Enlightenment and Inner Division

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This wisdom from Adyashanti gave me pause for thought today.

Adyashanti on Enlightenment and Inner Division

“Most human beings spend their lives battling with opposing inner forces: what they think they should do versus what they are doing; how they feel about themselves versus how they are; whether they think they’re right and worthy or wrong and unworthy.
The separate self is just the conglomeration of these opposing forces. When the self drops away, inner division drops away with it.

Now, I can’t say that I never make a mistake, because in this human world being enlightened doesn’t mean we become experts at everything. What does happen, though, is that personal motivations disappear.
Only when enlightenment occurs do we realize that virtually everything we did, from getting out of bed to going to work to being in a relationship to pursuing our pleasures and interests, was motivated by personal concern.
In the absence of a separate self, there’s no personal motivation to do anything. Life just moves us.

When personal motivation no longer drives us, then what’s left is our true nature, which naturally expresses itself on the human dimension as love or compassion.
Not a compassion that we cultivate or practice because we’re supposed to, but a compassion that arises spontaneously from our undivided state. If we undertake being a good, compassionate person as a personal identity, it just gets in the way of awakening.”

As we continue on this path, the inner conflict and critical inner voice lessens, then disappears. We come to a place of inner knowing and compassion for ourselves and the world. This is the motivation that will drive us for the rest of our lives.

Namaste

Ahimsa and Kindness

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Ahimsa or non violence is the foundation of all yoga philosophy. Most of us might think we are not violent people. We don’t go around bullying or hurting others or animals. We are loving and giving, and would never want to do any harm.

However, there are many ways that we unconsciously do “violence” on ourselves.

How often do you stay at your desk to get through your work without a break or refreshment? Are you pushing yourself to exhaustion?
Is your self talk kind and supportive, or do you judge yourself harshly and put yourself down?

To paraphrase Gandhi’s words “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Being forgiving and compassionate to yourself is the essential step to practicing ahimsa in the world.

This is fundamental for all of us on the path of yoga.
We must start with ourselves and allow the past damage of inner violence to heal.

Everything starts with our awareness of it.
Here are ways to bring about more awareness and change.

Decide to commit for one day to notice your internal conversations. Take time to journal and capture your thoughts.
At the end of the day. What did you notice? Is it time to change your conversation?
How can you start every thought with kindness?

An other practice is Loving Kindness Meditation. If your usual meditation is guided or based on mindfulness or mantra, commit to a loving kindness practice instead.Choose words that resonate with you.

May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you free of trouble and the causes of trouble
May you live your life with ease

metta-prayer

Sorrow and Delight

man standing on seashore

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“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”

~Kahlil Gibran

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the loss and sorrow. A part of us has been taught that this is somehow wrong, and we create stories to help us cope. We may get angry, resentful or vow never to put ourselves in that situation again. We resist these powerful feelings and try to escape them.

Yet it only takes a moment, a pause and perhaps a deep releasing sigh, to see that the source of this deep feeling is love.

Sorrow and love are interwoven because the two are always connected.

With our hearts open, there is yearning and longing. There is love here.

When we recognize that what we feel sad about, is really an opening of the heart, we can begin to smile in the knowing that we are alive and loving beings.
This is what makes us special.

There Are No Perfect Human Beings and We Can all be Assholes

“There are no perfect human beings! Persons can be found who are good, very good indeed, in fact, great.

There do in fact exist creators, seers, sages, saints, shakers, and movers…even if they are uncommon and do not come by the dozen.

And yet these very same people can at times be boring, irritating, petulant, selfish, angry, or depressed.

To avoid disillusionment with human nature, we must first give up our illusions about it.”

Abraham Maslow from Motivation and Personality

This reminds me of fellow blogger Ann Koplow’s Asshole song from her debut Fringe show in Edinburgh.

We can all be assholes!

So what?…

So expect others to have their good days and bad days.

So give yourself a break when you are not feeling on top of the world all the time, or if you know you have been an asshole.

So let go of the illusion – the beliefs about how you “should” be, and how others “should” be.

Accept that life is a series of highs and lows.

And most importantly – be kind towards the parts of you that are in the dark.

Embracing Shadow Self by Rita Loyd

Embracing Shadow Self by Rita Loyd

Hugs to all parts of you.

The asshole in me greets the asshole in you.

Listen to Your Body – its Listening to You

The words we choose in our thinking, our speech and our writing, impact on how we feel and our overall well being.

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Have you ever noticed how a word can bring up a certain feeling inside of you? A sensation, a thought or an emotion?

Choosing a word that connects with your heart and soul can be not only uplifting, but also brings physical well being.

