This morning, from the guest bedroom of my in-laws’ home in Baltimore, I meditated on the concept of gratitude. A few minutes of alternate-nostril breathing helped me become still enough to appreciate the pulse of life in my chest, the feeling of being refreshed after a solid night’s sleep and the warm, digestive fire that turns my food into my body.
Gratitude is an extraordinary emotion, like unconditional Love. Being grateful seems to come from a place other than my mind, which rattles off its likes, dislikes and judgments all day. Gratitude, however, needs no justification. We either feel it, or we don’t.
According to Yoga, our day-to-day thoughts and emotions encompass a level of our being that we call manomaya. Just beyond this is a field of extraordinary intelligence, the genesis of higher-level problem solving, creative potential and emotions like gratitude. Yoga refers to this domain of inner wisdom as vijnanamaya.
Perhaps you’ve experienced this faculty spontaneously as a well-timed joke, or an intuitive message that you’re glad you followed in retrospect. Or, perhaps at times, you’ve found yourself so cluttered with the everyday stuff of manomaya, that inner knowing feels out of reach.
Reducing stress, like we do in Yoga by moving the body and breathing rhythmically, promotes a relaxed state in which our day-to-mind is more tranquil than usual. I find that towards the end of a well-done Yoga practice, a solution to a problem will present itself to me, or a vision of my ideal life experience will play like a movie. As if by magic, my sense of joy and wellbeing is restored. This we call anandamaya.
When it’s time to get back to daily affairs, it’s like I’m “perfumed,” to use Richard Miller’s analogy, by the inner place of peace and higher wisdom that I visited during practice. I act with greater generosity and patience, and experience the kind of thankfulness that needs no explanation.
Urban Yogi is here to support you in drawing from the deep well of creative potential and joy that resides within you. This month marks eight years of Urban Yogi, and I'm so excited for all that is to come. Contact me to book your experience at Urban Yogi's home in Little Italy,
Thank you for all the growth and connection you inspire in my life.
Wishing you and your family a season of deep gladness,