Whatever I say or do is according to my own will alone. Whoever accepts me must also accept my complete independence.

Lalitha Tripura Sundari

Curious about Cupid, I wanted to trace the myth and lore of Gods & Goddesses with enchanted arrows this week. In the west, we find Eros with arrows of gold and lead he uses to manipulate men and Gods. While in the East, we find Sanskrit texts describing the benevolent Goddess Lalitha with five long-stemmed flower arrows she uses to vanquish our barriers to self-realization and make way for the embodiment of bliss. We find our inspiration for this week’s rituals with her.

In texts (some have dated to 400 BC)  Lalitha is described as having 1000 names or attributes – the 11th name translates to “she who holds the arrows of the five senses.” Lalitha’s message is to fully experience bliss through our five senses but without attachment. It is only in the present that we can see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. Attachment can move us out of the present and cause anxiety – where joy is diminished by rumination and regret. Here are some suggestions to gratify your senses, connect to the present, and find your bliss:

  • Plan a Picnic: Filter every detail to gratify your senses. Pick a breathtakingly beautiful place where you can delight in the smells and sounds of nature. Bring your favorite blanket and pillow to lounge on. Pack delightfully delicious food and beverages and savor every sip and bite.
  • Create a Sanctuary for your Senses: Find a little spot in your home or office where you can tune-in to your senses. Add a lovely plant or flower for contemplation, a palm stone to hold in your hand, a scented candle to light, bring a cup of herbal tea or lemon water to sip, and play some soothing music.
  • Do a 5-4-3-2-1 Meditation:
    • Stand up and come into your body with long slow breaths
    • See – look around the space and name five things you see
    • Hear – listen intently until you can name four sounds you hear
    • Smell – follow your nose to identify and name three smells
    • Touch – reach out to touch two things and name the sensations
    • Taste – identify one thing you can taste
    • End with another long slow breath