What is the sound of one hand clapping dear Warrior?
For here we are, arrived at the Anahata Chakra, ‘Anahata’ meaning “unstruck”. Unbrace yourself for the heart is now the beginning of a whole new playing field. Every effort you have made, every belief you have cultivated, every rule you have applied to date, to your life, to your relationships, is not going to stand here. What you thought you were is going to die a slow and painful death; the ego that you have worked so hard to shape is being asked to surrender, taking with it all that you have built on top.
Sounding scary? ‘What an opportunity’, diviners would say. Only when what we feel safe enough in our body (chakra one), and safe enough in our relationships (chakra two), and safe enough in our own ability to face and digest all that the world throws our way (chakra three), can we give way to the plan divinity has for us. The heart chakra is for the spiritual world what the base chakra is for the physical world: a solid base. It is the mid point of our energetic field that projects outward, a horizontal outpouring, a reaching beyond ourselves that connects us to others. We begin to glimpse an image of our true human shape not unlike the cross that Christ carried.
To connect in Love and be loved is what we humans are driven by; it is our personal mission as well as our gift back to creation, to humanity. The problem with that is, Anodea Judith says: “Collectively, it seems we are falling out of love with the world”. A sad case we have become. She adds: “Our task is to heal our hearts to reunite mind and body, man and woman, lover and beloved, the mystical and the mundane, the Self and the world…for without love, there is no binding force to hold our world together.”
If we could get straight to the point, we would simply connect at the two ends: the feet to the core of the earth and the crown of the head to the heavens to become a divine channel. We would then allow this cascade of love to pour within so much so that we would not only feel that way towards ourselves but it would spill over to anyone in vicinity and behold our whole world that way. We would see everything and everyone with those rose colored glasses, witnessing the sacred at every opportunity and embracing it as it is. That would be the short and most direct path.
The long path…well, most of us take that one. We need to have our own needs (and how many of them are there?) satisfied before we can contemplate sharing our fullness with another. That means the vertical axis of our system needs to let go of its resistances to becoming the vessel of light. Our ego, only when it is secure in its own autonomy and power, can surrender willingly towards altruism. So we have to have one in the first place before we can surrender it.
Still, on the way, there are very sincere contributions we can make to our fellow brothers and sisters. One of the qualities of the heart chakra is compassion, which means to have passion with. Most people consider compassion as a selfless act. But true compassion is an act that moves with the self, is anchored from the self, and is able to respond to another’s self (Anodea Judith, 1991).
To explore this concept, we chat here with a Yogi, Fabio Fabbri, about his creation of Freedom Yoga. Fabio has dedicated the last fifteen years of his life to his practice. In the grand scheme of things, that does not seem very long. But the sincerity with which he has done so, and the degree of his commitment despite the hardships of a Yogic life, have led him to develop something simply common sense on the one hand, but also extraordinary on the other. The inspiration came from his appreciation of Ashtanga Yoga’s vinyasa Mysore style, at the same time, knowing that Yoga needs to be made accessible and tailored to every body.
Freedom Yoga is many things. What it looks like is many people on their mats, each doing their very own practice, in silence, with devotional music playing in the background. Some are sitting, some are standing, some are inverted. Fabio walks around and whispers to each person, checking in, guiding, holding, adjusting. For them to be in that room, they have had at least one private session with him or an ongoing relationship, where he has assessed their needs–physical, emotional, and energetic. He has designed a practice that is honouring of where they are at in their bodies, their minds, their hearts. He has spent time educating them about their apparent weaknesses and strengths, about the intertwining of the elements in their system. He has taught them how to move, how to breathe, how to sit with themselves, with compassion above all else.
“Yoga is misinterpreted, led classes are a hybrid of the Western world. This is not how it was practiced by the ancient Yogis, where the students are told to follow the teacher’s moods, intentions, ideas, and perceptions, where the sequencing is more or less intelligently considered according to their training. Yoga is about self-inquiry after all. And the job of the guru is to guide, to remove the darkness. Unless that guru is an enlightened being, the only person that truly sees and understands you, is you. The guru is the conscience within you. You need to take responsibility by constantly tuning into it, listening to your intuition, your own wisdom and adapting to it. That is empowering and humbling at the same time as you honour your own limitations, as well as your own abilities of the moment, and find them different the next.”
This in itself requires a great degree of maturity, acceptance, and surrender when we have been taught to be conditioned by so called authorities and to push ourselves into complying, into achieving, not realizing that living in disharmony with our own nature only creates more violence, more pain. Instead, we learn to identify our own rhythm, go at our pace, align ourselves to the fluctuations of our energy levels, our cycles, the change in seasons, in the planets, the climactic elements and every other variable that affects us as humans. Yoga is as complex as the stuff we are made of.
So dear Warrior…I leave you, on your mat, with many questions and not necessarily many answers. But at the end of the day, only one question is worth asking: can you bow down to the guru in you?
And should you be inspired to connect with Fabio, he can be found on his website: www.saffronrose.com. He is about to release a most exciting concept in Yoga Teacher Trainings, offering students the experience of a lifetime: a total immersion into true Yogic living–going back to the ancients, over three international retreats in highly charged Nature settings.