Listen to the River
Last week, we were at the Smith River for 4 days and it was divine. We have friends who live out on the South Fork and are homesteaders. I always get super inspired when we spend time there. They live totally off the grid, grow an abundance of food, and now have use of a solar oven and a super cold room for food storage. There is no internet, no phone, not even a car as we have to walk 30 mins from the parking area to the house. I love the days spent outside doing yoga and meditation under the tree, walking through the water, resting in the sand, exploring the garden, sleeping under the stars. I find myself getting extremely relaxed, sleeping a ton, and generally slowing down. I often leave wondering how I can integrate this slower pace into my own life. How can I spend more time in nature, how can I expand my garden, how can I simplify my life? It was quite apropos that I started to read a recent biography of Ramana Maharshi, a 20th century Indian sage, while we were there. He awakened at the age of 17 and became a highly recognized wisdom being.
So this last week in classes, I shared this teaching of his, with inspiration from my time at the river. “Your duty is to be and not to be this or that. 'I am that I am' sums up the whole truth. The method is summed up in the words 'Be still'. What does stillness mean? It means destroy yourself. Because any form or shape is the cause for trouble. Give up the notion that 'I am so and so'. All that is required to realize the Self is to be still. What can be easier than that?”
And it was so perfect that my last class of the week was our last day of the Awakening the Voice of the Heart course - a retreat on the Mad River where everyone spent solo time at the river and then we shared our experiences and finished with yoga under the trees. The course was all about listening to and awakening the inner voice of wisdom, so being by the river supported this quiet, deep listening.
The river and any wild nature inspires me to look within and be with myself. There's nothing to do but listen, drop in to nature, enjoy the water and sun on my skin. I realize how much I get caught up in all the things I want to do, all the ways I get attached to who I am and how I want to be. So this teaching has been sweet for me to contemplate this week. Just be still, just be with myself, be simple - in my meditation, in my teaching, in my cooking and packing for a trip. And what I've been adding to his words here, is to recognize that the stillness within me is the same stillness in nature- in the plants, the river, the rocks and birds. It is the underlying essence of all things which is perfectly whole and complete, and when I can come into this, feel this within me, I feel myself letting go and resting with ease.
And now we're gearing up for our next yoga and river experience on the Trinity River. I'll be teaching with Patrick and Karen Harris. It's such a sweet weekend of communing with yogis in nature, practicing yoga and meditation outside, eating great food, having fun in the water, and making new friendships. This is one of my favorite events of the year and we have a great group forming. This will likely be our last year at this location, after about 10 years. I hope you can join us!
I wish you the greatest of ease today,