Monthly Archives: December 2011

the inner council

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My half hour of yoga a day has been like wandering into a forest and not having a clue to the lay of the land.  Even though I have been doing yoga for many years, using it as a form of inner exploration is a new activity for me.  I have to systematize it someway – in a way that still allows a very organic unfolding.  But even in this lostness, I have been getting little breadcrumbs.

In the first month, for several sessions in a row, I kept seeing myself sitting with a council.  Later I realized the council was all me.  I set aside the last 5 minutes of my practice to sit still in meditation and then call on this inner council.  I asked for my vibration to be raised so I could hear them.  The first session blew me away because I could hear all of these concepts I knew already, but spoken with such conviction.  The words were like gifts to be unwrapped and then used instead of sentences that we so readily discard.  The concepts were coming through the heart rather than the mind, and that made all of the difference.

Sometimes we just lack the resolve to follow through on an idea but I believe that is because the idea came through the mind and not the heart.  When a concept or conviction comes through the heart you would rather die than fail to carry it out.  Or the failure to come through would feel like a small death.  Plus there is so much energy in the heart to support your follow through, that it happens with such great ease.  There is really no effort required at all.  I think it is most possible to live every day through the heart, and what we all came here to do.

emotion: the physical response to thought

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Eckhart Tolle just nailed my disorganized state in The New Earth.  These thoughts are from Chapter 5 on the emotions.

He defines emotion as the body’s reaction to the mind.  So you have a thought or perceive a situation and then your body responds to that stimulus with emotion.  We can become as identified to our emotions as we can with our thought, thinking that is who we are.  And in a weird way, we end up manifesting this false sense of ourselves in our physical bodies.

This is the crux of my disorder.  I worry about something.  Well, to be more thruthful, I don’t just worry.  I create in my mind every worst case scenario I can imagine.  This happens so naturally for me.  They just pop into my mind like a 80s hit or tv jingle.  And then I expound.  Exponentially.  I can burn down a whole forest with one match.

Tolle says that as intelligent as it is, the body CANNOT tell the difference between what you are thinking and what is actually happening.  So every time I told myself a worst case scenario, the stress response went off as if that were the truth and I manifested a nice case of PTSD, without ever having to endure an actual trauma!!  No wonder the war vets who have experienced primal fear and incomprehensible violence have such a hard time recovering.  Their past becomes their present every time they relive a memory, and the physical body acts as if it is still there, fighting for it’s life.

Once we give ourselves over to the emotion, or become identified with it, it disrupts the natural  movements and processes of  our body intelligence. In other words, we become disorganized.  So there it is: my life story and struggle in a few paragraphs.  It actually doesn’t feel so insurmountable reduced to that concept.  Whatever the problem is, the solution is always the same.  Peel back the layers of emotion and thought until you get to that place of presence.  Or even more simple:  Just Be.  Period.

 

recombinant play

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hasya yoga, laughing yoga

The purpose of yoga is to open up the central channels.  It is getting into the very core of your being where all of your deepest thoughts and feelings lie.  I think of how many things I have lined up in my day, my life to distract myself from sensing that deep center.  There are times that I feel I am close but then this grief arises and I turn away from it.

Last night I went to bed and in that luminous space in between waking and sleeping I felt I had “people” with me – my deceased grandmother, and other ancestors – I was in some feeling place of deep pain and feebly asked them to help with it.  They smiled gently and witnessed me in my struggle. And then I thought of Jacob wrestling with the angel all night.  And how my baby wrestles against me right before she falls asleep.  There is a tension in the body that is there as soon as we enter this human experience and a natural resistance to feel the deepest parts of ourselves.  Staying present is the only thing we can do.  When I asked my beings to help they simply witnessed – they modeled what it was I should be doing.  And by modeling, they lent their energy to me in that direction.  Even children who are “poor sleepers” will nap when they see all of the other children napping.

Einstein had this idea of recombinant play.  It is like a big pot of stew.  You add the various items and see what new thing is created.  I think it is a more creative and delicious description than “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”  Here is my stew:  I’ve got this body with its various old injuries, aches, deficiencies.  I’ve got this deep grief feeling that comes up every time I do yoga, but really not any other time.  And I have a belief that I really need to be more organized, and that the disorganization is somehow keeping me back in life.  I am going to be stirring my stew every day for the next year.  And I will be watchful for even the tiniest unfolding of my inner being.

Namaste!!

zone of convergence

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bujangasana

Why a year of yoga?

I have been thinking a lot about manifestation lately. I’ve gone to the workshops and listened to the audio cds, but I am not really wanting a new car or a better job, partner, house, etc.. The only thing I want to manifest is me. I am pretty content, but sense some unfulfilled potential, and definitely feel some nebulous desire to catapult myself into the next phase of my life.

I look around at my life and ask, what do i see that could potentially hold me back from reaching any goal that I could set for myself, and I see this generalized disorganization that is disconcerting for me. It’s the part of life where I always feel ten steps behind. I have always had this sense that if I got on top of that, I could experience my creativity without much hindrance.

Then I read a very inspirational book, Move Into Life, by Anat Baniel. The gist of it was that habituated movements, feelings and thought patterns just use the same old neural pathways over and over and over again, but as soon as there is conscious, mindful interaction with the body, new neural pathways can be formed, and new habits can be created. She broke it down in the language of organization. Neurons that fire together, wire together, says modern scientist Dr Hebbian. This concept is now a foundational principle in the field of psychology. If you are in a train station and someone mugs you, it wires together the sensory neurons that detect train station, waiting, people in line, attack, robbery, etc, so the next time you are waiting in a train station, your fear and suspicion neurons are already firing. Habituation. Now your brain is organizing information based on that set of stimuli. The yoga path has the concept of samskaras, which means “rut,” and also purports that mediation or mindfulness is the most powerful tool to smooth out our grooves of habituated behavior (thought, word, and deed).

One of my teachers always used to say, “Inside outside, same side.” On that advice I’ve decided to stop trying to organize my exterior world and focus on my interior instead. I am not going to actively work on organizing my stuff. I want to organize my mind and my heart. For me the best way to do that is through yoga, which to me is a very conscious movement meditation.

I’ve been playing with this concept of the zone of convergence. Applied to weather, it is when a strong wind meets a mountain range, and creates an upsurging. A lot of weather happens in that zone. In Geology, it happens when one plate, meets another and forms a mountain. I am applying it to the body. When the immaterial mind, meets the material body, within that zone of convergence any kind of healing can happen.

So I am committing to a year of yoga, just 1/2 hour a day, every day. I can do asanas, pranayama, meditation, or any kind of movement that feels yoga-like. I can do 1/2 straight, or break it up into 15 two minute intervals. I can do it alone, or in a class, with friends, in line at the bank, sitting in my car, or waiting at a train station. My only condition is that I create a zone of convergence. My mind absolutely must be present in my body.

Start date is 11.1.11. Just felt auspicious!