Photo by Amanda Churchian |

My Dear Ones,

So there I was, feeling contracted. Someone I love was saying something that I didn’t like, that I didn’t want to hear. I didn’t feel appreciated; I felt as though what was true for me was not okay. Some time went by – it was the next day. I thought maybe some time would ease things. And again, I was stonewalled, doubted, felt I was seen in the worst light. You know that feeling inside when it’s like you just start to clam up from the inside out? The world seems to get smaller! And suddenly, in the midst of it, I could hear the pain in this person’s voice. I sensed the weightiness of his contraction, his feelings. And something inside me let go. I stopped resisting the movement of energy between us that felt so sticky. I let go of my own inner challenge, started to feel into more of what was happening, and everything expanded. Whatever the outcome, I was ready to follow the flow of what was actually going on – to be an anusarin. Into that space, love began to flow. That energy formed into words of understanding, and a pattern of willingness. My identification with the ‘problem’ had dissolved, and I was free again, beyond the realm of the conceptual, beyond the ideas about what was going on, and right into the flow of reality as it was unfolding. When the thoughts started to arise again, they were rich with revelation.

It can be a scary place – to go right into what is happening, to feel and listen and be fully present. We are accustomed to relating through the enmeshment of our many stories about reality. We are constantly inwardly defending our ‘ideal situation’ story and angling to make that what actually happens, summoning allies to create that situation. We are at war with those in our lives who threaten that story! And, of course, in the process, we get lost to ourselves. The kind of happiness that arises from the narrative ‘going our way’ doesn’t tend to stick around. And when it goes we are back at war with our ‘detractors’, from within and without. These concepts are basic to yoga practice, yet even seasoned yogis are going through this stuff, guys.

The basic affirmation of what is actually occurring is so simple, and so powerful – yet it is easily overlooked. I am endlessly astounded at the function of the resistance mechanism in my own mind. I attribute crazy viral strains of meaning to whatever it is that is going on. A swirling multitude of thoughts swarm and tangle in the name of figuring it out. Feelings of conflict rise like a swift tide, and overwhelm looms at the door. ‘This can’t be right,’ I find myself thinking. (Advanced practice is when you let it all come up and then you resist your resistance! Doh!)

It seems like it would take a Herculean effort to stop a train like that. And yet, everything immediately springs into lightness when we stop fighting our corner, stop affirming the story, and move our awareness into the underlying energy that is present. We start to experience what’s happening – nothing more – we can be present to others, and simultaneously ride the waves of intensity or power right back to our heart. The simple wordless act of affirming that which arises opens the way to spaciousness.

The choice is really ours – do we try to figure it out with our minds? Or do we choose to allow every experience to pull us in, like the undertow of an ocean wave, so deep that we can ride that wave all the way back home? Can we let go of that seismic pull into concept, into fixed ideas about ourselves and others? Being an anusarin means being a follower of ultimate reality – identifying with a bigger picture than the one we ferociously dictate from inside the confines of mental projections.

What are your experiences of riding the waves of your life? How do you navigate that territory of the edge where you are about to collapse into contraction? Does your yoga practice serve you at those times? Do you feel that you are building a matrix of freedom with every breath on the mat – and do you find wholeness and spaciousness available to you sometimes in your most contracted moments? Are you finding places where you just can’t seem to break through? Please share your experiences, I would love to hear how this resonates for you.

It’s a wild ride. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am amazed by the revelations of the heart that continually unfolded in the last few weeks. Each sweet valley of enjoyment gives way to a sharp uprising of conflict and contraction, which then breaks into another sweet expanse of grace and revelation. What a year! What a great challenge to walk in the way of light!