Over the past few weeks I have been profoundly affected by quotes that have come to me that speak so perfectly to what I am going through. Deep reminders . One came to my email, one was in a newsletter, and one was a quote I used in my own writing that I came across as I was editing. They brought me to tears.
It is so hard to stay strong. Each day is a struggle. Even through the tears, it is so comforting to feel some guidance, however difficult that guidance is to actually follow it provides a clearer path.
Swami Satchidananda has always come to me in times of uncertainty. When I returned to New York from India, I was bouncing around between different yoga studios, looking up different teachers and schools of yoga. I was reading books from many different gurus and thinking I wanted to find someone in New York. I sat on the subway one day, having just been turned away from a particular yoga center that didn’t want to honor a free class card a friend had given me and didn’t seem interested in me attending their programs, disappointed and wondering where to turn, when I happened to glance down at the magazine the person sitting next to me was reading. Looking up at me was Swami Satchidananda with a big smile. I laughed at myself. Of course.
A quote by Swami Satchidananda arrived in my email about allowing ourselves to be supported by sangha–a spiritual community. We can’t get through life’s difficulties alone. We shouldn’t even try. Family, friends, and community are there to help, to guide, to support, to be a shoulder to cry on, to offer a smile and comforting voice. Allowing others to give is giving them a gift. Giving is joy. I am so thankful for the help those around me have offered, in every tiny way. Just having someone say they are thinking about me while I navigate stormy waters, helps steer me into a calm harbor.
A man on the sidewalk greeted me as I walked by and said, “It’s nice to see you out today.” And I thought–it’s nice to be out in the world today, it’s nice to be seen, to get outside of the jumbled mess of existence in my head.
A recent newsletter from Integral Yoga reminded me to “clean up my mind”–to stop allowing negative thoughts, blaming, anger to dirty my mind. When I can clean my mind then I will have a clean heart and be at peace.
Editing my book, I read a passage I had written about dealing with hardship:
The life of a yogi is to prepare the self in times of stability to pass through times of disquiet with peace. It’s a preventative care strategy. It’s a long-term plan of dedicated, continuous work. The waves of life move and break unceasingly–whether we tumble under, get pummeled, get swept into unknown regions, or ride them with a smile is up to us. Staying afloat on the surface, not engaging, not fighting against the current, remaining only a witness to the tide is the practice of yoga. Swami Satchidananda says:
If you want to be peaceful always, identify yourself as the ever-peaceful witness within. “I am that eternal witness. I am watching everything that’s happening in the body and mind.” That is the supreme way of maintaining your peace. If you can’t get to the state of identifying yourself as that eternal witness, simply say, “I am not all these things. I’m not the mind, not the ego, not the senses, not the intelligence. I simply watch them. I am the seer, I just see.”
These are some of my recent muddled thoughts as I search for balance and peace.