On Giving and Fragrance

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It had been an exhausting day and a half of work as I was trying to wrap up the technical paper and presentation that was to accompany it. Finally, after what seemed like a really long day by the time it came three o’clock, I made some time for afternoon tea. I could tell that it was a brisk day outside what with the almost leaf-shorn trees standing still against the clear blue sky and the brilliant sunshine quickly fading to the south east.

Walking upstairs to “close up the office”, I noticed that the sun had created hundreds of spot-lights off of the stained-glass-like lamp sitting by the window. The reading chair called to me, and I walked over with the cup of tea, pulled the “Rumi” book off of the shelf and let the sunshine soak into my soul.

The next half hour felt like I must have traveled into a different universe where the silence becomes you. The sunlight lit up each page as I read poems about love without rules, the nature of what we are given when a loved one holds us to their chest, true silence that makes you feel like the soul’s belonging, and how spring awakens autumn from its slumber. Who says you can’t stumble into spring in the middle of a late afternoon on a late November day in autumn?

And so it went as I faded in and out of what seemed like forever. My tea sat on the small round table by me, slowly exhausting its warmth like the setting sun as it was fading quickly behind the rooflines of the homes in the distance. The thirty minutes of warmth felt like the fourteen years that I had spent being raised with love by my Aunt who had been born on this day ninety two years ago. The divine had blessed her with the ability to share her light. She gave of it freely to her kids, to strangers, to the fruit and vegetable sellers, to the part-time maids who came to do myriad home tasks, and so on. I was fortunate to bear witness to a lot of her giving.

Giving and its lessons can come to us from any direction at any time. The nature of giving is such that we often do not not know what we have been given until it comes our turn to give in a similar way. She would often remark that I would understand why she acted in the ways that she did, even when exacting discipline, when I would become a parent myself. When that day came, my understanding began to dawn, but it happened in an unexpected way. The medium was the giving nature of the one who gave birth to our child.

And so my slow learning continues. Now, our child teaches me through her peace and her gentility and her passion for social justice. The spiritual masters teach me by about limitless giving by their transmission of spiritual energy to all those who are willing to receive. And so on it goes.

Some of you may say that I look at life through rose-colored glasses. And that is okay. For one, I like roses. The rose keeps on spreading its fragrance, regardless of how many thorns are nearby. The rose knows who it is, and what its purpose is. Is that not a great example of the nature of giving? In addition, I can use the same rose-colored glasses to look at myself with love, kindness and compassion. If I only look at my own thorns, what is the world going to see when they look at me?

Yes. The spiritual path can be long, arduous, daunting, and even seem futile for the seeming lack of progress. There seems so much more work to do. Tagore says in his translation of one of Kabirdas’s poems:

“So, when I give up passion, I see that anger remains;

And when I renounce anger, greed is with me still;

And when greed is vanquished, pride and vainglory remain;

When the mind is detached and casts Maya away, still it clings to the letter.

Kabîr says, “Listen to me, dear Seeker! the true path is rarely found.”

So what is a practitioner to do? ‘Rarely’ does not mean ‘never’. One solution is to keep on practicing our nature of giving. Sustained practice improves our inner state, which enables us to create tangible changes in our outer state, create a new lifestyle. If we embrace giving by fully engaging our heart, we can find ourselves in oneness with the rose, whence the petals and thorns are indeed one flower. The fragrance of our giving than shall then know no limits.

Kumud

P.S. Join us for our weekly Twitter conversation, Sunday Nov 28 at 9amET / 730pm India in #SpiritChat ~ come share your fragrance with the community. Namaste ~ @AjmaniK

Fragrance of the rose… attracts morning dew

The Creative Spark – by @JulieJordanScot

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More than twenty years I was a guest teacher in a classroom of adults who were used to studying spiritual topics in depth.  I chose the topic “You are Art.”

What I remember most is before I started when a man who said, “I am a businessman, I am the furthest thing from art.”

