Karachi Yogini

Yoga for Life!

dedicated to 2013 December 18, 2013

the soft whispers of 2013 started sometime around last year at this time, in the lead up to the winter equinox of 2012, the end of the Mayan Calendar, directing me towards a new understanding of an oft chewed up word:  unity.   I danced barefoot deep in the jungle of Sri Lanka with people I barely knew on the 31st evening.  A fire broke out on the first day of the new year, and then i stepped into a year of transformation, purification.  except, at first, it didn’t feel so different.

I had a blazing early part of the year, caught up in the same hamster wheel of my bottomless self loathing and I ended up in an opportunity of my lifetime.  leading a yoga retreat in the beautiful hindu kush mountains.  After 12 days of juggling myself from teacher to friend,  I returned to a Karachi that was quiet in its summer solstice.  i prepared for what has become my most favorite time of the year, a month of fasting, and solitude with loved ones, and absolute clarity of what is Real.  And i tip-toed my way out of the wheel, and on to the edge of the circle.  whole.  and unified in myself (briefly yet so powerfully).  i started to drop my self for longer periods of time, and embraced the comfort and protection of some simple ground rules.

and as the earth finishes its orbit around the sun, in my 32nd year, a new simple sense of being opens itself, a gift of gratitude towards all that is, and all that is not.

so for all that can’t be put into words, and for all the moments that can never be captured, i dedicate this year to the spirit that moves forward, through obstacle after obstacle, with faith and love.  with generosity towards others, and towards oneself.  i dedicate it to my friends, spread across this beautiful living earth, whose hearts give me nourishment.  to the spaces, so rich in themselves, where I dissolve as a speck against its magnificent landscape, realizing how small and yet how expansive life is. to the ethereal breath that has dissolved and resolved my darkness over and over again.

and here’s to another year, in submission and surrender, to what is and what is not.  may we all carry forward our truth as best as we can.

For those who have come to know God, the whole world is a prayer mat.
— Bawa Muhaiyaddeen

 

burning heart November 23, 2012

Nov 16, 2012

the fire
burns
quicker
than I
can catch the words.

So here I am again. Three years later and Truth has truly become like Krisnamurti has said… “a pathless land.”

Life has humbled me this year. I thought what was the worst had passed, but now I’m beginning to understand that better or worse are old remnants of a conditioned mind.

A mind that has nothing but complaints and desires. And then the polishing of the heart. The constant and deliberate process. I am feeling its burning, burning away the ideals of the past only to desire again truly the deepest love one can.

I travel today with other seekers to a place of spiritual calling. A longing in my heart, so deeply fulfilled, by the entire sequence of events that will unfold over the next few days and yet I know it is just one more experience in the pathless-ness of Truth. That what I need I am always getting. That when I cry I am always held. That when I reach out I am always protected.

Nov 23, 2012

Returned.  Arriving home from home.  What does it mean when every place becomes home?  Where love embraces me as if I am no stranger, as if i’m not the seeker but the seeked?

Ganje Shakar.  The Sweet One.  There are no words for this week.  The beads of my tasbih lay witness to what my soul experienced with the deepest of gratitude.

 

The Divine Net October 28, 2012

Filed under: Islam/Sufism,poetry,spirituality,Uncategorized — yogini786 @ 8:42 pm

I float in between the boundaries of shock and realization.

I am on a path gifted through the breaking only true suffering can engender.  And on this path there has been a consistency of pain.  The more I open, expand, the more my life continues to fall beneath my feet.  nothing is solid, nothing is real.

“Transformation is painful. A Master has to work with a hammer in his hand.”

May god have mercy on the many people today, including my family, who have been deeply affected by the loss of a place built on hard work, heart & soul.  May the fire that burns through the walls of an impermanent structure, clear and purify the space, so our hearts can even more deeply embrace the awe of our Master. and continually allow us to submit our powerlessness to His will.

“For those who are afflicted with disaster, glad tidings await them: so remain patient and happy with your Lord. ‘He cannot be questioned as to what He does, while they will be questioned.” (Quran, 21:23).

 

why… October 9, 2012

Filed under: And the Journey begins...,Islam/Sufism,poetry,spirituality — yogini786 @ 9:37 pm

that word seems to have a certain negative quality to it now.  and yet it returns again and again.  others ask me, but why?  I ask myself, why? and when most lost, I look to the Divine, and I ask it, why?

And the answers are never clear-cut.  and yet they are.  It is a complete and utter paradox.  But when prompted to put the answer into words, into human form, I am at a loss only anchored with one truth:

“it feels right” (translates to I have surrendered).

no more pretense of being nicer than I am, happier than I am.  I have been completely and entirely undone again and again so many times that there is no safety in pretending that somehow I am in control of the events that unfold which loosely connect to what I call “my life”.

But there is something I am more aware of increasingly, that in each moment, my choice is to either be with me as I am, or to cling/desire/avert/escape the moment.  and even this choice is actually choice-less when it is done through truth.

I haven’t been able to write for a while.  The block is deep, because the change is vast, and the expression seems stunted, almost comically absurd even now as I start to recollect why?

But, yes, the answers have been coming as beautiful strong feelings of clarity and trust.  I know not to trust my desire to know why, but I also know now not to take it so seriously.  to lighten up a bit, breathe some space into the thickness of my emotions, and embrace starting from where I am (Pema Chodron thank you).

and now i’m seeing that perhaps the best answer to all these why’s is why not?

 

tears & kindness August 18, 2012

Filed under: Islam/Sufism,poetry,spirituality — yogini786 @ 12:32 am

Sometime towards the end of this evening, while listening to the closing verses of the Quran, my mind took me to navigate a selection of hidden memories within.

