Recently we had a fire at Yasodhara Ashram where I live. The roof of our Temple was burnt and it has had a big impact on the community. Now we are in the assessment phase – asking is it structurally sound? What is the best way to rebuild? What has to come down before we can build up?
I have also been reading a book about the coup in Chile and all the awful things that the human mind is capable of manifesting. And it’s got me thinking that there must be something bigger – there must be something more than emergencies and torture and lies. And its rekindled the desire in me to connect to this something more.
The main symbol that we use for the Divine at the Ashram is the Light and we talk about the light of understanding and the light of wisdom. We also refer to the symbols from the Hindu tradition – Krishna – the blue god – a playful trickster who plays the flute beautifully and will steal your heart, Tara, who is young and playful and brings compassion, and Durga, a fierce feminine force that rides a lion and kills the demon of egoism and pride. These symbols represent the particular qualities of the Divine personified so they are easier for the human mind to grasp.
And so my question is – how do I create a personal connection to something as intangible as Light or as foreign as a blue flute playing god? How can I bring this something more into my life?
I start where I began. My first experiences of feeling really connected to something greater than myself occurred in nature, in movement and in listening or participating in amazing music. And these are three ways that continue to help me to feel connected. So I start with what I know and go for walks, spend time at the beach and remember to play music for myself.
And then these other ideas that are less familiar become trials – experiments in my life. Can I see the light of understanding in myself? In others? And does this really help me to feel connected or does it become an intellectual game??
And where does playful compassion come into my day? And what happens if I write a letter of all my sorrows addressed to the blue god? How do I feel afterwards? And what changes in my day if I visualize a fierce warrior riding on a lion walking along beside me as I work ready to pounce on judgmental thought patterns?
Trial and error. Experimenting and figuring out what helps me to feel connected and what doesn’t. What works and who works? And how do I keep this connection alive?
Because what I’m learning is that it’s easy to say that I want to stay connected to this something more and it’s easy to feel the connection at the perfect moment but remembering that I want it and keeping it alive day to day is very challenging.
And so my experiments continue. No conclusive results yet but there is exciting quality to the mystery of the search. What is the essence of drifting piano melodies? What is the essence of the stillness in the forest? And what is the purpose of my life?