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Shiva Rea Sacred Awakening Series Interview

Created By: theshiftnetwork On: March 3, 2010

ShivaRea
 

Sacred Awakenings Series: Shiva Rea

Produced by The Shift Network, hosted by Stephen Dinan
Gratitude and blessings to our volunteer transcriber, Jenny Schuck

Stephen: Hello, everyone, my name is Stephen Dinan.  I am delighted to welcome you to our 13th call of the Sacred Awakening Series.  We’re in for a real treat tonight with Shiva Rea, who has been an incredible yoga teacher and innovator and pioneer of blending East and West.  We’ll introduce her in a moment.

[Thanks co-sponsors and explains the agenda of the call].

With all that preliminary information shared, Shiva, perhaps it would be beautiful if we just opened with an Om as if we were entering yogic practice here tonight and perhaps you could lead us in that.

Shiva: Thank you, Stephen.  I’ve participated in a number of these types of calls and with Maestro Conference.  It’s actually for me – one of the extraordinary aspects of the new technology is for people to connect from all over the world and I know that some people perhaps can see each other, we have that technology, but I think that the fact that we know we’re all connected – I’m not sure how many people are dialed in right now, but if we can visualize first that – you mentioned that there are people who have signed from over 100 countries from all over the world – if we could visualize that there are people who are making like a mandala around the earth.  I’m here in California.  I know you’re in California, Stephen.  But I know that there are friends in Europe and in the Americas and Canada – I hope from every continent – if we’re connecting.  And whether you want to open your arms, like you’re literally opening your arms wide with the inhale [inhales] and then as you exhale very slowly drawing our hands back to our heart.  This is the basic movement of life, the respiration rhythm, so as we inhale we expand our arms again.  It’s also the universal mudra of being not only open but – some of the most extraordinary movements, experiences in our life take place with these open arms. And as we exhale we bring our hands back to our heart.  So we’ll chant now on the third round as our hands come to our heart.  So we inhale again, arms expand [inhales], “Om.”  [silence]

What is scribed from my experience in yoga that – yoga is resting in the sacred, resting in the sacred vibration and not just resting in that when we are in the relaxed moments in our life, or when we’re in extraordinary natural settings that are obviously permeated with the sacred, but being able to connect to that underlying sacred vibration no matter where we are including in great difficulty and challenge and extreme situations.  So that’s been my lifelong practice and it is a daily practice and so I love whatever questions or interactions or insights that we can all bring together.  I’m just grateful to be here.

Stephen: Well, it’s beautiful to have you here, Shiva.  I thank you for that sacred opening to this.  I feel much more open myself.  It feels almost superfluous to introduce you any further.  So perhaps we can just dive in.  Maybe we can begin with, “What does sacred awakening mean to you?”

Shiva: Well, of course because I’ve been teaching yoga for 20 years and I’ve been practicing since I was 14, there’s one experience that I would answer from that perspective and then there’s another experience – [door creaks] you’re going to hear the sounds of my beloved walking in – I’m at home – but there’s another experience that is such a very raw human experience of awakening the sacred and I think that really yoga isn’t so much only prescribed from India as that which awakens our eyes and our ears and our touch and our realization – our taste – of the sacredness that is imbued in every moment of life, but more how do we really apply that kind of consciousness in every moment?

And having lived in Africa and having traveled through Central America and other parts of Asia and the Caribbean, I feel like all indigenous culture creates ritualized ways so that we don’t lose touch with just how even the basic movements of our lives are really quite magical.  So I think a sacred awakening in every moment of our life is not only touching what is magical, but also, as we were talking earlier, Stephen, touching what would be defined in yoga as one of the definitions of the sacred is that which has satyam, a kind of inherent ground of truth as well as sundaram. There’s a kind of transforming beauty – it’s not just a beauty with the eyes but it’s some feeling of actually touching, whether it’s – it’s literally like the tears that roll down one’s cheek. I just lost my grandmother a couple weeks ago and there was such beauty in the grief that I felt in her passing because she had such a beautiful passing, so those tears that I felt down my cheek, they were sacred to me because they carried the essence of a 43-year relationship with another being.  So I think a sacred awakening has such range and I feel like yoga, both indigenous yoga and the yoga that is rooted in the Indian tradition. really supports us in opening to our human heart in every moment.

