Having just returned home from a wonderful yoga retreat in Bali with One World Retreats I have found myself looking out at the most glorious autumn color here in Beechworth.
The retreat in itself was a great opportunity to stop, reflect, challenge myself and meet new friends but returning home has reminded me that with the changing of each season we also get the opportunity to stop, reflect and challenge ourselves…you may even meet new friends ..people who will help you on your journey of inner discovery.
As the trees prepare for winter by shedding their leaves so too can we prepare for the next stage in our lives by looking at what is no longer serving us and letting it go.
We had a lovely ceremony in Bali where during the week each person was asked to write down on small bits of paper what we would like to let go of and at the end of the week we gathered together to burn these unnecessary thoughts or behaviors and send them off down the river with a colorful spray of flowers. It was very moving for all and I somehow suspected that much of what we had written down would be the same!
We often find ourselves plagued with doubts, fears and negative thoughts, all of which do nothing to serve our higher purpose but these patterns of thinking can be very hard to let go of as they are quite entrenched. The old saying that what you practice you get good at comes to mind here!!
So here is the challenging part! To look closely at ourselves…not with anger and judgement but simply to observe the way we think and behave. The practice of silence or mauna is a wonderful way to do just this. Learning to be silent is a practice of pratyahara or withdrawal of the senses. According to Swami Sivananda the practice of mauna develops will power. It checks the impulse of speech and is a great help in the observance of truth. Spend some time each day not interacting just watching and notice what is going on…you may be surprised! You may notice thoughts and patterns that you want to let go of and just like the autumn trees you can choose to release them. You may even like to create a small ceremony for yourself ..using the autumn leaves. It is up to you.
I know that it is not easy to let go and it may be that this becomes a regular practice of yours but then again the changing of the seasons is a regular practice too!