Moments of conflict are followed by ones of love.
Periods of faltering empty into unprecedented stability.
Nervous doubts transform into blissful moments of just-being.
You are in the flow
and then you’re not.
Things alternate between the 1 and the 2; endlessly, it moves like a pendulum that never stops at either side. The art of Being might just be to discontinue resisting the movement of the pendulum, to go in and out and up and down with it as it swings.
You are an image of the breath of the universe, in and out as the waves come and go. Your breath imitates the swaying of it all– if you sit still and just breathe, your body might remember and you might actually perceive the natural swaying movement of your physical body. Only if you let go of the resistance, the command to “sit still”, you can feel the flow and be it.
When I was little, I used to tell my mother I want to become a cleaning lady and live with her when I grow up. Everyone used to laugh at me for it, and I bel Now I see the wisdom in that little girl that, despite her artistic tendencies, would prefer to live a simple life of simple work.
I lost that wise little girl along the way. I grew up being told I had to use my talents, learn to play the guitar, keep on drawing and painting, educate myself more and more musically and artistically and that it would make sense for me to work a creative job related to my so-called talents.
It took a long time for me to tell the world I didn’t actually enjoy all of these activities. That I actually never had been truly passionate about playing the guitar turned out to be a painful surprise to both myself and my parents once I finally gave in to the resistance I had been trying to fight for 10 years. It was a huge relief to me and an extraordinarily freeing experience retiring my guitar and accepting the fact that I might be passionate about many aspects of music, but not about playing that instrument.
I continued on with drawing, some photography, a bit of writing and singing. I decided to go and study graphic design, because it was the only academic degree I could imagine myself getting. Getting a degree was expected of me.
A month ago, I started my 40 day period of seva (selfless service that unites Karma yoga and Bhakti yoga) at a Kundalini yoga ashram in Portugal.
My tasks here entail primarily housework: Cleaning, cooking, ironing, taking care of laundry, making beds for guests and feeding the dogs and chickens.
It is the first “job” in which I do not count the hours.
The level of consciousness in this space is rather high, there is a lot of room for spiritual practice and people to exchange experiences with.
The simple work constitutes a healthy balance to my process along the way of practicing, joining teachings and reading books like “Be Here Now” by Ram Dass. It gives me time to digest and be introspective.
It gives me the opportunity to contribute to maintaining the ashram for visitors as well as for the community. Every little folding of a towel is filled up with devotion in the awareness that I am doing it for the purpose of holding the space for everyone involved. This is bigger than me.
Also, I am not working here for money. I am “working” for experience.
Nobody doubts my creativity or intellect while I am tamping the compost.
I don’t have to prove any of it.
I am free to choose the degree of simplicity in my life
I am free to spend my lifetime doing
as much of something or nothing
as suits me
I am free to choose peace instead of accomplishment
I am free
There she is again, that wise little girl.
During a Gong meditation I attended lately, following revelation came to me:
I envisioned a tree. I witnessed the growth of that tree, from the first shoots till the farthest branches. As I watched the tree branching out, the leaves coming into shape, I realized, that the form the tree would take on had been determined all along.
I realized that I was that tree.
I understood that there is a mould for who I am meant to be, that my final form is already definite and I am in the process of simply being cast into shape.
Everything that happens is like a story being read out loud. The reader might not know what’s going to happen a few pages ahead from here, nevertheless it has already been written. So as you are reading, you are discovering what’s been meant to be read all along.
This analogies of determinism are not the outcome of a cognitive process, but of meditation. To my rational mind, they might not even make sense. They might not be coherent with some other theories that resonate with me…
But they do fulfill my being with a profound calm and trust that everything’s gonna be alright.
How will I protect my heart form crumbling during shaky times?
Can I keep a calm heart when it is being pushed around in confusion and ambivalence?
Know some things in you are stronger than you think.
Feel your core is stable even when your limbs are not.
Know that your heart is not a bone that can just break.
Know it is a radiant force within that no one can diminish.
Love even when you are not loved back the same way.
Love with a heart that’s wide, not sacrificing.
Open your heart to emotions without acting them out.
Meditate on your warm light that shines forever.
If the world is, in its tiniest particles, designed to add up with least possible residue, then why are we still doubting things will add up on a larger scale?
If it happens, we often call it coincidence, and what we mean is an unlikely event that happens to our surprise. The actual word “to coincide” simply talks about two or more events happening at the same time, resulting in, well, something.
