International Day of Yoga, Portugal, June 2015

Greetings Loved Ones!

 Since I returned from Portugal last week, many of you have asked how my trip was, and heard me stutter some version of: “it was uh… profoundly spiritual… really amazing… no words to describe…” well it took me all week to find words to describe it.. and then as usual I found too many, in my feeble attempt to grasp at some sort of tangible description that could even begin to convey the experience… so this is very long! But I hope it serves to share with you the incredible turn my life is currently taking, that each of you in your own way is a part of. Each one of you is part of a greater family of Aware people who understand that there is a greater vision for our planet and all its life forms, than we as a species are currently living, and are working in your own way – whether it be working in Healing, Activism, or spiritual practices; raising Conscious, loving children,; or simply living in everyday loving kindness toward your fellow human beings – to bring Humanity into alignment with that vision. So this letter is for all of you, to know that the result of your efforts  – like rings in a pond from a rock dropped in – are indeed radiating out into the world, in bigger and bigger rings, and are having a REAL effect! So that you may know in every moment that each seemingly tiny action you take in alignment  with this greater vision, DOES  indeed matter, and is working!!! So CONGRATULATIONS Team Consciousness, let’s all keep up the amazing work! 🙂

 

International Day of Yoga, Portugal, June 2015:

Today marks one week home from beautiful Portugal and my sacred journey with Reverend Patrick McCollum (http://www.patrickmccollum.org) for the official opening of the United Nations’ first official International Day of Yoga.  Since arriving home, I’ve been “coming down from the mountaintop” while marinating in the lingering wonderment and profound shifts that have taken place within me – the same shifts that are also, even as I write this, radiating out through the whole world.
There was so much magic in every moment, of a kind grander and more potent than any I have ever experienced. In that incredible gathering of immensely strong, aware, and majorly influential people – all with such fierce, embracing love radiating out of them in a continuous stream – so many absolutely legendary moments occurred, it would be impossible not to believe in magic. I will do my best to share with you my experience, in as much accuracy of expression as mere words can afford! But first, to give my story some context, I will share with you some of my background with Reverend Patrick McCollum, and my own reasons for wishing to support his work and ally myself with him in serving Nature, Humanity and the Divine Source.

 

Like many of you out there, for years before I ever met Reverend Patrick, I had heard about the incredible work that he was doing to stand up for the rights of Pagans and other minority groups that had previously had extremely limited rights and no voice in political and religious structures here in the U.S. and around the world. I drew inspiration from the stories I heard of his work in the prisons, and his message that any single person, no matter what their background, status, challenges or gifts, can make a difference in the world. As time went on, I heard how his work was ever expanding to encompass a much broader spectrum of unifying Humanity on a global scale to accomplish the monumental goal of World Peace. When I began to hear stories of the absolute miracles that were starting to follow him around the world, while my instinct told me the stories were absolutely true, I will admit they did seem hard to believe! I remember thinking to myself, if these stories are true – even half of them – then what we are witnessing is the unfolding of a modern-day Jesus! We have a person deeply devoted to the Divine who for all practical purposes can be considered a “regular” guy from a working-class background, representing a repressed and bullied minority, truly walking his talk in living his life by the rule of Love and upholding the sacredness of ALL people – regardless of their background, status, occupation or actions in this world  – and beginning to make miracles through learning the ways of Nature and walking the Sacred Path in his lifelong devotion to the Divine Source.

 

When I first met Reverend Patrick several years ago, I remember being impressed with his full presence in the moment at all times, and the openness and genuine love with which he received everyone. I knew he had canceled an important trip to meet with several major world spiritual leaders in order to participate in our relatively small private festival retreat, and he expressed to the group his joy at being home with his friends and fellow pagans, whom he is representing on a large scale out in the world, but whom he rarely gets to be with as his insanely loaded travel schedule keeps him so often away from home and the community he serves. I could also read in him the things he did not say – that he had been standing largely alone out in the world, was getting tired and desperately needed support. Nevertheless he was present and strong for his community that weekend, spending his energy weaving magic with us in ritual and through telling his stories.

