I came home one day, and there, flying proudly from the flag pole, and flapping over our fence, is the jolly roger; no kidding – the classic pirate flag; big, ole’ black flag with the skull and crossbones.
Right in the “wealth and prosperity” corner of our backyard, too.
My mother was visiting at the time, and I lamented, “What does it mean to have the jolly roger flying in my backyard?” She wisely observed “It means you have a teenage boy living next door, that’s what.” Aaah, true. Maybe it means no more than that.
There are no accidents, I truly believe this. And when something (or someone) comes into your life, into your Universe, as it were, there is a reason.
Last year, for weeks, I kept seeing men with canes. I would pass at least two on the way into the Studio to teach every morning, and then also see them randomly throughout my day, EVERY day. A man with a cane waiting for a bus; a man with a cane walking down the street. Even had one walk directly out into the street in front of me, so that I had to stop the car and let him pass. So, I kept thinking “what is going on?” What is God trying to tell me with these men with canes?
I knew there was a message; the language of the Universe, of the subconscious mind, is not English, or Spanish, or even Sanskrit. It is symbols; that is why dreams are important, symbolic events are important; and if you happen to see three or more men with canes EVERY SINGLE DAY for a month, there is some meaning there.
During this period, I also kept thinking – getting the message in my mind — that I should spend more time reading and studying the Bhavagad Gita (literally the “Song of God”). But I wasn’t making time for it. Couldn’t see why I should drop my several other books, and study materials to go back to something I’d already read.
One Saturday morning, I was preparing to teach. It’s about five minutes before class is to begin, and the room is filling with students. Up the (very long) staircase to the Studio, limps a man, using a cane. One of the men I’d seen daily, waiting for the bus.
He was dressed in street clothes, and obviously dependent on the cane. I’m thinking, “How the heck am I going to teach asana to this guy? And isn’t it a little weird that one of my cane guys is HERE?”
One o f my students knew him by name, and greeted him in a reserved manner; this made me a little less nervous, but I was still freaked out. He started walking around, checking the place out, and quizzing me gruffly. “So, what do you teach here?” “Do you teach meditation?” “What about philosophy?” I tried to respond to his questions, as my eyes darted back and forth from him to the clock to my students, realizing that it was time to begin class.
Finally, he turned dramatically toward me, pointed his finger at me and said “Have you read the Gita?” “. . . yes . . .” I answered, none too convincingly. “Sum up the Gita in one word” he commanded. My mind was swimming. “. . . umm . . .” – “This,” I said, circling my hand around my body, “this is the battlefield.” He stopped for a moment. I was holding my breath. “Yes!” he said, and hobbled over to the bench, beginning to put his shoes back on. I wished him farewell, and went in and started teaching the class.
I’m still not sure that is the right answer.
Upon review of my life, I realized that men with canes meant that I was leaning on something. I stopped doing that. I made time to study the Gita. And, the men with canes, they disappeared.
As much as I would prefer that the Universe would drop a scroll from the sky with detailed instructions, or tell me in a booming voice “JILL, DO THIS” or “JILL, DON’T DO THAT,” or even “JILL, ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR HAPPY MIND?” it doesn’t work that way. We have free will; we make choices; but we are being guided towards our highest and best self, if we simply open our eyes, and our minds, to the symbols all around us.
The picture up at the top, I took it out of my kitchen window. I’m still trying to figure out why the view includes a skull and crossbones. Look today out of YOUR kitchen window; look upon the symbols in your life — with fresh eyes and an open mind. You might be surprised by what you see, and what you learn.