Inner Reflections

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“Many people try to become wiser and more loving, and they remain in a constant battle with themselves. This approach never works because it assumes a separate ‘you’ who wants to be a better person. It is the you that is the dream, a thought only. In taking yourself to be a separate entity, you blind yourself to the Truth of your being, which is love and wisdom.” Adyashanti

Within the eyes of our own reflexivity we shall see a wider array of our outer reality; revealing what we magnetically attract to ourselves. In greater awareness, when we can become more of a witness, we can perceive the interconnected attraction that we generate every second.

“The law of attraction is this…you don’t attract what you want, you attract what you are.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

After spending most of my life as an easily reactive individual, despite doing my practice on a regular basis. A situation occurred where I decided that I would make a concerted effort to become more of a witness, than a reactor. In time, I realized that as situations began to unfold, it was as though a part of me was watching this occur. Within this awareness, there was a very subtle moment where I could choose how to react. Through this process, I started to notice all the people who were drawn to me or attracted to me; everyone was going through something energetically similar. As aspects of my life changed, again I attracted people going through apparently similar life experiences.

“Usually where we experience lack, there’s something we already have that we’re not appreciating fully.” ~ Marianne Williamson

Even further, through the Holistic Integrated Therapy that I have been practicing for many years now, most of my clients were also drawing versions of themselves, literally to themselves. The work I do is a combination of counselling, intuition and medical intuition. It’s incredibly effective when going through very challenging aspects of life or situations with other people. Through observing the challenges of many of my long term clients, as well as the numerous friends that also come to see me. I noticed one thing that was very interesting. The most challenging individuals that they came across, ALL had the same qualities that these people also embodied.

The problem, is that most of us are not willing to really face our darkest inner selves and see how we are on a deeper level. Of course, within the ability that I am gifted with, I can see very clearly each person’s energetic qualities. Actually, I have had this ability very fine tuned since I was a very small child and have used it throughout my entire life, with absolute accuracy in every situation.

“We are made for goodness, love and compassion. Our lives are transformed as much as the world is when we live with these truths.” ~ Desmond Tutu

I noticed that we struggle with the abject of ourselves when we meet it face to face in another person. We fight back against them, with a dislike that we actually have towards these qualities that are hidden deep within ourselves. From a spiritual perspective, none of the mind stuff is our true identity. However, from a practical perspective, all of it is associated with our ego. The ego loves to hide its darkness away; out of sight out of mind. Therefore, we show a facade of a friendly demeanor and project outwardly how we would like others to perceive us. Ironically, I have always been able to feel the whole energy of a person, seeing what was hidden beneath.

“When you accept everything for what it is without labels,you are outside your ego.”~Eckhart Tolle.

When we are aware of our own darker tendencies, we learn to have compassion and acceptance towards others negative tendencies.  I am not saying that we accept others bad behaviour, yet we can accept the whole of the individual, even if we see that this person can lose their temper at times or is also human like us. If we can find a place of taking self-responsibility for who we are and all of our tendencies, then it’s easier to see the humanity of others. The reflections of the abject are the strongest in partnership, we see the negative qualities and start to point the finger in blame, “you are like this”. When really, we are most likely the same, in some way.

“When a ship is in the sea, it has to weather storms, rough seas and may even encounter whales or sharks, while the ship anchored in the harbour doesn’t face any such challenges. However, who would make a ship just to moor it in the harbour? When obstacles appear in life, we need to kindle our inner strength and spread the fragrance of selflessness and love. We should be able to lift up others who are drowning in grief.” Amma

One of the most powerful healing qualities is awareness, as once we are able to shed light on our own inner vulnerabilities we can work on changing them. Rather than finding constant fault with others behaviour. It’s far more self-empowering to continuously focus on our inner self and allow these patterns to deteriorate and eventually let them go.

In time, all things are possible if you make the sincere effort, all you need is the persistence and continual awareness. In time, you will attract much more harmonious relations and the depth of compassion and love will allow you to work through difficulties with others in a positive way.

In addition, it is important to maintain a certain level of discrimination and have healthy boundaries around those who we want in our lives.

