ahimsa

Invisible Threads

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It is human to desire true connection. Connection that exists beyond the boundaries of what is politically correct, sociably acceptable, and deemed"good". Each of us yearns to be loved and accepted as we are, not in spite of our faults, but rather, in the face of them. To have this kind of connection we must first learn to truly love ourselves and connect to ourselves beyond our internal experiences shame, pain, blame, betrayal, and judgement. This is a challenging task, as these words alone can send one back into stories of trauma and hurt so deep and heavy that rather than begin the healing the cycle of wound and hurt is rekindled and the flames stoked with fresh air. To take the journey in, to honor that there truly is no right or wrong just consequences to our actions, and to love ourselves in the presence of our internal stories of shame, pain, blame, betrayal, and judgement is true connection, is real intimacy, and is the foundation from which we can truly connect to others. Nietzsche said “Invisible threads are the strongest ties.” Not looking beyond the invisible threads of disconnect in our own internal landscapes keep us tied to a life of separation, judgment, pain, blame, and shame.  To truly connect to one another we have to connect to ourselves first.  It is not uncommon to set ourselves apart from the points of our pasts that hurt, were painful, made us feel shame and unloved.  Yet these are parts of us.  If we cannot love ourselves wholly, how can we love another wholly?

Yoga, in its essence invites an integration of all aspects of ones multifaceted being. The first Yama in Patanjalis eight limbs of yoga, precept of being with others, is to practice Ahimsa the act of non-violence, or loving-kindness.  We must first know how to practice this precept with ourselves to practice it with others.  No matter what it is that we have looked at within and felt was unlovable, we must turn to with Ahimsa in our personal practice and work to forgive, and to love in the face of. Self love leads to deep self acceptance, leads to freely loving others.  True Ahimsa has to start with our selves if we are to honestly practice it with others. To be perpetually beating ourselves up does not free us to connect to who we are and where we have come from. Such disconnect reveals the invisible tread that ties us to an experience of disconnect with others.  To love yourself in the face of your shame, pain, betrayals, lack of affection, is to truly connect to yourself, and to turn the garbage of shame and pain into the gold of understanding and connection.  This is alchemy.

To give oneself to this sometimes painful, challenging experience is worth the effort and harrowing journey because loving yourself no matter your past choices feels better than the alternative.  Loving others in the face of (not despite) their faults and their choices feels better than the alternative.  This is true connection.  This is intimacy. The more we love ourselves the more we can be in our own company.  The more accepting we become of ourselves the more compassionate we become of others the more we can be in anyone’s company and connect, heart to heart.

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.

 Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

 Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.” 
― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

With Love, Always, in All Ways, For Giving,

Genevieve

Unconditioning the heart, begins in the mind.

Surrender.  Let go.  Release.  Easier said than done. Unless, you are on a long car journey and you really have to go...then when it is time, oh that sensation...it is one of my favorite releases of all. And like a full bladder that must be relieved, all things must be surrendered in time.

In time, this wild ride of a life has absolutely one thing in store for us, that it will end.  In the face of the truth of our someday demise, is another truth; It is probable and practically inevitable that we, each and everyone of us, will have attachments that we will never want to say good-bye too. These attachments may be people, things, money, thoughts and most likely the beliefs that we have built our lives on.  It is in this loving, coveting, knowing, holding onto, that we become limited and bound to the experience of what is, and feel challenged or even afraid to move into that which may become or will be.  I often find myself in a state of wonder as I ponder the fact that nothing remains forever the same, that all things will change, all humans will die, and in the face of this truth I question how it is we as a collective have not found a way to be more at peace in the process of surrender, in the face of loss, in the transitions of change.  Perhaps there is a fear in the collective conscious that if we (the entire human race) found this way, surrendering always with ease, we would become quite bored?  Perhaps we would find that everything from going to sleep, waking up, using the toilet, loosing a job, loosing a finger or even more, a leg, and loosing the ones we love to be all too easy?  I do not know.  What I do know is that energy is eternal, love is existent in everything, and it is a limited belief of the mind that says "just because something is no longer in form it no longer exits".  I have also come to understand through the passing days of my own life that the facing of that which we do not know, mostly in the question of what lies beyond living, is the foundation upon which most practices of spirituality and religion or non-religion are based.

To know the unconditional boundaries of love, time, energy, and the universe we must first uncondition our minds of the belief that the boundaries exist.  It is the ultimate surrender, the ultimate letting go.

What would happen if we could perceive love in all things without condition?

What would happen if we could perceive the divine in all things without condition?

I propose we would know a state of peace John Lennon invited us to Imagine.  Or even more tangible, we may hug each other more often, and say I love you more often with deep tenderness and conviction, rather than suspicion or fear.

The fundamental tenant of the spiritual practice of yoga is Ahimsa, the practice of Non-Violence, or as I like to see it, the action/s of Loving Kindness. If we wish to truly honor the beauty of Ahimsa, surrendering our preconceived notions of good/bad, right/wrong, this/that, black/white, and letting in the all encompassing power of love without condition, by feeling, or even more profound, thinking with the heart, is where we must begin.  This does not mean that the value of active intelligence has no place in love, rather it means the heart guides the active intelligence to choices of thinking that encompass unconditional love.

One can actively give more power to the practice of loving unconditionally and letting go of belief structures that do not serve, with a practice with mantra and meditation.  I find in my own practice the following mantra to be a powerful vehicle into the spaciousness of my heart through the softening of my mind.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

Lokah:  The location of all universes existing at this moment Samastah: All beings living in this location Sukhino: In happiness, joy and free from all suffering Bhav: The divine mood or state of union Antu: May it be so -

The practice of praying for the liberation from suffering for all things existent at this moment, as well as the prayer for happiness and peace, most importantly, includes yourself, as you are, right now, today, faults or no, good or bad, black or white, animal eating or vegan.  If you truly wish to know peace and unconditional love, you must endeavor to liberate yourself from the binds of suffering chained to the limiting, nonsupporting, hurtful, painful beliefs of your mind.  By offering yourself the same love and compassion you would offer another, you come to know the depth and value of your ability to love without condition and be a conduit of love without condition.

If it is inevitable that we will have attachments throughout the duration of our lives, may we attach ourselves to the ever expanding unconditional love of our hearts and spaciousness of our spirits.  May we be disciplined in our practices of self liberation and walking with honor and integrity in relationship to all life.  May we know when to let go, and surrender like the grace of a lowering tide, an exhale of full breath and a caterpillar going into its cocoon.

It is always truly my wish that all beings may be happy, healthy, free from suffering and know peace.  May we share that love and freedom with courage and joy.  May we all reap the rewards of peace from the surrender of the boundaries of our fearful minds together.

I'm doing my best, and admittedly still learning.  However, in the face of surrendering all that I have known to be true before, and making room for all that exists now, I do feel more peace...most especially when I let the energy move, as I do my bladder empty, when it is full...

With love always, in all ways, for giving,

Genevieve