Deep into the Darkness

 

FullSizeRenderYoga shows us how to be more in sync with nature and the seasons.  When we honor the natural flow of Earth rhythms, we harmonize with the world around us and connect to the higher intelligence that created the cosmos.  Each season has something to teach us.  It is a matter of quieting our minds so we can observe what is happening in the world around us.  What can winter teach us?

Winter teaches us about resting, letting go, and trusting in the mysteries of life.  Winter is part of a cycle showing us that even when all the leaves fall off, there can eventually be new life growing on that very same tree.  Like hibernating animals, as we move into winter we will feel more of a need to go within and to rest deeply.  The days are shorter, and the nights are longer.   You may feel an irresistible urge to get more sleep.  Don’t deny yourself.  Let yourself slow down.  Make peace with the darkness of the winter, and be open to all the remains hidden from sight.  Take more time to bring your focus internally.

Here is a winter guided meditation to take you into that place.

Close your eyes.  Look into the darkness and let the body come to a rest.  Relax the shoulders to create more space in the heart and feel the weight of the body gently resting into the support of the Earth underneath.  Simply let any thoughts float by, gently suspending yourself in the quiet stillness that exists in between each thought.  As the darkness envelops you, give yourself permission to let go into this silent space of blackness.  Let your body float into this great unknown land, trusting that you are deeply supported by the Earth gently holding your body as you go into this space of rest and quietude.  With each breath, gently plunge deeper and deeper into this space of silence allowing the secrets of rest to slowly reveal themselves.  Silently repeat to yourself, “I trust and let go.”

Going into a space of rest allows the body to begin to heal.  Cells start to rejuvenate, and the body slowly begins to awaken to a spring of new possibilities.  Winter is wonderful time to let go of things that no longer serve you so you can open to something new.  But first, you must be willing to go deep into the darkness to find your way back to the light.

Trusting in the Unknown

img_2324As I was preparing to leave on my yoga journey to India, a part of me felt guilty for going.  The practical side of my brain was telling me that it would be risky to walk away from my ten-year legal career without a solid plan for what I would do when I came back to the States.  I was not used to taking vacation, let alone sabbaticals of undetermined length.  I had no idea what lay before me.  I felt like I was at the top of a roller coaster ride about to plunge forward into the great depths of the unknown.  As terrified as I was, it also felt liberating to be able to finally let go and to simply trust what my heart was telling me.  I felt a deep yearning within pulling me to India, and I could ignore it no more.

What I now know is that I was learning to trust in the unknown and in my own intuition. There are many things we can plan for in our lives, but the truth is most things are not in our control.  Regardless of what we choose to do, the sun will rise, the winds will blow, the rain will fall, the seasons will change, and life will gently carry us along in its magical flow.  We are part of a much greater cosmos, so much of which is completely unknown to us.  If we think we have control of the way our lives unfold, we are thinking too small and deluding ourselves.  The reality is every day we are trusting in the unknown.  Whether we understand our own biology or not, our heart automatically knows how to beat and our lungs know how to take in breath. When we fall asleep, we let go and trust that our body will know what to do as we drift into unconsciousness.  We are great miracles of being connected by a greater intelligence.  The very fact that we were given life is beyond the grasp of what our logical minds can truly comprehend.

Trusting in the unknown is recognizing that there is a greater intelligence orchestrating the magic that is constantly happening all around us.   We cannot always know what the outcome of a particular action will be, but we can learn to connect to our own hearts to guide us through the mysterious flow of life.  We can learn to discern when something resonates with us and when it does not.  We can learn to trust our own intuition and higher wisdom. Oftentimes, however, our minds can become so clouded in worry, self-doubt, and other negative thought patterns that our heart shuts down and we can no longer hear its gentle messages and guidance.  This is where yoga and mediation can help.  These are two practices that can take us beyond thoughts and into the quiet that exists between the thoughts.  It is in this space of stillness that we can access our higher wisdom to show us a path and trust where it is leading us even when we do not know what the outcome will be.