Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity; connecting with Lakshmi reminds us that abundance is all around us.
She embodies not only material wealth, but also wealth of knowledge, victory, and continuity. She is also the archetype symbolizing organic growth.
I began focusing on the energy of prosperity and abundance late last year. In reality, this work goes back to 2008 when I was laid off and realized I did not qualify for unemployment.
That moment of panic, of breathlessness, was ultra-magnified by the fact that I had only days before made a cash down payment of almost my entire savings for a yoga teacher training. What I learned in that crisis is that my needs were always met.
Each moment, I had the money I needed to pay the next bill, buy the groceries or put gas in the car. Each new day brought a new opportunity. Some days, with their endless expanses of unfilled time, brought the chance to go deeper into my practice, applying and integrating all that I was learning in my teacher training. My ultimate lesson from those months is that the universe is a force that can be trusted. I learned that it will be okay because it’s always been okay.
That’s not to say that I didn’t have moments of struggle in that time; there were bills that were put off and interest rates racked up, but I always found what I needed at the moment that I needed it most. I constantly had a reason to celebrate because I always had more than enough.
In working with the energy of prosperity this year, I have researched kundalini kriyas or sets of exercises, designed to connect with auspicious energy. I have recited mantras in Sanskrit and English and Spanish, meditated long hours, and twisted my body into yoga poses that release years of stored beliefs that I do not deserve wealth.
These self-limiting beliefs were a revelation to me. I never before realized that I was giving myself the message that only bad people make money. I equated poverty with goodness, with virtuousness, and with honesty. In ascribing those three values to a poor lifestyle, I naturally attributed their opposites to a wealthy lifestyle. Thus, my subconscious mind believed that having money equated to evilness, viciousness and dishonesty.
As I first became aware of these beliefs, I ascribed them to messages I learned from my family. My sister and I were raised by a single mom who was a first-class penny-pincher. We learned the value of a dollar earned and a dollar saved and more importantly, not to waste money. Growing up middle class in a wealthy town meant that we absorbed negative messages regarding the “wasteful spending” of the wealthy families that surrounded us.
We also took in messages about lack. Very often, we were told that there just wasn’t enough to go around. There wasn’t enough money, so I couldn’t learn to play a new instrument, have friends over for dinner or join the local soccer team. I don’t mean to paint these lacks as hardships—my sister and I had a rich and fulfilling childhood with many opportunities.
However, it wasn’t until just this year, that I began to identify that I still hold shadows of these voices within my subconscious that were holding me back from achieving my full and prosperous potential.
I initially ascribed these messages only to my own story. This is something I learned in my family; other people received very different messages. I’ve only recently realized that these values were taught to almost all middle class Americans. As a culture, we regularly fixate on the lack, rather than the joyous abundance. I’d like you to take a moment here and remember.
At this point in your life, surely you can recall a time of hardship and a time of need. A time of desperation. When you weren’t sure where the next puzzle piece would come from to complete your picture. Then, something happened.
Often, this something doesn’t fit in with our pre-conceived notion of the “way it ought to be.” Maybe that something was that you learned the local church had a free meal every Tuesday and you were able to get the nutritional sustenance you needed in that moment. Maybe that something is that your sister or friend offered you a spare room when you didn’t have somewhere to sleep in for awhile. Or maybe you received a new and unexpected job offer which wasn’t your area of expertise but when you started the work, you realized it was something you were good at and it unveiled a talent you had. Whatever the details were, the lesson remains—it all turned out okay.
In our most desperate moments, our deepest talents and gifts are often unveiled. One of these gifts that I’ve found most valuable is the ability to trust the process. Packed in tight next to this gift, is permission to let go. In letting go of “the way things ought to be” and opening with grace to the way things actually are is actually a practice in living in the present moment.
Hanging on to old belief patterns, is like gripping to the past, it is like those tight hamstrings that stop you from fully entering your forward bend. Both can only be released with an exhale and surrender. When you stop squeezing so hard, you realize how much empty space surrounds you. That empty space is filled with potential, potential that is hovering right there, waiting for you to take the next inhalation.
I’ll share with you one of my favorite meditations I’ve worked with during this time.
Take a seat in sukhasana, or a simple cross-legged pose. Cup your hands in front of you in the shape of a bowl. This mudra, or yogic hand position, is symbolic of both giving and receiving. You sit with your empty bowl in a gesture of receptivity and being open to all that the Universe has to offer.
Conversely, you gently cup your hands, holding within all the talents and gifts you have to offer. In this simple pose, allow your breath to deepen, seeking out an equal length inhale and exhale. After a few rounds of deep, conscious breathing, introduce retention of breath at the top of your inhalation.
In this space before you exhale, mentally recite the following:
“I am bountiful
I am blissful
I am beautiful
Practice this mantra and meditation for three or eleven minutes on waking after your asana practice, or any time you have a space to consciously fill in your day.
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Assistant Ed: Gabriela Magana/Ed: Bryonie Wise