I am on my way home. Webb and I have been in India for fourteen days on a pilgrimage to Kumbha Mela in Allahabad and to experience the new Khajuraho Himalayan Institute campus and Sri Vydia Shrine.

Now, please don’t click away because this idea seems too “out there”: you might be surprised with how much you can relate to this pilgrimage. Everyday, you and I are on a pilgrimage when we sit down to practice, pray, breathe, meditate. We are on a pilgrimage to cross over from unconscious, habitual daze to become aware and more deeply understand our true self, and rest within that awareness.

One morning, in Rolf Sovik’s lecture he explained that “Tritha” is the Sanskrit term for “that place where one crosses over.” Several temporary bridges are constructed just for Kumbha Mela. These bridges are there to help us physically cross over the Ganges River; we move from one side of the river creating a clear demarcation. This crossing is a mirror for our internal bridges that clearly mark when we are leaving one thing and moving to another.

We have these same internal experiences of “crossing over,” as Rolf says, every time we pray or meditate. He went on to explain that our daily practice is a way to cross over within yourself. That crossing over is the meditative process. He suggested we pray in our own way, twice a day, and in a way that holds meaning to us. Rolf went on to say, “Prayer is a way to express our search for joy. Words often carry us beyond the rivers of our own sorrows. Prayer uses words to help us communicate the wish that lies in our hearts. SO…what does this have to do with ayurveda?

This tritha, or crossing over place, is exactly what many of us report is “lost” in our daily lives. Many of us wake each morning and want to feel that sense of letting go of our sorrows and disappointments; our pain…then be able to connect with those words/ideas that allow us to put forth our heart’s greatest wish and experience a drawing closer to the divine (insert whatever word speaks to your faith; God, Allah, Nature, Divine Mother, Lord of Life). We cross over into our self with meditation or prayer.

Rolf suggested we “sit down and pray in your own language. Let prayer be an aspiration.” An aspiration from our heart or soul and not our head or ego. We meditate with our heart—not our mind. We want to allow the mind to rest within itself. When this happens we can then access the river within us…

We can then “cross over” on the bridge of trustful surrender. We do this within our daily practice. We use our mantra; our prayer as a means to trustful surrender, to release our sorrows into the river that washes through us, and to be nourished with joy within our heart and soul. Remember ayurveda teaches that the mind, physical heart, spiritual heart, and soul abide in the chest area of our body. From Ayurveda’s point of view our heart and mind are the same.

This idea of aspiration, from our true and deeply loving heart/mind, is echoed in the morning prayers of our tradition. Rolf quoted the prayer translating, “In early morning (or first thing in your morning) I recall something that flashes in my heart. It is my own pure self. It exists, and it is aware and it exists; it is aware and it is filled with happiness. It calls to us, that we must acquire greatness, living our dharma, and leave some greatness behind… just like the river~

Happy Valentines day ~ Crossing over day, into your own deeply loving heart.