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Douglas Brooks on Lakshmi

Shri Vidya tradition

Lakshmi- ancient and primordial goddess

–       early as 8th century BC

–       golden in hue and surrounded by elephants emerges out of lotus pedal.

–       Embodiment of prosperity- holds symbols of value and wealth and at same times remains rooted in muddy earth (through lotus)

–       Fantastically pure but never immaculate

–       Rooted in potency of life, rooted in water and down into earth

–       Dressed in red sari with coins pouring out of hands surrounded by elephants or horses

–       Symbols of power and evocative fertility and notion that life is a second gift that emerges from source that is inexhaustible, life is a profound source of beauty, beauty found in muddy core.

–       Reminds us to breathe deeply

–       Son’s name is cardamom- give birth to slimy, muddy being.

–       Women planting rice in muddy paddies, rice stock offered back into the mud, laksmi’s inherent power

–       Beautiful immaculate rice grows out of muddy paddy

–       innate and intrinsic power that we as humans can invite ourselves to receive and participate in. lak is way that we can receive mystic potency of the earth

–       never a zero sum- never runs out, abundant, resource that will always give. Our invitation to make our effort to see that greatness.

–       Lakshmi- name literally means a mark, a characteristic- we can see ourselves as somehow imperfect, stained or sullied (Klesha) faults, stains. Some yoga traditions teach us to remove the kleshas. Let your kleshas be lakshmi- take those things you might perceive in your as failures or imperfections and allow them to be your marks of beauty, opportunities to step into character

–       Leather handbags- the imperfections in this fabric are of natural occurrence

–       Take things that can be weakness, vulnerability and allow them to become strengths

–       Name of lakshmi is shri- auspicious. That way in which we begin in affirmation, say yes first, if you’re feeling low, angry, delighted, our first teaching is to say well yes to that, how can I make my anger or fear- how can I say yes to that so I can turn that into an asset rather than a liability. Lakshmi is that power to say yes. From there we can create a deeper engagement. That’s yoga- way in which we can engage.

–       Go back to that essential nature- when we loose a job, or relationship falls apart, or world not holding together- lakshmi teaches us to root back into our nature and ask, well what kind of a person am I and what is my source of being

–       Lakshmi- associated with rasa- sense of taste- savouring ourselves. Go to that place of origin, ask ourselves what grows down there in the deep resource of mud of my being. The mud of my soul, and how do I say yes to those most to my being. Where are my assets and how to I say yes to them, and where are my liabilities and how can I work with them

–       Lak is invitation to get back to core, elemental and to realize that down there is an inexhaustible resource. Every time we think we’ve run out there is more for us, the place to look is to go further and further down into our being.

–       Gold coins following out of her hands- wealth comes from looking into the mud for our own worth- as we mine our hearts, we can transform them into tangible forms of material culture

–       Our most natural and most elemental state is what we need to connect to our expression as cultural beings. And that takes going into the muck. The more deeply you root yourself down into the primordial essence the more beautifully the lotus emerges

–       Red sari- blood (elemental) and then form is sari (cultural form) – wear our essence, blood on inside as form on outside. That which is elemental we transmute into

–       Nature and culture more fully integrated – inward and outward

–       Lakshmi- bathing in the breath. Elephants raise their trunks and spew nectar or water- elephants trunk way it drinks and breaths. Breath into the at experience and we can taste it- what we breath we taste and what we taste we create in more manifest and physical forms, have instruments of our own self empowerment.

–       Voices of the feminine that has so long been repressed has r

–       Image of sovereignty and empowerment- sovereignty not as complete control as if everything could be managed, lak is empowerment as collaborative, collective and relational. In her softness, vulnerability, great things happen

–       Vishnu is her consort- stern, holding to rules, quick to punish- everyone is always terrified of sovereign, only lak can let him know that his job is to become more sensitive, and more gentle. She becomes place in between. We all need place we can go between ourselves and finality, between and certainty. We need to learn to become more receptivity. Not same as being passive (that’s expecting other ppl to do things), its to welcome the way the world is and to soften in such a way that we can allow ourselves to hear and be heard, learn to listen and make our voice effective.

–       Standing in presence and allowing other to stand in theirs. Root and ground ourselves and in that way become more receptive and vulnerably. Turning empowerment into conversation, taking turns and receiving imput.

–       Need to receive losses like advantages and gains.

–       As you turn the ocean of consciousness she well be revealed. Recreated.

–       Churn ourselves from the bottom of our being, churning ocean of consciousness. Are we willing to go to deep, sometimes dark slimy parts of our being and face our losses and vulnerability and know that in those places we well find lak, the auspicious marks inside ourselves.

–       Its in our lakshmi nature- isn’t sinful or lost of forsaken, its lak herself, its affirming. If we begin with value as life is a gift, that there’s goodness there and decency there, that we’re not lost or sinful, but we begin in radical affirmation. Then conversation becomes more enriching in its collaboration

–       Lakshmi associated with voice, and giving verse, giving voice to forms of expression. Response rather than reaction- speak clearly from depths of our being, so when we say things we don’t act on impulse, we have moment of reflection, lak says take a breath before you answer. Hard to give yourself a moment.

–       How are you owning it? – your gifts in the world- every day I keep churning, I try to take that liquid, flow of thought and feeling and experience that has made my work so rewarding, I want to make butter out of milk, and I know that the way to do it is to keep making that effort, if I’m willing to step into my own gift I can make an offering to others that’s greater than myself. To find myself I have to act for something that’s far greater than myself. To make a contribution is an inspiration, process where I want to keep churning milk into butter. Allow curiosity to continue, to pour myself into that ocean and take what’s in my heart and make that an offering.

We don’t live with the way the world is, we live with the way we receive the world. -Dr. Douglas Brooks

http://ownitsister.com/december-7-2009/

lakshmi reminds us to let marks of imperfections be marks of beauty, what might be a weakness, a vulnerablity- allow those things to become our strengths. starts with affirmation, starts with saying yes.

auspiciousness- that way in which we begin in affirmation- say yes first. if you’re feeling low, angry, delighted. our first teaching is to say well yes to that, how i can make my fear or anger, how can i turn that into an asset rather than a liability. from there we can create a deeper engagement.

lakshmi teaches us to root back into our source in challenge, to go back to source of being and savour ourselves. if we’ve been kicked to the curb we can go back to our origins, what takes me into the muck and mud of my soul and how can i say yes to that. where are my vulnerablities and how can i work with them. lakshmi is invitation to get back to the core and to the elemental. there is always more. everytime we think we’ve run out there is more waiting for us, its just that we’ve stopped looking. place to start looking is to go further and further down into our being.

gold coins flowing out of her hands- gold- recognizing the wealth of our own qualities. as we mine our own hearts, and the qualities of our own thoughts and feelings we can transform them into value in our day to day lives. our most natural and elemental state is what we need to connect with as cultural beings. and its takes going into the muck over and over.

as we root down so we grow up.

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