Opening to the State of Love
Anjali mudra in front of the heart is a devotional gesture. (As is every asana.) An ultimate gesture of LOVE. And love is not an emotion. It is not an object. It is a feeling state of being. It is everything.
So, with that said…
Positioning my arms and hands in Anjali mudra is physically challenging for me. Shoulder girdle, upper arms, forearms, wrists, fingers. It’s intense. And it really bothers me. A seemingly easy position that, every time I come into, brings up fear. My thoughts jump in and try to “fix stuff.” This frantic running around to get it right, remove the pain and discomfort. It’s so in my face. Literally. My head juts forward. My jaw tightens. My tongue tenses.
I’ve been in practice long enough to catch myself doing this over and over again, the habitual positioning that is directed by some pattern of closure in my life that I’ve been doing for god-knows-how-long. And I immediately breathe into my pelvic bowl, ground down through feet, soften lower ribs, elongate back of neck, draw tailbone down, drop shoulder blades, etc. But it still remains.
My teacher says, the tension and discomfort you experience in a pose you are doing to yourself, probably 24 hours a day.
Sofia has taken Monday 7am practice back to the basics. Going slowly through a few asanas to exact alignment and FEEL what the pose is showing us, offering us. (We are also practicing the transition from pose to pose, for example, stepping from lunge to forward fold. But I am not going to open this up right now because there is so much there.)
She also invites us (or requires us) to ask questions/share about our experiences. I used to dread this part of practice. Presence to feeling-awareness would fly right out the window, I’d go completely blank as everything shot up into the mental, and panic would ensue. Total fear around sharing my truth.
This morning, though there was hesitation, I brought up the anjali mudra challenge.
Sofia’s response (this is what I heard. By no means her words): It is because you don’t know what you love. What you truly love deep within. You are objectifying love. You have to feel it, find something that you truly love and grow your capacity for loving it within. Know the difference between experiencing Love as an emotion and as a state of being.
With Sofia, you have a choice: to stay open or to close. What she has to say can be difficult to receive. You may not agree with it. AT ALL. But that’s it. That’s the gift, the teaching she’s giving you. To STAY OPEN and RECEIVE. Because so far, there’s been truth in everything she’s said. Feel it with your heart’s consciousness. Let go of the mind’s “oh, no she didn’t!” and just receive. Allow the vast ocean within your heart to widen and be present with what it reveals to you.
When she said what she said, at first I could hear myself saying, ‘that’s not true. I know what I love, I’m not objectifying it. I sooooo feel it. You sooo don’t know me.’ And then I got out of my own way which is something like turning on the windshield wipers. I brought awareness to my breath and dropped down into my body. This opened my skin sheath, which really does light up the body. What I heard was, “mom”. And like standing in front of those mirrors that go into infinity, I saw a reflection of my mom over and over, like those flip cards that make a motion picture. And then it was gone.
You receive. You give gratitude. And you let go. Holding on only objectifies. Trust that whatever was revealed has unraveled something in you forever. And give it away as a gift.