"You cannot 'do' yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state. What is this state? Eternal everlasting happiness: Bliss." From The Art of Yoga by Sharon Gannon and David Life
February 2nd is Groundhog day, and it is also St. Brigid's Day. St. Brigid is one of the ancient Saints/Goddesses of the Celtic tradition. Brigid reigns over the returning of the light, the quickening of the earth in response to the longer days. She represents transformation and the spark of life that bursts into flame. Just like the groundhog awakens to come into the light and rebirth, and Brigid tends the flame of the Divine Hearth (her priestesses tended a perpetual flame for thousands of years that was re-lit in 1993 by the Brigidine Sisters of Kildare), the Yogi attends to the flame of Union.
Fire is the symbol of transformation and growth, of one substance changing into another. As the opening quote suggests, we already are Whole and Divine, we have simply forgotten. In Yoga, we learn that one of the essential qualities of coming into Union with our Divine nature is the quality of Tapas. In sanskrit, Tapas means "to burn." As we move into Union, we must allow the fires of God to burn away all that would keep us from remembering our Wholeness, that would keep us from stepping into our Oneness with All that Is.
In those brief moments in Savasana, or looking at the sunrise, or holding a baby, when we experience the melting bliss of being alive in this moment-this is our true nature.
In very early Christian tradition, very serious seekers would go out into the desert to encounter God. They are affectionately called the Desert Fathers and Mothers. One of their stories goes like this:
Abba Lot came to Abba Joseph and said: Father, according as I am able, I keep my little rule, and my little fast, my prayer, meditation and contemplative silence; and, according as I am able, I strive to cleanse my heart of thoughts: now what more should I do? The elder rose up in reply and stretched out his hands to heaven, and his fingers became like ten lamps of fire. He said: Why not become fire?
Why not become fire? Isn't that the question? In this season of Brigid and the returning of the light, can we allow this stirring to feed the spark within us? Can we take a chance, and become all flame? Can we allow the fire of our discipline to bring us enough stillness that we experience the Divine Flame of wild and untamed bliss?
"Oh living flame of love that with your ardor tenderly touches me. Since this flame is a flame of divine life, it wounds the soul with the tenderness of God's life, and it wounds and stirs it so deeply as to make it dissolve in love...The soul feels its ardor strengthen and increase and its love becomes so refinied in this ardor that seemingly there are seas of loving fire within it, reaching to the heights and depths of the earthly and heavenly spheres, imbuing all with love. It seems to it that the entire universe is a sea of love in which it is engulfed..." John of the Cross, The living Flame of Love
Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves and gravity, we shall harness for God energies of love. Then for the second time in the history of the world we will have discovered fire. –Teilhard de Chardin