This is it! This is exactly what A Course in Miracles teaches, “To forgive is to overlook.” This is the prize I’m keeping my eyes on. The gist of the practice, the jewel of the lotus, the way back home.
It doesn’t escape me how contrary to our conditioning this way of thinking and being seems. But from experience, I know that the conditioned ways of thinking and being can only bring about suffering. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve decided long ago that living in a self-imposed state of a lack of peace will not get me to peace.
Ask yourself this: If only love is real, then what are all thoughts, perceptions and actions (yours or someone else’s) that are not based on love? If only love is real, it must follow that anything other than love is unreal, and is therefore an illusion, a dream, a hallucination.
Now it makes sense to overlook what we can’t (yet) love because why would anyone in their right mind invest in illusions, dreams and hallucinations?
The first step is to recognize and admit to ourself that we’re clearly not in our right minds most of the time because most of the time, we do invest, and heavily so, in illusions. We do this by attaching to and analyzing and judging and condemning and worshipping so many things, ideas and beliefs, none of which come from love and none of which have any substance because they don’t come from love.
For the sake of experiment, try overlooking what you don’t love and would by default react to with anger, judgment or self-righteousness. Overlooking what we don’t love means forgiving which means we’re in our right mind. Doing the opposite means staying stuck in the familiar and wrong mind.
I could have taken this photo by letting everything be in focus. But overlooking most things in the frame, and focusing on one tiny part, I find the photo more beautiful.
What if we could see only love and automatically discard the rest as illusion? The road to that point seems long and strenuous but not taking that road is certain hell, as we all know if we’re really honest with ourselves.
Today I swam 108 laps without stopping, and rather than being exhausted, my heart feels as big as the sky and full of love.
I have been doing 108 sun salutations, along with my yogis, for every solstice and equinox for eight years, and since I swim now too and today is summer solstice, I figured I’d swim 108 laps and dedicate my swim to six people who I know could use some extra love right now (but also to anyone whose heart may be heavy today, for whatever reason). I wrote their names on my arm so that in moments of my ego bitching and story telling I could just look at my arm and remember the love that was fueling this challenging practice.
I have found long ago that anything powered by love and a devotion to that which connects us all easily erases all doubt, fear and whatever other assorted aspects of the ego. I have also found that this world is full of suffering and is so by design, and that no one is immune from human suffering, as long as we mistakenly take ourselves to be just human. Finally, I have found that the only way out of suffering is the way inward, into our hearts, and one of the most effective ways to live from the heart is to give and keep giving and continue to give from the heart.
My body may be sore and tired but my heart is full of love because I decided to give love. What we give, we also keep, and the more we give, the more we keep. Such is the way of reality, which is completely contrary and foreign to the ego. But the ego is contrary and foreign to our true nature, so no paradox there.
This Sunday (June 23), I’ll guide my yogis through 108 sun salutations at Rishi Yoga. Imagine one person dedicating a challenging practice to all that’s true, real and eternal, like I did today, and add just one other person joining in, and you’ll get a sense of why such a practice is so powerful. As A Course in Miracles teaches: “Yet when two or more join together in searching for truth, the ego can no longer defend its lack of content.” And all that’s left is what always has been and what we always have been: love.
Some people’s asshole tendencies come out when they drink tequila. The wind is and always has been my tequila. (Why, again, do I live in Reno?! LOL) It’s been an alcohol free hangover for me every morning for the last week.
It’s not just the relentless pressure in my head but the feelings of irritation and frustration and anxiety.
But it’s easy to blame the damn wind. And all the while, the wind doesn’t care. If it did care and could speak, maybe the wind would say: “Hey, if I stir up irritation and frustration and anxiety in you, don’t blame me, but look at the real source of those feelings in yourself.”
Hm. I’d say the wind has a point.
Somehow we expect this very unstable world to give us stability. And we expect this very imperfect body to be reliable and even be a source of comfort. And most of all, we expect the mind’s default setting, the ego, to lead us to peace, when the ego itself is an attack on peace.
I can very well walk around with a headache and jitteriness and still be at peace. The secret that’s not a secret at all is that I have a choice whether I identify with my body, and its master, the ego. If I do, I suffer. But I don’t have to suffer because I have the absolute freedom to unbind my mind, moment to moment, from this thought to the next, and one windy day at a time.