I remember the naive, sweet version of myself felt a wave of incredulity sweep over me, “You mean, you don’t see your business as an art form?”

My poet, singing, life purpose coach self may have even gotten tears in my eyes.

I was grieved he didn’t get it. He didn’t understand that business is art. Getting dressed every day is art. Making a meal is art.

I don’t think that one particular hour-long session made a difference in his life, but I’m willing to suspend my disbelief to say “It could have. The creative spark could have risen from what we said and did in that session to invite him into the possibility that his business was, indeed, his creative project. His business was his art, his sculpture, his dramatic monologue, his pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, his photo, his poem.”

The creative spark – the initial entry into making things – beats in all of our hearts. It moves through our veins and is heard through our voices. 

American painter Robert Henri said, “The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.”

This wonderful state Henri refers to is where sparks fly and gather into something more than a single light. The creative spark is at the heart of conversations that leave an impression and sit in our memory decades later. It is the space where we go on walks and suddenly see light in a new way. It is when we solve a problem into a solution that benefits more people than we knew it could.

The creative spark opens doors, breezes through windows and wakes us up from a long nap ready to dive into what we were afraid of before we fell asleep thinking we were stuck in a hopeless mess.

At the ripe old age of ten-years-old I first sang harmonies in a girls chorus class. My voice lifted up and hit higher notes than the melody. I could not believe how beautiful it was to join other voices to make such a glorious, blended sound I couldn’t make by singing alone.

It was like suddenly being a part of a divine miracle. Truth be told, it was a part of a divine miracle, never replicated.

By the end of that school year I abandoned my love of acting, a talent I possessed, was praised for and didn’t use again for three decades. 

I only started to act again because of a series of synchronicities and a moment of transcendence pushed me into a space where I could no longer deny this spark within me. 

Osho reminds us “To be creative means to be in love with life.” 

Let’s deepen that love, together, today and on as many days as possible in the future.

Julie

Author bio: Julie JordanScott is a Creative Life Coach, an award-winning storyteller, actor and poet whose photos and mixed media art graces the walls of collectors across the United States. Her writing has appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers List, the Amazon best sellers list and on American Greetings Holiday cards (and other greeting cards). She currently lives in a manse in Sussex, NJ, where she is working on finishing her most recent book project, hugging trees daily and enjoys having random inspirational conversations with strangers.

Julie’s blog: Creative Life Midwife / Julie on Twitter: @JulieJordanScot

Julie JordanScott – creating a spark with every hug!

Kumud’s note: I am very excited that Julie accepted my invitation to host the weekly Twitter chat for the #SpiritChat community on Sunday, Nov 21 at 9amET. She has been a long-time participant, inspiration and spark-creator for us, and I know that the community will learn a lot from her as she steps up to her role as guest host. Thank you, Julie! – @AjmaniK

On Changing Perspective

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What a difference a week can make!

This Friday, as i begin my weekly walk on the school campus, the Sun is already cresting the trees, as I approach the trail from a distance. The one-hour shift of the clocks last Sunday has created a totally different perspective for my walk. I have gone from starting my walk just as the sun would be rising, to walking in full daylight.

Even though the intensity of the morning light is different in the waking and walking hour, some things haven’t changed. The welcoming embrace of the lake and the trees, the wetness of the grass, the dramatic colors of the leaves that are on the trees and the ground, the raucous warnings of the blue-jays, the groups of ducks swimming in the water as they keep an eye on how close I get to the shore. And so on.

And yet, somehow, the nature of the light — sometimes soft, sometimes harsh; sometimes silvery, sometimes golden; sometimes enhancing the brilliant colors, sometimes casting long shadows — makes me think about the importance of perspective.

The nature of external light, of its source, doesn’t change from day to day, season to season, year to year. What really changes is how we see things, particularly familiar things. A different day, a different hour, gives us the opportunity to change our focus, our framing of the subject, our cropping (removing things from our field of consideration), and our composition (all that we want to include) and perhaps most importantly – our perspective of light.

