More Writings by shakti
- The Purpose of Existence
- Split Personalities
- The Obsession with Yoga Anatomy
- Beyond Beliefs and Faith
- Looking for the light in "Self Transformation"
- The 10 Commandments of Finding The Right Yoga Teacher Training
- Overwhelmed by existence
- Is self-improvement selfish?
- Which Way should I go next?
- Becoming the Observer
- About Karma
- The boldness of baldness
- Hot Yoga, an oxymoron
- The hologram of self
- avoid worship
- true masters
- the circus of yoga
- realization and panic attacks
- less is more
- crises and struggles
- practice can become an obstacle
- money and spirituality
- don't talk about your practice
- prana bridge
- the business of love
Overwhelmed by existence
The following is shakti's response to a question from a student on shakti's blog, www.shaktimhi.com. Both the student's question and shakti's answer are below, the student's words are bolded.
Dear Shakti, I was raised in a religious home, and although I am not religious any longer (and neither are my parents, they left their church after many decades), I occasionally find myself in mourning for a place of spiritual worship. I am mostly okay with the knowledge that 'place' is not so important. But I am constantly reminded that I a human being on the physical plane and ultimately, I do not want to feel so isolated from other humans.
Ten years ago I felt compelled to try yoga. I didn't practice yoga for a further 5 years. Yes, I tried to avoid what I wanted to happen for 5 years!
I began when my life partner began. I bought both of us passes to a studio. Now, his practice flourishes; mine has dried up. We have a yoga room at home, he very gently asks me to practice every day. Instead, I read and write and take baths. He is not pushy, but is confused why I avoid it. As am I!
I feel very much like a conflicted person. I am scared. I feel shy in a studio because I can't help but weep during asanas. All of my teachers have been very compassionate and kind, but I still feel very vulnerable and scared.
Intellectually and emotionally, I know that my own spiritual practice keeps evolving at the pace it is meant to evolve at. I try to be compassionate with myself. I can't understand why I have made countless 'moves' to help others on their spiritual path, and still feel like I'm not deserving of the same help.
Perhaps I sound arrogant and pompous, but I feel misplaced. I actually feel very misplaced on the physical plane, and no matter how I go about trying to reconcile myself with it, I only really feel at home when I am asleep and lost in a world of dreams.
Any words you have that may help me overcome my fear of letting go and taking my partner's hand would be appreciated. It's hard being human.
shakti's response is below.
you wrote: Perhaps I sound arrogant and pompous, but I feel misplaced. I actually feel very misplaced on the physical plane, and no matter how I go about trying to reconcile myself with it, I only really feel at home when I am asleep and lost in a world of dreams.
shakti wrote: Feeling misplaced, confused, lost and overwhelmed by existence is very common to people who are sensitive, with elevated awareness.
Unlike most of the living creatures on planet earth we are entities that are aware of our death not only when we face it but actually all the time consciously or subconsciously. The knowledge that we are perishable eliminates the absolute from everything.
- What is the point of eating if we are going to die?
- What is the point to grow and evolve if we are so temporary?
- Why invest in love if everything has an end to it? Etc, Etc,
This is where we start living with confusion, fear, doubt, indifference, and desperation. Why do people keep themselves constantly busy mostly with things that are nonsense? So they don't have any space to deal with their fears of being disposable.
The most extreme example of taking the mind away from the fact that we are temporary by keeping constantly busy; is the obsessive compulsive disorder whereby people keep themselves constantly occupied with arranging objects in space to avoid facing their feelings of being overwhelmed of existence.
The difference between you and most people is that you are aware of your desperation and unease. At least there is awareness involved in your situation. Most people are completely numb.
Religions effectively fill this empty space where confusion, doubts and fears about existence dwell, with their own substance and loaded content to bring ease to peoples' hearts so they will keep functioning and fulfilling their role in the community. Otherwise we could end up with a massive communal suicide brought on by the realization that there is no point.
The reason why you are compelled to practice yoga and yet resist it; is because you know the practice can open a hidden gate to an unknown existence that you are not sure you will be able to handle.
The unknown is not less scary then the known which makes you feel trapped.
The reason why people cry in yoga classes is because the asanas break the bondage between the small self and the higher self and if you are not yet familiar with your higher self all you are left is with the fragile small self that will very soon become ashes. The crying is the grief of the coming death of the small self.
So up to here is the diagnosis, now for the panacea.
All of what was described above; the feelings, the emotions, the fears, the questions and the doubts, even though they feel very real, actually have nothing to do with existence as it is. They have to do with the way we perceive reality. That means that if you open your eyes and see what is in front of you, without letting your mind interpret it, you will discover very different moments then what you have experienced up to now.
you wrote: He very gently asks me to practice every day. Instead, I read and write and take baths. He is not pushy, but is confused why I avoid it. As am I!
shakti wrote: You perceive reading, writing and taking baths as outside of the spiritual practice and doing the asanas, the REAL practice. If you sit in the bath and you are completely aware of the sensation of the water on your skin, the way your body floats in the water, the sound of the water as you move in the bath, the sound of your breath as you lay in stillness. If you watch mindfully the drops coming out from the tap creating circles in the water, if you are aware of all of it you are not doing any less a spiritual practice then your partner in the yoga room.
I suggest you to drop living life and instead live and experience moments. Life as an infinite fabric of space and time is an illusion, all we have is infinite moments. If you become completely immersed these infinite moments, you won't have space for doubts and fears.
you wrote: I only really feel at home when I am asleep and lost in a world of dreams.
shakti wrote: The reason is that you never experienced "waking up". Tomorrow morning when you get up instead of going into your head and trying to grasp existence through your mind, lie in bed and enjoy breathing. Do you know how amazing is to be able to breathe without fighting for your breath? Then get up slowly and enjoy your shower or bath. Mindfully sit and have you breakfast; you may find it is the first time that you are actually having breakfast.
Go and buy some flowers for you house, mindfully place them in a vase and take a few moments to sit and enjoy them. Talk to your partner and be fully present. Listen to his words, watch his body when he expresses himself to you. This is not easy as the mind often takes over, stopping us from experiencing life and instead sucks us in the process of trying to make sense of everything.
As for your conflict about the practice of the asanas I suggest you practice ONLY one asana a day. Choose the one you like and stay in it as long as it feels good. Watch the energy, watch the sensation, immerse yourself into only one posture knowing there is nowhere to go after this posture. This is your moment, so be it.
Only one asana a day. Relate to it as a date with your body breath and mind. Take it seriously, like you are doing a whole class.
And then after you are done with your ultimate one asana if you feel to do one or 2 more go for it, and if not, it is perfect as it is as one asana done mindfuly is like doing all the asanas!