The tricky thing about “falling in love” is that for this to happen, both people must accept and then surrender themselves to the other. This needs to happen almost simultaneously because if one person gives themselves up too quickly, sub-consciously the other person assumes power over their partner. Once they’ve gained the power, in many instances, they’ll lose interest, assuming their partner “wasn’t the right one.” It will have seemed as if there was not enough challenge and the other person gave their heart away so easily that it probably wasn’t worth taking. The relationship may continue but the person with the power (perhaps unknowingly) will likely have decided that while their partner is “a good person,” they are not “the right person.” They won’t feel as if they’ve found “true love.” To acquire another person’s heart - because really, being in love with someone is to be in “possession” of their heart - we want to feel that we’ve been challenged. The human mind is conditioned to believe that to be given a “reward” of some type we must work for it. To be given a reward as critical as someone’s heart we will never truly appreciate it if it came to us too easily. If you’re in the early stages of a new relationship and really like the other person, and think you can probably love them, be careful not to let them know before you’re sure they feel the same way. If you do, their butterflies may leave. Falling in love is playing a game and some of us learn this the hard way.
The experience of total inner freedom is the supreme feeling. And it’s accessible to all of us if we simply unearth it. Let us not fool ourselves, however, no feeling which will be experienced in life remains unchanging. So the feeling of total inner freedom like all things, is temporary. We begin by including activities in our days in which we allow ourselves to become immersed fully. To become one with what we are doing we slip away from thoughts of past and future. Many of us already engage in activities which allow us to enter the present moment, even if we’re unaware of it. Some examples include cooking, running, seated meditation, swimming in the ocean, having sex, playing music, painting, snowboarding and practicing yoga. But the feeling of total inner freedom is not found solely by engaging in the activity. In order to encounter a true experience of total inner freedom, we must make a conscious decision to try and avoid thinking constructively about the past or future while we are in this moment. By doing so, we may eventually discover it’s only in the mind we’re not free.
We include back bending poses in our yoga practice to open up the space between the shoulders on our chest. Upon completing a back bend, as the energy settles, our body is flooded by a surge of love. By expanding the space at the front of the chest we are intentionally offering our heart forth to the world. After our yoga practice we witness within us a greater capacity to feel love for ourselves and others. The word yoga itself means ‘union’ and one of the goals of the practice is overcoming the sense of being separate from others which dictates our days. People with open hearts are more willing to share themselves with others as they feel more connected to all those around them. We don’t need to live life feeling inadequate and unwilling to reveal our inner beauty to the world. One of the great miracles of yoga is assisting us in learning to love ourselves unconditionally. If it’s hard to believe this is true, simply begin practicing back bending poses (with a teacher’s guidance) and witness what happens within. Thanks to yoga, your whole life will be transformed.
It’s going to be okay, keep telling yourself this. Life always continues. Soon enough the pain begins dissolving. Shortly after it’ll seem like a distant dream, there’ll be less emotion attached to the incident. Eventually you’ll live through a day without thinking about it. And perhaps one day the pain will leave. Whatever it is that’s paining you right now - because life has a habit of paining us - let it go. Pain is simply attachment to the past, it doesn’t exist in the present. We allow it to be here by reliving memories. We keep it alive. For whatever reason you’re feeling pain, remind yourself, it’s going to be okay. Letting go takes time; intention must be found for the process to begin.
When I was 10-years-old I discovered one day the sun will die and without its heat, everything on earth will die too. This news terrified me and for months I couldn’t sleep as I imagined an emptiness that both pained and perplexed me every time I went to bed. I wasn’t sure why I was affected so dramatically but since then I’ve figured it’s probably because, if something as large as our earth is unable to remain forever, what chance could anything else possibly have? These days I stay pretty aware that everything in life is temporary. I’ve seen a lot of things come and go. It hurts to think about this as we despise the idea that all we know will eventually dissolve. We spend our days strengthening relationships, pursuing careers, building homes and immersing ourselves in communities, only to know that someday, it all must end. A feeling of restlessness mixed with nostalgia wells inside as we’re reminded of this and hopefully, it prompts us to wake up. Nothing in this moment will be the same as in the next. Changes are subtle and often it seems as though not much is happening. Pay attention and see that life’s in a constant state of flux. Everything is changing. And everything will leave. Treasure loved ones dearly and be thankful for every moment of this life. It’ll be over in a second.
After the other asanas have been completed, before returning to our day, the final resting pose must be executed. This pose is called Savasana, or the Corpse Pose. During Savasana we are not sleeping; we are storing the precious energy we’ve cultivated during our practice. We are conscious but it is as though we have momentarily left our body. The stillness lingers. Then naturally, after several minutes of resting in Savasana, we begin to move again. Back in our bodies. With new energy. We are reborn. This feeling of starting life afresh does never grow old.
You are the gatekeeper to your own soul. Deepening your awareness of the soul’s presence within, assists you in feeling more connected to each moment. The more connected you are to each moment, the more you will enjoy it. Therefore, in order to welcome any energy your soul is trying to attract, and find more joy in life, your gate must remain open to people and opportunities.