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Through The Looking Glass

“The new midlife is where you realize that even your failures make you more beautiful and are turned spiritually into success if you became a better person because of them. You became a more humble person. You became a more merciful and compassionate person.” ~ Marianne Williamson

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 I was reading a post on a friends social media, where she was going through a deep internal struggle related to the sequence of her entire life. Since I have been going through a similar internal conflict, I felt a sense of understanding, empathy and respect for the process.

What I found interesting, was that many of the comments were obviously trying to uplift her mood by stating profound spiritual truths and teachings. I found this such an intriguing circumstance of how we project all these highly idealistic perceptions of how we must face this inner process; through being in the moment and choosing to be happy right here, right now.

After reading all the very similar comments, I realize that unless one has been down this dark corridor, there is little to no comprehension of the process. The process of transformation, often can be very deep and excruciatingly painful. Even though you realize that some level of mental and emotional upliftment would be beneficial in this moment; often it’s not there to be found.

“Suffering is not enough. Life is both dreadful and wonderful…How can I smile when I am filled with so much sorrow? It is natural – you need to smile to your sorrow because you are more than your sorrow.” Thich Nhat Hanh

The process of having the outer ego removed and stripped away often provokes a disenchanting series of feelings. The person you were previously has radically shifted and the life you were striving to live, does not exist.

The axis of transformation is steep and can be something that is akin to a deep exfoliating of your skin, leaving it red and painful. It takes time for the new growth to take place and can not be ‘solved’, by some theoretical commentary.

We live in a society that does not allow or fully accept such inner transitions. There is a collective rule of having to continuously present a false sense of happy all the time, rather than show the deep suffering going on in that moment. If you are attempting to live life with greater awareness, you are doing your practice and allowing the process to flow.  Despite the fact your mind finds the content of the experience to be of a painful nature; it’s often necessary to facilitate the change that is needed.

“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.” Rumi

Transformation does not have to be difficult or even painful, however most people walking this path find that it often will fall more into a painful category, rather than joyful. Of course, the after affect of such transition is a greater sense of peace and happiness due to having to fight with some aspect of our sense of expectation; having to eventually let it go.

When challenges comes, there is always a lesson to learned and eventually some shift in our perspective in life. Hence, if we never suffer in our own lives, how can be truly embody empathy towards others suffering.

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The Power of Forgiveness

“Compassion is the foundation of peace. Compassion resides within everyone. But it is difficult to experience it and express it in all of our actions. We must turn inwards to search deep within ourselves. ‘Is my heart still vibrant with life? Can I still experience the source of love and compassion within me? Does my heart still melt at the pain and sorrow of others? Have I cried along with those who are suffering? Have I really tried to wipe another’s tears to console them or given someone at least a single meal or a set of clothing?” Like this, we can honestly introspect. Then the soothing moonlight of compassion will spontaneously shine within our minds. If we want to bring peace to the external world, first our inner world needs to be at peace.” Amma

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There is a great ambiguity in the whole concept of ‘forgiveness’, thus many write about it and perhaps we all have moments where we can truly forgive. However, it has been my experience, despite feeling a deep need to find forgiveness and coming very near the entrance of this energy. I found that in some way I could not fully let go of the burden I had been carrying. I still choose to hang onto the suffering that I felt from my own actions and those of others.

The point is, when do we really get to a place to allowing this beautiful and divine energy to come into our hearts and cleanse them of all the anger, resentment, and other energy that we constantly hold on to and renegotiate with on a regular basis.

“Not causing harm requires staying awake. Part of being awake is slowing down enough to notice what we say and do. The more we witness our emotional chain reactions and understand how they work, the easier it is to refrain. It becomes a way of life to stay awake, slow down, and notice.” Pema Chödrön

My realization is that at the end of the day, you have no control over others or the external environment. However, you do have an element of control over who and how you choose to be as a person. 

I have tried to find this feeling throughout my life, yet never really managed to allow it to permeate my consciousness. Yet, with grace all things are possible and when the time comes, it can and will happen. When you are no longer willing to continue to carry the burden of emotional pain over something that is beyond your reach. This is when you can choose to either become hard, like an impermeable rock, or let it all go and allow the softness of love and forgiveness to awaken from within and flow throughout your life.

