With great respect and love I welcome you all here this morning and to 2018 with all my heart. 2018 is an auspicious number because 18 is a function of 9, the most sacred number in yoga because it always returns to itself, to its source. Whatever you multiply 9 by it always reduces back to 9 so a reminder that we too always return to source.
What better way to start the year than with an hour of contemplation to gather our power through the focus of the mind. Our minds create our experiences. In a world that is both beautiful and terrible can we ourselves contribute to the beauty of the world and help reduce the terror? Beauty itself is not something flimsy and weak, it can be fierce too. The tigress is both beautiful and fierce, the lioness is both beautiful and fierce. Holding true to your essential nature, holding true to what you know to be right, even though just one person, you can change the world fundamentally. One campaigner against injustice in the world, one champion for change, pressing for a reduction of violence against women can fundamentally change the culture in which we live. Never underestimate the power of holding true to what is right.
There was a rich man who was about to die and he gathered his three children together to decide which of them should receive his fortune. He gave them each a few coins and said: “using only what I have given you your task is to fill this room, and that person who fills the room the most will be the one to inherit my wealth. The oldest went away and came back with a whole bale of straw and spread it out, but it only covered the floor. Later that same day the second child returned having purchased a fleece of wool from a shepherd but this too did not even fill the room up to their ankles. When the third and youngest child finally returned it was already night and dark. She had searched the whole day through and very simply placed a candle in the dark room and lit it with a single match. The room was immediately filled with light. She was the child who inherited her father’s estate.
The parable means that for each one of us, bringing a little bit of light into the world can enrich us and fundamentally change not only our own experience but that of those around us creating a ripple effect. Gandhi in India in the 1930’s by holding true to Ahimsa, non-violence, just one of the precepts of the Yamas of Raja Yoga created a wave of social change that swept through the world simply by holding true to what was right.
As we go into our meditation today we formulate our intentions with great clarity for the year ahead and as they take root we watch with wonder, awe and delight in our own power as these intentions manifest in the year ahead.