Yes, I am leaning heavily on the language of photography because it is something that I engage in regularly. Playing with light and perspective on the outside has often helped me to ask questions of myself. What if I was to change my perspective on a certain matter, particularly on one that regularly creates inner disturbances? What if I were to do a full 180 turn from the ‘long shadow’ side and look at the ‘light side’ of a matter? Could I gain some inner peace, create acceptance and regain vital energy by changing my perspective?

In my waking and walking experiences, revising perspective isn’t merely about changing my mind, my thoughts or my actions. Perspective is about acknowledging the light and its source, being grateful for its constant and accessible presence, and allowing it to soften the heart enough so that we can see our Self with new eyes.

Kumud

P.S. Join us for our weekly Twitter chat, Sunday Nov 14 at 9am EST / 730pm India. We will discuss perspective and all the new possibilities it can create for us. Namaste. – @AjmaniK

Framing, composition, focus, lighting and perspective- they all define how and what we ‘see’, don’t they?
A live recording from the walk… sharing a new perspective on where #SpiritChat topics come from…

On Words of Light

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It is the final day of the final lunar fortnight of the year (according to the Hindu calendar) and I sit in the low slant of the fading light of autumn as the sun starts to descend behind the trees in the distance.

The sunrise tomorrow (November 4th) will herald a new moon, a new fortnight, and will set off celebrations of the “Festival of Lights” (Diwali) for hundreds of millions in India and those of Indian origin across the world. It is perhaps apropos to note that this year’s Diwali festival comes after a year of particularly deep pain, darkness and suffering in India, due to the ravages of COVID-19 earlier this year.

However, as is light’s wont, it cannot be hidden for long by even the deepest of darknesses. Spiritual teachers and texts often remind us that we have the capacity to accept whatever comes our way with grace, as divine grace. We also have the infinite capacity to learn to lean into the permanence of light, even though we tend to forget the Infinite when we get caught up the impermanence of darkness. Light is often merely a word away.

Joy, Love, Hope, Grace, Peace, Truth, Giving, Health, Purity, Kindness, Gratitude, Lightness, Simplicity, Equanimity. How do you feel when you read any of these words, or speak any of them? I posit that every single one of these words elevates your heart, mind and spirit in some way, however small. If it elevates you, then every single word like say, JOY, becomes a bearer of the energy that can transform this moment for you into LIGHT.

Try it some time. When darkness tends to weigh on you, first say to yourself, ‘this is impermanent’. Then, say out loud (or within your heart) a single word like JOY. Repeat. What if you could create a regular practice that engages you in light-filling actions and leads you to light-fulness? What if the next time you go for a walk, or watch the sunset or sunrise, or drink a cup of tea, or are folding the laundry, or washing the dishes… you were to repeatedly say to yourself… JOY, LOVE, PEACE. Joy, Love, Peace. joy, love, peace.

Imagine that every moment were to become an awareness of the permanence of the light within you, and a celebration of the source of that light. You would then celebrate the sunsets for the stars that they reveal, and life’s dark turns for the grace of light that awaits. Like a fish in the ocean that knows no separation from the water, you would then know no separation from light.

It’s time for me to return to my tea and watch the fireworks that the sunset is surely going to set off among the clouds. It’s time to light the evening lamp to welcome the year of light arriving with tomorrow’s sunrise.

Joy. Love. Peace.

Kumud

P. S. Join us for our weekly Twitter chat, Sunday November 7 at 9am EST / 730pm India (time change in India due to shift to Standard Time in the USA). We will celebrate the light in our lives, and bring some light to those who may need it. Namaste – @AjmaniK

Joy. Love. Peace. A celebration of Light…

Heart Paths and Practices

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Some autumn mornings start off cold, dark, gray and wet, and mostly stay that way. The state of the outdoors really ought not to matter much to our indoor practices; and yet, our mind is adept at sending us all the old messages to distract us from our path. “Hit the snooze again.” “It’s cold outside the blankets.” “Just foe today, sleep through the hour of meditation.”

