Guru Purnima

Today, on this day of the Full Moon in July, I arise early, even though I am tired from traveling, and sit in meditation and honor all of my teachers, past and present, and I give thanks for all that they have given to me. This is the day of Guru Purnima, a sacred day in which all teachers are remembered and honored...

I had planned to use a particular theme in my yoga class this morning, but decide to change it mid-stream during my meditation, and instead, I invite my students to honor their own teachers - and their teachers' teachers - for we are the sum total of all the people that have touched us. We have been formed by an intricate web of connections spanning back into antiquity. We are who we are - because of legions who came before us. We are the children of all of our spiritual guides as well - those known and unknown - seen and unseen...

I tell my students that we are teachers and students to one another. And every teacher truly knows - that we teach in order to learn more fully, and understand more deeply.

As a former teacher of theology, I recognize that I have also been shaped and molded by the lives of the young women that I taught for two and half decades, many of whom I am reconnecting with once again through the incredible opportunity of social networks...

As I lead my yoga students through a vinyasa - a sequence of poses coordinated with the breath to warm up, I ask them to remember those teachers that have been most significant to them - inviting them to bow in gratitude to all of them in uttanasana.

Our teachers are not always educators in a classical sense. They can take the shape and form of our children - our spouses or our friends. They hold up a mirror to our faces, reflecting to us where we are - and where we need to go.

Our teachers can especially be those we have difficulty with - or experience conflict with. They can also be those we are estranged from and no longer communicate with. They have come into our lives to teach us lessons we must learn, and we must honor them for the work they have played in our lives...

I go to walk the labyrinth after class, and as so often happens, I have the labyrinth all to myself. I am able to sit in meditation in the center for over an hour, totally undisturbed, in deep communion with the Divine and the spirit of my teachers past and present. As I walk in towards the center - so many insights come to me...I sit and lose myself in the center and call upon my personal lineage of gurus who are part of my meditation path - asking for their blessing and guidance - that I may do the work I still need to do in life and learn the lessons that I must learn...

My heart sings in gratitude as I silently and inwardly chant over and over again:

"OM Namah Shivaya -
I bow to the Divine Light
who is the True Teacher Within."

As I emerge from my meditation and walk out of the center of the labyrinth, I hear Julian of Norwich whisper into my ears, as she does, in every moment in my life that has been crucial:

"All shall be well,
and all shall be well,
and all manner of things shall be well..."

And so it is...


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