On busyness and laziness…

… and busy laziness!

And lazy busyness.

The latter first: Where am I (me, the soul) in all my frantic work and home responsibilities?

Personally, this year has been massive for me in terms of deaths and births (jobs, living situations, cars, diets, injuries, family members) and part of me is really grateful and proud that I haven’t lost my mind completely!

I am surfing the waves, not drowning.

Coping with minimal crumbling.

My essence and functionality feel and look fine…

… but the wholer parts; the fulfilment, the enrichment, the finer and esoteric…

… little chips are falling away.

And I value my spirituality enough to know they are serious.

I flit either side of the golden balance:

“C’mon, this is life, you gotta do what you gotta do.”

“This has to stop now because my biggest priorities are slipping.”

Somewhere in between is a reality that is neither in crisis nor complacency.

An awareness beyond the temporary that calls out the crooks but accepts them with kindness.

For example, I feel the pull of my soul to give more to my meditation and relationship with the Divine, and know that I make a few too many excuses about tiredness and “more important things” to avoid those responsibilities. But I’m also kind to this little spat in life that is properly meeting “the real world” of recognised career titles and ridiculous credit card bills.

I chose it, but it’s really hard.

My relationship with body, mind and Soul are like those between friends.

They need regular investment of time and energy to feel loved and balanced – and I feel guilty when I come face-to-face with them after days of “being too busy” to answer their calls.

(Co-incidently, I do this with real people too, and hope anyone who reads or shares in this insight can understand that it is because I haven’t learned this on personal or inter-personal levels yet!).

This is why when I do take the time to invest in myself away from my emails and projects, it takes real effort.

It is undivided presence, stone-cold-sober sattva (energy of goodness or purity) versus the dippy, distracted fervour of rajas (passion or greed).

The latter is uncomfortable, unsustainable yet I linger there because it is familiar.

I want to say it’s easier but it’s not. It’s hard to be there. It’s exhausting.

The choice is easier, but the consequence isn’t.

It’s an opt-in for ignorance, a running away from my personal reality that will long outlive my little work projects and the money that dips in and (soon enough) out of the bank from them.

The solution is not to stop working – I am singling out the “sin” of mental selfishness taking over the situation, not the situation itself.

The self-absorbing abandon that is struggling but with an undercoat of frustration, guilt and shame that then turns away from the things or People who could help.

It shirks responsibilities and procrastinates penance.

I don’t want to face, I don’t want to feel, because of discomfort.

This is lazy busyness.

It becomes a pattern then, “habit energy” as my spiritual teacher calls it, and I see myself then create busyness to perpetuate this habit.

I know better but I put up a pretty weak fight.

An easy surrender back in to the swirl, every Monday morning.

“I’m not lazy, I’m working 60/65-hour weeks!”

But working on my computer is a shallow second-or-fifth-best to working on myself, and for THAT I am lazy.

Maybe it’s my generation. Maybe it’s holes in the aura or intoxication’s permanent hangover.

Or perhaps, digging like a true Scorpion, it is linked right back to root of this materialistic world.

Where the soul comes to Enjoy and Control, and anything contrary feels unnatural, especially the natural, enjoyable qualities of Service and Sacrifice.

Tomato, tom-a-to. 50/50. Unimportant is the reason, of course, because the I know what the real work is and it is to be done away from these words and away from this screen.

And I’m still procrastinating!

But doing it in a humble state of processing, with prayers, and what I hope is enough sincerity keep pushing me on…

… pushing me to be still, ironically, to be silent, and to keep searching deeper within the internal world that exists for every soul if they take the time to seek and say “Hare Krsna”.

That sweet observation – lazy busyness.

It doesn’t look much, but it’s everything…

… and I pray to carve it out and defend it to the death in my calendar week after week, lifetime after lifetime.

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Resistance…

2018.

Less than two weeks in.

My resolutions already meet resistance.

Why?

Self-sabotage, primarily.

“The mind can be best friend or the greatest enemy.” (Bhagavad-Gita 6.6, paraphrased)

So how to make it the best friend?

“There is one easy weapon with which the mind can be conquered – neglect.” (SB 5.11.17 purport)

It doesn’t sound very nice, does it?

Cruel, or even criminal.

But rejection of one thing means acceptance of another.

 

My “new years resolutions” were 1) to drink more water and 2) to do yoga practise, yoga study and meditation every morning before I do anything else.

Guess which one I’m struggling with?

The thing is, it’s not a struggle to wake up and really be with myself for a few hours.

It’s not, it’s actually a joy. It’s very natural too.

Who actually wants to stare at a screen, with eyes still bleary, reacting to rubbish on Facebook or whatever emails have come in by spammers or insomniacs during the night?

Or, my other default at least, eat. At ridiculous o’clock?

Again, no it’s not quite natural or normal.

 

 

So why is it this morning routine a challenge?