 

Those of us who have had the pleasure of his company certainly know Reverend Patrick as a storyteller! In the time that I’ve known him, I’ve learned that telling the stories of his journey is an essential vehicle for infusing his sacred work into the world. I will state here that I have heard that some regard his habit of relaying his adventures and accomplishments, and the wonderment contained therein, as a matter of ego, of self-promotion and disregard for the importance of others and their contributions. However, in my experience his intentions and the nature of this habit is exactly the opposite. Stories are an integral part of Human evolution and the course of action that people take, which in turn creates Reality. As humans, we are constantly listening to and telling ourselves stories, and deciding in every moment which stories to believe and act out, and those choices as a general rule are based on the options we believe are available to us. Most of us, until introduced to a new idea or story, have no idea there are any other options, let alone that are available to us personally – and so our personal power to uplift our lives and the lives of others goes largely unrecognized and unfulfilled.
Reverend Patrick’s purpose in sharing the stories of his personal miracles – which are indeed legendary and difficult for most of us to therefore plug into our personal context of the real and mundane – is to inspire and enlighten people – not from some holier-than-thou standpoint, but from the place of being, as he so often says “just a regular guy choosing to walk the Sacred Path” – that each person does indeed contain within them the Divine Spark, and the power to make magic that creates miracles. In order to create an entirely new Reality, one that sheds the old worn-out skins of past programming, and reaches far beyond the limits we have learned to impose on our existence as humans, we must first create a new story – which can then serve as a new paradigm to light our way forward. This is how true magic is made – and this is exactly what Reverend Patrick does.
On this journey I had the great honor and delight of witnessing a number of legendary stories take shape and come to life. Though I believed the previous stories I’d heard about his journeys, and had felt the impact very deeply of what those stories mean in the larger context for humanity and the planet, I must say there was nothing to prepare me for the utter wonderment of experiencing the magical journey unfolding right beneath my own feet, and before my own eyes.

 

This event and its accompanying journey proved to be a pivotal point in Reverend Patrick’s years-long journey working toward World Peace, as well as a powerful initiation for me into a more direct level of my own work in this arena. As we walked the path, each step stirred up another piece of a bridge between hearts, which led to yet another open door… until so many hearts and doors were opening, it became impossible to tell where the stories and connections began and ended, and in which direction they flowed. It’s a sure sign of real magic, when all the ingredients are swirling together in a cauldron of Change, creating an altogether new image formed by their mingled visions and energies…
World Peace: an ordinary dream (pretty much every “ordinary” person you know or have heard of wants that, yes??), and yet somehow requiring extraordinary powers to accomplish. Clue: the Ordinary is the root of, and is therefore contained within, the Extraordinary…
In the planning stages of our trip to Portugal, Reverend Patrick explained to me that this would be a very special opportunity; a once-in-a-lifetime, globally historical event. When I came to understand the story of the International Day of Yoga and its enormous implications, I began to grasp the depth of his meaning as I saw the many layers of magical opportunity emerging.
The first official International Day of Yoga recognized and promoted by the United Nations, the First Global Day of Humanity “is the day of Humanity’s evolution – and of its DNA, of  Life, of Light and Intelligence, and of Sustainability – for the importance of what we all have in common – of Ecumenism, of Inter-ethnic Fraternity, of Integrated Self-Development and of Self-Responsibility – and of Human/Cosmic Connection – the first day without any bloodshed, for 24 hours, across the entire planet.” Regarding the chosen date, “the inspiration and revelation was clear, the chosen Day should be not the anniversary of any great Human Event (no matter which culture), nor the birthdate of any Great Entity, no matter how important. It should be a Cosmic Auspice. The Solstice, June 21…the longest day of the year (northern hemisphere), the Day of Light, Light that should always preside over Intelligence.”
(Quotes from the Portuguese Yoga Confederation’s commemorative book given as a gift to all of H.H. Gurují Amrta’s guests at the event.)
This was His Holiness Jagat Gurují Amrta Súryánanda Mahá Rája’s story, which he continued to share and evolve over the course of 14 years as he worked to manifest his grandiose vision, working with The United Nations and UNESCO as well as petitioning the Yoga institutions of each of the countries to persuade their governments to commit to the project.
Last Sunday, on June 21, 2015, 175 nations came together in a sacred vow to hold peace, and to uplift and promote an ancient practice that creates Inner Peace through mindfulness, care of the body and direct connection to the Divine, and which has now made its way all over the globe. Furthermore, across the globe in each of those countries spread a wave, following the path of the Sun on its longest day of Light, of unified Divine action, as millions of people practiced Yoga at the same time of day, with the focused intention of – as our beloved Reverend Patrick says, “May there be peace in the world, and let it begin with me.”

