Tag Archives: truth

Why?

Why would you doubt your worth?

Why would you pretend to be someone else?

Why would you settle for mediocrity?

Why would you waste this precious time by doing what you’d prefer not to?

Why would you do what everyone else is doing?

Why wouldn’t you ask for help when you need it?

Why wouldn’t you reach for your dreams and wildest ambitions?

Why wouldn’t you assume that it will all work out?

Why wouldn’t you passionately respect yourself?

Why wouldn’t you finally just do it, your way, on your terms?

I am

72_Names_of_God_chartI am light. I am love. I am energy. I am truth. I am expansiveness. I am knowledge. I am everywhere. I am nowhere. I am the molecules forming the clouds overhead and the sound of the tectonic plates shifting. I am the wind racing through the streets and the sun that reflects off the windshield. I am the gossamer web of a spider and the fly that gets trapped in it. I am the awareness of an infant and the wisdom of an aged mind. I am Jehovah. I am Shiva. I am Jesus. I am Vishnu. I am Allah. I am Brahma. I am Buddha. I am Krishna. I am Adonai. I am Isvara.

And so are you.

When the Smallest Truths Effect The Greatest Changes

It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to write a post, mainly because I’ve been busier than ever with co-managing the studio, workshops, traveling, classes, and the ongoing Luna Yoga Teacher Training. I’ve noticed how my tendency when I get busy is to get things taken care of or executed one by one, while mentally taking note of everything else that is in store for me during the weeks and months to come. More often than not, this allows me to pace myself and make sure I’m ready, rested, and prepared for whatever project is lined up, but sometimes, this approach backfires on me.

If I spend too much time thinking about what’s ahead of me, what I need to do to prepare for it, and what needs getting done in the interim, I sometimes feel stifled, overwhelmed…and it’s through this process that I lose sight of why I’m doing it all to begin with! I have a tendency to be hard on myself…which is why yoga speaks so loudly and clearly to me…it reminds me that I can take a step back, and put my faith in the knowledge that everything will go smoothly, that I will get everything done, and that there’s an omniscient & underlying current of reassurance and peace that is waiting for me to tap back into.

This weekend I’m giving the teacher trainees a lecture on one of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Sutra 1.23 – Ishwara Pranidhanad Va. This sutra speaks to the ability to move closer to a place of truth, peace & light by putting our faith, and the fruits of our labours, towards a higher energy, towards what each and every one of us, in our own way, interprets God as being. Putting God/light/energy into the forefront. From my purely non-denominational point of view, that energy is exactly that – an energy that has taken shape in the form of light in my reality, an energy that is always within me and that I find myself tapping into and falling back on when I most need it. I’ve spoken before about God in yoga (God Talk), and how the practice is often mistaken as a religion, and I’ve also written about how I firmly understand that we all need to believe in something, we just need to figure out what that something is, and then believe in it, wholly and unapologetically (Up to You). Both these points are key in interpreting Sutra 1.23.

Most of us get tested in our belief systems, especially when we come up against an event which (or person who) challenges what we perceive to be truth. It is during these moments of conflict when we struggle to remember why we have placed our faith where it is, and whether we need to reconsider alternate opinions. Taking an opposing point of view is always advisable, if only to be able to put one’s self in another’s reality. When researching Ishwara Pranidhanad Va, I was struck by a moment of brilliance that ever since, has really affected the way I see the world around me, and my place in it.

Here’s my take: in choosing what to believe in, I allow for a certain surrender to take place…to open myself up to my beliefs and where they lead me. Let me be clear here: surrender doesn’t mean giving in to anything or anyone, it means letting go. It means allowing the doubt and skepticism to melt away, so that all that’s left is a connection to what serves me. This surrender leads to something even greater: acceptance. If I allow myself to put my faith in the knowledge that the energy and light is, essentially, the source of all being, then I understand that no matter what happens to or around me, regardless of how incredible or horrible it is, it is all part of my evolution, spiritual and otherwise. Every minor detail, and every major event, all have something within them that offers me information…information to learn from, information to move forwards, information to evolve into who I’m ultimately supposed to be. This allows me to keep doing everything I’m doing, no matter how busy I find myself, with a certain degree of peace that provides a solid foundation for me to keep going. And what makes this acceptance even more incredible is that I know that with it comes the certainty that when I come to a moment of conflict or doubt, my faith in my beliefs remove the need to place my own expectations or demands on anyone or anything else to conform to what I believe should be. I know that whatever happens, it’s all good. It’s all part of my transformation, of my evolution.

