by Ellen Arthur.
The river of spirituality must have love and devotion woven into its flow. Without this inner experience of reverence and sweetness our practices become fruitless and we lose interest. Practice wholeheartedly, unattached to the outcome is something to be done on a daily basis. What I know to be true is that no one else can work with our mind for us, no teacher or therapist can clean our mind of confusion and make it one-pointed. Even the scriptures say “light your own lamp, no one else can give you enlightenment”. This implies that we are our own guides, our own teachers.
As I practice, both my physical teacher and my inner teacher ask that I dive deeper, into the realms of mind and habit. What I am continuously coming up against are my insecurities and doubts. Some days they are little ripples upon a quiet lake, other days they are all consuming waves of emotion which overwhelm my ability to see clearly. Within these emotions, whether they create large waves or small ripples is fear. Fear is what stifles our growth, keeps us living small and is the source of all our pain and suffering.
This is where yoga steeped in knowledge and Tradition comes in. The intention of the practices are to aid in deep healing and inner transformation. It asks us very specifically to analyse the source of our fear. The judgements, anxieties and resentments and get to the root of them. Only once we acknowledge the source of our fears are we able to liberate them.
Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD, says that we should contemplate two main themes. The first is to be careful of fear and doubt. These qualities are like an army of termites chewing away at our foundation and causing the entire structure of spirituality to collapse. The second theme centres around ego. Our greatest enemy. It is in charge of emotions such as anger, hatred, jealousy, greed and the desire for revenge. Every one of these emotional enemies cause great destruction both internally and externally
In my analysis I have come up with this question, why do patterns repeat themselves? Patterns of self sabotage, unworthiness and confusion. Until recently I never knew to ask these questions or realise that they had remedies. Now that my current practices are informed by contemplation and self analysis. I am beginning to notice incremental shifts through practices such as mantra japa, emphasis on self compassion, self love and also techniques that guide us toward releasing negativity. I can viscerally and mentally feel the transformation talking place within my consciousness. I am less reactive, less driven by egotistical desires and more interested in moving toward things, people and places that inspire, excite and enable me to grow in happiness and unconditional love.
Not wanting to diminish the challenges faced coming up against the lower mind. I try to remember that what I am going through is a process of healing. Of moving away from fear and guiding myself toward love. A process that requires trust, compassion and the permission to heal. To acknowledge our negative and harmful traits and have the tools and support to gracefully move beyond them.
Blessed are we with the grace of the inner teacher, to be able to move through life in this human form, with a mind that is able to discern, decide and act. However, the great Yogis realised it’s not enough. It is important that we expose ourselves to the other three forms of grace.
Grace from the scriptures, revealed knowledge,
The Grace of God,
and the sweet, nurturing Grace of the Guru.
With these four forms of Grace, really nothing can stand in the way of our liberation, our desire to evolve and meet the higher Self, the all knowing one, where we are reunited with our Soul.
All we can do is practice in an informed and honest way. To be easeful in our approach to our own wounds and desire to heal. To remember that the source of our fear is the very thing that CAN liberate us from all ignorance and suffering.