“Gratitude” is the theme for October 2014
October is a golden month at the Ashram, with autumn hues enriching leaves and sky. And what is more golden and precious than gratitude? Thank you to Victoria Campbell, Elaine Ito, Charlotte Mustard and Nicolette Smith for the reflections.
In this video from Thanksgiving 2008, Swami Radhananda explores how to cultivate gratitude, its healing properties and the sweet “nectar and ambrosia” quality of it. She includes a beautiful visualization to invite in this most important finer feeling.
Swami Radha’s message in this audio excerpt is that devotion and giving from the heart leads us naturally to humility and the joy of giving.
- “Humility and gratitude go hand in hand. The feeling of gratitude is an interaction between the mind and the body.” (Swami Radha, Kundalini Yoga for the West) When you wake up, pause before arising and think of one thing you are deeply grateful for. Bring this gratitude into your day in various ways. For example, place a flower on your altar, open doors for people if you are out in public, wrap people in Light as you pass them on the street or at work. Reflect about your experience. Repeat the exercise.
- Commit to a set number of Divine Light Invocations daily. Reflect on the words: “Express your gratitude with deep feeling.” How do you do that in your daily life?
- Focus on a sense of appreciation through making a special meal. Be aware of each item as you prepare it; put care into setting the table. Before the meal, silently repeat the line from the Divine Mother Prayer, “May all eating and drinking be the offering of oblations unto Thee.” Allow a generous amount of time to eat. Invoke gratitude towards the food that will be sustaining your body. If meat is included, thank the animal that has sacrificed its life. Observe the influence of smell and taste. Eat slowly, pause and experience the sensations. Conclude the meal with thanks. Write about your experience.
- Take one of the following Hidden Language questions into your practice and write about your experience.
- Do Sun Salutations, reflecting on the significance of bowing before the sun and greeting the day with gratitude. Feel devotion and the movement as prayer.
- Before going into the Fish pose, practice lifting up the emotions to the heart centre. Walk around the room in a circle, repeating, “I am functioning from my centre,” while making the circular movement with the arms.
- Observe the effects of this exercise on the pose.As you go into the Tortoise pose, visualize yourself in the cave of your heart. In this place of resonance, hum a mantra, becoming aware of the softer vibrations of your voice. Observe the effect of the sound on your body and mind as you retreat in meditation.
- Dance your offering of gratitude with these lines from the Ashram Prayer Dance: “Picking up the basket of flowers, I offer the petals in all directions. Each flower is symbolic of my devotion and God is everywhere. Placing down the basket of flowers, again I pray, please accept my offering.” Practice this as a daily offering and reflect on what it means to you. Or develop your own short dance as an offering of gratitude.
- “Don’t concentrate on what you have to complain about, what’s not one hundred percent according to your hopes and expectations. Look at what you already have. Concentrate on that.” (Swami Radha, Time to Be Holy) Sit quietly with your eyes closed and visualize a flower garden. Draw what you visualized. Write on your drawing (e.g. on a petal) what you grateful for. Add to your flower garden of gratitude when other feelings of gratitude come to mind.
- “Let it be known that gratitude is one of the strongest powers and the finest emotions that a human being is capable of.” (Swami Radha, Time to Be Holy) Write a short note to Divine Mother expressing your gratitude. Fold the paper and put it at Her feet. Collect your notes filling a container with gratitude messages offered back to her.
YTN ONLINE DISCUSSION
October reflections prepared by the teachers from the members of the TOPP Skype Kundalini class: Toronto, Victoria Campbell; Orangeville, Elaine Ito; Peterborough, Charlotte Mustard and Penetanguishene, Nicolette Smith.