Lovingkindness and Freedom

I go down to the river on a cold morning, drawn there, after over a week of snow and ice...

I go down to the river to offer a Lovingkindness meditation, for myself, and my friend, who is still in transition from this life, miraculously holding on, in a state of suspended animation, but teeming with life, as the bottom of this river...

I came down to this very river, a little over three years ago for the first time, and began a daily practice of offering a Lovingkindness meditation - a Buddhist "metta" practice for myself, as it is suggested, for many months, before I was ready to offer it for others. It was a long, and arduous but fruitful road to letting go of resentments towards others, and lightening the load in my heart...

I come today, and repeat the words I prayed daily then - and I share here, my own "personal" version of this practice:

May I be filled with lovingkindness.
May I be well.
May I be at peace and at ease.
May I be happy.

I practice for myself first, and then for my friend, but spontaneously, another line arises from deep within and it is added, placed at the end, by my spirit's higher wisdom:

May I be filled with lovingkindness.
May I be well.
May I be at peace and at ease.
May I be happy.
May I be free...

Yes, may I be free - and may my friend be free - and indeed, may we all be free - from whatever each one of us needs to release! May we truly embody this attribute of the Divine, "svatantrya," that is extolled in yogic and Tantric texts, which I have chosen to focus on this week, as a theme for my yoga classes.

I write my friend's husband this morning, and I tell him, that his beloved and I, are journeying together, in setting our spirits free - she from the physical dimension that still holds her captive - and I - experiencing this freedom in more interior realms - as St. Teresa of Avila prescribed as a necessity for the spiritual path, back in the 16th century...

I offer my Lovingkindess practice for souls I know that are currently in need as well, and believe that my words and intentions will serve this in the best way possible...

Words are very powerful to me. They are sacred - and their vibration is eternal. Thus, I strive to choose my words wisely, and to leave the world a better place through their articulation. I am reminded of this quote by Rudyard Kipling:

"Words are the most powerful drug
known to mankind."

With one word we can imprison a soul and scar a life, we can touch another's heart profoundly, and we can heal, and set our souls free...

The river is partially frozen - and thus partially held back - and yet it is partly flowing as well. It is in transition - in between states and seasons, and once again, a metaphor for my life...

I begin my day by reading, a beautiful prayer for Candlemass, left on my friend's blog, by Mechtild of Magdeburg, who has always been one of my favorite mystics. And while it was offered as a description of my friend's present condition - I saw it as a metaphor for all of us who are on the spiritual path. It also reminded me personally, of the embodiment of "kenosis," the self-emptying of Jesus on the cross that has always born a special meaning for me...And so, I share this beautiful piece here as well...

"Under this immense force she loses herself.
In this most dazzling light she becomes blind in herself.
And in this utter blindness she sees more clearly.
In this pure clarity she is both dead and living.

The longer she is dead, the more blissfully she lives.
The more blissfully she lives, the more she experiences.
The less she becomes, the more flows to her.
The deeper she dwells, the more she expands.

The deeper her wounds become, the more violently she struggles.
The more loving God is to her, the higher she soars.
The more radiantly she shines in the reflected effulgence
of the Godhead, the closer she approaches him.
The more she labors, the more contently she rests.
The more quiet her silence, the louder she calls.

I recall, other words by Mechtild of Magdeburg that have also nourished my soul through nearly three decades, re-surfacing her and again, whenever needed:

"God has given me the power to change my ways."

Yesterday, I connected with several souls in need. With one, I shared recently read quotes and passages that arrived almost heaven-sent to comfort and speak deeply to my soul. With the other, whom I have known for almost 40 years, we revisited shared memories of our friend in transition. Then, as a spontaneous gift, we thanked each other for our shared friendship over the years, acknowledging the love we felt for each other...

I was touched profoundly by the sharing I did, on each occasion - both bearing gifts of their own...

And so, I end now, with a few more passages that have fed me these last couple of days...

"Your living is determined not so much
by what life brings to you,
as by the attitude you bring to life;
not so much by what happens to you
as by the way your mind looks at what happens."
~ Kahlil Gibran

"You do not imagine
how Brilliant you are
in the throes of inner turmoil.
Likewise, when aware of Your Brilliance,
agony and samskara cannot be found
even upon close investigation!
Oh Nasruddin, when the Sun has set,
why do you instruct people to look
for it with a flashlight?
When the sun has risen,
no other lights are required!"
~ Rumi

"To engage in actions with desire for their fruit
is true tyaga (renunciation).
God is the Divine Renunciant,
for He carries on all the activities of the universe
without attachment to them.
Anyone aspiring to Self-Realization--
whether he be a monastic or householder--
must act and live for the Lord,
without being emotionally involved
in His drama of creation."
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

Addendum: And just after I completed this blog, had lunch, and sat down to a cup of Yogi Tea, I read this on the tag of my tea bag. Another gift and message!

"Empty yourself
and let the universe fill you."

Amen!

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