Stephen: Really beautifully put. And one of the things I’ve always been struck by with you and your teaching is how much you honor that genuine authentic movement that wants to come up from the inside rather than just our thoughts about what one wants to happen, so if you could just speak a bit more about that as almost a surrendering into that light impulse within us.

Shiva:  Sure.  I noticed that one of your questions also is about the shadow – I guess I just wanted to speak to that because if I’m going to be very honest with my own experience – even within yoga you can have all the outer trappings, there’s so many times – I have a beautiful altar and I sit in front of my altar and I’m ready for my yoga practice, but there’s some process I have to go through in order for the hard nut to crack from the outside.

And when you go to Southern India and Kerala – I’m leaving on Sunday for India and Southern India and in the latter part of the trip there’s a Ganesha temple that we go to – actually I like to go there almost every day – there are several Ganesha temples – and one is right in the city and you buy coconuts that are already husked but it’s just that – still the hard shell of the coconut.  And you literally throw it like you’re throwing a baseball into like a pitcher’s glove at this black rock which is supposed to represent Ganesh and so you’re making this offering to Ganesh.  And it’s kind of like it’s fierce because you have to put some power behind it and then there’s this crack sound – once you hear it you never forget it – and then you’re given this inner shell of this coconut by the priest and that’s considered to be your blessing.  And it’s really beautiful what you decide to offer to Ganesh and it’s usually always some form of our ego.

So I guess I’m aware that the yoga practice has this kind of churning effect, that the sacredness of the inner experience that you were describing, like this rising of a kind of inner realization and essence that makes us kind of go, “Ah, okay, now I’ve reached this place,” it’s not even like when you’re there you can’t reach it, you’re permeated with this feeling that whatever burdens, whatever tensions, whatever kind of hard state that we’re in – there’s some cracking process, some melting process that is the kind of sacred alchemy of both formal yoga practice and then just in our daily relationships.  It’s like when something’s not going right with a friend or a beloved.  You feel what is sacred between you is disturbed.  And so what’s the churning process?  What do we go through to realign with that sacred heart?  And that’s the inner process that I feel you’re referring to.

Stephen: Beautifully put.  It’s also been my experience with yoga is that daily life tends to armor us up and when we have a physically armored body we are like the coconut shell and you can’t get the meat out at all.

Shiva: I think when you become a yoga practitioner, you become more sensitive to that, so I know that if there’s anything that I’m not dealing with, I feel like I feel it ten times more almost than a normal – I don’t want to say more than a normal person but, you know, someone who isn’t in embodied practice hours in a day.  It feels like I’m more aware of how important it is to deal with the armoring and the tension because I think one of the side effects of that is we start to feel that a disconnection from the sacred is the norm and then if something sacred happens, meaning that it’s something miraculous rather than the fabric of our own existence and being out of the sacred vibration is more unusual than having the sacred as your vibration.  Does that make sense?

Stephen: Total sense, yeah.  I wonder if you could draw together – one thing I think that’s fascinating about the extremes that you’ve brought together in your own life is drawing from African dance and then things like rock climbing and surfing – you’re kind of a really interesting cross trainer of practices.  What have you learned from that process of drawing from different extremes and bringing them together?

Shiva: Sure.  Well, maybe just to focus that – focus the conversation.  I’m actually starting something called sacred training.  You know, empowerment through embodiment.  And it really is trying to dissolve some of the lenses in which we view traditional fitness or athletics or we view adventure or what I like to call flow arts which is a part of my life as in terms of spinning fire, of poi and staff and sword play with yoga which can also, you know, many people just view yoga as an athletic experience or fitness experience.  So what I’m really interested in is for each person in a way to identify the mandala of their embodied practices and then begin to create a way of relating to how these sacred practices empower you from a sacred place of venue.  So like I said I just came back from a cycle in the mountains and if  – there’s a way that – if I just view that as I’m going off on a workout.  Just our view alone changes the fruit of what we will experience.  And so I guess I think that in all embodied practice it helps us to realize and awaken our life force.  And then to be able to share that with others is the yoga.  So I don’t really see that I’m so much involved in cross training as in highlighting in a way what is actually happening to people.  I came from a diverse background and I don’t feel like if you practice yoga then you’re supposed to become narrow.  I think yoga helps you expand and touch everything with a kind of unified consciousness.

