Early in my practice, I remember my teacher, Kirin Mishra (Parvathi Nanda Nath Saraswati), defining a yogi as “the appreciator of beauty”, and a yogini as “the beauty itself”. This was striking to me. It implies that these terms are not definitions of gender, but states of being, states that any of us can inhabit at any time, and simultaneously. More intriguing, is the implied possibility that one can be a state of beauty.
I began to ponder, what would it be to exist as beauty, to be fragrance, as one’s essence? It is the subtle contrast between appreciating the flower, and being the flower. Appreciating the symphony and being the sound. The last 13 years or so, I have been in pursuit of that possibility. Experiencing my body as my voice, I have sought out shapes, living/organic sculpture, architecture, structure, transitions, release and elegance.
It is commonly agreed, that there is no separation between body and mind. My observation over years of working with people in movement is that the state of our mind is always reflected in our body, in how we hold ourselves, and in our movement. The mind, perhaps, is a teacher, an informer. Is it possible that so is the body? I have discovered that by changing my physical space, by releasing muscles, contractions, holdings, letting myself be supported, embodying gentleness and fluidity, my mind has no choice but to follow. In this way, the body becomes the teacher, the shaper of the mind. We can begin to engage in truly complex shifts of mind and emotion by changing the orientation, patterns, and habits of our bodies.
In addition, beauty, the immersion in all her forms, has the capacity to heal. In the aftermath and woundings left by chaos and misalignments, both physical, mental and emotional, immersion in beauty and balance heals and restores to order where we are broken and disheveled.
Bhakti, the practice of devotion, has its basis in the understanding that we love and live devotion to and longing for some idea or form of perceived perfection, be it nature, a god/goddess, or another human. It is in this practice, feeling of love and longing, that we come to the eventual realization that we are the very perfection that we have been loving and longing for, the devotion itself transforms us. My practice and devotion is to beauty, her potential, and power, in all of her forms, and in her becoming.
“Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive. Jump into experience while you are alive! Think…and think…while you are alive.
What you call ‘salvation’ belongs to the time before death.
If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive, do you think ghosts will do it after?
The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
just because the body is rotten – that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will simply end up with an apartment in the City of Death.
If you make love with the Divine now, in the next life you will have the face of satisfied desire.
So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is,
Believe in the Great Sound!
Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for, it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that does all the work.
Look at me and you will see a slave of that intensity.”