As my dog Hudson and I went for a walk in the park, my mind was jumping all over the place. I spent some time contemplating how amazing technology is, from the truly life-altering (last night we watched a NatGeo special all about advances in human exoskeleton systems that are allowing paraplegics to take their first steps in decades - I wept! amazing!) to the comparatively mundane (I purchased a new ipod nano yesterday and it has a really cool fitness function, acting like a pedometer for walking and running. We walked 1.82 miles in 37 minutes...a leisurely but lovely stroll!) I listed through the items on todays to-do list (laundry being my first priority, just before blogging!) and rolled around todays yoga class theme, IsIhvara Pranidhana, in my head.
Ishvara Pranidhana, the final of the 5 Niyamas, put simply, translates as surrender to a higher power (you can call it god, nature, the universe, or anything you like really). The basic concept here, is that we take actions in our lives, but trust in this higher power, and surrender the fruits of our our actions, the end result, to that higher power. In a culture such as ours which searches to constantly control, this act of surrender can be terrifying at first contemplation.
Latley, when asked how I'm doing or what's new in my life, I have felt a little under-whelemed, a little boring. Don't get me wrong, my life is great right now, but I don't have any "exciting" news. No vacations or trainings planned right now, no major shifts to my home life or family, smooth sailing with my work life too. I continue to take action in my life - waking up, engaging in my yoga practice, spending time meditating, going to work, investing time and energy in my marriage and my friendships. And today, like a lightbulb turning on I understood, I just need to keep taking these actions, knowing that they will lead me to the lessons, the growth, the experiences that are meant for me. Then I happened upon an article by Paul Dallaghan and this paragraph in particular caught my eye, a reading/understanding of Sutra 1.28 ...
"repeat, repeat, repeat (practice, practice, practice), whether it be the mantra or another form of our practice that could even include mantra, but it must be done with feeling, a connection, never mechanical. This feeling, connection through repetitive practice is the process of Ishvara Pranidhana."
This repetition, this life practice I'm building, with joy and love and hopefulness and wonder, this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing. By being fully present and aware, we have the power to transform the seemingly mundane, and use it as a springboard for deeper knowledge. If I keep taking action, committing, and then releasing my expectations, knowing that my heart is devoted to each action, I will be lead in precisely the right direction.
So see if you can approach your day with great verve, infinite chutzpah, and devotional delight - whether you are on your mat or off, doing laundry or packing your bags for a great adventure. Can you open yourself up to the limitless possibilities this life, this earth possess? Can we try, a little bit each day, to stop controlling, demanding, pouting when things don't go the way we think they should have? Though it's challenging, some days more than others, I know what a huge and light space this practice makes in my heart, when I am "in it".
Wishing you a week filled with peace, practice and play!
Namaste and Big love,