What do you want?

This year has been the year of fabulous yoga training for me.  In January I went to Tucson for the Level I training in Amy Weintraub’s LifeForce Yoga which specializes in yoga for managing anxiety and depression.  The workshop was held at a Catholic retreat center high up on a mountain with a fabulous view of Tucson.  We saw the sun rise every morning as we chanted the Gayatri mantra and on the last night were blessed with the rising of the full moon in all her luminous glory. 
Even though I’m an island girl, the deserts of the Southwest are magical to me, and in Tucson the desert is dotted with majestic Saguaro cactuses, which at 6ft tall are over 100 years old!  Suffice it to say the whole experience was transformative.  It was a great opportunity to “get away” and be somewhere else – to slow the pace of life and have an opportunity to be in silence with myself when I wanted, but also to be in joyful communion with others.

One of the things that Amy taught at the workshop was sankalpa.  A sankalpa is an intention.  You can create an intention for your class, for your day, for your stage of life.  You come into this life with a sankalpa – your life purpose.  Your sankalpa is essentially what you want to manifest.  But most often, when we are asked what we want, we respond by highlighting we don’t want!  For example:  “I want to not be so stressed,” or “I want to stop being so disorganized.”  We tend to focus on what we don’t want, rather than clarifying what it is we want to manifest.  In a way, it can be scary to imagine what you do want – what if you don’t believe you deserve it?  Or what if the current circumstances of your life don’t seem conducive to your dream manifesting itself?  Some of us were taught not to hope for too much, so we don’t end up disappointed.  Kriyanandaji, the head of the Temple of Kriya Yoga, often repeats the phrase:  Aham Brahmasmi.  He translates this to mean:  “I am the creative principle.” In other words, I have the power to create my life.  If you have the power to create your life, then why not direct your energies toward what you want, rather than what you don’t want?

So, what do you want?  Amy recommends that you bring your sankalpa into the present:  “Peace flows through me now.”  I’ve spent a lot of my life being tired and focusing on how I don’t want to be tired anymore.  So instead I created the sankalpa:  “Good health and vitality flow through me now.”  Guess what?  When I say it I feel better, clearer, more energized, and a smile comes to my face!  Of course just stating an intention starts the energy flowing, but you must follow intention with action to manifest your heart’s desire.  It is also beneficial to courageously, mindfully and gently excavate the underlying subconscious beliefs that might be sabotaging your best efforts.

The second fabulous teaching was last weekend right here in Downer’s Grove.  Rod Stryker also taught about sankalpa and he mentioned another term that I wasn’t familiar with until recently: vikapla.  Rod described sankalpa as the intention linked to your heart – that which you want, your reason for being – and vikalpa as that belief or desire which separates you from your purpose.  Whichever one of these is strongest determines your destiny.  A lack of fulfillment in life, Rod taught, is based on not living your purpose.  And if you’re not living your purpose, it might mean that your vikalpa is stronger than your sankalpa in terms of your desire for it to manifest.

I think we all get glimpses of our vikalpa.  You might feel yourself recoil when presented with a fabulous opportunity and then notice yourself coming up with reasons why it’s not the right thing or why you can’t do it.  Or you might start to clarify your sankalpa and find that your mind comes up with all kinds of reasons why it can’t happen.  Mindfulness helps us to notice these moments and look at them clearly, examining our deeper motivations, rather than running away.  What is manifesting in your life right now?  What might be the underlying belief or desire that has brought these circumstances into being?  (Rod Stryker has a book about these teachings coming out in a few months.  If you read it before I do, let me know what you think…)

So in two separate trainings this year already, I’ve been presented with the teaching on sankalpa.  Maybe its time to really get clear.  What do I want and do I dare to dream that the desire of my heart could become the life of my dreams?  I’ve seen plenty of evidence so far that your entire life can shift based on the strength of your desire.  If you had told me 10 years ago that I’d be a yoga instructor, energy worker and therapist I would have laughed.  I was a committed database manager with a love of logic, data and computers.  I promise you that life can change in a heartbeat. Aham brahmasmi – you are the creative principle.  The first step to putting that power to work is to get clear on what you want.

If you embark on this exploration, I’d love to hear about your sankalpa!
Namaste!

