Tag Archives: judgement

Intention

i don’t have time to pay attention to critics.
i don’t have time for judgement.
i don’t have time to look at all the photos of beautiful bodies in intricate yoga poses.
i don’t have time to get caught up in gossip.
i don’t have time for blaming.
i don’t have time for finger-pointing and name calling.
i don’t have time to try to convince people to pay attention.
i don’t have time for hypocritical speech and false “friends.”
i don’t have time for justification of bad behaviour.
i don’t have time to make sense of any person or organization who believes that anyone is better or more deserving than anyone else.
i don’t have time to get caught up in your bullshit competition game.

i make time for education.
i make time for community.
i make time for compassion.
i make time for the awakening we’re approaching from this long slumber of unconsciousness.
i make time for self-study.
i make time to speak for those whose voices are silent.
i make time for collaboration.
i make time for the advancement of collective freedom.
i make time for helping others move forward on their journey of illumination, understanding and spiritual development.
i make time for embodying love and doing my best to let it emanate with no specific direction.
i make time for the creation of space within which both you and I can do the work that matters.

How is your i spending its time?

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A Prayer To Awakening

There’s an unspeakable amount of turmoil in the world these days, and as the turmoil mounts so does the free-floating anxiety that emanates outward from it. From rogue terrorists to institutionalized ones, from cyber censorship to blatant corruption, from abuse scandals rocking yoga communities to the mind-numbingly relentless stream of aggression and fury directed towards women…I could go on, but I won’t.

I believe that turmoil in our environments is the direct projection of our inner turmoil. I believe that we find ourselves surrounded by the energy that we usually find contained in our thoughts, and because they’re contained in our thoughts and those thought patterns of rumination are so familiar, we don’t find anything shocking or toxic about them. Until we see them manifest outside of us. And then we pass judgement, criticize, blame and preach the moral highground, when, in fact, all that we’re finding fault with is simply a reflection of what occurs in our human minds on a non-stop basis.

None of us are untarnished. We all get pissed off, we all fall prey to envy, we all covet and we all resent. Every single one of us. We get tired, annoyed, irritated and rude. Every single one of us. There are aspects to each of us that aren’t social media friendly, that would never make it into a status update or into dinner party chitchat. And because our inclination is to relegate those aspects to the hidden recesses of our minds and to unconditionally accept that it’s ok to have a dark passenger that stays in shadow, we deny ourselves complete integration of all that makes up our human identity.

The expression, “You have to learn to love yourself before you can love someone else” has always been somewhat of an enigma to me until I realized experientially what it meant. To love yourself is to accept and respect yourself. All aspects of yourself. To do so is to finally, and completely, find unconditional love for yourself. From there we can love another. Unconditionally. And from there we can show up in the world as love embodied. To express kindness and compassion regardless of who we encounter. To have a smile at the ready for whomever we cross paths with. To honour the energy that animates these human bodies and express its essence of peace and compassion. To literally be love.

All the turmoil we are seeing points to this: we are drifting further and further away from love as a collective. When we move further away from the nature of who we are, we invite in mental anguish which eventually manifests as physical disease in the body. Our collective and individual bodies are riddled with dis-ease because we’ve forgotten to love. In the moments where judgement wedges its foot in the door, we’re meant to remember to love. In the moments where we feel the need to seek revenge, we’re meant to remember to love. In the moments where we feel isolated and alone, we’re meant to remember to love. It’s only by remembering to love that we will heal this fragmented moment where we’re desperate for connection and riddled with fear. We have to love.

And so do it. Love. Without a specific destination for it and without conditions on it. Accept and respect all the magnificent aspects of what makes you YOU, and love. As 2014 grinds to a halt and we move through the energetic shift of another calendar year, set your intention to love. Make your future better than your past so that we can make our future better than our past. With love. Above all else. It will save us. And it will save you.

Guises of the Guru

As a yoga teacher, I have often been perceived as having attained an ongoing state of enlightenment, one that has brought me out of this human body and ego and that sets the example of where all yogis aspire to be. Let me take an opportunity to shatter that perception 🙂 I am as much of a work in progress as anyone…I consider myself to be a student who teaches, someone who is always seeking and learning, with the aim to pass on that which I find pertinent and relevant to living a conscious, productive, inspiring life. As part of my learning curve, I find myself being taught lessons and being offered insight from all over the information spectrum…from people I know, and those I don’t, from animals and humans alike, and from the whispers of intuition I find myself hearing every now and again.