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The Numinous

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“Numinous /ˈnjuːmᵻnəs/ is an English adjective, derived from the Latin numen, meaning “arousing spiritual or religious emotion; mysterious or awe-inspiring”.”[1]

“Real love exists in the heart. The love that exists in the Heart cannot be spoken; it cannot be put in words. The heart is not the place for words. Words are in the intellect. The intellect can speak, but it is nothing more than a tape recorder. It records and spits out words and words and words – words that don’t have any feeling in them. The intellect cannot feel compassion; it cannot feel love or kindness.” Amma

As a spiritual aspirant, how can one even broach this abstract topic with mere words. I am capable of writing on many holistic topics, however it is the essence of spirituality and human transformation that captivate me, leaving me in deep water. Thus, I am at an impasse, trying to construct and galvanize something that in practicality, can not be caught and trapped by the finite demarcations of human language.

I will attempt to discuss the relationship of the devotee with their divine aspirations. Hence, the idea of the Numinous; the divine love that we all seek at some level, which is the unification with our own true sense of Self.

This experience is not something that one can even talk about. I rarely write or speak of my own deep personal connection to the Divine. However, I felt drawn to write this, due to a misconstrued sense of egoism I witnessed recently. The Numinous is not about hierarchy, popularity, power, or recognition for who we are, in the eyes of others.

“Lift the veil that obscures the heart, and there you will find what you are looking for.” Kabir

This relationship is so subtle, so personal and delicately intimate. The only similarity may be between lovers who are experiencing a higher expression of human love, not sensually based. The feeling of such a deep opening in your heart that you can not breath, you can not even speak of it, for it has possessed your soul. You are exhilarated, yet the subtle dance is only between you and your Beloved. There is no possible mechanism to translate this sublime love into any words that exist, for the feeling is one of being completely consumed. The dance of love, is so delicate and awe inspiring, it feels so deeply personal that to speak of such a precious thing would reduce its true essence to something of the worldly domain; losing all intrinsic value.

“What is the root of all these words? One thing: Love. But a love so deep and sweet it needed to express itself with scents, sounds, colours that never before existed.”  Hafiz

To engage at this level with the Divine; to taste the Numinous, is a delicate art that only very prolific poets may have half a hope of conveying, such as Rumi, Hafiz, and Kabir. The likes of, I used to literally have a stack of their books, which I would constantly be reading. Then life took me away from such things, down a different path, away from the essence of my heart.

“In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.” Rumi

It has taken a long time to return to this sacred place, to find my way back to who I am and honour my own unique sense of expression in this world. Poetry is the essence of true expression for such an experience, as other such writing and words do not suffice.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi

True love and contact with the Numinous is not something anyone would yell off the roof top. Instead,  one turns inward and can only be absorbed into the abstract experience.

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A Conscious Life

“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”
Pema Chödrön

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What does it mean to be here, living this life. Is there a sense of deeper understanding, inspiration, or moments of tranquility where thoughts fall away. Are we living a conscious life where we are aware of our actions, not only what we are supporting, but also our every action that we direct outwardly.  Are we able to have some sense of control over how we choose to interface with the external world and the beings and objects that we find there. Are we motivated by a deeper inspiration and meaning to live our lives with a sense of growing awareness, where we fully comprehend our intention and how powerful our each action can affect change, in all ways.

I have spent most of my life interacting and socializing with a large volume of people. This is something that comes effortless to me, yet on a deeper level I am not really a people person. I prefer to find deep moments of introspection, solace, and inner awareness. Thus, within my own life I have spent more time in solitude, than interacting with others. Ironically, I have been know as being rather talkative and a friendly person, which can be true. Yet, for most of my lifetime, I have observed long days of silence, reflexivity, and silent practices that enable me to find some sense of inner peace. The time that I choose to spend alone, seeking inner solitude allows me to have a sense of dynamic energy when I relate to others.