It was an inarguably magical occurrence; a massive spell, the most potent kind of prayer; an unprecedented globally-unifying event that marks a tremendous milestone on the way to reaching the critical mass needed to tip the balance of consciousness on our planet to the precise way of living that this holiday commemorates and promotes.
Like Reverend Patrick, our esteemed host HH Gurují Amtra has worked long and hard toward the monumental goal of world peace, and has risen into world-scale reverence through giving of himself to create miracles of inspiration and accomplishment born of the purest devotion to his Sacred Path. He has collected millions of devotees along the way through setting the example – through being the change he wants to see in the world, which is a magical act that gathers power and brilliance in every step forward on that path. His team of devotees – which I feel in this case could perhaps be more accurately named Devoted Acolytes – all shone with what I could only name a holy light, a kind of shimmering brilliance radiating from within. When they spoke of their Master (in this sense the term “Master” means a wise teacher revered by and maintained in that position through his ability to inspire and care for his devotees), this light surged brighter and you could feel their profound love and awe permeating and transforming the very air around them. This and their many layers of self-mastery which were revealed in a steady succession during our stay made it clear that their Master had awoken a divine calling within each of them, to follow his example of devotion to the sacred path of Yoga and their personal inner work. Being in the atmosphere created by this incredibly loving, devoted & spiritually aware group was like being immersed in the most deliciously pure, exotic spiritual soup. Intensely nourishing, layered with the multitudinous spices of Culture, the senses so engaged that it evoked full presence in the moment, and the flavor so decadent that one could never tire of tasting.
From the moment we arrived, H.H. Gurují Amrta and his team were nothing but gracious and attentive. I was deeply affected by the great reverence in which they held Reverend Patrick, and even me as his assistant. This is where the stories I had heard began to stir into life. It is one thing to hear that Reverend Patrick is the honored guest of one of the most highly revered His Holiness Jagat Gurujís in the world, for an international historical event that will be a major catalyst for World Peace.. and quite another to experience first-hand the immense power in the subtle gestures, the countless ways that esteem and sacred reverence are woven into the mundane aspects of interaction and communion from Host to Guest.
Over the course of our stay it became clear that each of the members of H.H. Gurují Amrta’s team (who were all top-tier members of his national organization, the Portuguese Yoga Confederation) were responsible for a great number of jobs. Regardless of the unimaginable workload preparing for this multi-faceted, 4-day world-class event, and the fact that we arrived 2 days before the event, he sent his top people to pick us up from the airport, personally see that we were comfortable and had all we needed, and even take time out of their immensely pressurized schedules to pick us up from our hotel and take us out for meals. It was an absolute delight to share those honored moments with these very special people, who gave us their time and loving energy breaking bread with us and sharing interesting things about their country, traditions, and work with their beloved Gurují and organization.
As various highly-revered guests wove in and out of the scene, and I witnessed their interactions with Reverend Patrick throughout the course of events, I began to grasp in a much deeper sense the great implications of the collection of official titles that Reverend Patrick has come to be honored with by the world’s spiritual communities.  Though he prefers to utilize only his more modest and functional title of Reverend, over the course of the week I heard him referred to, both directly and indirectly, by various high-level gurus and politicians as: Jagat Gurují (highly respected, world-class Teacher);  Venerable Reverend (highly venerated Reverend);  His Excellency (someone who has achieved great heights in civic office, such as a Prime Minister or Ambassador of a country, or a religious leader who is considered Great to a level far exceeding that which their religious title alone can convey);  and “Sri Sri” (highly revered Saint).
Beyond that, he was sought out by each of these leaders for advice on various world-scale spiritual and political matters, and/or opportunities to form alliances and work together. I was deeply inspired witnessing these interactions and overall level of reverence bestowed – in spite of all the deeply-ingrained stories that are still at large throughout the world today and in most of our own minds – upon a Pagan leader! And in particular one who, though he accomplishes feats on a level of global miracles, does not regard himself as more important or higher status than anyone else in the world, regardless of their position, and furthermore makes a point to set an example in this area for “regular” people and globally-venerated spiritual and political leaders alike.

