Only six more days left – what has your experience been so far? A big transformation, or an almost imperceptible shift? No matter how it’s going for you, we encourage you to give it some time and space to integrate before trying to figure it all out.
Spiritual life is a dance between fully embodying and embracing the forms of life while simultaneously transcending them. As dharma practitioners, we know that our identity is not defined by race, culture, nationality, or religion. That said, these things still exist and do play a part in our lives. And, these are all passed on to us from our ancestors.
If you’re here reading this, you probably feel a strong connection to Indian yogic practices and culture. However, the spiritual tradition that we find in this lifetime might not be the one that our ancestors practiced. In fact, many of us don’t live in the same land or speak the same language as our ancestors!
One way to honor our ancestors is to keep your family culture and traditions alive. Because the ancestors are connected to this world through us, they also get to experience life through us.
Suggested practices include:
-Eat traditional food, perform traditional songs and dances, wear traditional clothes, etc. The ancestors feel delight when they see us keeping our traditional culture alive.
–Visit a traditional place of worship. It can be from your ancestral lineage (e.g. a church) or a specific place (e.g. Notre Dame). When you are there, invite your ancestors to join you. Let them see through your eyes, hear through your ears, and worship through your offering.
–Perform traditional spiritual practices from your ancestral lineage. You are free to practice in this way for them provided it doesn’t directly contradict your practice or beliefs now.
This is an offering to your ancestors rather than for you. So for example, if your grandparents did daily practices for Lord Kṛṣṇa, even if you are more of a devotee of the Goddess, you could also practice for Kṛṣṇa as a gift to them.
–Read and or recite from your family scripture. In India, most families have a particular text or set of prayers. You can also read the Bible, Q’uran, Torah, or any other scripture revered as sacred by your ancestors.
–Repeat your ancestral mantra or prayer. For example, if your family is Catholic, you can use a rosary and recite Ave Maria or Pater Noster, or if you are Jewish by ancestry, you can recite the Sh’ma. With whichever practice you choose, send the merits back to your ancestors.
-As you perform these practices, you can also wear traditional clothing or eat traditional food (the healthy version, of course)! It’s a way of letting your ancestors enjoy the world for a brief moment.
Note that this practice can be quite dramatic in its effect – many people feel their ancestors rush in energetically in a way that can be overwhelming for the subtle energy body. Stay grounded, and remember to consciously dedicate and send the energy of the practice over to them so the boundaries stay clear.
If you have any questions, or want to share your experience, you can do so by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teacher: Shivani Hawkins