We were talking in class tonight about who your real Self might be. If you are not your body, and you are not your mind/thoughts and you are not your emotions, then who are you?
Osho telling a Sufi story:
“A young man seeking truth finds an old man beneath a tree. The young man knew that he had to leave on a pilgrimage—but to where? Seeing the old man, he thought, ‘He must know the road.’ So he asked. The old man instructed, ‘Follow this road till you come to a tree’ – he described the tree in detail, leaves, fruit, everything – ‘and you will find an old man like me but 30 years older. He will be your guide.’
The traveller was happy. He thanked the man and rushed on. For 30 years, he wandered but the tree and old man never came. He was tired, and older himself. Finally, he decided, ‘It is better to go home. God knows when the guide meets me, what guidance it will be!’ He turned back. He passed the same old tree and was shocked! It was the same man, only 30 years older. The young man said, ‘My god! Why did you waste my 30 years?’
The older man said, ‘Did I waste your 30 years, or did you waste mine? Then you were not ripe enough to be guided. You didn’t look at the tree, though I described it in detail. I described your guide. You were in a hurry that you did not look at me carefully. So it is me who has been actually waiting for you knowing one day you will come.'”
You are the old man. Not the you that is still answering the "who are you" question with body, mind and emotion answers. The old man is the you that represents your "atman" or true Self. He waits patiently for you to come to him when you are ready and capable of learning these ideas. The body, mind and emotion are all temporary and changeable, therefore, how can you grasp onto any of them and say that is who you are?
My daughter and I drove north to visit my dad. I did not turn on my Waze app because I knew the route well. However, I failed to consider how Waze always knows where the traffic backups are and will kindly reroute you for your convenience. There had apparently been an accident earlier that blocked lanes on I-294. Where it typically takes one hour to get to my dad's, an hour is how long I muddled through traffic making it a two hour drive up. I turned on Waze after sitting for twenty minutes just on the 294 ramp and 'she' indicated I still had 40 minutes to sit in traffic. My first reaction was frustration but, as I looked at the sea of cars all around me, I had to let that go because we were all in the same anchored boat!
I thought about the people who were in the accident. And, without any judgment whatsoever, wondered if they had been paying attention and had any idea of the ripple effect that had transpired. We often do not have any clue what ripples we create and how they might affect other people. I wasn't in a hurry, but I looked at the sea of cars and thought some people are late for work and some have missed a meeting and someone might be in labor... That's just one layer of the ripple! Someone else had to step up and cover the meeting and another employee had to stay late or work harder to cover an absence...how did that effect them and so on?
“There is a vibrational effect in every action, just as there is vibration that rings from every letter in every word.” ― Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem
I pictured my goal way off in the distance. I could not easily get there. The cars seemed to represent a chaotic mind trying to merge its way to calmness. Thoughts keep flying in and out like the cars that attempted to change lanes hoping to better their circumstances, finding they could not. Frustration builds; the traffic moves even slower.
Robert H. Schuller wrote, "Press on. Obstacles are seldom the same size tomorrow as they are today."
And, indeed, by the time I made my way home, there was no traffic holding me back.
Or was this a lesson in patience? Only one week prior, it took me forty minutes round trip to drive my son to Metea, his school which is five minutes down the road.
"The shortest distance between two points is under construction." ~Noelie Altito
All of these ideas merged into one...the importance of just staying present and aware. If I am not paying attention, perhaps I initiate or cannot respond quickly enough to the actions of someone else not being present. If my mind is crowded with thoughts, it, too, is not present in this moment. Instead, It is stressing over something in the past or something in the future. Frustration is created when our desired actions are thwarted by something in our external environment. And then it becomes an issue of illusory control...
“The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter.” ― Paulo Coelho, Veronika Decides to Die
Second chances. That is the theme of the current season of the TV show Survivor. So, everyone playing this time around has been on the show at some point before. One of the participants is Spencer; a very smart logical player who seems so nice. He has found himself struggling, as he did the last time he was on, with his social game. His mind sees so clearly the logical moves to the game that he loses touch with the people he is playing with; they are merely pawns on his island checkerboard. He recently became aware of this flaw and immediately set out to change. He told one of the players that he doesn't become very emotional is his everyday life, either.
"Not feeling emotions creates the illusion that everything is OK." "How We Choose to be Happy"
Not feeling is a form of illusory control. If Spencer focuses only on the manipulative side of the game and the challenges, is he wholeheartedly playing the game of Survivor? Because the social connections are equally as important.
