current state of evolution and that is only and always changing. It is not the first time to put on Warrior shoes, but after recent years of evolution - It is a different time. I will let her unfold as she will. Yodha is sanskrit for Warrior - one with wisdom, character and skill, one with the force. In Star Wars, Yoda teaches Luke about right choice and right action for the good of the empire (his own greatest good and for the world). But life is not a movie and this season for me is not about battling any "dark side". Nobody needs punishing. This Fall I will stand and face bravely that within me and around me in the world that seems armed with many messages of separateness, judgement and resonates fear. My only conditions are that my weapons are of listening, openness, love and connection. I would be honored if you would join me in putting all that you have been through into action.
Wahe Guru! Charmion