July 18

Welcoming What Is – Joanne Tognarelli

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 July 18

   Lakṣmī is known as the Goddess of abundance. Her name typically brings to mind an image of softness and beauty, but Kavithaji shares that hers is also the path of the vīra – the warrior. In order to receive abundance and auspiciousness, our hearts must be outrageously open, letting everything in without prejudice or fear. We do not welcome one experience only to reject another. 

   If we are dependent upon the perfect external conditions for contentment, it will always remain fleeting, and auspiciousness will elude us. The nature of the world is to be dualistic. Joy cannot exist without sorrow, pleasure without pain. 

   However, a vīra shifts this dynamic. A vīra takes responsibility and is open to any situation encountered. They break the habitual pattern of resistance and blame, focusing on experience rather than outcome. A warrior does not keep score! A warrior says, “It’s quite irrelevant how I got here. I am here now. What am I going to do?” 

   Normally, when we are not stuck in the past, we are worrying about the future. All of this keeps us closed to experience. I wait in anticipation for some future event, only to find my mind distracted when it arrives. 

   Something happens in my life, and it triggers a cycle of mental churn and scheming. Let’s say there is a disagreement with my spouse. It is fleeting and irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, and yet it triggers rumination, justification of my own words and actions, self-blame and blame of my spouse. A passing moment takes on a life of its own in my mind! There is a practice that Kavithaji has shared which I find simple, powerful, and which has shifted this dynamic. The second this revving up of the mind begins, ask: “What practical step needs to happen?” If there is one, do it. If there isn’t, then just that question is enough to remind me that this rumination is pointless. 

   Life, of course, delivers its myriad of experiences:  things I am happy to receive, and those I may prefer to avoid. However, by welcoming what is, and working with that, I arrive at a more open space where I choose to experience what is, rather than seek to control or avoid life. Kavithaji often says: “I want to experience that, whatever that is.” I do not permanently live in such an open-hearted space. However, by taking responsibility for my life, I experience the full range of my emotions that arise and continue on their way, making room for the next experience. This is enough to give me confidence that open-hearted welcoming of all experience is indeed possible, as long as I continue to take responsibility. That is real abundance and auspiciousness. And I definitely want to experience that!  

May we open to the flow of what is.

May we welcome all as Her Grace.

*This writing draws upon and is the result of reflection upon the teachings from Kavithaji’s Śrī Sūktam course


Glossary

vīra - warrior. Śrī Sūktam - Vedic hymn extolling Śrī.

Image: Design created using Canva.

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