My fiance & I are preparing to do a partner yoga workshop in Virginia, where we recently moved from. It is funny because a lot of people say that they are excited to see us because we have a lot of love to give. I don’t think I ever saw myself that way until I started practicing and teaching yoga. I mean I have always been connected to people. I was a clinical psychologist for 15 years and I deeply cared for my clients and their families. However, more recently, as I have become truly authentic and real with people, I realize that we are all the same and I have come to have a lot more compassion. We are all higher beings on this human journey whom most of the time live in our egos. When I started to see people this way- with fears just like me- I felt a deep connection with people. Even the people who would normally irritate me, became people I could have compassion for. We come into this world as pure Love and we start to cover that up with fear as we create meaning from our life experiences. The way I see yoga is that it helps to remove those layers we created out of fear so we can get back to our pure essence of Love. The more I practice yoga (not just the physical asana), the more I believe I live in my true essence of Love.
In terms of living in Love, my brother was just in town visiting me for a belated birthday celebration. We had about 48 hours together and it was amazing. My brother is one of my best friend’s in the whole world and has been since he was born when I was 4 years old. It is funny because when he left, my fiance said to me “It was so nice to hear you laugh all weekend” to which I said “and now I plan to cry.” And I did. You see- I love my brother so much that when he left I was sad. However, what was different this time was that when I was crying, I was focused on how much I loved my brother. Instead of focusing on the sadness of the perceived loss, I was crying in joy because of the amount of love I was experiencing. It literally felt like my heart was going to explode in pure joy! Wow! Could it be that when we are sad because of loss, we could focus on the intensity of the love we feel instead of the loss? A shift in perspective so to speak. Give it a try next time you are feeling sad- could you shift the focus to some aspect of Love?
I have been wearing this t-shirt for years: THE ANSWER IS…LOVE!
Until next time… Namaste
As I stated in an earlier blog, I have been fascinated by the concept that I have created all the meaning of everything in my life (A Course in Miracles). So now when I am running or looking out the window, I perceive things so differently. I look at a tree for instance and realize it is a tree only because I make it a tree. We create our reality constantly to the point that we are so unaware that we are doing it. It’s part of our human experience and there is nothing wrong with it. So I have been practicing this “noticing that nothing has meaning”- I look at objects in my view and say to myself “the object means nothing other than what I have made it to mean.” And what has started happening is that I am more aware of how I create meaning all the time, in relationships with other people, situations, etc..
I was just talking to someone about this concept and they said to me that it seems like if they lived their life this way it would be a life without feeling. I believe that this practice of witnessing ourselves as meaning-makers allows a life with less stories, scripts, and dramas. By witnessing how we create meanings and interpretations that create pain, we can then make the choice not to have that interpretation. To me that seems like a life of equanimity and peacefulness and to be honest that is what I have found.
I leave you with this thought…
According to the DIagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th Edition) (DSM-IV), delusions are “erroneous beliefs that usually involve the misinterpretation of perceptions or experiences.” As I was running today, I started chuckling thinking about how many of us (me included) would be diagnosed as having at least one delusion today
Try the practice of noticing everything as having no meaning. It is just a practice so there is no wrong or right way to do it. Why not give it a try, explore and see what happens?
Until next time… namaste
Recently someone asked me what I thought the difference between sensing and feeling was. And it got me thinking. My thought was that sensing is the physical sensation- a burning, numbing, throbbing sensation that you experience physically in your body. Feeling, however, is the interpretation/meaning you give to that sensation- feeling pain, sadness, anxiety. So then is the sensation the fact (based in reality) and the feeling the interpretation (based in meaning)?
As a psychologist, I focused a great deal of my time talking about clients’ feelings, in essence clients’ interpretations. I noticed that those clients who were able to move beyond the meanings they created tended to be much happier. We are meaning makers and if we do not like the meanings we are creating then we can let them go or even change them. A great example of this is the similarities and differences between anxiety and excitement. Both are activating a part of our nervous system that is going into fight or flight mode. We are the ones who decide if the situation is causing us excitement or anxiety. We create that interpretation from the physical sensations. I’ll give you a personal example. Every time my fiance and I drove over the Bay Bridge I would get very anxious, clothes my eyes, sweat, heart racing etc… I said I was afraid that we were going to go over the side and die. I absolutely hated it but did it anyway. One day I decided that I would just be aware of the physical sensations in my body and try not to create any meaning. It was really wild because what I realized was that I was creating meaning from the physical sensations. When I just focused on the sensation of tingling in my legs it was just tingling in my legs and nothing more. I was so focused in the present moment that nothing else mattered. It was just like when I am taking a yoga practice. I focus so much on my body and the physical sensations and hearing my breath that I do not think. My mind actually stops chattering.
I offer this as a way of dealing with anything that is going on in your life. If something is causing you physical or emotional pain- perhaps try focusing on the physical sensation and try to drop any meaning or labeling. Just be with the sensation completely. This can also be a wonderful way to bring more ease and awareness into your yoga practice.