[Last of three essays on the theme of Goddess Yoga]
Our sense of who we are in the world,
how we relate to the world,
and the way we reflect on the world’s cornucopia of desirable objects,
colors the original clarity of the soul’s desires with the mixed colors of material energy.
This creates material desires.
These desires lead to lust and longing
Longing leads inevitably to frustration and the sad/angry emotions
Angry emotions lead to poor judgment
Poor judgment requires forgetting spiritual lessons, losing sight of spiritual leanings and longings
Thus concludes the atrophying of our free will and the capitulation to matter over spirit
This extinguishes our bliss…
In the Goddess Yoga world view
Innocent victims of the matrix, that is to say our mother Maya
No way to un-attach completely
In order to inhibit Maya’s manipulation
We must choose to feel without ego (identification)
Feeling is hard
It’s the seemingly scary side of paradox and mystery
One goal is to stop running away from emotions. Another goal is to stop being run by emotions.
The more interesting option is to use your ability to feel emotions
Women (generally) are in a better position to feel (than men)
But women (generally) identify more strongly with their bodies
To dis-identify with the body is NOT to stop feeling
Instead feel more as an observer rather than victim
Observation takes practice
Start with looking for (i.e. aggressively self searching) emotional attachments/expectations (aka threats
to your identity or sense of self)
From these make note of the emotions that arise (the fruits are varied but the tree is anger)
Go through this laundry list of emotion in sadhana – using just the word to trigger the emotional experience and practice choosing to feel it in your body.
Practice WITHOUT images or narrative – just physical sensation
Becoming fearless in your ability to be a true and full observer of human experiences
Know that you are simply a tourist in a time joy forgot
these material emotions are just postcards for your one true love
the origin and realm of souls
Soon it will be time to go home
Before then, help as many as you can and remember to practice engaged detachment
[Second of three essays on the theme of Goddess Yoga]
Of the many obstacles in the journey of self-realization one of the most challenging is confusing the body you are riding around in as you. This challenge is often magnified for those travelling in a female body. This is partly due to the cultural pressures and biological influence that accompany identifying with the female body. These influences begin at an early age in at least three ways: 1) undue emphasis on bodily image; 2) fixation on the missing body of the future mate; 3) identification with the body that will (or could) come out of your own body.
So how do you do you? Without being you? [the body]
The solution is to come to feel the body around you as an instrument for divine intentions. Feeling like the temporary proprietor of an instrument for divine use empowers you at the soul level and brings with it a host of potential revelations. The more times throughout the day you can experience the phenomenon of sitting in a divinely inspired carrier, the more you will weaken the dark bonds of false ego that confuse you with your body.
This is the practice I talk about in the Boot Camp for the Soul, call engaged detachment. Also known as being in the world but not of the world.
In the Bhagavad Gita we find the Sanskrit instruction (ch. 5, text 11)
kayena manasa buddhya
kevalair indriyair api
yoginah karma kurvanti
sangam tyaktva atma-suddhaye
Here Krishna is instructing Arjuna:
With the body, the mind, the intelligence,
Free of materialistic intention, including even the senses
The yogis perform any and all actions
While giving up their association/identification [with the body/mind] to clarify and free the soul
Take time today to notice what it feels like to see, to taste, to smell, to touch and to hear. Deepening with each moment of ‘other-than-body-awareness’ the felt sense of being separate from your body and senses.
This is a wonderful step in unwinding the influence of the senses that in the past have imprisoned you but in the future will set you free.
The modern yogi understands that change begins with ambition… But material ambition is a slow lurching fall into the barbed-wire-heart-tearing-clutches of the false ego. Only spiritual ambition differentiates the hero from the prisoner.
The trick to setting powerful spiritual goals is three-fold: size, secrecy, and spirit-based.
Here’s how it works:
Size – this means the goal should be big enough and compelling enough that the thought of it makes you shudder (with giddy-delight.) You should wake up in the morning thinking of your spiritual goal and feel excited about making progress towards it. In other words craft a goal that is VERY enticing.
Secrecy – your spiritual goal should be your secret from the world. Things kept secret grow more powerful. Keeping it secret also makes it easier to come up with a ridiculously huge goal (after all it has to charge you up every time you wake up).
Spirit-based – this means the goal has no basis in material advancement or sense gratification. So, for example, getting more money is a material goal, helping others make money is a material goal, helping others feel better about themselves and become less selfish is a spiritual goal. One way to gauge if a goal is spiritual is by asking, “could I carry out this goal even if destiny took away everything I had, leaving me destitute?” Spiritual goals are about things like, realizing God, inspiring others, creating compassion, harvesting harmony…. Be creative. If you have questions about whether a goal is materialist feel free to write me. (Just express the nature of the goal without giving away its grandeur.)
So is there a place for material goals? I would not make anything materialistic a goal. Rather I would think of material needs as earthly duties. Food, shelter, healthcare, retirement… these are our responsibilities. The modern yogi cannot evade his or her responsibilities. Nonetheless these duties should be organized under the principle of, “what is the least I can do for myself so that I can do the most for others”. This stops us from thinking about material goals and more along the lines of fulfilling our duties.
In 2010 let your ambition soar above and beyond the realm of angels. Walk around with a smile in your heart where you are guarding the spiritual secret of your ambition. Others will look at you and know something is different, and exciting about you, but not be able to put their finger on it.
Happy New Year!