Well there’s a lot of psychology behind it, eternal and conditional, but let’s just say: the selfish mind likes to accept something one minute, and reject it the next.

It likes variety, it likes to flit, it likes lack of focus.

My Self, ME, knows that routine, discipline and concentration are all necessary to success, satisfaction and depth.

Hence neglect.

Ignoring the “monkey mind”, or whatever else we want to call those little thoughts or whims that spring out of nowhere and tell us to do things against our better judgement or previous resolve.

And on the other side of the coin, is acceptance of higher aspirations and goals.

 

Albeit, this morning, I’m one of the bleary-eyed, sitting here typing this. Another distraction.

But it’s a valuable process of creating a higher, deeper, whichever-way-is-up New-Year-Plus-Two-Weeks Resolution.

The novelty has worn off: the pride and glow of achievement and, perhaps, even some spiritual encouragement from above to remind me of the potency of morning practise.

I know I need to continue, which means I need to ignore the thoughts that taunt me and tempt me as my alarm goes off or as I start to sit down and begin. “No you should do x important thing”, “C’mon, it’s too early, you’ll be knackered later”, “You’re hungry, you’ll have more energy if you eat some chocolate”.

And that’s fine, I thank the people who helped me develop the willpower, I know I have it now after many years of practise.

Thing is, negation of something can get us quite far, but it can also make the heart quite hard.

We also need a positive, an acceptance of something or someone higher, to keep the heart soft and loving.

So rather than a “big girl boots on”, “stiff upper-lip” charge onwards, I’m trying the “observe and offer” approach.

Observe:

Be fully present with my mind’s obstinacy and pleas for selfish gratification.

Watch those thoughts with total neutrality – “Ah, interesting, the chocolate one is coming up again”.

No judgement, no story. (E.g. “God I’m such a pig, I always said I would never end up like this and I have, what a loser” etc etc)

Just, ok, here is that old record. It has come up and now it’s going just as quickly as it came. No biggie. Carry on.

Offer:

Whatever’s swirling around, I will continue my practise and all the extra effort and energy I’m exerting just to continue, I will offer to someone I want to show love for.

For me, this will be my spiritual teacher.

If you’ve read this far and feel inspired to contemplate or try, choose whoever your heart can connect to and dedicate, demonstrate, deepen that relationship.

Do your best simply for them, and by default you’ll also benefit the same, in not more, than before.

Not that you expect it, you just do it for love’s sake.

That is bhakti yoga.

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A higher taste…

A quick one after reflecting on a conversation post-yoga with a student.

He’s been my student for a couple of years, so I vaguely know his philosophy and lifestyle. He’s an art student, and as art students are, he’s rather “fluid” in both.

He had met a brahmacari distributing books on the street and found out that devotees are “celibate”, and found this very bewildering, so was further inquiring from me about this point.

He understood our other principles, but this one, he said, was unnatural and “blocked the natural flow of energy”.

A popular idea, and I’m not really writing to debate and argue against it.

More so, just to share a simplistic thought-pattern I had in relation:

Sex, unless performed according to sastra, is of the lower modes. If a person is, in general, conditioned by the lower modes, they will crave sex more. And the more they do it, the heavier that conditioning is.

Vicious cycle?

So what breaks it?

Well, the deeper answer is determination, hard-work, reconditioning, constant awareness and a few other big, scary concepts.

But the short answer is… a higher taste.

There are many higher tastes in restraining from sense gratification; feeling more self-esteem, more cohesiveness, more clarity, more direction, more strength, more sanity.

But sometimes those qualities or states may be too far away to appreciate or attain straight away and, after all, we are plagued increasingly by the need for instant gratification.

So again, how to break the cycle tangibly and quickly?

The only conclusion I could come up with was kirtan.

For anyone who has experienced it, it really is a unique, magical “short-cut” up the rungs of the guna ladder!

This seems crystal clear to me this morning and I want to place more priority on it in my personal life and by making it more known and available to others.

Hare Krishna.

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Why I need to be a yoga teacher…

I hadn’t arranged a 1-to-1, but I just taught a yoga class to 1 person.

Fortunately I renounced believing in awkwardness.

It’s all in the mind, just like everything else.

Before the class, my Day-On-Day-Off Existential Crisis was a Day-On.

Where in the world is my life going?

If it’s not going out of this world, then I don’t see much point in going anywhere.

So I sit with it.

Externally I’m tolerating this confusion.

But internally there is resistance.

Frustration.

That means there’s a misunderstanding.

In between the confusion and the frustration is a belief that I should always be in control and conscious of past, present and future.

I think I’m so exceptional that I should be exempt from these hours upon days of struggle and suffering.

If I am to accept that I’m only as exceptional as the next soul, I am free:

to surrender to this emptiness I feel in the centre of my chest.

Deep, spiralling nothing.

Or is this just… space?

A gaping opportunity, an open goal?

