Category Archives: sangha
Sharing some spoken truth from Rosh Pina this morning.
May you all find your way to speak your truth, live from your truth and be nakedly honest with the essence of yourSelf!
Blessings and love,
Yesterday was a beautiful day, where I got to speak to Daniel Wagner on the healing power of yoga. We really got to converse deeply on Truth, the questions of ‘Who am I?’ and how we both found our relentless spiritual quest coming to stillness in the finding of our paths, whichever and however they may look!
Daniel’s website simplyconscious.com is a meeting place for those who are, simply conscious 😉
Please visit it, sign up and stay tuned in to a growing community of like minded consciousness. I feel blessed to be a part of it!
Please feel free to leave comments and share your feedback!
Some months ago, I attended my weekly Kabbalah class where I was taught that the Hebrew word for exile is gola (גולה) and the word for redemption is Geula (גאולה). As many of you know, I have a love affair with the Hebrew language. Its magical, vibrational resonance, its mystifying, unveiling of sacred truth through its symmetry, synchronicity and sound current intoxicate my soul. I am continually awed by the finesse and interconnection between words and their roots and the web of extrapolation that is possible when viewing the letters and their combination as words, birthing enlightened meaning. When I saw the gola/Geula connection and how these two polarities are separated by the singular presence of an Aleph, I knew that I had just imbibed a deep truth. I didn’t yet understand the impact that the letter Aleph would be making into my meditation practice or how strongly Aleph itself would begin to effect shifts in my own consciousness. On a recent reread of my class notes, the very reminder of it and its synchronized timing came to jolt me into a new clarity. How the letter Aleph has the power to transform exile into redemption and how I can marry the technologies that are available to me to effect this transformation felt revelatory.
The transformation is a literal exodus. Just as Egypt is representative of enslavement, so too does our attachment and identification with the material realm imprison us and becomes a self imposed ‘Egypt’. We believe ourselves to be our body, our thoughts, our relationships, our wealth and so on. Yes these are all transient externalized accouterments. Our bodies are changing and will eventually pass, of this we can be certain. Our thoughts itself bear testimony to their ephemeral nature. They are ever passing, changing, shifting, like clouds to which we attach so much weight. It is said that we have around 70 000 thoughts a day and yet we identify with them as concretized. The same can be said for relationships. They too embody in their malleable nature, the necessity to recognize the transient nature of being and to develop a detached appreciation rather than a dependency on the relationships with whom we identify. Wealth is easy. It comes, it goes. Even if you die a multi millionaire, you take with you nothing. Nothing that is but the soul.
Within the soul lies the invitation to do the work. The soul is the one aspect of Self that is eternal in nature, that is flawless, pristine and Divinely connected, irrespective of the shenanigans of the mind, the body or the ego’s misidentifications. It is also the vehicle through which to effect personal transformation and the mode itself by which to carry the process from enslavement to individualized liberation.
How? The connection to the soul begins with recognition of it. An acknowledgement that: I am not man, woman, person, myself. I am Truth itself. This is the soul’s true mantel. It is ever connected to Truth, God, Creation, Light, Love, Source, name it what you will. This support that is Truth, is irrevocable, immovable, universal, eternal and Infinite. Surely our investment in our lifetime should then be to the one thing that is unchanging, to the one thing that we take with us long after the body has fulfilled its relatively short-term function? If our soul is the gateway to ‘Israel’, to the symbolic liberation itself, then it can best be viewed as our point of departure on our conscious casting off of the shackles of our personalized penitentiary.
The ways to make this soul investment are myriad, expressed in universal albeit Babylonic tongue, as the same connection to Truth. Through an inexhaustible list of prayer, intention, observances, breath, meditation, yoga, religion, mysticism and so on, we have tools and technologies to connect to the soul and in so doing effect the shift from Gola to Geula.
To utilize these various modalities and technologies during times of energetic potency, like Pesach, provide a charged environment, which acts as an aid to catalyze the expansion of awareness that is needed to make the shifts our souls are seeking. Passover is the invitation for freedom, just as is its parallel, Easter. Both Easter and Passover share this energy of rebirth.The exodus from Egypt (מצרים), is the exit from a consciousness of narrowness (מצרים/צר) which identifies with the transient into the liberation of the veritable identification with Source itself. This is the resurrection. The time period of Nissan is thus such an electrified moment for this renascence of consciousness.