I let the mind run through its games and then smiled at it. “Not today. I’m having none of your wiliness,” I said. “You will move on to other things in a flash, but if I listen to you, I will miss out on the best part of my day!” For the practitioner who has experienced even one of them, the morning-hour is rife with possibilities of peace, joy, light, lightness, relaxation, silence, stillness and more. What would the irascible an unruly mind know about any of those rewards?

Forty five minutes after stepping out of the warm cocoon of sleep to sit in the warmth of daily practice, I feel the familiar glow within. As often happens, the heart is lighter, and the still dark morning feels a little brighter. The small decision to ignore the entreaties of the mind often results in rewards that cannot be described in words. I sometimes wonder why the mind keeps doing this same song and dance every so often, despite the fact that I can’t remember the last time it was actually able to convince me to ‘sleep in’ on my morning practice.

When we succeed in creating a new habit or practice which adds a sense of permanence, stability and value to our life, the mind isn’t going to be able to break us away from it. The practice can take any form. The form of the practice May not matter, as long as we remember to practice it. Our daily practices help us remember who we are, where we are and where we are going. The duration of the practice may not matter, as long as the practice creates a measurable, qualitative difference in our life’s path over time.

A mentor once told me that “ten years of your life will go by, just like that, whether or not you are paying attention – so wouldn’t it be better to pay attention?” Yes. The question becomes: what are we going to pay attention to? How are we to take back our attention from our mind, which is always driving awareness outwards, and re-direct it inwards, towards the heart?

I have to admit that I don’t think much about the next ten years, the next year, the next month, and so on. Why? Too-much forecasting can empower the mind and its games, and make us forget that it is our daily practices that build the heart‘s resilience for the paths ahead.

I’ve been up for two hours, and yes, it’s still cold, gray and damp outside. But so what? Time to put on some layers, walking boots, a warm hat, and go visit with the trees, the waters, and the birds. No matter the weather, it’s a practice that has yet to do anything but lighten my heart. Even the mind now knows not to try and sway me from the trail. What else is it to do after watching me walk the heart path for all these years?

Kumud

P. S. Join us for our weekly gathering with the #SpiritChat community on Twitter on Sunday, October 24 at 9amET / 630pm India. We will talk about the heart, the mind and the path. Namaste ~ @AjmaniK

Treasures found on the path… keep inviting my heart back to the trail

On Creating Abundance

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I found some scissors, and did something I had never done before. I cut the six stems, put them into a mason jar with some water, and brought them with me. I figured that that was going to be it for this years blooms. And yet, abundance had other things in mind. A couple of days later, cutting the grass on that side of the house, I glanced over at the rose bushes, and paused. Every rose bush that I had cut from for the puja, seemed to have been bloomed a half a dozen new roses.

The simple abundance of a rose…

I saw the last minute request for additional flowers for the puja ceremony just as I was about to head out. If I were to try and find them at a store, I would surely be late. What about the roses that have been late-blooming because of the summer-like weather? A quick check revealed that there were at least a half dozen new blooms, which would be worthy of the offering at the ceremony for the Devi.

How was this possible, this late into autumn? I guess I had grossly underestimated the power of abundance, and the energies that create it. At this time of the year, the symbols of the harvest the are everyone. Corn stalks, bales of hay, pumpkins in orange, baskets of mums in various colors, and much more. And then there is the abundance of pies in pumpkin, pecan and apple, along with all the goodies of the season dashed with spices and cinnamon.

A walk through the forest has its own signs of abundance. The riot of colors on the trees, the paths quickly filling with leaves, and bushes laden with berries to help the birds through the winter ahead. If we pay attention to how nature prepares for the seasons, we can learn how to appreciate, and prepare for the transitions in our own lives with abundance mentality.

