I have always felt a deep and intuitive sense of connection with other living beings. I have the tendency to feel the emotional experiences of others. To feel pain, suffering, joy, love, when others feel it. Not as my own emotion, but as a mirror would reflect the face of one who stood before it.
I have always been fascinated by how this deep connection comes about, between us as humans, and with other living beings, plants, and the land we inhabit itself.
Early on in my yoga practice I realised that this deep sense of interconnectedness I'd always felt intuitively, is so clearly articulated and explained in Eastern philosophies as non-dualism or in Hinduism as Advaita. It can also be found in western philosophical thought like stoicism.
A non-dualistic world view says that God, the divine, or supreme consciousness is not separate or distinct from the universe or living beings. Rather this supreme being is infused throughout it. Our universe, our planet, our bodies, are literally living temples, housing God him/her/it-self. Those moments of exquisite beauty and pure pleasure we've no doubt all experienced are moments where the veil of materialism, for a moment, is lifted, and we are able to taste the truth of what we really are for a short while.
Once I understood and fully bought into the idea that there is a deep and fundamental connection between all things, other traditions and practices that aimed to make sense of the world from this viewpoint opened up to me.
Astrology has become one of those traditions. It's a system that offers insight into how the position of planets, moons and stars affect us at our time of birth but also on an ongoing basis throughout our lives. The planets are always moving, and the correlation between where things are now and where they were at the time of our birth may offer insights into how we are feeling and the sorts of opportunities that could open up to us. I have an annual astrological reading with an Indian Vedic Priest and it's always so fascinating to sit with him. His readings are never prescriptive. Rather there's a light shone on what sorts of energies could be moving into my life in the year and where I might like to start shifting and focusing my attention.
Yesterday was a full-moon. Full moon days are significant in many cultures including in India. Some yogis choose not to practice on moon days, or change their practice to make it gentler. We know the moon affects the tides, and as watery beings, perhaps we too are affected. The ebb and flow of our emotions can be challenged around the time of a full moon, we can feel less sure-footed, less grounded, and on the other hand more creative and spiritually connected around the time of a full moon.
Full moons are considered to be times when the lunar qualities of emotions and instincts reach their peak. The moon is associated with the divine feminine. Intuition kicks in and subconscious awareness has more clarity.
This week's particular full moon is in Taurus and whilst this is an earthy, grounded moon, the relationship with other planets at this time, namely venus and uranus, have astrological experts hailing these next two weeks as a time of great change and potential uncertainty. As always there's an opportunity here for reflection on things in our lives that this full-moon light brings out of the darkness.
All this talk about change and making decisions got me thinking. For me decision-making (at least good decision-making) starts with being honest. Honest with others, and perhaps far more difficult, honest with ourselves. Sometimes we find ourselves at a point where we’ve invested so much effort and time in telling ourselves untruths that we lose sight of the truth all-together.
So with all this in mind, our theme next month will be Satya, or truthfulness. Satya comes from the word Sat or 'unchanging'. This practice runs far deeper that not telling any porkies. Satya asks us to pay attention to what is pure or unchanging, rather than the inevitable changeability of the material world and our own circumstances. A good place to start is the observation of our own thoughts. By becoming the observer or watcher of thoughts and sensory experience in our bodies, and reminding ourselves that whilst our thoughts and experiences occur within our bodies they are not synonymous with ‘I’ (in other words the ‘ego’ and the ‘Atman’ or ‘I’ associated with pure consciousness are not the same), the tendency to invest the greatest part of our attention on the changing aspects of life will lessen. As we spend more time slowing down the decision-making process and choosing actions in line with the big ‘I’ rather than the little one we should find that living a life more inline with satya comes more naturally.
Read more about Satya here and we will delve deeper throughout November.