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

Inspiration – Resisting

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“It may look as if the situation is creating the suffering, but ultimately this is not so – your resistance is.”

~ Eckhart Tolle

Have you ever  had a reaction of “What do you mean I’m resisting? … They are the problem!”

We are all human beings with egos that are ready to duck and weave… push back and dismiss… defend or withdraw, in order to avoid feeling the pain of being wrong, not being accepted or not being good enough.

This is one of those seemingly simple statements from Eckhart Tolle that has a greater depth of meaning.

When we get frustrated and unhappy, instead of resenting what is happening to us, wishing things to be different and attacking the nearest bystander or ourselves for being stupid, we can step back with awareness.

We can ask ourselves questions such as “What is it that I am not accepting?” “What am I resisting?” Then “What can I do to change the situation?” (Bear in mind that you cannot change an other person, only yourself.) “What can I do differently here?” “Can I bring about change or accept the way things are”.

An other way to look at this is to recognize that the resistance is already within us. It’s usually in the beliefs that we hold about ourselves and life in general. When we come across something which threatens how we see the world, our ego will react to protect itself. We get triggered.

Every time we are triggered, it’s an opportunity to learn and to educate ourselves on what we hold dear to ourselves and our values. It’s also an opportunity to explore those beliefs and see if they are meaningful, or are based on early conditioning. Perhaps the other perspective is actually worth considering!

It really is all about us and our inner world.

When our ego defends and attacks the outer world; when we blame the other and create enemies in our mind; when we become judge and jury for everything that doesn’t comply with our thinking, then it is time to stop, take a few deep breaths and begin to search inside ourselves.

Self inquiry is the work of our lives.

Sorrow and Delight

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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.

Understanding Violence

“When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent.

Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind.
When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence.

So a person who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.”

~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
In yoga we honor the practice of ahimsa, or non violence. There is also the understanding that we are all connected and are not separate beings. It is the persona or ego that keeps us separate and fearful. The path of yoga is to awaken to our interconnectedness and to see ourselves in others.
May we all continue to plant seeds that bring us together instead of tearing us apart.

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.