“Be present in all things and thankful in all things” – Maya Angelou
It’s interesting how what you focus on can show up, not just once, but again and again.
In class the other day our teacher talked about the ability to see our challenges as gifts. Earlier that same day I’d been reading Jivamukti Yoga where Sharon Gannon and David Life explain the meaning behind this chant:
“Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Devo Maheshvara, Guru Sakshat, Param Brahma, Tasmai Shri Guruvey Namaha.”
I remember chanting this in my first ever Jivamukti class, call and response. I mumbled it under my breath with no clue of what it all meant or how to pronounce the words, but it sparked a desire to learn more. Of Devo Maheshvara (another name for Shiva, the Destroyer) Sharon Gannon and David Life write:
“If you can accept Devo Maheshvara as Guru, then you are a very evolved soul. It takes spiritual maturity to embrace difficulties and to see within them the potential for enlightenment. The greatest spiritual growth can come from appreciating difficult times in your life and facing them fully with an open heart.”
This notion is something I seem to have been hearing and reading a lot lately. I know I find this tough to accept – I am far, far, far from evolved – but I do understand the truth in it. In my experience, it is the challenges that make you grow. However, that can be much easier to see in hindsight than when you’re in the eye of the storm and scrabbling for a piece of driftwood to cling to.
As mentioned in previous posts, the past few months turned out to be more challenging than I expected. Yet, during and since then I’ve noticed that I say ‘Thank You’ a lot more. And every time I say it I mean it.
I am so especially grateful to my fantastic family and friends and the wonderful folks at my yoga home. Between them they’ve helped me through this time more than they probably realise. Somehow, ‘Thank You’ doesn’t seem enough.
I have no idea what the future holds but I do know that a bit of gratitude really puts things into perspective. It’s as though the more grateful I become the more there is to be grateful for. One door has closed for me but as a result there are other doors and windows opening up. It’s making me look at the past few months differently – I learned some things about myself and I genuinely see it all as a gift. The challenge is, when the next set of challenges appear (as they invariably will) can I find the ability to see them as gifts at the time? Will I be able to honestly embrace the difficulties? I’m pretty certain it will take me some time to get to that point. But that’s okay. I can accept that. And I can keep working on it. And who knows? Maybe one day I will be able to chant Guru Devo Maheshvara from a place of true appreciation.
In the meantime, I’m sticking with Gratitude for all the gifts in my life right now.