Last week in my Hohm Sahaj Mandir study group (Lee's teachings) we talked about the idea and reality of Sanctuary. And so I decided to teach on the theme of sanctuary and in that way connect the dots of my life. (To which the dots replied: "Good luck! We will connect ourselves just fine and then make you laugh with surprise at our genius and synchronicity!)
Anyway! "I" decided to connect two of the dots of my life and make my class theme for the week be sanctuary, working with the image of a cathedral. It works so well in the body - like this:
- Practice to cultivate your capacity to be like a cathedral - grounded, spacious, in service to the Sacred, a sanctuary for your own bright spirit and - as you grow in capacity - a sanctuary for others to remember their own bright spirit. This includes practicing with impeccable alignment - just as both practical and sacred architecture employ specific and impeccable alignment in the building of a temple or cathedral in order to make a physical space in which a brightness of spirit can abide.
- Practice to make possible in heart and mind a vibrating silence and an abiding deep Presence - as within a cathedral.
- Fill the space of your body, mind and heart with beautiful sound.......refined speech, music, chanting. Find sanctuary inside the sound of Ujjayi breath and the remembrance that God....."is the breath inside the breath". ~~Kabir.
- Practice to be so deeply grounded that a great space can open in you (root to rise / organic energy), reminding you that "Inside you are so sweet......Beyond telling. The cathedral there so deeply tall." ~~ Rumi
- Practice to tend the light of consciousness within. In the sanctuary at the heart of a cathedral, as in your own center, is a flame that must be tended and kept eternally burning.
After launching the class theme, I was surprised and happy to find myself in a cathedral. I had not planned that, but as usual life offers way more connected dots than I can plan or even notice. Leo invited us to his choir concert which was held at Saint Aloysius Cathedral, a place deeply tall, with lighted candles everywhere and at the center a sanctuary within a great spaciousness. All of it just begged me to be inspired, lift my heart and deepen my breath within the round vaulted dome of my ribcage, heart and mind.
The choir concert was brilliant. I didn't know I would love it so much. Religion has not been my sanctuary over the years and religious hymns make me nervous. But you know - it is just like my meditation teacher Paul M-O teaches: authentic sadhana (introversive practice) will gradually but inevitably make it possible that extroversive rituals and religion - which may have seemed to be deadly dogmatic - can begin to melt open to you, and you will find that ahhhhh! there's bliss in there - radiance and sweetness - the Sacred moving inside those religious rituals.
So that's what happened. I sat and listened to the choir concert and cried with joy. It seemed that both me and the choir were "suspended from a fishing line hooked at the breastbone, being hauled up toward the heavenly gates". ~ Galway Kinnell