Sunday, July 10, 2016

Finding the Still Point

 Hold the silence like
A mother holds her child.
Hold your ground while
All around you structures
Crumble into nothing.
Focus on the still point
In your center until you
Are filled with light, until
Spirit speaks to you in
Words you understand,
Until the love in your
Heart grows so strong
It must be shared.
- Danna Faulds

I found this poem so fitting to the current events in the world.  It is such a constant challenge for me to stay centered when life is so busy, when I feel bombarded with craziness in the media, hate in the world.  And yet the only way to combat that hate is to seek and find love at the center of my being, and then send it out in every way I can.  I have recommitted to sitting for meditation in the last few months and my practice has been largely focused on my connection with the in-dwelling presence of the Divine, and how that connection can help to facilitate kinder, gentler and more uplifting relationships with my loved ones.  Taking the time to connect to this inner presence, which is calming, peaceful and yes, loving, has been invaluable and has subtly shifted my everyday interactions in sweetly positive ways.

Last week a video kept popping up on my newsfeed of the Prime Minister of Israel speaking out against the killing of a 13-year-old girl in her bed by a terrorist. He said the way to fight back is to go into your children's bedrooms that night, hug them and kiss them and teach them acceptance, tolerance and love. I know he said other things too, but I was so proud of him for speaking out in that way. Yes, the path to peace is through love and it starts with connecting to a feeling of love in your own heart.  You have to stay connected to it all the have to feel it in all situations.  Love is a transcendent principle - it is the response to love and the response to hate.  The only response.  Moralizing, fighting, preaching doesn't work. Only love.  

This week was July 4th, when we collectively celebrated our independence and freedom.  Let's express our appreciation for that freedom by choosing to consciously spread love into the world. By sending our blessings to all those in the world who fight for freedom by teaching their children tolerance and acceptance, by choosing to see unity rather than diversity in each and every being, and with protective weapons when all else fails in the face of nihilism.  Let us celebrate by putting love 5 feet in front of us, behind us, and to all sides in all situations. 

Coming to the mat it is the opportunity to connect to that feeling of love inside yourself, to let it overcome reactionary, revengeful emotions so that our actions reflect our connection to our Divine essence.  To focus on the still point in your center until you are filled with light, and then share it with the world.  To sit and quiet for long enough that Spirit speaks to you in a way you can understand. 

Off the Mat:  Let love be your response in every situation.  Send love to all around you, as often as you can, in all possible ways.  For example, before responding to a request, sending an email, reacting to a post, initiating an interaction or conversation, visualize the person you are interacting with surrounded by light.  Conjure up love in your heart by bringing your awareness to that which makes you feel love, then let go of the stimulus and just feel the feeling.  Then proceed accordingly.  I promise, if you authentically take 30 seconds to do this it will shift your every communication.

On the Mat: In my classes this week we practiced back bending poses, the ultimate heart openers, culminating in Urdhva Dhanurasana and its variations.  Just like we need to have strong boundaries when interacting with those that challenge us, we need a strong boundary in the lumbar area of the body so the backbend can move into the upper back, facilitating a deeper and sounder opening, enabling us to offer our hearts as safely as possible.  So we worked on resisting the ribs and belly back (Kidney Loop) drawing back into our calm, steady center as we opened up our hearts (Shoulder Loop).   Practice meditation daily, even just a few minutes, where you focus on the still point at the top of the breath and the bottom of the breath, and let that stillness guide you a place where you can hold your ground.

Open to Grace: Fill up with breath and a silent presence of love that lives inside you.
Fill up with breath fill up with light until it spills over.
Ground (foundation of pose) and ground yourself in tolerance, acceptance and love.

Muscular Energy: Firm the muscles and create the boundary that allows you to offer love safely.
Draw your muscles and your awareness to the still point at your center.

Kidney Loop/Shoulder Loop: Hold your ground, ribs/belly resisting back so the love in your heart can be shared without injury, so we can offer our hearts more fully.
Hold your ground, steady in a still point inside so love can burst free from the heart without reservation.

Organic Energy: Share the huge love you hold inside yourself.
Let the outer pose reflect the fullness of the love in your heart.
From the safety of this space, offer your love freely and openly, even (especially) to those who hate.