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My practice yesterday and the classes I taught focused on the spine (side bends, twists and backbends) and the intention was to come out of hiding. This was not an invitation to shout to the world what our opinions are and impose on others our version of right and wrong, no matter how right and righteous we think we are. (There’s an overflow of that in the world already; just look at your Facebook feed…) The call to come out of hiding has nothing to do with the world and what’s going on in it right now, and it has everything to do with you and how you may be using the happenings in the world “out there” to hide from the pain, sadness, worry, anger or frustration that has been present in you for years or lifetimes even.

The way of the heart warrior, a true yogi, is to go through life willing to be completely exposed, raw, vulnerable and 100 percent honest with oneself. Which, again, does not mean to tell the world all your worries and all the wrongs that have been done to you and blame someone else for your misery — that would be the way of the victim, and there is an overabundance of that kind of attitude already. The victim mentality seems to go really well together with the urge to lash out, blame and point fingers. The way of the heart warrior is the complete opposite: it’s turning inward and inquiring into your lack of peace every time (really, every time) you start to lose your peace and turning inward deeper yet every time you identify someone or something outside of you as the reason for your internal war. It’s taking complete responsibility for your state of consciousness and for all choices you made and are yet to make in your life. It’s the relentless self compassion and absolute determination to use this incarnation to finally come back for all of yourself, and that includes the parts of yourself you’d rather push away or simply delete if you could. Needless to say, the way of the true yogi is not a popular path. (You won’t read about it in the news…)

We hide every time we use the world — the world being everything we perceive to be outside of us — as the excuse for our suffering. We’re not doing ourselves any favors by pushing the disowned parts of ourselves even deeper into the abyss of our subconscious while projecting our fear, pain, anger, sadness and frustration out into the world. The good and the bad news is, there is no objective world out there: you see the world through your own filter. It’s bad news because what you see is up to you. And it’s good news because what you see is up to you. See how the common denominator is YOU? There may be millions of other humans whose filter is the same as yours or similar to yours (look at all the people who like your posts, especially the politically charged ones), but any kind of filter obstructs a clear view of reality.

There is so much anger happening in our country right now. Anger seems to be the safest place to hide from our pain. We can hide our pain but hiding it is not going to heal it. The only way out — out of fear, anger, depression, sadness — is through, and not around. Once you make the choice and continue to honor the choice to dig deep within yourself, the pain that you tried to hide for so long suddenly becomes your ticket to freedom because taking complete responsibility for ourselves, all aspects of ourselves, is the coming out of hiding and that is freedom. It’s not a path of instant happiness but it is the path of instant peace.

One of my favorite quotes is this one, by Naguib Mahfouz: “Home is not where you are born; home is where all your attempts to escape cease.”

There is a way to stop hiding from yourself. It’s possible to stop using the world out there and all the things you despise about it as your hiding spots. You can stop feeding the fear within yourself by projecting your pain out into the world. All you need to realize is that you are your own backbone, you are your own support; it’s just that with all the distractions within this world of duality, you never thought to look within yourself for support. With you on your side, coming out of hiding is a natural, effortless unfolding of your own potential. Taking full responsibility for yourself will seem counterproductive or even impossible at first, but remember that the only way out is through, not around. We might as well start that internal quest sooner rather than later because the journey inward is not an optional one. And how fortunate for all of us that this journey is mandatory since it’s the only way back home. Just ask yourself how badly and how soon you want to go home?