This weekend I pulled out the sweatshirts and flannels with great delight that the cooler weather has finally arrived. I put some pumpkins and mums (my favorite flowers!) on my porch and I considered how fall always feels like a time for organization, order, preparations, settling in.
Fall also always gets me thinking about abundance, specifically the invocation from the Isha Upanishad:
“All this is full. All that is full.
From fullness, fullness comes.
When fullness is taken from fullness,
Fullness still remains.”
I have lots of favorite parts of the Upanishads but as a whole, the Isha Upanishad is my favorite. Purportedly It was Ghandi’s favorite, too. Ghandi did reference the Isha Upanishad in his writings, specifically about the implications for our social and economic structures if we were to take the Isha Upanishad’s message of abundance seriously.
Ghandi is famously quoted as saying “There is enough for everyone’s need, just not enough for everyone’s greed.”
Sometimes our yoga practice serves us best, perhaps after a particularly stressful week in the world, as a place for us to regroup and turn inward, as a place to recharge and practice self-care. It becomes a place that moves us in rhythm the energy of the fall, where we organize our bodies, our attention and it’s where we can gather in to what serves us as individuals.
But in Ghandi’s view our yoga practices should ultimately rest on the foundation of what is good for the collective, no matter what the season.
The Isha Upanishad’s point is that there is one consciousness that connects us all. We have equal access to it and equal right to experience it.
Even more than that, it is not a limited resource. This one consciousness is abundantly and constantly available to us. What kinds of implications does that have for the way we move through the world?
There is so much division and conflict right now, perhaps even in own families and even within ourselves, that I find a particular inspiration in words from Greek philosopher Plotinus’ Enneads, which sounds quite a bit like the Isha Upanishad’s message:
“Think of this One original source as a spring, self-generating, feeding all of itself to the rivers and not yet used up by them…When you pours over us, we are not dashed down but you raise us up. You are not spilled out, but collect us together.”