Here is a good question... What should you do if an elephant headed Hindu deity - that you have never thought much about - appears to you again and again in many forms? The answer is, at least for me ... You should pay attention to what the Universe is telling you - or at least research the deity a little...
Lord Ganesha came to visit during the weekend workshop with Seane Corn. After our morning session, which was 3 hours of pretty intense yoga, all 102 of us were sitting in mediation. And low and behold fresh Ganesha (as I now like to call him) appeared in my mind's eye. I think I might have said something like "Whoa Ganesha, what are you doing here?" First Ganesha was in the form of his dancing self - perched with one foot raised - on the edge of a cliff, mountains behind him with one crazy sun. Next he was in the form of his infant self - fat pudgy body with a large colorful elephant head. Finally he was me - I was looking out the eyes of an elephant and I could see my trunk and the view of a valley. Pretty wild stuff!
After this series of appearances I shared the vision with my yoga teacher - who was practicing on the mat beside me during the entire weekend. She asked if I knew much about Ganesha - I did not. She suggested that I look in to what he represents and signifies... and so I did as soon as I returned home. But before I could, his significance came into play. It was that on that snowy Saturday afternoon, between sessions, that Seane spoke to us about the Seva Challenge and about her experiences taking her yoga practice "off the mat".
Ganesha is the remover of Obstacles. He is the mark of new beginnings. He is the Lord of Success. His form is significant - his head represents Atman (the "supreme reality of human existence"), his human body signifies our earthly existence, Maya. His elephant head is wisdom, his trunk is Om. He gently propels us forward on the path of right doing while he creatively removes obstacles and captures difficulties. Reminding us of sacrifice, he holds his own broken tusk; reminding us of the sweetness of the soul, he holds his favorite sweet treat; reminding us to be humble - for he is also the destroyer of vanity, selfishness and pride - he rides around the universe on a tiny little mouse. His waist is circled by a snake that is continuous energy and he holds in his hand a rosary - reminding us that the pursuit of knowledge is continuous. Ganesha is large and in charge!
I had no expectations at the beginning of that weekend. I had nothing to base expectations on. I was simply present. And when you are simply present in life - interesting stuff presents itself to you and you pay way more attention. Stuff that was already hanging around is all of a sudden brilliant and screaming for you to notice it.
This is one of those moments in life that made me go hmmmm?
Or rather ~ Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha!