Krishna & Gopis (milkmaids)
Once upon a time there was a beautiful young man who played the flute exquisitely. He lived in a small village of cow-herders. In this village all of the women were madly in love with him because of his good looks and his music. One day as he wandered, playing his flute, the women stopped milking their cows and followed his music deeply into the forest, where, seduced by the sound, they dreamed and longed for him.
They began to argue and fight, each claiming that she was the charismatic man’s true love. Suddenly they realized that he had vanished, and they panicked, churning through every lover’s emotion, from jealousy to hope, joy to anguish. Exhausted, they finally became peaceful, and it was then that the beautiful man reappeared. The man, whose name was Krishna, multiplied himself so that everywhere each milkmaid looked, behind the trees and in the streams, in the clouds and behind her eyelids, all that she could see was him. Dazed and sated with love, the milkmaids wandered out of the woods, and back to their homes, carrying the magic of the forest, the beauty of the music, and their passion for Krishna with them. They had internalized the story, and everything they needed was within.
Imagine this story happening inside of you. You are all of the characters and every element of the landscape. Within yourself, you contain Krishna’s artistry and the milkmaids’ yearning for beauty and love. You possess the dark mystery of the forest, in which nothing is clear and anything can happen. You embody the earthiness of the village and the brilliance of a deity. You seduce and are seduced. You are passionate and disdainful. You are singularly yourself, yet you contain multitudes. There is nothing in the story that you are not.
Every story tells you about yourself. Within your daily life, within your daily practice, you tell your story. As a yogi, when you step onto your mat, your practice churns through a cycle of emotions. You watch as your energy and attitude shift and change within each pose. The events of your day wash through your body and mind, shaping your attitude and giving form to your thoughts. So the next time you begin your practice, ask yourself:
What kind of story do I want to tell?
How do I accept the challenging parts of my story and still embrace the beauty?