Our yoga retreat ends with our intentions. Mine took no time to write and in theory is obvious and simple. “I deserve happiness” I declared. In practice, however, I knew it would not be so easy. As we sat under the beauty of a fading Chacala sunset I knew what I was ready to do. Some relationships, mainly the one with myself, had to change in order for me to truly step into alignment with my happiness. I could no longer keep telling the stories that fueled my fear. The ones that say “you’re not good enough or should be better at this by now”. I had plenty of stories that nurtured my growth but those always seem to whisper softly while the fear based stories run on a consistent 24 hour fake news cycle.
The philosophy of yoga says that our sense of separation is the cause of all of our suffering. We have forgotten who we are and where we have come from. Simply put we disconnected from the love that is our truest nature. You might also call this love “spirit or source or consciousness or God”. It goes on to say that if separation is the problem than naturally we alleviate our suffering through connection. When I stated my intention that night in Chacala I knew that I needed to first understand where I was resisting my happiness and in turn how to realign with this love that i had separated from.
I’ve come to realize that our misalignment is actually a place that can birth a lot of what we want. It’s the moment when we begin to ask the questions, the place we begin to open to new possibility and potential. My own misalignment with love caused a beautiful unfolding and has become an exciting new adventure. But the beauty cannot be seen in the dark. Something compels us to turn on the light.
Prior to the retreat I laid in bed one day much longer than normal. I had felt stuck for a while and this morning maybe was drearier than most, maybe I feeling a little sick, I can’t remember but I know all I wanted was to go back to sleep (and by sleep I mean I wanted watch Bravo tv for the rest of my days and pretend everything was fine. I wanted to bypass the pain but tucking it away). A friend texted me to ask if I was OK and I replied “I feel like I’m failing in every area of my life” .
I let myself lie there for a good portion of the morning. What eventually got me up was the voice of compassion that grew bigger than the voice of fear and it repeated itself over and over again “you got this” it said repeatedly. I often say in class that we have an innate ability to “self soothe”. Once we trust in the quiet voice that is present just beyond the loud cry of the ego we can self soothe our way to the next step. Let me be clear this by no means propelled me into joy and happiness. I did not bounce out of bed with a smile on my face but it led me to the next step. I used to think the action steps needed to move toward alignment needed to be giant leaps or that I could “namaste” everything right again by pretending it didn’t exist. But I’ve learned that the next right action is often not a huge leap. More often than not they are very tiny baby steps. I knew that morning that the only place I could go was to my meditation cushion. I got out of bed and baby stepped my way to a seat.
I feel these baby steps are the inner workings of the Universe and it’s very similar to losing my car keys: They are somewhere but I can’t find my keys because I’m focused on NOT HAVING THEM and when the focus is on not having them I can’t be a vibrational match to having them. But I can be a match to “it’s cold I think I’ll grab a sweater,” and sure enough while getting my sweater there are my keys. Because in that moment my focus wasn’t on not having them. I could no way get to happiness but I could get enough energy to move to the meditation cushion.
A few moments into my sit I opened my eyes wide as I was hit over the head with what was really going on.
The yoga sutras have a word for this sense of separation that causes our suffering; Avidya (spiritual ignorance). The belief I had that morning, paralyzed in bed by my sense of failure, is the very definition of Avidya. There is a Universal Law that makes sense of this. It says; “Fear is sure sign that we are trusting in our own strength.”
Lying in bed saying “I feel like i’m failing in every area of my life” was me perceiving my life through the self imposed rules that I had made up and at the time (in my mind) was not measuring up to. I was trusting solely in my own strength and leaving out my inner strength, the strength of the Universe. I had separated completely from the Love that is my true nature.
Fortunately, the philosophy tells us that once we realize that we are problem we also find the solution. You can’t have Avidya without Vidya (clear seeing). Something brings us back (a sunset, a sunrise, a walk with a friend, a yoga practice). Something reminds us that it’s going to be OK. Something allows us to feel more than we are in these limited physical bodies, with chaotic minds and sporadic highs and lows of emotions. That something for me was the voice that I’ve come to trust. The voice of Love.
My misalignment propelled me into a deeper appreciation for my practice, I dug out old notebooks and dusted off a workshop on alignment I had been working on but had been telling myself I wasn't ready to teach. I committed to a new intention. I was compelled to let some things go and inspired to try again for some things I wanted. I grew a tiny bit appreciative for the stuck place I found myself in and I hope that my continuous journey though the resistance shines a light to lead you to the next step forward.
With Love, Cindy