Last week, for those of you who weren’t already saturated with the exposure, U2 spent a few days here in Montreal to give 2 shows to 160,000 people, and while in town, they stayed at the St James Hotel, which is a few blocks away from Centre Luna Yoga, where I spend most of my working and practicing hours. I was coming to work on my scooter and stopped at the red light right on the corner of the hotel, where about 100 people were staked out, waiting to catch a glimpse of the band members, and the anticipation was palpable. The mood seemed edgy, like people were ready to pounce when finally they would be afforded the luxury of seeing the band for a few seconds. As I drove by, my first thought was, “Don’t these people have something to do? Don’t they have a job, or somewhere they’re supposed to be?’ It was a moment of real bewilderment for me, and absolute judgement. I was 100% judging the people staked out there, while being completely incapable of understanding why they would waste their time like that to catch a brief glimpse of people they didn’t know and probably never would. I wondered what they could possibly be getting out of the experience, aside from a sore lower back and sun stroke. Then I got to the studio and shared the experience…and I got schooled.

My fellow Luna Yoga teacher (and certified Jivamukti instructor) Dawn Bailey was already at the studio when I arrived and after I sat down, I shared with her what I had just driven by, and expressed my astonishment at why those people would be hanging around like that, which led into a rant about our irrational fascination as a society with celebrity. I ended my comments by asking, “Why would someone choose to just waste their day like that?”, and Dawn replied. And I found myself speechless. Dawn answered my question by saying that as much as she understood my point of view, she could honestly say that if she knew that Jivamukti creators Sharon Gannon and David Life were staying at a local hotel, she would probably hang out waiting to see them as they walked in or out on their meanderings. She told me that the opportunity to be privy to their aura, to the energy they exude, would be worth every second of hanging around waiting to see them. And in that second, having heard her words, I understood. I understood that the people I look up to and with whom I’d love to spend time, those whose energies I find attractive and inspiring, are my U2. I don’t think that I would ever find myself waiting patiently to see one of my idols walk by me, because I have something inside me that drives me to want to meet them on a more professional level, where I’m not just a gushing fan showering them with praise. Nonetheless, I understood Dawn’s remarks, and it showed me something. It showed me that I’m still very quick to judge. It showed me that my gurus may not be shared by others, and vice versa, but that doesn’t devalue these people’s abilities to remove darkness in the lives of their followers. It showed me that those who have accomplished incredible things and who inspire the world with their magnificent energies are able to infuse that energy into other by simply being in close proximity. That is makes a difference to those ready to receive it. Most of all, the experience showed me that I’m still learning, and I hope I never stop.

Thank you for being a teacher for me, Dawn 🙂

Cheating Ourselves?

My last blog entry, Moments of Reflection, discussed how our sense of self-worth and self-esteem will undoubtedly dictate how we treat ourselves and others, and how we allow others to treat us in kind, and this entry can be seen as an addendum to the previous one. Most of us allow how others perceive us to dictate how we feel about ourselves, which is why Yoga’s asana practice can literally change our lives by showing us that what is external is incidental…the truth of everything, the real source, lies within us. Any period of time where we tune into our breath and/or our bodies allows us to detach from exterior sources, and in doing so, lifts the veil on what life’s distractions habitually cover and hide from our perception. Once this happens, once that reconnection occurs, we are reminded of what is significant, where the relevance of our existence and realities truly resides, allowing us to see our daily stresses as distractions, as tricks, but not as what defines us. We find ourselves capable and empowered to not give these distractions more power or worth than they deserve, which, in turn, conditions us to remain focused on what is permanent and stable, that which supports and grounds us.

I was scrolling through the headlines from The Huffington Post yesterday, and saw a headline that asked if watching porn lead to cheating in a relationship, and within a couple of seconds, my mind was racing…the whole concept of cheating fascinates me, and I find it’s something that we don’t discuss and analyze enough. We can cheat on our taxes, on our diets, on our spouses or mates, on exams…but in each of our own experiences, what has been worse – having someone catch us cheating, or living with our own disappointment of knowing that we allowed ourselves to be “that person”, to inhibit ourselves from living up to the ideal self that we all aspire to be?