If a pool of lonely atoms arranges to a carefully designed snowflake of perfect symmetry, that’s just science. Whereas, if in our lives, multiple events add up to something that seems “too good to be true”, we are suspicious. Or on the other end, if multiple soul shattering events strike us at the same time, we ask ourselves how we are so unfortunate.
What if all the events that coincide, are in fact attracting each other like the loose ends of atoms? What if the coincidences, the shaking times, are just as carefully arranged parts of a whole that comes together, that will melt into a new structure when the time has come?
And what if our life seems to be stagnating? Sometimes we are bored, feeling as though we are waiting around for something to happen. Maybe not believing anymore there’s anything in it for us. Those might be the times corresponding to the era of the universe finding its structure- imagine, like after the Big Bang. A humongous number of free floating particles, vibrating through space, meeting each other to form, deform, reform… something.
How long it took until there was a snowflake? A tree? A human being?
The chair you’re sitting on?
I don’t know.
All I know for sure is, it eventually did come together.
Of course, we are all on the lookout for happiness. We tend to try and mask out the obstacles of our happiness. But it doesn’t always work that well, right?
And the more sensitive ones of us will sink down in despair over the state of the world every once in a while. We feel all the things that are wrong and horrible around us are a reason to be sad, angry or scared.
Well, they are. I won’t tell you these feelings aren’t valid. They are even reasonable. But collapsing because of them is not worth it. Instead of letting us be pushed down so much by what is going wrong, we have to work on becoming accepting. Acceptance is the only way out of the dark spirals we sometimes find ourselves in when thinking about the terrors of our lives or this earth. I am not talking about resignation. I am advocating for healthy equanimity.
The terrors are part of life, of everything. It’s not just possible to live with them, they are mandatory in order for life to exist. This understanding sheds a whole other light on the dark side of the world. It won’t go away, and you know how there’s no light without darkness. They are both implemented in everything that is and two sides of the same coin.
Think of the things that weigh you down this way: Yes, it is bad. It is okay to feel that way about it. It makes sense. And it might not change. But instead of desperate, you can decide to feel equanimous. This does not mean you don’t care or that you do not have strong emotions about it. Quite the opposite. Sit and be with your emotions, go deeply into them without avoidance. And accept:
Not everything is good.
Not everything is beautiful.
And it’s okay.
A sense of trust towards the universe can help, but you do not need to believe the everything happens for a reason thing in order to be okay. Just realize that happiness does not mean permanent joy or exclusive positivity. You can be inherently happy and still feel sad and afraid now and again, without it breaking your heart. You can transform your bottom emotion into an optimistic equanimity. You can look at “negative” feelings with a positive attitude. An attitude that permits you to simply see:
There is no way out or end to every bad thing or thought.
But that’s okay and part of the whole experience!
Most of the time, most of us will face people that are not ourselves (okay, and even ourselves) with preconceptions. If it is a stranger: What are they wearing? How are they presenting themselves? What are their gestures, the look in their eyes, their voice and choice of words? If it is a friend, relative or lover: What situations do we know them in? What have we experienced in relation with them? We will try to fit these traits in a concept in combination with our associations and previous experiences.
While this is natural and happens subconsciously, it also limits our present and subsequent experience with the person we are facing. With someone close to us, the preconception might be: I know them so well, if I say this or do that, they will react like this or that. The issue with this is that people are evolving constantly, we are complex systems that are undergoing transformations in any moment. Having known someone for years is, therefor, no guarantee of knowing their response.
With a stranger, we might limit the possibilities of the interaction right away by choosing to only show them a specific part of ourselves.
We decide in our minds that our counterpart would only be able to handle so much of what we think or do – of who we really are, in a nutshell.
If we start meeting each other as if we would understand each other,
it might just happen that we indeed will.
I have been experimenting with that lately, and my experiences are startling. Turns out that, when I confront people with what is true to me, more often than not, I will be presented with a surprising amount of understanding. The trust I put in the other person by showing them my real self in that moment is received and comes back. I do not act as if they couldn’t handle it, and the respect I show them by leaving the choice to them if and how they want to handle it reflects back. People are more capable than you or they would know.
In addition to learning to be able to speak your true self, practicing this kind of trust and confrontation might open up unexpected new connections to you, quicker and deeper than you would have thought are possible. I have been getting quite some glimpses of it already.