Through interacting with numerous people, I am aware of so many people who are filled with a growing consciousness, which is incredibly powerful and beautiful. I have watched the actions of these people, literally change the world, in many small ways with their collective ideas, which eventually are becoming more ‘mainstream’. Thus, when we all have a choice within the folds of how we choose to live our lives, we no longer need to fear being ‘different’, if we choose to live a more conscious, aware, or ecologically sound lifestyle.

What path are we walking down in our lives, does it serve our higher good, or someone else’s? I ask this question, as I know the feeling of limitation, where we are working at a job that does not satisfy our own values or inspirations.

I have witnessed, many times, the conceptional sense of a microscopic sense of perceived power, that is so destructive, its unbelievable.  Through all these experiences, it has shown me, as a very clear mechanism of how not to be as a human being. I have had people behave many ways towards me, yet in each interaction I too have had a choice how to react in exchange.

In all of our lives, regardless of where we are or what we are doing, we all have the choice to remain true to who we are, strong within ourselves, disallowing others to try to take what they can. To find some sense of strength that is beyond others actions. True power, is silent, humble, yet there is self worth and confidence. To find inner strength, we must be aware of when to not react and when to stand our ground. This is the key to finding a deeper sense of inner freedom, for when others can no longer trigger or touch us, or these experiences become less and less; we feel more inner peace. Of course, for many of us, there will be times that we react and are trigger, yet each one of these experiences allows us a deeper insight into what we still need to be aware of and integrate at a deeper level.

To truly find inner strength and wisdom in life, we must learn what wisdom is, yet we also must practice and experience this phenomena many times before we can understand it. If we choose to live a life that is more conscious, as opposed to a life where we have little awareness over anything that is taking place; blindly running along with the masses. If we choose to find a deeper sense of autonomy, we must cultivate a sense of perception that is wider than our mere egocentrism. We must find a place within ourselves, where we can find a space that allows us to perceive the whole, integrated within our own sense of individuality.

We always have a choice, within each moment and each action; we are the ones who are in control to shape our reality through our conscious action. Even when our lives are apparently chaotic, we always have a choice how we choose to perceive our sense of suffering, even if we can’t find a solution or the change that we feel we would like to implement within our lives.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2015

 

The Power of Nature

“Trees are the Earths endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.” Rabindranath Tagore

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Many love to be in nature and to experience the tranquil beauty and vibrance of lush green, as far as the eye can see. To experience the silence that comes, as you venture deeper into a wild forest or higher up a mountain terrain. In my life I have loved to experience this profound connection with the natural world, through sitting in nature or hiking along a mountain side. The power of nature is beyond our cognitive ability to conceptualize, we may visually enjoy what is before our eyes, yet can we feel the energy of all of the living species that create the landscape. I want to convey my experiences of being in nature, an experience that I often seek out, on a regular basis as it functions to restore my equilibrium better than anything else that I have ever found.

I grew up in a rural, extremely wild area of the world, in rugged untouched wilderness. My parents gave us a sense of freedom, that is almost not heard of in this day and age. We could roam through the endless forest, as we learned from a very young age where and how far to go. My earliest memories are being in nature. I felt this deep connection with the trees, animals and the natural world, in general. To such a degree that I could actually feel the tranquility of being in nature. Throughout my entire life, I was very attracted to very large trees, these special trees are what I think of as ‘fairy trees’, a term I learned while living in the U.K. These trees are special, often with other plants growing on or around them. They are often perched on a hill of sorts, created by the massive tangle of their roots. These trees are considered Mother Trees, from an ecological and biological perspetcive, where they literally repopulate the surrounding forest and their roots are an interwoven connection of communication and nutrient delivery system, that enables all the surrounding trees to thrive.

Throughout my life, I would always seek out one of these mother trees to go to, where I would sit and be alone. Even while I lived in various countries throughout the world, I would always seek out a very large tree to find some solace beneath. Its common knowledge that all of nature creates a frequency of energy, yet large trees have a very powerful energy.

