Day three happened to fall on St.Jean Baptiste day which is a provincial holiday in Quebec. Illias(sp) from New York via Mexico, suggest that we all bring our lunches and have a picnic on the lawn of Dawson college as most stores would be closed.
Well, what I thought would be just a little sharing turned into the most gorgeous array of food and abundance I have ever seen come together in a short time. We found a group of picnic tables to set up food on and then laid our blankets, mats and shawls around the lawn. We laughed, talked, shared and even played Frisbee. We really were a merry band.
Day three also fell on Gurumayi Chidvilasanada’s birthday. John spent the morning in a really playful and celebratory mood and the Guru principle led our practice through the morning. He said that the Guru is really a tattva- a principle of existence even though it is not on the chart. It is the revelatory power of spirit that is found in every one of us. The teacher’s dharma is to show the student the teacher within them; the students grace (chali-kripa) allows the teacher to take the seat of the teacher. In the practice of sadhana ( spiritual practice), we awaken in relationship. We learn to see the Absolute in others and others show us the Absolute in ourselves. This revelatory power is found in every one of us, even if we don’t believe it.
John told a great story about being very down and after just a short visit from Gurumayi he was completely changed. Those with a high vibration of light can lift the dark from us. We can also learn to do this ourselves. Tantra is a science- it is alchemy- it is the process of turning the impure into gold. We learn to turn negative situations and emotions into positive ones- it is not just a simplistic changing of your mind but it is through skillful means and practice. When you are going up into backbend number 12 with John, I know he is not joking, and no matter how my body responds, my heart sings with the possibility that this next one might be the big one that changes and illumines everything. Every moment- especially the intense ones- is a gateway. It is a chance to do alchemy.
Alchemy happened. For the first time in my life I rocked up from urdva dhanursana to drop to my knees and then rocked back to urdva. I spent a minute going tick-tock smoothly back and forth laughing- it was so powerful. I realized all my skillful means of doing ustrasanadrop backs ( thanks again SJ) had now prepared me for this pose I had never even tried…or thought I could do. It literally “rocked” my world! (get it? tick tock… rocking…I know – it’s a groaner….)
In the afternoon we went back to basics: what is our vision? How is Anusara yoga different than other hatha yoga systems?
1) We see everything as a manifestation of Spanda. Tantra can literally mean the “loom” on which we weave- it is a philosophy that sees the world as an interconnected tapestry. Nothing is separate- nothing is discarded- it is merely woven back into the new fabric of understanding. We assimilate what has gone before- we do not forget the past- it is useful as a reference for that we chose to emphasise or not emphasise. We serve the present in life enhancing ways and we plan for the future so whatever we do now counts.
2) We use technology, a methodology that aligns with nature that we call the Universal Principles of Alignment.
3) We work in community. We bring everybody up- we are all members of the same orchastra. We celebrate each others success and we have great picnics together.
We ended the afternoon lecture with a very deep question: If the world is supposedly intrinsically good, why do evil things happen? I think that may be a blog unto itself after I do I little more reading that John has suggested.
The afternoon practice finished with giddy laughter trying to think of how many ways we could theme iccha, jnana, kriya and we ended up tying the whole Wizard of Oz to every possible notion. I had the tin man iccha- heart, the scarecrow as Jnana- mind and therefore the Lion as kriya – courage, but John started going on about Oz being the manifested word in all it’s colours and the downward shape of the tornado being in the shape of shakti’s downward pointing triangle and it just got really funny and silly. Ami beside said “Ok- let’s do Starwars now…..” . At least I have lots of themeing ideas for the next little while!
Well, the next time I will see John will be Vancouver in August 2009 and though I will be busy during the event as a volunteer, I hope to blog that training as well.
A bientot! Merci Montreal!