Tonight I had the visit of a hummingbird in my dreams, bringing the message of auspicious beginnings. It is a beginning this first blog entry, where there will be my contemplations and little grains of sand in the conversation of yoga and life. In Morocco, nothing can start without a blessing… so Bismillah!!
I find great inspiration in sacred texts and the notes that I took over the years from my teachers or during my travels. This gem from my dear teacher Douglas Brooks popped up today:
“If you practice vulnerability, the Universe will give you the gift of authenticity”
The energy contained in this sentence, its Matrika Shakti, is for me like an arrow direct to the heart. It resonated with great potency the first time I heard it and still feels heavy in its truth everytime that I read it; a great invitation to explore who I am and to commit to live from the heart and write from my sincere experience.
This teaching sounds very interesting to me, not only because its deep resonance, but also because, in some way, is the opposite of the advice that we often receive. Our world rest in the confortable zone of uniformity. The process that we call globalization illustrate this idea at a large scale but the same can be said at a more personal level. There are determined roles and models in our societies and if you fit into one of those apparently your life is so much easier. “Be protected”, “Don’t expose yourself”, “Do what the mayority do”. This are the advice we, directly or in a subliminal way you are most likely to receive. But to fit into those patterns most times we have to wear a mask. And this can have a high price to pay: a sense of confusion between who we are in our inner space and the role we decide or we think we have to play. I believe, this is a great cause of suffering and unhappiness in our societies.
I cannot help but using surfing (from the humbleness of my limited experience) as a metaphore of life and the spiritual journey. When you are at the beach, you can choose to spend your day in the confortable spot that is the shore, just laying on the sand or having a Moroccan tea, or you can paddle out to the place of vulnerability at the peak in the waves. (Is there anything more vulnerable than a human being in the Ocean?). Somehow it is crazy but it happens that when you take yourself out there you have the most amazing experiences of power, connection, inner peace, and joy. Surfing faces me continuosly with my fears and my weaknesses but everydat shows me my strengths and gives me so many smiles. I feel I had some of my most precious yoga moments in the Ocean by allowing myself to explore and live my vulnerability. And I can say the same of my life, out of the water
When you dare to take out the mask (or the many masks that we have built over the years around us), to wear just your bare face, you become vulnerable, simply by being who you are. The gift is that you savor the flavors of your heart, not the artificial ones, but the real flavors and smells of life, like a good meal made just with natural ingredients. Yoga invites us to explore our inner world. One of the common metaphores that appear for this adventure is that of going inside the forest or the jungle, another place of great vulnerability for human beings. From there the invitation is to open our senses, and our mind and heart to the mystery of life, to show ourselves as what we are: an embodied form of the Divine that chose to be us. The yogi finds protection, not in an outer armor but in developing an inner strength that comes from our most intimate relationship with the Self. It is through the constant remembrance of who we truly are that we can show ourselves with no fear. It is from fortitude that you can be vulnerable. And this vulnerability zone is it is a dynamic place of practice and learning, as it is to be in the Ocean. And there is where yoga truly happens.
Back to cites, I love one from Appa, (the familiar way how Douglas Brooks’ Indian teacher, used to be called)
“Have you stopped to think all the effort that the Universe has made to be just you?”
It is human to be scared of not fitting, not being accepted, not being loved, and it is for this we créate our protection masks. To be as we are supposed to be. But if you contemplate the fact that you are a unique being in this beautiful Universe, that the Divine wanted that you were just precisely you…. would you hide yourself? Would you deprive others of the singularity that is you? It is that recognition that makes me take and re-take the concious choice of being consecuent to my heart, making myself vulnerable if needed, and living with the freedom that brings authenticity.
It is summertime and as we expose our bodies more to the Sun, it can be a good time to contemplate what is the gift of myself that I want to offer and share just by being more of me. Trust more deeply in your friends, surrender totally when you make love, publish in Facebook a poem that comes from your soul, sing in public, dance as if you are alone, say what you think, do what you feel… When we make ourselves vulnerable we might be judged, it might hurt. But it is also the only way to be truly loved and to be able to live with any judgment.
Happy San Juan night! Take a step to a more vulnerable place, throw your masks to the fire and enjoy the summer breeze in your face…