If Spencer opens up to people and allows feeling in, he risks getting hurt. If he stays closed off, he feel he controls the hurt option but he cannot enjoy connection. Buddhism looks at emotions in three ways: attachment, aversion and neutral. I f we befriend someone and it all goes well , we become attached to that enjoyment. If we befriend someone and it goes bad, we now have an aversion to the person so we will avoid them. If we befriend someone with the idea they are who they are and my reactions are just what they are, I remain neutral.
"I'm free when I allow my life to unfold. As soon as I restrict myself to known outcomes, I've got a noose around my neck." Adele Goldstone
Spenser's noose is named Control. What is the name of your noose?
"If you understand, things are just as they are… If you do not understand, things are just as they are." Zen proverb
"Life happens. No matter how hard we try to control it the Universe marches on with or without our acceptance. As human beings we attach our lives to expectations and outcomes. This creates suffering in our lives as we cling to this illusion of permanence. We expect, we suffer. We attach, we suffer. We ask questions such as “Why is my life like this?” Or, “Why did this happen to me?”
Asking these questions and expecting life to be a certain way is fighting the Universe in its entirety. No wonder life feels heavy, and difficult. We struggle and resist to the very end. We tell our stories over and over again about how much pain we have and how we wish things were a certain way. Life is the way it is no matter our thoughts or emotions. It just is. Our suffering is a direct correlation to our resistance to this truth." Thomas D. Craig
"The conclusion will take care of itself." How We Choose to be Happy
Sadhguru is a mystic, philanthropist, author and yogi, just to offer you a few of his labels. He recently posted an article on FB called Obliterating Boundaries. In all honesty, I just liked the inference behind the title. Obliterating a boundary would equate to freedom, expansion, mobility of body and mind. To obliterate means to destroy, demolish, wipe out. A boundary is a border or an edge that is limiting; something that holds us back or confined within. So to wipe out the edge that holds us back would enable us to move forward. What if we can't see the boundary? What if it isn't visible or tangible? What if we created it and built it within our minds? And, unconsciously allowed it to encase our thoughts? Our thoughts are merely unspoken words so what happens next when we open our mouths to speak? What comes out?
Sadhguru writes, "If you create a boundary, one thing is you have to define it, next thing is you have to defend it – if the boundary becomes large you have to build an army."
An army??? This sounds like a lot of energy! Let's imagine I put up an invisible wall that keeps everyone at bay that ever hurt me. Let's say the wall works extremely well for awhile; those people inadvertantly feel my energy shift, perhaps they feel less welcome and they react by maintaining their distance. Then, one day, one of those people who cannot see the wall and doesn't know it has been defined to keep out those who have hurt me, tries to reach out, re-enter. My defenses go up like swords in the hands of a knoight and my fight or flight response begins screaming defend! And there it goes- my energy, my time, my balance knocked flatter than a jouster struck down. With all of my energy focusing on my barrier, that I created, I no longer notice the seagulls sqwaking over by Old Navy, I miss out on the gradual changing of leaf colors, I miss out on...
Physical boundaries are everywhere. States are divided by signs saying hello and goodbye, countries are separated by many things from mere paths to man built walls. Neighbors declare their boundaries with fences and some will raise their defenses when that border is crossed.
But what about emotional boundaries...based out of fear, hatred, hurt, anger...
Read the following paragraph from Sadhguru's article and then go back and re-read the last three lines.
"The physical has a boundary, that is not the issue – that is the basic trait of physicality. However, that has seeped into your psychology. Now your mind wants a boundary, your emotions want a boundary. Because you have invested in creating many boundaries, that which is boundless within you is out of your reach, out of your experience. This is all it is. Because you are investing time and energies and whatever intelligence you have into how to build a boundary of your own, that which is boundless slips out of your experience."
"...that which is boundless slips out of your experience." Do you want to miss out on the "boundless"? Boundless is defined as infinite, vast, limitless. Doesn't that feel better? Take a deep breath. Allow your breath to feel vast and limitless. Cross your arms and feel the constriction. Now, open your arms wide and breathe, smile, sigh. Which feels better? Do you want your life to feel constricted and bound or ceaselessly open?
What holds you back?
“The greatest thing that you can do in life is to live to your peak and to set an example that there is a way to live beyond all limitations.” – Sadhguru
Five days ago is when our garage door stopped working. We tried troubleshooting as best we could but, in the end, we simply had to sit back and wait for a repairman to make it over to the house. In the meantime, I locked myself out of the house twice. You know that feeling, right? You turn the door handle in disbelief and then you try it again because, surely, it will open the second time. Then maybe you get a little more forceful with the door, but it doesn't matter, because the lock was meant to keep people out. And you can scream, kick and bang all day but, just because your energy and velocity rise, does not mean the door will actually open. It requires but one thing. A small thin piece of metal called a key.