If you have a few moments, let’s explore.

Take your time as you connect to each of the words below. Go slowly. You can say them out loud:

Love
Tender
Soothing
Joy
Cuddle
Grateful
Smile
Gentle
Pause here and close your eyes. What is alive in you in this moment? Is there a warmth, softening, a feeling of tenderness or love perhaps? How is your breathing? Are you smiling? (me too) Notice how these words manifest themselves in your mind body and spirit.

pauseNow take a deep breath and take the same time connecting to each of these words:
Irritated
Ugly
Mean
Wrong
Frustrated
Cruel
Unfair
Bad
Pause here and close your eyes. What is alive in you in this moment? Is there tension or constriction or heaviness perhaps? How is your breathing? Notice how these words manifest themselves in your mind body and spirit.

pauseIn general when it is a word associated with lack, dis-ease, suffering or violence, our body responds by becoming tense, our breath shallows and there is resistance.

In western medicine when there is resistance in our body it leads to inflammation, and increases our level of stress. These are both proven factors for ill health.

I believe in western medicine, and I also believe in that when there is constriction and tension our life energy contracts as well, and a part of inner state becomes blocked. This impacts our emotional and physical wellness.

In yoga, when the life energy (prana) is blocked it can be released with postures, breathing exercises (pranayama) and meditation. In Chinese medicine these blockages in Qi can be released through acupuncture.

pause and listen to your body

No matter what we believe in our minds, our body has its own kind of intelligence.

Listen to your body’s wisdom.

Be mindful of your thoughts and your words. Your body is always listening.

Being Out of Integrity

This is a re-post I found inspiring to me today. Take time to find your middle ground and come home to your Self.

oooOOOooo


meditating

I used to think that when I was out of integrity I was not walking my own talk and my thoughts were not in alignment with my beliefs and values.
That when my thinking and actions weren’t aligned, I was letting myself down in some away, and not honoring my best self.
And then I woke up and experienced it as something more.

The signs of being out of integrity were the same. For me, its an icky uncomfortable feeling in my gut. I’ve come to recognize this as my unconscious letting me know that something isn’t right. There is something to discover within.

When this feeling happens I ask myself two questions and then listen for an answer.

1. Am I feeling fearful? ….I didn’t defect any fear. There were no anxious thoughts or worries.

2. Am I out of integrity?…. and I couldn’t see anything “wrong”. I wasn’t letting myself down by being out of alignment with my thoughts and actions. Usually there’s something that comes up –  like avoiding exercise, over eating, trying to get out of a commitment I regretted having made, or feeling bad because I was snippy with someone when I was focused elsewhere. This time it made no sense whatsoever. But there was no “bad” deed or self denial to be dug up and exposed.

So what was going on?

I decided to set aside time to be with myself for yoga and meditation. I moved gently and then simply sat. Being fully present and open to see what would show up.

As I did, I felt a gentle wave of warm loving energy and a softening around my heart. A small voice without words seemed to say “Ah here you are. I’ve missed you.”

The well intentioned judge disappeared and was replaced by pure loving kindness. I gave it space to be and to grow. It moved through my very being. Enfolding me and nurturing my spirit.

My realization is this:

Before I would judge myself as in some way as being “wrong”, and then I would make it “right” by changing how I was behaving or thinking. My judge is well intentioned, but sees things as right or wrong and can be very critical.

When we let go of the judge, a loving connection with ourselves can seed itself and grow. Harmony is found again and everything is aligned once more with life and the world.

Now I know that when I am out of integrity then I am not taking time to be kind to myself.

It’s not about changing my thinking and actions, its about opening my heart and connecting to my Self.

Namaste

Inspiration – Dissatisfaction

“This is the path we take in cultivating joy: learning not to armor our basic goodness, learning to appreciate what we have.
Most of the time we don’t do this.
Rather than appreciate where we are, we continually struggle to nurture our dissatisfaction.
It’s like trying to get flowers to grow by pouring cement on the garden.”

~ Pema Chodron taken from “The Places That Scare You”

Do you find yourself thinking about the things that aren’t going the way you want and complaining about your circumstances, other people, yourself?

Next time you catch yourself resisting or resenting, imagine that you are pouring cement on your garden.

It’s an incredibly powerful practice to start clearing out the thoughts that poison our own happiness.

We can change this by re-focusing on planting seeds that come from the heart. The seeds of gratitude, appreciation and loving kindness.


Open your heart
And put away the cement mixer.
Feel the load lighten.
Let this nurturing space
Bring joy and loving kindness
To nourish every part of you.