Musings by Veronica
Happy Navaratri! On this last night of celebration, the last leg of the inner journey of transformation, can you let yourself relax? The stress that we generate through the effort of trying to "get somewhere" can be exhausting, even if that effort is what we would label as tapas (and therefore "good for us"). None of that effort is worth what we think it is. That is especially true if we never truly let ourselves relax and feel what we have achieved, to notice what and how we have changed- and how we have remained the same where it matters. Saraswati's last gift to us is the true allowance to be yourSelf, both the human self that gets caught up in the stress of getting somewhere and the Cosmic Self that never needed to go anywhere in the first place. It is in knowing ourselves as both that we really comprehend what it means to be embodied. We say all the time in yoga that the human self and Cosmic Self are not separate. Don't confuse this with being the "same". Just like a sprinkling of rain is not the same as the ocean (even though they are both water), the way in which the human self expresses itself is subtlely different than the Cosmic Self. It is their Nature/Essence/Source which is the same, the uniting factor. So we are meant to be human and ride the waves of emotion and experience and to search and find and get lost and play and rest. We're supposed to fall down and get up again. None of your humanness is wrong. None of it negates (nor ever could diminish) the Cosmic Self that shines through this human mind and heart.
The thing about the Cosmic Self is that it is effortless. It needs nothing, gains nothing from life, loses nothing from life. It is unchanging because it is whole. There's nothing to add, nothing to improve. And this confuses our human mind that is ALWAYS looking for what can be changed, for better or for worse. We even make it a favorite saying, "Be the best self you can be" or the "best version of yourself". I know I've said it (to you and to myself). How funny that to even say it means that we have decide who that self is supposed to be. We have to put effort into what we do and say and how we present ourselves. Which means we also probably are doing a lot of work to suppress, hide, and pretend away whatever we think doesn't belong in that "version of self" we are trying to be. Again, the stress involved in trying to keep up that facade (no matter how wonderful a facade or how heartfelt the effort) is exhausting and many of us become very anxious about what might happen if we make a mistake and ruin that image of ourselves forever. This is why the knowledge of the Cosmic Self is so powerful. To be able to see yourself from a point of view where nothing is wrong and you can value every aspect of yourself means that when you see those particular parts in action you aren't afraid of them and don't seek to control them so much. You aren't obsessed with improving yourself. What is naturally "you" simply continues and what was never "you" simply no longer has allure. You'll stop doing whatever it is you don't like and start liking what you do because you'll start liking who you are. (Yes, read that 1,000 times until it sinks in).
Being eternal means that the Cosmic Self exists outside of space and time. It has no stakes in the world. You can even say that its "features" are not connected specifically with time and place either. The Cosmic Self isn't an extrapolation of who you think you are right now. This embodiment is a tiny facet of the Self, it is an extension of, not a foundation for the Self. The Self is the perfect blueprint of everything you are, and all the possibilities of what can come of that makeup of energy. Every aspect in its superlative form. When you know that literally everything that comes through you is from this Perfection, then how can you judge it as wrong? Misplaced? Maybe. Misunderstood? Probably. But wrong? Never. This is where Saraswati helps us to regain conscious awareness of this deeper meaning of self, the more Cosmic view, and with that we can relax. Yes, there is effort involved in working with the habits in the mind that have built up (that's Durga). Yes, there is effort involved in manifesting your desires in right relationship with the world and understanding the value of yourself (that's Lakshmi). But knowing yourSelf? The only effort is opening your eyes to see what is there instead of look for what you think might be there. The actual knowing of the Self is effortless. You don't have to do anything with it. Just know it. And then turn around and look at the life you are living and adjust according to the way you now see yourSelf and the meaning the world has for you. Because that's the key. The Cosmic Self doesn't need the world, but the human self is of the world- there's no separating human consciousness from it. So none of this "work" matters unless there is personal meaning in it for you. The Cosmic view will maybe shift your mind to perceive things on a more universal level and may inspire you to act differently, but it is still human consciousness that acts. Saraswati is that blissful place of knowing you are Cosmic and therefore cannot truly f*ck this up, but also human so you can be sure that you will f*ck up regularly. So relax. Do what you can and what you want, but try to know yourSelf so all of that running around means something in the end. (Whatever that means lol).
A friend of mine, who is a scientist, once said to me that a huge part of the scientific method is to go looking for something and end up finding something completely different and having no idea what it means. She told me that research scientists live in a land of "we don't know, but here's what we see" and that it's a shame that most of the time, scientific findings are made public in a way that seems like much more is "known" than it actually is. (There is a huge conversation to be had on the topic of science, but this has nothing directly to do with Saraswati so you'll have to wait on that). So human to want that kind of satisfaction, the comfort of knowing. I love this way of being, even if it is an idealized representation of people, where being wrong is everyday and normal. More than anything, with Saraswati, can we celebrate the not-knowing that leads us the knowing? Can we love ourselves every time we realize our minds were simply mistaken- we were wrong, we didn't know. What a relief. Now we can find out. Relax. The knowing is there and you can find it anytime. Might as well start now. See what happens.
Saraswati is the closing energy of the trinity of Goddess forms for Navaratri. She brings us back to the beginning, to where it all started, with You. She asks us to do the work of trying to know ourselves (which will ultimately succeed) so that we can relax and just Be ourselves. We step out of the world to do the work of transformation so that we can enter back in and let go of effort. Relax. You are not only in the flow of the world, you are also eternally in the flow of Divine Consciousness, Cosmic Consciousness, One with whatever you imagine God to Be. Don't be afraid. Don't worry about being wrong. Make mistakes. Become "the best version of yourself" that you don't imagine, but that you feel to be real down to the core of you. You carry Durga within you and through Her, you carry all the forms of the Mother. Pick any one as your guiding star to remind you who you are when you have a human moment and forget. For tonight though, let it be Saraswati. Let her sing you to sleep and wake up relaxed. Start again tomorrow.
OM shanti, shanti, shanti