by Morgan Webert
All week I’ve come into the studio and smiled at the sign on our lovely beauty therapists door: “ If you lived in your heart, you’d be home now.” This sweet phrase and all the hearts floating around for Valentine’s Day got me wondering what a life lived in the home of the heart is really all about. Serendipitously, I came upon a beautiful passage about the heart from the Chandoyga Upanishad, one of the oldest Upanishads dating from the Vedic Brahmana period (700-800 BCE).
“In the city of Brahman, which is your body, there is the heart center. And within this heart center there is a little house in the form of a lotus. With in this little lotus house there dwells that which is to be sought after, inquired about and realized. What is it that dwells in the little lotus house in the heart center? What is it that should be sought after, inquired about and realized? Even as large as the universe outside, is the universe in the lotus of the heart. Whatever is outside is within the lotus of the heart. The sun, the moon, the lightening and stars. Whatever is in the macrocosm is in the microcosm.”
In other words, we can find the entire world with all of its wisdom and wonder when we listen to our hearts. More importantly, we discover our attitude toward this vast universe. Do we treat the mirrored world around us with the same care we treat our home and heart? Bhakti Yogis certainly do.
Bhakti Yoga is one of four traditional forms of yoga, often called the yoga of love and devotion. Bhakti yogis devote themselves to recognizing the divine in EVERYTHING and giving loving compassion to EVERYTHING. This is their entire practice. No wild poses or strange breathing techniques, simply every moment acknowledging divinity in the world around them and falling madly in love with it.
How, I’ve asked myself, can I see the divine and fall in love with my moments of struggle and frustration? Easy to find a piece of chocolate divine, but a disappointment, physical pain or simply mundane tasks, where is the divine in that? So I thought more about the word Divine. When we use it as an adjective it implies that something is god-like or celestial. When we use it as a verb however, it means discovering, intuiting or predicting something. As in a divining rod to find water or metals.
Wow, I thought, this means that the process of discovery IS godlike. It might not always be easy, it may take some time and effort, but as Bhakti yogis believe the attitude of inquiry will lead us to seeing god in all things, and as we do we’ll fall head over heels in love with everything.
Really, Hatha Yoga practice also teaches us this. We look at ourselves, we inquire into our sensations, thoughts, feelings, we use our mind like a divining rod and discover. Pain or discomfort might be the motivating factor that first brings us to a yoga practice, but this feeling of falling in love with ourselves and world is what brings us back again and again to the practice of Yoga.
As most of us know, Yoga means union, and the discovery of this union our ultimate goal in the practice. When we live in the lotus flower of the heart we seek after, inquire about and realize this unity. By connecting to the microcosm of ourselves we connect to the macrocosm that we live within.