Truth Through Action

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~ Brené Brown

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We are all searching for some tangible sense of contentment, happiness, and truth that helps us to understand the life that we are all collectively living. Of course, there are numerous paradigms that we prescribe to for various reasons, as a means of searching for something greater than ourselves. The question I have, is what stops us from really practising what we believe; really being the energy of what we speak and write. This is why, I only write about subjects that I am experiencing through my own actions; rather than just write about all of the health, philosophical, or holistic concepts that I have spent a considerable amount of time studying. I find tranquility through: simplicity, awareness, and working each day to really practice what I deeply believe within the teachings that I follow on a holistic level. The daily health and holistic advice that I give to others, has come about not only through the years of theoretical training, but also a lifetime of experience and observing how these aspects affect the human body, mind, and spirit.

In my own life, I have been interested in many aspects of spirituality, philosophy, and understanding the human condition. However, one thing that I have always done is to find some level of awareness and observation. I try to be observant of my environment, through watching others and the related dynamics that ensure, including my own actions. Through this process, I have seen time and time again how easy it is to write or speak words of various meanings, yet unless you can fully embody what you believe through these truths; it becomes meaningless to repeat such things to others. Inevitable, it does not matter what or how much you know, if it’s not transfered through your actions, it profoundly lacks any real meaning.

I felt inspired to write on this subject, as I tend to read numerous articles and blogs on health and spirituality. In addition, I tend to spend time with many people who are trying to find meaning in these two areas. I notice time and time again, we as individuals don’t practice what we deeply believe, on a large scale. Yes, there are many people who do make a huge effort and their truth is easily seen through all of their actions. However, I have witnesses people who are spiritual seekers, yet still their actions are not in direct correlation with what they inevitably believe. This phenomena is very prevalent, where most people create their own ideologies around others, allowing them excuses to treat others poorly or wreak havoc on someone else’s life through creative gossip and untruths.

Through such experiences, I find a sense of incredible resolve to focus on developing greater levels of awareness and not inflicting harm into my environment. Inevitable, it is only through our own actions that we should be concerned, even if someone else is at fault or has done the wrong action and you are the one blamed, for your reaction – to their poor action. Still, you must continue to bring the awareness back to your own actions; this is true self empowerment and will make your life much more authentic, transparent, and honest. Thus, bringing a congruence with your thoughts and beliefs, aligning these with all of your actions.

Often, it is through our greatest suffering that we make the greatest effort to change, or through our witness of someone else’s very destructive patterns that have touched our lives. If you witness others behaving in ways that are based on poor judgment; remember that action will ONLY ever harm them.

The real reality is that what we believe is inevitably conveyed through our actions, regardless of what we think or say; if we are not able to convey these into action, then we have a lot of work to do. As many of us know, this can pertain to anything, from negative mental and emotional patterns that we constantly play out in our minds, to cruel and destructive tendencies that we justify to ourselves. The truth is that regardless of who someone is or how they behave, no one deserves to be treated poorly. Moreover, if we find ourselves treating another person poorly because of what someone else has told us through their transfer of hate; we should be very cautious with our actions by taking on someone else’s issue, which may not even be a real phenomena.

In our society, we as a collective love to discriminate against others and demonize them, even if it’s to justify our own self created ideas.

Inevitably, each negative action that has come to slice through my life; I have become much more diligent with my own transformation, focusing on trying very hard not to be this way myself. In addition, we must become more aware of our actions and the consequences that follow. If we have contributed to some harm, due to our actions, the most benevolent role to play is to take accountability and do your best to amend the action. It takes a certain level of self honesty to really find a sense of self awareness. Even though I make an effort to attempt to be more and more aware and be mindful of my own actions, I also make many mistakes. The thing that I am trying to convey is the importance of having this awareness, thus making our lives an expression of who we are and what we believe, seen through the quiet simplicity of our actions.

The most powerful truth is only see through action, this is something we see with the Mahatma’s (great saints) of the world. Their actions are completely in alignment with the universal truth, there is no hypocrisy. All of us can practice some level of truth through repeatedly invoking them within all of our actions. By becoming more observant of our own actions, we can mediate them as we go along to become more harmonious with the universal truth. I find that one of the most motivating factors, as discussed above is to become aware of the actions from others that we have found painful and try very hard not to inflict those onto other people. If we find ourselves in the process of doing this, we always have the chance to retract our steps and make amends. This is my ongoing practice that requires tremendous patience and self forgiveness, to continue practising. Self forgiveness, when our actions are not in harmony with peace and love and inflict harm onto another; to become aware of this and try and correct this action. If we make the effort, it’s really amazing how we can find greater inner peace, love, and harmony in our relationships.

