HOLIDAYS & THE HEART By Dr. Lorin Roche and Camille Maurine The end-of-year holidays, for all their beauty and warmth, are also notoriously stressful and difficult to navigate. Start stoking up your inner resources now. Here are some suggestions we have been pondering.
Be aware that others may be hurting. In the secret recesses of the heart, people you encounter may be anxious, afraid, lonely, melancholy, bitter, or downright depressed. Factor in the uncertainties of 2017, worries about money, challenging family dynamics, and you have a vulnerable and sometimes volatile situation. Perhaps that aching heart is yours. If ever there were a time for compassion, it is now. Tend and tenderize, starting with your own sweet self. Let your meditation time be a place where you can soothe and support your heart, so that you can walk out into the world with love to give, and the readiness to receive in kind.
Fill yourself up with lots of sleep and relaxation. Take long walks and bask in the sensory richness. Drink in the light, the color of the leaves, the rhythms of nature, the stimulation on your skin of whatever temperature is there. Let nature nurture and nourish you. By being well-nourished on this primordial level, you will have more to give to the people you love when you gather with them to feast. We all influence each other, and the those around you will take inspiration from your poise and overall glow.
Practice the delight of recognition. When we see someone we know and love, there's a flash of recognition. It's very quick and you have to be alert to catch it and cherish it. When we are sincerely delighted to see someone, they can tell immediately. They can't help but respond.
To be in a state in which we can greet and respond to another human being is a kind of yoga - the yoga of relatedness, the yoga of family. Spend some time noticing simple human interactions. Notice what happens in that first 10th of a second when we look at someone and they look at us. Notice how quick and fast-moving the process of greeting is.
Savor. When you meditate in the morning, savor the interactions that you are likely to have with people that day. When you meditate in the late afternoon or early evening, review and cherish all the exchanges you shared with others.
This is an important part of meditation. Your mind is not wandering. You are paying attention to the texture of your connectedness with all the other people in your world. Remember that the fundamental meaning of yoga is connection. Connectedness. Adjusting the links, the bonds, between ourselves and others. Express. Your inner practices are preparation for living soulfully in the world and sharing your love with others. You never know whom you will encounter and the hidden gifts waiting to be exchanged.
A casual conversation on the street or in the market can be rich with heart, and even tiny expressions of warmth can make a huge difference in the rest of the day, for them and for you. That little surge of joy then ripples out to countless others, in the true spirit of the holidays. Here is Sutra 48 from The Radiance Sutras:
In the great joy of seeing A loved one after a long absence, A flash of recognition ignites you. Space becomes charged, The bond between you shimmers, And a surge of delight arises in your being
Beloved, Find within you the source of this surge. Melt into that place of upwelling, A wave rolling in a vast ocean of delight.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Light of Your Life
This season, with its holidays and the Solstice, calls us deeper into the Soul. Cherish the radiance within. The flame of the heart. Your guiding star. The shimmer within the darkness. Everything and everybody you love. The lights of your life. Who and what inspires you. What truly matters. What keeps you going when all else fails.
Stay close, go deeper, become more intimate with this spark of life and love that is you. This is the eternal, inescapable practice.