God Climbs into Your Pocket

I arose on a magnificent morning, after having been gifted with an extra hour of sleep - and drove over to the other side the river to take a yoga class with the teacher that I have studied the longest with, and who is truly gifted and compassionate. I arrived early, which was good, because it was practically standing room only! All came from far and wide to imbibe more tales about Hanuman!

My teacher continued to work with themes related to Hanuman, and today the focus was on Bhakti - which is understood to mean "the yoga of devotion." We were encouraged to offer and experience our poses as an expression of self-love, which is often a neglected aspect in the practice of devotion.

As part of the centering, we were read this beautiful poem by Hafiz, one of my favorite Sufi poets:

No More Leaving

At some point
Your relationship with God
Will become like this:

Next time you meet Him in the forest
Or on a crowded street
There won't be anymore "leaving."

That is,

God will climb
Into your pocket.

And you will just simply
Take yourself along!

After class, I ran into a wonderfully radiant soul, who had taken this teacher's class earlier in the week, and we both spoke of our experiences. She shared that she was experiencing a number of physical challenges that were discouraging to her, and which impacted her practice.

I too, am facing a host of my own - too numerous to list, that seem to mystify everyone I have seen. I cannot practice like I once did, and I told my friend, that for a long time I mourned all the ground I had lost - the poses I could not longer do - and I simply wept for a long time. I told myself I was not good enough and felt that I was less than I was. I allowed all these insecure thoughts to infest my well-being.

But I also shared, that something eventually shifted in me. Today, while I struggled at times, modifying a number of things, I realized I felt at peace with where I was, and in accepting myself, I felt greater freedom. I even found myself smiling at times, happy that I was able to do what I could do! And as a dear friend observed recently, my experiences will also serve to make me a more compassionate teacher. I do hope so!

There have been moments recently, where instead of being totally frustrated, I find myself reflecting and marveling at the mysteries of the aging process - and how in the midst of the inevitable physical decay we experience, a doorway opens that more deeply liberates the spirit, and connects us more indelibly to the Divine. Yes, it is true. God climbed into my pocket and seemingly leads the way.

To accept where we are in our practice - to embrace our limitations - and not push ourselves beyond appropriate boundaries and into an arena that is no longer our forum - is truly a form of devotion - of self-love - it is the practice of Bhakti. We are able to do this, because God is truly in our pocket, and with us every step of the way.

And so, my asana practice has become more simple in some ways - but it yields to a more introspective one - and it is appropriate that in this phase of my life, it is meditation that draws me in more...

I have no idea how long I have on this earth. But as I shared with a dear soul companion recently, in this second half of my life, I am simply preparing to die. I want to live each day as if it is my last - and be ready in every moment - living each day without any regrets. A Bhakti practice calls to me more now, because God is now always in my pocket!

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