As I write this, I have competing thoughts running through my mind - repeating mantras from Sunday night's Kirtan and the This American Life Doppelganger podcast. Both things are overwhelming and staggering, but in totally different ways. I'm not going to write about the Doppelgangers. You can listen if you like. Calamari, man...
Sunday we had some special guests in teacher training. Jeff and Stella spent the afternoon with us, getting to know us, and teaching us about Bhakti yoga. That's Jeff on the far left in white, and Stella is right in the middle with the tambourine.
I guess the first thing to understand about Bhakti is it is not "yoga" in the way you're probably thinking. There are no asanas - no physical practice. Bhakti yoga is about spirituality and awareness.
It is the realization that God is not a separate being, but rather, God is love and God is in all of us. It is awakening, opening your heart, and seeing the divine within us all.
It feels a little strange for me to type "God" so many times. Spirituality and a connection with God are not something that have come naturally to me.
Though I cannot say that I have been enlightened, I did have a small spiritual awakening. It has to do with loss and despair. One of our teachers told us, "desperation comes from the belief that we have lost a source of love in our life."
If God is love and each of us are God, then each of us are Love. No matter where I am or what I am doing,
I AM LOVE.
And no matter how lost I feel, I can remember that, crack my heart open, and be warmed from the inside out.
That evening - after our lesson in Bhakti - we were asked to attend the Kirtan. It sounds silly. It's a room full of people, singing and chanting Sanskrit for a couple of hours, but if you believe in Sanskrit as an energetic language - that the energy of sounds you make are more important than the meaning of your words - it can completely blow your mind. Besides, you have to open your heart and your mind if you're going to chant words you don't understand for two hours. ;)
Open your heart. Be happy.