Unlimited potential

Are there limits to your perception?  How big do you imagine the Universe to be?  How far does your energy field go?  Where do you end and the space around you begin?

My husband and I have an ongoing discussion/debate about the limits of human potential.  I don’t think that there are any limits.  He thinks there are things humans just weren’t designed to ever be able to do.  Maybe I’m just opinionated (an existential hazard of being born with 4+ planets in Aries) but I really believe that as humans we are only limited by our perceptions of what is possible.
Think of all the inventions of the last century.  I was explaining to my 5-year-old daughter tonight that my grandmother Mary, born in 1900, didn’t have television as a child – and read books by lamp light.  And when I was my daughter’s age, TV (in Jamaica) was in black and white!  She could hardly imagine such a horror!  Technology has shifted what we believe to be possible.  And I would argue that our belief in what is possible has accelerated the phenomenal technological and consciousness shifts of the last century.  Because of technology my dad survived a heart attack 8 years ago that would certainly have killed him 50 years ago.  Because of technology we also know immediately when tragedy has occurred anywhere in the world and we can rush to help relieve suffering. 
As technology has supported our belief in what is possible we have dared to dream bigger dreams.  And because we are human these dreams of course have been fueled not just by our altruism and generosity, but also by our fear and our greed. And so even as some people dream big dreams, others are afraid that these dreams will destroy us.  We live in fragile human bodies – the identification with which leads us to be afraid of death.  This fear of death, the yogis say, is one of the things that binds us to suffering.  (It also keeps the majority of us from jumping in front of moving trucks!)  This fear of death (or of annihilation – or non-being) also seems to underlie much of our resistance to life – what I would describe as contraction.
One of my first experiences with Reconnective Healing was through a process called The Reconnection.  This axiatonal realignment process is designed to reconnect us with our true potential.  During this 2-day process I had the realization that I was participating in something much larger than myself that was happening all across the planet and directly impacting human evolution.  It was amazing to me – mind-opening in fact.  It was so amazing that it scared me silly.  I felt that I was on the edge of a precipice – that I had been brought to the edge of the Void and my next step was to jump in – to something I didn’t and would never fully understand – at least not with my mind.  In the Reconnective Healing training I asked Eric Pearl about it and he said “Isn’t it exciting?!”  Exciting? Heck no!  It was terrifying!
In the years since my Reconnection I’ve come to some realizations that my mind still has some trouble wrapping its mind around.  I’ve come to accept that the Void is everything.  There wasn’t anywhere for me to jump because I was already here.  What was missing was my perception.  The Void is awareness and awareness is all that we are.  Some of us have amazing experiences of it, others more subtle realizations.  But whether we are aware of awareness or not, it is the ‘substance’ of which we are made.  Each of us is all that is – “the world in a grain of sand.”  This is why I believe in the immense potential of humankind – if we choose to embrace it.  It’s not an imperative in my mind – it won’t make us better humans than we are now – but I think it would be really, really fun!  I also think our expansion into this understanding is happening whether we like it or not.  We can be immensely joyful and compassionate, or we can be immensely selfish and greedy.  Through it all we are being – whichever choices we make, wherever we go, whatever we do.  We are the Void – nothing and everything.  Immense, unlimited potential.
In this Universe, as we experience it, is the potential for contraction or expansion.  So as we approach the dawn of a new year, the question arises – how expansive can you allow your perception to be?  As you imagine the vastness of our human potential, does contraction eventually kick in?  What form does it take?  Is it fear, is it a belief system or an adopted “truth?”  Is it a sense of how things can’t be or should be?  Is it sadness for the way things are?  So, what if you could open to let even your contraction be expansive?  In other words, what if you could just allow it to be okay to have all those thoughts and welcome them into this sense of expansion or possibility?  Then how much could you allow your heart or your joy to expand?  And in the midst of all of this, how much could you love yourself, just as you are – contraction, expansion, resistance and all?
To quote Blake (don’t be impressed, this was my first time actually reading the poem! These lines actually stopped my breath for a second):
To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.
You are the world in a grain of sand – all the Universes in one human body.  What could be impossible?
Have a blessed, expansive, loving, joyful, perfect-as-you-are New Year!! 

See you on the other side…