Awaken The World Through Enlightened Media

Featured Posts

The Power of Bhakti: The Yoga of Devotion – Donna Quesada

by Donna Quesada: As I sit, gazing at the little figurine of the Virgin Mary that sits beside my bed, I am remembering how my Italian grandma used to bring me to church as a girl.

Donna-Quesada-awakenI  remember the cold, dusty air. I didn’t like having to stand up and then kneel, over and over again, but it still felt cozy. There was something comforting about the religious imagery and the atmosphere. Although I wasn’t able to articulate it then, it felt like a sacred space.

My statuette of Mary is exactly like the one my Grandma had. I always felt the loving essence about her. Still to this day, I direct my prayers to Mary, just as my grandma taught me.

But I pushed away from all of that in my 20s, when I began to study philosophy and was absorbing the demand to think critically about topics such as free will and…. the existence of God. And of course, these things have no “rational justification” or “logical proofs.”

It’s hard to say just exactly when my longing for the sacred awakened again. It must’ve been during the second half of my marriage, when the tension was often so high that it pervaded my days with a kind of unshakable inner angst, like steam that needed an outlet. But there wasn’t one. I was in a state of confusion and I didn’t know whether to stay or go. I probably stayed too long, and so the feeling of uncertainty continued to linger.

But one day, I stumbled into a sacred space that rekindled that magical feeling. Although it was not the kind of church my Grandma took me to as a girl, my heart recognized it. It was nothing but a large room hidden behind an inconspicuous and humble building façade on the west side of Robertson Blvd., in L.A., but it was the most divine room I had ever discovered.

The yellowish twinkle lights that lined the ceiling cast a soft glow that made everything feel heavenly. The smell of Indian spices floated in the air among the mantra music.

As I sat and waited for I knew not what, my path was coming to life. Soon I was chanting at the foot of my teacher, Guru Singh. It sounds almost poetic… even corny. But when I gave myself over to chanting… when I chanted with all my heart, everything crystallized and I knew at that moment what I truly wanted and needed to do. All of my worries faded away. All of my fears lost their grip on me. It’s not that they disappeared, but they lost their emotional charge. There was no more compressed steam.

A tear fell from my left eye as I lost myself in the mantra. I was surrendering. A kind of joy and expansiveness came over me. Since then, I have known that my form of Yoga is bhakti… love and devotion, which is practiced through prayer and heartfelt chanting.

As I was able to surrender in that moment, I am now… years later, able to surrender more often in the everyday moments of life. I’m able to embrace the unknown. I’m more able to trust in life… and in others. And this makes life easier. I feel more peaceful inside.

Bhakti is devotion. It’s the Yoga of the heart. In my 20s, I would’ve thought devotional practices were trite, But, I now see bhakti as the most difficult form of practice. Because it requires the giving up of control.

This is what all spiritual practices challenge us to do in some way or another. Whether your Yoga is Zen or selfless service or prayer. If you can truly surrender yourself… you are practicing bhakti… where everything is surrendered to the divine. The work that you do, for example, is “surrendered.” You begin to feel that there’s nothing else that you need. Everything you do is done in the spirit of service. Your sense of control is surrendered. Your agenda is surrendered.

Bhakti also means love. Not romantic love, which requires the object of your affection in order to feel fulfilled, and which never really satisfies. But rather, an internal kind of love, which is more like an everlasting fountain. So there is no dependency on anyone else for that feeling of satiation.

It is pure. And it quells the nervous heart. It cradles you, although there are no physical arms. It fills you up, although you’ve never taken a bite of anything. And it is so intense, that the you who you thought you were—with all of its needs and worries—just disappears, like the last burning flame under the rain.

As you melt away, you realize that you have surrendered. It’s a kind of death of the material “you.” It feels like deep healing. It’s as if you are holding the most beautiful secret and there’s no way to share it because it is beyond words.

How do you explain that you never found love… you simply became love?

Suddenly nothing else will do. Nothing else can satisfy our longing, except the divine fountain of infinite, unconditional love. And that is why all other worldly addictions melt away, along with the fears and worries… because suddenly, food doesn’t do it… drink doesn’t do it… nothing else comes close.

As the American spiritual teacher, Ram Dass puts it, “it’s spiritual bliss, rather than physical desire that we have tasted, and there is no way to find this on the physical plane.”

Awaken Yoga

Awaken Spirit

Mindfulness & Meditation

Source: AWAKEN


Related Posts

Get your Life Transforming Become Unshakeable Free Ticket Here