It is easy, and perhaps even seem natural for some of us to focus on what we want or what we lack in our lives. It is actually equally easy for us to recalibrate our heart, mind and body towards abundance and open the channels for prosperity to flow into our lives. This attitude towards being content and fulfilled, and appreciating the gifts that we hold within us, is often called gratitude.

No matter what the season, we can create experiences of abundance for us. A single leaf, a flower petal, a drop of water, a crystal of sugar, is enough offering, when presented with a full heart. In such simple offerings made with gratitude, we plant seeds of a cornucopia of abundance that can be experienced by our hearts, and the hearts of those around us.

What offerings can we bring our hearts to make, to create abundance this season?

Kumud

P.S. Join our weekly gathering with the #SpiritChat community on Twitter, Sunday October 17 at 9amET / 630pm India. Bring a piece of pie, or a flower to share 🙂 Namaste – @AjmaniK

puja – a religious ceremony honoring a deity by invoking all the five elements, and the body, mind and spirit…

Devia deity representing the creative energy of the divine feminine

And just like that, the house has been filling up with gifts of flowers this week…

The Energy of Transformation

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It’s autumn… and the forest welcomes me back…

It was an exhilarating return to the river reservation in the valley, after an entire summer of absence. The overcast skies and a light rain were not enough to deter me from visiting and checking on the health of my good friends. And so, I walked the wet and narrow fisherman’s trail by the river, and was welcomed with a familiar energy. It felt like a homecoming.

The transition to autumn was well underway in the forest, as there was already a thin carpet of wet leaves on the trail. The river nearby was calm and almost still, except for the the sound of raindrops falling steadily and sending ripples everywhere. The bright yellows on the trees were resplendent in the Noon hour, even under graying skies. The orange hues were beginning to emerge among the yellows and their stillness enveloped me, invited me to stand still so that the forest could do its work.

And so I paused, stood still, closed my eyes, and allowed the energy to do what it needed to do. The murmur of the river,

the play of raindrops on my head, the light scent of the lavender blooms, the holding of the earth beneath and the canopy of the trees and sky above – the cumulative energy and effect of it was all a bit surreal. Twenty four hours later, as I write about that energy infusion, my heart is still processing the experience.

It wasn’t like I hadn’t walked the particular part of the reservation, many many times before. And yet, this journey on a familiar path was transformative. I cannot explain why this experience was so different from all the ones I’ve had before. Maybe it feels transformative because this is the most recent experience and I have forgotten about the impact of my precious walks? Maybe it feels transformative because I have been diligent in my daily meditation practice, which in turn has made me more sensitive to the energy of the forest as it undergoes its own transformation? Maybe it is because I went into the walk without any expectation other than to simply walk, feel, touch, listen and immerse in the energy?

Perhaps the ‘why’ of the transformative energy isn’t as important as the direct experience itself. When does the energy flow around us become transformative? The first step is when we take steps to cleanse ourselves of the heaviness of anger, hate and energy-draining emotions – we balance our tamas, our propensity towards negativity. The second step is when we take steps towards proper actions in all our activities – we balance our rajas, our propensity towards outward activity. The balancing of tamas and rajas opens us to creating sattva or purity within, and allows for energy to reach deep into our heart.

In the perfect balance of our three propensities, we are ready to integrate, assimilate and propagate the energy which is forever flowing within and without us. On our spiritual walk, we now realize that every flower, every leaf, every drop of rain, every step on the trail, every living being, conveys energy to and through us. We awaken to discover that the door has been opened for us to transform into Shakti – that divine energy of protection, love, grace, and joy limitless.

And to think that it can all begin with a simple visit with a friend…

Kumud

P.S. Join us Sunday, October 10 at 9amET for our weekly gathering on Twitter in #SpiritChat. Sunday marks the mid-point of the nine-day Hindu festival of Navratri, which celebrates the ‘Energy of the Goddess’. Enjoy the transformation! Namaste – @AjmaniK

A station on the trail… time to pause and absorb…

The Heart’s Heritage

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As I stepped onto the trail on the beautiful, cool and crisp morning of the first day of October, I was reminded yet again of the forever giving heart of nature. I had been thinking of my cultural, religious and family heritage over the past week, and in her quiet and expansive welcome, it occurred to me that Nature is also an integral part of my heritage.

