This past weekend, Diana and I spent our time at the birthday celebration of the spiritual leader (Sri Shambhavananda or Babaji) of the yoga centers where Diana has done her training. The celebration was held at Shoshoni Yoga Retreat, one of the Shambhava ashrams up in a beautiful setting in the mountains above Nederland, Colorado. The aspen trees are starting to turn colors and the weather was cool with clear blue skies – a perfect setting for a spiritual celebration. We brought Babaji some honey and lip balm from our bees as a birthday present.
The weekend was full of meditation, yoga, fire tending and sharing fabulous vegetarian meals (alas no bacon) with the members of the sangha (community). It was also an opportunity for the sangha to do some projects around the retreat – washing windows, building paths and cleaning up the gardens. They have fabulous vegetable gardens and solar powered greenhouses (and chicken coops) and grow much of the food for the meals which made them even more tasty. I helped out in the gardens (of course) and got some new ideas for irrigation systems and gardening for my plots.
I felt like a fish out of water most of the time during meditation because all the chants are in Sanskrit and most of the people have been doing this practice for years and know all the songs/chants. This was my first time to Shoshoni and I have only been to the Eldorado Ashram a few times so it was all Greek (Sanskrit?) to me. I just started meditating this past spring and rarely feel like I know what I’m doing.
One of the practices is the Guru Gita (Song to the Revered Guru) which is a long chant done at 5:30 in the morning. (Getting up at 4:30 a.m. wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.) The first day, I stumbled my way through the Sanskrit words – mispronouncing 95% of them. The second day, I decided to hum the tune and read the English translation. It talks about what a guru is and how he should be viewed and treated. One particular section caught my eye:
svayam tathavidho bhutva sthatavyam yatrakutracit | kita-bhramara-vat-tatra dhyanam bhavati tadrsam
Just as the larva transforms into a bee, similarly through meditation, one is transformed into that state in which one may abide anywhere.
I like that visualization and look forward to my transformation to a bee.