~ Christopher Columbus ~
I guess I've been blessed in some ways to have been exposed to the idea of "practice" from a young age. Growing up I was completely committed to perfecting the art of ballet, as well as other dance forms, and I would practice seven days a week to the point of exhaustion. However, because of this dedication, I never have been one to shy away from a little hard work. I like a challenge, and I enjoy activities that drive to the heart of feeling alive in some way. Over the years I've noticed that these activities usually involve some element of risk, whether it be emotional, mental or physical. They also tend to bring up some kind of unpleasant sensation or pain that is shadowed in pursuit of a higher beauty or a greater sense of freedom. They also include being brutally honest about where you are and how you're doing because "faking it" can cause serious problems for yourself or others.
I've never been one to dabble. If I'm in - I'm fully in, and when I'm out - I'm fully out.
I've noticed these same qualities exist in authentic spiritual pursuits, which are transformative in nature. An honest and powerful spiritual practice is going to take you into the very heart of your pain. It will drive you directly into the storm. If we are to harness the power of chaos, we must first identify what is driving all the turmoil. Perhaps you are doubting that you too have a raging storm within yourself, I encourage you to go deeper... you have not yet begun to even touch upon the periphery of the truth of who you are or what you are capable of.
An honest and powerful spiritual practice is going to make you feel a little uncomfortable at times, and it may even hurt a bit; you will be sure to taste the sweet pain of being alive.
It will stir up some strong reactions, and shake you out of your conditioned way of thinking and seeing the world. It will shine a light on all your unexamined beliefs, and rip away everything you cling to or hide behind, forcing you see all the presumptions that are no longer true.
Any authentic spiritual practice is going to agitate the hell out of you and leave you feeling raw and exposed. All of this and more happens for your own liberation.
For it is not until we die to our preconceived notions of who we are that we can truly start living in the freedom of our Higher Self.
Finally, when everything external and superfluous has been stripped away, and our inner light is all that remains, the spontaneous experiential realization of our interconnectedness arises. However, in my experience, this process is neither blissful nor easy, and it certainly isn't all warm and fuzzy.
It is birthed from an ocean of sweat and tears, a balance of effort and surrender coupled with an unwavering willfulness and relentless receptivity. It requires honesty with where I am at mentally, physically and spiritually on any given day, and a readiness to see where I fall short and make the changes necessary without hesitation.
It demands vulnerability, which for me, is mostly really scary. I am not happy all the time, I'm certainly not perfect, and I fail on a daily basis; but each morning I get up and attempt to do better. I get on my mat and look into the mirror of my practice and realize I am not my victories nor my failures, I am not my body nor my mind, I simply am.
The path to liberation is difficult and not well-worn. It remains hidden from the masses who are content to appease their pain by seeking pleasure, stroking their ego, and wrapping themselves in a false sense of bliss. A true and deep spiritual practice is only discovered by the courageous souls who are not content to settle for merely existing, and in response to their inner call are willing to sacrifice their safe abode to embark upon a threatening process of metamorphosis to discover the extraordinary pulse of life that surges in every cell of creation.
The rewards are beyond what we can conceive or imagine... a lifetime changed.
Yet, we must be willing to do the work, to get messy while renovating our psyche. Only then will we have the clarity to see the obstacles within ourselves and the wisdom to know how to remove them.
It will take dedication, determination, and devotion.
We must be tenacious and never give up.
Rise with me! You Come!
Stand today and make a vow to stay committed to this deep and demanding process of transformation.
AND Keep going... Never Look Back...
I will meet you on the other side.
Steeped in gratitude I rejoice
A lifetime... Changed
For I have dipped my Soul
In the Ocean of Yoga
~ Dena Kingsberg ~