Monday, January 27, 2014

"That which you are seeking, is also seeking you."

We are nearing the end of the Mahabharata, and the war we’ve been talking about over the last few weeks has finally taken place.  Many battles were fought between the heroes of the story.  In the end, only a few were left standing:  the five Pandava brothers and the head evil cousin Duryodhana amongst them.  Duryodhana flees into the forest and Bhima chases after him and drags him back to the battlefield to settle the score once and for all.  They battle fiercely and are well matched with their maces. At long last, Bhima strikes the fatal blow and Duryodhana is left to die.  

When the blind king Dhritarashtra hears that his 100 sons are all dead, including his favorite Duryodhana, he falls into despair.  His Advisor says to him: “The sorrows of life come only from life itself.... Look for them, and every day you can find a hundred causes for fear and grief…. Dwell on sadness, and it will increase.”

How amazing that even in the time of the Mahabharata the scholars were aware of the Law of Attraction.  Abraham explains it this way in the beautiful book Ask and it is Given: “The Law of Attraction says: that which is like unto itself, is drawn.  And so the essence of whatever you give your attention to is unfolding in your experience.”  Dhritarashtra’s Advisor is correct - there are a hundred causes for fear and grief…but there are also a hundred causes for joy, happiness, and gratitude.  We can choose to dwell on the sadness, or on the gladness, and whatever we choose is what we attract more of into our experience and awareness.

Similarly, Tantra teaches us that the “stuff” that all stuff is made of is the same “stuff”…and we have the power to align ourselves with that “stuff” (i.e. consciousness, god, molecules, cells, vibration, etc.), which gives us the ability to change and shift our own world and the world around us.  Through our thoughts and the energy we send out to the universe through our actions, we make an impression in that “stuff” and, like a magnet, we immediately invite more of whatever energy we are expending to come back to us.  So when we (through our thoughts and actions) send out sorrow, we invite more sorrow, and likewise when we radiate joy we invite more joy, and so on.

This is why coming together to practice yoga is so powerful.  For most of us, our biggest breakthroughs on the mat happen in a class, not at home in personal practice.  Why is that?  Because we are together with like-minded souls, radiating our positive wishes for joy, gratitude, passion, and enthusiasm, and that builds on itself.  Yoga studios are centers of great influence – it’s not only the sacred space created by the owner and practitioners, the physical poses, or the teachers’ knowledge and ability to explain physical or spiritual concept.  The most transformative aspect of our practice is that it helps us to personally align with our highest aspirations.   And when we do that collectively, that energy expands exponentially and that is tremendously powerful.

This is also why we need to choose who we surround ourselves with carefully.  We recognize that our lives are not entirely within our control because there are others around us who desire differently and sometimes their desire is stronger than ours.  So we take responsibility for co-creating with the Universe, but we also have to accept that we live in relationships with our family, community, and culture and, as such, realize that our own desires are not the only desires that have an impact on our lives.  There is an overall Universal picture, it’s not just the picture of our own lives that affects what comes to us. It is especially important to remember this when facing illness or tragedy so that we are not “blaming the victim”.   But it is our choice, dare I say, responsibility to choose to align with our highest vision of ourselves, and to surround ourselves with others who are doing the same, because really what other choice is there?? We need to constantly and consistently be reaching for acceptance and love and gratitude rather than sorrow and unworthiness, even when there is illness, tragedy, and grief, maybe even especially then.  

As Mike Dooley of says: “Thoughts become things, choose the good ones!” (Check out the website and sign up for daily Notes from the Universe – I’ve been getting them for years and they have provided much insight and inspiration!)

And finally, as promised, from the great poet Rumi:
“If you are seeking, seek us with joy
For we live in the kingdom of joy.
Do not give your heart to anything else
But to the love of those who are clear joy,
Do not stray into the neighborhood of despair.
For there are hopes: they are real, they exist –
Do not go in the direction of darkness –
I tell you: suns exist.”

Off the mat practices:
Examine what you are inviting into your life.  There is the conscious level of inviting, where we are aware of our thoughts and actions, and this is an important level, a good place to start.  What are you saying to yourself, and out loud for that matter, day in and day out?  Then there is the subconscious level – do the thoughts and actions of your day to day reflect how you REALLY feel.  Be honest!   As my teacher Todd says, if you’re not sure, just examine what is coming to you and that will usually help you figure it out.  The book Ask and it is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks, which I’ve quoted above several times, also has some terrific exercises to help this process.

On the mat, for the Anusara junkies:
Open to Grace: Remember that, as Rumi said, “That which you are seeking is also seeking you.”
The Universe wants for you what you want for yourself.
Recognize and align with your Source, which is constantly conspiring on your behalf.
Align your feet with your intention to align with the benevolent flow of the Universe.

Muscular Energy/Hug the midline: Invite in positive thoughts that make you feel good from the outside inwards, from the skin to the very marrow of the bones.
Imagine the midline like a powerful magnet of joy and gratitude, drawing all your energy towards it and letting those feelings multiply.
Draw the muscles in to connect with the deepest desires of your heart for your best life.

Inner spiral: Widen your sit-bones and widen your perspective to see the good in all.
Broaden the base of your pelvis and open yourself to welcome positive thoughts.

Organic Energy: Your nature is one of expansion, and in that expansion is the potential for unspeakable joy.
Let your positive, joyful thoughts radiate outwards to meet every other positive thought in the universe.

Twisting principles: Initiate your movement from the back body, from your connection to Source, and let it guide you deeper into the pose and relationship with your highest self.
In Sanskrit the name of many twisted poses includes the word parivrtta, which translates to  “revolved”.  Another translation of this word is “to turn your heart to something better”, so with each twist turn your heart towards joy, love, and gratitude.