July 3, 2019
In the Mahabharata, the great epic of India, there is a quote that I cannot stop thinking about: “If one prefers one’s own children to the children of others…war is near.” All war is about separation and forgetfulness. Separation is the result of Maya who is known as the dancing girl of illusion. Maya also means “extreme form of measurement.” To measure something, we need a ruler or yardstick, which implies distance and separation. Whether it is an individual or the collective, there are times when someone or a group of individuals just don’t measure up to our expectations, we discard them…in our thinking and even in our lives.
Today in our society, there seems to be more separation than I have ever known in my lengthy lifetime. There are preferences, which is part of the illusory separation of Maya…and the preference of our own children to the children of others because, we have bought into the illusion of separation. The fire and fury behind all war is that we have forgotten that in the eyes of our creator, we are all children of the same Source.
Each day, our news shows the horrific images of that “forgetfulness” on our southern border. Men, women, and children are kept in overcrowded cages with standing room only for weeks and months without much food or water, no showers, only the clothes on their backs. Little toddlers are left without change of diaper, and the older children of eight years are asked to take care of them. But no one is allowed to hold the little ones when they cry out of hunger and longing for their families. Whether it is the guards, or the older children, they are all forbidden to pick up and comfort these little ones even when they are drowning in their own tears.
Children and adults sleep on hard unpadded floors with only a thin layer of an aluminum foil blanket over them with glaring lights all night making it difficult to rest. They are hungry, dirty and susceptible to the spreading of diseases and caged like animals known as human beings. Sadistic orders that come from on high continues this abuse that is not in alignment with the spiritual principles in all great religious scriptures “Do onto others as you would have done onto you.”
I cannot help but wonder how “good” Christians can support these policies by supporting the one who is giving the orders for this continuing cruelty. There is no excuse or explanation that justifies “one’s inhumanity to another.” My heart cries out at the suffering created in the name of the nation I was born into. There is a saying in the Karmic laws of Yoga, “If we are born into a nation that makes war upon another, and we don’t protest even in our own hearts, we will be born into a nation that is made war upon.”
I cannot sleep at night thinking of the asylum seekers who can’t even lie down. I can’t sleep in a comfortable bed when thinking of the children who are forced to lie on stones and cement each night. I have a hard time eating when each spoonful reminds me of all peoples everywhere who are going hungry. Each time I leave my home, I think of those who are locked in the misery of their cages and can’t just open the door and step out. Collective images are engraved in the cellular psyche of this nation of the father and his 23-month-old daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande in a desperate attempt to seek asylum. There is no Independence Day for them.
Just as the adults and their separated children cry out for help, we too need to cry out against this administration’s horrific policies. If we don’t protest, even in our heart, we join those who support these policies by acquiescing in our silence. What can we do, we may ask as we call out for guidance? What can we do to alleviate the suffering of others? We may at times, quietly cry out, “Show me the way and give me the strength to follow the dictates of my own soul! Give me the trust and faith to be divinely guided.”
My husband is a Unity minister here in Texas. On Sunday, June 30, our church congregation was singing a song that keeps reverberating like a prayer in my heart. Perhaps it could be your song too.
“Here I am Lord. It is I Lord, I heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me, I will hold Your people in my heart”.
May All Beings Be Happy. May All Beings Be Peaceful. May All Beings Be Enlightened.
June 12, 2019
The Yoga Sutras continue to say in a variety of ways, that the Power of Samadhi comes through the practice of Ishvara Pranidhana. Ishmeans to wish and vara is to fill. Pra is to bring forth, ni means liking and dhana is wealth. This is not the wealth of physical possessions or dollars but the wealth of the human spirit. It is the wealth of the remembrance of our true inheritance that is always with us. It is the wealth that we are and have always been connected to the Universal Source of all creation.
What would it be like to feel that every wish you have ever had in the past, now, and in the future is already fulfilled. Everything you have ever needed or wanted is overflowing from your heart center. What would it feel like to know that everything you’ve searched for outside of yourself is already contained within you? What would it be like if there was nothing more to want, nothing more to learn that is not already known? This is Isvara Pranidhana. It is the realization that all our wishes are already fulfilled and in turn, bring forth dhana, the true riches of spiritual wealth where all jewels of wisdom and insight present themselves.
Isvara Pranidhana is mentioned in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutrasmore than any other concept. Some think of the Sutras as an intellectual study, but they are highly devotional in the continual reference throughout the scriptures to Ishvara. The Sanskrit name Isvara, “to fill with wishes and to bring forth the wealth,” is to bring forth the ever-expanding consciousness; the bliss of knowing this eternal cosmic vibration in every cell of our Being.
In the Sutras, we are urged again and again to offer our thoughts and actions to the invisible Source. For many years, I was a householder spending most of my time in the kitchen. I learned to practice Isvara Pranidhana by imagining my kitchen as a Temple and the sink as an altar where I turned washing dishes into my worship of the Divine essence of creation. I found that in scrubbing floors, I was offering to the Lotus feet of God. When stirring the food on the stove it was a time of remembrance that I was not separate from the Universal Source.
Sant Keshavadas, a living Saint of India, stayed with my husband and me frequently over the years. One day, as I held my youngest infant child in one arm, I went about the work in my home with the other. Santji reminded me that with one arm, I was cooking and serving others but never taking my mind off the child that I held in the other arm. He exclaimed, “No matter what you are doing in the world, your mind is never away from the child. Your child is like the essence of God! As you tend to the needs of others, your mind is always on the eternal spirit that is ever pervasive.”
Over the years, I discovered that every word we speak, every thought we think, and every step we take can be our offering to the Divine. Isvara Pranidhana is a powerful practice to lighten our steps upon the earth as we remember to speak more gently so the force of our words no longer wounds, but heals the hearts of others.