Divine Love and Yoga Practices
“The world needs you. The world needs your love.” -Bill Mahony
I was fortunate to teach alongside Bill Mahony this afternoon in my hometown, Charlotte, NC. Following is a synopsis of our afternoon together for those of you who were with us in person, for those of you who have read Bill’s new book, for those of you who wished you were there…
In Bill, we have one of the gentlest souls. His brilliance extends way down deep in his heart that the longer and oftener you sit in his company, you begin to get a peak at the treasure of Yoga wisdom we have nearby. Bill reminds us all that it is now the time to go deep; “go deep to get high”.
To sit together, to contemplate spiritual texts and teachings with one another, deeply and unabashedly is one of the most worthwhile endeavors of our life.
He began the class with a passage describing the way form shapes itself. from the Taittiriya Upanishad,
In the beginning, this was non-existence. And from this non-existence, truly existence emerged. By itself it lovingly made the body for itself. Therefore, it is called the well-made (beauty). Truly, that beauty, that is made out of this love is the very essence of your existence.
He spoke of this as Divine Love and as the profound beauty that is our essence.
We sat and centered in a short guided meditation, then practiced asana, pranayama, and delved into sutra 54.
It is free of limiting qualities, free of self-centered desire, ever-expanding, uninterrupted, most subtle, of the nature of inner experience.
What is “it” here? Divine Love. Paramapreman. So these characteristics of divine love are all-encompassing and tie together as a profound package of wisdom. That wisdom that it contacts is the nature of our inner experience. Bill discussed the inner experience. All experience really, is inner experience-though we often experience the world as if it is happening somehow outside of ourselves. Divine Love moves within each of us, so we access it by turning to our own hearts. The most subtle, we saw in the context of how spiritual practice takes us to our most refined essence. Having discussed inner experience and most subtle, we turned into a 20 minute meditation that seemed to last for just a minute in that time-warping way of meditation.
As we pondered prema’s ever-expanding quality, we imagined images that continue to expand beyond our vision. And in this turn, we can see the the two previous qualities actually speak then to why we may not always experience prema and unconditional love. Being free of limiting qualities and free of self-centered desire both remind us that there are these limiting qualities and self-centered desire that we will experience. Bill likened self-centered desire as deflection and the image of a hose crimped so that the water cannot flow freely. Next, we dove into a fun partner asana stretching the sides of our bodies, melting and expanding our hearts. Right into alternate nostril breath and blessing of the senses with each finger. As we flowed through the remaining contemplation, sutra study, meditation practices with light and expanded hearts, the feeling in the room swelled with amrta, with the nectar of the ananda-maya-kosha, of the blissful body that is the core of our being. It all settled into our beings, into our bodies through the finishing yoga nidra.
Bill encourages us to plant each word of this sutra and any spiritual teaching as bijas, as seeds that we can plant in our hearts that will actually grow meaning inside of ourselves.
May we grow inner love. Each and all of us.
If you would like to read Bill’s book, “Exquisite Love; Heart-Centered Reflections on the Narada Bhakti Sutra”. Click here to purchase.
Always and All Ways Love, Sarah