Sometimes we forget. Of course we do! We forget we are human.
What? Yes. And we forget that we are also filled with spirit.
And? Well, sometimes this makes the journey hard.
Why? Because as a human, we crave form, the seen/known and we have physical needs. And because as spirit, we crave essence, the formless, the unseen/unknown. Sounds like a paradox. It is! And that is how we grow.
So, why does re-membering this matter?
For starters, let's recall that buddha taught us how to deal with suffering. Buddha did not teach about how to be enlightened. In my experience, re-membering (get it?) helps me navigate suffering with more ease. With ease comes greater awareness that inner peace comes from my ability to balance my human needs and my spiritual needs. With this awareness and balance a sense of freedom (from suffering) returns.
The truth is, freedom is always available to us because it's a mindset. Yes, freedom is even available when we are not feeling rooted/stable/balanced (which for is a a form of suffering).
How is freedom available? By changing mindset to see the instability as teaching us how to let go... When we are attached, we are not free. Period.
So, re-membering I am human and spirit helps me exhale when things are challenging. When I re-member, I am able to have compassion for my humanity/physicality/doing-ness and also reverence for my divinity/spirituality/being-ness. A magical paradoxical dance otherwise known as the art of awakening. As with art, sometimes it's highly emotional and provocative. It's chaotic, crazy, beautiful and messy all at once.
Take a moment and absorb this. Allow the wisdom which comes to inform your doing, your being...YOU. It's all one energy.
Do we have a choice as to how we engage with our mind? Yes!
And I choose ally. Why? I choose peace.
How is that possible? Meditation...daily, consistent, whether I like it or not.
Through meditation I have accepted this as true: we learn so much more from our struggles than from our successes. And yet, some of us will continue to stay in struggle...and endure suffering without ever learning the lesson and applying it to make our life more peaceful, loving, joyful. I call learning and applying the lesson as the process of burning our pain and using it as fuel for the journey.
Why do we resist seeing lessons in struggles? Lots of reasons. Conditioning. Fear. Laziness. Doubt. And it takes courage to create peace...both inner and outer peace. And yes effort to. Anything worthwhile requires effort.
When we refuse to make sense of/give meaning to/learn from our struggles/bunr the pain for fuel, we end up in the same "classroom" again and again. The people may look different, yet the subject matter is the same. We will stay in that classroom until we have had enough. When we have had enough we surrender...befriend our mind...choose our mind as our ally...change our perspective... learn... apply the wisdom... and move on. Or not. If not, we stay in that classroom for our entire life and end up feeling dead even though we are still alive.
I get it. I did that for many years as I share in my book, Reclaiming Joy. I still do it and happily much much much less. Why? Lots of practice and I have decided my mind must be my ally rather than my adversary.
What do I mean? Quite simply, how we experience life is a result of how we see, (also known as our perspective) what is happening. When I am in struggle, my suffering is reduced, and passes much more quickly, when I treat the struggle as a lesson.
How am I able to treat the struggle as a lesson and not get "stuck"? Practice and refinement over the years :) And more importantly, my willingness to change my perspective -- to choose to see the struggle as a lesson and my mind as my ally.
I must make my mind my ally. Through daily meditation I retrain my brain to witness the struggle, get the lesson and then focus all of my energy only on that which I want to create. After all, if I want to create something, the "assumption" is that what I am creating will be what brings me peace, love, joy. Having said this, if I am "creating" unconsciously, I may be my own adversary (think self sabotage). In other words, when we get far enough along the path of mindfulness and healing, we realize we are own ally and we have to be if we wish to experience peace, love, joy...ease.
And our mind? Our mind becomes a tool we consciously use to support us as an ally.
As may of you have heard, what we focus our thoughts on will grow. Where our attention goes, our energy flows. Thoughts are things. Pay attention. Choose yourself as an ally and choose your mind as your ally in support of yourself.
Yoga is a tool. Like a hammer, yoga offer us the opportunity, if we are willing to see it as such, to help us build something.
And yet, how often do we judge the experience? Maybe we show up on the mat, or make excuses as to why we "can't", and then judge yoga itself. That's like judging the hammer. It makes no sense. Or maybe some people think of yoga as "bad" and in conflict with some type of "religious" life. Hmmm...yoga is a tool. Maybe "church" is also a tool?
So, if we aren't paying attention, if we aren't present, we may hammer our finger or pull a ligament. We get "hurt". We blame the hammer or yoga.
Maybe the truth is that when we aren't present as we do yoga, hammer the nail, live our life...it isn't the yoga, the hammer or life that's the "problem". Perhaps it's us? Meaning, we have not yet trained our mind "well enough" so it endlessly attaches judgment (good and bad) to everything. There is another way to live that requires a willingness to change our beliefs and the way we "see".
Yoga is a tool. Whether our practice is strong and sweaty or gentle and sweet, isn't the point. When we embrace yoga as a tool, we become present to the wisdom it gives us. Wisdom is a form of help, yes?
Take a moment to consider how your yoga/hammer/life practice supports you.
Is there anything you must you change in your mind to allow the practice to help you build the life you want? Maybe you want more love, peace, laughter, friends, money...more of that feeling of being alive...
Yes, MORE! Nothing wrong with wanting more. There's that judgment again :)
Chakra Meditation with Stephanie Filardi
Thursday, April 26, 2018, 6:30PM
In this 45 minute gathering, Stephanie from Bronxville Wellness Sanctuary will lead the group on a meditative journey through the chakras. Chakra balancing herbal tea will be served.
Location: Found Herbal Apothecary | 118 Kraft Ave. Bronxville, NY
Cost: $20 per person
Pre-registration required, spots are limited.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Bring Yoga Mat.