Again and again, the words of a Sufi mystic swirl around my life…

Ojai, CA (photo taken during a camping trip in December 2012).

Again, and again, the words of a Sufi mystic swirl around my life, wrapping and unwrapping, questioning and demanding, loving and forgiving, always engaging the heart in these interactions; these same words have undoubtedly at some point swirled around you and our ancestors; between the deep crevices of the mountains on each corner of the globe—on the snow-capped Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan, the birthplace of Rumi, to the Himalayan and Hindu Kush ranges, the Alps and the Rocky Mountains, the Andes and the Appalachians, all holding such love and knowledge for millions of years; these same words spread vastly across the open seas connecting lands and people with a common language; words swirling for 7 centuries, swirling in the heart beat of you and I, of the great Earth.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers in yourself that you have built against it.” –Rumi

The heart chakra has been asking for my attention lately. Actually, morelike she screamed for attention during a massage this past week, demanding that I learn to better open my heart space. The intense knots on my shoulder wings indicated the constriction, the closing of my heart chakra. Just like the mountains, our bodies store knowledge that has been there all along—it just takes our awareness to tap into it. And just as the universe spins, I went into my next yoga class with the intention of opening my heart space to find out that class was dedicated to just that—to the 10 day festival in India which honors the goddess, and that class was honoring Lakshmi, the goddess of abundance, of opening the heart and receiving. Through my practice, I’ve observed that many of the heart opening asanas in yoga are most difficult for me—backbends are brutal and even after years of practicing I can barely manage to get my body into a full wheel and my hands always find their way placed down on my knees instead of placed up in sukhasana, signaling that I am more introverted and grounded, rather than open to both giving and receiving.

These next few weeks, perhaps even the next few years and decades, I will tend to my heart chakra. As Rumi tells us, I will seek the barriers I have built against love.

During my quest for better understanding the heart chakra, I found a wonderful piece from the Yoga Journal which briefly describes each chakra and prescribes different asanas to help bring balance. If you’re feeling especially emotional or tight in the hips, you may want to read up on the svadisthana (hips/genital) chakra, or if you’re needing to have an important conversation with someone in your life but are feeling silenced you may need to tend to the visuddha (throat) chakra.

Also, if you’re in need of a sense of peace and balance, check out the top tracks of Snatam Kaur on youtube. I’ve been playing this as my background music at work this past week and it has brought so much calm and comfort to my heart.

Lastly, I know I’ve shared this sutra before, but I can never get enough of it. I hope you enjoy.

Sutra 9 The Heart of Space

The senses declare an outrageous world —
Sounds and scents, ravishing colors and shapes,
Ever-changing skies, iridescent reflections —
All these beautiful surfaces
Decorating vibrant emptiness.
The god of love is courting you.

Every perception is an invitation into revelation.
Hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching —
Ways of knowing creation,
Transmissions of electric realization.
The deepest reality is always right here.

Encircled by splendor,
In the center of the sphere,
Meditate where the body thrills
To currents of intimate communion.
Follow your senses to the end and beyond —
Into the heart of space.

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