The road to hell is paved with good intentions many of which came from A New Earth, Abraham Hicks & the Yoga Sutras. They were laid down by well meaning people looking for spiritual & mental growth only to get side tracked by the hard knocks of life. When it was time to make the hard decisions from a new place of awareness, they faltered. They fell back on old egoic patterns but this time they covered them in flowery words. Bits and pieces of things they picked up on their spiritual journey. The parts that bring true change are buried deep. In order to make decisions from total open awareness, spiritual study & mental preparation has to be a daily practice
Without daily reinforcement, our old decision making patterns stay dominant. When situations arise that require action, we fall back on them. Fear also keeps us rooted in these old patterns. Many spiritual teachings are so prolific, that to live by them, would render our current lives unrecognizable. The person we spent 30, 40, 50 years building would no longer exist. That is scary. It can seem to be much easier to just dabble in the self help section & use the teachings sparingly, then to radically change who we are and how we think. This is an illusion because the unhappiness or need for change that prompted us to delve into the world of enlightenment in the first place, just comes back putting us on a roller coaster of unfortunate events & we wind up in hell...figuratively.
Svadyaya, self study, is one of the five Niyamas, observances, laid out in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. 100% of the crazy events that happen in the yoga world(any world for that matter) like lying, cheating, philandering, guru worship, mistreatment of teachers and staff, happen because there is no study of self. Decisions are made based on fear, attachment & instant gratification. It is not that these people don't know there is another way, they just take the easiest path which is usually the same one they came to yoga trying to get away from.
Anyone who is serious about change, has to engage in Svadyaya, self study, daily.
Daily Svadyaya, Study & Reminder Practices
The World Wide Spirituality Web -Subscribe to inspirational blogs ,You Tube channels Twitter streams etc. Every day, little reminders will be dropped into your e-mail , Google Reader, Facebook page & Twitter Feed that will help keep you on track.
Meditation-meditation helps us to make decisions from a clear place
End of The Day Review-Lay in bed and look at the decisions you made that day. Were they in line with your deepest desires and the person you really are deep inside?
When Making Decisions, Ask Yourself This Question-
- What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?
The pure consciousness within you has no fear. The answer to this question is usually the real you talking. This is what you really would do if you lived outside of conditioning and self limitations. You also discover what it is that you are afraid of that is keeping you from making decisions out of awareness.
This does not mean that you should go full throttle with the answer. If you are not prepared for the result of your actions, you will have disaster. For instance, if you know that you really hate your job and want to leave it but you know that you would be terrified if you did, then you should sit tight because you are not in a place to accept the decision and more internal work is needed.
Daily Contemplation Practice-Pick a book that brings you inspiration, read a paragraph a two a day and contemplate the words
Surround Yourself With Like Minded People & Make a Pact With Them to Be Brutally Honest-Many times, it is my husband who lets me know when I have lost my mind. Sometimes when we are in the midst of the storm, it is hard to see events objectively. Like minded friends and family can keep us on track by pointing out our illogical emotional behaviors. I recommend designating a code word or phrase that keeps emotionality out of it. Eckhart Tolle uses "pain body". In my Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga training, we would say "past" to signify that we were making statements grounded in past events. Agree that when the code word or phrase is given by a friend, that you will immediately step back and reevaluate where your actions are coming from.
When Disturbing Thoughts Pop Up In Your Mind, Ask Yourself:
- Do I really know this to be true?
A few days ago I was reading a Facebook notification that was a bit snarky & I swore it was about me. There were some key phrases in it that sounded like something I had said a few days previous that the person was privy too. Before my mind went crazy, I stopped and asked myself, Do I really know this to be true? My name wasn't on it. The person didn't inbox me, call me, e-mail me or stop me after class to say it was about it me. It was not a direct quote. The answer was no. I didn't know without a shadow of a doubt that it was about me so I took a few deep breaths & let it go.
You will find that 80% of the thoughts in your mind cannot be proven to be true. You should let those go.
Choose the Right Teacher/Pastor/Imam/Guru- I am not saying you need a teacher, but if you want one, pick one that brings your ugly bits to light and forces you to work with them. They are usually not the most convenient, fun, or exciting choice but they are the one that you need. I recently wrote a post on practicing with Rod Stryker & how he prepared my body for meditation. What I didn't write about was how difficult it was for me to get to that place. It is much easier, convenient, exciting and fun for me to go to a Power class & do a straight physical practice. I also believe in the value of Asana practice for spiritual development but that is another blog post. I would be a lier if I said that, if Rod Stryker would to move to Charlotte, I would only study with him. Lets face it, I love the feeling of just moving my body, loud music and intensity. However, Rod Stryker is what I needed. If he were closer, I would definitely consider possibly making him my "teacher".
In the west, we use the word teacher really loosely. Many times, they are just the instructor. They tell us how to do it and keep us safe but they don't really change or effect our daily lives. They are replaceable. A good teacher, often like a good parent, gives you what you need which is not necessarily what you want. They aid in self study by using teachings and practices to show you where you need work & what you could become if you applied yourself. They are such a strong part of our daily lives that they are not easily replaceable & their wisdom is invaluable.
Video of the Day: The Top Ten Most Mispronounced Sanskrit words