“I am That”
As some of you may have noticed, or will notice, our CuraYoga Studios in Houston have a lot of Hamsa symbols hanging around. You may have also noticed that our new logo has the Hamsa contained within it as well. You may also be asking yourself, “Why?”
I have loved this symbol for many years. I remember painting it once in my twenties in the center of a storm using free association and abstract. Not only am I an eighth Syrian (bet you didn’t know or probably care about that either) but I have great reverence for the Qabalah, Huna and many other the ancient, esoteric teachings which all seem to be saying the same thing – unity consciousness, find balance, etc – each seemingly yogic in its roots. This symbol has been portrayed in India for roughly 5000 years and all over the middle eastern world for at least 3000 years. When pointed down, it often represents the feminine (receiving). When pointed up, it represents the masculine (giving). Giving and receiving in balance, and with authenticity, is one of the greatest and often tricky lessons we can learn.
How do we give and receive authentically? Through higher consciousness. We give without needing recognition or reciprocation. We should take or receive with kindness and awe – not so much because it is expected, but because we are grateful.
Since I enjoy observing my universe, I once watched a lady at the Unity Church bookstore stand over a table used to promote a newly released book on spirituality. I could sense she was contemplating whether or not she should buy the book. I watched her walk away and return to the table many times. She would pick up the book and put it down, and more than once checked the price. I finally went over to the table, grabbed one of the books, and purchased it.
I will never forget her face when I handed her the bag with the book inside. I told her, “This book wants you to read it.” I gave her a hug and walked away. It felt so good to give her that book without expectation or acknowledgment. I suggest everyone try this at least once. I bet they will do it again and again! The satisfaction of giving awe to another human being is truly priceless.
We should be generous, without being foolish. Learn to receive without the need for taking. Balance and harmony are the ingredients to a good life. Flow yoga for life helps us to work with the law of least effort and to feel our intuition at play. It’s all about the feelings. I tell you, there have been many times that I have gone with things because it felt right and it didn’t work out. But later I realize it DID work out, just not in the way that I had expected. Our gut guides us well. We have to trust it!
The lesson then becomes about losing expectation, which brings us to the law of attachment. Can you love without expectation? Can you give without expectation? Can you receive without feeling guilty? Can you be in relationships that are not possessive? Have you ever formed a bond that survives only on your unhealed wounds? Can you help others without feeding their wounds? My training in NLP taught me a lot about resourceful states and using consoling/empathy. As hard as it is for us, it is not considered healthy to touch others when they are in less than a resourceful state, especially during anger or a pity party.
Life is complicated. We were taught so many things that seem to make life more complicated. However, just like the great rishis, we can burn through the veils that keep us asleep through practices such as meditation and yoga. Awareness to your life is essential to living with the law of potentiality. There are only possibilities when you meet in “the field.” Once your mind grasps onto this awareness, the world will be like an opening oyster. Going with it, not against the grain of potentiality and least effort is the key. The signs will tell youWRONG WAY if you are heading against the grain. And as I have often said, it speaks through intuition felt in the gut.
Let our lives be one of bliss and gratitude. We are in this web of life together regardless if we feel alone or not. The illusion of separation tells us that we contribute nothing to the greater scheme of things. I always remind myself that if we came from a pulsating prick of light or point of singularity called the big bang, which many do, then we can never be truly separated.
In 1982 at the University of Paris, a research team led by physicist Alain Aspect performed what may turn out to be one of the most important experiments of the 20th century. Never did we hear about this discovery on the evening news which is too busy talking about politics and doom. In fact, unless you are in the habit of reading scientific journals, you probably have never even heard Aspect’s name. Some even believe his discovery may change the face of science. Aspect and his researchers discovered that under certain circumstances subatomic particles such as electrons are able to instantaneously communicate with each other regardless of the distance separating them when sliced. It doesn’t matter whether the electrons are eight feet or 10 billion miles apart, they communicate simultaneously.
David Bohm, a famous scientist of holograms, believes the reason subatomic particles are able to remain in communication with one another regardless of the distance separating them is not because they are sending some sort of mysterious signal back and forth, but because their separateness is an illusion. He argues that at some deeper level of reality such particles are not individual entities, but are actually extensions of the same fundamental something.
Hamsa means I am That. I am That is everything in the manifest universe. In yogic philosophy it is the Shakti.
The Meaning of Hamsa
This symbol appears to have originated in the Middle East or possibly in India, where it is also found; however it is most well-known and popular in the Middle East. A similar symbol has a blue eye in the center of hand, also intended to protect from the evil eye or ward off evil spirits.
The Hamsa is usually worn as a charm or talisman, but also appears either directly painted on walls or can be found as a plaque. Additionally, it is hung over doors and windows. People tend to believe that the Hamsa is protecting them. Many claim it gives them the security and a valuable belonging to trust on. This fact gives people the power needed to success and destroy obstacles like Ganesha. One explanation for the symbol is that it is designed to ward off the evil eye. Some associate the significance of the five fingers to the five books of the Torah for Jews, the Five Pillars of Islam for Sunnis, or the five People of the Cloak for Shi’ites.
Numerically it represents change or change to come. It can also represent the five directions: east, west, north, south and the sky/ether. The word Hamsa has so many symbolic meanings just like the metaphors we use to explain the cosmos and life’s emanations.
Hamsa (“swan/gander”) – apart from the literal meaning, this term also refers to the breath (prâna) as it moves within the body; the individuated consciousness (jîva) propelled by the breath (jîva-âtman or parama-hamsa).
Hamsa also functions as the movement of energy. The Shakti (power) of Hamsa is also a vehicle for the Ashwins, which are prana and apana in the yogic teachings. The link between Hamsa Shakti prana and breath is a powerful and consistent theme. Hamsa contains another gift when reversed – the rhythm of sound is reversed, ham-sa becomes sa-ham. The meaning of Sa’ham is I am She. I can breathe and identify with the Goddess, with She who initiated sound by setting the universe and cosmos in motion.
Archaeological evidence suggests the Hamsa predates both religions of Islam and Judaism. It is thought by some to have originated with the Phoenicians to honor Tanit, a patron of Carthage. Research shows that the Hamsa is a symbol that has been around for thousands of years. There are several styles for the Hamsa hand, the double thumbs symmetrical with three centered fingers held up in the middle, and a second prominent variation showing all five digits of the hand.
Today the Hamsa design in used in numerous variations. One of these variations is the wall blessing. The wall blessing is a piece of ceramics or a silver plate that’s hanging on the wall next to the front door of a private home or a business. Believers and non-believers alike wear it because they enjoy the thoughtful handmade designs that Hamsa jewelry usually exhibit and has become a widely recognized symbol across the globe.
Just remember, “I am That.” Cause you are so Shakti! Namaste’