SONY DSC

This quote appeared on my iPad yesterday. It didn’t resonate at first, but I re-read it, and suddenly, I knew it was exactly what I needed. It describes a beautiful practice that goes beyond witnessing your emotions. It’s tantric in nature. Celebrate your emotions, love them, laugh with them, embrace them. We are human. We have intense periods of negative emotions. Anger, Sorrow, Pain. Love them and they will serve you. Fight them, and they will haunt you.

I find that the challenge comes when I get caught up in the whirlwind of the emotion and forget that I am not my emotions. I am the guest house, and the emotions are the guests. When I self-identify with the emotions, then they control me. I become my anger, my depression, my sadness. Then, I lose myself, lose my connection with God, and become lost in the illusion (maya).

For me, the practice is having enough witnessing and detachment to observe when the emotional torrents begin, so that I may welcome these beautiful emotional house guests with joy, laughter, and love, so that they may cleanse my human guest house and heal my human heart.

The theme of the last two months has been self-love.  And oh has it been a journey.  I moved into grace, then fell far out of grace, and I am finally moving back into grace, back into a healthy, constant practice of self-love, self-nurturing, and self-acceptance.

My current mantra/affirmation:

I AM CHOOSING TO LOVE MYSELF MORE AND MORE RIGHT NOW!

It has given me such incredible healing and power.  I use it when I’m in the midst of moving out of self-love, or stuck in a place of uncertain decision making.  When I allow myself to truly feel into it, the correct choice always appears.

The path of truest self-love is identical to the path of truest service to the Universe, service to God, and service to family and friends.   This is not readily apparent and can quite often they seem contradictory.  Yet, the contradictions and paradoxes are all Maya.  It is a matter of connecting with the true meaning of what self-love means and what service means.

More on this and more on the affirmation later…

It’s been awhile since I posted.  I had so many profound experiences, and I wanted to write about each one.  And as the experiences piled up, I felt like I couldn’t skip ahead and had to write about them in order.  Until finally, I gave up on writing altogether.

I forgive myself in full and love myself for the process which led to this forgiveness.  I let go of any self-judgement and attachment to posting order or way and form of expression.

For now, I can start again, in this present moment.  

For all we ever have is this present moment.

And what we do with it is the only choice that we ever make.

Aho.

There is an old parable of a guru-sage who spends the night on a mountain peak without shelter. He survives by focusing on a candle flame (or maybe it was a campfire started by his disciple on a different peak). He mentally ignores the cold and experiences only the flame, roaring in his mind’s eye, burning in his heart, and warming his body. He passes the night joyous and warm with this practice.

Did the guru just wake up one morning and have the ability to mentally focus and re-create his reality within his own mind? Or was it an ability honed by years of practice?

I live in La Jolla Cove. This piece of land juts out from the rest of San Diego and receives a heavy marine layer in the mornings and sometimes throughout the day. Even during some summer months, I walk out in the morning, overcast with fog, and I feel cold and chilled. Now, in mid-January, the sun is dimmed by rolling fog, and blocked out by tall, looming Eucalyptus trees. The sun’s rays flicker through the coastal fog and tree leaves and warm my skin even as the windy gusts cool my skin.

So many times I have complained about the cold here in La Jolla, wishing I was warmer, had more sun, or lived inland. In focusing on the lack of warmth, my whole body has felt chilled and I’ve retreated back into shelter rather than enjoy the wonder of the skies and trees. How many days and weeks and months of sunlight have I lost by retreating thusly?

As I sit here now, I feel the wind that whips the fallen leaves around me into a frenzy, the cold nip in the air that bites into my skin as I first step outside, and the sun’s rays that warm my skin wherever they sneak through the leaves. I choose to take deep pranic breaths as I sink into the warmth of the sun, to imagine the brilliance of light and heat enveloping me as I squint up at the fireball of heat and flame that lights our life. I choose not to think about the wind or temperature, and only about the sun and it’s warmth.

I am warm. I am nourished. I am loved. Thank you, Father Sun. Thank you, Mother Earth. Thank you, self.

Aho.

- In grateful service of the Universe from my iPad

So I’ve been crazy sick for the past few days. I haven’t been this sick in 2-3 years, at least. Since I transformed my diet and went through my initial fast, I haven’t been more than slightly sick for a day or two at most. This time I contracted an intense head cold that gave me a crazy headache, serious sinus issues, coughing, and more, and it lasted over a week.