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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.

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The Reflexivity of Being

If you knew yourself for even one moment, if you could glimpse your most beautiful face, maybe you wouldn’t slumber so deeply in that house of clay. Why not move into your house of joy and shine into every crevice! For you are the secret Treasure-bearer, and always have been. Didn’t you know?  ” Rumi

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There is one aspect of attempting to convey one’s experiential experiences through the medium of language, specifically writing that I find problematic. Although I find myself attempting to communicate in this fashion, I am continuously aware of the limitation of this medium. Its very easy to extrapolate some theoretical jargon, as I have seen all too frequently through the world of written and spoken communication. Its far more complex to attempt to convey one’s own personal epiphany or paradigm of deeper understanding, in a way that is meaningful and that can transcend throughout a varied audience of readers. I mention this fact, as through my life long love and experience of living a holistic lifestyle, which I have written about throughout the various themes that comprise Sattva Holistic. I realize that the paradigm of what I have previously believed constituted living a holistic lifestyle, has been shifted to a very different level of perception. Thus, I am fully aware of how much the body centered Western culture had indeed affected my train of thought and inevitably acted as a filter towards how I perceived myself and how I interacted with the world. 

I have written quite a few blogs on what I believe to be a holistic lifestyle, via various topics. In addition, the life that I have lived up until this point was what is considered a holistic lifestyle, under the very popular paradigm of that word. However, currently I am strongly realizing that due to putting so much focus on balancing the body through organic or heath supplementing dietary regimes, we are continuing to reinforce the body centric Cartesian dualism of our current philosophical paradigm. I thought that in some way I was moving beyond this body centered reality, yet I realize that much of what I was doing in my own lifestyle was heavily focused on attaining greater physical health, it was my main priority, everything else came secondary.

The truth of the matter, is that throughout my life I have been very drawn towards the realm of inner transformation, yet the outer world of health and what constitutes finding this rare medium of physical balance seemed to be my focal point over the last decade. In the time since I left North America and have started to live a very different lifestyle, I realize that the holistic obsession with being physically healthy, to the maximum of standards, is something that does not create any real change on a holistic level. Of course, if your body is out balance and one attempts to find some greater degree of energy and wellbeing, this is normal. Yet, all things in the physical world are impermanent and constantly changing, thus to focus so extensively on a changing dynamic is literally a waste of one’s energy and time in life. It is important to eat organic and health based foods, yet we must look within for any lasting change to take place, even on the physical level. 

I was living a lifestyle rich with everything possible to attain physical vitality, yet on an inner level like many people, I was living a very stressful life, dealing with a huge issue after injuring my hands two years ago, and the resulting emotional frustration. I see now, that by focusing so much on the body, I did not fully embody the true sense of holism. This realization came to me, when I arrived in India and realized how mentally and emotionally stagnant I actually felt, as a result of the last few years of stress. It was a powerful epiphany, to see the inner suffering that I carried, yet in my daily routine in the West, it was not that much of a focal point. Here, where I am currently living, its a daily focal point, to embody a sense of inner reflexivity. To be constantly aware of one’s inner world and to do practices that focus and still the mind, thus to find greater inner peace and wellbeing. In a little over a month, I was able to move through the mass of stagnation, thus finding a sense of joy that I may not have experienced ever in my life. This is a powerful point, as if you had meant me prior to coming here, you would most likely find me positive and a relatively happy person. Yet, deep joy that radiates out in undulating energy without limits, is something I can not really remember experiencing since I was very young. This experience magnified the real issue and the importance of focusing mostly on our inner selves, rather than the body.

When we make the effort to embody greater inner awareness and allow the necessary transformation that is taking place every second to occur, we can find ourselves much freer than we could have ever imagined. Even more interesting, is that the joy I feel does not necessarily come from anything in my external world, with all the constant distractions that we chase after searching for happiness. I have experienced this type of transient joy found through the external worlds abundance of luminous and illusive objects. However, this inner feeling is something very different, it arises mostly when I least expect it, without any external stimuli to produce its emanating effect. Thus, through the life I have lived, and the extreme amount of challenges that have come before me, I realize that to really find a truly holistic lifestyle, one must first look within and have the strength and the discipline to do the necessary work. It is certainly not an easy task to sit with one’s self, yet the fruits of this labour are much richer than anything the external world can provide for you.