Stephen: Mmm, love that.  I guess that kind of leads naturally into some of the work you’ve done to use yoga as a way to create this larger sense of global consciousness like the Global Mala Project.  Could you speak a bit about translating the individual practice into a sort of a collective shift?

Shiva: Yeah.  And of course I am so grateful for your work too, Stephen, and IONS and the Shift Report and all of these, whether we want to call them lenses, but I think what’s more important is not just the way we’re viewing the fact that there’s global coherence that’s happening.  So one of the things about Global Mala Project is hooking up with the fall equinox which is already a ceremonial link point – in yoga they call it the sundia it’s already a ceremonial transition, a joint, that has been honored for really – we don’t know.  I mean, if the discovery of fire is now dated at 800,000 years and the dating of sites like Stonehenge is much older than people think.  The fall equinox celebrations I think we can say safely 40,000 years continuously.  So there’s already huge momentum on September 21st and then it’s also UN National Peace Day and so the Global Mala Project is saying, “Hey, look to the right and left of you,” and a lot of times in cities and towns people don’t even – the yoga studios don’t ever come together for any reason.  And so on this day when people are coming together whether it’s just in their own hearts, offering a prayer or if we can get together as yoga studios.  So this will be the third year coming up – no, fourth year coming up – in Los Angeles over 1,000 yoga teachers come together.  It’s happening – about 800 events in over 40 countries.  And it’s really just happening from a spirit of collective – just really quite simply we’re wired to come together.

And if we don’t come together we feel something is off in our heart.  And so why not mobilize that consciousness?  And so people do fund raising for a number of different causes.  For the first few years, we focused on global warming and that’s continuing to be my personal focus.  But what I’m really interested in is working with in a way our own physiological, inherent wiring for collective experience.  Instead of it just being– I love to go to athletic events – I love to go to concerts – I loved the U2 concert – the 360 degree tour – that had the connection with one of the astronauts in the space station and was broadcast all over the world.  I mean, it was an extraordinary experience.  And so I’m going to be involved in a number of festivals this year and beyond – the Wanderlust Festival and Bhakti Fest, – creating this pulse collective for people to kind of stay in touch around the sacred holidays and festivals and equinoxes that are happening because I think this really supports us – there’s a tremendous energy that culminates in these points.  And when we don’t celebrate these things, we feel – I don’t know, it’s like when you have a birthday and it’s just okay or you’re – you know?  There are times that are meant to be luminal points where we drop everything and we focus really on what is this essence to be alive and what process can we honor fully?

Stephen: I love it.  It feels like such an important insight just that without these community rituals that bind us together that something feels off.

Shiva: It does.

Stephen: I wonder if you can link that with the role of ritual in general in our daily lives to reconnect us with the sacred?

Shiva: Sure, I think there are just a few simple practices that – and I think the emphasis is on simple.  Because it’s really easy to apply this “I’m not enough” Western habit that we get into – because particularly with ritual life in yoga, I mean, there’s rituals that go on for 40 days, for 108 days – the ritual life in India is more intense than anything that I have ever encountered.  And I’ve studied ritual cultures from all over the world.  There are flames that have never gone out for over 1,000 years – that have never ever gone out.  So think of maintaining this, like I have candles lit on my altar and I think of maintaining that fire for the rest of my life from this one candle.  That creates an inherent ritual life and know that that ritual – even though it’s a simple one, is a way of honoring – so for me the sundias in yoga – the sunrise and the sunset, just honoring those two sundias, and even if it’s just lighting a candle  – tonight for me – I usually like to sit for meditation but we’re having our call now together.