There is a period of two weeks in the autumn where Indian tradition pauses to remember, honor, and give thanks to the roles of our ancestors in our lives. The two weeks often coincide with the solstice — a period when all of nature seems to pause as it transitions from one season to the next. A period of transition can be a good time to ask some questions. Where did we come from? Where do we want to go? How may our ancestors and our heritage influence our journey ahead?

As we answer these questions, we may discover some parts of our heritage that have served us well on our journey so far, and other parts that may have held us back in some way. The weight of tradition informed by our strong fidelity to our heritage can often prevent us from exploring new paths on our spiritual walk. How do we balance our desire to honor our inheritances and be truthful to our heart’s voice?

We pause and we listen deeply. We examine our written and spoken heritage — and there is a lot of that, often an overwhelming amount, in Indian culture. We adopt and adapt the cornerstone truths and principles from our heritage that are congruent with our heart-led journey. As we walk forward on our path towards self-awareness and direct experience, we may discover that we have gradually derived our personal inheritance from our vast heritage.

How do we know that our personal inheritance, which may be in the form of our preferred spiritual practices, is right for our journey? One way to know try our chosen practices, and then to ask – do they add to our joy, increase the light within our heart, create lightness in our steps, inspire us to create a living legacy?

A rose blooms in October… a new legacy begins

Yes. There are a lot of questions we ask and want answers to regarding our heritage, inheritance and legacy. As I paused and kneeled on the path, letting the Sun that was apparently standing still, shine the same sunlight that it has streamed on my ancestors for generations fill my heart, I felt a deep connection to the permanent.

Maybe That is perhaps the heart’s true heritage.

Kumud

Autumn’s light streams through the trees… a reminder of permanence and heritage

Ingredients for Happiness

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Every single muscle in my body seemed to be hurting. In addition, I was made aware of muscles that I didn’t even know I had. That’s what the better part of a day spent hauling mulch and power-washing does to a body used to sitting in front of a computer most days.

And yet, I was brimming with a feeling of happiness. Why? I had just spent an entire, beautiful autumn day working the annual ‘Day of Service’ at my daughter’s school. I wasn’t happy simply because i had spent the day volunteering. It was a combination of a few key ingredients.

According to Arthur Brooks in ‘how to build a life’, most people experience happiness when three ingredients come together. The first ingredient is Fun! Was volunteering fun for me? Absolutely! The entire school, including students, faculty and staff was out and about doing various service projects. It was fun watching them in action, and it was even more fun working alongside my wife as we got covered in dirt and grime and water fairly quickly. And who doesn’t have fun with power tools that make work easy?

Do you remember the last time you had Fun? When was it, and what were you doing?

The second ingredient is Satisfaction. Is volunteering satisfactory? Absolutely yes! After a full week of not-so-satisfying intellectual gymnastics at ‘work’, a day of manual labor was immensely satisfying. It was a sort of ‘deep cleansing’ that the brainbox appreciated greatly by the middle of the day. By the end of the day, my brain was so deeply flushed that I had forgotten how to spell my name. Not really, but you get the idea. I was thoroughly satisfied with the results of the work done, even though I knew that it would have to be done again in a year. The satisfying feeling would pass, like water through a colander, and yet, it felt good to experience it in the moment. It was like a cup of good tea!

When was the last time you felt deeply satisfied? What brought on the feeling?

The third ingredient for happiness is Purpose. We often ask the big questions like what is our life’s purpose, why are we here and so on. These are good questions to ask because they give us a framework with which to align our actions. I hadn’t imagined that a day of manual labor would feed my sense of purpose, but the fact that there were so many other folks on campus working together towards a common goal, made it so. At the end of the day, it surely felt like I had done something meaningful and purposeful. The years of black grime on the concrete walls of the auditorium had been forever banished!

