Val’s Word for 2020

two birds in a tree

I wasn’t planning on choosing a word for this year, but one has been showing up in my thoughts and dreams. As always, it is what is behind and beyond the word itself that makes it impactful – how we bring the word into our lives.

Let me explain a little more.

In December I was at Kripalu for a training and retreat. It was a wonderful educational and enlightening experience taught by Yoganand Michael Carroll. We stepped lightly into the history of yoga and then took a deep dive into yoga philosophy and renunciate nivritti practices.

Throughout this intensive and powerful experience I felt a reassuring and familiar presence. I have noticed this awareness growing over the past few years, and have come to call it the Witness or Presence.

I shared the Vedic parable of the two birds in an earlier post, which describes how there are essentially two parts of ourselves. There is the doer, the part that is active in the world and has a sense of my family, my work, my children and so on. This is also called the I-maker or ego. The other part is a conscious witness within us, at a deeper level.

I believe that we can touch this deeper part of ourselves when we are still and turn our attention inwards. When we Find our Middle Ground.

Now I see that being still is a way to get to know it, but we can experience this deeper level of being in the world and can bring it into our every day.

When you have integrated the witness into your being, there is no need to wait to go to yoga or to sit and meditate. It is always present, and is always there to give you wisdom and guidance. This is the knowing, higher part of yourself who sees through the stories and the everyday actions and distractions of the doer.

This higher discriminating intellect, in the Samkhya tradition (before the time of Buddha), is called Buddhi.*

Whenever we notice the doer getting caught up in reacting to the world and being distracted by senses, desires and fears, we can call on Buddhi.

Buddhi doesn’t judge and make us wrong, it simply guides us into a higher state of being and brings clarity and balance. It brings us closer to the state of consciousness or divine.

So, how does this affect us?

As humans we are all doers. And as doers we have to protect our things and our selves, we need to feel safe and we have minds that make up stories to make sense of what happens to us and to make things right. We have our senses and feelings that constantly pull at us.

donuts and bagel display

Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Pexels.com

So….. As I think about what to choose for dessert, or begin to open a new bag of cookies, or sit back on the sofa with a glass of wine and turn on the tv, I will ask: What would Buddhi do? 

As I find myself avoiding taking the next step towards something important and making up stories about why I can’t do that right now, I will ask: What is Buddhi’s insight here?

When I notice that I feel anxious and fearful about the unknown future or am drawn into regrets of the past, I will ask: What would Buddhi tell me?

When I notice myself judging others and being critical, I will say: I need you now Buddhi!



* Buddhi Definition from Yogapedia:

Buddhi is a Sanskrit term derived from the root, budh, which means “to know” or “to be awake.” Therefore, buddhi refers to intellect, wisdom and the power of the mind to understand, analyze, discriminate and decide.

 

 

 

True Intelligence

intuition

“True intelligence is to rise above thinking as the source of all intelligence.”

~ Eckhart Tolle

I sat with these words this morning and had to smile. Of course, it is Tolle’s thinking that comes up with these gems. ☺️

Yet, it opens us up to something that is beyond our thoughts, that many of us innately understand, but perhaps have not put into words.

When we take time to pause and notice our thoughts, there are two insights that come to my mind. The first is, that we are not our thinking. What we have taken for granted as the “truth” is really only our perspective of the world around us and what we have learned about it. We are conditioned by our parents, culture, religion etc to see the world in a certain way. We also have personal filters based on our own experience from a very young age. For example, if we were bitten by a dog as a child we may have a fear of dogs and dislike them intensely as an adult. This is not the truth, just our perspective.

The second insight is that we have only the ability to analyze what we already know. Our ego mind likes to think it knows things, so it feels in control. Have you also noticed how it likes to judge and dismiss and deny what doesn’t fit in with its beliefs?

The truth is that there is so much that is beyond our thinking, and our intellectual mind. Analysis and science can only reveal what it can identify and quantify, but is at a loss with what is unknown.

I believe that when we pause and find a place of centeredness and calm, our true intelligence shows up as intuition, insights, new ideas, creativity and answers to problems we haven’t been able to solve. In my experience it also shows up as a deep feeling of warmth and love.

Of course, the next question is to ask what the source of this intelligence is.

Opening our minds to an intelligence greater than our individual self, that we share with each other and the world around is, is the step to realization or spiritual enlightenment. Tolle refers to this as Source or Presence. Others call it our Higher Self, Spirit, the Divine, Universal Oneness, Cosmos, Divine Mother, Brahma, Allah, or God.

When we fully embrace the unknown and let go of intellectual knowing, we are on the path to realization and universal love.

Namaste

* Elf Awareness

I hope you enjoy this re-blog. It still makes me smile 😀🎄💝

Find Your Middle Ground

A good friend of mine is embracing her inner “elf” this holiday season. It does make me smile 🙂

What would your Inner Elf look like?elf shoes

We think of elves as those pixie like creatures that help out Santa. They work hard and play.  They make mistakes and laugh.  They are sometimes impulsive yet kind. They find the joy and mischief in everyday things. 

Our Inner Elf is innocent, fun and vulnerable.

Why not encourage him or her to come out to play and make this a time to lighten up and embrace your Inner Elf.

….. We also have a Higher Elf.

Lord of the RingsOur Higher Elf is more like the Elves in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. He or she has a quiet serenity about them, yet are strong and courageous. They are wise, mature, noble, and contemplative. They are attuned to nature and are clear about what…

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