But from the simplest remembrance these are part of the ways of keeping the sacred pauses. I’m not always a fan of the word “pause” because it’s like you push a button and it’s pause it’s kind of like frozen.  It’s more dynamic than that.  I think what’s so difficult but so necessary is to maintain boundaries of time and space and I think that’s what ritual life is meant to be.  And I’m so inspired by my friends who are Orthodox Jews and really practice the Sabbath – it astounds me – it’s a fantastic ritual.  And so I think when we are recreating in a way a ritual structure – if we are no longer Catholic or no longer in our family’s spiritual tradition or perhaps we become Catholic and we go deeper into our family tradition but we didn’t grow up with it – I think there’s a way that we all have to find the ritual life that really nourishes us and doesn’t feel like one more thing that we are doing.

Stephen: We have about 5 more minutes before we take questions from other folks.
I‘d love for you to spend a little time – we had a call last week with Andrew Harvey and he’s such a heart-centered explosion of grace.  And it’s interesting because he also has a very, a more “dark night of the soul” vision of our collective transformation.  And I’m wondering how you hold that, like our collective moment, this kind of birthing process that we’re going through.  What’s the most important thing to bear in mind in the years ahead?  Where are you drawn to apply yourself?

Shiva: Well, I love Andrew so much and he’s a mentor and a dear friend and I think that for me I’m part of this movement that Andrew’s invoking in terms of sacred activism.  And I really think that as we move into the future I’m holding more, I guess humility?  I think Andrew holds tremendous humility but I’m really – I’m not sure what’s going on – I think there’s so many simultaneous extraordinary birthings and at the same time there’s such tremendous loss.

And I’m inspired by all beings who just look right where they are and they decide to find meaningful activism.  And I think this is Andrew’s great call – is to just go into your heart and look around you right where you are.  There’s a tremendous urgency particularly in terms of our energy resources, the way we’re using our energy and what’s happening to our species and our indigenous people – the rate of loss – just it being year of the tiger and there are only 5,000 wild tigers on this planet and that’s down from 100,000 at the turn of the century.  And it’s possible in our lifetime that there could be no more wild tigers.  And so I guess the humility is that miracles happen all the time.  And I don’t mean miracles at a government level – well that happens, too – but I mean just what seemed dead can be revived instantly and what seemed like it was going great can be wiped out by an earthquake, by a tsunami.  I was in the tsunami in Kerala.  So I just rest in a kind of villager’s humility and pray for all the leaders and pray for all the leaders within ourselves to humbly begin wherever we find sacred activism that we can apply it.

Stephen: Wonderful perspective.  What do you think– just kind of a final question before we go to the audience.  What’s really at your growing edge?  What’s feeding your own deepening and awakening process right now?

Shiva: Well, I guess I’m about to head on this pilgrimage on Sunday and actually this call kind of put me in reflection.  Because as Andrew spoke about in terms of “dark night of the soul,” I’m really into ritual structure that kind of puts us into this cycle of – a new cycle that has to have some unknown component to it, meaning some kind of fertile darkness which is what all the new moon rituals are about – all the new moon sacred holidays from Shivratri in India to – I believe Easter is always with the moon, correct?  With the new moon or the full moon?  And so I’m heading in pilgrimage and I’m heading to the really original goddess sites in India.  I’m actually going to the Yoni of the Goddess in India and it’s a very kind of rare temple but those people that know about the Kamakhya Temple it’s been a site that has many of the great teachers – Padmasambhava, who started Tibetan Buddhism, to many of the swamis from Swami Sivananda to Swami Rama, were initiated at Kamakhya and it’s like going back to the source and I’m going to some of the yogini temples.  And so I’m in a real time of really going into the primal feminine.  But not so much as a gender as really a deep kind of surrendering to the shakti within myself as a prayer of restructuring.  I’ve just come out of a very difficult couple of years on a personal level and it feels really sacred to  – not to talk about the details of that but to – when I’m with other people who have been through a restructuring process over the past couple years – not to use humility as a sounding board, but I’m just headed out very humbly to the mother and I really don’t know what’s going to happen.  And I really don’t mean in a scary way.  I don’t want to know.  I want to be – I think that’s what I feel the sacred really has – it defies our ability to predict the outcome.

