Emotional Balance

Emotional balance has been unfolding in my life for 50 years.  One of the biggest hurdles has been letting go of the belief that my emotions define me; that I am what I am currently feeling.  I now define emotion as: e-motion = energy in motion.  When I am experiencing a specific emotion, I realize that it is energy moving through my entire being.  It is energy that has been given a name such as happiness, sorrow, anger, etc.  Remembering this helps me release judgement about the nature of that energy.  Energy is energy; it is neither good nor bad; it just is.

As practices for the body and mind (yoga, meditation, healthy eating, exercise, fresh air, loving friends, etc.) have become consistent in my life, my emotions have become more consistent as well.  For the most part, my emotions fit what I am experiencing in the moment.  When each of my parents died, I was deeply sad and grieved.  I was also profoundly grateful that I was with them in their transitions. I was proud to be their daughter. I was also grateful for everything they had given me over the years.  So many emotions flowed during those times and I felt them all. Intense and fulfilling all at once.

In releasing judgement, I view these experiences in terms of intensity.  Seldom is overwhelming happiness described as bad, yet it is every bit as intense as sorrow and can be just as exhausting.  My granddaughter’s birth was so intensely joyful that there were times I didn’t sleep very well.  There were times when I quietly cried for happy.  Intense.

On the other end of the spectrum, I choose not to take in news about things like child abuse because the depth of anger I feel on behalf of these innocents is almost frightening to me.  But is anger always “bad?”  Not in my opinion, because there are many people who have been inspired to acts of bravery because of the anger that arises within them.  Anger and frustration with things I had allowed or created in my life have given me the courage to make very difficult changes.  Intense.

Intensity is seldom comfortable, which is why these energies are judged as bad or unhealthy.  The key, is – guess what? – balance!  It makes more sense to realize that imbalance in the emotional body creates confusion and can be destructive than to set the goal of never feeling these things.  When I feel angry, can I allow myself to be in it in a way that leads me to action, forgiveness or compassion?  If so, I will quickly return to peace and tranquility.  My actions will be appropriate to the situation and to my desire and intention to live lovingly and compassionately.  It is when I avoid and stuff or hide my feelings that my behavior becomes inappropriate and possibly destructive.

Balance is the key. Here are a few reasonable goals:  Feel without being thrown against the wall by the intensity of emotions. Be willing to sit with the discomfort in order to remember that energy in motion does not define me; it is something you are experiencing in the moment.  It will diminish, shift, transform because that is the nature of energy.  Embrace the experience for what it is:  a human experience that does not change or define your True Self, a spiritual being. Be patient and remember that it takes time and maturity to come into this awareness in every aspect of your being: physical, mental, emotional.  You don’t have to change everything at once.  You don’t have to fight yourself and judge yourself.  You do not have to be perfect.  You can be in this moment, experience it, and be all that you are.  You can unfold into True Self as naturally as a healthy tree matures and produces perfect fruit.

One of my favorite responses to myself when I explode into emotional intensity and catch myself in the midst of it is:    Well, Catherine Ann, welcome to the human race!

 

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Wholeness & Oneness

The practice of yoga has brought me to understand that body, mind and emotions are not separate things. They are all one manifestation of the soul or the life essence that is currently in human form. Ancient religions and philosophies, including yoga, teach us to overcome the flesh, to control the mind and to subdue the emotions. None of that ever worked for me. It created so much conflict within myself that it resulted in depression and a sense of hopelessness because I was never going to be good enough, never going to get it right.

Now, through the love, compassion and guidance of my teachers and mentors over the years, I have begun to understand the truth of non-separation, non-duality, oneness and wholeness. Last night I watched a show I had taped on the OWN network. Jane Fonda spoke of her life journey to wholeness. Several times she said, “We are not here to become perfect. We are here to become whole.”

Every particle of my being resonates with that truth. The journey is one of wholeness, remembering that I am one with the Source of all life. One of the word studies I did as a bible teacher was focused on this word “perfect.”  Jesus is quoted as having said, “Be ye perfect as my Father in heaven is perfect.” Those who came after him convinced me I was far from perfect and probably would never meet that standard. Everywhere I looked was paradox. Then I discovered a beautiful truth in the original language of the bible. The word perfect had an entirely different meaning than I had ever heard or understood. It means to come into maturity, to fulfill one’s purpose.

Stop and think about that. A fruit tree cannot bear fruit until it matures. Once it matures, it fulfills its purpose, which is to produce a specific fruit. An apple tree is perfect when it produces apples. When a human being matures, that being’s purpose is fulfilled as he or she remembers true self and lives in the oneness that has always been.

There is no separation between body, mind and emotions. We do, however, experience these parts of ourselves on different levels of awareness and resonance. Each has a different vibration on the energy level due to density. Obviously the body is the most dense substance and it has the lowest pattern of vibration. We experience human life through our physical body. Mind and emotions respond to the physical experience of the moment just as the body responds to the mental and emotional experiences we have.

Practicing hatha yoga (postures, breath, mindfulness) balances and calms the body, mind and emotions. The immediate purpose of our mat practice is to prepare us to turn within during our meditation practice. Meditation then deepens our balance and wholeness on all levels. It brings us into Oneness with All That Is. We remember who we are and why we are having this human experience.

For me, the discovery of oneness released me from the judgement and hopelessness that my belief in separation had created. Walter Littlemoon reminded me years ago that our names for God, in any language, are only to meet the need of our minds and our desire to share experience. In truth, the experience of Great Spirit, the Creator, God, Christ, Buddha, etc. is beyond language, thought, definition. It is our oneness with All That Is and how can words ever define or communicate that?

It is found and experienced in the silence within. The journey is into that sweet space where everything is quiet and as it is meant to be. Peace. Oneness. Wholeness. This is the essence of life, the essence of True Self or Soul. This is who I am, who you are, who we are as one.

In the oneness of All That Is, I am whole. In the wholeness of All That Is I am one.

A Face That Smiles

I have been practicing yoga for 26 years. My first experience as a student was during a most challenging and sad time in my life. Staying with my class in spite of intense emotions and exhaustion allowed me to go through that time without becoming ill.

One day, while cleaning house, I caught my reflection in a mirror and was shocked to see the look on my face. When had I lost my smile? Did I ever have a face that smiled naturally? I could not remember in that moment. I sat down and wept. My heart opened to a new, healing desire and a new mantra was born: May I have a face that smiles.

Here I am all these years later finding myself smiling as I walk, cook, watch television, read, put out the trash. The smile is natural, needing no stimulant. I wonder at times if I look a little goofy smiling for no reason at all. I have heard people comment that they never trust anyone who smiles all the time. Now, that’s goofy!

Oh, there are times when the soul smile fades a bit. Just before I started this entry I was looking for an item to purchase online. My head began to feel heavy and my face lost its smile. I was getting tired and disappointed. Then I finally found a web site that carried what I want! I found the item and it is the only one on that page that is sold out! Then I just laughed out loud at how silly it was to lose my smile over an inanimate object.

Even when grieving, I feel in True Self a sweet, compassionate smile. My soul is patiently waiting for me to open to the comfort that is mine. When I relax into mySelf, I am flooded with warmth and peace. I rest in the arms of Love and slowly my face begins to smile.