I’ve been living in Bangkok for five months. The city had been telling me it was my home for a while before I finally decided to stop leaving. I wasn’t sure why I needed to be here at first, but then slowly, a new life started to reveal itself. I discovered that one reason I was here was to share my love for yoga (and life) with others. In the beginning I didn’t know how it would work, but I knew I had to find the way. That was my mission: find the way. I was staying in a home-stay near the backpacker hub of Khaosan Rd. So I started sitting on the street for a few hours every afternoon trying to convince travellers to come to the park the next morning, where I’d teach them some yoga. I’d hand out 20-30 fliers and the next morning, two or three people would show up. I was ecstatic. We’d spend an hour or so stretching, balancing and breathing while on the grass together. It felt divine. I didn’t expect them to pay me but invited them to make a donation. Some days I got lucky and made almost 150 THB ($5). I felt uplifted to buy my breakfast for free. I continued teaching in the park for about a month before realising travellers weren’t the best students. They were always coming and going. I needed to be teaching yoga to people who would come to class more than once. So I moved to the the other side of the city and was blessed to find a natural health centre looking for someone to teach private yoga classes. I still can’t believe that this happened, but they employed me. Since then I’ve also started teaching at two boutique yoga studios in the city, and for school children at several international schools. And sure, it’s still a work in progress. I’m not teaching as many classes as ideally I need to be teaching and certainly, I am just finding my way as a teacher. I’m still a very young student of yoga and of life. I have a great deal to learn. But I do feel this is working. I have a little bit to share and I have faith. That’s enough. I’m completely unsure how this has all worked out as it has, yet I can only guess it has to do with placing all trust in my heart. I just keep listening, keep surrendering. I’m in a city of 14-million people and just five months ago I didn’t know anyone here who shared my passion for yoga. Now I’m immersed in several communities. It’s incredible. The hardest part about following the path of our own heart is that at first, no one cares we’re doing it. It’s difficult to remain motivated. I was robbed of all of my valuable possessions a few months back and at that point, even my mother told me to go back to Australia. I laughed at her suggestion. Somehow I felt more free than ever before, like a past karma had finally been lifted. It was as though I needed to be tested, not because life is evil, but because it needed to see if I had what it takes to remain devoted to my heart in challenging times. Giving up would’ve been a far easier option. But I would’ve suffered. If we give up on our heart, there will be no alarm sounded and no one saying: “Hey, you’re not supposed to quit. Get back to obeying your heart.” Life continues as normal. We can almost pretend nothing happened. But deep inside we know when we are not fulfilling our heart’s instructions. We become disenchanted in life when we are not attentive to its needs. When it is ignored, its radiance withers. We cannot share our greatest self with the world because our heart doesn’t want to be in the world. We are drained of life. One of the great difficulties is that even the people we go to for advice may be ignoring their heart too. When they offer us direction, it comes from a place of fear. The safe option is often fear in disguise. Remember this. We mustn’t take the safe option simply because it seems sensible. So then what do we do? We drown out the chatter of the mind (fear), and do what we feel (in our heart) must be done. We show up for life. The direction we seek may not come to us in words, because the heart’s language is feelings. Try very carefully to hear its voice. It’s talking to you, even if you are unaware of it. Stay on your path. You mustn’t give in to fear. Remain inspired, optimistic and assured of one thing. Your heart always knows best.
Defeat the desire for more. It’s killing life: blocking you from feeling fulfilled in this moment. What’s truly missing? Nothing. But the mind fills itself with dreams of what is not now present, then by replaying thoughts of this apparent absence, becomes obsessed something must be acquired. What’s it you want? Lasting happiness? With desire for more there cannot be a feeling of total satisfaction with life. Makes sense right? So to be met with peace which comes only from the freedom of not wanting anything, consciously let go of wanting. Be satisfied with what life presents you. Have faith in its mysterious ability to provide all you need for this journey. Do not feel so insecure as to imagine something outside of yourself could complete you. That thought is foolish. Strengthen yourself! Defeat the desire for more and live blissfully, joyfully, and free. As you want and as you must.
Try to overlook other people’s craziness. We’re all a little bit crazy, in truth. It’s just some of us are better at hiding it than others. If we overlook actions and words we’ve been conditioned to deem absurd or unacceptable, we see others for what they really are: human. The tricky thing about being human is that inside each of us are two separate identities. The Self, the inner teacher, who knows right from wrong and always seeks to embody Truth. And the Ego, the inner child, who rejects, resists, condemns, quarrels, and embodies many other negative qualities we consider improper. For as long as a life is lived, these two identities share the space within trying to achieve a peaceful balance. As the Self matures, establishing itself in communities, forging relationships, and seeking to love a morally upstanding life, the Ego remains essentially childlike. It’s for this reason adults sometimes appear childish; overreacting, becoming enraged, acting selfishly, or exhibiting other behaviour we label unacceptable for adults. Again, we are only human. And as humans, at times an overpowering Ego will bring us to appear slightly, or very crazy. You see the Ego is very hard to control, like a child, because it is manipulative in the way it seeks to get its own way. The Ego doesn’t enjoy compromise and convinces us (the Self), that it is us. Yet it is not really us, instead a child occupying the space in which we live. Hence we are responsible for it. And once we understand what’s going on inside, we can begin to treat others with kindness when they act or speak in a way society says is inappropriate. It’s simply their Ego playing up. People coming across as being very crazy, negative, or manipulative have just lost touch with their Self and are unaware they’re living most of their life through their Ego. Forgive them. Love them anyway. Upon learning to love others as they are, it becomes easier to extend the same benevolence to ourselves. This is the real point to be made here. We must come to overlook our own insecurities, flaws and weaknesses, forgive all our past mistakes, and also the ones we are yet to make, and as we take this vital step toward lasting inner peace, endeavour to feel love for ourselves unconditionally.
If you hold to thoughts of how the past could be changed, if you spend each day waiting for the next one to arrive, if you feel resentment toward someone for something they once did, if you allow yourself to feel as though you are not yet complete, or simply, if you continue going through life avoiding the present moment, which is what this is all about, you will never be free. If you let go you’ll be free.