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From Adyashanti

13 Jul

Adyashanti wrote:Life itself is nothing but relationship. In the ultimate view of things, it’s the relationship of the One with the One, of Spirit with Spirit. Then there is the appearance of this relationship — the dance of relationship, the dance of life. And in this dance, it is absolutely essential that we not hide from anything.

If you do try to hide from something — if you are in a relationship that is dysfunctional or a job that is tremendously unsatisfying, and you choose not to deal with it — the consequence of that denial is that you will not truly be liberated. You won’t ever be capable of being fully free, because any area where we choose to remain unconscious will ultimately have an impact upon us, as well as upon others.

The call to come out of denial is not something that is imposed upon life. It may sound that way; it may sound like I’m saying, “Here’s what you need to do, here’s what you’re supposed to do, and if you do it, you’ll be a better person and have a better life.” It may sound that way, but it’s not at all the perspective from which I’m speaking. I’m simply saying that awakened consciousness moves in particular ways. It does not deny anything. It does not hide; it is not avoiding any part of life. That which we are, that which is fully awake, is also utimately fully engaged and fearless. It moves the way it moves, out of unconditional love and truthfulness. It is only the fear in the mind — the fear that constructs the illusion of ego — that causes one to recoil from this phase of the spiritual life.

I want to emphasize this. If you avoid those aspects of your life that are not in harmony, those aspeccts of your life where you may still be in denial, that kind of avoidance is going to hinder your spiritual awakening. In the early stages, it may not have much of an effect. But later, as we get into the more mature opening of realization, there is no more room for denial. This is something that a lot of people don’t count on. A lot of us think that somehow enlightenment is going to allow us to avoid dealing with those things in ourselves that we find uncomfortable.

Awakening can be the ground from which we meet every person and situation. It can be the ground from which we relate to all the circumstances of life. But this takes a lot of courage and a lot of fearlessness. It also takes something I continue to emphasize: a very simple sincerity. This kind of sincerity arises from that which loves the truth and sees that the truth is the greatest good.

To be anything less than real, to be in avoidance of anything at all, diminishes our experience of who we are. As I often say to my students, to be less than truthful with the people and situations in your life is to withhold the expression of who you are. In the end, we must come to see that truth itself is the highest good, that truth itself is the greatest expression and manifestation of love. Ultimately, love and truth are identical; they are like two sides of a coin. You can’t have truth without love, and you can’t have love without truth.

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Worth the Drive

29 Apr

enlighten-up1

Jamie, Karen, Suzanna and I had a very fun field trip today. We enjoyed a special viewing of the film Enlighten Up, complete with Yoga-Celebrity sightings and meeting the director in the flesh. I also had my first Thai meal ever, and enjoyed such rich company.

I can’t get over what a great piece of work this documentary is. First of all, I was delighted to be hit immediately with the director’s wicked sense of humor and very masterful editing skills. I can’t remember the last time a movie had me laughing out loud this intensely. Interwoven amongst the humor of the yoga world laughing at itself, were the very real themes of human consciousness, belief, faith, skepticism and inquiry. The big questions of Why? and How? and Who? were explored in a very honest, real way. I LOVE it when things are approached from that perspective of complete honesty, even if it’s awkward or unexpected or better yet – hilarious.

The movie chronicles Kate Churchill’s big Yoga Project, immersing Nick Rosen, a New York resident and yoga skeptic and journalist  through an intense immersion into all things yoga for six month. Nick is thrown into all types of yoga classes, met the big American Yoga-Rock Stars, and traverses to India to practice with and talk to the Indian Yoga-Rock Stars. Some of them are enlightened, and some of them are idiots. The whole time, as a westerner, I went from feeling Kate’s pain as Nick succeeded and failed, and feeling and understanding Nick’s perspective of “c’mon, really?” I definitely enjoyed hearing Nick, as the skeptic interviewing great masters with honesty and respect for something he really didn’t understand.

At the end of the film, I left feeling more connected than ever to my yoga path. I want to hit my mat and I although I’m still extremely curious and skeptical about many things, I feel an extreme release of cynicism. I was reminded by what my friend Suzanna’s philosophy of yoga, “Whether or not you believe that yoga can transform your life, it will happen. All you have to do is make room in your life for some time on the mat. I think of yoga as a moving meditation, a dance of strength and grace that unexpectedly brings the mind in tune with the heart.”

Word.

The film is definitely worth the drive to Berkeley. It will be showing at the Shattuck Cinemas, opening THIS Friday. The director will be there on Friday, and if it shows well, it will probably get picked up for another week or two. The DVD is set to be released this November, and I’m excited to give it out to my non-yoga family members for Christmas.

dogma shopping

25 Apr

Why am I constantly surprised when I find the words for things I can’t find words for? So what if I wasn’t the one to use them first..

