Remembering Goodness - Jivamukti Focus of the Month Jan 2016
It is important to reflect on the good things we have experienced in our lives. That’s how goodness gets strengthened, by remembering it. Remembrance is very powerful. The past does not exist outside the present moment. When we remember something, we bring it into the present moment and give it life. The more we remember it, the more alive it becomes and the more power it has. We all have this skill—the magical skill to resurrect the past. All we have to do is remember it. But this skill is very powerful, and it doesn’t discriminate—whatever we remember we bring to life. So we must work very hard to remember the good things and let go of the bad things. We all make mistakes, and we all do things we come to regret. Sometimes, through our remembrance, we even discover mistakes that other people have made. We must be careful not to dwell on this kind of negativity, though, because if we remember it, it will be continually renewed. If we remember the bad things, then there will be bad things in the world and in our lives. By the same token, if we forget the good things, then we will not have them in the world or in our lives.
The word remember is an extraordinary word. It means "to make a member again, to put back together." There was a great, compassionate and joyful being who lived many years ago; since that time, she has sometimes been forgotten and sometimes remembered and sometimes forgotten again. She was an extraordinary being because she knew the power of remembrance. Her name was Isis—Is Is, the is-ness. She was a master of remembrance, and thus her name is Is. Is refers to reality—to what really is. The yogic teachings state that reality is satchidananda—truth, consciousness and mostly bliss. That sure sounds like goodness to me. To the ancient Egyptians, the Goddess Isis was the divine personification of the perfection that comes through the ability to connect perfectly. Her husband, Osiris, was dismembered, his body chopped up and all the pieces scattered throughout the universe. He was discombobulated, disjointed, disconnected and forgotten by most. But Isis did not forget her husband. She embarked on a project to re member him. Her husband was God, and she embarked on a project to remember God. She went every place she could go, and the places she couldn’t go she found a way to get to. And she found all of his pieces and put him back together again.
The Egyptian hieroglyph for Isis looks like a chair, a seat. It represents the quality of connectedness and relationship to the Earth that enabled Isis to remain whole and to see the way to restore her husband to wholeness. Asana means "seat." Through the practice of asana, we can become better able to invoke these qualities and restore our relationships with others and the world to a good place of mutual benefit. Asana practice grounds us and helps us re-member what’s important and allows us to let go of what’s not important. Goodness is what is most important. We all have the powers of Isis inherent within us—to remember goodness—and practicing asana can put us in touch with those powers.
It is not that bad things haven’t happened in our past, and I am not suggesting that we live in denial or pretend that everything has always been good and perfect. What I am offering is a reminder of the power we all have—the power to choose whether to dwell on negativity or to shift our focus to the positive. Our potential holds limitless possibilities; we do not have to be victims of our past bad memories. Our thoughts create the reality in which we live. We have options as to what we focus on. Even if terrible things have happened to us in our lives, we can exercise the option to let go of the bad and cultivate a remembrance of the good. Unless we remember goodness, we will forget goodness, and then no goodness will be here. It’s up to us. So remember the good things in life, reflect on them and share them with others. And if you find it too hard to look past the negative to memories of the good, then fill your mind with holy mantras like OM or one of the other names for God, or even the mantra LET GO, and let your inner Divine self do the re-membering. Make yourself into an example for others of how to reinforce goodness, and take their example by listening to them share the good things in their lives. Together we can embody Isis and put a real world of goodness back together.