This past week I went home. I went home to a place called Kripalu Center, many people go there but not all of those people will call it home. I call it home because it is a place where I have found family; my spiritual family, my sangha, my lineage, my people. It is there, in rooms where mantras and prayers have lived for decades, where residents painted sacred words right into the walls that I found my brothers and sisters, my teachers, and most importantly Bapuji, revered saint and the founder of this lineage. It is there that I rediscovered and reclaimed me, the true me, all of me! It is there, that in these twelve years of practice, exploration and connection that I have come to know my own heart and soul, the divine being and source that live right here in me.
That is the true homecoming that yoga offers to all of us, a discovery of the love that we all are, the divine consciousness that we all are, that we are all connected to, and which connects us all to each other. Bapuji said, "The world is one family."
We gathered over the weekend, this family of Swami Kripalu (or Bapuji), to honor him on what would have been his 100th birthday. It was a gathering of former ashram residents, more recent devotees, students and teachers, and even people who had never been to Kripalu before. As we came together to chant, pray, hear stories about Bapuji, to celebrate his legacy of love I could feel his presence in the room, I could see him in every face, my heart was blossoming into fullness, energy was streaming through me, I felt so uplifted, illuminated.
There was such a bright light shining as to reveal the true self and to release all that is not that truth.
There was pure and unquestionable love, there was presence and peace.
We chanted the sound of Om many times over the weekend. The sacred sound that reminds us that we all come from the same place, a vast ocean of love. We are the music of the universe that moves in us and through us. I could feel that in every ounce of my body, as our collective voices sang this most simple of hymns this truth was evident, simply known.
If this sounds unimaginable, if you think this is some new age fluff, a delusion or just plain crazy, then start some experiments. Go to a Kripalu yoga class, start a regular practice, breathe, move, pray, chant the sound of Om, love people consciously. Yes, love is the cornerstone of this yogic path. Who doesn't want more love? Swami Kripalu emphasized this practice above all others.
“Truly, the wise proclaim that love is the only path, love is the only God, and love is the only scripture. Only love can bring unity and remove the separation between all living beings. Only love purifies the body and mind. Love is not far away; it is as close as your heart. You can find it living there without walking a single step.” ~ Swami Kripalu
Maybe it is crazy. Bapuji said it is a path for fools, but I have not encountered anything more healing or empowering than being in this family of divine loving fools.
Being on this path has transformed my view of the world, it has made me a better wife and mother, a better sister and daughter, a more conscious person, more awake, fully engaged in life. It has put the OM in my home and my heart is full of gratitude.
Jai Bhagwan and Jai Bapuji!