I’m full with anxiety and stress so often, then I get a bit of space and wish it was full up again… of something, anything!

Space = pain.

Space = the openness that has preceded pain in the past.

But you know what?

I had no time left to Um and Ah.

I was powerless to do anything else, except transform that gruelling internal mutiny in to a heroic offensive.

For my one student, for one hour.

True presence descends, and bears presents.

Crystals// clarity.

Diamonds// richness.

Scuffing, shining,

descending,

divine,

desires to heal,

Ability,

Intuition,

Love.

Heaviness,

artistry,

a sentimentality that I’m not sure I’ll ever separate from my selves.

Servitude: the key. As soon as the obsessive controllership was curbed, reality washed over me like a refreshing, foaming wave.

I don’t have enough control of my mind to step back like this of my own accord.

Oh I tell you,

I could scoff and smoke and snort and shrivel away my whole life in to a gutter rather than choose that level of gravity.

Scorpios dig down, not up.

This is why I am eternally grateful to call myself a Yogi.

Every day my students save me because they attend my classes and I don’t have the nerve to tell them to go home.

Forgive me for so selfishly sharing,

your patient scroll is holding space for me to keep my writing muscles alive and potentially fit to please my spiritual master as he always inspires!

Hare Krsna.

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A perverted world *

In this perverted world

drowning

reaching up for air

feels more like

plunging down

for

faith.

Digging deep for strength

feels more like

looking up

fingers up

folded palms.

Waiting.

With gritted teeth//

then gurning.

Spinning wheels always

the wrong way.

Patiently awaiting

my love.

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Energy levels…

If phones were round, would I feel less boxed in by using them?

Or maybe computers could be triangles

to stop me going round in circles.

I love people.

Spirituality or sentimentality/

not quite sure

but either way

I feel my heart open more and more;

helping others gets me out of bed in the morning.

But I’m feeling increasingly drained by it

I need more and more time on my own, and with my own.

Maybe now I’m just more aware of my energy

and energy itself.

Maybe it’s my new post-marriage diet

love affairs with real toast

and sweets with sugar in them.

Maybe I’m getting old!

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit miffed with God.

If He wants me to care about people

which He probably does

in fact, He says it’s my destiny

my very essence…

surely trying to align with that should unlock bonus energy points?

Why is it so tiring?!

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Answer: purity, or lack thereof?

Ps. I’m trying not to be miffed with God, it just feels cathartic to blame someone else sometimes.

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The need for balance is an imbalance…

“The need for balance is an imbalance.”

This came to me recently, which is a shame really, because I’ve strived for balance my whole life!

I’m so naturally prone, even attracted, to extremism and wonkiness.

I acknowledge that in life, to the degree that we identify with being human (which I know for me is very much), our human needs demand even foundations on which to build on.

Some sense of sanity, clarity, organisation, rationale, justice, synonym.

But there comes a time to move past these dry entities.

The need for them in the first place is a kind of insecurity, even control-freakery.

Implicit in a hiker’s insistence on tracks with exclusively flat terrain, must be an ankle or knee injury?

Wouldn’t hills, caves and stepping-stones add variety and excitement otherwise?

For those who accept Vedic teachings, it is understood that true personhood (in likeness of the Truest Person), and God’s will, are not limited by any human or societal conception.

Self-expression, in its purest form, is free.

Love, in its purest form, has no rules.

I read today a blog [paraphrased here] called “My boyfriend told me to F*** O**, now what?”.

You’re welcome to read it. I found it challenging and refreshing.

Most truths simultaneously stretch and satisfy me in this way.

This particular part resonated with my previous thoughts:

“Rules, passion and love don’t go together. Rules make for a restricted, but perhaps sometimes more “equal” relationship where passion and spontaneity and depth of love are not expressed. Essentially, if you think your partner must never say certain things to you – and you then let that stop you making connection with them in retaliation – you are operating from a script. A pre-prescribed, out-dated rule”.

This “weighing-scale”, “merchant” mentality surrounding life and love is a really hard mental habit to recover from.

Not even just in romantic love, in all our interactions.

To be so measured, so self-centred with our personal tape-measures and tallies, is a real disservice to ourselves and others.

True balance is to disregard (our subjective concept of) balance, and simply flow.

Intelligent, focused fluidity.

To allow some pushes and pulls from people (as no doubt they do with us) and to humbly tolerate in spite of arising ego-righteousness (as we can be sure they also lovingly swallow for us).

Particularly when their intention is good.

And ESPECIALLY when their intention is spiritual.

Bear in mind though, I only believe these things because I’ve been blessed to glimpse them exemplified in real people.

To Srila Prabhupada, the most complete personal example, and the people who truly represent him, I’m grateful.

Also to my husband, who patiently, repeatedly pulls me off my trapeze and reminds me that I can learn more on the ground.

AND to you and your comments, I’m so open to hear.

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Cavtat, Croatia

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