Ask yourselves this: if you put your faith in the understanding that all events, conflicts, and encounters are part of your evolution, spiritual and otherwise, then how would your life change? How much anticipatory stress would you carry around with you? How would the way you react to conflict change? How would you change?

Let me know…I’m curious 🙂

Full Disclosure

I’ve been thinking a lot about how many of the causes of suffering in my life and in the life of those around me are rooted in communication…what we communicate, how we do it, and where we direct it. It seems that so much of what we convey to others passes through a complex system of filters before it pours out into the space we reserve for communication, but many times, it doesn’t even make it that far. That filtering of information happens when we analyze what we have to share, who we’re sharing it with, and a) what our feelings toward that person are, and b) what that person is dealing with in their daily life. When we have incredibly joyous news to share, we often suppress the degree of that joy if we’re dealing with someone who tends to be pessimistic or sarcastic, and conversely, when we have news that isn’t happy, we tend to keep it to ourselves for fear of imposing on others, afraid that we’ll “bring them down”  once the news or information has been shared.

The second Yama in Patanjali’s 8 Yogic Limbs is Satya, which loosely translates to “truth”. Taken from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Sutra 2.36 states, “For one who increasingly practices honesty or truthfulness in actions, speech, and thoughts, his or her will is naturally fulfilled.” Very often, this sutra is applied to how we interact with others (the Yamas are intended to provide restrictions in how we treat others to live a more balanced, peaceful life), but I firmly believe that if we are not applying these practices to ourselves, we won’t have the necessary tools to apply them to others. “As within, so without” sums this up perfectly. We are also taught that if the truth of our words can potentially hurt someone, we should practice discretion, whereby adhering to the first Yama, Ahimsa. I know that in my own life, growing up dealing with my homosexuality taught me that it was normal to keep secrets and to not impose my troubles on others, and I see that same approach being used by countless people around me, regardless of their sexual orientations, genders, races, and religions. We are so conditioned to buy into the processes of discrimination and categorization that naturally occur in our minds that before we know it, we have become our own censors and end up withholding our own truths.

What I’m trying to get to is this: despite our best intentions in trying to transform who we are, what we experience, and what we have to communicate so that it becomes more palatable for others, we end up doing everyone a disservice. When we keep secrets, when we hold back the truth, we create our own obstacles from letting people know who we are, which in turn prevents us from knowing them. We are ALL guilty of filtering information, of white lies, of bending the truth. What we need to recognize is that in the same way that nothing ever ends up being what we thought it would be, people will most often react to us in ways we never would have anticipated. We create stories in our minds about how events will unfold based on how and if communicate, but ultimately, we need to let go of the illusion that we are writing the script and just surrender to the fact that we know very little in relation to what we think of ourselves, and that the people around us, those that we love and who love us, WANT to know the truth. Whether it be good, bad or horrific, those in our inner circles want to be included in everything that happens in our lives, because being privy to it differentiates them from everyone else. It allows them to step up and be our friends, our confidants, the shoulders to cry on and the cheerleaders to cheer us on. It gives them access to us, the same way we’d want access to them.

So this is my challenge to you: what have you not been honest about? And to whom? What information needs to be conveyed in order for you to feel free and light and liberated? Everyone’s got something…this is your cue to do some real spiritual work. Forget about the left-brain chatter that is feeding you stories about what the possible repercussions may be of full disclosure. Silence it….and start talking. It will make all the difference.

Averting Aversion

Today I find myself lying in bed, trying to manage a stomach bug which has kept me from attending 2 workshops with our friend and inspiration, Kimberly Wilson, at my place of work, Centre Luna Yoga. As frustrated as I am to be missing her visit again, I’m allowing myself to stand back from the whole situation and just surrender to whatever it is that’s making my stomach go full Cirque du Soleil on me 🙂 And so I’m lying in bed, pacing myself as I finish one of the most important books I’ll ever read, The Journey Home – Autobiography of An American Swami by Radhanath Swami.

I don’t want to ever finish reading this book…which is why I know it will become one of the few books that I will re-read over and over throughout my life. From cover to cover, Radhanath Swami’s memoirs speak to me on every level: as someone constantly in search of, and occasionally getting brilliant glimpses of, a higher, divine power…as someone reluctant to ascribe to any one school of thinking or faith until I have no doubts in my mind that I have found a true extension of myself…and as someone who continues to see with growing clarity the illusion the majority of mankind lives with, unable to see that the love of a higher power is the ultimate expression of every kind of love that we seek on earth – from each other, from our pets, from ourselves.

