Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Remember, Accept, Reveal—A Super-Hero Story

I've been thinking about the arc of the super-hero storyline and come to realize a few things.  What kind of super-heroes you ask? All kinds.  The more, the better.  So many of them follow the same arc.  From Hanuman in the Ramayana, to Superman, to the Green Lantern, to Harry Potter.  Now, I love a good super-hero story, and most of us do.  They appeal to us because most of the time, good wins out over bad.  They show us that there is magic and power in the world and we wish we could have a little of that.  Wouldn't it be great if we were powerful beyond measure?

Guess what?  You are.

I'm not kidding.  You really are.  Let's set the way back machine to, well, way back.  Back when the Hatha Yoga Pradipika was being written.  In addition to it being a fun title to say, it's got lots to offer.  Look into it when you've got an extra month with nothing to do.  In it, the secrets are revealed.  Within its 600 pages, the book lays out something called "focal points." They are described like this, "When the opposite forces of shakti unite in mooladhara or manipura chakra, then the explosion which occurs releases the potential energy from that centre."  (Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Swami Muktibodhananda, p125) Releasing potential energy.  Sounds almost magic to me.  Anusara recognizes three focal points within the body, as orbs of pulsing shakti, the source of creative power within.  One in the core of the pelvis, one at the base of the heart and one at the palate of the mouth.

Ok, so what does that have to do with a super-hero storyline?  I"m getting there.  In most hero myths, the super-hero has a period of forgetting, or unknowing.  They start off average. Like you and me.  Harry Potter lived under the stairs, for goodness sake, not exactly a lustrous start.  Superman began as a midwestern kid who grew up to be a reporter.  The Green Lantern began as a normal guy who was chosen to defend the universe.  Even the great Hanuman sometimes forgot he was great. And life was hard for them.  They would try to do the right thing and end up getting their butts kicked all over the place.

And then—they have a moment where they remember/reveal/first experience their own greatness.  This is always the crux of the story where it all starts to turn around.  Just as evil is about to win, they reveal their powers and good conquers all.  That power takes different forms according to each myth.  For Harry, it was love.  For Superman, his crystal palace.  For Hanuman, it was remembrance.  At that moment, their potential power is revealed, they accept their greatness and save the day.  It's the same arc, repeated time and again. 

What if we had super human powers within?  What if the entire potential power of the universe lie within you, just waiting to be revealed?  Let's go back to those focal points.  If we practice with remembrance and trust in their power, then we can "plug in" to them, like the Green Lantern plugging into his light to recharge his powers.  And we can express ourselves with greater power.  Maybe we can't fly, but maybe we can improve on our lives and those around us. 

This goes to the two main reasons we practice yoga. We practice to connect to the constant light and power within, and also to express it out joyfully.  We have to be super-heroes to do that.  Remember that within lies the power of the universe, accept your greatness, reveal your heart, go out and do good. And if you have a cape, even better.