I remember one time I was sitting in this massive tree in Totness England, and a small rabbit came out of the surrounding forest to sit near me. Interestingly, while quietly sitting within the folds of the natural world I have had numerous such experiences. One of the most significant experiences of enjoying the peace of nature and being visited by an animal occurred when I was in my early 20s, while I was in North India in the Himalayan mountains, in the late 1990’s. I had a great Golden Eagle, with a wingspan over 5 feet, come rest very near me. The eagle flew beside me, only a few feet, stayed for a very long time, watching me as I sat quietly. Then, he gracefully leaned out from the high perch of a rock, extended his massive wingspan and flew off. I was told many years later, by a practicing Shaman that eagle is my totem animal. Ironically, I see eagles very often in my life.

Another time, I was running in the forest behind my families property. I noticed a black shape running beside me, when I looked it was a black bear. She was running beside me for a distance. Then, the two dogs I was running with chased her up a tree.  Many years later, when I was studying Anthropology at University, one of my profs did her PhD on Shamanism, and she said that those who had the inclination to be Shamans in the society, were chosen by nature via having an animal come up to them, in an unusual way. This was an interesting point of reference, as for my entire life I have been deeply passionate about holistic healing, thus this did not surprise me.

However, given this knowledge I have had no desire to study what is modern day Shamanism, for it’s not my path in life. I prefer to just be conscious of the energy of nature. Thus, when the world of activity and the frenetic energy of human life becomes too much, I retreat into the natural world to find a sense of peace and equilibrium.

There is no experience more profound than the silence of nature, where you are receptive to the silence and the life giving vibrance that nature has to offer. If you are feeling stagnant, exhausted or depressed, take some time to walk by the ocean, through a beautiful park and be present with what surrounds you. To behold nature as a living entity gives you the ability to tap into the energetic frequency that is emitted from each plant and tree. In this space, there exists a quiet magic that only those who are able to be still enough may experience, leaving you with a deep feeling of peace, silence and joy.

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Sacred Partnership

“Self inside self, you are nothing but me. Self inside self, I am only you. What we are together will never die. The why and now of this? What does it matter?” Lalla (1320-1392, the 14th Century North Indian female mystic)

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The majority of us search for the idealistic notion of, ‘true love’. To share our lives with an unfathomable beloved, in which we find complete union through the depth of love and bliss of the partnership. The search for such a sacred union is rarely the reality. There are numerous factors that determine the partner that we end up with in life; if we are meant to have a long relationship, numerous partners, or no partner at all. Obviously, for those who know the law of karma as a reality, we may have some unfinished business to share with another person, thus attracting partnerships that may not be as ideal as we had envisioned.

We always attract what we embody within ourselves. Thus, the true depth of finding this divine love and keeping the essence of this union burning, often has more to do with who we are on an inner level. This can be seen as our personal relationship with ourselves, as well as our level of maturity in life.

I felt inspired to write about love and partnership, after celebration the 15th year anniversary with my husband. We meant in our middle twenties and despite a life of constant change and challenges; we have endured. The truth of the matter, is that we have more than endured, we are living a relationship that is a ‘sacred union’. As with most new relationships when we first meant, we experienced a depth of love that seemed to transcend time, space, and causality, it was as though we had always known each other, effortlessly merged into one another; as separate entities, yet as one. This experience of fathomless love, true friendship and the depth of connection has endured for 15 years, despite facing more challenges in our time together, than one can imagine.

I have several absolutely beautiful female friends who are constantly moving through various partnerships, that come and go. These friends are constantly searching for their ‘sacred partner’ to share their life with, yet are not seeming to find this ideal person.

The truth of the matter is that, who you are as a person greatly depends on who you attract to yourself. In the case of my husband and myself, when we meant, both of us were very much focused on living a spiritual life. Thus, we were constantly finding greater self awareness and working with our self reflexivity, towards understanding our own minds. When we dedicate our life to this practice, we realize that everything in the transient external world, including other people will never make us happy; we must find true joy and contentment on an inner level. Therefore, when we came together, we were not dependent on each other for eternal love, peace, or happiness. Instead, throughout our time together we have always been very independent people, working on ourselves, yet sharing our space with each other; without the projected dependence of trying to extract love or joy from each other.

