This morning’s walk in nature delivered a message for me only towards the very end, when I saw two happy people walking. I happen to know them, and my reflections brought to light what they have in common, which was having to let something go, only to discover later that a beautiful outcome resulted.
Letting go or ishvara pranidhana is part of Yoga’s 8 Fold Path for living, which recognizes that we don’t master these concepts, but rather, circle around to them again and again. This reminder to let go had recently been given to me by a priest whom I adore. It was in reference to the 40 days of Lent, but rather than fasting from certain foods he was inviting his listeners to let go of the judgment of others. As I pondered the freedom that results from this practice, I saw one Cedar Waxwing which, along with the upcoming Full Moon, provides useful guidance for all of us.
In Yoga’s 8 Fold Path of living, there are five Observances, the last of which is surrender or letting go. Practiced in the exhale, it can also be embodied as we release into a forward bend, a twist, a side bend, or into relaxation. These practices help us experience the release of clinging and attachment that is so prevalent in our thoughts. We have an opportunity to experiment with what it feels like to let go of the need to control, and have faith in the bigger picture--something that can not be understood with the mind alone. With practice in our own bodies, we can more easily extend this surrender to our relationships, and to all of life.
In the Christian faith, the practice of Lent also encourages this inward attention, intended to help us maintain our spiritual focus on our own hearts and to see ourselves truly. When we speak ill of others, it is a way to avoid our own faults. As my husband and I have been practicing this lately, we’ve discovered we are a bit more quiet! This silence helps us connect to our higher consciousness. A common prayer during Lent is “Oh master of my life, take from me a spirit of sloth, meddling, lust of power and idle talk, and give me a spirit of humility, patience and love. Grant that I might see my own sins, and not judge my brother, for thou art blessed.”
As I’ve engaged in this practice, I’ve noticed a beautiful freedom that results when we release judgment of others. It is as though it releases judgment from ourselves. In this place there is a feeling of common humanity and compassion. This is wondrously represented by the Cedar Waxwing, most known for the way in which it appears to have no sense of separate self. Though I only saw one this morning (representing the opportunity for something new to manifest), they are typically seen in groups, grooming and feeding one another. In courtship, the male gives a red berry to the female, and they pass it back and forth for a very long time until the female finally accepts. This inspires me to reach toward this place of playful generosity and the ensuing union we all most deeply seek.
With the Full Moon energy coming, and lasting a few days beyond, we might discover our ability to let go becomes more challenging. As the most powerful time in the lunar cycle, the Full Moon can “bring to light” what is beneath the surface, perhaps while we were so busy talking too much or judging others! I find it useful to be prepared during this time, in order to have a stronger sensitivity to emotions in myself and others, and to commit myself to the potential importance of re-evaluating something that might need to change. In the end, we are given a beautiful opportunity to practice surrender and letting go of that which no longer serves us or humanity, and illuminate our Oneness.
With Great Love,
Letting Go Relaxation Practice - Video track - 13 minutes (click on the photo)