Recently I saw Awake, a documentary about the life of Yogananda who is widely recognized as the Father of Yoga in the West. There’s a scene in the film in which Yogananda poses a question to the audience that impacted me deeply. Noticing how busy Americans were, Yogananda compassionately asked (and I’m paraphrasing here), “When do you have time for bliss?”
I could hear nothing else in the movie for the next few minutes as I pondered this question. Weeks later, it is still on my mind.
As a recovering workaholic, I am well aware of my propensity for busyness -- which for many years I simply called “business.” A few years ago, as a conscious step in a new direction, I promised myself I would enjoy quiet time in and embody Nature daily through Tai Ji dance.
My Tai Ji teacher of nearly 30 years, Chungliang Al Huang, was a close friend of Joseph Campbell, the famous mythologist well known for his encouragement to “follow your bliss.” In a television interview with Bill Moyers, Campbell said, “If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are — if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.”
To follow your bliss, Campbell recommends creating a sacred space, describing it as “an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be.”
It’s worth noting that Campbell’s advice to set aside time where “you don’t know who your friends are …” pre-dated life with Facebook. So many of us are tempted – perhaps even addicted -- to begin our days by firing up our phones or computers and checking in with our Facebook “friends” or other aspects of our virtual world.
My choice is to be with Nature. I am blessed with an internal alarm clock that awakens me to delight in Her sunrise each morning.
Allow me to share 25 seconds of bliss with you. My Tai Ji teacher and I were finishing our Tai Ji dance in my backyard during one of his visits to Kauai.
Nature is my sacred space. And morning is my special time. Where and when is yours? Have you claimed your time and space for bliss?