Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ishvarapranidhana: Let Go

Once we’ve been refined through the heat of work, the craft necessary for genius transformation, Tapas, once we’ve come to know our True Self to some degree in the process of Swadyaya, there lies one final task, ultimate and necessary to complete the process: LET GO!

The ultimate act of will is the act of releasing your will in the conversation with the Universe, Creation, God, or simply things that be. This final culmination of will and knowledge is known in yoga as Ishvara pranidhana. If yoga is anything, it is that conversation with what is real and practical in our lives and that which is ethereal. It is working up the courage to and knowing yourself enough to then finally step off the edge of the cliff and only when you begin to fall to you find your wings.

Ishvara pranidhana means to reach out your hand into the darkness and ask to know it. It is asking to be known deeper by what is in the darkness, the unknown. It is stepping out onto surfaces that you are not sure will hold your weight as you keep your fierce gaze at that which you love.

In this wonderful place, we allow our internal achiever to take a break and open up to simply being. And in the cosmic chess game of existence, we pause for a moment and allow for that which is larger than ourselves to make a move. And with this act of letting go, what we thought we knew about ourselves, what we planned on for our existence, doesn’t seem to matter much anymore. The divine opens us up and we’ve discovered something new and magical about ourselves and the world, something exponentially greater than our previous conception.

David Whyte points to this perfectly in his Poem The Truelove

There is a faith in loving fiercely
the one who is rightfully yours,
especially if you have
waited years and especially
if part of you never believed
you could deserve this
loved and beckoning hand
held out to you this way.

I am thinking of faith now
and the testaments of loneliness
and what we feel we are
worthy of in this world.

Years ago in the Hebrides
I remember an old man
who walked every morning
on the grey stones
to the shore of the baying seals,

who would press his hat
to his chest in the blustering
salt wind and say his prayer
to the turbulent Jesus
hidden in the water,

and I think of the story
of the storm and everyone
waking and seeing
the distant
yet familiar figure
far across the water
calling to them,

and how we are all
preparing for that
abrupt waking,
and that calling,
and that moment
we have to say yes,
except it will
not come so grandly,
so Biblically,
but more subtly
and intimately in the face
of the one you know
you have to love,

so that when we finally step out of the boat
toward them, we find
everything holds
us, and confirms
our courage, and if you wanted
to drown you could,
but you don’t

because finally
after all the struggle
and all the years,
you don’t want to any more,
you’ve simply had enough
of drowning
and you want to live and you
want to love and you will
walk across any territory
and any darkness,
however fluid and however
dangerous, to take the
one hand you know
belongs in yours.

Come to class this week and let’s practice ways to let go of tension, stress, worry, illness, old ways of being, etc. Open up to the Divine by practicing Ishvarapranidhana.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Scott, for a wonderful entry. My life is definetly taking me on a journey and I am grateful for to stability of my sturdy boat and the hands that I grasp named Michael, Benjamin and Abigail. Thank you for YOU, too!

Amy Conn

Aline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aline said...

Ah.. letting go. It's not so easy. Intellectually I know that there is more beauty and love around the corner. But in my heart, the pain of a broken relationship is still there. I wanted that relationship to continue and though I have shifted into the changed relationship and have felt and expressed lots of gratitude for having this relationship, I know that I still cling. I guess the letting go for me is my expectation that I will emotionally be at a certain point at a certain time. I see myself more clearly and I allow myself to process the pain, the frustration, the loss as it comes to me. If I can't fully let go of this romantic relationship, at least I can let go of my judgments of not letting it go. Thanks Scott for sharing yourself so fully every week.
Aline Devaud

Anonymous said...

Deep in Ponga Drops, Nicaragua, I found myself struggling to stay alive. The biggest waves the size of two mack trucks stacked on top of each other were heading my way one after another... I was exhausted to the point of drowning, every muscle and will to live that I had relied upon all my short 26 years had time had come. A noble death I thought, doing something that I have grown so much with. Surfing, the eternally humbling sport that hadn't yet transcended to its spiritual significance for me, was in every way, my best teacher. And then it happened, struggling turned into acceptance, fighting turned into LETTING GO, and I sank toward the depths of the great blue. Our Mother Ocean responded and in a flash of insight all significance came to me and from somewhere above a light streamed through my third eye and my seventh chakra was lifted as if by a chord. I was brought to the surface to be met by a friend who helped me through...crashing mack trucks on my back all the way back to earth...I crawled taking large mouth fulls of sand and tears from my eyes met sweat already beading from my forehead...I was reborn. A man of spirit, filled with gratitude and love for letting go..
Anthony Baron Kirk

O'Shea said...

Letting go? I've been struggling with that one this week. I feel like I'm living in a Dilbert cartoon. A missed schedule moves Management to hunt for an Engineer's head. Some of us know Management should shoulder a big part of the blame... but we're too smart(?) to say THAT. Instead, it's all finger pointing amongst the Engineers. I feel like I've wasted hours dealing with negative drivel. If I work at letting go in yoga, I think I can transition the same way of being into my daily life... and hopefully work relationships won't be irreparably harmed... because I do like what I do.

Brandi said...

I have heard Ishvarapranidhana defined as "bliss" or "joy". I don't know a greater feeling of freedom, or release than when being full of blissful joy.