Belongingness

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As a practicing Tantrika, one of my blessings is to belong to kula. Kula is a spiritual community of Tantrik yogis. It is family, it is self-contained and it is about absolute connectedness.

My kula partner and I have worked together for a year now. It is one of the safest relationships I have. He is able to relate to how I experience life, particularly the aspects of consciousness and spiritual philosophy. In most respects, we are quite different personalities but that adds to our practice. It is not a romantic practice nor is it sexual. It is very intimate, especially energetically, however.

This week I have felt restlessness, fueled by the full moon, the coming eclipse, and other planetary movements. When I sink into my practice, the restlessness is worse, not better. Some of what is surfacing is a desire for belongingness. My kula mate has felt that too.

It is ironic to be in a practice of connectedness and union, and to share in the feeling of not currently belonging.  This is not new to me. I have spent most of my life not feeling a sense of belongingness,  and those moments in which I did became an energy that I grasped at, and grasped for.

Today, Matt Licata shared words to which I am returning to ride my way through this wave of shifting energy:

“Something happens and you get triggered. Someone says something or ignores you, or doesn’t show up in the way you want and need. You quickly become convinced that no one will ever see you as you are. Others are not on your side and the world is unsafe. And there is only one explanation at the root of it all: you are unworthy of such contact and something is fundamentally wrong with you. 

In these moments, you are totally hooked. Your emotional world is on fire and you’re falling apart. You are shaming, blaming, and raging in all directions. The old voices remind you of how wretched you truly are. The energy is hot and surging through your heart. There is a panicky nauseous feeling in your stomach. Your throat is starting to constrict. You are about to collapse. Here we go again.

But wait. Breathe deeply from your lower belly. Touch the earth. Feel your heart beating. Return to your body and the aliveness of the here and now. See if it really is as urgent as it seems, that you need to disembody and find relief.

Give yourself the gift of sacred pause. This is no ordinary moment. The harbingers of integration have appeared. While you may never have much control over what thoughts, feelings, or emotions arrive in a moment of activation, you have a choice as to how you will respond. This choice is the threshold of a new world.

Depending on your early strategies for meeting overwhelm and dysregulation, you flow into motion. While these responses are wired in to your neural net, they are open, plastic, translucent, and awaiting reconfiguration.

No matter what is happening in the inner and outer landscape, you can start right now – you can lay down a new pathway. Slowly, over time, you can replace the aggression with kindness. You can replace the abandonment with holding. You can replace the rejection with curiosity and fiery compassion. You can develop a new relationship with your feelings, your emotions, and with the beliefs which have become the lenses through which you have come to see your life.

While the old narratives and emotional strategies emerged as the best ways you knew to care for yourself and to somehow make sense of empathic failure and a misattuned holding environment, you are the artist of a new world. Your canvas is the entirety of your embodied vulnerability, the tenderness of your heart, and the brilliance of your creative psyche. You can rewrite the story, rewire your nervous system, and find new meaning. No, this is not easy, and will take everything you have… and more. But it is already written inside you.

While it may seem hopeless at times, you have capacities that you did not have as a little one when the original pathways were formed. Call on the seen and unseen worlds to assist you. Open to the holding and the wisdom of the mountains, the oceans, the stars, and the blue rose inside you.

You are surrounded now by the heartbeat of the earth. Feel the new pathway emerging. Allow the new template to come online now. The template of love.” – Matt Licata

For You, I Will Try

For You, I Will Try.

I know nothing about you.

Your name, your voice, your mind, your favorite song, your favorite book, your gait, your touch, your dreams, your fears—I know none of it.

I don’t know where you are or how you got there, the ebbs and flows that swept you into the man you’ve become. I don’t know the ways you’ve been held and rejected, the pieces you’ve stitched and lost, the edges where you once stood complete, the details of you.

But I’ve taken the time to learn the details of me, to retrace the steps of a long lost someone I never thought I’d misplace.

Still recovering from storms unforeseen, from blurred pauses in their merciful eyes, I am doing my best to find her—to love her.

And for you, I think I should try.

You see, I’ve never loved someone the way I intend to love you. I’ve never made the leap into a strength I’d trust to catch me; I’ve only ever fallen, too weak to catch myself.

But I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I only tell you this because it’s made me who I am—the woman who will do her best to love you, the woman who will try to let you love her.

And for you, I will try.

I will press on, walking through these days when the light burns low (though it burns nevertheless), hoping to unveil the love I long to give, though I know I can give nothing before I hold some for myself. And so I will continue. So I will try.

