Last Saturday night (no not at the pub!) I sat preparing my mind and my intention for a havan (fire ceremony) at Satyananda ashram, which is situated deep within the Wombat State forest. I observed the accumulation of thoughts in my head from the previous week (and month!), some lingering ones… I listened to the many vibrations of nature all around me and wondered why everything sounded (and seemed) so much clearer here. Why did I need to come all this way from Melbourne to sharpen my senses and my mind?
The fire havan is held in a stunning glass-enclosed space in the middle of the ashram grounds and was purpose built with a small fire pit. The havan includes a physical fire, symbols with flowers, incense, sage and chanting of mantras for inner transformation. The space is decorated with images of Gurus and Saints in each corner. This may not be for everyone, however a very calm space in which to unravel the mind.
It is invariably when I am driving back home that I reflect again on what I’ve learnt about centring my mind, clearing out the ‘garbage’, to be out of my head and in the present moment…
It ‘bucketed’ with rain the night before I drove up to the ashram. The morning I left was cold and misty and I knew where I was going was even colder and wetter. However I had created the intention. I had also booked in advance and paid. This makes it easier (well it does for me!) There are so any other distractions that come our way, so many reasons we believe we cannot commit. Particularly when it’s about taking time for our SELF. And always once you do commit something arises, always! Somehow this is all part of strengthening our resolve.
It’s about becoming familiar over and over again with the experience and the benefit at the end. It’s like choosing between a delicious cake or a piece of fruit for afternoon tea. We’ve had the experience of both, we know how each will affect our bodies and how we feel afterwards. It’s like that every time we come to sit on our meditation cushion – it becomes more familiar. Sometimes it will be easeful, sometimes more unsettling. However we usually complete with more clarity, an increased acceptance or awareness of ourselves and others.
Whenever we embark on a new adventure or continue a familiar one, we generally accept that whatever happens is all for good. This may not mean it is easy or without hard work, however once the situation has passed there is often a lingering or lasting feeling of inner satisfaction, inner contentment. Finding ways to settle our minds away from persistent, repetitive thoughts, over time will create an awareness of inner calm.
Being around others of similar inclination, similar intention and energy supports our journey to improve our thoughts, our relationships, our lives. It can be much easier when in the company of others, to stay seated when difficult thoughts arise, to let the thoughts and emotions pass. Also to know that others, like you, may well be having a similar (or perhaps more difficult) experience!
We cannot always take ourselves away to an ashram or similar place. However if you can make the time, I highly recommend a visit to Rocklyn. Their tradition is the closest lineage in Australia to Integral Yoga and we are fortunate to have this ashram so accessible to Melbourne.
Another option is to find a local group, course, community.
Find the support and skills to practice, by joining me at Experience Yoga.