You did not come here just to 'get through it'.... (Katha Upanishads Week 10)
~ by Adele.
Throughout the journey of the Katha Upanishads, we’ve been absorbing the teachings of Yama (the Lord of Death) in order to live a fuller life.
We’ve been open to shifting our focus from what’s happening TO us from life into what is happening FROM us into life, we’ve explored the willingness to die to what we think we know, and we’ve set off on an endeavour to open to the whole of life into oceanic consciousness.
We know that our energy (or our Prana), is our life momentum, and we protect and raise this life force by making more Shreya (beneficial) energy choices. We know that our ticket to heaven is on this Earth and is earnt by our journey through life rather than an alternative to life. And for this, there is no shortcut! Through this work of managing our energy, we start to become more aware of that which takes our energy from us, and get to see opportunities to choose differently. Although of course, this takes some doing…as we naturally become quite invested in our poor energy choices over time. We may have become convinced that this is what I ‘should’ do, or that this is ‘the only way to live’. But as we become more and more attentive and our Bhakti for more LIFE comes forth, we start to get curious for new possibilities. What if I didn’t react in this old habitual way? What if I didn’t shout at this person? What if I didn’t hold back from speaking my truth today?
These little moments of breakthrough are POWERFUL, and the more we triumph over the force of our conditioning, the doors open for a new possibility in life and the bigger we grow. Allow yourself a second of internal applause at these ‘little’ moments…for they are in truth, BIG.
So we’ve taken on this journey through Yama, and at this point, we’re assumedly on-board with what he’s given to us. Of course, there may be some initial resistance….there is undoubtedly work to be done, every day, every moment. But we feel the pull of the other one within us…the hungry one, the one who wants more…the one who says YES to life.
This week, Yama doesn’t mess about or fluff it up. He gives it to us a little boisterously…and we’re totally ready for it:
"Get up! Wake up! Seek the guidance of an Illumined teacher and realise the Self. Sharp like a razor's edge is the path, The sages say, difficult to traverse."
Truly testing our desire to discover the immortal, he calls us now, in this life time, to wake up. He pushes us to make the decision to stop our luke-warm, half-hearted, conditional relationship with life and tells us to demand more. Of course, this can only be done through us and by us alone. And that Bhakti is there inside of us right now, either screaming a loud ‘yes’ or just whispering a little one. But it’s there deep within, and will be knocking to embody its power sooner or later.
And Yama’s not the only abrupt one. The great Swami Sivananda gives it to us even a little bit tougher still!
"Eating, drinking, sleeping, A little laughter! Much weeping! Is that all? Do not die here like a worm. Wake up! Attain immortal bliss!"
A worm. A….worm. Okay, Sivananda, you’ve got me. No thank you, I don’t want to die like a worm. I would quite like some immortal bliss.
Sivananda’s words are powerful. He asks us, is that all? Can we really be satisfied with a mediocre life? Did we really come into this life just to ‘get through it’, to make it through another ‘okay’ day? This is in no reference to our life situation, our jobs, our relationships or our circumstances. He asks instead, can you look back at the end of each day and see what you did that day for your own evolution? Can you ask yourself what you can do better tomorrow? Continually expanding yourself, opening yourself up, in order to become the ultimate instrument for the divine. (But of course…not overnight).
As I am sure is the same for a lot of people, for me the desire and internal feeling that there must be more to this life is what led me to Yoga. And it seems that once we’re on the path, it’s a one way track – there’s not really any going back. Sometimes I feel like I take two step forwards and one step back, and a little dance happens. But when I do fall back, the contrast is now too big for me to ignore. To go back to an old way of being just isn’t possible, truths cannot be forgotten once remembered, and although sometimes it may feel as if we’re being dragged….the only way is forward. I know you share this knowing with me too.
Look back to a year ago and see the person that you were and notice how life has expanded you. Even if it ‘broke’ you, or it felt like it left you in a pile of pieces on the floor…it didn’t. It has cracked you open. And your being here, protecting the flame of your Bhakti between your palms, still willing to participate, means that you have already taken part in your own opening. Keep. Going.
So we notice our ‘no’, embolden our ‘yes',
And this week, we take a shot of Sivananda into our desire to awaken to immortal bliss.
The Katha Upanishad Omm Yogis, welcome back to the Living Wisdom blog. At the cusp twixt Summer and Autumn, it is time to go out into the fields of wisdom and harvest another crop, which has been lovingly cultivated and tended to by countless generations of Sages and Seekers. This time we must sharpen our scythes for the reaping, as the Grim Guru, Lord Yama (deity of death), dispels the darkness of our ignorance with His uncompromising truth and teachings. We’ll be taking an enlightening journey through the Katha Upanishad over the coming months and this weeks blog is by way of introduction to this ancient fable which stands proud amongst the vedantic canon of India and which carries sapient weight across the ages and indeed across the continents. So the set up in brief … Nachiketa is our hero in this legendary story, a young boy and the son of a man of some wealth and public standing. His father is known for his charitable giving within the community and is someth
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