Another truth is that I haven’t been taking very good care of myself recently and during the illness. I skimped on sleep repeatedly in the days, weeks, and months leading up to my illness, and during the illness, I didn’t sleep or rest as much as my body needed and as much as I had time and space to. Furthermore, I used the illness as an excuse for not taking action, avoiding, and self-pity. What? Self-pity? Perhaps. Definitely the first two, though. Although I was sick and found it challenging to complete simple action items related to work and self-development, I found time to read blogs, write in forums, write in facebook, and other internet time-sinks. Why was the latter easier to complete than the former? A question for another time.

Suffice it to say, I didn’t exercise very good self-care this time. Sometimes I stayed up late and got up early due to legitimate responsibilities for my family and myself. Other times, it was simply because I was dissatisfied with my condition and frustrated, and I allowed the frustration to boil over into escapism or avoidance. Maybe there was an emotional trigger that I didn’t identify, after which I chose to self-sabotage.

To live in full consciousness that I have awareness, control, and choice over my feelings, thoughts, and actions at every moment is so incredibly powerful and healing, yet so challenging to sustain all the time. I get triggered out of full consciousness even when not physically ill. When physically ill, it’s much easier to allow triggers and unconscious choices to live my life for me. Yet in the end triggers, unconscious choices, and illness are all excuses. I accept this, and I acknowledge that I chose my actions these past few days.

There is such a fine line that separates learning from the past from self-judgment about the past, that separates acknowledging responsibility and choice from regret and negative self-talk, and that separates accepting the perfection of the present from disavowing responsibility for choice and ability to impact the future. In full and unconditional self-love and self-acceptance, it is so easy to forgive all past mistakes and sweep them under the rug, flushing out all negative emotions about them. Yet when the deluge of love flushes out all the negativity, all opportunity for learning often is swept away in the tide as well.

I acknowledge that I tried my best at self-care. I am responsible for my actions these past few days, and the results of increased term of illness, lack of actions taken, and milestones missed. Nevertheless, I did the best I could, reaching my fullest potential of capability in each moment that passed. I choose to see the past as a guidebook, full of way signs and markers for what path to take in the future so that results do not repeat themselves. Yet, the past is not a story about mistakes, poor judgment, and failure. It is an incredible learning opportunity that empowers future action, decisions, and thoughts.

Are we going somewhere? I want to know… I need to know our destination. Who, what, where we are.

Can we not just dance? Here upon this knife’s edge? Dance, pirouette, exult up to the stars, and bow down upon the razor’s edge?

I need to heal, or to release, to move out of the agony and the ecstasy of what we are now. I want more.

Create the more in the now. Live in the longing. The scent of consummation is the sweetest flower in the now. Be that.

How can I live in perpetual lack?

Is it lack? Or is it plenty?

Yet to know the path, I need to name it. I need to know whereupon I walk, what this path is.

Can’t you just dance? Here upon this knife’s edge? Who cares if the future goes to the right or to the left, or continues along the blade? Just Be. Just Feel.

And this acceptance of the now, of this experience. It is that. I am that.

Sadness

Sadness by ~Zaana

Sometimes sadness is an ocean wave…

Ebbing and flowing with each wave.

Sometimes sadness laps at your toes…

Just barely touching your senses,

Yet where it touches, a cold wash of sensation.

Sometimes sadness just lives and breathes…

Rushing through the body, filling and releasing.

Sometimes sadness is just a gentle memory…

Of joyful moments gone by.

Sometimes there’s nothing to be done…

But to relish those memories, and cherish in the joy.

35_ExperienceTheSilence

So much can be written about so little. In conversation, silence has helped me listen better. As a daily practice when interacting with others, I’ve noticed how so much of what I wish to say is useless and ego-based – how so little of what I wish to contribute to a conversation is in genuine service and how so much is because I want to share something and be seen as sharing. And then there’s silence as a meditation. I’ve sat in mindfulness meditation many times before. Mindful of my breath and watching my thoughts go astray, then calmly labeling them and coming back to my breath. I’ve sat in other meditations as well, some where I recite mantras mentally and the mantras eventually break down into pure sound allowing me to see beyond. I have not practiced Vipassana yet. That is on my to-do list.

This morning I practiced a short silent meditation with one purpose – to perceive God within the silence. At first it started with breath, the mindfulness that I know so well. The fingertip of my mental focus softly following each inhale and exhale as it moves within and without my body. This allowed me to begin corralling my thoughts – so many thoughts materialize as words, capturing my mental focus momentarily. As I witnessed these thoughts in their must-be-seen-in-the-now tendency, I was able to smile and let them go, until I could follow the breath continually for awhile. Then I allowed this soft mental focus to move deeper within my body … into my torso, into my chest and stomach cavity.