My beliefs have radically changed over the last several years. As a result, things have become more clear and I am less attached to my beliefs. When my old paradigm dissolved, it went with a big fight. I was really convinced that the belief structure I was clinging to was absolute truth. I had a long list of reasons why. I was still open-minded, but there were certain core beliefs that were Dogma for me: doctrine set in stone. Any new information I was considering would only be accepted if it fit into that given construct of what I already viewed as True. (And why I couldn’t for the life of me fully grasp, The Power of Now the first time I read it!)

Thankfully for me, I hit a huge, massive depression. It was either drive off of the freeway and leave this earth quietly (which seemed like a refreshing thought at the time), or try anything and everything to survive and scramble some semblance of happiness together. I looked at my little boys and I knew I wanted to figure it out. For me, healing started with physical yoga and opening my mind to try ANYTHING that might help. I was in desperation and I knew it. I tried aura readings, meditation, counseling, medication. Piece by piece I was able to glean little things here and there that helped. What I discovered was that my past spiritual framework provided me with very little REAL knowledge on the subject of happiness, what it was, where it came from, and how to live in it’s abundance. I had no clue before hand, what the architecture of the Spirit, or the Mind were. I started to wake up to things that were right in front of me that I never saw before. I couldn’t get enough yoga and buddhist philosophy. I still can’t. Not because it’s superior, not because I feel that it’s truth with a capital T, but because I see so clearly that much of it is helpful, and much of it matches up with reality. I have found that by living what Thich Nhat Hanh said, “Your own life is the instrument for which we experiment with the truth”, that I’m waking up more every day as I work honestly through these teachings.

Now that I’m well versed and practiced in this yoga world of mine, and I feel very little suffering in comparison to years past – I’ve been wondering… Have I become a DOGMA SHOPPER? You know, switching one paradigm out for another, hanging on to my new beliefs and dogma so tightly that I can’t see the clarity around me? I’ve decided that I’m hugely relieved to be asking myself that question. 

A while back, when having lunch with a friend who shared my old belief system and had really helped me back during my dark depression days, she was asking about my shift and I was able to share with her how happy I am now. Her response was “I’m sorry”. She was so upset that I had left behind what she saw as true, that she couldn’t see happiness right in front of her.  It’s true, we need some structure of belief in order to function. We need a helpful viewpoint of the world in order TO function in peace and happiness. Having said that, I don’t want to end up living in a kooky world of magical thinking, replacing one set of self-soothing man-made beliefs for another, but still having no proximity to deeper awareness. I do not want to spin my wheels in quicksand.

It seems to me that the key to functioning healthfully within the given belief structure, is to just hold on softly and gently. To hold those beliefs in your hand and keep looking at them from every angle. Work them. Feel them –  but never feel that they are yours to hold on to for dear life. Only hold on to what works and what is simple and clear right out in the open. Dogma seems to be the death of personal enlightenment and to be a little selfish here, I don’t think I can go on living without those a-ha moments. Those times when we discover truths so obvious, so simple that they are hiding right out in the open, under our noses. A-HA… click, got it! 

No, I don’t want to just be a dogma shopper, simply replacing one set of beliefs for a new-improved version. I want to experience more clarity. Not because I want Truth, but because I want peace. I want happiness. 

In true yoga fashion, things are working in synchronicity. I found myself listening to Adyashanti again tonight, and of course – he is speaking much more eloquently, the exact ramblings of my mind. 

let it be

21 Apr

Not to be confused with Little Bean.

A good dharma talk can stick with me for quite a while. Today I’m resonating with something Adyashanti said in answer to a question about how to deal with anger. The woman dealing with anger said, “I keep trying to let it go, and it doesn’t seem to be working.” Adya responded quickly (and comically) with “Forget about letting it go! Letting it go is SO over-rated. Let it BE. What you allow to be readily be, then falls away.” He described the attempt to let something go as holding a piece of sticky fly paper. You’re holding on to it and it’s sticking to you and no matter how hard you’re trying to shake it off it stubbornly sticks. He said that when you allow those things that are perceived as negative to BE, the letting it be is what actually allows it to transform. He said, “letting go is the only way to go, because it’s happening anyway. Anything else is insane.”


The interesting part was when he expounded a bit. We’re all sitting there, wondering – OK… but how do we let it be? Adyashanti suggested that we find out what surrender was. When we’ve got that concept – this is surrender – then DO a little less than surrender. From that, I seemed to grasp that it’s not in the effort of surrender at all, but in the awareness of surrender. In my understanding, the minute I effort into surrender, it is no longer surrender!

Adyashanti

20 Apr

laurie-eka-pada-bakasana

I had such a great experience tonight listening to a Dharma talk with Adyashanti this afternoon. I was left wondering in all of my seeking and spiritual experiences up until now, have I experienced awareness experiencing Laurie, or Laurie experiencing awareness? Truthfully I think it’s been both – that seems to be the big difference between those a’ha moments that shift consciousness and dissolve the big ME, and the cognitive understanding of all things spiritual that never quite hits the nail on the head exactly.

My new anthem

17 Apr

By way of Lisa, by way of Suzanna. You girls rock.

More on Enlightenment

12 Apr

Take a minute to listen… this is good stuff.