Ramananda was a 14th century poet and storyteller. He became such, because is own teacher was a storyteller. And today, there is a Ramananda that is a storyteller, and his teacher was a storyteller. He found joy in winding antidotes and stories into everyday life. In the yoga communities, there is a strong bond between practicing yoga and the stories that represent movement of the mind toward understanding and acceptance. It was a beautiful way to share lessons learned, mistakes mended and the possibility of growth and expansion and every phase in life. Stories, they are a natural obsession, if you will, of the human spirit. Theres nothing really that can replace the need to hear stories, feel the storytellers feelings and discover new perspectives. Learning is a natural desire of of the human mind and growing and listening is a natural desire of the human heart.
Today in class I shared this story told by Ramananda and his teachers before him:
There were 2 blocks of granite torn from the mountainside in India that were chosen for a sculptor to use for carving the statue of a beautiful woman that the pilgrims could visit and adorn. The sculptor that was chosen to carve the statue was a master and had completed many works of art, he had manipulated and guided granite into flowing lovely pieces that brought joy to many. As he approached the 1st block, he felt much resistance, almost like it was fighting back from the poking and chipping, pushing him away. He didn’t waste any time moving to the 2nd block. The 2nd block felt welcoming and warm, almost pliable. He went to work and before long, he had created a statue of which the granite flowed with beauty and strength. He had created a beautiful deity that he wished to place on a high alter. The high alter would need a stepping stone to reach and so, because the 1st block of Granite was firm and unforgiving, it was placed at the base of the alter. Over many years, the 1st block received every pilgrim and adorning soul that repeatedly washed the statue in milk, honey and rosewater. Flowers were placed at her feet and around her neck. One day the 1st block broke it’s silence and spoke to the beautiful statue after years of lamenting it’s destiny under the soiled feet of pilgrims and receiving the left overs of beautiful things as they lay to waste, it said “I recall years ago, you didn’t want to be touched, carved, and chipped at by the master, you chose this life, such as I did mine”,
I love yoga and where it can take you if you do your own practice and learn your own lessons and move to your own blueprint and music. But as with all storytellers, there is never just one meaning. Yes, as a yoga student, This is a parable that represents the resistance of your body to the poses or practice or a rough stretch that you can’t let in. It represents the ability to possibly be in what you think is unforgiving space that allows no evolution, but finding out that as you let go and soften, the pain and agony of whatever it is eating at you is gone. Can you be giving and accepting even as the chisel and pick are working on you, you can feel the movement and true beauty and spirit releasing into the world.
But there is more to these stories. This isn’t 14th century India, but my friends, this story, I believe is even more relevant today than ever before.
The way we harden our hearts to not feel loss or sorrow, the way we stress and hold onto the worries of the world and the pressure we feel to succeed and not lose. These binds and contractions cause disease and depression. And yoga is my favorite way to release these things, but certainly not the only way. If you cross fit, swim, bicycle, walk, marathon, sleep, parachute, hide behind a book the list goes on, we all search for ways to relieve stress and depression from our lives.
I believe that no matter what you do physically, if it is intertwined with story telling, reading, discovering, learning… that the tools the world uses to break us down can be the same tools that turn our souls into a beautiful piece of art that last the test of time, is forever flowing and lovely and who’s strength is undeniable. Sometimes our teachers (master, sculptor as it may) can help us create our own stories and or build upon theirs to continue to tell the story. Share the story. Create a story. It doesn’t mean that our teachers are all sunshine and rainbows, sometimes our teacher is the ugly world around us, and if you listen to it’s story, we can adapt and change it, wield it to make something beautiful.
Just a quick note, I am a storyteller, I embellish on the facts that can influence another to see themselves or someone else in hopefully a loving and accepting way. I also like to take the moral of the story and expand it to everyday life in this crazy messed up world. So here, with this story, if we can remember to soften the shell as the principles of alignment bring strength and durability to the core, then we can let our inner bright shine out! Pow! We can root to rise! whoosh! We can expand the beauty to the muddied block of stone beneath the goddess and assist it in it’s own journey, than the story can evolve into something more beautiful than worshipping alone could ever do.
This concept can also transfer to everyday life experiences. Such as conversations with folk that may hit you the wrong way. Can you let their perspective and insolence be the things that doesn’t shape you, but allows you to hear them in a way that neither condones or condemns them by being the teacher and the master in this story? Did that even occur to you when reading the story above, that maybe you are the 1st block or possibly the master yourself? Does everyone get to be the beautiful goddess? Does acceptance of yourself include the closed mindedness of the block, the acceptance of the 2nd block that challenges and pain creates beauty, or maybe the knowledge and understanding of the teacher? Are you the teacher?
Let me encourage you to expand your thinking and understand that a story can evoke so many emotions and so many possibilities for learning if we drop the ego and don’t always have to be the beautiful flowing granite deity to be apart of a successful story? If you are the 1st block, can you soften and become open to being molded and becoming flexible? If you are the 2nd block, can you become humble and accept the beauty of possibility of the 1st? And finally, if you are the teacher, can you lead your listeners with the understanding that now it is there story to tell and wield in a way that they become more knowledgable and creative in listening and telling. And they can add their experiences to it as it continues to evolve. This is the most exciting part about storytelling, the elusive ” the fish I caught was this big[_________]! But it got away, but oh what a beautiful fish it was!” I mean seriously, whats a story without a moral or happy ending. Make your ending happy. Don’t settle for the muddy feet and old milk.
Build your own story and share it with the world. Make it real, make it the biggest fish story ever told. And take a picture this time, don’t just let it get away.
Share your story and help it evolve into a beautiful, strong fish.
Love and Namaste,
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