Here in the center of my body, I started to focus on the emptiness within. It started as a pinpoint, and slowly expanded… a vast void from deep within my own being, dark as a moonless, starless night in the desert, black as an enclosed cave. I watched as it expanded to fill most of my torso. With it came a feeling of peace, equanimity, fullness. I felt like the ocean, endless, vast and stable: every nuance of vacillation anchored by the infinite and deep mass of dark heavy liquid in its depths. Then within my core, at the very center, a faint spark of light … so faint I thought I imagined it … until it brightened. Soon it was the only star in the vast sky of My Within. And once again I felt emotion. This time it was joy and bliss. It was Divine Love, pouring in from the infinite Universe into My Within, into the center of me. I wanted it to be an endless flood of Love that would fill me up to overflowing. I wanted it to wash away every trace of humanity within me until I was a being of pure Light. It didn’t. It flowed in strong enough for me to taste its delicious sweetness, yet I drank it up as fast as it flowed, and then it started to fade.

I think I got distracted from my meditation, or those thoughts that I had corralled earlier intruded again. I’m not quite sure. The emptiness, the light, were gone as quickly as they had come. As I attempted to settle back down and sift through my mental space, a word floated in and spoke… “Gochisousama” A Japanese phrase meaning the end of the meal. R and M say it after they finish their meals. I kept sifting and decided to settle back down and re-open the emptiness to get back to the light. Then I realized the word came to me to tell me that my meal for the day was at an end. Whether it was 5 minutes or 15 minutes did not matter. I will eat again tomorrow.

Gochisousama.

Now that I feel the foundation has been set, I can move onto the actual practice. It’s Christmas and I’ve been up since 3:30 or thereabouts. I feel like I’m coming down with something, and yet I couldn’t sleep. I decided to get up and surround myself in the silence of the night.

I’ve had negative thoughts swirling most of the last two days – working on relationship, self, and fatherhood. I’ve come to some conclusions that don’t sit well with me. Yet, I think they are the truth. So, ahead I have a rocky mountain path to walk. Yet it is so important to be able to see the rocks, the sand, and the dangers so as to navigate it as best as possible. When there’s an unpleasant truth, and I have to face it and move forward with it, I feel, embodied within me butterflies in my chest and torso, constriction around my torso, and a general sense of nervous anticipation. Yet, there’s also a clarity and a sense of purpose. And surrender, a surrendering to the path, so that I can walk it, rather than think about whether to walk it or not. And that soothes and heals. Thank you God for the opportunity for growth and healing.

A lot of the pain I’ve experienced yesterday and last night is about fear of loss and story of past hurts. As much as I practice living in the now, it’s so easy to get caught up in fears of the future and stories of the past. Neither has power here in the present. I will now Identify, Learn, Love, and Release. And so simply, this writing has once again brought me back to this simple practice and realization. Once again, back to the other sadhana… not the chronicling of the practice, but the practice itself.

One of the big issues I’ve struggled with in the past when it comes to blogging is the issue of transparency and privacy. Especially when it comes to personal growth and transformation. We all go through heavy emotional transformations. Sometimes, these have to deal with very personal, private events. Other times, there are others involved who’s privacy may be affected. How do we navigate this maze of privacy while preserving the transparency and authenticity that is necessary for true growth?

And yes, transparency and authenticity are absolutely paramount to true growth. I feel that anytime there is a barrier between what we show the world and who we really are, there creates a slight energetic misalignment. When allowed to build up over time, these misalignments become the sources of shame, guilt, hurtful secrets, and eat away at self-worth and self-image. When the self you are inside is not the self you show to others, then what is your image of yourself?

So, for myself, I shall keep no secrets. Not on a blog about sadhana. For others, I will use initials, although as in academic papers, initials are often easily deduced. Be that as it may. That is the policy I’m setting for now.

Finally, a note about emotional purging via writing. Writing can be an immensely cathartic and useful tool for working through stuck, negative emotions. In the process of such, however, the ego-mind may say many negative, hurtful things before releasing enough energy for Light to shine through into the Soul again. When I feel called to do so, I will write separately, but do plan to refer to the process here. Sometimes, I may choose to share the whole writing session, if appropriate.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 912 other followers