What Are You Devoted To?

Jun 20, 2017
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Welcome to summer!  Today is the longest day of sunlight of the year.  With each new season comes a time for checking in with our intentions as we move forward.  It is a time to reflect upon the light that lives in our heart, and to see the light of those around us and in all beings.  .  

This year I have been looking deeply into my heart to see what is there, and to discover what is important and necessary to me.  As we all know, the journey into the deeper regions of the heart isn't always easy. In fact, sometimes shining a light into those places challenges the deepest parts of ourselves.  It certainly has for me.  As a storyteller, I often turn to fables, myths, and poetry to help me along the way.  I wanted to share with you one of my favorite stories that continually inspires me to search even deeper.  It's the story of Hanuman's necklace.  

In one of the great stories from Hindu mythology Hanuman, the monkey god who was a general in Rama's army, was honored for his extraordinary devotion and service.  Rama and his wife Sita hosted an extravagant banquet with Hanuman as the guest of honor. After much celebration, Sita stood and everyone fell silent. She took a sparkling royal necklace filled with diamonds, rubies, emeralds and pearls from her neck and gave it to Hanuman. 

Hanuman accepted the necklace with curious indifference.  He started pulling the necklace apart, smashing some of the diamonds and then started biting the pearls apart.  At some point he looked up to see the other guests staring aghast.  Slightly self-conscious, Hanuman explained that he was trying to find Rama because anything that didn't have him inside wasn't of value.

Sita and Rama were quite pleased with this, but others started to mock him.  Someone spoke up saying if he was really so devoted then he should be able to find them in his heart.  Hanuman then pulled his chest open to reveal an image of Rama and Sita on his heart.  At that moment everyone knew his heart was pure and filled with devotion. 

This story asks us to look deep in our own heart to examine it all- the things, people, ideas, goals, causes, etc., we have dedicated ourselves to in our own lives.  It's a reminder that anything in our life that does not spark devotion isn't truly valuable to us.   Perhaps David Whyte says it most succinctly in his poem, Sweet Darkness.

"Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you."

In this time when the world around us is filled with uncertainty, change, and turmoil it is necessary that we take time to examine what is truly valuable to us.  Oftentimes, we recognize and are reminded of what is meaningful in our lives when we create space for yoga, meditation, journaling, quiet time alone in nature, or whatever it is that allows us to simply be present.

Here's to an amazing summer.  May we step forward into this sunny season with love, courage, and radiance in our hearts, and may we see that radiance inside all those we meet.