Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mothering: a Royal Rajas

Skye Harrington sits, beaming brightly at the center of our circle.  She eventually comes around to sharing the sequence of events that led to birth.  But it is obvious that her attention would rather be fully present for what is snuggled in her lap. 

Skye oozes the unmistakable joy and contentment that springs forth from someone who is obviously  "in their element".  So I wasn't surprised to hear that the first words out of Skye's mouth were, "I know now I was born to be a mother."

It's a high calling, to be in your element because according to the the yoga scriptures of Kashmir Shaivism, being in your element means being balanced in the 5 elements that make up the universe. They are, from the most refined to the least, "ether", which may be easier understood as space, for if not for space, there would have been no room for the creation of us!  "Air" is the second element, and we can know it through our breathe.  "Fire" is the third and it is that part of us the burns or digests matter, the heat of passion to be enthralled, and the energy produced in the factory of each of our cells. The fourth is "water" and it actually makes up most of the content of our body.  And last but certainly not least, "earth" which reflects our bones and their affinity to be moved down by gravity. 

In the same scripture, relating to the elements perhaps in a different thread, there are 3 qualities that were extracted from nature (Prakriti) that help describe our ways of being in the world. We call these ever changing, evolving qualities Gunas, and they are, inertia or solidity (Tamas), dynamism or powerful movement (Rajas), and luminosity or lightness (Sattva). 

So back to Skye and  her way of being with mothering, we call this kind of happiness Rajas because it moves in relation to her connection with her newborn.  Actually I call it the Royal Rajas because for me, there has simply been no earthly experience that has come close to the intoxication felt in the first few months of giving birth.  Nevertheless as grand and extolled as the experience was, eventually like all women, the world will catch up with us and draw our attention away from these rare, precious moments, fully immersed in love.

On a brighter note, although the experience is transient, can we be so inspired to know that such a state exists, and to hold it independent of our outer circumstances? 

   We call this self born kind of happiness Sattvic, and it is at the very heart of our yoga practice because it is from this centered, still place that we have the opportunity to know what is immovable, constant, and eternal (Purusha).

In my next blog, we'll look to our asana practice to be more "in our element" so that we can be more Sattvic in our way of being in the world.

In love and light,


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