Of course, when you find a life long partnership that is very powerful, there are often other factors. We apparently have no, ‘karmic’ ties between us, meaning we were not brought together to work out some karmic lesson, which is a good thing. Instead, our relationship, is referred to as a ‘spouse of destiny’, as one vedic astrologer told me. We are together to evolve spiritually through our partnership. In this way, we have never tried to change each other, instead we have always allowed the uniqueness of each other to shine forth, supporting the strengths and beauty of our own personal evolution.

In my experience, even the most compatible partnership there will still be issues and fights. Yet, when we take self responsibility for our words and actions, it is easier to reach a greater understanding of the other person’s point of view. Another factor essential in maintaining clear communication and harmony, that I learned from my husband, is the ability to be very honest and straightforward. Thus, when there are differences of opinion, when discussed directly, the issue can be resolved very efficiently and quickly.

The energy of love, is a universal energy that is not just allocated to people in ‘love’, thus with this understanding there is greater compassion and compromise when facing difficult situations. It is my opinion that no one should settle for a mediocre or dependent relationship, it is far more productive to be alone. I have always said, ‘never settle for less’, even if that means you abstain from dating for a certain period of time, this will help to give the capacity to be detached and find an awareness of what the most complimentary partnership looks like.

The truth is that the advice I give to others, is the same advice I have used in my own life. When I was in my very early twenties, I had the great opportunity to travel and live all over the world for over six years. Thus, at that time in my life, I also understood very clearly what I was seeking, through the clarity of my own understanding of myself and the partner I wanted to spend my life with. I focused most of my energy living in other countries, travelling,  and doing sadhana. Instead, I waited very patiently for a partner that I could spend my life with, rather than the constantly revolving relationships that I had already witnessed.

Through this practice, I did find much more than a partner to share my life with, I have a sacred partnership with a man who is an extremely strong person, an infinitely kind human being, who tries his best to live his life with awareness. There are few people like my husband, yet we walk the same path, as individuals that are forged as one. Even as time passes, our moments together are as new as if we have just meant, yet are steeped in a profound love and strength that is unmeasurable and eternal. I know many people who also share such relationships, with constant work on ourselves, all things are possible.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2014

Into The Stillness

“Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found.” Pema Chodron

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Like all of us searching for a life of meaning and inspiration, there have been many times in my life where I have found a sense of deep joy; despite there being many factors in my life that would instead, compel a sense of unhappiness. As we all have realized in life, happiness is not dependent on our external circumstance. Of course, there are numerous connections that we experience where we are intrinsically tied to some event or shared experience with another that makes us feel happiness.

However, the truth of the matter is that regardless of our ability to see the external experience as bringing us joy, or if we can feel that the joy was actually already there. The reason that we were able to perceive this sense of happiness, that already existed within us, is that we were able to focus our minds on the present moment to such a degree that we experience a slowing of the mind. Similarly, when we invoke any kind of meditative, spiritual practice, or anything that allows us to use extreme focus, bringing our minds more to the present moment with a concentrated focus. It is during this silencing of the mind that we can tap into the inner joy that exists within all of us and is not dependent on any external stimuli.

I came to realize this experience through spending most of my life doing hatha yoga. This practice has fluctuated in my life, since I started almost thirty years ago, despite the fact that I am only forty years old. Yet, something has remained consistent, the deep inner peace generated. I noticed this when I was very young, through holding each asana for a duration of time, I would experience a deep sense of peace. Now, I don’t hold any posture for long, yet feel plunged into the present moment with each asana, each breath is a mantra and the focus becomes very concentrated. Through this practice, there is a bubbling of such inner joy, its like a warmth that spreads throughout my being, delivering a deep inner peace and contentment.

Most of us who have tried doing yoga maybe have not felt this type of experience. There are many reasons for this, the most obvious is that most of us go to classes, where our attention is very much outwardly directed. The second, is that the focus on proper posture has overtaken the body culture, that yoga has always been in the West. Proper posture is important, yet there are many schools of yoga that focus to such a degree on posture, it actually takes you completely away from the internal experience.

