Extreme Can Be Good

Some extremes are necessary. For example, being a conscientious objector is extreme and yet it is an expression of profound dedication to the principle “Do No Harm.”

I played it safe most of my life because I did not want to hurt the people that I loved so I did what I was told even if it denied my personality and what I believed. I did not have the courage to go to the extreme and live my Truth. I chose a novel at random the other day at the library. Never heard of the book or the author and it s blowing my mind! What I read this morning is causing me to rethink the meaning of “extreme.”

The book is The Gadfly by Jennifer Miller. I would like to quote a character, Mr. Kaplan, science teacher in a private school in the year 2012:

“Difference is the essence of extremity. To be extreme, you must assert yourself. No matter how much pressure you feel to obey.  Because, I assure you, the pressure is everywhere.” p. 42

In making this statement to his high school students, Mr. Kaplan is reminding them of micro-organisms that cannot thrive except in the extreme pressure of the deepest ocean depths.

I am now filled with deeper gratitude for the experiences of my life that forced me inward to the Truth of Who I Am…because I have and am thriving because of the pressure.

Love and Peace all ways.

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In Silence

In Silence I meet and I am immersed in the peace  of my soul.

In the peace of my soul I abide.

I live from my abiding place.

Aum Shanti Aum           Eternal Peace

 

Today Is A Gift

Today is a gift. Please unwrap it gently and open your mind and heart to its many aspects and layers. May you experience this gift with grace, peace,  understanding, and joy. May you be a blessing to each person you encounter for you are sharing that moment with a brother or a sister.  May you  openly and lovingly receive the blessing each person brings to you.  And me these mutual blessings radiate out to our world.

Namaste.

What Ahimsa (Do No Harm) Doesn’t Mean

As many of you know, Ahimsa or Do No Violence/Harm is a fundamental principle of yoga and meditation. This morning I am feeling a different aspect of this divine legacy.

In order to live my Truth so that I am not harming myself, I will at times make decisions that upset other people. It isn’t my desire to do that and yet it can happen. I may be told that I have hurt another and that person may truly feel hurt or angry with me. My response must come from love and compassion rather than defensive righteousness and yet I must remain true to my path, my guidance. I must also allow the other person their feelings.

There are times when my tender understanding can ease another’s suffering though I may not be able to alleviate the source of it. When the reaction of another is frustration and anger because I am behaving in a way that they cannot relate to or that they cannot control, it is not helpful for me to plead my case or try to make that person feel better. I must honor their journey and allow them to experience their own discomfort. Most often this is what stimulates us to expand our understanding and to grow.

Compassion does not require me to take responsibility for another person’s journey. It does require me to be faithful to mine with an awareness of the sensitivity or suffering of another so that I do so with wisdom and understanding. Divine Love will allow me to be frustrated and to suffer when I am beating my head against a wall of my own making. It is my responsibility to become willing to see that wall and then be willing to tear it down. I must allow others to do the same.

The only spiritual journey I am able to walk is my own. Wisdom and understanding call me to follow the teachings and guidance of the Masters so that my journey shows compassion for myself and others. If I try too hard to help another person feel better, I may be interfering with Divine Grace in their life.

Live with awareness and love today, dear hearts.

My Heart is Heavy

Yesterday brought sorrow to my heart and mind. I wept as I watched the reports from France. During 9/11 I realized the importance of only taking in enough of the images and sounds to know what had happened so that I could be a loving and compassionate presence in the midst of such terror and fear. For any of us to bombard ourselves with the videos and witness descriptions is self-destructive. In yoga we are called to ahimsa, to do no violence. This applies to ourselves as well as others. The terrorists brought injury and death to a specific number of people. That violence extends outward to families, witnesses, and to all who let themselves feel the sorrow and fear. We hurt for each other. BUT, if I subject myself over and over again to all of that, I am now doing violence to myself. My brain doesn’t know anything about past, present, and future. It only knows right now. Every time I watch or listen to this, my brain thinks it is happening all over again and my body releases the chemicals and experiences the emotion over and over again.

So, who is doing the violence now?

Dear hearts, those directly traumatized need the rest of us to stay calm and turn within to the Source of Love, Compassion and Healing. They need us to radiate the Divine Love and Light that we are. They need us to send them Love and Compassion so that they can heal and be restored to health emotionally, mentally, and physically. Visualize the Love and Radiance that you Are radiating out and blanketing our world – and France in particular right now. Love yourself in the process by being in your moment, in your life as fully as you can. Be at peace, dear hearts, be at peace.

Now is the true challenge. Send love and compassion to those who are taught and who embrace the beliefs of separation, anger, fear, and hatred. Can you even imagine what their internal dialogues and feelings must be like? I hope not. If I even begin to go there, I shudder and pull away. They have no concept of what I know to be true:  when I harm another, I harm myself. They do not understand what they are doing to their own Souls. How does a mother give over her son to these beliefs, to these actions? How does she raise her daughter to do as she has done. How does a father close his heart to the consequences of what he leads his family into? How does he tell the mother of his children this is a worthy thing? I don’t know and I am grateful that I cannot understand.

What I do know is that I cannot go where they go so I must be All That I Am. I must send Love and Compassion to All even as I weep in the process. I must go deep within to the very heart of my being, to the very Essence of my Soul and I must live from there, from my Truth:

We Are One. Aum shanti shanti shanti. Aum peace peace peace.

What Is The Real Issue?

Self-destructive behavior in someone I love. Being a target of that behavior. Controlling, even mean behavior from someone. Being a target of that behavior.

Can I change that person?

Can I help that person?

What is the real issue that is compromising my peace, my happiness, my joy?

The real issue is what I think and how I feel about that behavior. This is where my focus needs to be if I am to restore my peace, my happiness, my joy. I am responsible for my thoughts and my feelings and my behaviors; this is where my practice of enlightened living unfolds and evolves. Not out there. Right here.

And so it is.

Namaste.

Authentic Expression

Many years ago, I was a committed member of a bible study group that offered a great deal of loving support. I was a young military wife and the mother of two toddlers, living in a very remote part of the world. These people were my heart’s community. One of the women came to a decision to always speak the truth which sounds noble and wise. She lacked the wisdom and compassion of life experience that brings balance to this choice and her “truth” became a battering ram. It was painful to witness and, even more painful when on the receiving end. When questioned or challenged, her answer was always the same: I’m only telling the truth.

I sit here forty years later and, as I remember those experiences with her, my heart rate increases slightly and I also remember the anxiety and discomfort her truth created. Intense.

I now know that an authentic expression of truth results from balance throughout our energy system, the chakra centers below and above our vehicle of expression which is the fourth or throat chakra. The centers below ground me, align me with others and with my own sense of self. They allow me to have an open heart that leads from compassion for myself and others. Authentic expression also results from openness in the higher chakras so that I listen and hear another before speaking and that I am aware of the oneness, the nonduality, of All That Is. The balance of all of this, being able to hear the truth of others even as I seek to speak my own, remains central to my spiritual walk in this lifetime.

I am learning that awareness is not passive even though it is discovered and nurtured in the quiet stillness of silence. Awareness empowers healing, wholeness, oneness, and freedom. Higher awareness is the vital and necessary part of authentic expression.

Authentic Expression results from experience, maturity, courage, insight, compassion, and diplomacy. It is the tender, loving manifestation of my highest truth, which is the awareness of the oneness of All That Is. It is the spiritual practice that I must nurture and maintain with love and tenderness within myself. It is the ultimate “labor” of Love.