The umbilicus uniting soul and Source rebirths an expanded realization, one that identifies with Truth itself. Our bija (seed) mantra from Kundalini Yoga is Sat Nam. Nam means identity or the name. Sat means Truth but it also means being as in to be. Our equation for Sat Nam is then: Truth = Being = Identity. Through this new identification we shift from Gola into Geula. Through the eye of the needle that is the Infinite possibility of Aleph!
Wishing you a chag sameach and happy easter: A celebration of rebirth, remembering, revelation and redemption.
These last two classes we have shared on Mondays have focused around the idea of using the technology of yoga in application to our lives. This means different things to each of us, our relative experience a unique expression of our respective states of consciousness and opening that is deeply personal.
My intention in class was to transmit the understanding that everything we do in our yoga practice is a microcosmic laboratory for life itself. An experiment whereby we can apply the teachings in every thought, word and action and to events and experiences we encounter in daily life. What we face on the mat, be it our emotions, our habits, our reactivity or even a sense of centeredness is a reflection of our lives. The sacred space that a yoga practice affords helps us to zone in on a deeper understanding of self in a context where we can work easily through these issues and in a way where we feel safe to do so.
What we can observe through our practice in respect of our emotional states, natures and conditioning can then be directly translated into our lives, processed and seen in parallel. This process is one of the fundamentals gifts of yoga. By developing the ability to become an observer or witness to our conditioned responses and reactivity and in developing neutrality, (observing without judgment) we create the platform to be less reactive. I call this the witness protection programme. This neutrality borne of impartial observation is when we know the application of yoga to life is in effect. Being aware of this shift in response is also an indicator that the yoga is working!
Another main gauge for me which was a strong theme in the last two weeks of class, was the idea of synchronicity. You might notice as a trite new ageism the negation of the idea that anything is coincidental. ‘Everything happens for a reason’ and ‘there are no coincidences’ has become incorporated into the general spiritually tinted lexicon. But the reason clichés are clichéd is that often they are based on truth. For me the word coincidence has become synonymous with the word synchronicity.
In my spiritual process, synchronicity has a profound presence, and the series of seeming coincidences seem to grow more apparent, almost laughable in the gigantic footprints they leave. I was asked recently if there is always such profound coincidence in my life, with Baron Von Munchausenesque tales of miracle and wonder lending an almost unreal quality to my life. I said absolutely yes! I believe this is based on a perception shift that is birthed through application of spiritual teachings. When perceived from the point of view of love and truth, life is miraculous, wondrous and tinged with the rosiest of spectacles. Do I look for the signs I was asked? I believe they are always there. Our shift in perceptions determines whether or not we see them.
In June 2013 following a series of stark breadcrumbs, I wrote the following piece that I promised in class I would share with you. My prayer is that it speaks to the awakening process within you, reminding you of your growing awareness and of the telltale signs that life is evolving in understanding and shifting into awakening.
of the breadcrumbs left
by the soul’s emissary,
offering ectoplasmic clues
like a dream,
of why and how
we are here.
This road seems like
a mellifluous meander
with utter distraction,
until the reminders
bring us gently to the point.
Lest we miss it.
It is our choice to pursue spiritual growth and to commit to the discipline of a regular yoga practice. This choice is amplified by being in the presence of like-minded people and developing in a collective spirit of sanghat. The commitment to our yoga sadhana (practice) in whichever form we pursue are tangible efforts we make in the awakening process, ones which empower us, grow us and facilitate elevation of body, mind and spirit. While we take these efforts of discipline and commitment, Grace stands alongside us, watching, facilitating and encouraging us. Throwing us one breadcrumb after the other. Lest we miss it.
|An update on Nicki’s yogic adventures in Israel|
Dearest Yoga Form sangha,Three months have passed since our arrival in Israel. In such a short time it seems that so much has happened, so many shifts are continually taking place. After a few short weeks being a stone’s throw from the biggest yoga school in Tel Aviv, we moved to a suburb about half an hour away. It is beautiful here, very green, very close to the ocean. Our mornings involve dropping our children at school and taking Aidan and Guru (our Shitzu) for walks on a seemingly endless strip of beach. But besides the perfect nature here I found myself looking in vain for a yoga school that embodied all that Yoga Form does. It seemed like there was very little in the area and as I have Aidan with me, travelling to far away classes is not really viable.
