The yogic life is one of constant practice whether on the mat or off. It is a life of willingly turning our gaze inward in honest self-inquiry. The reward of this journey is full acceptance of oneself, and enduring self-love. The practice of yoga gives one the fortitude to hang out in intense places with the grace that is cultivated by deep and balanced breathing. We learn through the practice of asana (yoga postures) that we can gently move into and eventually through perceived challenges with the power that comes to us through deep and balanced breathing. This breath, in Sanskrit called “Prana” or life, allows us to open up to a new level of acceptance. With the deep and balanced breathing nurtured through the practice of yoga, our whole body system is infused with an abundance of LIFE! We willingly throw off the blinders of self-denial, and honestly, compassionately and loving see ourselves in truth. How can we ever know what is real, if we are constantly glossing over the surface, laughing off our failures, or dwelling in a state of lack consciousness? Steadfast self-inquiry is the key to gaining the freedom from the negative dragons that pull us down. Release and transcendence from these dragons is the end result.
Through practice, we are able to remain in the place of the witness and meet our perceived challenges with renewed curiosity and grace. The tremendous life lessons learned by taking yet another breath in Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II Pose) to discover this grace, reminds us that when we are faced with a life challenge that threatens our state of balance, the breath is the key to opening our mind to the possibility of acceptance. With acceptance, we release resistance, which translates into the release of self-inflicted pain caused by our desire for things to be different than they are. Dwelling in acceptance we are free and unattached to outcomes and able to clearly see the truth as well as the creative path outstretched before us. Though the unfolding drama of life is not always smooth, when we stay in the place of the witness we remain open to our truth, able to see clearly what actions are in the highest good of all concerned, and act boldly from our clear perceptions and authenticity.
The beauty of living in honesty and authenticity gives one the clarity to listen to the inner guidance. The peaceful balance achieved through dedicated practice affords one the strength and courage to follow this guidance. The inner practices of yoga which include yogic breathing, controlling the senses, contemplation, and meditation leads us to a place of rich understanding of the true nature of our being. And, the true nature of each and everybody else’s being. As Jesus taught us, “Be still and know that I am”, and as the great yogic saint, Ramana Maharishi reminded us “All that is required to realize the Self is to “Be Still.” I Am. Simply and magnificently, I Am. There is a beautiful Sanskrit mantra that takes this just a bit farther. Sat Aham Prema, which means divine love is the truth of who I am.
Try these statements on and see how they make you feel:
I am a conscious being of loving expression in complete union with the very fabric of the universe.I am an instrument of the Divine who puts all of my resources, experiences, mastery, and wisdom to use in the unfolding drama of life.I am the eyes, ears, heart, and voice for the creative flow, and in service to the One.
It is through this wondrous and ancient practice of yoga, and more specifically, the inner practices, that cultivate an observant mind, and quiets the echoing voice of the ego that often dwells in a state of lack and negative perception. From this observant place, a conscious choice can be made to align with a greater expansive perception. Through direct, loving, compassionate and honest perception, we cultivate the courage needed to follow an inner compass that will always navigate us to the perfect place at the perfect moment to take the perfect action in the drama of life.
Diving into the stillness where the busy mind quiets allows us to hear the promptings of higher consciousness. Remaining observant and objective has afforded me the opportunity to witness the subtle guideposts prompting me to choose a path that may not always seem like the most logical or even the easiest. The whispers from the causal plane provided affirmations upon inklings of ideas motivating me to trust the inner compass. It was these very signs and whispers combined with a whole array of synchronicities, guiding my latest bold move to follow the path laid before me. An opportunity to step into a much larger arena of yogic teaching was offered to me. So, after nearly 20 years of living in Maine, I have taken the giant step to move to Seattle Washington and embrace this opportunity. By remaining in the place of the witness, and releasing any resistance, I was able to take this giant leap of faith, which drew me away from all that was comfortable and familiar to do the work of the Divine.
The decision to make this move was mixed with excitement for the new journey and the amazing work ahead, coupled with the challenge of leaving behind all that was familiar and dear to my heart. With tearful and heartfelt goodbyes to my many loves in Maine, I embarked upon a cross-country drive with my fiancé, Dennis. At every state line our progress was marked with Yoga postures, while listening to the inner guidance and believing in the potency of its message.
Your inner guidance may not be asking you to make a cross country move such as I did. Maybe the guidance is to embark on a new educational opportunity. Perhaps you’ve been working as an engineer, and have a sudden desire to go to cooking school. Or, an opportunity arises for an exotic adventurous vacation, or a tremendous desire to learn a new instrument. It could also be as simple as an inner prompting to take a different route home from work, which allows you to find a beautiful out of the way garden center. How do you know you can trust your inner guidance? Ask yourself “Is this action I wish to take for the highest good of all concerned?” Once this question is asked, we must then be patient and objective with the answers that begin to flood in. Initially, the answer to your question may be “Yes”. However, this yes may only be coming from your individual ego’s desire that feels satisfied as the action in question may be serving you in your individual pursuits. So, be careful not to jump at the first “Yes” response you hear. Explore in contemplation, and deeply listen from the objective observer. How will this action affect your life mate, your extended family, your children’s friends, your local community? The inner practices that have steadied the mind gives us the patience needed to ask these important questions, and listen for the truthful answers.
Expanding our awareness outward from our individual desires helps to clarify the whispers from the causal plane. If our action is in support of a broader cause and more altruist nature, then more and more we will hear “Yes” to our inner inquires. Another way to confirm our guidance is by observing signs and synchronicities. If our desire is supported by inexplicable support coming to us with no effort on our part, then we can be assured that forces on the causal plane are assisting us in manifesting our dream. There may be a sudden unexpected resource that manifests, a person will step forward with just the right piece of information needed to help further forward motion on the path, burdens that seemed to be holding us back will easily be lifted.
Often following our inner guidance will prompt a dramatic change from the way we have been living our life. Change means transformation, which requires energy, clarity, strength, endurance and courage. It may seem easier to stay the course that we have been walking, but if there is a yearning for something different, greater, or with more harmony and resonance for us beckoning, this just may be our guidance encouraging a shift. If you suddenly have the opportunity to move across the country to do something completely different than you have been doing for the last many years, take the time to ask this question: Is this my inner guidance? Is this in the highest good for all concerned? If you are seeing the signs and synchronicities, and if you’re whole body, mind and spirit is saying, “Yes”. Then listen to your guidance.