27 June 2008

Halfway Up The Mountain

Saturday 20th July 2008

Over recent months I've been silenced...
As my ego shrivels up so does my tongue.

It's difficult to talk about one's spiritual/yoga practice when the actual practice becomes an authentic penetration into the ego's stronghold.
Talking about oneself is ludicrous when trying to get rid of the very self that is doing the talking!

All true practice must go there eventually but it can be very unpleasant territory to be working in.

But oh so elegantly humbling.

Yoga Practice
My physical yoga practice continues, but with very little direction attached to it. I'm happy for it to go nowhere. There are no poses I want to improve or master, no goals to reach any more. All those years of hard-core yoga practice worked to open up my body and energy channels and I was really getting somewhere, transforming from a non-conscious blimp into an awakened one. But you know what...during all that time of spiritual practice I was under the unconscious spell of the ego, that part of me that wanted to become a better person, some vague idea of being an enlightened human being.

We think the desire to improve is a healthy one, but if you really investigate this desire and the REAL feelings behind it you realise that it actually PREVENTS us from entering into deep spiritual communion. That will only come when we fully accept, embrace and receive/surrender to what is occurring on the full spectrum of subtle levels (from gross to sublime) Here and Now.

So I get to the mat about 4 times a week now, and spend that time rediscovering yoga all over again. My attention to detail is finer, more subtle, more acute, more in the moment, more aware and alive. It's bliss to fall down that rabbit hole. My energy level and mood determine my practice. Sometimes it's an Ashtanga Primary practice, sometimes a long, intense session taken from one of the courses at the back of Iyengar's Light on Yoga book. It's all yoga. It's all good. The inversions transport me deep into mystical realms so I'm enjoying longer and longer stays in them (Shoulderstand and Headstand), first refining the alignment of the outer pose then purifing the flow of inner subtle energies. I've been exploring all the variations of these poses (courtesy of Light on Yoga) to push out the time I can spend in them before I get tired or my head starts to spin or my eyes start to glaze.

More important to my practice than an hour or two of daily yoga is the moment to moment context in which I am living and breathing now. A new paradigm. It's like having eyes that look out at the same landscape as everyone else but the ability to see the pulsing web-like energy that connects it all, a penetration through the hard surface to the other fleshy organic internal workings of life.

Do I really need to spend two hours a day on a blue mat when every person I come in contact with is unwittingly showing me the precise areas where I need to purify my thoughts?

I catch myself many times a day, sometimes in time, sometimes too late, it might be something I say, something I think, something I feel that I cringe at, it's that immediate response to another person's words or actions that gives me vital data on where I need to work on myself.
I'm constantly watching.
Seriously, I'm embarrassed at what I'm learning about myself....it's humbling to realise how blind I've been to my own impurities. And yet it's beautiful.
At last there are cracks appearing in my ego. The light is beginning to shine through.

Given the choice most of us would like to have our cake and eat it too, along with the icing and all the goodies on top...we're happy to do all of these spiritual practices as long as we can keep all the goodies they provide. Yoga, meditation, purification...they improve our health, cleanse our energy systems, raise the quality of our awareness to higher realms, and make us feel good about ourselves as we watch the progress and enjoy the fruits of our labour, but who REALLY wants to lose their identity. Because if we do, then 'I' won't be able to enjoy the rewards of my spiritual practice? 'I' won't be there anymore! What a paradox...that is the goal. Trouble is, 'I' doesn't want to destroy itself so it's not difficult to see why we end up in this merry-go-round of spiritual practices that the ego is enjoying. In reality all that yoga/meditation/contemplation/prayer we call 'spiritual practice' is not destroying the ego or helping us to recognise the ego, it's actually FEEDING the ego.

Realising this Truth is harsh, but it's the start of the real work involved in waking up.

Where to from here?
Oh boy...a teacher is needed here...someone who has been all the way there and back again, someone who has done the long hard work of persistently humiliating the ego to its death and who is now residing permanently in the illuminated space that is left - egoless.
But am I really truly prepared to renounce my identity, surrender to the highest ideal and fully commit to the path that leads there?
What a bizarre question...do 'I' want to destroy my Self?

If this weird conundrum resonates with you, get your hands on a book called 'Halfway Up the Mountain' by Mariana Caplan.

Only when the student is ready to give up everything that matters, will the awakened teacher step forward to assist.


(0v0) said...


Thank you.

I'm going to meditate on this a bit.

Yogamum said...

Beautiful. It must be wonderful and a bit scary to be where you are at this point.

greenfrog said...

Thank you for this.

I think I understand some of the silence you describe.

I'm still me enough to hope that once you pass through the need for silence, you'll find a voice again.

If not for your-self, then for the rest of us.

alfia said...

I missed you!

I kind of gave up on the idea of enlightenment in this lifetime. May be the next one will offer a path.

I hope you will find your Teacher.

nobodhi said...

I'm surprised (and touched) that anyone is still reading my blog.

Hi Greenfrog, truly I enjoy reading the thoughts you post on your blog...so often they echo my own.
Being silenced is both beautiful and disturbing ... the transcendent part of me has finally taken control of my small self and severely reprimands me whenever I slip up and begin to think or speak from my old conditioning. Expressing anything other than the highest Truth is painful to listen to, either in my thoughts or as it comes out of my mouth.
The small self is finally being silenced (even now these written words sound like blah, blah, blah...)

Hi Alfia, don't underestimate yourself, you're well and truly on the path, we all are, and enlightenment is SO much closer than any of us realise. We're just too scared to give up our attachments, that's all.
Reminds me of a lovely line from Rumi "Why are you still in prison when the door is wide open"