Radiant Sun

This morning I sit – as I did every morning over the past one and a half weeks – on my terrace beside the olive tree and look out onto the sea.
The beauty of this place is quite overwhelming.
Pink and white Oleander blossoms are lining the little terracotta pathways that connect the houses. Hibiscus, jasmine and roses are covering each of the little front gardens, their fragrance competing with that of the wild rosemary, which is filling every crevice of the land. I see or hear almost no cars and very few people walk by to greet us – but always with a friendly smile.

I am on a retreat with my beautiful Sangha – our small Group of Jyotishis which has formed about four years ago in Ireland. Fate has dispersed us into different places but now we meet at our teachers home in Sardinia – beautiful Sardinia.
I listen to the birds and to my room mate chanting her early morning mantra:

oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
tat savitur vareṇyaṃ
bhargo devasya dhīmahi
dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt

All Yogis know this Mantra, beautiful prayer to the sun, taken straight from the ancient text of the Rig Veda. A chant that is so old we don’t know its beginnings. Passed on for thousands of Generations of Rishis, written down in the most sacred of texts, it is so much more than a prayer to the sun. Chanting it causes a connection to nature and to a source, deep inside ourselves:

We meditate on the radiant sun that shines in all the three worlds. May it also shine in us and enlighten our minds.

It recognises that the fire of the sun is also the Agni inside of us, our digestive fire, our metabolism in each of our cells and our molecules. It pervades our nervous system, our vital energy and it is the light of our mind, our intelligence, our life force. It is our vision, our senses, our soul. It is our very essence.

Chanting it gives power to it all.

Whatever we put our focus and intention on is what we nourish to grow in our lives. Whatever we give our energy too, comes back to us a hundredfold. When we give our energy to our inner sun, we will grow its strength a hundredfold too.

Charged by thousands of ancestral voices, the Gayatri infuses us with light, just like the sun.

It has been wonderful to start each day like this, letting in the light, soothing the senses with the gentleness of nature and soaking in the healing power of the sun each day.
I watch as my skin turns a different hue – of gold and brown, sprinkled with small freckles along my arm.
Even my legs have lost the glaring white of someone who rarely wears shorts.

The sun gives my eyes a different color, more green than brown, a deeper glow, like jade or peridot. It nourishes my soul.

In Vedic Astrologie, the sun is an expression of the powerful cosmic force that shines all by itself – not like the moon and stars who reflect that light, the sun is the source of it all.
It can dispel darkness, both within and also without.
To form a conscious, spiritual connection with the sun means to acknowledge its existence in all these Dimensions – the physical world (Bhur), the psychological world (Bhuva) and the subtle realm of the Self (Svah) and let it’s light pervade all of our layers.

It means to shine a light even into the darkest places of our unconscious minds. And that requires courage.

The ancients would have forged their connection with this inner and outer sun by performing elaborate rituals, by meditating and by chanting the Gayatri Mantra – at sunrise, at midday, at sunset and also at midnight, when the sun is hidden but not gone for good.

The moment we take in our very first breath, we are born, not only from the DNA of humans, but of the whole universe, the cosmic forces around us. In us, we carry the molecules of stars, the waters of the primal oceans and the stories of all of our ancestors. We are an expression of the forces of nature.
In the moment, we take in our very first breath, we capture the essence of that moment and we carry it out into the world.
For some, this moment includes a powerful sun, exalted in Aries, at home in Leo, comfortable in other places too, but debilitated in Libra, afflicted when it is with Rahu or Ketu, or with Saturn.
For some, the sun will give a radiance and joy from the moment they are born and the world will mirror this radiance back at them.
For some the sun brings light and inspiration, and a sense of Self that cannot seem to be disturbed.
For others, the sun will not shine quite so brightly. It may be hiding from the light, be inwardly drawn and lacking in confidence and maybe they will compensate this lack by creating a false sense of Ego.

However strong, we all have a sun shining within us, which wants to be acknowledged. We all want to be seen.
We all need to shine, to be authentic in who we really are and to be seen as that.
Without this authenticity we fade. We grow inflated Egos or we shrivel in the light like a dying plant.
The Vedic teachings give us much knowledge in how to strengthen our inner sun.
The Gayatri Mantra is one beautiful way.
At night, I sit quietly, with my Mala bead necklace, a very special one, my mother made for me. 108 glass beads, one for each recitation of the Mantra.

When I sit to do my Pranayama, I use the Gayatri Mantra – one recitation on the inhale, one on the hold and two on the exhale. It calms my mind and keeps me concentrated.
I meditate on my inner sun, a light, that shines out from my centre into every cell and out into the world – a meditation taught to me many years ago by my buddhist teacher, Phra Nicolas Tannisaro.
Each morning, I begin my Asana practice with Surya Namaskara, the sun salutations, that ignite my Agni, my inner fire, they let me feel the heat, the power of my inner sun.
But the most powerful practice to let the inner sun shine is authenticity. To always speak and live one’s truth no matter what, to be honest in every way, especially toward oneself.
In this moment, I resolve to practice this on a deeper level than I did before.

And now, on the last day of my wonderful retreat in Sardinia, I soak it in – the beauty and the radiance of it, the warmth on my skin, the light that makes everything glow and shine and sparkle with beauty and with joy.
I feel this joy inside of me and hold it close to my heart.

May the radiance of the sun shine in all the layers of my consciousness. May it enlighten me and all beings in the world.

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