18 March 2017

Healing, Light and Yoga


Healing

The healing process is perfectly built in to our bodies and minds.

When we have been injured, heartbroken, ill, or brought to our knees in desperation, all we can do is support the process, observe it happening with a gentle reverence, and be patient.

I was a completely broken person in 2010 after Mark’s death. Over the following years, I went through my own death process – body and mind had been shattered.

It’s wondrous to look back and see the process of healing at work.

So here I am, just over 6 years later – this body has been gradually ageing and morphing while healing; this mind that was once shattered and confused, plagued by nervous breakdowns, post traumatic stress and anxiety, has matured and healed, and led me on to new horizons that I may never have seen if events had unfolded differently.

So often we must be broken down and forced to let go of everything we know, before we are open enough to receive the Truth.

Non-duality

I recognise now that the spiritual search of the seeker is what keeps him/her from finding what they seek. It’s a cosmic joke, but a frustrating human conundrum.
And would we get to the point of ultimate realisation if we didn’t embark on an ardent search? Each journey, each lifetime, each destiny is different.

Jesus said ‘Seek and ye shall find’.
TS Eliot eloquently spoke of the exploration that takes us full circle - we return to where we started, and ‘know’ the place for the first time.
Suddenly there it is. It was always there, inside of us.
We are that which we have been seeking.
We are not individuals with separate minds. Only one consciousness/awareness exists and it animates every human being.

As I look back on all those years of spiritual enquiry and practices, meditation, yoga, searching for ultimate peace and ‘enlightenment’, a soft, gentle smile arises, like that of a mother who has watched her wayward child grow up. It is all being seen through the eyes of that infinite awareness/consciousness/source/God…and now life has no beginning or end.
Relief.
Alignment with Truth.

Life goes on

Yet paradoxically, life does go on in this phenomenal world. There is a body to attend to, grown children and dogs and a house to care for, responsibilities and work. The individual ego is still present and functioning – it still has to be in the world. Many preferences have been abandoned, some have remained, but there is no attachment to any of them.
Relationships have changed. Love is present but with no attachment, no desire.
Occasional moments of frustration arise, but they dissipate immediately and dissolve back into love. 


And yoga goes on 

Yoga practice is a now time to nourish the body and mind, to fine tune the instrument. After years of struggling with mental and physical ailments after Mark’s death, and years of struggling with an on again/off again yoga practice, the practice is now a loving prayer to the beauty and wonder of life. It is a joy to stretch out in Utthita Parsvakonasana, find pin point perfect balance in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, breathe deeply in Utkatasana, curl up in Karna Pidasana, blossom open the heart in Urdhva Dhanurasana, float legs up to Sirsasana.

So many of these poses my body couldn’t do during the years of healing. 
They are returning.

Stop seeking, stop trying to get to a better place, or get anywhere.  
Simply let go and surrender, then open up - it shall flood in…


7 February 2017

Quietness

Inside this new love, die
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Escape. Walk out
like someone suddenly borm into colour
Do it now.
You're covered with thick cloud.
Slide out the side.  Die,
and be quiet.  Quietness is the surest sign that you've died.
your old life was a frantic running
From silence.
The speechless full moon comes out now.

- Rumi

23 March 2016

Portugal retreat

I've booked my airline tickets, applied for a passport and paid a deposit for the retreat.  I'll be flying to Portugal in early May for 14 days of silent meditation and some very challenging, deep inner investigation.
Forty years of studying and practicing in a number of traditions such as Zen, Tibetan Buddhism, Theravadan and Vipassana meditation, Yoga, Sufism, and a handful of other eastern teachings has led me here - to Anadi

In the meantime, yoga practice continues.  I've been dipping into some local Iyengar classes and doing a little practice on my own.  My body is still able to hold a strong handstand, though backbends need some dedicated and regular work.  
Loving headstand and shoulderstand. 
Pranayama is releasing deeply held tensions.
Still in love with the Ashtanga Vinyasa practice.

After the Portugal trip in May, I'll be heading overseas again in September for a 4 week trip around Europe with my 2 children and my granddaughter.  We're starting in Bosnia and Slovenia, then visiting Italy and France, and ending up in Barcelona.

2016 is the year of travelling, but it's the inner journey that excites me.

5 January 2016

Light of Consciousness


Sitting in meditation is a waste of time after half a coffee. Instead I do some domestics, take the dog for a walk, then settle into a solid mid morning yoga practice which lasts 1 ½ hours.

Yoga practice focussed on Backbends (again)
Meditation practice focussed on Consciousness.  I managed 4 hours of meditation today, some guided by Anadi’s audio recordings and some self guided practice.

