Monday, 2 May 2011

beltane magic

fireworks...mixed media

the rolling stones song 'play with fire' on my stereo as i write these words...the sun blazing its powerful rays down upon us...welcome to summer!

beltane's magic over the last few days saw me and my darling sister take to the park and finding a secluded place near the lake and honouring the presence of all the elements supporting us, we held a little ritual to this potent time of the year...asking for the sun to energise and relight our heart intentions for ourselves, our family and friends and for the earth.

traditionally, beltane rituals have included jumping over the fire holding our prayers as an offering into the fire, to be transformed into winged fact, any time we feed our intentions and wishes, we strengthen their power to take form, but this is particularly strong right now.

this got me thinking about our inner fire, that which fuels us out into the world, and fuels our spirit to express itself in its highest possible potential...yogis call this inner fire 'tapas', a burning zeal and determination, focus, heat, radiance and devotion to a wave of energy bigger than ones fears, doubts and confusion...mentioned as far back as the vedas, and through texts such as the yoga sutras, and hatha yoga pradipika, tapas is seen as an imperative part of the yogic path...

taken to an extreme tapas can be an austerity, a way to travel far beyond the limits of the ego mind, given example in the way a sadhu might keep his arm raised to the sky for a number of years! this is meant to ignite the rich alchemy in which the body becomes the cauldron for cultivating siddhis, or extraordinary powers...

we do not have to go this far, remember the middle path of balance is often a preferable and kinder way of living (well i certainly think so anyways!)...tapas might be the focus and discilpine needed to continue patiently learning to play the guitar...for me, this is the part that, even when feeling slothful (eek!), makes me find my mat, start my practice, find a canvas, dip my brush and create a fact it is like the striking of a match...the first spark that has the potential to become a flaming roaring fire!

patanjali mentions tapas as one of the niyamas, the 5 practices for devotion to oneself, as part of the 8 limbs of is also part of the trio of practices which makes up kriya yoga: tapas, svadyaya (self study), and isvara pranidhara (surrendering to the divine) fact these are so important as we need to understand why we want to commit in discipline to whatever we are we have the right reasons? is it for our ultimate highest good? or are there other less helpful reasons i.e. needing to prove oneself, or because 'i should' do this...check with your heart, that will help!..also to be able to surrender the fruits of our practice, not getting caught up in the results, though bloody difficult, makes the path flow easier and reminds us of the divine that we are in essence expressing through our determination

so, for me, reflecting on what i will use the gifts of tapas for, reminds me of my commitment to any practice that connects me to the divine: yoga, meditation, painting, writing, dancing...all of these make me feel alive and brings me closer to living in joy..even when i struggle, i will use the spark of tapas to refuel my fire..that which shines within!

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