Recently I put a post on facebook saying that I was recovering from a bad flu and asked for the care and attention of my friends. The moment I read the first reactions I wanted to erase the post. It was so awkward to express publicly that fragile state. In my understanding these states are lived and overcome behind closed doors, not publicly displayed. My understanding is such bullshit.
Recently I took part at an intense psycho-spiritual retreat by my master Prem Baba. The psychology domain acknowledges that all the states we deem to be aware of or not, the patterns that we act upon are rooted in our childhood. That doesn’t necessarily require a hard-core traumatic experience in that period. The same is valid for people who have been raised by loving parents with a lot of care. A child requests unconditional love at any moment in her way. This desire is so strong and limitless there is no parent who can really provide that 100%. Any moment this love is not provided (which are actually many) is recorded as a trauma. So the child meets emotions like anger and hate while she is teeny-tiny. Once she gets on her feet strategizing about how to get that love starts. Being scolded at by parents and moments of not being loved are causing the child to feel un-worthy; based on a very linear logic the child thinks ‘I am not good enough to be loved as I am; I need to be more strong / beautiful / smart / disciplined’ (and the list goes on and on, with new items added every now and then). Only then they will love me; that ideal is the one who deserves the love of the parents. When she is not fitting that ideal not only is she unworthy of her parents' love but she is not worthy to deserve her self-love. So do we grow up physically but remain a child internally unless we go through some extra-ordinary spiritual awakenings. We continue pursuing this ideal and trying to fix this issue of love with our parents by gathering their replicates into our circle as friends or partners. The same scenarios keep on happening and we chase our own tail with the hope that this time we will make the other person love us.
Some years ago, when I was tired of relationships I got into Irvin Yalom; how he explained the root cause of many relationship patterns according to this model in his work ‘Existential Psychotherapy’. However he also underlined that there is no end to this analysis of childhood traumas; each one of them refers to some fundamental fear deeply enrooted in humanity; therefore an adult eventually has to accept that she is a grown up and own the responsibility of her life. I got the message wrong that time. It is not enough to ‘announce’ our adulthood to take the responsibility of our lives; we also need to stop blaming our family or any other external factor for whatever happened to us and confront ourselves. This confrontation starts with seeing truthfully all of our darkness, anger, hatred, jealousy, envy, guilt, laziness and many other low emotions; accepting with gentleness that they do exist even if we have the nicest smile on our face. If you skip this step of confrontation and follow some spiritual teachings seeking some peace you may have some momentary release but it ends up being a mental masturbation.
I was always interested in this psychological aspects; perceiving everyone around me as a mirror of my light and darkness inside thanks to my dear friend Vivian. Whenever I got triggered by someone I would immediately look inwards, ask myself why I was triggered, which emotions came up. If something ‘bad’ happened the same mind-set kicked in; why did I invite this into my life? Questions any new-age spiritualist should ask herself, right?! However this analysis became so complex my internal balance shifted and some inner voices who really enjoy the suffering of beating myself up became louder. During this period my dear friend and teacher Laura put my pieces back together explaining me that ‘with each piece of awareness a balloon pops up into the surface so that we can just pop it. You however push so many balloons up they start suffocating you’. Now I can see that the child who worked so hard on revealing those balloons was still chasing her self-made ‘ideal’ and considered every part of me which didn’t live up to that ideal as darkness. So the whole work was just in the surface; first I needed to notice that ideal and remember where it came from. Otherwise, the rest is just mental masturbation as I said earlier.
Psycho part is covered but which part of this is spiritual then? When all these balloons are up on the surface, when there is a full-combat towards the self-destruction of ego one can only take it up to a certain limit. Ego is our soldier for self-preservation after all; it resists being killed and may put all of our systems into error. Therefore when the load gets too much to carry there is a need for surrendering to a higher will, a cry for help. Some turn towards science or nature; others to a higher consciousness. At this moment any person should choose to wear what suits their complexion best, but shouldn’t go out naked in the cold.
"When the seeker arrives, a healing work begins to address one’s emotional wounds and to purify the heart’s ailments from the past. This work continues until one can be in harmony with one’s past and be liberated from it; until one can look back and truly be thankful for absolutely everything that has happened in one’s life. At this moment, one is ready to be reborn in spirit. In fact, this is when the spiritual journey actually begins. Everything up until this point was merely a psycho-spiritual work of healing and transforming one’s lower nature."
It is a hard job to crack the heart open. For years my spiritual teachers kept on bugging me ‘You have to work on the heart, work on Anahata; there is no other way’. Yeah yeah… Well I did work on the heart, did my asana practice, my meditation, tried to say ‘I want everything for you, I want nothing from you’ again and again, but it didn’t really sink in. Because I want to be loved, held, protected, supported, adored, spoiled. I want it all. How is this going to work? If I don’t get what I want I turn into a text-book example of spiritual texts on love revealing all the symptoms of a child whose toy has been taken away.
Yoga is an important practice. Some live flooded by emotions, others stuck between narrow walls of the mind. In between these two one may be so suffocated by the shadow that a bright state of comprehension, a mind-blowing piece of art, the intoxicating smell of jasmine, the simple magic of any blissful moment can pass by unnoticed. There comes yoga to introduce a harmonious flow to the mess, a thorough cleansing of the zilllions of dust particles in the mind. Once peace is restored there opens another door, towards the core of those particles, the pit of the rabbit hole.
So I knocked at that door and the first stop was compassion. I guess we all know by now, every person we encounter acts as a mirror. Whenever we are triggered by an action or word we need to look at ourselves, ask what in us hurts instead of trying to break the mirror. Only then can the evolution begin. When suffering presents itself there are some standard ways we react. Either avoiding it by any means, being repulsed by it or playing the hero. Masters say responding to suffering with suffering generates pity whereas love leads the way to compassion. And compassion is the only way to transform suffering which we fear so much, trying our very best at all times to stay away from. Well said, but what is compassion really? How do we find it when there is so much envy, fear, anger and frustration lingering in the hearts of us all, no matter how well we manage to hide them behind our masks?
Many words, many ways, many methods and they all find you when it is time. They offer another option to the judging, labelling, discriminating mind; not an easy job. There is space for a lot more reflection and contemplation on compassion.
My second stop was joy. This is a state hidden in the heart, more explosive than happiness, more refined than pleasure. All is well, but joy is not there in my life these days and it troubles me. Until recently I did suffocate myself a little trying to figure out who am I, what am I doing, what will I do with this ‘I’, trying to see through the subtle layers of my existence. I felt like chasing my own tail. However, life kept flowing. Another beautiful thing about yoga is the practice grants one the ability to still flow and keep the windows open for sunlight even if you are hopping in and out of dark holes. When you fall or rise, it is just an impermanent state which doesn’t really define who you are. Life can be harmoniously progressing in this awareness. Still, joy, or lack of it thereof is an issue. All those meditations and practices didn’t unlock that section of the heart. So Maha Shakti, the nature gave me a slap so that I could let the suffering go. A strong fever burned down all the heaviness in me. The wheel of joy started spinning in my heart while I was just observing what was happening.
Then the ride led me to the ‘butterfly’ stop. The heart not feeling any need to ‘settle’ anywhere cozy and safe but rather dances from one flower to another. Spreading the wings wide open without any fear of being caught. I loved this stop, I want to pass by here again and again feeling, expressing the lightness and beauty of this magical creature . Nice to fly out of the box!