MAY – Focus of the Month
by Martyna Eder | May, 2021
MOTHERING THE MOTHER
Om sarva mangala-mangalye shive-sarvartha-sadhikesharanye tryambake gauri Narayani namo’stu te
I salute the three-eyed Divine Mother, Narayani, who brings total auspiciousness and who fulfills the desire for liberation. Realization arises with her blessing. She is the world itself. Only through the experiences of life can the soul be perfected. Honor this gift, your life, bow to mother Nature.
— From Durga Saptashati, Chapter 11 (Jivamukti Chant Book p.6)
The mind is good at being divisive and looks for differences whereas the heart enjoys and finds comfort in common ground and unity. Of course there are countless things that are the same for everybody but one that is often taken for granted is that every one of us has a mother. Each incredibly serious and self important adult has a belly button somewhere hidden underneath their serious adult clothes that will always be a reminder that they used to be a baby, connected to mother through the umbilical cord. In a world that so values independence we may forget that we all have been absolutely dependent on our mothers. Her body nurtured, carried and kept us warm and safe no matter how our adult relationship to her turned out to be. All beings have that in common: every creature has a mother and every being came out of a woman.
There is an individual mother to every being but there is also a universal mother we all have in common: Mother Nature. She nurtures and provides for us just like our individual mothers did. Mothers Day reminds us to be grateful for- and appreciative of our mother. Lately there seems to be a „day“ for everything: ocean day, international women’s day, earth day and so on. They are supposed to remind us to appreciate something or someone whose existence we take for granted. They are so close we no longer see them and we may have stopped to care for or appreciate them at all. Unfortunately one day of remembrance and care is not enough. If we call our mother once a year for mothers day that wont give her the feeling of being loved or cared for. The same thing counts for our universal mother- Mother Nature- who has not been treated with the respect and love that a caring mothers deserve. We might watch a documentary every now and then and shake our heads about how much she is abused and exploited. We might even have a little resolution like trying to use less plastic or consume less animal products, but as it lies in our nature and as the economy and culture wants us to- we will forget and go back to „normal“. Our „normal“ is a profoundly out of balance and unsustainable way of treating our universal Mother and our larger earth family that she has created.
We can see the love of a mother universally: every cow-mom nurses, grooms and loves her calf, mice- moms would attempt to fight a cat to protect their babies and every chicken broodes and protects her eggs for a long time until her babies hatch. Even though every human person on earth has a mother and should be able to relate to that sacred relationship, we still take babies away from their moms to be able to consume the milk that is supposed for their babies or take away their eggs. Consuming the milk of another species is considered „normal“ in our society and so is eating eggs of a female from another species, a potential mother.
Mothers day could be a beautiful chance to contemplate motherhood in all forms: we are all children and we all have a mother. Are we treating the mothers of the world with respect and dignity or are we just taking, consuming and harvesting, seeing her as a commodity? Can we give something back to honor our universal mother and restore balance to the relationship? Can we see the sacredness of motherhood in other species and in the planet itself; can we protect this relationship instead of destroying it?
We have been given the gift of life by our Mother. And only through cherishing and celebrating the experience of this gift, our life, can our soul or true self be glimpsed let alone perfected. We can only cherish and experience life if we are keeping Mother Nature safe and if we are allowing all other beings to do the same. The Divine Mother protects and nourishes us but sometimes a Mother needs to be mothered, too.
Note: Teaching Tips provided by Hachi Yu (2021 300HR TT Facilitator)
- remind students that asana means connection to Mother Earth and that asana practice can be seen as a physical worship to Mother Earth
- Suggest watching seaspiracy (and cowspiracy)
- Suggest to contemplate motherhood in a wider sense on Mother’s Day
- Practice child’s pose to be reminded of the feeling of being safe, protected and cared for by our mother (earth)
- Invite students to visualize and appreciate nature and its creatures while mimicking them in an asana practice (tree, mountain, frog, crane, crow, camel…)
- Practice thankfulness meditation
- Dedicate the practice to a mother (individual or universal)
- Do something kind to a mother (individual or universal): writing a letter to ones individual mom, not consuming dairy or eggs to protect other mothers, not eating fish to protect the oceans and Mother Nature