For many years I thought that knowledge was power, and the key component to being prepared for this full contact sport we call Life. However, slowly in my yogic journey, I’ve changed my view completely. As I have gotten older, I realize that the things I was so certain I “knew” have become less. I suppose that could be considered bad news. If so, the good news is that by releasing what I clung to as “certainty”, I experience a deeper sense of calmness and trust that comes from more of a heart place than a head place. I also experience a joyous liberation in accepting that I don’t have to “know” everything or have all of the answers - that I can simply be present authentically, open and vulnerable, available to give and receive whatever shows up. Is it possible that now, in the latest part of my life’s journey, my ego is finally retiring?
As the ego retires, so does my type A, control freak, perfectionist approach to life – whew! Finally. The unexpected benefit is that in this release, I unintentionally create opportunities for magic and miracles to flow unexpectedly into my life – usually when I least expect it and more beautiful than I could have ever planned using all of my resources of knowing, doing and controlling.
My latest experience of this occurred a few weeks ago. Just as I was leaving one morning to teach a yoga class, an earthquake unexpectedly struck, shaking my house dramatically – the epicenter being less than a few miles from my home. In reality, it lasted only a few seconds and caused no physical damage. But in those few seconds, as the building shook and the electricity went off, thousands of terrifying thoughts flew through my mind, creating a sense of total vulnerability, and panic.
The earthquake stopped as suddenly as it had begun, but my heart did not. I stood there alone, frozen and not knowing what to do. Reality soon reminded me that what I had to do was teach my yoga class in less than 30 minutes. I jumped into my car for the 15 minute drive – grateful for the time on the road to get myself together. Instead, despite the usual things I do to calm myself and get centered, the anxiety continued. When I arrived, everyone was feeling shaken, vulnerable and ungrounded. My beloved students were looking to me, their trusted, knowledgeable teacher, for assurance. The lump in my throat pounded away, as I realized I had NO knowledge in my head of what to so or say to the group. I had even forgotten what I was to teach. My mind was blank.
From my heart, I did the only thing I could do – I closed my eyes, and tuned in with our standard mantra – The Adi Mantra - calling on Divine Guidance and my highest consciousness. I silently recited my teacher’s oath, “I am not a man, I am not a woman, I am not a person, I am not myself, I am a teacher”. Then, I instructed the students to close their eyes, and sit back-to- back for support – both physical and emotional. I began to lead a meditation with breath work – guiding each person to send healing breath to one another, while visualizing protection, perfect peace, and safety. The words I spoke of assurance were most certainly not coming from my head or from my teacher’s manual –but from another place that was beyond what can be described in words. I continued the class with a healing and centering mantra in our back to back positions, allowing the sacred sound currents and vibrations of the mantra to flow from one person to the next. I was not aware of how much time had passed, but when I opened my eyes – almost 30 minutes had gone by. As I looked out upon the group, everyone’s face was serene, their bodies relaxed and not one bit of anxiety could be detected in the energy of the room. As the students completed the mantra and opened their eyes, we all sat in stillness. No words were spoken or necessary to express the profound sense of awe of what had happened in the last 45 minutes.
Sitting in observation, gratitude, peace and awe – I thought of the word “yoga” – and its powerful meaning – “to unite”. The combination of the yoga, and our willingness to simply show up without any answers, united and empowered a group of strangers to support one another and to reach beyond what we each thought we were capable of. We all agreed that we had experienced a Divine presence and energy that day - not by chasing it, planning it or struggling to create it, and not in an ashram, holy temple, or sacred space - but in everyday life, albeit in the most unexpected place and time.
Wishing you all an abundance of magic, miracles and moments that take your breath away.