Be Silent. And Open to Grace.

"Love said to me,
There is nothing
that is not me.
Be silent."
~ Rumi

I read this quote a few days ago, and it was perfect in every way. It defined my weeks, and defined my days, so far this crucial year of 2012. And, it even showed up in my theme during my first week back to teaching yoga.

Since the holiday season ended, I have had the wonderful and delicious opportunity to make a slow re-entry back into daily activity, and I am grateful for the many wonderful opportunities to slow down. To be still. To enjoy solitude. And to be silent...

There have been cold days when I visited a wind-swept river or walked among barren trees in prayer. And even once, on that rare day, when snow flurries came down as well. There have been many moments of reflection. Punctuated by goal setting. Days of assessments made - with one day flowing seamlessly into the next.

I began my first week of classes by working the First Principle of Anusara Yoga - "Opening to Grace," as I usually do. The challenge, of course, is always to remain fresh while doing this.

Recently, I was talking to a friend and colleague of mine, about what our theme for the session was going to be. Usually, we have a very lively and insightful conversations. It seemed we were both leaning to having a whole session dedicated to opening to grace. As my friend noted, she had been very impressed with something that Ross Rayburn, an Anusara certified teacher had said to us, when he visited Willow Street Yoga Center, last year. He said, that his greatest openings in a practice came, when he opened to grace...

And so, I told my students during the first week, that when we open to grace, we soften and listen. And conversely, when we soften and listen, we are opening to grace. This opens the door to everything. It opens the door to transformation. Listening, is key.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta said the following, in an interview for a documentary that I watched in the early 80's:

"God speaks
in the silence of the heart,
and we listen."

Yes, we listen. But it is always our choice to do so. And to respond as well...

Everything in our lives comes bringing a message - every person, every encounter, and every experience...

And so, in several weeks filled with animal dreams, or roosters and deers crossing the road in front of me, I was invited to listen to their messages in my life...

So I said to my students:

"Open to grace and listen -
and if you deeply listen -
you will open the door to grace."

What do you need to hear? What do you need to know? What do you need to learn in this coming year? What do you need to embody?

"God speaks in the silence of the heart. And we listen."

Or not. Intuition comes in silence. And stillness. If you open to something bigger than yourself and soften - you surrender to it. It is no accident that one of the greatest prayers in Christianity, is referred to simply, as the Prayer of Surrender. So many saints and mystics have prayed variations of this prayer throughout the centuries. Being a product of Jesuit education, one of my favorites is the Prayer of St. Ignatius, here paraphrased:

"Take Lord and receive,
all I have and possess.

You have given all to me,
and now I return it."


Be silent. Listen. And Open to Grace. And you will open the door to Miracles!

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