Tears stream down my face as I sit cross legged and cross eyed in a room full of others doing the same. We’re all dressed in white and we’ve been doing Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training all day for the past three days. This is our last exercise for the weekend before a monthlong break.

It’s a short, “sweet” exercise my trainer smiles, radiating with an intoxicating yet unassuming grace. She guides us gently through the whole process, watching over us as she speaks: “begin in your most beautiful and regal meditation posture.”

Precise and Prescriptive

We sit patiently as she explains an exacting series of mental, third eye focuses and the silent mantra that we will be repeating throughout the meditation. “Now, draw your eyes down to 1/10th open, your gaze is on the tip of your nose.”

Most meditations and even exercises in Kundalini are done with the eyes completely closed, but as I’ve progressed to training I’ve come to enjoy this one. It has a remarkable disarming and balancing effect, allowing for a lot of clearing – and that’s just what I’ve come to know through my own, very brief experiences so far.

“The eyes focused at the tip of the nose causes the optic nerves to cross at the third eye. Thus it is easier to bring your mental focus to the Third Eye while the eyes are directed at the tip of the nose. Both the pineal and the pituitary glands and the area between them are stimulated by this eye posture, which has the effect of breaking old habits and creating new ones.”

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Taking Aim at Deep Pain

I get excited as I feel my mental defenses begin to shut down.

She then leads us through some corresponding Third Eye excercises, how they will be interspersed with breathwork and finally begins the meditation prompts. “Deep breath in, suspend the breath and bring to mind an encounter or incident that happened to you.”

My mind immediately rushes to one of my earliest traumas, something that has impacted my life greatly and haunts me daily. A memory I don’t care to think about that has also somehow still weaved itself into the very fabric of my heart and mind.

“Really?!” I hear a desperate whisper from somewhere inside of me but there is no stopping to listen, I’m locked into the meditation. The rhythms of the practice’s mantra and Third Eye patterns, the enchanting drishti (eye gaze) and my trainer’s reassuring voice all working together to help me unlock these very deep pains that just minutes before I had no awareness of.

Trusting the Process

We repeat the sequence. That’s when the tears start, flowing uninhibited from my eyes – yet somehow my gaze remains fixed and strong. I’m sweating, profusely, but I’m trembling like I am cold. I can’t even think much about these things though – my entire mental plane is consumed by the prompting of my trainer.

“Visualize and re-live the actual feeling of the encounter.” More tears, more sweat, more trembling. Repeat.

We are lead on a powerful journey, step by step. Switching roles with the Other in our encounter and remembering the experience from their perspective.

Rediscovering the Past

It was a shock. I wasn’t experiencing my expectations or assumptions about my Other’s perspective at all, I was experiencing their stress, their distractions and their fear. They had no awareness of how their pain was affecting me in the memory at all.

We complete the meditation by repeating the internal codes of sacred geometry and vibrations in silence again before we continue on to forgiving the Other and our Self. The cycling finally ending with our focus on “letting go of the incident and releasing it to the universe.”

We then go through the steps of closing out our practice for the day, but I’m still crying. I get a picture of the meditation from my trainer and thank her for the impactful weekend, she asks if I’m okay and I smile, still crying as I nod and say “yeah, just -” while motioning erratically around my head. She nods back silently and I am comforted to know she too has experienced the rewriting of her own history.

Healing with Patience and Joy

I sit on my mat, and cry some more. Another student comes up to ask me something and then realizes I’m processing and respectfully tells me we can talk another time. I smile genuinely at her too, as tears still fall from my eyes.

I returned to my regal posture as the room buzzed around me with everyone preparing to leave. Breathing long and deep I set my intention to clear the rest of my process so I can actually get home and another meditation we learned this weekend comes to mind.

This meditation incorporates celestial movements, mudras and arm movements in specific patterns, with a mantra that you recite outloud. It takes me an instant to decide to do it mentally so I don’t call attention to myself.

It’s a fun meditation for children to do in stressful times. Within maybe a just a few brief minutes I was beaming again, the tears completely gone.

“The mind become a monster when it becomes your master. The mind is an angel when it is your servant.”

Yogi Bhajan

I just watched a news segment about a retiree who volunteers to take naps with cats at his local shelter. He’s become a sensation and has helped raise over 100k for the shelter by becoming a viral sensation. All by taking naps with kitties. All without trying.

This is the type of thing the universe keeps showing me lately, ways in which things work out, just because. I’m still mulling over my “rest and relax” commission from the Divine for 2020, but little signs like Mr. Cat Nap help.

Image: Facebook

Can I Really Succeed without Trying?

I once wrote a poem with the lines: “you cannot fail if the goal is failing / you also cannot succeed -” and I’m reminded of that feeling now. Stepping outside of the playbook and the game altogether, not breaking “rules” because I don’t recognize any…

The memory contained in that poem feels dangerous – but not this feeling, not now – this is different… This isn’t rebellion, it’s acceptance.

