Uncover, Discover and Resolve by Zephyr Wildman
Every New Year, many of us Yogis and Yoginis embark upon a familiar journey of auspicious intention evoking the God Ganesh. As the teachings tell us, Lord Ganesh clears the way to move forward, which is timely as we are making our New Year’s resolutions and returning back to, perhaps, a more disciplined or regular practice. However, Ganesh also challenges us by placing obstacles in our way. Successfully overcoming those obstacles is the tricky part, but with a deep understanding of ourselves and a mindful path chosen around these obstacles, we can attain the ultimate goal: experiencing the full meaning of life.
What we sometimes forget is that we are not prepared for the obstacles. We may sense it is time to move forward and might even recognize the obstacles set before us as something we have encountered before, but we lack the understanding of ourselves or are ignorant to the paths available to us. It is easy to set off on a journey or a resolution, but what is difficult is to be sure of our motivations or to understand the journey’s path all while keeping our goal in mind.
To help us with this predicament, Ganesh’s two consorts aid us with the task of living skillfully or consciously. The symbolism of Saraswati (the Goddess of knowledge, wisdom and learning) gives us insight into the methodology of the human mind. Her four hands represent Manas (reactionary mind), Citta (memory, habits), Ahamkara/Asmita (self consciousness form of the ego), and Buddhi (intellect, intuition, knowing). We use these concepts to gain knowledge of ourselves, to heal our memories, to use our Yoga practices to calm the reactions and to learn how to respond to life from a intuitive and unaffected place. Saraswati’s four hands are our guide as we uncover what it is about ourselves we would like to perhaps change in the New Year.
Ganesh’s second consort compliments Saraswati’s gifts as Lakshmi is the Goddess of prosperity in all human desires. She offers the paths to our goals; Dharma (purpose), Artha (security), Kama (beauty, love) and Moksha (spiritual connection/liberation). These paths map out our second focus in this three fold process; discovering what is blocking us in attaining our desires. The key during discovery is “knowing the goal and understanding the objective” which is highly applicable to most challenges we face daily.
The third and final focus in our process involves Ganesh himself. After uncovering more about ourselves and discovering our path we are sure to have obstacles created by Lord Ganesh as we continue on our journey. It is at this point that it is critical to offer to him what we have uncovered and discovered, entrusting him with whatever falls into place. With this endeavour, we experience a deep acceptance of what is. The cultivation of trustful surrender detaches us from our stories (samskaras) and dissolves our ego (Asmita) which then we are lead by the Divine’s action (Buddhi) with determination to resolve on a course of action and ultimately leading to our goal: experiencing the full meaning of life.
Life is sacred. So is our journey through it. The ups, the downs, the light, the dark. Saraswati blesses us with knowledge, Lakshmi offers choice of paths to our goals and Ganesh gives us obstacles and takes them away, all of them together offer us glimpses of the deeper meaning to life. Through this process: uncovering the un-desirable and that which we would change, discovering the gifts unveiled thereby choosing our path and finally setting out to resolve the obstacles, we can let go of the passing year and welcome the New Year with a new perspective on our journey and a heightened mindfulness of our goal.
Join Uncover Discover and Resolve on New year’s Day, 1 January from 15:00-18:00 in Notting Hill
On the Threshold with Ganesh – A Mythical Flow Welcome to 2015 by Tanja Mickwitz
Most of us have come across the image of the elephant-headed god Ganesh in Indian iconography, he is often depicted and much loved. He is known as not only to be the Lord of Yoga, which is why we see him in yoga studios, but also the remover of obstacles and the deity to invoke for new beginnings. The reason I love the Indian deities; their myths and symbolism, is that really it’s all about what we all have inside ourselves and the stories are just a way to help us understand ourselves better. Interestingly it is said that not only does Ganesh help remove obstacles in our path, but he is also the one to place them there in the first place. This implies that every challenge we meet really is a opportunity for us to learn something more about life and ourselves. When it seems that we might be banging our head against the wall in fact it is likely that we need to find another way through or around the obstruction or challenge and that this will actually be of great value to us, give us a new perspective and move us forward on our journey.
There is a lot of wonderful symbolism around Ganesh and one thing is that he sits at the threshold where he has 180 degree vision; into the past as well as the future. This idea encourages us to stop and look – look at where we have come from and where we are about to go. He has small eyes and big ears encouraging us to turn our attention inwards and listen. When we create space to stop and take time to gain perspective on our past what do we learn; what do we carry forward as valuable and what are we now ready to let go of? When we listen deeply what is our heart’s longing and how will we move past what might stand in our way to get there? It is said that Ganesh holds the whole universe in his belly – hence the beautiful big and round belly he has (it’s not just filled with sweets, though he’s fond of those, too!). And this is what yogic wisdom teaches us as well; that all the elements of what makes the universe exists within each and every one of us, so we hold the potentiality to manifest everything possible, absolutely everything, if we only gain mastery of our full potential – and this is exactly what the yogic tools help us with.
So Ganesh is the perfect deity to step into the new year with – guiding us with the tools of yoga to help us gain perspective on how to move closer to our purpose and skillfully navigating the obstacles on our path.
Join On the Threshold with Ganesh – A Mythical Flow Welcome to 2015 on New year’s Day, 1 January from 14:00-17:00 at Islington
View Zephyr’s teaching schedule.
View Tanja’s teaching schedule.