The entry point into authentic inner work according to Anadi is to locate and abide in one’s own conscious self, strengthening its presence.
Not an easy nut to crack when you’ve been indoctrinated into Buddhist mindfulness practices like observing the breath, thoughts and sensations.
The practice of mindfulness and observing/witnessing separates the observer who watches from a distance and the subject that is being observed (breath, thoughts, sensations, presence, whatever).  By its very nature, observing implies a split of subject and object.

Anadi wants us to turn the focus around onto the subject.
So the question to ask is: WHO or WHAT is observing?
WHO or WHAT is aware and checking when we have drifted off the subject or task?

Our consciousness is such an integral part of who we are, yet there are no spiritual traditions or practices that teach how to meet it, become familiar and intimate with it.
Meeting one’s own consciousness takes us down the rabbit hole towards the Absolute and abiding in one’s own pure consciousness naturally transcends all constructed notions of the observer and observed.

I am once again a beginner wrestling with the mind, and although this is the last day of my personal meditation retreat at home, it feels like the starting point of an amazing inner journey with Anadi. 

1 January 2016

Backbend lessons

In today’s yoga practice, I visited the scary places - places which challenge my psychological blocks.

Backbends have been challenging my physical body for a couple of years now. They no longer come easily - and a subtle dread accompanies even the thought of them. 
Dread is a deeply scary emotion, it's an imaginary monster.
I dread the possibility of spinal injury; I dread the possible discomfort of bones scraping, ligaments and tendons stretching within the joints; I dread the emotional pain of having lost the ease of backbending.
And yet, I know I can approach all backbends with caution, modification and intelligence.  
So I do.
Afterwards the dread turns to relief and I'm rewarded with a deep satisfaction of meeting the scary thing head on.

After sun salutes and all the standing poses, I went straight to the backbends:  Salabhasana, Dhanurasana, Ustrasana, then another Ustrasana, this time with a deeper thoracic lift while reaching up and back to put hands against the wall for a minute.  Some variations of Urdhva Dhanurasana followed: first with feet on two blocks, then with hands on two blocks, then with a strap around my bent elbows to straighten and support them, all of these modifications to ease my body into the backbend.  Funny, the full unmodified pose was easier than the modified versions so I did it twice.
My greatest backbend impediment these days is in the mid shoulder area, not in the lumbar.  There's surely a psychosomatic cause behind the shoulder tension.  It needs to be investigated and gently transformed.

After backbends, I did the full finishing sequence as if it was a delicious chocolate dessert.

This is Day 3 of silence and solitude, yoga and meditation.
Outside the heatwaves continue to scorch the city of Adelaide.
Inside, all is calm, cool and quiet.

Yesterday’s yoga practice (Thursday) was gentle and supportive, with some quiet forward bends and twists to counter the long hours of sitting.
Friday’s practice consisted of the full Ashtanga Vinyasa sequence without the backbends.

The new year has begun with an unexpected discovery: Anadi.
I sense that a renewed meditation practice and deep internal work will change ‘me’.
I sense it will be the year when I yield to the pull of the calling and consciously choose the difficult path of inner transformation above all else in my life.



31 December 2015

Longing for Light

When the inner call is recognized, it naturally gives rise to spiritual longing. To evolve to the point where we can identify our longing for the self is itself a sign of awakening, because it indicates that we have matured enough to rebel against our fundamental unconsciousness. A profound thirst for spiritual fulfillment has been activated — a thirst not of the earth-plane, but of the beyond.

This dimension has been designed to veil the true reality and seduce the soul into a state of forgetfulness. All our thoughts, concerns, disturbed emotions and infinite desires are actually the tentacles of lower intelligence holding us captive in the plane of ignorance. We begin our spiritual journey in this darkness and gradually move towards light. Even though our inner longing initially lacks clarity, it sets in motion our future split from the realm of forgetfulness.

The light of the self has a magnetic force that naturally pulls all souls to its source; however, it is our yearning and our yielding to that light that make the miracle of illumination possible. In its nascent stages, our inner yearning is vague and fragile, and can easily be disturbed, if not obliterated, by the forces of ignorance. Only with practice, guidance and the passage of time, can this spark of spiritual intuition be transformed into the light of clarity, true understanding and unbroken certainty.

From 'Book of Enlightenment' by Anadi

25 December 2015

The necessity of practice

'Without committed practice, even real experiences of awakening cannot bring us to a stable place within the inner realm.  Only by seeing this clearly does our attitude towards practice become more humble and open.'

'Practice manifests out of a deep command within the soul to use all means available to accelerate our spiritual enlightenment - it is an expression of our innermost collaboration with the divine will.  If we fail to actively participate in our own evolution, how can we expect the divine to assist us?  Waiting indolently for grace to do the inner work for us is an arrogant approach.  It is no different than expecting water to spring form the ground without first digging a well.  One needs to be ready to receive grace, and through conscious cooperation with one's evolution, to increasingly mature into that readiness."

From 'Book of Enlightenment' by Anadi