Posted by: Jivani Lisa | March 3, 2011

The Yogic Swan

A few weeks ago, during a session of Yoga Nidra, after a long progressive relaxation and guided meditation, I was surprised to discover that my totem animal is a swan.  I love birds and have always found swans to be especially beautiful.  However, if I had to guess my totem, I would probably say a dove – or even something like a dolphin.  But the swan is exquisite! 

Then yesterday, in a book by Liz Lark (1,001 Pearls of Yoga Wisdom), I found the following:  “Whether we know it or not, yoga makes us aware of our hidden human motivation: to return to the source of all life by igniting a divine spark deep within us.  The Upanishads use the image of a swan to describe the soul’s yearning for this mystical unknown.  Flying over the ocean in search of herself, she finally comes to realize that God has been nearby all along, within herself.” [bold added] 

It’s as if my life’s journey is to REALLY learn this lesson (not just intellectually):  God is always with me, within me; He is not something outside that I must find at all costs.

I admit I haven’t learned this lesson yet.  I can talk about it and acknowledge it intellectually – but I have yet to REALLY believe it to the depths of my being.  This type of “learning” (which is true “realization”) is not something that can be forced.  We can only prepare ourselves and keep following the spiritual path.  I might say, “I know that God is within,” but when I truly believe this, my life will be transformed:  no more longing for people, places or vocations that can bring me to God. 

This involves faith, trust and perseverance.  It’s not like if we do A and B, then C will follow.  I don’t think we can ever really know which people, places or vocations might bring us closer to God.  The things we think might help can often do the opposite (as I know from experience).  The things we think might hinder us could end up being the best for us.

The ugly duckling transforms into the swan and the swan realizes that she is one with God.  May it be so (Amen!) for all of us!


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