Emptiness and Fullness

This morning, I connected my theme of "emptiness and fullness" with engaging kidney loop - as we worked through a flow of twisting poses.

I remarked to my students, how so often we must come to a place of emptiness - before we can experience being full. We must let go of what does not serve - to invite in what will nourish us more deeply...

Twists have an amazing effect on the body - releasing toxins and promoting a better flow of nutrients in the body. They have a very cleansing affect. But to maximize the healing effect of twists, we must create space and extension in the body first. Kidney loop, one of the seven energy loops of Anusara Yoga, brings our awareness to our back bodies, where we initiate the action of the pose. Activation of this loop creates the necessary fullness in the back body. But we must first empty, and surrender - from a place of humility...

I thought about my theme and sequencing yesterday afternoon as I browsed at Border's looking for two books I did not find. On the other hand, I did stumble upon a book of daily reflections extracted from the journals of Thomas Merton, one of my favorite spiritual writers from the 20th century, and I almost immediately opened to this passage:

"I am the utter poverty of God. I am His emptiness, littleness, nothingness, lostness. When this is understood, my life in His freedom, the self-emptying of God in me, is the fullness of grace. A love for God that knows no reason because He is the fullness of grace. A love for God that knows no reason because he is God; a love without measure, a love for God as personal. The Ishvara appears as personal in order to inspire this love. Love for all, hatred of none, is the fruit and manifestation of love for God - peace and satisfaction..."

I loved this line, and read it to myself over and over again:

"The self-emptying of God in me, is the fullness of Grace."

I bought this book for this one passage - and this one line - for it exemplified what I want to convey about emptiness - and fullness. Emptiness conjured up kenosis - a theological term that refers to the self-emptying that Jesus experienced on the cross, discussed in Phillippians 2: 6-8 - and it is the bookend experience to the fullness that is provided by grace.

I wanted my students to know - that every experience of emptying - opens the door to fullness and ultimately to grace. The practice itself is a playground for the interplay between emptying and filling...Some times we need to go for a long time emptying before we are ready to drink in the sweet nectar of fullness...

I taught to a packed class of wonderful women, including a former friend and student who now lives in Vermont and was visiting. It was a joy to see her, for we had been spiritual companions on our own respective journeys, 4 years ago. After class we enjoyed tea and coffee in my house and shared deeply very difficult experiences we had navigated in the last couple of years. When we parted, my friend thanked me for being a blessing in her life. As I hugged her, I thanked her back - for we had both - in different ways - filled one another's soul during a time of great self-emptying...

I picked up one last book at Border's - another book of daily reflections written by Thomas Keating, the Trappist monk who has taught Centering Prayer for decades. Again, I open the book at random - on the birthday of a child I love very deeply and at the end of the entry, I found this excerpt from Ephesians 3:19:

"May you be filled with the fullness of the Divine."

And that, is how I ended my class...

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