Through the powerful epiphany of experiencing this phenomena, I realize this is the one place in the world I feel tremendous harmony. Thus, my husband and I are going to do everything in our power to try to live here for as long as we can. The truth of the matter is that life is much shorter than most of us think and goes by at a rate that is faster than we can fathom. Hence, it has taken me this long to finally come home to rest in a place that brings forth the most precious gifts, through the feeling of deep inner joy and peace. I am also aware that this feeling may not always be there, yet I also realize that the work I am doing through inner transformation has a lasting affect that is far greater than just focusing on eating all organic everything and taking a massive amount of organic food based supplements. I do still enjoy and love organic everything, yet my focus has shifted towards something that creates true change on a deep level. Thus, we must first seek to purify and transform our negative tendencies that we all carry, as there is no amount of external purification that can bring about true holistic balance. If our mind remains filled with negativity, it will have a direct impact and affect on the body, regardless of the most pure lifestyle that we are living.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2013

The Ambiguity of Identity

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. When you are born a lotus flower, be a beautiful lotus flower, don’t try to be a magnolia flower. If you crave acceptance and recognition and try to change yourself to fit what other people want you to be, you will suffer all your life. True happiness and true power lie in understanding yourself, accepting yourself, having confidence in yourself.” – Thich Nhat Hanh, The Art of Power

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Throughout my life the concept of identity has always been a very abstract, malleable, and highly thought provoking topic. This phenomena recently became more of an experiential reality, as opposed to just an object of contemplation in the simple act of beginning to use my spiritual name, rather than my birth name. This process became an interesting experience which allowed me to learn a tremendous amount about what identity means to me within the process of embodying my own perception of ‘self’, in the transition of switching my name. Through this experience the question arose around what constitutes one’s ‘true identity’, within the context of ones main identifying agent, which is our first name.

As I began attempting to understand the concept of what ‘identity’ really means in relation to using a different name. I happen to come across several comments made by others in their reclamation of ‘self’ by attempting to cut away the outer layers of ambiguity around their identity, by going back to their original birth names and family identities, as their true identity. From my own personal experience, the truth of the matter is that our familial ascribed identity given to us at birth lacks reliable reference to our current sense of ‘self’. As we navigate and experience life through our own experiential reality via gaining certain knowledge and expertise, we are confronted with a far more precise and real sense of our own authentic identity; the person we have become and are currently embodying. 

The process of life allows us to reconstitute, contextualize, and negotiate our own sense of ‘self’ and how we truly perceive ourselves to be, rather than how others may view us externally. I have personally experienced the ebb and flow of life’s movement through the various experiences that shape and mold us into more complex versions of our selves. Our sense of self is a malleable and highly adaptable entity that must be able to grow and change as our life moves forward. In essence, as our external world is unpredictable, changing, and flowing within its own patterns; so is our inner world as it is constantly encountering and interacting with the external reality. In many ways, through doing a daily spiritual practice we learn to harness greater awareness towards this subtle process of how our sense of ‘self’ is shaped by the outer world and how our inner ‘Self’ is really a point of stillness, truth and true identity. However, since very few of us are enlightened or even close to being enlightened we are left to maintain the constant work of negotiating our sense of identity, as we feel ourselves constantly changing beyond our own understanding or ability to control the process.

The choice I made to use my spiritual name was a very effortless one, for I had lived my entire life using a name given to me by my parents. Yet, when I received my spiritual name it became more of a real identity for me than my previous name. Perhaps, the experience of this realization and epiphany is not fully captured by words, yet it was a profound certainty that I felt a very strong association with my new name, as opposed to my birth name which I actually felt never suited who I understood myself to be as a person.

In my perception of life, there is a greater potential for free-will than we may perceive, this includes how we choose to perceive ourselves as individuals. Thus, if we are open to the infinite lessons that inevitably come through living life; then we shall reap the rewards of inner growth and the inevitable transformation that comes along with such experiential knowledge. The decision to use my spiritual name made me realize that I was allowed to be who I have always felt myself to be as an individual. I felt transformed into being a sense of ‘self’ that was much deeper than the exterior ‘me’.

This entire process brought with it the realization that by having the conscious awareness to realize that we do not live in a purely deterministic world where the ascribed identity given to us by our families is our only option for identifying who we are. Perhaps, our families can lead us backward into the historic trajectory of our family history, however in this lifetime its best to live your own authentic life as your own genuine sense of ‘self’. 

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