Spring is here and it has been so wonderful to get outside, hands back in the earth, experiencing this season with all its grit and glory. While pulling weeds last weekend I reflected on the process of making space, saving earths nutrients and creating room for what we want to grow. So often by the time I finish weeding one end of the garden, weeds have returned in force where I started. This year I’m determined to finally get a load of compost so as I clear an area I’ll finally have a way to keep the weeds at bay and support healthy soil.
A few weekends ago I had the great pleasure of attending beautiful rituals and ceremonies at Dayaalu offered by Karma Rinpoche a Buddhist Lama from Bhutan. His teachings were simple and so powerful, encouraging us to practice loving kindness, compassion and gratitude. Over the weekend I felt the power of replacing judgment with compassion, hostility with loving-kindness and grasping with gratitude.
The garden, full of rich metaphor, brings me back to the yogic teachings of the Niyamas. These are personal practices that relate to our internal environment of our body, mind and spirit and when observed they foster conditions that support stability and growth. The first Niyama is Saucha or purity, and as part of our Connections Yoga Journey I’ve been practicing a daily refection of how it is surfacing in my thoughts, words and actions. I’m mostly aware when I have NOT been practicing these teachings. I’ve also noticed that simply pulling the weeds of impure thoughts or discontented speech is hard to maintain when there is nothing to replace it. I found these beautiful ancient teachings of loving kindness, compassion and gratitude like compost for the soil of my life. It provides the ultimate fertilizer for an attitude adjustment and growth just when I need it!!
As we experience this season of spring, full of change and new growth, we are exploring the theme of Root and Rise. The Banyan tree in this photo below is in the heart of Auroville, an incredible community created from teachings of unity inspired by Sri Aurobindo and his partner “The Mother”. I had the opportunity to visit when I was in India in January and this tree brought me to tears. Over the years the roots have become trees and the tree has become roots, supporting an expanse of limbs that reach and rise in magical proportions. This single tree felt like an entire forest. It was a perfect metaphor for the way the community of Auroville has been created overtime with patience and perseverance committed to its vision of a community based on unity.
When I returned from my incredible adventure to India I was inspired to feel this same sense of unity right here at home. These teachings transcend place. The heart of this wisdom can be experienced everyday through meditation, movement, song, service and community. I am so grateful for Dayaalu and the many ways it provides stable roots and fertile ground for inspiration so we can all rise up and meet the day with loving kindness, compassion and gratitude.