Creating Bhakti

Creativity is something we are all born with. It is the thing that makes being a human extraordinary. It’s the signature piece of human evolution.

I write creatively because deep down, it feels like I have no other choice. I’ve always been a story-teller ever since I was a little girl. It’s something innately inside of me. If I were to stop, I would feel as if I had lost a vital piece of who I am or what I’m meant to be doing.

We all have a thing like this, a creative spark within us that’s meant to be nurtured, given space to breathe and grow. Regardless of what you might believe, there is something within you that makes you feel passionately connected to something bigger than you.

Either you’ve found it or you will find it.

In the flow, in source, tapped in, in sync with the Universe, whatever you may want to call it, unpackaged, it’s simply love.

In Sanskrit the word Bhakti has been translated as “love for love’s sake” and “union through love and devotion.” Bhakti is one of the major types of Yoga (there are many more than just one yoga.)

Hatha yoga, practicing physical poses or asanas (what we do in most of the classes I currently teach), is simply one style of a yoga practice. There are thousands of ways to practice yoga – which simply means union. Or one of my favourite translations, union with bliss.

The natural human condition is to create. From the minuscule, like a perfectly toasted marshmallow, to the extraordinary – the Great Pyramids. Regardless of your religion or inherited belief-system, there will always be music that moves you, epic stories of love, loss, God and the human condition. There are the perfectly curated moments, like a picnic with your soulmate during the evening sunset.

Yogananda introduced Westerners to the ancient Vedic concept of God as Sat-Chit-Ananda, ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Bliss. It’s always there, lying beneath the surface of who we think we are. This is a philosophical concept of reality: that within each of us is a consciousness that can be tapped into. Something that’s here just to enjoy the ride.

When we find our unique creative edge, and I will re-emphasize this forever,..

EVERYONE has a creativity within and a unique way to express it.

When we let go, let ourselves flow, we find our true nature which is simply contentment. It’s just relaxing, allowing things to unfold as they will all around us. Not trying to control anything.

Underneath all of our efforts and desires we are simply trying to find peace and happiness. It’s believed that through meditation, or in heightened states of awareness (also known as flow states) we can find that source of happiness directly.

It’s within everyone, that natural feel-good from doing something with your bare hands – making pancakes, writing in a journal, building something.

For me it also comes from hoop-dance, an intuitive, juicy yoga flow and especially when I get into a rhythm when I’m writing creative fiction. You find this joy within the simple act of being, of doing everything yet nothing at the same time. The natural, creative process works through you as you. Peace and breath.

You really don’t need to be doing anything to tap into this peace. We all have an inner well of happiness, deep within us. I know it isn’t always accessible for everyone, but it can be easier than you think to find it.

I can’t tell you exactly how, but I can inspire ways for you to try and find that place of peace for yourself.

It’s all about finding the moments in time when your mind is completely absorbed in the activity that you’re taking part of. You forget yourself for a little while. The voice within is quiet, there’s no criticism. You allow yourself to simply be.

It could look like a meditation, watching the breath while surrounded by beautiful, therapeutic sounds. Sitting in your favourite spot, knitting or crocheting. Lying in a field, letting your imagination soar as you guess the different shapes of clouds with your child. Opening the oven door to reveal perfectly risen, buttery, crispy croissants. The perfect photograph taken on the beach. When the musicians lyrics begins to spill out effortlessly onto paper.

Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup.

John Lennon

Time slows down and your senses become heightened. This is Bhakti. It’s your personal relationship with creativity, God, Source, the Universe, Oneness and Nothingness. At its core, it’s a surrendering. You’re no longer in control and you can fully let go, allow yourself to become united with whatever it is you find holy.

This is the true beauty of creative Bhakti, it is a personal devotion to whatever you may find sacred. Your communion with Spirit is deeply personal and can be interpreted in many ways.

My idea of holiness might be very different than someone else’s but we can both access this state of being in our own, personal ways.

Bhakti is unique and accessible to each and every one of us. It’s what we see beauty in, what we have passion for and it’s finding appreciation for those moments in our everyday lives.

For me, writing, practicing yoga and cooking are some of my forms of Bhakti. I don’t think there is a limit to how you can express and find your personal Bhakti, it may ebb and flow into different things as you change and develop as a person.

You might have an idea of what your creative Bhakti could be. You know that when you don’t devote time and energy into it, you begin to feel a sadness or an emptiness. And hey, maybe you don’t know what that is, and that’s perfectly good as well.

Now, you get to explore and see what Bhakti could be. You’ll know it when you feel how powerful your love is, when you feel devotion and how deeply happy it makes you. You can’t put a price on doing something that nourishes your soul, finding your unique and true form of expression.

Anyone can experience this, that is the true beauty of Bhakti yoga. You don’t need to do it in the exact same way you might see someone else doing it.

If you’re reading this and thinking, “I don’t have this feeling for anything,” You can start with a simple Hatha practice, begin to find out what movement feels good for you and keep practicing that.

“Only when you have removed the obvious obstructions to the circulation of prana out of your kosha [bodily sheaths] will the prana [be able to circulate]. Then you can collect and refine it and get it down deep into your marrow.”

Robert Svoboda

Happiness blossoms from one-pointed awareness, when you give your full devotion to doing something just for the hell of it, without any expectations. So find something you love enough to devote some time to and watch it grow.

A restorative yoga class is a perfect example, you’re not doing a yoga class like that to become stronger, look better or for any reason other than to do something restorative for yourself. There’s no judgement, no comparisons. Your egoic mind slowly beings to quiet. Eventually, after working through the body to find ease and comfort, you may just find a slice of blissful peace.

You don’t need a strong or flexible body. You don’t have to understand complicated, philosophical questions. You don’t need to believe in a certain deity. This form of yoga is so much more than just a fitness class.

Bhakti can never be forced upon you. You have to find your own spiritual inspiration and commit the time to practice whatever that may be.

I hope this article can inspire you to explore what deep love means to you. Whether that’s devoting time towards a physical loved one, into nature and all of its bountiful beauty, into music, into movement.

I hope it can inspire you to find a way to do this every, single day.

As a teacher, I am always trying to find new ways to facilitate love. Love for yourself, for your body, what you put into your body, how you express that love. I hope these words can inspire love in every facet of reality, for both yourself and for the world you’re experiencing. Inspiring others to experience this kind of dedication, devotion and surrender is my greatest creative Bhakti.

That is facilitating yoga, union with bliss.