What I propose, the change I would like to see in the world around us, is for people to stop behaving according to how they feel the people around them expect them to act. I believe that without having the stress of other people’s projections and expectations influencing our behaviour and decisions, we will be free to hold ourselves accountable…to ourselves. We need to stop standing in judgement of what everyone else is doing and take a long look at ourselves. Keeping to the belief that we are responsible for everything that happens in our lives, we need to start looking at how our own self-esteem results in our own actions and the decisions we make, and how we then sit in judgement of others who may not have chosen the same paths we did. What is right for one person will be another person’s nightmare, and that is perfectly fine. The danger in a situation like that lies in the judgement that can boil up from one person to another, judgement based in anger and resentment based on one’s upbringing and beliefs. We need to actively detach from what our parents or guardians felt was the proper belief system for us, and start figuring out what works for us. Once that happens, understand that we all have the right to believe and feel how we do as we forage through our lives in search of our true selves. But the second we pass judgement on someone else who is making that same forage through their own reality, we instantly give everyone else free license to pass judgement on us…to tell us that all the soul-searching and hard work we’ve gone through in search of our own truth has been a massive waste of time, and that more than simply wasting our time, we are somehow wrong…that we are less-than…that we are unworthy and somehow not good enough. It’s a very dangerous game to play. The global political climate seems to be reflecting, and thereby justifying and dictating, the turmoil that is manifesting from people’s proclivity to pass judgement on each other…on immediately telling people that they’re wrong. Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives, Liberals, it doesn’t matter what label people hide behind. The fact of the matter is that if everyone took one minute to stop blabbering and to stand back, close their eyes and breathe, they would immediately tap into their inner moral compass, the one that is defined by universal law, where right and wrong take on entirely different meanings from the ones that are being thrown around society right now. We need to stop holding people up to our distorted standards of what is right and wrong, and start holding ourselves accountable to what universal law deems right and wrong. And believe me, you don’t need me to tell you what that is…you already know…just close your eyes and listen…with an open mind and an open heart. Everything you need to know is already within you. Just stop buying into the non-stop psycho babble of the talking heads that fill our media outlets and start paying attention to that inner voice that is forever trying to make itself heard, but seems drowned out by the din of ignorance that we’re habitually fed.

The second we stop projecting expectations onto the people around us, the sooner we give them the freedom to figure out what they believe, and the sooner we can stop being disappointed by how we’ve been “cheated.” The real truth lies in this: no one can cheat us, they can only shed light onto how we’ve cheated ourselves. Give people the power to manifest their strengths. Give yourself the opportunity to tap into universal law…once we allow ourselves this “luxury”, we’ll see how much time we’ve wasted trying to manipulate people and events into being what we needed them to be to feel better about ourselves. Forget all that. It’s a waste of time. It’s a trick. Don’t cheat yourselves out of living an existence infused with truth and strength and humanity. People don’t cheat on us. We allow it to happen, and we cheat ourselves…out of beauty and truth and compassion. The time is now.

From Behind Our Own Shadows

We are surrounded by doubt and fear, from all directions, all around us. We are bombarded by images of who we should be, what we should wear, eat, and drive, and how our bodies should look. All these “standards” that we inevitably hold ourselves up to (in spite of ourselves and our better, innate judgement) succeed in driving, and sometimes even creating, that fear. Fear of not fitting in, of not belonging, of being outcast…and all the while, the only thing we are accomplishing is the complete and utter suppression of our true selves…of our innate light, of our inspiring individuality that stems from the source of all energy which we all come from and to which we all return.

Our minds tell us stories…incessantly feeding us judgements of ourselves and others that have not one shred of truth to them, but we rise to the bait regardless, making “agreements” with these tales and allowing our decisions and beliefs to be based on them. We allow ourselves to be guided by doubt, giving room, and therefore legitimacy, to said doubts, eliminating certainty and peace from our lives.

So how do we deal with the endless world of possibilities that present themselves once we awaken from this state of suspension and lethargy that has silently been holding us back from becoming our ideal selves?

The best place to start is at the beginning. Tapping into who we are when we’re alone, when we’re with our families (immediate and extended), who we were as children before we began being fed the steady stream of conformity-based propaganda that modern-day, urban society dishes out for no apparent reason (other than the obvious financially-based ones). And most of all, agreeing to stop listening to those stories that the mind creates. To quote Cat from Jivamukti London, “Stop paying attention to those stories. None of them are true. That which does not serve you, let go of.”

The perfect place to put all this into practice is exactly there…in your practice. Every yoga class/practice/session will present you with a challenge, an opportunity to face your fears. Do it. Face them. Nothing is ever as daunting in actuality as it seemed in theory. When that voice the mind conjures up as you’re preparing yourself for an especially challenging asana starts rattling off every reason why you’ll be unable to move fully into the posture, let your active voice be stronger. Remind yourself that you are indeed more capable than you could possibly imagine, and that the only person standing in your way is yourself. Let yourself soar to the heights that you always imagined possible but never dared to attain for fear of seeing just how capable you actually are.

Once you’ve gone there, once you’ve experienced what it feels like to jump beyond yourself, remember your essence. Let go of the ego and feel your connection to all things, and offer up that courage that it took to draw your magificence out into the open to everyone and everything around you. Understand that to shine as brightly as you can is to inspire those around you to do the same. The brighter we are as a collective whole dictates where we move towards as a community and a society…and the stronger our intentions, the more likely that destination will be back to that same light we’re drawing out of ourselves. Full circle.