A Season of Giving Thanks
This is a guest post from Rama Jyoti Vernon, beloved yoga teacher and pioneer of yoga and conflict resolution.
A bright golden leaf framed by a clear sky floated lightly to earth. My mind was transfixed on the leaf that marked the advent of autumn and the cycles of seasons within life. Deepak Chopra once remarked that he was in the autumn of his life. What a wonderful way to remind us that life has its seasons, just as we see in nature. The beginning of life and the birth of spring, the activity peaks of life’s summers and the closing of a cycle in autumn are all a prelude to the return of the dormancy and gestation period of winter.
Even though fall is a favorite time for many people, as its cold crisp air pierces the ripple of late summer winds, I wonder if it is possible to make these transitions from the early years to the later years in life without mourning the passing of time? Is it possible I wonder, to make the transitions from one era of life to another without clinging to what was? Is it possible to let go if we can’t perceive what is yet to be? Or is it possible to live in a suspended state of fearless expectancy of what is yet to reveal itself?
As the golden leaf lingers in the crisp morning air, my thoughts travel to the East Coast to those ravaged by the storm, who are forced into life’s changes with little warning. The areas looks like war-torn zones, reminding me of countries ravaged by unwanted wars. My heart holds all people, all beings everywhere within its ever expanding arms, wanting to see them transcending the pain of the past into the transformative unfolding of the future. The leaf that was once the bud of spring now is a beautiful withered reminder of its lovely past in a future that is yet invisible to its own transcendence.
Our life patterns and the season are not as separate as they seem. In our lifetime we witness and experience many changes, individually and collectively. The hills and the valleys of life’s journey are patterns we all share.
Yoga helps us gain flexibility in body which represents the agility in mind that makes us bend with the winds, whether chilly or warm. It helps us make these transitions through the seasons of our lives, not with a sense of failure or foreboding, but with joyful expectancy of faith in the Divine and loving hand that is guiding us from one place to another in the fulfillment of our life’s destiny.
I find the Thanksgiving holiday is a reminder that is far greater than biological and spiritual family gatherings. It is much more than the ritual of sharing a meal based on an age-old tradition. It also can be seen as a time to truly give thanks from our hearts for all that has graced our lives, rather than dwelling on what has been swept away by the storms of nature.
What a great opportunity this coming holiday is for forgiving the past and releasing hardened places in our heart that have become numb to the storms that have ravaged our heart, creating hardness where there was once compassion. One great bhakti (devotional) teacher who was a living saint from India once said to me, “Be thankful for judgments and criticisms …. through them, you will have greater compassion for others.”
Thanksgiving is not just once a year, but it is an attitude of gratitude that we can practice every day of the year. As we transcend our own tears, we can see and feel the tears of others.
Perhaps we can, during this coming holiday and every day send our love and healing to all those whose lives have radically changed and all those who have experienced losses in our country and all countries of the world. The healing power of giving thanks silently can radiate out from Self, to community and our world.
With Love & Light,
Rama Jyoti Vernon
About Rama Jyoti Vernon:
Rama Jyoti Vernon began her interest in metaphysics and mysticism as a child, with parents who were pioneers in holistic health. Ultimately, she became one of America’s first Yoga teachers, and was instrumental in bringing many great teachers from India to the U.S. She co-founded the Yoga Journal and developing organizations such as Unity in Yoga, to unite all lineages of Yoga.
As a housewife, mother and Yoga teacher, Rama began applying Yoga philosophy in a whole new arena, international peacemaking. During the 1980s she made dozens of trips to the U.S.S.R, and founded the Center for International Dialogue, based on the idea that people can join together to initiate solutions for political, economic, ecological, humanitarian and cultural conflicts.
For more information on Rama’s work, visit her website.