Despite having started doing yoga in the late 80’s, including going to classes in the early 90’s, my first opportunity to properly study Yoga was in India in 1997 when I did my teachers training at the Sivananda Ashram in Kerala South India. Since this time I have continued to study with numerous well known teachers who specialize in various styles. Currently I do a combination of postures that have some Iyengar with a very energetic focus on the breath, using mantras for each inhale and each exhale.

This practice is very physical, yet allows the practitioner to go within to such a degree that your awareness can exist physically and energetically. However, doing any practice is a cumulation of repetitions that generates a specific energetic result. Each posture, like continuously chanting the same mantra, invokes a certain energetic response. Thus, the more one practices doing asana the more power the energetic experience one will have. The most important aspect of any practice is to allow our minds to slow down, where we can experience a deeper sense of inner peace and happiness.

When we can just let go of our self imposed ideas on what ‘mood’ we should assume, based on the day’s events. If we can just allow ourselves a small moment of being in the present moment; all possibilities open up and we realize that we can experience happiness and inner peace, regardless of what preconceived stress and ‘suffering’ we may be enduring.

The human mind is a very unpredictable aspect of our human experience, thus no one is static and perfected in any idealistic way. Thus, through the storm, we can find ways of experiencing peace and joy, even while we are surfing the eye of the hurricane. Inevitable, something inextricably amazing may be waiting right around the corner for us.

It has been my experience in life that if we cling too hard or long to painful experiences, we miss out on the beautiful gifts that are waiting for us to discover them. Thus, the goal of doing any spiritual practice or self improvement, is to move beyond extreme reaction, to have more equanimity, where we can experience suffering, yet allow it to be released; to make space for joy. Through our practices, may we find deep inner peace and joy.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2014

A Life to Be Lived

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. ” Pema Chodron

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When you sincerely seek to live a spiritual life, be sure to make sure that you are strong enough to handle the extreme challenges that are sure to follow in your every wake and step. To truly be free of our inner negative tendencies, to be fully purified; we must be willing to confront everything within our consciousness, the layers upon layers of tendencies that we have accumulated throughout numerous lifetimes. We must be willing to go beyond this finite perception of ourselves, expand in awareness, only through extreme grace; to realize that we are not this illusion.

Of course, few of us are so close to perfection, instead we feel that we are filled to the max with an overabundance of ‘issues’ and other such aspects that we are becoming aware of. Once you start to dedicate a larger amount of time doing practice, it seems that the level of challenges increases exponentially. It is said that there are three ways of burning off karma; poverty, chronic illness, and sadhana. Most people have gone through at least one of the three in this life. However, the last one, sadhana, or spiritual practice is the key to finding a connection beyond the exterior of who we appear to be, to connect deep within, to the essence of existence. Even if this experience is very finite, it is still a profound point of stepping into the abyss of timelessness, into the infinite divine, to dissolve into a place that is beyond the reality that we find so believable.

I am not an advanced practitioner, I am a beginner; constantly returning to this place of newness, without anything to grasp onto. It seems that I am always at the beginning in life, even if I have reached points of height. One example is where I was advanced at Yoga asana for most of my life, however an arm injury brought me permanently back to being a beginner. I know the steep, jagged, and extremely painful road towards developing humility, where my ego has been grated along the most painful of terrain. The deeper my inner commitment towards searching for the Truth, the farther I seem to fall; endlessly into an abyss of timelessness, finding a sense of detachment, and expanding my awareness where I can fully understand the mechanisms that are so easily triggered. Its profound and beyond any linguistic explanation, to reach so high that you fall so far down. Yet, in that fall I have experienced an explosion of most, if not all of my negative tendencies.

“At some point, we need to stop identifying with our weaknesses and shift our allegiances to our basic goodness.” Pema Chodron

The path to purity and purification is a deep endless abyss where the most grotesque versions of ‘ourselves’ must be released from their bondage to our attachment, before the beauty of our inner Selves can be revealed. We are the one’s who inevitably imprison ourselves with our attachment to our fallible, inconclusive, problematic and erroneously static ‘identity’. Through this clinging, we close the door to true personal transformation and growth, for we have already created the variable narratives that we all use to structure the fabric of our social identity and life. We are social architects, constantly attempting to maintain the construction of who we envision ourselves to be or how we perceive ourselves to become. The real truth is that we are none of these projections or tendencies, yet since we rarely go within to a deeper and much quieter place; where we slowly start to see the facade and the underlying energy beneath it which is in contrast, very different, without qualities.

