I woke up this morning with a thought in my mind "appa deepo bhava." What does that mean? I wondered as I tried to figure out where that thought came from. Then I remembered that I read this line in a book called The Buddha Said by Osho, about two years ago when I first started meditating. I went and found the book and flipped through until I found the words, which were highlighted. "Be courageous, Ananda, and be a light unto yourself...appa deepo bhava...be a light unto yourself."
According to this book, appa deepo bhava, were the last words that Buddha communicated to his disciple Ananda, who was very fearful of life as Buddhas came to an end. He was afraid that without Buddha his life would become extremely dark. Where would he now get his light from? Buddha explained to Ananda that his light is within his own being. That no one can take it away from him, it is his to shine unto himself, and that is the light that will be radiated outward for others to receive, just as Ananda received light from Buddha.
The light is within my own being. There is no need to search outward. I picture myself as an empty container filled with light, but I am cluttered, so it’s hard to always feel this light. I need to clear out this container. I am realizing that inner light takes work. It takes time. It takes dedication. It takes courage. It takes courage to let go of everything I am clinging to inside.
Every morning I take time for myself, just for me, to meditate, practice yoga, to read and write. This helps me empty my container, but sometimes when I go out into the world I get cluttered again. I experience frustration, impatience, and insecurities. But it’s okay to get lost sometimes. Its okay its okay its okay. Let it go. I keep telling myself this over and over. I am trying to be gentle and patient with the process.
Being that I have my own meditation and yoga practice at home, and that their are great yoga classes at my gym, I rarely am willing to pay for classes at studios, but this one class in particular for me is a must. Every Saturday that I am able to, I give myself this gift, to be in the presence of an amazing yoga teacher, Doree Nissenblatt at Yoga+Herbs in Marlboro NJ. She redirects me to my light, like Buddha did for Ananda. She reminds me to take care of myself before others. To use my pain as a tool to serve. Not to be afraid to be who I am in public and to become comfortable with what makes me uncomfortable. Somehow she always knows what to say to resonate with the group. She is a healer, a teacher, a person of compassion and wisdom. A person I aspire to be.
After walking out of the studio, I thought that I should give her the link to my blog. I returned inside and another class had already started, so I left it on a post-it note at the front desk. On the drive home, I thought about how I am going to give the link to my blog to every person that inspires me. To my yoga teacher, to everyone that inspires me, you are the light that helps me grow. Thank you for being you and for shining your light. Thank you for helping me blossom into me.
When I returned home and was about to open the mailbox, I noticed a baby caterpillar crawling on the handle. Metamorphosis. Transformation. It’s something I always think about. I know in my life I have grown in many ways, I have transformed. I have been the caterpillar and I have been the butterfly, and then the caterpillar and butterfly again. It’s a cycle of shedding layers of what I am not to become who I am, of emptying out my container so that more light can shine.
But right now it’s just the beginning. This transformation process is new. I am reborn again. There are new lessons to be learned, new discoveries to be made, more me to become. This calls for courage to stay committed, to welcome the changes I am about to experience. More than anything, this calls for lots of self-love and acceptance.