It was a gorgeous, early spring afternoon at the lofty Yoga Sanctuary in beautiful, Shri filled Northampton, MA when and where I was fortunate to sit with the well known and respected Tantric philosopher, Douglas Brooks. In true form, Douglas beamed his light on a group of us eager students of Anusara yoga, as he spoke effortlessly clear about Shri, Kharma and Lela and about how the Universe and Consciousness are always changing and how being Open to Grace and to the promise that anything is possible, we align ourselves more willingly to the Universal Divine Consciousness that flows with out organization, but rather in chaos gracefully aligned in organized patterns of pure Grace. Satchitananda.
I have always believed, this is me, Rebecca, speaking now, that life as we know it - in our bodies, on this planet, at this time, is purely for our soul to travel and adventure through while fulfilling Dharma, and that the adventure is an ever changing, infinite Universal path. Douglas confirmed this notion.
"Reality is essentially dynamic - there is a dynamism of Consciousness and the Universe is always singing, always moving, the discourse never ends." Douglas Brooks
This soulful life adventure I speak of, and as Douglas calls 'dynamic', can be expressed as Shri (shree) in Sanskrit. Another one of my great Anusara yoga teachers, Deb Neubauer, describes Shri as the manifestation of all of the earthly and unearthly force that it takes to make a white lacy bloom spring from the green fist of a peony*. (*Read Mary Oliver's poem in my March blog post.)
Shri is the active manifestation of our Dharma, our soul's mission in this lifetime, and as the sum of all life, Shri holds the energy of all souls.
Our mind's path to our soul is in itself our ever-changing, full of chatter, consciousness, and because we are all a part of and in access of Divine Consciousness when we open to Grace, we can find peace and contentment and hence manifest Shri more completely. Opening to Grace helps us to accept what happens to us, and when we can hold on to what we need and let go of what we don't need (to have or do) then we remain open to all possibilities and can progressively change and grow, create and release.
What else is there to measure our lives by if we are not listening to and acting with respect to the guidance of our soul? Ah, but wait, every thing else is not wasted time, as I recall Douglas illuminated on how life throws us unexpected surprises, both negative and positive (Lela) along with causable expectations (Kharma). It's just part of the infinite mystery.
Whether now or at the time of the dinosaurs or precambrian algae, all life has been in constant movement, continuously changing. Change is the only true constant, and there is Kharmic change and there is Lela - the unknown, without reasonable cause change - Lela's extremes being the very evil and the very blessed behaviors and occurrances that are unexplainable. And Kharma being that which we caused and could prevent or manifest willfully. Both manifest as part of Shri - the life we affirm while on this path. "What is revealed is also hidden"; "in order for everything to be equal everything must be different"; "as it was then, so it will be next time" , and in contrast,
"shit happens, God happens."Douglas Brooks, not all in that order, and in great reverance to the Bhagavagita.
Of course the questions remain and are an infinite part of the narrative that Kharma and Lela create as a part of Shri. If not for the continuation of our soul's journey, then why live at all? And if we don't embrace our ever changing life from embryo to corpse then how are we to travel in the path of Divine Consciousness on this never ending journey?