As the silent screams of my mind destroy my desire to sleep, I realize how it is not the new expensive pillow I had recently bought that I should be blaming for lack of sleep. I distract myself from slipping into the serene depths of my inner universe by reading a book, toggling with the lamp switch, tossing and turning, and gazing endlessly at the arms of the wall clock. Once again sleep had eluded me. I have finished counting sheep. Perhaps it’s now time to count my blessings. Move over you sheep, let me take charge of my Life now.
I remember an accidental meeting with Swami Ramananda Saraswati during my pilgrimages in Himalayas. At a height of 3000 meters he taught me how not to “lose my breath” over life’s hard knocks. We had a beautiful exchange where he spoke about blessings that we all are gifted with. The blessings that he spoke about are the ones that the great yogi saint Shankaracharya had reminded us of nearly over a thousand years back.
Being Human – The first blessing is that the universe has blessed us with a Human form. The yoga scriptures repeatedly state that we humans should be grateful for this form which is immensely valuable for the flowering of our soul potential. If we all live with this gratefulness the greed within us will take a back seat. The gratitude will bring the fighting minds closer and open the shells of closed hearts to reveal the pearl of love that we are. The body that we have, the mind that moves it, the senses that bring the signals from outside, the intellect that directs will power, all working with an unspoken understanding. Such beautiful harmony is the play of our mind and the 50 trillion cells that we are made of. How can we not feel gratitude? This is a blessing we all need to remember, it’s a blessing of acceptance and recognition of what we are.
Being Human with Spiritual inclination – According to yoga, the thirst of moving beyond the limitedness, dependence and false perception of who we are is called spiritual longing. They say very few are born with this longing, but we all have the capacity to transform our life. The masses live repressed under the claws of ignorance of which they have no clue. If we feel we are someone with deeper spiritual longing, wanting to remove the hold of our limited nature on us, then we should take a ruthlessly honest note of this and start opening and trusting the inner wisdom and the external grace.
The strong power of reasoning that we humans possess has made us conquer the nature, but if this very power is directed to gain mastery over our lower nature we humans could create harmony with our environment, unlike the current scenario of greed and molestation of natural resources. This is where I see we humans can consciously walk on the spiritual path. We have what it takes and we can. This is the second blessing, the blessing of taking charge of our lives and walking the path of mindfulness.
Grace of the Guides – When the above two blessings are recognized and are put in action, the doors of Universal grace open to us. People, things and experiences start coming our way and keep guiding us back on the path lest we meander. The saying “God helps those who help themselves” begins to manifest in our lives.
When our minds are open and surrendered, inspirational wisdom can come from anywhere. How many times have we searched, hunted, craved for a “Guru” who can teach us the philosophies, but robbed ourselves of the wisdom just because the “Guru” didn’t come in the name and form that we wanted. The Guru can come in any form; it’s our sincerity that matters if the wisdom is to be soaked in. When asked who were his Gurus? The Yogi Sage Dattatreya mentioned 24 of his Gurus, out of which were spider, wasp, pigeon, python, elephant and even a prostitute. We have hundreds of Yogis and Saints that have inspired the world with their inspirational lives, let’s get motivated by their exemplary lives and guide ourselves.
Reminds me of a beautiful incident in my life which I would like to mention at this point.
There was once a flower, nubile and vulnerable growing between tires marks right in the middle of a dirt road. I saw it only once and that too in passing. But that one glance changed not only my life but also the lives of many. This flower gave and it did till its last breath. What else could a flower do but bloom?
Jackee, a dear student of mine from Spain was also one of the other persons who glanced upon the little one. I was leading a six day yoga retreat and we all were on a silent walk on the dry terrains of Spanish mountains. For me, that little flower braving itself in the middle of mighty truck tires rumbling down the slopes was quiet inspiring. I pointed it out to Jackee. The next day I looked for that flower, instead I found it crushed under a wide tire mark.
This incident was long forgotten but a couple of months later, I received an email from Jackee detailing how that little flower had changed her life and had inspired her to hold on to her ground, live in the present and smile in adversities of life that she was going through at that time.
This for me is an example of the mysterious ways in which Universal Grace works; we just have to be open to receive without any expectations and judgment.
Whenever life gives me kicks I remind myself of these blessings. We are not short of inspiration around us. What we need is the silence. And it’s not about the external silence, but the internal one, the one that can calm down the traffic on the mental highway between our ears. Let us all remember these blessings and remind ourselves that beyond the constant push of “doing” is a little door of “being” that opens up into a vast expanse of things that are, just ARE.
One , two, three….Stay Blessed.