I can now marvel at how interestingly Universe forces me out of my comfort zones. After much research the only two practices I found in close proximity so far are hot yoga (Bikram) and Iyengar, the two practices I’m least attracted to. As luck or Divine plan has it I have found through these practices all that I know to be true of yoga; that there isn’t a yoga that I have met that I didn’t like; that there is beauty in all, possibility in all, silence to be found within, no matter what the pathway. When I cannot make it to class which is regularly, my daily practice involves finding a strip of grass off the beach, laying out one towel for me, one for Aidan and Guru and doing my spiritual work which is the sublime practice of Kundalini yoga. There is such a wealth of information, teachings and sets to do, that the beach becomes my shala, the ocean’s envelopment a virtual baptism sanctifying my practice and the connection to the Infinite made easy through Nature’s embrace.
My return to Antwerp in the beginning of September for the level 1 Kundalini Yoga teacher training with Gurmukh, Gurushabd and Guru Dharam inspired my practice even more. To be able to reimmerse in the teachings, to feel the blessing of community (sangha) and to touch base with all that I know to be sacred and true of yoga was such a blessing. And then to bring it all back here and to know that my dharma is that of service however it may ultimately present itself. Such is the fruit of a spiritual practice, to connect to Purpose and to live that Purpose. The last year has brought so many changes, it is almost laughable how Universe has conspired to shake all that I believe to be my identification, to shift all that I thought to be solid about my life. First the unexpected gift of Life, then the change of location. She teaches me continually to let go of attachment, to let go of identification, to let go and let God. She teaches me to trust and to surrender. Every day it seems. In exchange for my trust, she brings so much joy to my life. So many blessings in the form of Union with my loved ones, the truest yoga I am blessed enough to enjoy. So many blessings in the ability to find my connection to my Soul through the Infinite teachings and knowledge. This is my karmic gift to enjoy and in gratitude for it I hope to live my dharma, in service, in love, with trust and in Truth.
My blessings to you all dear sangha. I carry you all in my practice, hot, aligned or sandy.
Dearest Yoga Form sangha,
My first weeks in Israel have offered a cushioned landing: Arriving for a family celebration, in gorgeous weather, with my entire family around me has softened the edges off a transitional shift and allowed for us all to slowly acclimatize, taking in our new environment with joy, in peace and with so much love around us.
I happen to be temporarily staying a few metres walk from probably the largest yoga school here. At the first opportunity I found my way there to begin my yoga practice here trying out the different classes on offer. All the lessons are in Hebrew with very little translation and given my very limited recollection of childhood Hebrew classes very little of what was being said made its way to any comprehensible understanding.
What did strike me though despite my limited Hebrew was the fact that the word for ‘breath’ is the same root as the word for ‘soul’, and that connecting to the breath comes down simply to connecting to our spirit. So too the word for ‘becoming aware’ is the same as ‘go into your heart’, where the truth of awareness makes itself known. These simple truths expressed within the texture of the language itself, felt resonantly like home, not within the place I now choose to be in, but rather within the practice that echoes my inner truth.
Indeed I missed most of the dialogue of the classes in another language in which I am still so inept, but coming to the yoga practice brought me to such familiarity beyond the constraints of tongue. The gentle caress of my breath whispered of the universality of the language of yoga, that breath is beyond word and that word is distilled to a simple OM. In this way yoga is true union. Union of the body with the soul, union of the breath with the consciousness, unity with all spirit kind, beyond any boundary of language, conditioning or environment. Here I conjoined with the universality of the language of yoga that speaks beyond these borders and touches all without discrimination. For this I am so deeply grateful for my practice that allows the undulations and shifts of deep change to gently mould into a new awareness of the present moment. Yoga is coming home, no matter the language, no matter the place. It is me, my body, my breath, my spirit in this singular moment of now and in connection with all that is and as the sounds of the waves outside the shala draw my attention deeper within, I realize with all certainty that I Am That.
I send you my deepest love always from here, missing you all but looking forward to reuniting soon in joy and in peace in Antwerp.