Seeds. Every seed has a miracle inside. When a seed planted is in fertile ground, given space time and necessary elements it sprouts and grows. This happens according to certain principles but still there remains the miracle that each seed knows what it’s meant to be. Not so for us. We often get confusing and conflicting messages , maybe even from the time we were embryos: While each cell knows what it’s function or purpose is, when we come out into the light and onto the earth we seem to lose our way.
There needs to be receptive ground for any seed to be fertilized and grow. That’s part of our Yoga practice. Noting what seeds we want to plant, preparing the terrain and then nurturing or observing even if what we observe is that we can’t see the growth. Seeds also need a period of dormancy before they’re ready to transform. Sankalpa, our intentions or goals, are seeds. It takes more than a bit of patience and a dream for the future to plant seeds and nurture them to grow. In the garden of the mind we must do some tilling to sow new seeds. What we reap we sow. We hope that what we desire will grow but often see that it’s our fears that grow like weeds planting conflicting seeds, vikalpa, that take root and don’t allow the desired seed to grow.
To help my seed flower, I created a Mandala: intersecting circles drawn with a compass which for me represent the inter-connectedness of the various parts of my life. What I love about this simple figure is that it starts with a bindu, a point in the center of a blank page. Then it takes form as the circles are drawn. But then, depending on what I color, different shapes or forms emerge. I like to do this exercise every once in a while as I plant new seeds. Also, there’s something very satisfying somehow in coloring and seeing the form step by step appear starting from the bindu at it’s center.
It’s hard work and sometimes painful to cultivate and grow our sankalpa and weed out those vikalpas . We fear both not getting what we want, or need, and losing what we have. Even as we see again and again that clinging is a form of violence counter to the fundamental principle of yoga non violence, Ahimsa . Sometimes we habitually cling to what we know, causing ourselves pain while seeking the pleasure of security of the known because we’re afraid to die to our current self. At least I do.
The sutras, which come from the same root as suture to bind together , help us to see the connections between our thoughts action and experience as well as leading us step by step on a journey of transformation. I’m just a beginning student in the Sutra even though I’ve been doing yoga over 35 years. It’s nice to be a beginner and learning continues, yoga having prepared the ground from rocky soil where it was difficult for things to take root to more fertile ground.
The Klesha begin with avidya , ignorance . We identify with the form, asmita ,seeking pleasure, raga, and avoiding pain, dvesha . The false identification of self with form or body creates fear of death, abhinivesah. But, just as the caterpillar dies to it’s caterpillar self and becomes a butterfly , a seed must break open and in a certain sense die to live, to fulfill it’s Dharma or destiny. While it’s true that we practice acceptance we also have the option, or maybe even the necessity to change. Life is change. Growing, letting go, transforming and sometimes dying even as we live before the final moment of transition. I know that I have at times felt a sense of resignation about my flaws, even pleasure in saying “Well, that’s just the way I am.” I used to call it the “I’m syndrome.” Yoga practice is in part observation, in part examination , seeking the company of people who are seeking to know the light and the guidance of a teacher who has walked the path… and walks the way they talk…. Hopefully in a light-hearted though serious manner.
As Autumn is here , I start this ‘school year’. I rejoice in the changing colors and the beauty of the falling leaves. I cry a bit at the changing landscape of my face. I am aware of habits I have, some of them seem good others less so. When I seek to create new awareness, I find both a need to become conscious , to make a choice and to change what I can in my actions and to let go of results . To plant some new seeds I have to also pull out the weeds. Have you ever noticed that they grow without any help? I practice svadyaya, self examination to see what it is I want to grow, which direction to take and what actions might lead me towards or away from realizing the sankalpa. Also to ask myself if it’s in alignment with Dharma, the purpose of my life. The flowering of potential…
We share in yoga, so I’m sharing with you that I’ve planted a sankalpa and without being specific as to what or how, I can already see how unseen forces are coming together to move me in directions I hadn’t thought to go. It’s all an adventure. I put up the mandala in our kitchen where it makes me smile and reminds me that to breathe life into my intentions takes action… and also willingness to play, to be curious as a child and vigilant yet playful as a maturing human. While exploring new horizons every once in a while there is in current text lingo a sense of “omg!”…. At the wonder and beauty of the creative force .
Keep your sankalpa to yourself , it’s to be shared only with a trusted friend or teacher until you see it bloom, but if you do a mandala and want to share it please post it!
Recognize the beauty in all things and you become what you perceive . Or to paraphrase an old song by Ray Stevens, “Everything … and everybody’s beautiful in their own way.” Find your way to flower, you’re beautiful. Om Namaste