Know Thy Self. Be Thy Self.
As I write this reflection, I know already how much this will fail to articulate and capture the precious and sacred moments, and the unprecedented levels of happiness, love, mind-blowing revelations, some struggles, discipline, kindness, gut-churning, visions, energies, friendships, and peace that came as an assault, that came so suddenly, and sometimes came so fleetingly, to me and to my life as I thought I knew it during my TTC...
On April 1st 2017, “April Fools Day”, together with 23 other students, I have become a Yoga Siromani (Teacher of Yoga). It marks in a very serendipitous way the beginning of hopefully, a very conscious odyssey into (losing) the mind and knowing the Self.
On the day I turned 35, around my so-called “Saturn cycle”, I found myself in a place so new yet so familiar. The trip to Nassau was not remarkable except for a tall and sharp-looking Bahamian Taxi driver at the airport who asked me curiously, “So, are you a student or a teacher?”
I was very startled and perplexed, first by the fact that his taxi was in fact a 4-meter long limousine, (so funny, I arrived at the eskinita or alleys of the dock on a midnight blue limousine, hahaha!) and second by the fact that I have only told him to get me to “the dock on Elizabeth” so far. But he seems to have known where I was headed before I could even explain it myself.
“A student, to hopefully become a Teacher,” I replied as a matter-of-factly.
On the second day at the Ashram, and on the first of many Satsangs I have excitedly attended, I found myself slightly dazed by the number of strangers all around me. Oddly, I felt no threat nor sense of static pressure from the mass of the crowd. There was just a light sense of abundance, kindness, and welcome from people who I have never met before and who I did not know (yet).
Touched, tears started to swell and my lips started to wobble. I bit my lip hard and closed my eyes to break the first-day-of-school-jitters, and to not draw more attention to myself. It was not the first time I had hoped to be invisible and just melt away in front of an audience. But as the universe will have it, my name was first to be called up to the stage. Haha!
I was a bit confused, (What did I just get myself into?) a little nervous, a bit lonely (I left my husband at home, and where are my closest friends when I need their company and counsel? They are far away of course…), and a bit self-doubting (Am I truly ready for this?)
In my mind, I was just a little girl (a bit overgrown at 35), with a few simple dreams and plans in life, with some level of accomplishment but nothing really stellar to my standard, with minor feelings of being lost and underachieving as a privileged housewife to a very kind and industrious husband, I'm just an adventurous daughter to loving and brilliant parents… And I was just hoping to spend a winter month in the Bahamas in a grateful and meaningful way!
But that day, 5th of March 2017, I was sitting right across the portraits of two of the greatest Yogis and teachers of time, about to be taken into a path of venturing beyond my sense of humanity, my sense of identity and my sense of individuality… I was honored and humbled to crumbs. I was pulped and pulverized into atoms and nothingness.
“Do I deserve this?” I asked myself so many times as I try to control the assault of emotions and mucus in the cavities of my face. I knew I could have just been staying a home, enjoying the suntan from a recent sailing trip in Mexico, dwell on the beauty and comfort of the arts and domestic suburban life in Calgary, and run a few errands to achieve mildly noble personal targets and projects this year…
But when I opened my eyes to finally confront what was about to happen on my Initiation as a TTC student of one of the most ancient, respected, and beloved lineage in Yoga world, the peculiarly jolly face of Swami Sivananda on a portrait hanging on a wall seem to have said to me: “You’ll be fine. Thirty days will be quick and fun, get over it, you silly!”
From that day on, his smiling face has become my primary source of respite and reassurance through the days of rigorous training that was about to unfold and that I had absolutely no clue about. And so I have surrendered...
I am infinitely and forever grateful to all the inspiring teachers, teaching assistants, karma yogis, Ashram staff, classmates, cats, and Napoleon (the dog) for sharing their beautiful light with me.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA!
I have contemplated a lot on whether I should share the rest of my little private notes, stories, and thoughts on the beautiful and life changing teachings of Yoga in the TTC on a public blog.
These thoughts are very dear and sacred to me. If you wish to read/ hear more about them, you can send me a private message and I would be happy to share them with you. But engage me at your own risk. :)
Here is a list of topics I have some initial and personal thoughts, discourses, summaries, and ideas on:
The Problem was never the Self
On Pleasure, Pain, and Service, Swami Sivananda's Yoga of Synthesis
Mind Blowing Advaita (Non dualistic) Vedanta- The End of Knowledge
Caste, Karma, Suffering, Justice, and Marx
Yoga and Praxis: Beyond Knowing
Karma and Grace
Guru, Self, and Direct Knowledge
Spiritual path and Attachment
Time and Space, Absolute REALITY and Absolute Present
Trinity and Yoga of Optimality (* Developing idea/ theory)