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?
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.