I´m the mother of seven beautiful children: seven souls that came through me to this world. I´m also the grandmother of a one and a half-year-old baby, Azul. They are my heart and my life is geared towards working for a safer, sorrow-free world for them and for all generations to come.
Peace has been my quest since I was very small. We crave for things we don´t have and I grew up in a very unstable family situation. We all face the challenges we are meant to have so our life mission can be established and there needs to be a burning desire for change and transformation within so we can manifest changes around us. There is entropy that constantly pulls us back in our inertia and disappointment. Despair and unworthiness two of the worsts cloaks for our soul power: the feeling that it is impossible to make a change and also the belief we are not good enough to promote a new vision.
I came to India 16 years ago and 17 trips have followed. I was searching for something, yet I did not know what it was. I only felt a strong pull coming from the east all the way to Costa Rica. It took one trip to realize and understand what I was looking for I would not be able to find in my safe, comfortable life in the west. I knew I had to keep coming to this White Elephant, this continent that spoke to me through whispers in the breeze, through new smells and deep chants.
I knew I had to sacrifice my personal life for a bigger call.
So, I kept coming. The yoga helped ease the pain of separation from my loved ones and also eased the anxiety of dropping my former lawyer life into the unknown. Letting go of a well-constructed image I had fed for 33 years was no easy task. Many around me thought I was crazy to drop marriage, career, children, and country. I thought I was crazy myself so many times to leave behind the known and embrace the uncertainty. But the call was loud and it only subsided when I met my Guruji.
He was so weighty and solid as the biggest rock. Around him, we all felt like tiny ants. So full of love and passion for this practice. So eager to share it because he knew it would wake us up to truth and love. He was so lively despite his 86 years, so humble and joyful, cheerful like a little boy. Big smile, watching all of us so attached to our performance, stressed out westerners wanting to be number one. He would challenge us with a yell and hug us with tender love after the massive openings in backbends. He would kiss us and protect us beyond the visible and send us back home to share what we had gathered from each encounter.
We knew we had to give back: we had received so much.
I have been to Mysore so many times, I already lost count. By my Guruji, his hands and eyes were my dear teacher Sharath. Young at the time I met him, he was probably around 30. His practice was so demanding at the time, his grandfather taking him to the very edge every morning, just the two of them sharing the darkness of the 3 am practice and the coffee and then teaching for many hours non-stop. A humble servant to his Guru, tough teacher to us- yet with the years he has softened and now smiles much more. Strict and present like I have become with myself, my students and my children. Now learning to enjoy the practice more and the blessing of sharing the teachings. My Guru Sharath is loving but aware, not falling into any sugar-coated illusion around our relationship but keeping it sober so advancement is possible.
He helped me get focused on the work at hand, not anticipating anything: first series for 3 years, second for 5 more, third series since 2007 interrupted by three pregnancies that brought everything to step one again. Humility, patience and much trust that everything was to come.
And it did.
I live in India now. My path has brought me to an amazing collusion between my personal spiritual path and the work for my country and for the world.
How it happened I still don´t understand with my mind but Guruji always used to say: “Do your practice and all is coming.”
I´m the living example that this is true.
Mysore has been my home in India since 2003, 16 years of travels from the other part of the world longing for something I could not name at the time but that I can name now. I could only cry when I left my children, one of them specially. He would always ask me for how long I was to leave and hug my leg with his little arms not wanting to let go. He was 7 at the time, the same age my son Theo is now- another one who had a hard time letting go of mommy.
Ariel was this child who is now a grown man and whose hugs almost crash me, so big and strong he has become. So blessed to know that through his experience of living in a yogic world he has connected to the practice and to so many other blessings that come with it, as the rest of my children have also and many good-hearted people whom i have had the pleasure to meet and work within all Latin America, Europe, and Asia.
After many years of going back and forth my life as I knew it started dissolving. I stopped looking for relief in romantic relationships, in possessions and fame, my old mental patterns became dust as my body started exploring the mysteries of the advanced series. The pain, the surrender, the passion, and intensity of those postures have given me I can only compare to childbirth- which I have had plenty of chances to experience. The experience of death is present in every birth and like facing death, each practice I would go into the shala praying, knowing anything was possible and come out amazed at the miracle that I was still alive. Not only alive but really alive: awake, raw and incredibly open to the miracle of life itself.
The practice has made me strong and soft at the same time. It has answered my long time questions, it has shown me the depths of my own being. Once we realize who we are, life becomes very easy. As a good friend posted today, maybe the secret of life is only this that through practicing and daily life we create the power and courage to return to exactly that which we have spent a lifetime hiding from…
The personal sacrifices some of us need to go through to pursue our passion I had no idea. Some of us are willing to pay the price, we have no option, we need to go beyond the common places. Would I be willing to pay the price over and over again to come to the place inside that I stand on today?
Yes, I would.
I have come to a place of surrender and gratitude that I never anticipated. I have prayed hard to the Supreme to show me the way: the next country, the next mission, the next project. The faith that the door will open with the correct answer for my path in due time, without any doubt.
My answers are all here with me as I listen to sacred Shiva chants and have my cup of ‘chai’. I am awake, calm and happy, yes happy. Simple life, peace inside my heart, passion for my projects and longing for the Divine, plus a feeling of expanded love for those close to my heart but not only for them but for all humankind, for all of us who including myself attempt everyday to stay calm in this bodily experience, the human-divine experience of the present moment.
No more humiliation, failing, unworthiness or abandonment but the sweet serene flavor of peace inside my heart.
Everything I was looking for without knowing it has slowly come to me. Today I realized my path will change soon and new faces and experiences will show up at my door. I need to be open and release the impulse to hold on to the known. Being fully present in the spiritual path means understanding all we have is this precious, precarious, fragile and intensely beautiful life- precisely because of its impermanence. And in this fragility, we can find our true essence and power: the capacity to break layer after layer of old conditioning and open to the fresh possibility of being alive today.
To my teachers, infinite gratitude. Everything I am today is because of your support and presence through the highs and downs, mountains, and valleys of the path.
Guruji and Sharath, your mercy and patience with me I will never be able to repay. I can only make my most humble attempt to open the path for others to walk it, those destined to burn in the fires of longing and desire for God.
And of course, to India my mother, my infinite challenge, and blessing in this lifetime.
Shanti Shanti Shanti
May all beings be happy and free.
By Mariela Cruz
Ambassador of Costa Rica in India