Spirit of winter, rest and help us to enjoy your peace in this quiet place.
Remind us to pause during this season.
Grant us awareness, keep our gratitude fresh each day.
May the songs in our heart be blessings and insights to us and to others
and may compassion always shine forth from the depths of our hearts.
Meister Eckhart, a German philosopher from the late 1200's said, "We know so many things but we don't know ourselves. Go into your own ground and learn to know yourself there."
During this week before Thanksgiving, we look to be grounded, to find that calm, safe and secure space. Yoga's sister science of Ayurveda reminds us autumn is a time of vata energy. When in excess, vata contains the possibility of associated imbalances of headaches, anxiety and a general lack of energy.
We can ground ourselves by spending time in nature, using the yogic breathing technique of alternate nostril breath, and eating grounding foods such as root vegetables served warm.
The yogic practice of aparigraha, non-clinging or non-grasping, teaches us to let go of what we no longer need - something nature has forever done. Trees no longer hold their leaves, and we, too, can let go of the past, face the future to become the best of who we are.
Nature can teach us.
This week I did leaf gazing meditations with classes. I encourage you to take a walk, feel the earth beneath your feet, and select a leaf. Hold the leaf at eye level and gaze at its colors and shape. Close your eyes and feel its texture. Does it hold a scent? Bring your focus to your breath as you hold the leaf with your eyes closed. Feel your connection with the Earth. Consider a positive affirmation. Know just as the trees have let go, you can as well creating space for something better.
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here, Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine, Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
A Prayer For The Season
Open your eyes to the season's beauty - frost on a window pane, a starry night sky.
Open your ears to the music of children's laughter or the harmony of a familiar carol.
Open your hearts to the comfort of friendship, the security of family and the blessings of love.
"Remember that you are just a a visitor here, a traveler passing through.
Your stay is but short and the moment of your departure unknown, so speak quietly and kindly and be not forward with either opinions or advice.
If you talk much, this will make you deaf to what others say, and you should know that there are few so wise that they cannot learn from others.
Be near when help is needed, but far when praise and thanks are being offered.
Take small account of might, wealth and fame, for they soon pass and are forgotten.
Instead, nurture love within you and strive to be a friend to all. Truly, compassion is a balm for many wounds.
Treasure silence when you find it, and while being mindful of your duties, set time aside to be alone with yourself.
Cast off pretense and self-deception and see yourself as you really are."
A selection from The Dhammavadaka by Bhanti Dhammika
I had the pleasure of working with Shakta Khalsa in 2001. She continues to guide, both through her work in Children's Yoga teacher training, but also through her activism.
Susan Kain is a Registered Yoga teacher, Pilates instructor, and a Certified Personal Trainer with classes for all ages from toddlers to senior citizens.