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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States
Karen is a yogini, writer, student, teacher and meditator. She founded Garden Street School of Yoga in 2000. Karen lives with her husband Chris. They have two amazing sons, Eli and Leo (both of them young men).

Dec 23, 2011

The Generosity of the Sun

To honor Solstice I focused studio classes on the theme of "The Generosity of the Sun" which moves in us – as us. I used the following thoughts to fund the theme and sequence of the classes. (Some of this is inspired by Brian Swimme's work. See quotes and info at end of post).

  • The Sun pulls billions of tons of hydrogen to it’s center every second. (Think Muscular Energy)
  • This hydrogen is transformed into helium - (Think Yoga as the Alchemy of Transformation).
  • Helium is released from the center of the sun as light (think Organic Energy)
  • Each second, 4 million tons of the sun is transferred into light.  OCEANS of matter are transformed every day- (Think radical generosity - Think God)
Photosynthesis transforms this light into plants. Animals eat the sun through plants. Humans feast on the energy of the sun through plants and animals…..Humans ARE the generosity of the sun, stepped down to muscle and bone.

We feast on the generosity of the sun not only through the food we eat but also  through common everyday blessings, like:
  • Waking up in a warm bed
  • The kitchen light
  •  That nice cup of hot tea or coffee
  • The warm bath or hot shower
  • The heat moving through the house in winter

Maybe early in the day we do a Yoga practice. We feast on the light of the sun when we light a candle for puja, pranayama or meditation. And as we practice, the Light of Consciousness grows gradually but inevitably brighter. When we do the work of asana or exercise, we feast on the generosity of the sun as our muscles engage and warm. The fire of the sun is at work in every part of us from atom to organ - from ATP in our cells to our body temperature.

After practice its time for breakfast.

The metabolic fire of digestion makes us hungry as well as able to digest and assimilate.
It is the light of the sun, come down to the kitchen, that cooks the food and serves it up as a hot meal. 

The work-day starts and the light of the sun steps down to the office as we do our mental work - the light of the computer - the fire of synapses firing. Hopefully we love our work and draw from the fire within that makes us passionate about our work.

Most days we connect with friends, co-workers, teachers, students, loved ones. Our friendships and relations are full of the warmth of the sun which might be reflected in the warm glow that happens when you think of a friend. It rises up like a sunrise, lifts the corners of your mouth in a smile and brightens a light in your eyes.  Even our less than happy relations are fueled by the sun -  our angers and irritations have a definite heat to them.

We simply and naturally give the generosity of the Sun back out from ourselves. How can we not? We ARE the generosity of the sun.  Even the most twisted of us gives light back out - perhaps with great stinginess or as if by accident - but gives out light nonetheless. Just look at an infrared photograph. We are blazing suns, each of us.

Extending light generously can infuse simple daily gestures: 
  • We feed the birds with seeds that are quite literally the compacted light of the sun.
  • We prepare food. Often a simple warmth of kindness goes into a meal that we prepare for others and also - hopefully -  that same kindness goes into the food we prepare for ourselves.
  • We leave a light on for the loved one coming home late. (I have heard that in Germany on one day of the year all the mothers put a candle in the window for their sons who died in war – so those young men can find their way home).

With every breath we replenish our energy all over again….and this is possible –  our human energy is possible -  because at the center of the solar system, stellar generosity pours forth energy all the time. As Brian Swimme says: “If we burn brightly today it is only because some energy was burning brightly as the sun a month ago.”

Yoga is designed to line us up to That - a great generosity that burns at the center of everything.
We practice in a way that encourages us to open to and align with That.  We even praise That through mantras like the Gayatri. The longer we practice, the more we fine tune our alignment with the Great Light……the nature of which is unstinting, radical generosity.  That is a GOOD thing to line up with and the moment we re-member ourselves to it, we become less obstructed – more transparent. Generosity, as a natural, innocent and unstoppable impulse flows outward from us like daylight.

 Thanks for reading!

 Brian Swimme, Ph.D. a mathematician and cosmologist, brings the context of story to our understanding of the 13.7 billion year trajectory of the universe. Story, he feels, will assist in the emergence of a flourishing Earth community. Several years ago I came across his thinking and teaching on the nature of the universe when I watched his video - "The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos". It changed my life. 
Some quotes from Brian Swimme:
The earth was once molten rock and now sings operas.

Each person discovers a field of allurements, the totality of which bears the unique stamp of that person's personality. Destiny unfolds in the pursuit of individual fascinations and interests ... By pursuing your allurements, you help bind the universe together. The unity of the world rests on the pursuit of passion.    

The primary challenge of this cosmological transformation of consciousness is the awareness that each being in the universe is an origin of the universe. “The center of the cosmos” refers to that place where the great birth of the universe happened at the beginning of time, but it also refers to the upwelling of the universe as river, as star, as raven, as you, the universe surging into existence anew. The consciousness that learns it is at the origin point of the universe is itself an origin of the universe. The awareness that bubbles up each moment that we identify as ourselves is rooted in the originating activity of the universe. We are all of us arising together at the center of the cosmos.

The break-through moments are unimaginable until they happen. 

I have a sense that something amazing is at work… I think our planet is actually moving into a time of profound harmony and fecundity and peace but whether that’s going to take 600 years or 6 days I don’t know. I mean, I think that as humans begin to take seriously… the planetary dimension of conscious self-awareness, then we will become homonized versions of natural selection — so that we will begin to make decision with the large scale dynamic of the planet in mind. So I see that we’re actually entering into a transformation of the human species out of the modern period into this new era… It may take centuries… but like the past and it’s catastrophes I think that’s… what’s taking place in the midst of so many hardships. -

There’s a great phrase from Eric Jantsch… and he says, “these self-organizing dynamics are in every place in the universe, waiting at their marks”. I love that phrase because you get that… the power for making water exists everywhere in the universe but the conditions have to be right. But if the conditions are right, then these self-organizing dynamics leap to it. So I think it’s something like that, that the possibility for sentience has always been there but has been waiting for a chance to really display.

The more I learn about light the more I realize, man, we don’t know anything about light… It’s just bizarre… a particle has it’s own proper time which slows down as you speed up. But at the speed of light… there’s no time. That’s bizarre… that we can, right now, as you know, see — interact with the light that has come from the birth of the  universe. So… from our point of view, that light traveled for 14 billion years but from the point of view of the light it’s the moment of creation.

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