I'm back home, after a long, tiresome flight from Spain. I rested all day yesterday, feeling as though I was moving through molasses. Today, I finally took myself to my yoga mat. As always, I found my energy level increasing as I breathed and stretched. I believe that one of the reasons travel is so wearying is the heavy energy that we pick up in places like airports. There is a great heaviness generated through the negative and stressful thoughts of so many people in places like airports and train stations where most are trying to meet deadlines and feeling exhausted from long flights and time changes. The emotional heaviness they generate gathers and clings to us as we move through these places, dragging us down with angst and negative thoughts. By the time, I'd gottten home I felt depleted, physically exhausted from 24 hours of non-stop travel — de-pressed with heavy thoughts.
Even though I slept and napped I still felt depleted. It wasn't until I consciously chose to practice release through yoga, movement and breath that I began to lighten up. This to me, underscores the importance of a clearing practice. Understanding the true nature of yoga … that it's not just a series of postures that strengthen and stretch the body but that it was truly designed to be a system for connecting with Source and clearing the heaviness that obstructs that connection — that is what yoga is truly all about in my opinion.
Lying on the floor, I allowed my body to lead. I followed it, closing my eyes and listening to the inner promptings – allowing my body to move in fluid form without mental analysis but simply flowing from one asana to another. Relief and release comes as I consciously intend surrender – the heaviness accumulated from travel falls away and I feel rejuvenated and relaxed. Such a wonderful thing – these tools of movement and breath; of surrender through visualization; of knowing how to intentionally drop negativite heaviness for the purpose of healing and restoration. I immediately began to feel better. My mind cleared … the negative mental energy gone — peace restored. Thank God for these resources.
When I am drained, tired and weary I find my thoughts easily turn negative. I've often blamed tiredness as the cause of negative thoughts. But more often these days, I see that it is not tiredness that produces negativity, but that tiredness is actually a side effect of negative mentation. Negative thoughts are “caught” – much like we “catch the flu”. Just like we catch illness from another, we can also “catch” their negative mind set. Neagative mentation quickly becomes an epidemic, spreading like wild fire from mind to mind, with each and every mind thinking theirs is the point of origin and believing these negative thoughts and then reacting accordingly, which in turn spreads the “mental influenza” even more. How different it might be if we understood that thoughts are like germs moving through the atmosphere. When we find ourselves being affected by a negative thought, instead of automatically beliving it, we learn instead to clear it through one of the many resources available for that purpose. As deeply committed as I am to clearing, I find that it can still take me a little while to remember to utilize the tools for freedom. There seems to definitely be a part that wants to hang on to negativity – that even feeds on it.
But it always works, once I give in to a restorative practice, whether it's simply questioning the negative thought and thereby bringing detachment from it or breathing and visulizing the body releasing the heavy enegy. The important thing is to remember to utilize these tools. I find myself able to come up completely refreshed after a few minutes of a clearing practice.
On a different topic… I was talking with Daniel yesterday about the limitations that can come out of following a particular religion or doctrine. We were talking about Scientology, in particular. I have seen positive results in the lives of some close to me from their participation in the teachings of Scientology. The things L. Ron Hubbard discovered and passed on are truths, in my opinion, derived from studying, much like I have, the ancient teachings and philosophies that abound. He read and studied and then applied those truths in his own life, coming up with a particular path to freedom that worked for him. Of this, I have no doubt. There can be a problem however, when his students try to do it exactly the way he did it. They study his path, the break down into a step by step program and they interpret it through their own lense of understanding … then attempt to do it like they believe he did it. They believe that this is the only right way if one wants to become clear. And it's not that there is not success by some — it's just that what was for him a path Home may for another become a path of endoctrination and limitation. For as soon as we buy into a notion that we can only achieve liberation by following certain prescribed steps we have set in place a rigid formula that makes freedom impossible for a number of reasons. For one thing, liberation is something that is possible only in this moment, because the NOW is the only Reality there is – nothing else exists. Enlightenment happens in the now.
As soon as I believe there are “steps” or “courses that must be taken in order to achieve …” then I've placed my liberation “out there” in the unattainable and totally imaginary future where I will never attain it. The other problem is that it is the principles of Truth that are universal – the way they are applied are unique to each individual. When we idolize an individual and try to imitate their path we can only fail.
I see these tendencies in every single religion, philosophy or doctrine of truth and notice the limitation they present.
A spiritual teacher is someone who has taken the principles of truth and applied them to their own life with success. They have experimented with the Universal Laws in the laboratory of their own life experience and then are led to share the “good news” and positive results with others. There is nothing wrong with this, in and of itself it is the way of it and a good thing. There can be swampy ground here as well, however. The truths are universal, but their application is totally unique to each individual. This means that we cannot “get there” following anyone elses example. The way to freedom will be unique to me and for you. I'm not saying we cannot learn from anothers experience. I'm saying that Truth will manifest uniquely through us … that there may be ways of manifesting and experimenting with these principles that will be distinct to us and different from all others.
What often happens in a particular religion is that the teacher's teachings, either purposely or inadvertently, sets in place a particular order of steps that they took and that they then establish as those which must be taken in order to achieve liberation. But a student can not arrive at the same destination as their teacher simply because they are NOT him/her. As soon as a student leaves their path in imitatation of another, they essentially abandon their own way. We cannot be true to ourselves when we are expending our energy in what can only be a futile attempt to be like another. As a matter of fact, by that single act, we render our stated desire impossible to achieve. How can we abandon ourselves and expect to find freedom?
It's swampy ground for the teacher as well. For the ego likes to be followed. It gives a sense of importance — it establishes one as being a “Somebody” and ego adores that. This is a very difficult thing for anyone to pass up, no matter how much wisdom one has attained. And so when one looks around and sees that others are wanting to idolize and become followers, there is often an internal dilemma. On the one hand, there may be a true desire to share principles of truth … on the other, there may be a huge temptation to aggrandize ones position as “the One who Knows”. If we fall for this, then we can become mis-leaders, instead of wayshowers. We can become addicted to the attention that comes from being followed and grow dependent upon it. Then we are prone to set up a rigid way – a particular path that can be claimed as “mine”. In this way ego is fed but enlightenment is lost. This is not helpful to either the teacher or the student.
The challenge for such as I, who find myself in a position to teach is this… How do I share these principles of truth without ascribing a particular way of practicing them? How do I pass on what I've discovered without influencing others to think that they must do it “my” way? How do I share my experience with Reality as simply that … my experience while leaving others free to experience these truths in their own totally unique way?
This is my desire… and heartfelt aspiration.