I won’t succeed. I won’t do anything. It’s not about me.

I won’t fail either though, because it isn’t a competition and I have nothing to lose. I’m not gambling, I’m reveling. The Divine something beyond the logical choice, the closest description possibly optimal…

Not as Simple as Doing Nothing

The irony of it all is, it’s not like the most restorative, relaxing, healing and meditative life contains nothing. I still have to live, caring for myself and my loved ones, expressing the curiosity and creativity of my soul, enjoying and trusting in the Divine…

I’ve had trouble with procrastination my entire life, yet now, as I am commissioned to rest and relax – I find myself delightfully stimulated. Strangely, for many of the things I’ve struggled to maintain enthusiasm for in the past.

I’m talking to more of my friends, reaching out and opening up. I’m cooking with more enthusiasm and care. I’m sleeping better. I have more energy and clarity. I’m excited about life and feeling grateful organically.

Things are still getting done. I haven’t been suddenly overcome with inherent laziness and entitlement… It’s almost as if all of the pressure I was putting on myself was the most taxing element in my life – and without it everything is just running better

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Nurturing the Courage to Believe

I’m only a few days in, but so far this radically daring faith I’ve been called to is having cascading rebalancing effects throughout my entire life. The calm is palpable, the peace is tangible, the joy is consuming – and I am grateful.

I’m so excited to have no idea what’s next. I cannot wait for the next big turn or twist! I feel as though I’m already flying – the Divine the invisible force on which I rise – soaring on the currents and gusts with trust that my wings were designed to dance with these trappings of air…

Image: Facebook

“Rest.” That’s what the Universe told me last night as I did a personal Tarot reading for 2020.

After looking at the Astrology and casting cards for each of the 12 months I was feeling as fired up as ever, ready to take on what was surely going to be another epic year. “Rest, relax, heal and meditate -” that’s what’s expected of me this year, and not only that.

What I can expect from the Divine? “Obstacles being removed, the path made clear and blessings abundantly given.”

Now, I thought I had faith and when I first saw the messages coming through it felt as though my whole body lightened. Today though I’ve begun to realize the actuality of this call – I have to learn how to rest and relax.

Healing? Got that, do more plant medicine and Kundalini – check! Meditation? Sweet! Sadhana, mantra, walking… Bring it on! But rest? Like, when? Or – how? For how long? Relax? Like, at a spa?

So far it’s been interesting, and at times I’ve been at a loss as to how to integrate this – but I’m beginning to see a pattern emerge in the commission: trust. I need to relinquish my sense of control and simply allow the Spirit to move through me, trusting that whatever need be will be.

So – more on all that soon I’m sure. For now though, rest. Real, sleep-rest at that!

Two years ago, December 2017, I began on a journey I had been starting my whole life. I’ve always been too conscious. I’d always asked to many questions. But there I was, finally doing something about it.

Sure, I’d meditated before. Sure, I’d fasted and journaled and exercised and read personal development books and articles – sure – I’d been obsessed. Sure, I’d been following High Existence online for years, but there I was: doing something about it.

I had seen HE’s 30 Challenges to Enlightenment bopping around on the interwebs for a while already, but I had only just bought the program and December 2017 was my first official 30 Day Challenge: High on Existence. No drugs, alcohol, nicotine or caffeine for a whole month – and because I’m me, I included sugar (I’m more addicted to it that any of those other substances). I anticipated a difficult time, but was pleasantly surprised: I actually enjoyed myself.

Development and Growth

Subsequent challenges would prove more difficult and with time my personal development would again evolve, but I can’t help thinking back to the ease of that December, and how empowering it felt to feel so in control of myself. Flash forward to today though: I’m a mess.

I keep waking up late, I’m gloriously failing at implementing my own Sadhana practice for my Kundalini yoga teacher training, my self-care has been minimal, I can’t seem to keep up with my responsibilities and I’m randomly overwhelmed with such intense emotions and thoughts that they consume my whole being. Ah yes, the putrid smell of growth.

Since December 2017 so much has happened in my life, I feel like almost an entirely different person. I’ve taken trips to the underworld and back with Momma Aya, I’ve begun to develop a more comprehensive understanding of my Being through yoga and meditation, I’ve started developing peer and mentor relationships with people I admire and respect, I’ve learned Reiki and began practicing Divination for others, I’ve started to heal trauma and confront fears, I’ve begun bloging and am blooming more purposefully in my life… All to find myself here: feeling more out of control than I did back then, before any of this began. But is that really what’s going on?

No Longer Playing Games

You see, along with my personal development, I’ve been doing deep spiritual work too. It’s not as simple as getting “better,” it’s about dismantling my egoic understanding of “better” and the manipulative devices I am conditioned to deploy in this world as a result of those delusions.