Stephen: Fantastic.  I wish I could join you on your journey.  It sounds like a powerful one.

Shiva: Well, I’m also going to the Kumbha Mela which is the gathering of about 45 million people – beings – and for the new moon ritual which is on May 15th when all the Naga Babas, the Sadhus and the Sadhvis, they take a ritual bath and eventually – they have long, long dreadlocks and they shave their head completely.  So I’m headed into that and I’m going to bring you something back, Stephen, from that journey.  And we’ll be doing video and blogs from that whole experience.  So that’s where I’m headed.

Stephen: Thank you for that generosity.

[Asks participants to press 1 if they wish to be on Shiva’s email list]

You have this extraordinary array of journeys, adventures, workshops to India, to Greece, all over.  And you have your finger on the pulse of many sacred gatherings and happenings and really share those generously.  Anything you want to quickly say about that?

Shiva: I actually feel that we really try to offer our Pulse newsletter in a sacred way.  I feel that there’s so much cyber-marketing that doesn’t have a sacred vibration to it.  So our newsletters really have a lot of information about what’s going on in terms of sacred holy days and inner preparations and, like you said, they’re community resources.  I have a lot of wonderful relationships with a lot of fantastic musicians and artists and teachers and conferences.  So I feel like it’s my offering back to the world of what’s going on that I’m really inspired by.

Stephen: Great.  [Asks people to hit 2 to ask Shiva a question.  He will choose people at random.]

Shiva: This is fun.  This is the fun part.

Stephen: Valerie, you’re live.

Valerie: Hi Shiva. It’s a pleasure to connect with you.  I’m on a production team of an International Peace Day broadcast that will be attached to most of the UN initiatives.  And I would love to build with and you and ask you if we could get your video and blog from the May 15th event and any other kind of building we could do to be a part of that International Peace Day broadcast.  It would go . . . [muffled] . . . across the globe.

Shiva: Wow, we would love that and I’d love to know more about that.  So please send us the information on that.  I’d love to connect with you.

Valerie: Okay, should I give you my email and then I can send you the information? [Stephen offers to connect her to Shiva through email].  Oh great, thank you.

Shiva: Or from our website – if you go to shivarea.com and click “contact.”  There’s shiva@yogadventures.  Go to the website, there’s a direct contact right there.

Valerie: Great, and Stephen I’ll still send it to you as well.

Stephen: Thanks, Valerie.

Shiva: Thank you, Valerie.

Stephen: We have Raj Shivalingum.  Perfect.

Shiva: Raj Shivalingum is your name?

Raj: Yes, Shiva.

Shiva: Wow, that’s quite a name.

Raj: Yes, thank  you.  My question is – I’ve been trying to – [muffled] – male physical activity whether it be something in the gym or doing – I’ve been trying some different yoga movements.  I really like that.  I feel more energized.  But when I do the gym – like weight lifting and treadmill – my body doesn’t –

Shiva: Feel good –

Raj: It feels hard and [muffled].  But when I do this, it feels more lively and more energized.

Shiva: I agree.  I really – I hate to say it this way – I think gyms are for very specific types of training and for weather.  Like if there’s bad weather – all my friends on the East Coast – if you have to be inside, it’s a way for you to be able to approach embodied fitness.  But I personally think that being outside and being in prana filled environments – I think that you’re imbued with the sacred in that way, being just the fresh air.  I think some of that makes a big difference.  The treadmill – I mean, personally I think it’s a machine.  However, you can have that experience and you can do it in a sacred way.  But since you know what your body is responding to, I would just stay with that.  And I think that’s the kind of –

Raj: Like the gym – the weight lifting – I kind of feel like it’s not a gentle approach for the body, more like a forced [muffled] of the body.  I don’t know if that’s your feeling.

