I began this blog as a tool, a practice, a commitment to continue my yogic path through the rough obstacles to peace life put in front of me. Obstacles I put in front of myself. A practice in accepting choices I have made that led to tough challenges – challenges that have been sometimes unbearable and mostly insurmountable. Lessons about my expectations around justice, fairness, and reasonableness continue to be hard to swallow.
All the struggling sunk me deeper into the pit. The one thing that could help alleviate some of the pain was the thing I found I had lost a hold of. I felt betrayed. Betrayed by my own faith. As the onslaught has seemed never-ending, year after year, my stamina has wavered. The emotional reserves needed even just to hope, depleted.
And so, I began letting go, disconnecting to cope. But in the process, I’ve disconnected from myself as well. Disconnected from my Self.
The key to my falling from my path I believe is twofold and discussed in Sutras 1.12 to 1.15.
1.12 – Abhyasa Vairagyabhyam Tannirodhah – These mental modifications are restrained by practice and non-attachment.
I lost hope, energy, and stamina, which led to losing abhyasa – consistent, sincere practice, without break, committed to choosing the path to peace.
I lost vairagya – the ability to let go of attachments, to not be influenced, to see through distractions to the truth.
I know the tools to start climbing back up the mountain. Small daily actions: five minutes of meditation, five minutes of pranayama, active awareness of my thoughts and choosing to not engaging with negative, unproductive thoughts.
Just that – a small daily commitment – would make a big difference.
I know what works from past experience and yet I can’t get my brain/body to let go of the world enough to practice. The world – betrayal, abandonment in my greatest time of need, family court, housing court, multiple moves, health issues, surgery, single parenthood, financial strain – unrelenting stress and struggle. No balance. No relief.
I was able to find peace before because I had space, time, and energy. I never experienced these kinds of struggles before, let alone so many simultaneously. I had fewer obstacles – really, only my own mind (already a daunting obstacle). Then I tangled with a harmful person and it takes years to heal from that, years to legally untangle, years to find stability again, physically and emotionally. I had every aspect of my life attacked or destroyed and it would be much more spiritual of me to accept total responsibility for everything that happened, is happening, as from my own choices and how I am reacting to everything, and how I attach, and how I hold onto the ridiculous concept of justice.
But then what about all those “wicked” people in the world who we are supposed to use the key of “disregard” to unlock, to avoid? (4 locks and 4 keys) There are people who hurt others for their own selfish reasons. Is the hurt person responsible because they didn’t foresee what kind of person they were dealing with?
Is taking on all the responsibility the way for me to heal? That’s the concept of tapas – accepting suffering with joy. The more suffering, the more burning up of karma, burning away the impurities, becoming clean. There comes in the faith – believing in karma – believing all this will make a difference in the next life or is punishment for my wickedness in a past life and therefor a noble taking of my due.
It doesn’t feel great to take responsibility for received abuse as if I deserved it or it is in someway helpful to my life and so I should be grateful for it.
And now I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole of yogic philosophy where overthinking is taking me away from the simple actions I can take to stop thinking – the goal to stop the machinations/modifications of the mind stuff – the goal of yoga. Yoga brings peace. I know I can find some peace by not attaching to the outcomes of every struggle, by not judging every action, by letting go. I can stop thinking for five minutes a day while I meditate. I can re-pattern my efforts to activities that bring peace and away from those that do not.
The commitment has always been there, I’ve been on this path for 15 years, but I buried it for a while in heartbreak, my heartbreak of experiencing life as a completely different thing than I had previously known filled with my own sadness and anger and frustration.
My goal now is to reinvigorate my commitment. Reenter my practice. Restore my teaching knowledge. Believe in what I offer. Believe in myself. Be true to my Self. Let go of the rest. Find my way back to seeing from a place of joy.