“Whatever is happening is the path to enlightenment.” Pema Chodron

It has been through such challenges that I have stepped through in my life, that have been the purifying gift that has allowed me to move closer to a sense of renewal. Even though, I am at the beginning once again, each step is a powerful walk towards a sense of awakening to who we truly are.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2014

Stepping Out From The Shadow

“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.” The Dalai Lama

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I was fortunate to be part of the audience for a live interview with my spiritual teacher, Sri Mata Amritananda Mayi Devi, widely known as ‘Amma’ meaning ‘Mother’. The interview was held at Stanford University by Dr. Doty on Conversations on Compassion that took place the beginning of last July 2014. Dr. Doty has interview other great spiritual leaders, such as The Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Desmond Tutu, and many others. Amma, said that it does not matter how long you spend with the Master; it depends on how great your desire is to be free and make the effort, like the baby chicken who pecks their way out of the egg. She said the true Guru is your experiences in life, these teach you the most, if you are willing to learn.

Most of us, myself included live life, or have lived life based on numerous preconceived notions about our identity: social and family positionally; our monetary social status; how well we are liked in our friend and cohort groups; and our acquisition of material gain. Thus, all of us are constantly attempting to live a life that has some meaning, contentment, and joy. Inevitably, we are prisoners of our self imposing conceptions that we use to negotiate our identity and identify ourselves in reference to our external social landscape. We live with a sense of reality that is predominantly covered by shadows, all of which are our own creation and perception. We live our lives in such a way, where we choose to stay trapped in a self created cage within our minds, often closing our heart and emotions to the large scope of reality. In this way, we find the path of limitation a safe and secure place to walk; rather than finding the courage within to confront the wilderness of the unknown. However, through our desperation to find and live a life of authenticity and security, we find ourselves beneath a sky of grey clouds, for we can never evolve into our highest potential or into our true identity by living a life constantly measured by infinite self imposed limitations.

I am sure most people can relate, to some degree with what I am discussing, as we have all experienced some component of this phenomena within our lives. Where we felt very frustrated and confined; unable to break free, even though we are aware enough to isolate the real issue that is constricting us. The truth is that the freedom and answers that we seek can only be found within ourselves, for we always know which direction we need to pursue. Regardless of when we arrive at this consciousness, of being trapped by something, we can then find a means of moving beyond whatever it may be. I strongly believe and have experienced that once we are aware of all the places within ourselves, where we allow ourselves to be small and limited, with enough determination and effort we can break free eventually of even the most painful feelings of limitation. With enough focus, dedication, and practice everything in our lives will change, our bodies, our minds, and even the negative tendencies that we are so attached to.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi

Once we open the doors to our limitation and leap out of the self imposing cage, who do we then become. The answer is that the more we let go of everything that once burdened or limited us, we realize that we are a unique expression of the universe, similar to everyone else. Yet, each of us are as diverse and unique as the pattern of each snowflake, we are all falling together in our own authenticity, beauty, and interconnected senses of being. There is a realization that life will most likely bring us numerous challenges that we must face, yet we have the strength and resilience to go through all of them. It was said by a saint, that each and every challenge and difficulty that we must confront in our lives, is meant only for us, as we have the innate capacity and inner strength to transcend whatever it may be. Thus, we should never compare ourselves to anyone else, especially when it comes to the various challenges that all of us have to inevitable face in our lives, at some point or another.

In essence, regardless of where we find ourselves in this moment, we always have the choice to find contentment and be grateful for what we have. Even in the darkest moments of life, there are still shards of beautiful light that are all around us, it is within our own consciousness to choose to perceive the beauty and delicate frailty of life. To inevitable be free of our own limitations, we must know that we always have a choice; a choice to perceive ourselves, our lives, and our social landscape in a language that brings us to a higher level of our own innate potential, that we all embody.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2014