Shiva: Sure, well, I know you know what I mean with Virarasa, something that has a strong energy but still feels potent.  Like I’ve studied Kalari Payatte from Kerala and it’s a martial art form but you feel – it’s sacred – we practice in a temple.  And the thing is you know what your body responds to and if you get in the mood to do something more invigorating then you should find a way to do that that is in line with your spirit, for sure.  And it doesn’t have to be in the gym or it could be in the gym.

Raj: Thanks.  Gym exercises- they provide more vitality but gentle movements they provide more liveliness – like a soft – I don’t know how to put it in words, but it’s a different feeling from the gym exercises.

Shiva: Yes.

Stephen: Great.  Thank you, Raj.

Raj: Thanks, and thanks, Stephen, for this, for the effort.

Stephen: Stephanie, you’re live.

Stephanie: Hi, yeah, I had a question in terms of the motivation for the type of practice that you do.   You have a lot of strength I guess.  You focus a lot on upper body strength and that’s your thing or at least from what I’ve seen – I was able to attend one of your sessions.  I wonder where that motivation came from or how are you able to express that through your practice and that type of thing?

Shiva: Yeah, if we only practiced together once, it could have just been that moment in time because I’m really more into integration, like the whole body mandala, but I do think it’s empowering – whatever is imbalanced in our body is a way of giving on the cellular level to the rest of our being.  Meaning if we can achieve a full spectrum in our body – upper and lower, ha and tha, both relaxing inward movement and dynamic expansive movement, if we can cultivate the balance between those or whether – you know, full range of expression, then I have found – I’m more – and I see it in other student friends, more open-hearted and more open-minded.  Meaning it’s all one continuum.  So I think it’s empowering to have strength and it’s empowering to also be able to be open and fluid and relaxed.

Stephanie: If I could just ask a quick follow-up – I don’t have a lot of friends that do yoga, so I wonder how do you kind of approach that or how do you tell – is there a way to open up the community . . .

Shiva: Where do you live?

Stephanie: I live in Washington, D.C.

Shiva: Okay.  Are you in the government?  Do you work for the government?  Are you in that community?  Are you involved in public service – in that public service sector?  Because I teach in D.C. a lot and you’d be amazed that there are probably more yoga practitioners than you know in those dark suits and you’d be surprised.  And you just say, “Hey, do you practice yoga?”  You’d be surprised.  It’s like, “Yeah, great.”  If you just want to share that practice, but I think the perspective that I come from is – everybody has their yoga – they may just call it something different.  And that way, if yoga is part of your practice but it’s not someone else’s – I think people respect yoga these days.  It was very different 20 years ago.  There was a lot more – I don’t know – just – ambiguity based on ignorance.

Stephanie: Mmm hmm.  Thank  you.

Shiva: Thank you.

Stephen: Let’s give the mic to Trish.

Trish: Oh, hi Shiva.

Shiva: Hi Trish.

Trish: You talk about the sacred quality of your tears.  I was just wondering if you could talk a little bit about, not just the feeling of sadness, but that feeling of joy –

Shiva: Oh, absolutely.

Trish: The spontaneous coming up and bubbling up to the surface of whatever emotion, and just kind of allowing those feelings because in the world around it feels like a lot of people kind of go through life with those feelings contained [muffled] –

Shiva: I gotcha.  I am so with you.

Trish: Starts creating this allowance of it to come up and out [muffled].

Shiva: Yes, I call it the joy factor.  I think it’s the most important form of sustainable energy to our personal life – is having the joy factor – alive, circulating, every day.  And I have so many – I hope this won’t sound strange – because I’ve never called them this – joy toys.  Just like spinning poi, having a little staff, having little places, funny little glasses that I like to have tea in, little fun things that I do with my son – my beloved – the joy factor is extremely – I don’t want to say important because that gives it too much weight – it is the joie de vivre, it is what makes life worth living. I’m so grateful for all my friends and students and anybody on this planet who wants to play as an adult has preserved something so important.  And that’s why I love traveling to all parts of the world because people have a good time, they really do.  In the middle of any kind of challenge or chaos, there are so many cultures that make space for that sacred joy. And I couldn’t agree with you more.

