Today in Vinyasa yoga class, the instructor told a story that I thought you might appreciate. There are many versions of the story of how the Hindu God Rama rescues the Goddess Ahalya from her cursed life inside a rock. The version I heard today is as follows:
Photo by Martin Burns, shared via Flickr
Rama is on a journey through the wilderness with some friends. He keeps hearing his name being called from afar even though no one else can hear the voice. After some time, he decides that he can’t rest without discovering what is calling his name so he sets off alone to head the call. Finally, the voice seems to be coming from a large, hard rock. Rama places his hands compassionately on the rock to better understand how it could be speaking to him. And this kind touch releases the curse on the Goddess Ahalya and she bursts out of the rock. This begins a new chapter of life for them both.
What I loved about this version of the story is the way Rama can not rest until he heeds the call that no one else can hear. We all have times in our life when we feel “called” toward something, even when it doesn’t make sense to others (or ourselves for that matter). Sometimes we ignore the call and this causes suffering. But sometimes we are brave enough to set out alone and follow the voice we hear deep inside.
Another point this story makes is the importance of compassion. Rama was willing to lay a kind hand on the rock even though he couldn’t make sense of his experience and didn’t know what was being asked of him. We all have opportunities to turn kind, compassionate attention toward the confusing events of life and when we do, surprising outcomes can occur. Like a beautiful woman bursting out of the rock! And that beautiful woman is usually just another version of ourselves that has been waiting to be seen and acknowledged.
What is calling you lately? Is it time to pause and heed the call?