In Native American cultures, The Great Spirit is a deity intertwined with the fabric of the Universe itself on the large scale and yet personally engaged with the web of living things and the world on an earthly scale. I am creating a spiritual practice by borrowing a little from the Buddhists and the practice of mindfulness, but mostly from the strong connection I feel for the worship of Earth as taught us by our first nations. For those who hunger for the connection of a spiritual practice from someone who is learning to braid her own.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Tapping into the bright light inside

"I invite you to come to your mat," calls teacher Jo from the front of the studio over her garage.The five of us settle in cross-legged on yoga mats facing her. 

"Now find that bright light down deep inside that is loving and forgiving, the place where you are your best self. This is the place we begin our practice," It makes me tear up every time she calls me to sit in this way-- three years or so. This yoga matches my style, relaxed, taught alternately by Jo and Steve. We do yoga to music here, a unique practice in itself.

"Breathe to recognize your connection to all things around you," and set an intention focused on your joy or well-being." Coming back to my mat--after an injury and an odd schedule that made regular attendance exhausting--exceeds my expectations. 

Because my body is out of practice, each move is a welcome scratch to its itch for exercise. Each muscle I release reconstructs my well-being, a small patch at a time. Today yoga is spiritual practice.  In my internal monologue I say thanks for being able to bend and stretch my now perspiring body. I take off my sweatshirt. As the chatter continues I think "this is double coupons--exercise for body to mind and body to spirit!"


On my way home my mind wanders to herbalist Kevin when he told me of his past where he was an admirable yogi, meditator, mindfulness practitioner in his back-to-back classes and study groups. One day he realized that none of it made a difference unless he was able to apply the skills in every action, in every moment.


After lunch, right before the rain, I take my bright spot with me outdoors to work on behalf of Pachamama and Great Spirit. It is part of my reciprocity agreement (give as much as I take, take only as much as I need). With a group of neighbors we are restoring a wetland area behind our house to sustain a family of beavers, and the astounding results of their industriousness--including a resident hummingbird, and visits by such stars as a golden eagle and a flitting band of cedar waxwing. Here I free a small patch of native ferns from a tousle of acrid smelling nettles with gangling roots easily peeled from the dank topsoil. I reconstruct universal well-being, a small patch at a time. Today recreation is spiritual practice. I sing, "I listen to the birds, I hear them sing. I hear them sing. The birds are my sisters, the birds are my brothers. We sing together and we sing to each other . . . " A quiet sky returns song in a myriad of voices, first the clacks of a raven, then a robin and a flicker call back-to-back, followed by a chickadee, then a nervous bunch of bush tits.

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