Monday, September 26, 2011

The Luminosity of Sri

As I look out the windows of my house towards the Vermont mountains, I am awed by the brilliance of the autumn leaves against a cobalt blue sky. Copper and bronze, garnet and ruby, splendid gold, they flare out luminous among the still-green conifers and rocky, gray ledges of the ridge.

Every year, it is amazing to me to remember that these colors don't just magically appear with summer's end. In fact, the bright colors are within the leaves all along! It is only with the draining of the green chlorophyll that their inner radiance is suddenly revealed.

The practice of yoga is very much like this. Bit by bit, through our sadhana, or practice, our own inner luminosity, beauty, and brilliance begins to shine through. The Sri, or divine, shimmering beauty of who we are, comes forth. It was there all along, yet was perhaps hidden, suppressed, or forgotten. 

The word sadhana, comes from the root sat, meaning truth. By aligning more and more fully with the truth of our own radiant nature, we remember who we really are: Chit-Ananda, Consciousness and Bliss in a physical form.

One of the things that delights me about the autumn leaves is that there is no biological reason for their bright colors! Unlike the bright plumage of birds, which scientists can attribute to the necessity of attracting a mate, the beautiful and luminous hues of the leaves seemingly have no purpose!

The Tantrikas would say, however, that this magnificent display of color and light is simply the nature ofSri: to make beauty, to create de-light. When we bask in the brilliance of Sri, we soak it up, shine it out, and, in turn, delight others, helping to illuminate the lives of all those we meet.

It is often easier to observe Sri outside of ourselves, to see it in nature or even in another person. But really, these outer forms are reflections of ourselves. The more we delight and enjoy the beauty reflected around us, the brighter we become. The light is magnified. The dark clouds lift and the true light of our innate goodness shines through. 

This week the Hindu Festival of Navaratri begins.  This is a celebration of the Goddess in Her many forms.
Lakshmi, the goddess of abundance, beauty, and light, is often referred to as "Sri." Take time today to offer gratitude for the simple splendor present in your everyday life. How have you been touched by the ordinary yet profound beauty of this world? What shining source of abundance and delight is already present in your life? 

Ask yourself, "How can I radiate even more luminosity into this world, inspiring those around me to remember the light of their own true nature, even in shadowy and confusing times?" For even as we spiral towards winter, towards longer, darker nights, the leaves flare out joyfully, reminding us all of the light that was within all along.

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