Maybe then you will see me, glowing with a depth all my own, reaching out in a way that only you could ever hear.

Or maybe you already hear me. Maybe you already know just how I need to be touched, how I long to be loved, but how I falter in its acceptance. And maybe you know the same fight, ever-nearing that sweet surrender to the only thing you fear and crave all at once.

For that reason, perhaps you are waiting—hoping, just as I am, that one day, we will both be ready.

I trust that you are, and I trust that you will be. I trust you.

I trust that I’ll keep doing my part—collecting what I’d like to reclaim, mending all the broken things—just as I trust you’ll do the same. And I trust that one day, we will do it together; because you and I both know that this road is unceasing, unforgiving in its ways.

I trust that when we’re ready, we will know.

I trust that by then, I will have made my tiny strides in surrender—in learning and letting love.

Because for you, I will learn.

For you, I will try.

Author: Sara Rodriguez

Abundance: Gratitude List

What does abundance look like?

Raw chocolate making class today,  a few useful trinkets from Dollarama, two different friends offering me tickets to an event, and fresh bread in my oven.

Two dogs lying on me, two cats lying above my head, degus playing in the rolling ball.

Watching my baby look at herself in a mirror knowing she is beautiful.  Knowing I am beautiful. 

Having three canvases ready to paint on tomorrow.  Two scented candles to chose from. Coconut oil and sugar body scrub every morning. 

Fresh flowers in a vase in my kitchen. Stained glass hanging in every window. Raw silk lounging dress smelling subtley of lavender from my dresser.

Counting down to a special visit in 5 weeks.  Counting down to my coveted Adyashanti retreat in 10 months. Practicing meditation at my beautiful altar. Yin yoga in candle light in my library.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

3 Things That Happen When You Stop Believing Your Own Thoughts

“A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years”. – Byron Katie
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What happens if you stop believing your thoughts?

1. You stop feeding drama with thoughts and words

One of the first things I noticed when I stopped believing my thoughts was that I was no longer replaying painful scenarios in my head over and over. I wasn’t anticipating conversations with people and deciding how they should play out.

I found it was much easier to let go of my day. It became easier to be curious about things that happened in my life. I could ask how an event brought me closer to awakening. I stopped believing my story, which was usually told with all my conclusions rather than the observable experience.

2. You stop blaming or judging.

When I stopped believing my thoughts, I realized that right or wrong were also thoughts and beliefs. I could stop beating myself up for not living up to standards (thoughts) I held for myself. I could stop trying to be perfect – defined as always being right and honorable and loving.

Then I could stop judging others. I could look at the belief triggered by another instead of blaming the other. I might still be unable to go to their world but I didn’t need to judge, be angry or afraid of what they could take from me – like showing me I wasn’t perfect according to my definition – and therefore not deserving of love.

“Placing the blame or judgment on someone else leaves you powerless to change your experience; taking responsibility for your beliefs and judgments gives you the power to change them.” – Byron Katie

3. You no longer suffer because you want something different than what is

The biggest source of suffering comes from resisting what is, and comparing it to what you wish. When you stop believing your thoughts, you stop creating an alternative to what is. You realize that what is happening is exactly as it should be, and it has always been this way.

“I am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality.” – Byron Katie

The best part? You can relax. You don’t have to control everything and everyone. The universe becomes a loving place instead of a human version of Whack a Mole, with unexpected impossible challenges.

Little by little, you release a bit more and become more aligned with what’s true.

See With Your Heart

“I saw you,” my 8 year old said. “I saw you pet the dog and it was as beautiful as a unicorn.”

“Oh, it was that beautiful? Wow. What made it as beautiful as a unicorn?” I asked, smiling, but not too much. Or she would get mad at me for laughing at her.

“I could see your love connecting,” she replied.

“You really are awesome,” I said while giving her a snuggly hug.

“What do you mean?”, she asked while earnestly looking at me.

“You see the world through your heart,” I replied.

“How do most people do it?”, she wanted to know.

“With their minds,” was my quick reply.

“Don’t do that.  Your mind makes things up, especially fear. You have to see with your good parts. With your heart and your imagination. My mind used to tell me bad thoughts until I stopped listening to it,” said my little guru.

At the age of 8, she just recapped the teachings of most meditation leaders.

“All of our thoughts are conditioned. We all are thinking exactly along the lines we are conditioned to think. Programmed like a computer. Anybody who thinks they are actually choosing of their own free will the line of thinking that they have is completely deluded by their thinking.”

