Love. Inner Power. Diwali.
What don’t I know?
We are all pretty sure about one thing: our own perspective. So many conversations begin with, “Look here,” or “Listen up,” because “This is where I stand.”
The whole entire enterprise of human engagement becomes a quest to be understood.
But standing in that mentality means staying in the dark—denying that there’s another point of view.
So here’s something new: What if you start each encounter with the question, “What don’t I know?”
Example: The neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking and it’s making me crazy. What don’t I know? Or: Marty left his dirty laundry in the middle of the floor, again. What don’t I know?
I fail at it daily. But when I remember this practice, my life is just better. It’s like real world enlightenment. The light shines on another’s perspective and I find out that we weren’t standing so far apart, after all.
Today is an Indian holy day: Diwali. It is an opportunity to celebrate the light.
The light of awareness.
The light of consciousness.
The light of your inner power.
There has never been a more crucial time for the teachings of Mystic Traditions to make their way into the real world human experience,
to make life... just better.
diwali. love. marriage.
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Diwali. Lakshmi. Abundance.
Diwali is called the "Festival of Lights" because it is a celebration of illumination. It honors the light of your awakened consciousness. It invokes beauty, abundance, prosperity, and love–the archetypal attributes of the Indian Goddess, Lakshmi. This mystic tradition invites you to realize those attributes as qualities of your own mind. Rituals serve to remind you of your inner power and transform your awareness. Your most powerful expression of abundance is a grateful heart. Diwali is the party for a more meaningful life.
10 Practices for Diwali
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Imagine the world before electricity. I bet you'd tend your fire carefully. Make it last through the cold, dark night.
...And then comes dawn. Every morning is like a victory–the triumph of the light.
That is why Indian holy days, like Diwali. celebrate the light.
That is why Indian mantras, like Gayatri, invoke and worship the light as a divine power.
In yoga, I honor the "dawning of awareness" as the power of illumination which awakens, heals, and provides clear vision.
But the light does not always come easy. Let me explain with a story:
Once upon a time my husband and I were arguing. It was heated. Now, I can't even remember what it was about. But at the time I was quite certain–I had no doubt–that I was "RIGHT!"
He disagreed. He presented his case, but I doubled down on my point of view, again and again. I wanted him to realize (and admit) that I was "RIGHT!"
Then something happened. Mid-sentence. It hit me like a floodlight: "Oh, shit. He is right...
Daaaang! I felt just like Wile E. Cayote when he looks down from his full-throttle pace to realize that there is nothing beneath him but empty space and a long, hard fall.
We celebrate the light as if it is always welcome. As if we are in a state of perpetual curiosity, always ready to expand and embrace personal development.
But sometimes we're not.
Sometimes we think we already have the answer. We already know. We are "RIGHT!"...and nothing will change our minds. Then the light of awareness "dawns" on us illuminating our flaws. It isn't comfortable. Sometimes, truth be told, we wish we could stay in the dark.
Our practice often determines what happens next.
Yoga provides the courage and compassion to face, and embrace, the light.
So back to that one time, when I was wrong:
I took a deep breath, mustered up the humility and said, "Wait. I'm just realizing that you are right. I am wrong. I am sorry."
My husband looked at me, first with surprise, then tenderness. "Yeah," he said. "I love you."
I had braced myself for impact, but it turned out to be a super soft landing. Blissful in fact.
Because in that moment, I realized that being wrong gives me the opportunity to experience his unconditional Love. If I were always "RIGHT," I would never feel the sweet sensation of forgiveness.
When I embrace my imperfection it becomes a radiant gift.
I am human, and growing. I wouldn't want it any other way.
Inspired by the words of Leonard Cohen: The cracks are where the light gets in.
That realization has been, for me, like the break of a glorious new day.
Diwali. Love. Tantra.
My daughter was three years old when I took her to see Kung Fu Panda 3.
Enrapt from start to finish, she was particularly attentive during the great battle scenes between the adorable ninja Panda and his scary nemesis.
As we left the theater, she turned to me and said,
"Mom, I've noticed something...the good always defeats the bad."
Happy New Moon and Diwali!
This has been an auspicious day throughout India—a festival of lights celebrating the radiant triumph of divinity over the darkness of confusion--a sort-of "Good Defeats Bad" Day.
Various Indian mythologies exemplify the power of righteousness over demonic forces like the return of exiled Rāmā and Sīta, the victory of the Goddess Durga over the wicked demon, Mahishasura, and the sacred marriage of Vishnu and Lakshmī.
It's an age-old story: the universe is animated by dueling forces, and we all hope desperately for the virtuous to prevail. The question is who decides who is virtuous? History has made this grand narrative into an "us vs. them" story. When taken literally, it becomes the foundation for division and alienation: whomever is on "our side" is virtuous. On the "other" side is evil.
In his work, Creation of Consciousness, Edward Edinger explains that consciousness is only possible in the presence of an "other." Therefore, all human awareness is dependent upon this dichotomy: self and other, me and you, us and them. But when we project our own shadows onto an outside "other" we set up a never ending war zone.
The teachings of non-dual Tantra assert that all things are individualized aspects of a single, dynamic pulsation of universal LOVE. ...A LOVE that has no need for warfare. ...A LOVE so pervasive, perfect, and powerful that it encompasses everything.
So, I explain to my daughter: "Sometimes it doesn't look like it will, but the good always wins in the end...because LOVE is the biggest, most powerful thing. In fact, LOVE is all there is. When people do bad things it's only because they have forgotten LOVE.
When you remember that you are LOVE, you become as powerful as a superhero ninja."
The new moon is a time of introspection and self-examination.
Tonight provides a sweet opportunity to turn inward and get real with your Self.
Who is your scary nemesis?
Do you project all evil onto an outside "other?"
Can you embrace the dark qualities of fear, anger, and confusion as aspects of your own psyche?
Can you envision a LOVE so vast it extends beyond all opposition?
Mystic LOVE is so pervasive it can actually include your fears, sorrows, and confusion without losing a single iota of its infinite brilliance.
According to Mystic teachings: YOU ARE THAT LOVE...you superhero ninja, you!
About The Author
R.R. Shakti, PhD
Founding teacher of Inner Power Yoga®, Shakti is a Contemplative Mythologist, ritual facilitator, and writer who presents a Tantrik approach to personal empowerment and social action. Through contemplative story-telling and mind/body practices, she offers a vision of deep peace and radical freedom.
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