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Published by Jeff Miller
Posted on December 31, 2016
AAAUUUUUMMMMM………and so it begins.
According to yoga mythology, Lord Vishnu, the Cosmic Preserver, was floating peacefully on the milky sea of infinite possibilities, from which all is born and to which all eventually returns. Resting upon Ananta, the thousand-headed serpent and doing his job of maintaining the delicate balance of life and death, Vishnu felt a gentle rumble in his tummy. Placing his hands on his belly, a wry smile came across his face. He’d been through this a thousand times before and knew what was about to happen—the Universe was about to be (re)born. Out of Vishnu’s navel sprouted a lotus flower and when that most beautiful flower started to blossom 4 petals opened. On each petal was one of the 4 faces of Brahma, the Great Creator, one looking in each of the 4 cardinal directions. Brahma opened his mouths one at a time and from each mouth came one of the 4 different components of AUM (aaaa = creation, oooo= existence, mmmm = death, and the silence that follows).
From the Universal Vibration of AUM, the whole universe emerged.
It is no coincidence that the universe and everything in it emerged from a lotus flower (padme) . In the yoga tradition, the lotus is a potent symbol, representing all that is beautiful and pure. The lotus flower hovers above the still surface of the pond. Delicate and light, the blossom opens its petals and turns its face up to the light of the sun, ensuring none of its petals touch the murky water. With its sweet fragrance and beautiful colours, one would never guess the modest beginnings of the lotus. The plant grows in the most unlikely of places. Even in the most polluted canals and muddy swamps, the lotus takes root. Feeding from all of the decaying debris and rotting remnants of life at the bottom of the muddy, mucky pond, the lotus is nourished and blossoms into it’s most magnificent self. Without the mud, there would be no lotus flower.
This is a powerful metaphor for our lives. Many of us want the beautiful life. We want the good things in life: success, happiness, joy, intimacy, closeness, and so forth. But to have those things, we must go through the challenges. We have to have the hardships, the trials and tribulations. We could consider these aspects of life to be the mud. The dirty, mucky, sticky messes we find ourselves in. But those experiences are the things that nourish us and allow us to grow and evolve.
No Mud, No Lotus
It is also worth noting that this story of creation involves the complete Holy Trinity of the yoga tradition, Brahma (Creation), Vishnu (Existence) and Shiva, (Death), representing the past, the present and the future, respectively. The western mind likes to categorise and compartmentalise, but the suggestion here is that the notion that past, present and future are separable is illusion (maya). In fact, past, present and future are all inextricably linked. Everything that is born gets its time to live but must eventually come to an end. And the ending clears the way for renewal and rebirth. Life is indeed an infinite karmic cycle. What happened in the past has a direct impact on how our present unfolds. Similarly, what happens in the present will have a direct impact on what our future holds.
Remember, in this story of creation, everything came out of Vishnu, the Preserver, the Present. There he was, just hanging out, doing what he is meant to do, and this great ‘Big Bang’ of AUM happens. In this present moment the whole universe resides. Right now, within each of us are infinite possibilities. The choices we make now will determine what our future looks like. If you want to grow an oak tree you must plant an acorn.
So as we begin another cosmic cycle, the question for us all to contemplate is this: What is the future you see for yourself? What future do you want to manifest for your loved ones and for your community?
Practices that help:
Vision boards & goal setting
Self exploration (Svadhyaya)
3rd eye/Ajna chakra meditation