From Catherine Carrigan: This article was written by one of my friends and fellow yoga teachers who asked to remain anonymous. We are sharing it with you in hopes you will be inspired to reflect on the beauty of your own soul and the love and light that shines through each of us.
An experience that I had during guided pranayama recently prompted me to call my dear friend Catherine to see if she could help me shed light on what had happened to me, or rather if it had actually occurred at all.
Catherine, as she always does, listened graciously, asked me several reflective questions and offered suggestions on the event, then encouraged me to write down what had happened so that as time goes by I would have something to reflect on.
She felt that potentially there could be more opportunities ahead for me to gain additional insight from this so taking her advice, this was my experience:
It was Sunday morning during our recent yoga teacher training weekend.
As is always the case, the group of teacher trainees and I were gathered at the studio, preparing our blankets for the pranayama practice that would occupy the next hour or so.
Lying down on our mats, each of us closed our eyes and began to follow along as our teacher guided our breath.
Though my eyes were closed and my body comfortably relaxed, I remained awake and attentive to what my teacher was saying. I was not tired or sleepy but rather alert, listening for instruction to deepen my breath or expand outward more.
At some point in this practice, it occurred to me that my teacher had fallen silent for much longer than was her usual habit.
I listened, waiting to hear if she would begin speaking soon and when she remained quiet, I happily decided to go further into a meditative state and enjoy the moments of deep relaxation that the silence would give me.
Soon I was unaware of anything other than the sound and feeling of my own breath as it moved in and out with my body responding to it.
All of a sudden, I “see” myself sitting up, lifting my head and chest, resting on my elbows though I know full well that I never moved at all or open my eyes at any time.
I can see the room and all who are in it quite plainly; my fellow teacher trainees lying on their mats, still and quietly breathing.
Descending down into each of them was the most incredible shaft of light, a column of glistening, brilliant white that penetrated through their bellies in the area of their navels and down into the floor.
I was reminded of the poles that go through carousel horses on a merry-go-round, and as I looked at the room I saw each one had one of the same size, about four inches in diameter, perfectly straight, and attached in the exact same place.
The shafts were a vortex of swirling, crystalline light, which was rotating counter-clockwise, and was flecked with bright dots of sapphire and denim blue sparks.
I recall just looking at the room and marveling at how beautiful it all was, and thinking to myself, “Oh! I love that color blue!” when one column in particular was swirling.
I do not have the words that can adequately describe the beauty, and even if I did I am not sure that I could do it justice. I knew instinctively that I shouldn’t try to cling to or control what I was seeing in any way.
I simply sat looking at the beauty of it for what seemed like a minute or so when just as suddenly I felt a vacuum-like effect happening to me; a feeling of being sucked back into my physical presence on the mat, in the room, wide awake and alert though my eyes were still closed and I was lying on the floor.
I was awed at what I had witnessed yet a tiny part of me began to judge it, questioning if it had really happened or if I had fallen asleep and dreamt it.
However it had happened, I felt humbled that I had seen such brilliance and beauty.
About that time our teacher began speaking again and I turned my attention to her instructions. I had a strong sense of not wanting to share the experience with the others so I made a mental note to talk to my teacher or Catherine about it in private later to see what they thought about it.
Curiously, I choose to stay silent when the opportunity presented itself to have a conversation with my teacher later. I wondered if she would dismiss it as unreal, and while I was perfectly okay with being told that I had fallen asleep and must have been dreaming, I did not want the memory of it being diminished.
Real or imagined, it was so incredibly beautiful that I wanted to be able to remember it in the pure light in which I saw it.
Over the next two days, the memory of what I had experienced neither dissolved or grew.
It stayed just as I had experienced it.
I decided that I would call Catherine to see if she could give me some insight into what had happened.
Catherine assured me that it was indeed real, calling it a “transcendental experience” and explaining that in that moment I had been given a gift of seeing from the soul perspective.
In the time that I was given, I was allowed to see all of my friends in the room with their hara lines and in their true, natural, loving state of being. She asked me to reflect on the vision and if I had a sense of what message my soul might be trying to give to me.
As I think about it, I only know that it was if I was being told, “Look at this! Just look. See this.Awake to this.”
I am left with a profound sense of gratitude for the gift of such exquisite beauty, for my friends in that room who allowed me to see them as they truly are, and for my dear friend Catherine in whom I knew that I had a safe place to turn to understand this experience.
Most importantly, I know too that I never want to do or say anything that could diminish or disrupt the beauty of anyone else.
May we all be filled with loving kindness toward each other so as not to subtract from but to only add to each other’s Light.