What’s In A Name?
Anyone ever had a friend, teacher or relative return from retreat, only to proclaim to the world that they will from this point forth officially be known as “Shakti so-and-so” or “Krishna this-and-that”?
Perhaps this will resonate most deeply within the yoga community; I know that my response to this inquiry is a definitive yes. I’ve watched as friends leave town as “John” and return as “Ajna”; as my pal “Susie” transformed into “Sundari”. I have to admit it always left me scratching my head, wondering what is the DEAL? Is this just some other reason for the non-yogi world to poke fun at us, to steer away from taking the practice seriously? There has to be some intention behind this ritual, right?
With the weight of all of these ponderings; why in the world would I, after 30-something years on this planet, decide to up and change my name? What is a Spiritual name, and why would anyone want to have one? What’s really, truly in a name? Turns out, our name, the vibrational quality of it, the frequency and the energy of it, all of these elements shape a lot of who we are. Our True Self resides within the resonation of our name, that’s what. If you ask me, that’s a pretty big deal!
A spiritual name is connected to the deepest most identity or who we are, personified through the qualities of sound. A certain spiritual quality is taken on through the use of one’s chosen name, one that is generally decided for you by others. In my case, I requested the aid of fellow yogis and educators at the Pavones Yoga Center. In the serenity and power of a candlelit ceremony I sat surrounded by loving beings, I dwelled in the pulse of my true being listening to the selected names and deciphering how I connected to each and every one.
A name is more than a collection of syllables. A name expresses the innermost feeling, the bhava, the most devotional state of mind. It is decided from the depths of your soul, intuitively chosen, a spiritual name holds an ever-accelerating power over time. When it is spoken, use of your name allows you to vibrate more and more in line with your own true nature and true calling. Now rather than questioning this process, I want to say my own name, sing it, shout it from the rooftops! I vow to honour and reside comfortably within this name.
Ramdesh Kaur claims a “spiritual name is a roadmap of your own destiny.” It at once gives you focus and at the same time allows you to settle more deeply into the sweetness and softness of being you; truly, madly, deeply YOU.
The naad, or inner sound current of a name, elevates your personal energy simply through the divine nature and seed essence of it’s meaning.
Think for a moment of your given birth name. How connected to it are you? What kind of person has this name defined? For certain there are many morsels that you love and embrace and others that you’d rather move beyond.
In my case, the birth name of Kristin resonates with the sound of youth and an old, outer layer that is ready to be shed. Perhaps not entirely moulted and forgotten, (for fragments of my former self can never fully be swept away) but there are parts of “Kristin” with which I no longer identify. It is the soul identity of my inner child, a youth and young adulthood of immaturities, mistakes and fumbles. An airy spirit of lofty dreams and mind cluttering, insomnia inducing distraction. Kristin is the girl who wanted to be a forensic scientist one week (but refused to dissect a frog), a journalist the next week (but didn’t want to be assigned an opinion), and an environmental lawyer the next (but found she’d rather be free with bare feet than fighting in high heels). Each one of these swivels and sways I honor deeply and show gratitude for. And at the same time I embrace enthusiastically a forward movement, the natural swing toward a future of my own solid construction. My spiritual name acts as a reminder and a challenge, pushing me always to live within my highest possible consciousness; urging me toward the great work of my life.
Yogi Bhajan says that “hearing your spiritual name is like hearing a prayer or a calling back to your True Self.” The more people speak my name the easier and more steadily it will seep into the deepest layers of my being. A spiritual name drives you toward the experience of personal power and the expression of all that your life has to manifest. An unfolding of Truth ensues upon a simple introduction.
As I dive into a rebirth with the acceptance of a new name, I forge an energetic contract of continuous movement toward my own unique destiny. Simultaneously the New Moon drifted into Aries last night and doors of transformation opened. Astrologist Cathy Pagano says “we are being initiated into a higher consciousness; we are birthing a new future for our world.” She adds that in this delicate time of transformation we should not be afraid “to blaze new trails and think new thoughts.”
With that urge and in this sweet space of change, I give myself permission to be reminded of my own Unique Soul. I change the vibration of who I am within the deepest caves of my consciousness. The airy and scattered soul, sometimes tactless yet at once lacking backbone, prone to anger and regret, that aimless dreamer; she is still there and will show her face from time-to-time, but I birth a new maturity and groundedness within my presence. I take pieces of my former self, the good along with the erratic, and weave them into a new existence.
Let me introduce this new being to you: my name is Avani.
The vibration and numerology of this name evoke qualities of cooperation, compassion, patience, tact, creativity, it calls the teacher, the peacemaker, the visionary. This name drives large dreams while grounding vibrationally; I will shoot roots deep into the core of the living earth each time I hear it called. Avani means Earth. I float lovingly into the arms of Pacha Mama and embrace a more rooted connection to myself and all of those around me.
To all of those that helped choose names with such love and devotion; I bow to you in gratitude and humility.
May the spark of divinity that shines within each being always be a reminder of my own radiant light. Namaste.