Tag Archives: media

The Heart’s Memory

I’ve recently found myself getting involved in some pretty thought-provoking discussions with friends about the state of the world. From politics to religion, from daily dramas to life and death, it seems like there is a common undercurrent of negativity that we are being fed, and given the right company and circumstances, it erupts forth and instigates a healthy dose of communication and debate.

The subjects that seem to get the conversation close to a boiling point always seem to be the same: the apparent (and seemingly inescapable) descent into the realm of complete bigotry, misogyny, homophobia and general insanity from the American Republican candidates…the utter ineptitude of the Canadian population (excluding the province of Quebec) that somehow allowed the egomaniacal lunacy of Stephen Harper to not only be elected, but to be rewarded with a majority government…the mounting tension between Iran and Israel and the countries that support each of them on their way to some sort of conflict…the state of the European economy…the state of the global economy…what separates those who are immensely wealthy from those who seemingly run after the dangling carrot of economic security. This is but a cross-section of a typical evening’s list of topics, and from the point of view of those I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with, these topics are enough to get us all sitting on the edge of our seats in anticipation of the next topic to be thrown into the arena. Throughout all the face time we’ve shared, it’s a true sense of disbelief that we end up walking away with…disbelief that we, as a race of beings, have become so polarized from logic and compassion that we now find ourselves feeling helpless as the age of stupidity drags us even further away from advancement and evolution.

In a yoga workshop last weekend with Dechen Thurman, he talked briefly about how we used to value intelligence, and how we sometimes valued it enough to elect those blessed with it to positions of leadership. He followed up on that by saying that instead of electing people based on their intelligence, we now elect people based on how they make us feel. Rarely have I been exposed to such a succinct summation of where we find ourselves as humans, and with that in mind, in keeping with connecting to how we feel, I’d like to propose the solution to dealing with a propaganda-based, media-driven world of negativity: gratitude.

In the yogic teachings, we learn yogaś-citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ , that Yoga or  state of Union, is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. This cessation insinuates that we hone in on one thing as opposed to allowing the mind and our awareness to be ricocheted around like a pinball, and it’s through this honing that we gradually become aware of the veil of illusion we live behind. This veil keeps us ignorant of our true nature as beings of love and compassion, stemming from the source of all that exists. As long as we allow ourselves to stay behind the veil, we validate the daily dramas that we tend to obsess over and appoint them as a source of importance to be revered and fed. These dramas are simply a trick, something to keep us distracted, focused on the obvious when our nature is to seek out the fleeting nature of the essence hidden behind the obvious. From my point of view, the media outlets reporting on the topics that keep us all flabbergasted at the state of the world are simply feeding us fluctuations….of the collective mind. We are being thrown curve balls at every minute, and instead of trying to catch them all, we should instead focus on that which renders the distractions insignificant. We need to find gratitude. We need to take note of every seemingly innocuous detail of our lives to see where we can find blessings, and then emanate gratitude for them.

You want to know mine? Here goes: I’m grateful for this body that allows me to practice yoga and tap into the essence of the people and events around me. I’m grateful for my family. I’m grateful for my friends. I’m grateful for the people who support and love me and who allow me to support and love them back. I’m grateful to live in a country where I can have in-depth discussions with people without having to watch what I say for fear of being imprisoned for expressing myself. I’m grateful to be able to sleep at night. I’m grateful to the people who live their truths and inspire me daily to do the same. I’m grateful that my words reach people and occasionally make a difference in their lives. I’m grateful to be able to travel. I’m grateful to be able to meld my passions with my career. I’m grateful for the roof over my head, the clothes on my back, and the knowledge that no matter where my path takes me, I’m taken care of. It’s through gratitude that we tap into the heart’s memory, and in one fell swoop, we draw the veil of illusion aside and can see the permanence that informs every single one of us.

We have a responsibility to each other to never take anything at face value, to seek out the truth behind the distractions. The portal to that process is gratitude. Feel it in every moment possible, and see how it changes you. Tap into your heart’s memory.

 

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.