The leaves outside my window have begun their gentle transformation from brilliant emerald green to rich golden yellows and warm plum-toned reds. I regretfully close my window to the chilly air, taking a final whiff of the woody, pine scented breeze. The season is changing and our hearts undergo their own transformations.
Too often we develop an idea of ourselves that we forget to update. We give ourselves and our lives labels…what we do, who we are…and treat them as if they are static and stable. But the leaves on the tree of our hearts, grown from the roots of our karma, change color and fall to the Earth in one last, glorious dance. Our hearts are microcosms of the beautiful world that surrounds us. Ek ong kar. The creator and the creation are one.
The fall is a time of harvest, and we have an opportunity ourselves to take a moment, center ourselves into our breath and reflect. Hit the pause button. Take a deep breath. Be here now. What have we done this past season of action and growth? What have our lives become? Who is better off for our having been in this world? Often we don’t want to reflect because we are afraid of our own answers, afraid that we won’t measure up to the expectations of the world or of the little critic that lives inside of our own minds. But if we look with different eyes, determined to be our fan instead of our critic, we can also find moments of goodness and grace. We can find times where we lived up to our potential and smiled in the face of adversity.
This world, for all its chaos and challenges, is a beautiful world. The leaves could fall off the trees with no real fanfare, but instead they change into a rainbow that circles the globe, each leaf falling at its own time, spinning and twirling to the ground in graceful tumble. Humans are like that, too. Our lives could just exist and end without any real trace left on the world, and often we feel like that is exactly what is happening. But we grow and expand, we change our colors from green to yellow and red, we sway in the wind, and then finally we dance home to arms of our Creator in our final flight.
In this time of change, I can feel myself changing. I look at the leaves and feel my own transformations in my heart. I see the harvest brought in on the farm down the road, the glorious orange pumpkins, the blue gnarly squash, and the knobby and humorous yellow gourds. What have I created this year within me? I can feel the pulsating, warm pumpkin shaped joy inside me, created by chanting and mantra and yoga and most of all love. I can see a few blue gnarly squash created by moments of sadness and loss. And there are the funny little yellow squash from times of laughter so intense my sides might have split to reveal the seeds within!
This season for me is contained within the mantra “Gobinda Hari”. Its words are simple, like falling leaves, Gobinda Gobinda Hari Hari. Gobinda is the aspect of God that is the Sustainer that has kept us going all year. But it is also the aspect of God that is beautiful and lovely. Hari is the aspect of God that is the Creator, that is action, but it also the healing force within us. When we chant Gobinda Hari, we connect with the beautiful harvest within ourselves and we connect with the creative aspect that accomplished it. It’s like saying, “Beautiful! Beautiful! I did that! I did that!” We connect to God in a way that allows God to experience His own creation through us and our lives, and allows us to connect to the beauty of our own experience. Gobinda Hari also allows us to heal ourselves and feel security in a deep place in ourselves through a connection with the knowing that God is a sustaining and healing force at the center of our own hearts.
For 11 minutes, cross your hands over your chest at the wrist, right over left, palms resting near the shoulders. Close your eyes and chant “Gobinda Gobinda Hari Hari” feeling the grace and the kindness of the One who lies in the center of your own Being.
When you are finished, look outside with fresh eyes. See the bountiful harvest of the Universe. See the play of life in all its cycles and rhythms. Then look inside with fresh eyes, and see the beauty of God’s harvest within You. See the miracle of every breath you take and every smile you give. See yourself as a leaf in God’s forest — unique, beautiful and bright. Happy to sway in the breeze until that day when we all fall into our last dance, embraced at last by the One.
Gobinda Gobinda Hari Hari.
(Editor’s Note: The following CDs have gorgeous versions of Gobinda Hari.)