Let’s diverge from Ayurveda for a bit. One of the things I like to do to entertain myself is, after my morning meditation practice, I’ll pick up a book, often a poetry book, and flip to any page and read what is there waiting for me. It’s entertaining because there is always something different to think about.
Today, Mary Oliver was first. When I Wake Early is a great collection of poems about nature and At Black River is a haunting poem about an alligator. “Don’t think/I’m not afraid./There is such an unleashing/of horror.”
I didn’t want to end on that note, so I picked up Tantra Illuminated by Christopher Wallis and flipped randomly to page 141, Pure Mantra-Wisdom, Shuddha-vidyaa. It was quite appropriate because this week in my classes we’ve been embodying the inherent wisdom of the universe. Prana is vital life force and has consciousness, and when we breathe fully and move with the breath, we infuse that consciousness into every cell of our bodies. When muscles are tight, prana cannot flow properly. Do yoga to stretch and open our bodies and we feel better because there is clarity in the channels in which prana flows.
In some of those classes, we’ve been chanting the seed sound, bija mantra, for the heart center, anaahata chakra, YAM. Through the chant, our bodies get vibrated with the sound. Sometimes it is even palpable. Subtle, but real. The mantras carry awareness.
Then this morning I was reminded that the feminine form of the word mantra is vidyaa, wisdom. The idea is that the vibration is the conscious thing. This is the beauty of the Sanskrit language, the letters/sounds/syllables evolve from the actual vibration of the created world. If you chant “yam,” you feel it at the heart (if you are so sensitive). Of course this takes lots of practice and trust at first, but slowly slowly the yogi begins to recognize it for herself. Wallis says that we know this doctrine that mantras are conscious was taken seriously because the texts tell us that “if the guru grants initiation into the Tantra to someone who subsequently falls from the path, then that guru must perform a special ritual to apologize to the mantras for putting them to work needlessly.” (p.141)
Om Shrim Mahaalakshmyai Namah — the very vibration “is the Goddess Lakshmi in sound form.” (p.141) The vibration is abundance and beauty, elegance and radiant diversity. At this level of awareness the yogi experiences the diversity of energies that arise from a single source, conscious awareness that abides as the vibrational fluctuation and the ground of being itself.
Yam might be simpler to comprehend since it is directly connected to one’s own body at the heart. It is a great place to begin. Or end. Or abide within.
Don’t think I am not afraid. There is such an unleashing of wonder.