Like sharp thorns I saw flashes– a filmstrip, breaking itself into my stream of attention.  And I remembered the face of one who showed me kindness in a time of great grief and loss.  Then I remembered another.  and another.

the list that opened my heart, led to a simple tear escaping my eyes.

i prayed that i would always remember the million kindnesses that helped me survive, and continue to help me move.  the kindness that I have been bestowed by the only One who can, multiplied through the incredible life that I have come into contact with.

Where previously I would have choked back my tears, or resisted the familiar deep pain in my jaw,  this time, I surrendered to this amazing feeling of being alive, of being so human, so vulnerable, and so lost only so that I could remember again, again and again.  I am home already. And my home is built on kindness, it has windows of light, and rooms to protect us.  It has joy in the smiles of those who live in it, and it has the deepest blessing of the Divine: to understand the Truth for what it is and to be ever grateful for it.

 

 

 

 

 

samskara August 12, 2012

I turned a new year, younger as my teacher says, as we return closer to the source of Life, the source of all that is.

A few years a go I had my first memorable solo vacation.  While staying at a yoga retreat a group of us decided to visit Anuradapura, the ancient city in Sri Lanka, for the day.  And it was there I first saw the impressions of a moonstone embedded into the ground at these old beautiful sites.

I asked our unforgettable 75 + year old tour guide, E.D (shortened for us foreigners), who called me Ms. Pakistan and told cricket jokes to me all day long, what did all this stuff mean?  He explained the cycles by which the Buddha says we transform on the spiritual path, and how the layers drawn on this moonstone represented this progression.

He said a word: samskara.  Funny, I thought, I had bought a beautiful purple leather purse in Toronto just months before with the company name seared into my mind: samskara.

The impressions left on our subconscious, unconscious, from our past lives Hindus and Buddhists would say, or as modern psychologists would call it:  the collection of mysterious connections we have to our pasts which creates our “conditioning”.

I have heard some describe samskara as grooves, visually seen in our naked brain, lines that have been carved and created.  The synapses that have connected through unconscious impressions so often that they have become embedded into our nature.

All this stuff reminded me of my training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and what Yoga was also teaching me to slowly unravel.  To discover that space, be aware of it, like the pause between our inhale and exhale, where our thought leads to emotion or behavior.  So that the process stops being automatic, and instead we begin to create this elusive space around it.

My mind.  The insanity with which it expresses itself.  The samskaras that are deeply rooted in self-defeating narratives, are not simply overcome by “positive” thinking.   But instead, today I realized, as I prayed while my mind continued its madness 22 days and nights into fasting my body, that the only route to be done with this samskara, is surrender, submit, wholly to a higher power by accepting the present moment in which I am just the way I am.  To accept fully that this heart of mine is full of un-anchored desires, and shrapnel wounds of love lost in an endless passage of events.

The burning sensation fills my chest, as I bring my attention over and over again to my heart, while moving rhythmically.  The pain travels to other parts of my body, like a sliding string of light and heat.  And I’m so easily there again, in my head, thinking, calculating, talking to imagined scenarios, creating, fixating, and leaving behind what is.  what is? what is right now.

I share with you the prayer I received today, as my heart repeated words that I did not understand.  I submit and surrender to you, please bring me wholeness, soundness, internally and externally.    Please bring sanity to my mind.  All that is, is of Allah’s decree.

I am awake.  and the more I wake, the less I can slumber in my spiraling samskaras.

 

Ramzan in Karachi August 3, 2012

As I look upon the view, from the balcony in an apartment I have spent the last 12 nights praying with a particular group of souls. the flat lines of Karachi, from Phase VII, with its long clean roads, and sparse palm trees, move with a dusty beat of life.

Karachi.  I have written about it forever it feels.  I discuss it endlessly on dinner tables and late night conversations.  Sometimes with old friends who have long gone but come back ever so often to share a beautiful only in Karachi type of night.

Sometimes with myself, as I gaze upon the beautiful mystery of its monsoon clouds, and the many shapes of the palm tree trunks and leaves.  It is my endless metaphor for seeking truth and understanding spirit.

Sometimes I am at a loss with its massiveness.  Its incredible capacity to cover and hide.  How we all live here amazes me, astounds my being and over and over again Karachi becomes my teacher.  Sometimes a cruel absent one.  Sometimes a loving, kind one.  Sometimes, most graciously, a forgiving one that has blessed me with treasures that millions in this city cannot afford, or dream to afford.

I don’t know how many Ramzan’s I’ve spent in this city.  How many years that the load shedding has started to get worse as the month goes by.  Somehow I missed all those years in between when Ramzan was in the winter, living far away in the snowbanks of Canada.  I arrived again as it journeys with the moon through the summer wind of Karachi.  Memories of my hot, dusty childhood.  Of barely any traffic on Tipu Sultan, and riding in a car with my parents, buying that special can of Vimto, secretly drinking it before the fast opens.

Years later, I’m officially in my 30’s, with growing nephews in the house, a puppy who is what words cannot describe to me, and aging parents.  I’m not a child anymore, yet somehow Ramzan always makes me feel like I’m meeting Karachi for the first time, with that same innocence and wonder.  Or maybe its that my soul gets washed and scrubbed by the process of fasting, with each year the water getting hotter and colder, stripping illusion away to make space for truth to arise.

And I wish, I pray for the peace of each soul that churns and burns in this city of no real description, while the dark, dusty, endless view of its scape dots my horizon.