The combination of the three ingredients of fun, satisfaction and purpose created happiness. I think there was a fourth ingredient that was the cherry on the happiness cake – connection. I got to see and chat with so many teachers from previous grades, staff I hadn’t seen in a while due to the pandemic, and more. I heard wedding stories, birth and death stories, college graduation stories, and much more. It all felt good and my heart was smiling by the end of the day.

I didn’t go to seek happiness today at the ‘Day of Service’. It went thinking I would ‘serve’ in the hours before lunch and then ‘work work’ after lunch. I ended up staying the whole day because I could feel my happiness tank getting filled, even as my physical tank was getting drained. The result? One of the happiest days of the week.

I encourage you to reflect on your happiness creators. When is the last time you were having fun, feeling satisfied, doing something purposeful and creating connections, all at the same time? Was that when you felt you were face-to-face with happiness? Or are there other, different ingredients that create happiness for you?

Kumud

P. S. Join us for our weekly community gathering, Sunday Sep 26 at 9amET / 630pm India in #spiritchat on Twitter. Share your keys to happiness with us. Namaste ~ @AjmaniK

Autumn Mums changing color… spreading happiness

Messengers of Peace

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I decided to change course, and return to one of my favorite birding trails for my weekly Friday morning walk. Although it is less than ten minutes from my home, I hadn’t been there since spring. Now, with autumn at our doorstep and the migratory season underway, I figured it would have some new gifts of peace for me.

Two things typically happen when I step into the walking and birding trails in the various reservations around my town. First, and almost instantly, a sense of peace embraces me for it feels like I’m transported back into a cocoon of grace. Second, and this can take a few minutes, the poetry and prose muse returns and gets me writing. As I walk, I do my best to gather the messages that the messengers send my way in my memory, so that none may get lost.

Today’s first message was from the bridge spannning the pond covered with thick green algae. The excessive rain this summer has created such dense foliage and shrubbery everywhere that the bridge was barely visible from the trail. And yet, its welcome was as warm as always. And so, I did the ritual that I often do midway through every bridge crossing. I chanted an invocation, a mantra, asking for peace to radiate to all of humanity. Sarve bhavantu sukhinah. May all be at peace.

The bridge led me to the major section of the trail which winds its way through a canopy of woods. The sun was rising slowly and there was plenty of opportunity to simply stand and stare every so often for a few minutes at the play of orange and yellow streaks backlighting the leaves. Another peace chant. Bhumi mangalam, Vayu mangalam, Gagan mangalam. May the earth, wind and skies be filled with peace and prosperity.

The half or so mile under the canopy opens up into a trail that is flanked by two huge bodies of marshy water. Giant egrets, standing as still as the Sun in the sky, dotted the waterscape on both sides. Parts of the marsh had been taken over by natural fields filled with yellow flowers. Another peace chant followed. May the peace of the fauna and the flora find its way to us.

On my way back through the canopy, I asked myself the question – does nature instill new peace within me or does it serve to remove the clouds that often form the canopy that block my view of the peace within me? Perhaps nature is the mirror that reflects, maybe amplifies the level of peace that we bring to her. Our perceived lack of peace is perhaps merely our heart looking for someone to listen to us with love, and make us aware of all the prose and poetry that we already carry within us.

No matter the medium, the messengers and messages often repeat themselves. Truth. Kindness. Silence. Stillness. Joy. Consciousness. All the messages are simply reminders that all of the Peace that we need or desire is already within us.

May we remember.

Kumud

Join us on International Day of Peace, Sunday Sep 19 at 9amET / 630pm India for our weekly gathering on Twitter. Bring your message of Peace to share with the #SpiritChat community. Namaste ~ @AjmaniK

Nature’s Messengers… radiating peace…