You see, 2 years ago my ego was still calling the shots. Being able to detach from my vices so easily felt good because it confirmed my biases about my abilities to manipulate myself – er, I mean exert self-control. But those subsequent challenges? The meditations and self-care? Those required so much more than self-manipulation.

In the last 2 years I’ve learned to give my ego a backseat, and it’s shaken everything up. At times, I am literally completely out of control – in fact, I aspire to be totally out of control. Yet, my ego is still there, still screaming and throwing fits. It’s not so nice when it’s not getting it’s way: confirming biases and coming out “on top.”

Choosing a Master

Alas, there we were, still listening. See, I may have put Ego in the backseat, but Spirit was still back there too. Observer was up front with Wisdom navigating, but kept getting distracted by all the commotion:

Are we there yet?!” Ego likes to scream.

Where exactly do you want to be?” Wisdom replies, “You haven’t exactly helped us formulate a plan E.”

“Be here,” Spirit wispers.

“I don’t know, I don’t care!” E screams, “Anywhere but here! Somewhere exciting! Let’s do something good, let’s do something seen. I don’t want to waste my time, and I’m not letting any of you waste yours either.”

“We’re all in this together E, and I love your passion,” Spirit cooes, grabbing E’s hand on the seat between them and giving it a little squeeze while gazing deeply into E’s potential.

Ego recoils sharply, with a look of disgust for Spirit’s vulnerability and affection. Spirit remains, unfazed by the discomfort and reaction.

“Well?! Go O!” E yells again, at which point Observer is startled to find itself in the driver’s seat, speechless.

“Seriously?! What’s your problem? Just GO!” Ego exclaims, growing in ferocity.

Observer turns to Wisdom for guidance and W shrugs as if to say, “I know.”

And this sort of thing was going on for a while… ‘Round and ’round; it’s completely immobilizing. It couldn’t continue, I had to choose a different driver.

It would seem, despite my naive assumptions of meditation training, that Observer isn’t the best driver – but I can’t put Ego back in that seat again either. Wisdom is squarely in the navigation position, of its own personal assertion, so that leaves Spirit.

The most obvious and unassuming of all. Of course, surrendering to Divine grace is the answer! But have you tried to actually do that? It’s not exactly easy.

Seeing Clearly

It’s not as simple as deciding to do something and doing it anymore. Everything is scrutinized and examined, mostly because Ego is in the backseat DEMANDING it to be so. That’s been one of the major lessons in my life this past year: much of my “personal development” has actually been more “Ego development.”

Even putting Observer in the driver’s seat was Ego’s move. E knew that O could be manipulated, overwhelmed and controlled. Spirit is always the one to, not fight back but, remain tranquil and resilient despite anything Ego tries to do. As far as Ego’s concerned, “SPIRIT CANNOT BE THE DRIVER!”

I’ve only just made this choice as consequence of my calling to Kundalini and everything I’m dealing with now are just the consequences. It’s seriously maddening at times though. I am actually at war within myself.

Ego knows it’s different this time, and it’s not giving up control without a fight. It’s using everything it can to its advantage: old patterns, pain, manipulation, self-sabotage and symptoms of mental illnesses all resurfacing within me to try and force E’s desperate agenda. And yet, with Spirit now in full power, I am unphased.

Accepting the Promises of Grace

Maybe I’m not waking up and doing the perfect Sadhana every day, but I’m reconstructing the patterns within my heart and mind that have made me content in my excessive comfort. Maybe I’m not practicing self-care or approaching my goals and projects as mindfully as I want to, but I am rooting out the lies of unworthiness, insecurity and fear that have plagued my life. Maybe I’ve not yet mastered the simplicity of my own Sovereignty, but with Spirit at the healm it’s only a matter of time before I get better and better at developing those skills and understandings too.

Personal development can look like a flawless execution of a challenge, but it can also feel like falling apart. Dense pockets of conditioning require a bit of finesse and tenderness, but they have to be worked through. Whatever isn’t flowing, is growing stagnant and contributing to dis-ease.

As much as we want to undergo growth to feel better, we have to be willing to work through even those patterns and pains that make us feel worse. True healing doesn’t happen at the surface, and this is just one of those times I get to explore a messier side to the art of growing. Even amidst the struggles I can rejoice knowing I will make it through.

“Ah! Fine! Can we at least get going now!?” E says in a defiant huff.

“Only once you’ve calmed down dear one, where we are going an attitude won’t serve you…” Spirit encourages with a smile, “but we’ve got all the time in the world to sit, here, with you.”

Ego’s eyes grow big with disbelief and wonder. Caught within the illusions of its own fear, subject to everything but distractions, for once E seems itself speechless – emitting only: “… okay.”