As A Course in Miracles teaches: “The power of decision is my own.” If we fully accepted this truth, loss of peace would be impossible. But if you’re like me, you may still need many lessons, which will look different on the surface but will all teach this same simple truth because truth IS simple: I’m either at peace or I’ve chosen not to be. What a relief it’s always up to me.
Ramana Maharshi said: “Everything in the world was my guru.” And I agree. The wind included.
The winter solstice is the acknowledgement and the celebration of the darkest night of the year. Yet most traditions and most people focus today on the return of the light. Why are we uncomfortable with and afraid of darkness?
Yes, light is what we are in reality. And in reality, there’s nothing but light. But within the illusion of time and space and separation, we have made darkness real and therefore it is real for us.
And it will be so until we stop repressing and denying our shadow and start simply looking at it with the eyes of patience and compassion.
The darkness in us is not an evil force but simply parts of ourselves that we mistakenly judged as bad and sinful and wrong, and out of fear of facing those parts, we threw them into the basement of our being and locked the door.
Going back into the basement and turning on the light, we see that there are no monsters there at all.
But to get to the point of turning on the light, we have to first face the fact that there is a basement to begin with, and then go into it and face the darkness. Only then can we turn on the light and see that the monsters were real only in our imagination.
Darkness is not the problem, but our denial of its existence is. Darkness is not to be integrated, but simply looked at from a different perspective. Once the light is turned on, darkness is gone, just like a dream is gone once we wake up.
As A Course in Miracles teaches, “The light is in you. Darkness can cover it, but cannot put it out.”
There’s nothing to fear. Time to start the uncovering.
Recently, after teaching a class, I witnessed one of my yogis, a gorgeous woman in her late 20s, come up to one of my long-time students, a graceful and elegant woman in her 60s.
“You’re so beautiful, it’s ridiculous!” said the younger one in a matter of fact but very much from the heart tone. “I just wanted you to know.” The older beauty looked at her sort of stunned at first but quickly her eyes just sparkled with joy and gratitude. They hugged and then I introduced them to each other, as I giggled with happiness, feeling almost euphoric to have been part of this honest and innocent expression of love. This is the main reason I freakin love my non-job!
There is a lot of hugging and warmth and love going on at Rishi Yoga. I wanted to have my own yoga studio not to make money, or to be the princess of yoga in this town, but to create a space where humans can come back to their natural, innate and divine desire to express love and feel loved. This may sound cheesy and naive, especially in this love-deprived, competition-based and fear-ruled (in other words, ass-backwards) world, but I have learned long ago not to go by the ways of the world. I much prefer the ways of the heart, as cheesy and naive as they may seem.
When do we usually give compliments? To those we know well and like? To those we want something from? To the people who are popular and trendy? To those who are not a threat to us because they’re not better looking or smarter or more successful than we are? And how often are the compliments we decide to give honest expressions of how we feel?
We’re conditioned to always calculate what we say and do and carefully gauge the effects of our words and actions against the consequences of those words and actions as they relate to our possible benefit. Or, simply said, we’re taught — whether overtly or in subtle ways — to filter ourselves depending on who we are talking to and what we may need from that person.
I’ve never been very good at playing that game. I’ve been told I wear my heart on my sleeve and I say what’s on my mind as if those things are somehow defects. I remind myself that the world is ass-backwards instead of trying to contort myself to fit the unnatural mold of “how adults should be.”
In my world, a compliment is an honest giving of my heart to another being. It’s a spontaneous and effortless giving for no other reason than the joy of giving itself. A true compliment can never be a giving-to-receive because that sort of giving is not giving at all.
So I will keep telling men that they’re handsome and women that they’re beautiful for the simple reason that this is what I see in them and I want them to see that beauty in themselves. It’s really not that hard to be kind. We all want and need the same thing and that is to feel loved and appreciated and seen for who we are at the deepest level, beyond the mask of the person we think we are and the meat suit we seemingly wear.
The world tells us that this is the season of giving. To me, every day is the season of giving as I have the choice to give freely from my heart, knowing that the miracle of true giving is that I receive exactly what I give.