—Adyashanti

Heaven

What is heaven? I remember a conversation I was part of one late night at a university party where a guy named Kevin suggested that this Life is heaven. I thought he was crazy.

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How could a life with heart break,  loss, worry, and grief be heaven? Isn’t heaven a place of no suffering and perpetual happiness?

One of my favorite movies is What Dreams May Come. Heaven there is a world that responds to our every intention and creates paradise.

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Most traditions have some image of heaven or afterlife. But those all come from a dualistic view. Dualism is the position that mental phenomena are, in some respects, non-physical, or that the mind and body are not identical.

Non-dualism presents a different view. “Non-duality’ is actually a translation of the Sanskrit word ‘Advaita’, which simply means ‘not two’ and points to the essential oneness (wholeness, completeness, unity) of life, a wholeness which exists here and now,prior to any apparent separation. It’s a word that points to an intimacy, a love beyond words, right at the heart of present moment experience. It’s a word that points us back Home. And despite the compelling appearance of separation and diversity there is only one universal essence, one reality. Oneness is all there is – and we are included.

What we are really trying to do when we say ‘non-duality’ is point to life as it is right now, before the appearance of concepts and labels; before thought creates a world of things: table, chair, hand, foot, fear, me, you, past, future. What is life before thought? Can we even talk about that? Is it possible to capture non-duality into words?” –Jeff Foster

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The problem is that we think of heaven as something outside. “Isn’t it fascinating how automatically thought (or ‘the mind’) tries to turn what we are talking about into some kind of special state or experience. Thought hears about ‘non-duality’ and wants it. And it asks, ‘How do I get it? How do I reach it? How do I see it? Who can take me there? Who can transmit it to me? Who can teach me it or give it to me? Where will I find it?’ It starts lookingfor something called ‘non-duality’. It starts waiting for it. It lives in hope.” –Jeff Foster

“So, how do you get back to heaven? To begin with, just notice the thoughts that take you away from it. You don’t have to believe everything your thoughts tell you. Just become familiar with the particular thoughts you use to deprive yourself of happiness. It may seem strange at first to get to know yourself in this way, but becoming familiar with your stressful thoughts will show you the way home to everything you need.” – Byron Katie

I am so happy. I can’t imagine anything in life that could add to my happiness.

What if I am always happy? What if, while circumstances could make life more easeful or more intense, I am happy anyway?

What if I have realized that my experience of things in my mind are just thoughts? What if I have stopped believing what I think?

And now, what if I am remembering who I really am? To me, that is heaven.

Spiritual Awareness and Adele

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Ok, the title is a stretch. I have been listening to Adele’s Hello, mostly because it’s played everywhere. I realized how great a lesson it is in egoic love, and in how beliefs shape everything. 

Hello, it’s me, I was wondering
If after all these years you’d like to meet to go over everything
They say that time’s supposed to heal, yeah
But I ain’t done much healing”

It initially sounds like the character voicing this is offering a chance for closure and maybe to make amends. With the line about not having healed, it’s clear that the  character voice is actually looking to have her/his own needs met. There is nothing wrong with that so far. But as the song progresses, it takes on a sense that the character voice is desperate: “It’s no secret, That the both of us are running out of time”.  Now we have moved into egoic love and a little bit of manipulation.  I am not sure I would take her/his calls either.

Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I’ve tried 
To tell you I’m sorry, for breaking your heart
But it don’t matter, it clearly doesn’t tear you apart anymore”

Those lines blend wanting to make amends and support letting go with blame and resentment that the Other has been able to do what the character voice has not: heal, let go, move on.

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At the spiritual level, we also see how the character voice has constructed reality. She/he has believed things on behalf of the Other and is suffering because those beliefs are not real. She/he believed the Other was suffering, possibly as stuck as she/he is, and that maybe if they talked something would change. That “something” could be healing on the part of the character voice, or possibly there is a hope of getting back together. There is a feeling of being rejected – even after the character voice suggests she/he did the original breaking up and broke the Other’s heart.

If we need help realizing how our beliefs seperate us from what is, this song touches on that well.  The song is filled with the longing and grief and sadness that being separate from what is causes. The words reinforce that happiness depends on circumstances,  depends on Others  being as we wish them to be, and that our experience is the responsibility of someone else. (I love Adele even though her song lyrics are a celebration of codependency. Even Adele admits she doesn’t listen to her own music.)

I am grateful for this song. It became a mirror for me this week. I became aware that I am happy as I am. Totally happily, contentedly loved as I am today in many, many forms. Because happiness comes from being with what is. There is no circumstance that defines my happiness. My happiness is with me.

Thanks Adele.