The Lock by Derek Lin, The Tao of Daily Life
"Once upon a time, there was a vault containing gold, diamonds and gems. A sturdy lock guarded the door to this vault, to keep its contents secure.
The mighty crowbar came by and saw the lock as a challenge. He had never encountered anything he couldn't demolish before. Did they really think they could keep him out of the vault with one simple lock?
The crowbar was a thick and heavy bar of iron. Countless crates, chests, and cabinets disintegrated before his attack. He took considerable pride in his strength and destructive power. Looking at the lock, he decided he should smash it, just to make a point.
The crowbar struck the lock, expecting it to break apart, but it was unaffected. This surprised him. He struck again, putting more force into it. He got the same result – the lock didn't even show a dent! Now he was becoming annoyed.
Using his full strength, the crowbar struck again and again. Sparks flew and the noise was deafening. When finally he stopped due to exhaustion, he was amazed to see that the lock was still in one piece. This was the toughest obstacle he had ever faced.
He was still trying to figure out what to do next when the key came along. He looked at the key and saw that she was very small compared to him. The difference between them was dramatic. He was massive and muscular; she seemed insignificant and weak.
She asked him: "Were you the one making all that racket?"
"Oh, you ain't heard nothing yet. Just let me catch my breath and I'll show this lock who's boss."
"No need," said the key. She slipped into the lock and turned slightly. The crowbar heard a click, and then the lock fell open.
He couldn't believe it. "Wait a minute. This makes no sense. I am a lot more powerful than you are. How can you open it so easily when I couldn't do it after all that effort?"
The key told him: "Because I am the one who understands the heart of the lock.""
What works best for you when confronted with frustration? Lashing out or remaining calm? Being right or being happy? If you could have anything happen today, what would it be? And do you believe you already hold the key to make it happen?
Tao Te Ching: "The lock is not an obstacle to the key because the key knows its inner workings."
You do because your answer came from your heart.
In the same way remember, “No one can drive us crazy unless we give them the keys.” Doug Horton
Sunday was World Animal Day, an international day focusing on animal rights and well being. Having stumbled over this fact somewhere on the internet, it took my head to the following tangents:
*Totem animals * Animal energy and the question *What are you doing to raise your awareness?
The word totem is a Native American word literally meaning brother or sister kin and is something regarded as a symbol. It could be a carving, an object, a plant, a natural phenomenon, but since we started off with it is World Animal Day, I was thinking more about animal totems. An animal totem is an animal you feel connected with that is here to teach you a lesson. At first , I thought we would do a guided meditation in class to try to determine our individual animal totems, but then I realized labeling an animal as a totem is really not important. It is the ego that likes labels; your Higher Self does not. It would be better to recognize and connect with an animal energy rather than worry about zoning in on the specific animal. Of course, if a specific animal does make its way into your senses, you can then delve more closely into its messages.
So here's an example. I have always been drawn to doves, seagulls and hawks. I could stress out about which of those three is my totem animal or I could simply take them as a whole, which would be air animals. You also have land, water, insect and reptile.
-Air animals symbolize freedom and higher knowledge.
-Water animals link to our subconscious mind to reveal our hidden thoughts and wishes.
-Land animals are grounded both mentally and physically, linking specifically to the root chakra.
-Reptile animals help us relate our inner Self to that of our external environment.
-The Insect animal shows patience and indifference as it meanders on its way. Even as we were discussing this in class, a spider decided to make its way onto someone's yoga mat, unaware one down dog might squash its journey...
“The energy of life entering and leaving your body flows evenly throughout the universe. With that current, the mind of the cosmos communicates with all things.” Ilchi Lee
“Our exclusive dependence on rational thought and language has obscured our natural ability to sense the flow of energy.” Ilchi Lee, LifeParticle Meditation: A Practical Guide to Healing and Transformation
Again I ask, what are you going to do to raise your awareness? Your awareness of yourself, your energy and the energies all around you?
“Our ailing planet needs spiritual warriors, ones capable of standing up to the Western materialism machine, so we can create sustainable societies that care for their citizens, harmonize with the cycles of nature, and receive and honor the vast healing light that quietly connects us all.” Jonathan Talat Phillips, The Electric Jesus: The Healing Journey of a Contemporary Gnostic