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May We Become Our Own Abundance

This is not the age of information. This is the time of loaves and fishes. People are hungry, and one good word is food for thousands.


During this season so metaphorically aligned with abundance, we consciously pause to offer thanks. Yet, despite the intention, the vibration of gratitude is often injured by struggle, dismay, and a sensation of futility. Beyond the willingness to say, “Thanks,” is it truly possible to embrace challenge with an open heart and honest appreciation? Sincere thanks is not an idea. It’s a quality composed of vulnerability and acceptance. Being wide open in our emotional bodies we say, “Yes.”

This question is best answered within the perceptual context of each listener. In a world of black & white outlooks, we unwittingly subscribe to the reactions of cause & effect. This happened; therefore, I feel this way. In order to be grateful for anything that aggravates, instills pain or provokes issues, there has to be some force that intercedes between cause & effect.

Indigenous traditions invoke the timeless archetypes through ritual in order to stop the world. This is another way of saying, “The momentum of the mundane is being suspended, and the Divine is being invited”. A fabric of spiritual reference is necessary as a context for the sacred transformation made possible by challenge. By working through the rage and reactive fear of impediment, we open the door to the vertical. “Yes, thank you,” is the key to liberating our suppressed light and true potential.

Cancer patients, widows, war-torn citizens, accident victims, laid-off employees, homeless, and countless others have constant reminders of distress. Can we expect human nature to say, “Yes, thank you, “ to the experience of degenerative physicality and emotional injury?

If we consider the struggle we initially encounter in the eight limbs of yoga practice, we may see a parallel to the challenges of life’s crises. Deliberately working past physical discomfort and resisting familiar behavioral patterns may be considered offerings to the intangible. Somewhere, a quality of vibration is altered by the willingness to go beyond our basic responsibilities. Sacrificing personal activities to concentrate, meditate and study are initially a discipline.

Eventually the process of practice transitions from discipline to devotion. Committing to practice, realizing gifts of surrender and accepting added responsibility become enjoyable. The open heart says, “Yes, thank you.” Recovery from near-fatal diseases, emotional loss or financial disrepair, tends to require many acts of surrender. Those who’ve returned to vital lives after touching hopelessness often look radiant. Some extraordinary rebirth of faith and trust rises like a phoenix from the ashes into a renaissance of expansion, growth and connection.

The inherent difference between our disciplines and the trauma of crises is the perception of choice. We choose the nature of our practice. Consciously, we invite the world’s momentum to stop. Those who willingly create opportunities for vertical connection, have a tool for resonating appreciation without the turmoil of calamity. The mystery inherent to our mortal lives doesn’t insure that practice insulates us from tragedy. We do, however, have a generous well of opportunities to recognize limits and risk loving without apology.

We might interpret the ability to soothe our wounded hearts with gentle acceptance an act of gratitude. Choosing the perspective of loving, when the organic response to pain is often self-loathing is a type of practice. It needs to be cultivated as a discipline; at some point this practice becomes devotion. The God within receives love. As the self-embracing soul dances in reverberations of gratitude, the God beyond reflects the miracle in waves of consciousness. Our intention to choose a vantage of possibilities in the weight of strife, raises vibration. By opening to the situations that stop us in our daily tracks, we make progress in the intangible journey.

May our pain hold insights to every possibility as we breathe. May our search for love begin inside our personal limitations. May the most responsible of us surrender control in the face of the unknown. May our grateful bows be applauded by everlasting light. Jaya Ram.

by Toni Zuper
Alternative Healing
Center City, Philadelphia

published in Yoga Living Magazine -- November 2003 issue