6/06/16 Monday Night Class: Sun Mantras, Ganesha, and the Incredible Lightness of Being…

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This week’s class fell on 6/06/16 which got me thinking about the significance of the number six. If you stop think about it, the number six is composed of 2 3’s and/or 3 2’s. The 2’s represent opposite poles and the movement towards balance. The 3’s represent a unifying synthesis, the sacred trinity we find in so many traditions. When you put that all together, you can see why you end up with a number that is connected to the exuberant amazing glorious expressive, and most of all life-giving Sun…

Here’s a quote from Vicki Noble’s Motherpeace Tarot:

Sixes: Exuberance

The Sixes are full and expressive, a peak number, always expansive and positive in some way. Six represents exuberance or triumph, being on top of things. Like the Sun sitting at the center of the solar system, Six sits at the center of the Kabalistic Tree of Life and radiates out in every direction, saying, “yes!” Six represents a moment of decisive action or a climax of some sort, a moment of glory.

Which all seemed an excellent jumping off point for a class that constellated around the fifth Sun mantra, the creation story of Ganesha, and the inner possibility of soaring…

ॐ खगाय नमः
om khagāya namaḥ |
Salutations to Khaga, who travels the sky like a bird…

I love all the Sun mantras, but this is one that always jumps out at me. I love the image of light traveling through the sky like a bird. I also love the way “light” as in light and “light” as in lightness are so connected. Which gets me thinking about the incredible lightness of being we feel in the presence of people who are, well, full of light. People who have a buoyancy of spirit and soul that soars like a bird. And what a delight (there’s that word again) to have them in our lives. Because let’s face it. Most of us lean towards the heaviness of being. We are gravity-based creatures. And that’s not just the gravity of Earth. There’s a potent gravitational force in the demands of daily life, in the stress we hold in our bodies, in the narratives and belief systems that can (and often do) keep us down. Although we don’t like to admit it, many of us prefer to be stressed out. It’s familiar, provides solid reasons for everything that’s not working in our lives, and most of all, distracts us from remembering we are finite being living in an unfathomable mystery we will never be able to control. The irony being that the Mystery does seem to be made of light…

 

Here’s my opening dharana on the mantra Om Namaha Shivaya  as a bird with two wings:

 

And here is this week’s dharma talk, a weaving of the well-known creation story of Ganesha from the Shiva Purana with 5th Sun mantra. I’m interested in what it takes to foster the incredible lightness of being embodied in Ganesha and articulated in this mantra. One point I didn’t get into in this talk is looking at Ganesha as a threshold keeper. If you look at the two common epithets assigned to “him,” Lord of Beginnings and Gatekeeper of the Sacred Feminine, you can see what I’m talking about. But what does that really mean, to be a threshold keeper. Ganesha resides in the space between, embodying a perfect balance, a lightness of being that makes it possible to ride on the back of mouse without crushing it. In my opinion, this is the reason for spiritual practice. So that we can walk lightly on the Earth, lightly through ups and downs of daily life, and perhaps most important since it makes these first two possible, walk lightly within ourselves…

 

 

The Glow of Your Presence
Hafiz  [English version by David and Sabrineh Fideler]

Where have you taken your sweet song?
Come back and play me a tune.

I never really cared for the things of this world.
It was the glow of your presence
that filled it with beauty.

Monday, November 4, 2013: We can change the world by changing our mind…

Sacred September Scene

Monday Night Class took an unexpected break the last few weeks of October. And now, while my studio is undergoing renovation, we’re been rendered homeless. Fortunately, we have Claude and her pristine yoga studio. So we do have a temporary resting place. Needless to say, I’m most grateful for this sanctuary…

As a Taurean being, I’ve never much liked change. Ironically, my life as a yogini has forced me to uproot over and over again. I’ve often suspected this outer movement was required to change my sedentary nature. Left to my own devices I’d probably have never left home…

And now, with my home in the chaos of renovation, I’m thinking a lot about perception, about how we change the world by changing our mind. Baba Muktananda often spoke of this telling us, “the world is as you see it.” People would complain to him about this or that and he’d sit back laughing and say, “change the prescription of your glasses…” I understood what he was saying, but understanding was just the first step. Living this awareness is the ongoing work…

I was out in my yard on Saturday raking leaves. This is a task I’ve never much enjoyed. I tire easily. My lower back aches. The minutes seem like hours. So I began asking myself why and remembered how as a child, I loved playing in the leaves. Same person. Same autumn season. Same leaves. The only difference really is perception. So I thought okay, let this raking be play. And I found myself — or perhaps I should say — lost myself in the leaves. And everything shifted. Fatigue vanished. No back pain. And dare I say it, bliss bubbling up from within…

There’s an interesting piece in this weeks’ NY Times about this phenomenon. Researchers at the University of Kent in England are documenting what yogis have practiced for centuries… we can change the world by changing our mind…

Here’s the lead with a link to the article:

Tell yourself during exercise that you’re not as tired as you think you are and you could make that statement true, a new study shows, reminding us that the body intertwines with the mind in ways that we are only starting to understand.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/06/keep-repeating-this-workout-feels-good/?src=me

This week’s dharma talk uses the portal of Ganesha as a jumping off point to contemplate this notion:

Here’s a clip of class chanting Ganesha Sharanam:

Here’s the final dharana between chanting and silent meditation: