I’m living in a building with 30 people, one hour south of Portland, in the countryside of Oregon. We are living on 55 acres of land, the building we are currently in is large enough to accommodate 200 or so people, not to mention there is another buildings this same size on the property. Why am I here? To put it simply… Yoga. I am here because yoga lives here.
Every morning our group rises together before the sun is up and we meditate. We stretch and energize our bodies beforehand, then as a group we say a prayer, asking the divine to bless our meditation. We spread out our multi colored blankets, meditation pillows, benches, yoga mats, adorn our malas, om boards and other yoga paraphernalia and for 2 hours we invite the divine into our temples to commune. Where I go for those two hours every morning, I cannot explain but one thing I can say is, if you haven’t started meditating yet, you should. It is one of the most beautiful, deep and fulfilling things in my life. In fact, it is the most important thing in my life. I can’t imagine starting my day before thanking my creator. There is no more important priority before connecting with my higher self after nightly separation in sleep.
Paramhansa Yogananda, the man who brought yoga to me, is my eternal teacher. Though his body is not physically on this plane, he is right here with me, in this abandoned building, in the city, in everything and everywhere I go. He is in my heart and mind and one day he will be more real than anything I can see, hear or touch. The reason I love being here is that yoga comes alive through the people who are working, serving and studying here with me. They are dedicating their lives to higher ideas and a more conscious and aware way of living. Intentional, sustainable community is only part of the agenda here, conscious and spiritual community is really what makes Ananda Laurelwood work above other communities I have visited in the Portland, Oregon area.
We have a joke here at Ananda Laurelwood (which I moved to as of March 28, 2012) that everyday here is like a week in the outside world. In terms of growth emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically so much transpires here daily that it is almost impossible to conceive. I am growing here, I will say that much and to stop and think about it only makes the process slow and painful. Resistance is futile.
I love yoga. I started practicing it in a real way almost ten years ago when I was 18 years old. Life was empty, confusing and full of pain when before I started to search out answers to what this world is all about. That’s when the teachings started to come, when I started to ask the questions. That old saying, “the teacher comes when the student is ready” proved true. I never say, “I found my guru”, my guru in fact, found me. I love and trust him more deeply than anyone I have ever met in this life. It’s a confusing relationship if you have no concept of the guru-disciple relationship which involves surrendering your life fully to something outside of yourself. It involves giving up self, but more so, the ego in order to become something greater, in order to fully become our true self. It’s like chipping away at an old cement block or removing the dirt from a stone to uncover what is hidden underneath. We are all diamonds, sacred beings, angels of light. This is our true essence underneath all the self definitions, blocks, ideas, likes, dislikes, we are golden.
I am becoming more and more myself every day in a way I never thought possible. I love where I live and where I’m at in life, it’s all so magical. I never felt in a million years that I could feel this light, this joyful, this peaceful and I feel like I’ve only just begun. I never thought happiness was possible as I used to think life was just in itself a sad thing most of the time. I am uncovering the gift of life more and more through my practice here and I look forward to uncovering and sharing more along the way.
Clarity West is a writer, director, producer and artist. Clarity recently completed a documentary that explores a spiritual quest across the US and Philippines. She is the writer/director of several meditative short films which have screened at film festivals. Clarity has ten years of creative and professional writing experience in script writing, grant and art writing. Clarity loves to be creative and works with a variety of mediums including graphic design, paint and print. Clarity enjoys manifesting visions in creative and collaborative projects and working on projects that inspire and uplift.
Yoga Girl East West is her blog. http://yogagirleastwest.blogspot.com/
Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/YogaGirlEastWest
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