As is the pattern throughout his journey, Radhanath Swami finds Vishaka Sharan Baba, a scholar and devotee of Vrindavan, the favoured geographical location of the Lord Krishna’s manifestations on Earth, and he sits with him one day…and asks him a question that I think would be beneficial for every single person to ask of someone whom they trust implicitly. With absolute trust and genuine reverence, he asks, “Please tell me whatever you feel I need to hear.”

Our nature, through conditioning and socialization in this part of the world, is to steer well clear of any situation that might present an opportunity for criticism to sneak in. In today’s Western society, it is unfortunately much easier to vocalize judgement and negativity than it is to offer someone a kind word of gratitude or a compliment. And so most of us would be averse to asking such a question of another, but we’re wrong in allowing for that aversion to guide us. If every one of us has one person, regardless of who that person is in relation to us, that we would entrust with our lives, someone we know loves us unconditionally, than this question absolutely needs to be presented to them at the appropriate time, in the proper setting conducive to a real heart-to-heart exchange of words and ideas.

We shy away from questions like this one because we’re afraid of what the answers will  be and how those answers will prompt us to step up to the plate and hold ourselves accountable for our actions, but we don’t need to assume that the answers will always be critical. I can immediately think of a dozen people who, if they posed the question to me, would receive the following answer: I don’t think you realize how capable you are. I don’t think you realize how beautiful you are. I think that you’ve gotten so caught up in how the world around us tries to control you that you’ve lost sight of your innate sense of what’s right for you and what isn’t. I believe that you need to look at everything going on in your life and determine what is serving you and what isn’t, and then let go of that which isn’t. I think your life is about to kick into gear.

On this last day of the month, as we transition into the heat and warmth of the approaching Summer and let Spring recede, let’s allow for the insight and truth that only those who know and love us best can offer. Allow the unconditional love that the Bhakti yogis steep themselves in to make an appearance in your own lives and for your own well-being. Allow for that shift in how you approach the opinions of others in relation to yourself. Changing the way we think, the way we approach life, will absolutely and without fail lead to changing our lives for the better. You cannot change your life without changing the way you think. It’s impossible. So try it out. And let me know what happens 🙂

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Just A Thought…

I attended Jae Steele‘s workshop last week at Luna Yoga and walked away with a lot to think about. Jae was in town to promote her new vegan cookbook, Ripe From Around Here, and so I figured that her workshop would be mainly food and nutrient-based, but we ended up talking about an essential ingredient to leading a happy life: communication. We discussed all kinds of scenarios and emotions, and touched on the subject of goals, which has been on my mind for months.

How many of you are currently working towards a goal, regardless of whatever area of your life it affects? And how many of you have a goal in the back of your mind that you’ve been meaning to start working towards but either life or procrastination (or both) have prevented you from doing so? Most of us spend the majority of our energies and time on our jobs, pulling in the money we need to pay our way through life…if while doing this your soul is being nourished and you’re loving what you do, then you’re way ahead of the game. For those that don’t fall into that category, I submit the following for your consideration: why not commit ourselves to pursuing the goals that will bring us closer to where we’d like to be, where we see ourselves in our wildest, most ambitious dreams? Why not make it a point to stop listening to that little voice of doubt, the same inner voice that feels the need to rationalize everything down to the most infinitesimal particle? Why not adopt the certainty that we can be monumentally more than everything we dream of? What I’m proposing (and I do understand that we only have a certain amount of hours in the day within which we need to fulfil our obligations) is that we start actively and consciously moving towards where we see our ideal selves. If we took the same duration of time for our selves that we do for our jobs and applied ourselves to accomplishing what we dream of accomplishing, how much more peace would we be able to incorporate into our lives and into the lives of those around us? Our goals need not be of the lofty sort…from having a simple, long-overdue conversation with someone to wanting to rule the world, we can dream as big as we’d like to. What matters is that we take control of our own happiness now. Today. The only person we have standing in our way is ourself. Do yourself the favour of getting out of your own way. I did a couple of years ago, and the path that made itself visible immediately afterwards continues to be more than I ever could have hoped for. We all deserve to feel an overwhelming sense of truth…a sense of being exactly where we’re supposed to be…surrounded by and infused by the most blissfully blinding light and energy. It’s already in us all, we just need to get out of our own way to make it visible. Today. Now….

Just a thought 🙂