 

As the honored guest of the event, Reverend Patrick’s presentation was clearly a point of anticipation for everyone in attendance. There were several present who had met him before, many had heard of him and his work, and those who hadn’t I’m sure were wondering what his story must be, for the honored guest to be someone who was not a Yoga master or otherwise more directly involved in the culture, and also not the Indian ambassador to Portugal, who was present as a guest and was also an integral piece in bringing about the United Nations’ sponsorship of the international holiday.  Though Reverend Patrick was given the longest slot of all the speakers for his presentation and could have taken much of that time to share many of his incredible stories that illustrate all the reasons he was so honored, he did not waste time getting to the heart of the matter, the very reason that we were all gathered there: the unifying force of Love, and the practice of creating lasting peace through honoring the sacredness in every human being. His words seemed to shake people awake, as throughout the room I saw hands going to hearts, heads nodding in agreement and ripples of applause began accentuating his points. When he told the story of the World Peace Violin, I saw tears on many cheeks, and a glow like a succession of light bulbs turning on began filling the room.
At a key point during and then again after his presentation, His Excellency the Ambassador and H.H. Gurují Amrta gave Reverend Patrick a standing ovation, and waited to greet him off the stage. They each embraced him, and I saw the Ambassador intently telling him something that was obviously coming from deep in his heart. Later I learned that he had told Patrick that he considered Patrick’s work to be on the level of a modern-day Vivekananda, who was a highly-revered Indian Swami in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and a key figure in reviving Hinduism in India, raising interfaith awareness on a world scale and bringing the philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga – the personal practices that bring inner peace, and therefore peace in the world – to the Western world. He too had a way of speaking that was truly connected to the Divine, and could move those who heard him immediately and profoundly into the spiritual realms, inspiring them to Deep Action in ways that no one and nothing else could.
And so here is another bridge built to connect Past work with Present, and Present work with Future.. in the same way that Inner work connects with Outer, and Outer results of this work connect Humankind.
As the days and events progressed, I found myself suspended in a constant state of wonderment, with no possibility of being able to fully absorb the tremendous impact of all I was witnessing. As if the massive spell of World Yoga Day weren’t enough of an indicator that the Light of Consciousness is now awakening Humanity at an unprecedented, exponential rate… and as if the sheer numbers of people involved in this Day of Peace around the globe did not already indicate how VERY close we are to reaching the critical mass necessary to tip the balance of Humanity as a whole into an existence in which Love and Harmony rule… there were so many other profoundly mystical and globally-impactful occurrences happening on so many levels, in such synchronistic timing, it would be impossible for anyone paying the slightest bit of attention not to perceive the direct connection between them, and feel the global impact of each individual act of peace and sacred reverence.
Take a look at this amazing timeline!

June 21, 2015
The Summer Solstice and the first Global Day of Humanity, the first official International Day of Yoga:
As part of the ceremonies and celebrations commemorating this day, H.H. Gurují Amrta brings together on the stage venerated leaders of each of the world’s major religions (Reverend Patrick representing the vast collection of the planet’s Pagan and Earth Spirituality traditions) to bless the new international holiday and stand together in peace and unity. After the blessing, with such divine grace and sacred Authority as only a seasoned Master could channel forth, he lays on them an astoundingly powerful mantle to “stop conflict before or at latest as it begins…to tell [their] fellow leaders to stop promising Heaven in return for killing their enemies… [and] to stop killing in the name of Religion… to leave the moldy, dirty path of conflict and fighting behind… and reach out to each other in love and unity… to teach [their] followers the philosophies of Yoga… [and that] if [they] do this for their billions of total followers, then the Peace we all seek on the planet will happen [very] quickly…”
As he says this, a bubble of Inner Silence seems to envelope the stage, and Time to stand still. H.H. Gurují Amrta’s charge is so incredibly powerful, I feel the intensity of it in the air, and I witness actual physical reactions in several of the spiritual leaders on stage receiving it, in the form of a sudden jerk in the belly and sharp indrawn breath – as if the force of his words delivered a physical blow in the solar plexus – as well as tears streaming down faces. Each one of the leaders clearly accepts the charge, and joins hands upon H.H. Gurují’s request, standing together in a timeless moment of silent unified prayer. The Catholic priest standing next to Reverend Patrick embraces him afterward and says “I bless you my Brother.” I understand this whole occurrence to be a powerful spell; a sacred oath made by each of these leaders who accepted the charge – as unbreakable a vow as it gets!

