Today I find myself lying in bed, trying to manage a stomach bug which has kept me from attending 2 workshops with our friend and inspiration, Kimberly Wilson, at my place of work, Centre Luna Yoga. As frustrated as I am to be missing her visit again, I’m allowing myself to stand back from the whole situation and just surrender to whatever it is that’s making my stomach go full Cirque du Soleil on me 🙂 And so I’m lying in bed, pacing myself as I finish one of the most important books I’ll ever read, The Journey Home – Autobiography of An American Swami by Radhanath Swami.
I don’t want to ever finish reading this book…which is why I know it will become one of the few books that I will re-read over and over throughout my life. From cover to cover, Radhanath Swami’s memoirs speak to me on every level: as someone constantly in search of, and occasionally getting brilliant glimpses of, a higher, divine power…as someone reluctant to ascribe to any one school of thinking or faith until I have no doubts in my mind that I have found a true extension of myself…and as someone who continues to see with growing clarity the illusion the majority of mankind lives with, unable to see that the love of a higher power is the ultimate expression of every kind of love that we seek on earth – from each other, from our pets, from ourselves.
As is the pattern throughout his journey, Radhanath Swami finds Vishaka Sharan Baba, a scholar and devotee of Vrindavan, the favoured geographical location of the Lord Krishna’s manifestations on Earth, and he sits with him one day…and asks him a question that I think would be beneficial for every single person to ask of someone whom they trust implicitly. With absolute trust and genuine reverence, he asks, “Please tell me whatever you feel I need to hear.”
Our nature, through conditioning and socialization in this part of the world, is to steer well clear of any situation that might present an opportunity for criticism to sneak in. In today’s Western society, it is unfortunately much easier to vocalize judgement and negativity than it is to offer someone a kind word of gratitude or a compliment. And so most of us would be averse to asking such a question of another, but we’re wrong in allowing for that aversion to guide us. If every one of us has one person, regardless of who that person is in relation to us, that we would entrust with our lives, someone we know loves us unconditionally, than this question absolutely needs to be presented to them at the appropriate time, in the proper setting conducive to a real heart-to-heart exchange of words and ideas.
We shy away from questions like this one because we’re afraid of what the answers will be and how those answers will prompt us to step up to the plate and hold ourselves accountable for our actions, but we don’t need to assume that the answers will always be critical. I can immediately think of a dozen people who, if they posed the question to me, would receive the following answer: I don’t think you realize how capable you are. I don’t think you realize how beautiful you are. I think that you’ve gotten so caught up in how the world around us tries to control you that you’ve lost sight of your innate sense of what’s right for you and what isn’t. I believe that you need to look at everything going on in your life and determine what is serving you and what isn’t, and then let go of that which isn’t. I think your life is about to kick into gear.
On this last day of the month, as we transition into the heat and warmth of the approaching Summer and let Spring recede, let’s allow for the insight and truth that only those who know and love us best can offer. Allow the unconditional love that the Bhakti yogis steep themselves in to make an appearance in your own lives and for your own well-being. Allow for that shift in how you approach the opinions of others in relation to yourself. Changing the way we think, the way we approach life, will absolutely and without fail lead to changing our lives for the better. You cannot change your life without changing the way you think. It’s impossible. So try it out. And let me know what happens 🙂
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