“The process of finding the truth may not be a process by which we feel increasingly better and better. It may be a process by which we look at things honestly, sincerely, truthfully, and that may or may not be an easy thing to do.” (Adyashanti)
Since my last trip to India I have been suffering from low-grade fatigue. I call it low-grade in that I have managed to be fully functional but maybe not at my best. Still able to teach and practice I often found myself wiped out from activity that before didn't take much effort. Now that I'm coming out of the woods, on some level, I've had a chance to reflect and make slow changes where necessary.
My last Mysore trip the practice went rather deep and unleashed what I now call, toxic residue, that well, needed to be brought to the surface, looked at, reflected upon and burned by the fire of tapas through practice, study and self-reflection. What bubbled up wasn't by choice - It happened on it's own. Having to assess every layer of my being, the physical, emotional/mental, and spiritual bodies, I felt a turning point in existence was being brought to the forefront. Simply put, there was no hiding from it. Not this time.
When I entered back into the dark hours of Sweden's winter after two months in Mysore I was surprised to notice a darkness began to arise within me. The hurts, pains, and unresolved emotions that hadn't been fully processed wanted to make themselves known. To assume we don't have this stuff within us is ridiculous, and I for one had to own up to the fact that certain experiences were not to say, well, "it's all good." Sometimes it is not all good, sometimes we suffer, and over the years I have been adept at putting on a face that, "hey that's alright," when being on the brunt end of bad behavior, not admitting that yeah, it stings. Hence, the reason I was so open over the past few months in light of challenging experiences I have had living in Sweden as well as going back even further into my childhood. They were simply experiences and unresolved emotions I had to grapple with, while expressing the intensity of what was coming up. They needed to be felt, looked at and released.
“The real goal of a spiritual tradition should not be ascent, but openness, vulnerability, and this does not require great experiences but, on the contrary, very ordinary ones. Charisma is easy; presence, self-remembering, is terribly difficult, and where the real work lies.” (Morris Berman)
This is one reason why this practice is so amazing and even after nearly 20 years of yoga practice the layers it touches one cannot expect the when or the how, only that it will. Even though the experience has been tough on some level I know on another it's good medicine. To be free we must feel and yoga is a beautiful platform for that. Especially in Ashtanga yoga where we must be concentrated and attentive in every way, delving ever deeper each visit to our mats through the ritual of daily practice.
On a physical level I was just tired. Exhausted. Also, my digestion wasn't working properly, having little to no appetite. I had to put a few things into check. For one, why not cover my bases and do a parasite cleanse. Check. I also drastically cut back on coffee. Funny though, because one couldn't say I was a coffee addict before. I would simply have a small morning soy latte (post practice), however since cutting out the drug we call coffee it has replenished the diminishing returns. Two, Stockholm is extremely dry and really aggravates my Vata dominate side. So implementing the proper routine to stay in balance has been helpful.
On a mental/emotional level I felt heaviness and often sadness. Like a deep well of grief offering itself in a big oceanic wave. Hard to explain only to say it felt like there was no bottom to it. How deep would this sadness go? I was beginning to wonder if there was no end. My thoughts gravitated to past impressions and memories like a flood coming in on it's own accord as if I was powerless to its push forward into the psyche. Alas, there it was in all it's splendor. I began to wonder, why now all of a sudden, and instead of pushing it away I sat in observation and started to ride it out. Accepting that, yeah, I felt heavy and tired, however on a deeper level I knew I just needed to be in it, fully. No numbing. No acting as if it were, "all good."
On a spiritual level all I can say is something was and is desiring to emerge. It is too painful to sit in the shit of the unprocessed simply because I have learned useful coping mechanisms. When layers are being shed there is work to be done otherwise be stifled by the never ending cycle of conditioning. We live in a culture that almost demands that we numb ourselves at every turn of our existence. Who would have thought how challenging it is to live in authenticity when it comes to our true emotions as we touch the light of our center. However, if you were to look around the juice of life is seeping out of most as we coast never being fully immersed in the truth and beauty of who we are. This light of knowing will continue to call us home no matter how strongly we ignore it. It's a whisper that gently speaks, not the loud meanderings of the mind. As I sit in the silence of this presence, knowing full well that a part of me still clings to being small and what I am coming to realize is nothing needs to be done or fulfilled. It's an expansive release. A huge letting go. An unwinding and undoing of everything we thought we knew. It's an unexpected place that goes beyond anything I could have dreamed up in my limited little mind.