June 19, 2015 –
The New York Times calls on Reverend Patrick McCollum to respond to the Pope’s astounding Encyclical which heralds a massive shift in the world’s largest religious body away from exploitation of Nature and Power, and back toward ancient Pagan approaches which experience the Divine as inherent within all living things, and therefore the Earth and all its life forms sacred. The Pope states:
“Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us…’our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us…’ This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will… We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters… If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs. By contrast, if we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously… Rather than a problem to be solved, the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise… Particular appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest… Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded… I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet… We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.”

Reverend Patrick responds “…I reach out my hand to accept the Pope’s gracious invitation and to join in partnership to share his powerful message worldwide.”

June 24, 2015
After arriving home from Portugal late the night before, Reverend Patrick steps outside early on his first morning back to check on his garden. As he stands there in the gathering light, two doves fly down in a strange kind of dance, drifting down slowly while coming closer and closer together until their wings are practically interlocked in an embrace, in order to land together on his right shoulder, where they remain, cooing softly in his ear as he stands breathless. When he finally moves they flew just a few feet away to land on the garden fence, where they remain for around 20 minutes.
It would seem that the sacred dance of Peace has followed him home, claimed him as its Instrument, and taken flight…
Needless to say, I’m extremely honored and beyond grateful to have had a part in this world-changing, once-in-a-lifetime legendary course of events, which next to the miracle of giving birth to 3 amazing daughters, has certainly been overall the most spiritually concentrated, profoundly inspirational experience of my life. My only complaint about the whole trip is that after just a couple of days, my face hurt from grinning and laughing in joy, and I couldn’t stop crying in wonderment and gratitude! And what an ecstatically delightful problem to have 🙂
I thank Reverend Patrick from the deepest places of my soul for inviting me on this journey, which has already changed me on such profound levels, providing me not only with living, personal stories of miracles that will remain within me in the form of Divine Inspiration forever, but also with a vastly more tangible experience of my own power to change the world than I’ve ever felt before. In the week since I’ve been back, I feel the shift occurring within me on level after level. As I spend time at home with my family and notice the different way I have begun to relate to them and to myself, as I struggle to find words in writing this discourse to tell the stories of my experiences on this journey – which far exceed the ability of words to express – I am shedding an old skin with all its outgrown structures and limitations… creating a new paradigm for a new reality… and being initiated into a new, much more powerful and spiritually-attuned version of myself.
As with any true Initiation, I will admit that this struggle to integrate this extreme rapid expansion of my heart and soul into my life, with its human structures, is extremely difficult, and painful! Like the spiritual leaders who received the charge by H.H. Gurují Amrta and by doing so made an Unbreakable Vow, so I, by simply venturing on this journey, have opened doors that cannot be closed and through which I cannot return, and have made a divine commitment to rise into the next level of my own Sacred Work in the world, which to ignore or attempt to put aside would only lead to personal catastrophe. But it is a task I undertake with profound joy, as already, even while still in the midst of the painful Shedding, I feel the light of the powerful gifts shining through that are awaiting me on the other side of my Initiation.

From this place, as a living witness of the Divine Magic and its truly Awesome power available within EVERY human being, I put out a call to any of you who are touched by these stories, to delve deep within yourself to find the spark of Divine Inspiration within you, that pinpoint of light which is the access point to your most authentic self and the sacred work that YOU  are personally called to do in this world. Do not forget or discredit the divine importance of EVERY job on this planet which ultimately serves Life and Love. Just as Reverend Patrick, in conversation with several spiritual leaders who are considered among millions to be among the holiest and “most important” individuals in the world, proclaimed his deep gratitude for the hotel worker who made his bed that morning, that he might fall into it without having to even think about the need for a comfortable bed after a long, intense day… which result in turn enabled him to reserve that piece of energy for his piece of making Peace… which result in turn shall serve that same worker with the gift of a global evolution toward true equality of status and sacred reverence of ALL people of the world, regardless of occupation or any other form of variety in human existence… So proclaim for yourself your own power to hold yourself and all others you meet in sacred reverence, no matter what you or they have done, been, said, felt, or experienced. Extend your Light to bless all that have hurt as well as helped you, so that by doing so, you build a sacred bridge from the divine within you to the divine within them, that in turn as it spreads throughout the world, builds a bridge for Humanity to reach a shared existence of peace and harmony as one Tribe on Earth.

And so I join with Reverend Patrick in proclaiming,
May there be Peace in the world, and may it begin with me!
So mote it be.
With love and deepest blessings,
Reverend Devon Rachelle

 

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