During the onslaught of storms that recently occurred in N. California, I subscribed to our local paper to get the latest on weather and other storm related stories. It was quite exciting and helpful for the most part.
In the days following the storms, I checked into my online news source where I saw story after story of tragedy, death, horrific accidents, suffering, and acts of violence and injustice, each one worse than the next. My nervous system was being shattered.
Yesterday morning as I was driving to my studio to meet students, I thought how do I hold this? How do I present these teachings of yoga that guide us into the awareness of the inner peace and joy that resides inside, with all the trauma and drama that is happening collectively and in each individual life? How do I bridge between this changing reality of impulse and reactivity with this higher knowledge of infinite intelligence, love, truth, and eternal joy?
And, as is often the case when I’m in a dilemma, I hear the inner voice whisper, “Be still. Listen Inside. The answer will come. You will know what to do. Do not fear.”
Sometimes when I'm teaching, I offer the instruction to turn the corners of your mouth upward. On this morning, I heard the guidance inside, telling me to give this to my students. There was a short conversation in my mind with higher presence and I asked, “how can I tell them to smile when there’s so much awful stuff happening in the world? Isn’t that being pollyanna-ish? Isn’t that sticking my head in the sand? Isn’t that spiritual bypassing? ”
Inner voice replied, “Just do it anyway.”
And so I tell my class, “Turn the corners of your mouth upward.”
We are in runner pose. There is quiet, a pause, and then these words come:
“Maybe turning the corners of the mouth upward, could be just like any other alignment instruction. Simply, turn the corners of the mouth upward. Just like press your foot to the earth, bring your knee over your ankle, lengthen through the spine, draw the shoulders down away from the ears, maintain the inner eye gaze.”
At this point, some of the students began to giggle.
And then these words came:
“Or, you might want to think of something that could help the corners of the mouth turn up, like a time that you laughed so hard your stomach hurt, or a relationship that brings great Joy, (I am remembering my meeting HHDL and him holding my hand) or a story that you remember that uplifted and inspired.”
The giggling among the students started to get stronger. You could feel the spontaneous joy that was bubbling up as our laughter came through. We all felt the blessings of this spontaneous healing. No words were needed.
We are One.
Feeling content at day's end having reached many who knew to come to practice. Some who were suffering physically, mentally, emotionally, who knew to come. Who maybe were led by inner guidance, or a gentle nudging from a friend or loved one. Go to yoga, the Divine whispers. Find that place of refuge, of calm, of quiet. When the world is in madness and you don’t know what to do, come to the practice. The practice becomes your prayer. Breath for those who can’t breath. Open your heart for all those hearts that are closed. Allow your tears to flow for all of humanity. I’m right here with you and I love you.