Beyondasana

In yoga the positions are each called “Something”-asana. Asana meaning pose or posture.

Your feet go here and your hands there and your heart lifts or your finger interlace or any infinite number of bodily configurations. The poses stretch the muscles and fascia, squeeze glands and organs, strengthen the body, build endurance, balance and equanimity. You focus on your breath and keep the mind in the moment.

Great start.

Then what?

Then more and more difficult asanas? Foot behind the head? (By the way, I can’t do that.) Flip your down dog to a backbend? (Workin’ on it.) Handstand? (Not there yet.)

Perhaps. We do want go to the edge of our comfort zone, to the place where growth occurs. So when the edge moves, we move.

Another option is to stay in the poses we have. Stay in them longer. Or do them again, over and over. To allow the body’s knowing to take over that part, to do the poses by rote. And to take the mind, the attention, the awareness outside the comfort zone

See what you meet there, at that edge. 

It starts by turning attention within and feeling. At first you might find discomfort or boredom. Who else? Anxiety? Anger? Sadness? What sensation? What body part that has been seeking your attention is suddenly audible?

Can you be with them all? Hold all of that in gentleness? Accept your whole self as you are on the mat at that moment?

The first time you go there, tears may flow – tears of reunion, of Yoga. Self-acceptance can feel like getting a hug from your beloved after months or years apart.

I call this Beyondasana. 

Let’s go there. 

Beyond the physical and the positioning. Into the experience of Self. Witnessing the miracle that is the body, the breath, the emotions and sensations. Finding ourselves as the Loving Awareness in which this is all unfolding. 

We are beyond our bodies. 

We are beyond our thoughts. 

We are beyond the fluctuations of emotions that swell and recede. 

We are beyond what has happened to us, what we have or have not accomplished, and all of our well-meaning plans for the future.

We start to encounter that Self while we wait patiently in a pose. It can be the simplest of poses. Sitting comfortably is the only pose mentioned in the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, the ancient text and practices from which many of our modern yoga lineages stem. Or we can find the Self in a familiar flow on repeat.

After going within and feeling, it’s a relaxing and expanding of the mind and the perspective. Pan out. Notice the goings on within and outside of you as one unified field. 

Then notice Who Is Noticing.

When you awaken this Love, please bring it to the world.

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Beyond Sit, Stand, Kneel.

I loved the ritual of church. Sit. Stand. Kneel. Frankincense melting and smoke wafting. The ambience of light streaming through colorful stained glass. The processions, and performance of acts done in a way, for so long, by so many.

Then came the talk.

When I was really little, I tuned it out.

When I started to listen, I was confused. Why was I not getting the same good feeling from the priest’s words?

When I started to think critically, it was over. It didn’t make sense. It didn’t match up. God was everywhere but not within me? God loved everyone but you couldn’t be gay?

My most recent church service experience was at a church with big production value. Big screen. Great music. Uplifting from the start.

Then came the talk. The teaching.

A letter from someone centuries ago warning of the debauchery of women laying with women that could happen if we didn’t submit to (his definition of) God. Read with an air of that’s-what-it-says-here-don’t-shoot-the-messenger.

WHAT?! Ugh.

Yesterday I saw the boy from a church group in apparent confrontation with Native American Elder Nathan Phillips as he chanted ceremonially, in Washington DC.

“The boy needs love,” I thought at that moment. And wondered, “What are his elders teaching him?”

Can’t we teach love?

Can’t we teach how to love?

I believe so. I propose first and foremost as acceptance of one’s self. Compassion for one’s self as we are. Encouraging the inner work needed to heal, forgive and to connect with the peace that resides at our core. Teaching love from the inside out.

Once we get that, compassion for others comes easy. The desire to help and offer our unique gifts to the world is a no-brainer. Reverence for all forms of life is natural. Inspired action and answers abound. Unity is recognized and sought after. The Spirit of Love, the Beauty of God, the Consciousness of Christ can then flow from us and grace the earth and every one.

The talk and the teaching is important.

The talk can come from Love.

Addendum: I have read the student’s account of his confrontation with Nathan Phillips and have seen more video. It seems that there was much division and seeing the “other” as a threat or the enemy that day at that place.

I see the issues and dynamics of that particular event differently now.

The solution remains the same – teach Love.

Teach it till we find that there is no other.

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May Our Spiritual Endeavors Serve the World

Your spiritual path is not for yourself.

Don’t lose sight of that if you start practicing yoga, or meditating, or studying with an enlightened teacher. Insights may begin to come. You may know things, see the future or auras, attune to the medical or physical needs in others, or experience any number of “special”, though natural, powers. 

Don’t stop there. 

Don’t get distracted. 

Keep going.

My friends and I used to gather monthly as a tribe we called Moon Circle. Seven women getting to know ourselves, practicing meditation, intuitive and creative exercises, and supporting each other in becoming. 

And one started to hear dead people. Another, animals needs and wants. One opened up her creative channel and out poured beautiful and inspired works of art.

My writing began to flow and come to me whole and complete as if a manuscript was dropped off. Like now. I sat down to write about something else which is turning into this – this message about the importance of giving what Spirit gives, back to the Whole.

It’s not for you alone.

Share. 

Be bold. 

It’s true that what you offer may not be for everyone. We are at different places in our development, emotionally and spiritually. But those who are just below you will be lifted by your words, your art, your certain kind of caring that is born from Divine Love and compassion.

Bring the peace you have found to a world in desperate need of it.

Bring the acceptance of self to others that they may feel accepted.

Bring useful information to anyone willing to hear it.

Mostly, share your Awareness with those you live and work with.

Quietly.

Lovingly. 

In action and attitude. 

Let your presence be a gift and your energy grace the space where you stand, whether or not you utter a word.

Embody your spirituality. Then, your path is for everyone.

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