Trish: Well, thank you.  And I really, when you say that sacredness with the tear on the cheek, my heart feels for that with you.  And then I also experience that sacredness and the whole realm of emotions and – [muffled] that the practice of yoga maybe keeps on layering that [muffled] – not just attachment to the feelings but moving through it.

Shiva: I agree with you.  I guess I wanted to hold space for that because I could really easily talk about the sacredness of the beautiful experiences that pour through our heart.  We haven’t dived into the sacredness of the Love Current.  Oh!  The Love Current!  The Love Current – the most sacred elixir of all, of all beings.  Oh!  The Love Current.

Trish: Love that.

Shiva: Yes!

[Stephen asks people to discuss amplifying the current joy and sacred connection
in groups of four and he and Shiva will listen in on some of the conversations.]

Stephen:  We are back.  You definitely have given us a good jolt of joy juice and love current.  It was really nice to hear people sharing.  Any thoughts or reflections after listening in on that?

Shiva: It really reminds me of one of my most important personal practices which I have come to call Shakti Bhakti, which means, wherever I am, looking, connecting to other beings – aspects of nature, from the ocean to the trees to the animals – wherever I am – piercing the judgmental barriers of my mind or any separation that I create with my mind and opening my heart in that moment.  It felt like dropping in on conversations like the kind of sacred connections that happen on planes, in lines at the post office, with cashier clerks at the grocery store, this kind of unexpected openness that we can offer each other as human beings.  It just felt wonderful to hear people giving that level of intimacy with each other as total strangers and I guess that’s some of the sacred experience in my life and I feel really off when I’m in parts of the world where people don’t seem to want to open up.  And I love being in parts of the world where there’s a kind of affection.  Like I say, one of the reasons I go to England is so I can say “Love” all the time and be called “Love” by, just by the taxi driver – “Okay, Love, step up.  “Very fine, Love,” – even if you’re doing something wrong – “It’s okay, Love.”  I like that intimacy of human beings extending their hearts to each other – I felt like I had the privilege of listening to that for a few minutes.

So thank you everybody who has been part of this hour and thank you, Stephen.  And bless all our vehicles of sacred consciousness – our eyes, our touch, our voice.  And I just pray that we all allow our instruments of being and expression to be carriers of the sacred vibration.

Stephen: Thank you for that blessing.  I so deeply honor you as a yoga teacher and inspiration and person who carries so much shakti and grace everywhere you go.  You’ve been a personal blessing for me and I know for folks on this line tonight.  Perhaps since you opened with a prayer, an Om, perhaps you can close us out in more like a yogic practice tonight – a ritual ending to our call.

Shiva: Sure.  I think it would be appropriate if it were something simple.  I could offer more elaborate rituals or chants or visualizations, but I think simple is profound when we really open to the practice. So I think people are perhaps familiar with the invocation “Om Shanti” that is offered at the closing of a chant or practice and it’s offered three rounds.  And the first Shanti is to go within into your own heart and release any unnecessary conflict that you are generating within yourself – unnecessary – sometimes we’re churning something but sometimes there’s unnecessary conflict and we need to release that static of the sacred, we could say.  And then the second Shanti is for all unnecessary conflicts, tensions, vibrational entanglements that we are generating – that we resolve that with others, that we really are extending peace to all beings.  And then the third is to really pray for peace in the world.  May all the unnecessary conflicts and waste be resolved.  So let’s chant “Om Shanti” three rounds, feeling the blessing of peace within ourselves, within all our relations and in the world.  Deep inhale.  [chanted] Om.  Shanti, shanti, shanti. Thank you – I’m a little raspy – I’m coming out of a 10-day teacher training, so my voice was a little low, but I enjoyed being with you, Stephen, and with everybody.

Stephen: Thank you, Shiva, beautiful.  Have a beautiful journey and pilgrimage to India.  May you bring back lots of divine feminine for those of us in the West.

Shiva: Okay.  Peace.

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