There is a lot of mixing of modalities these days, often blending yogic or Buddhist concepts with new age ideas that reflect an individual’s desire for things to be as they would like them to be (coming from the mind, or ego) rather than an understanding of things as they are. Ancient teachings are based on direct experience, not opinion or desire, and these have been shown to be reliable for thousands of years because of it. We can’t have it all – it’s not possible for life to be comfortable and predictable if we are really on a spiritual path. It’s challenging and requires a great deal of sacrifice and commitment to finding the truth. No vision board or 5-step meme will help you if you haven’t integrated a deeper understanding of the true nature of life.
Yoga is a practice for the mind, despite its modern adaptation as a fitness fad. To be fully engaged in the practice of yoga doesn’t mean mastering a challenging posture; it means that we question and examine thoughts, actions and beliefs through self-study (swadhyaya) so we don’t remain stuck in patterns of thought and behaviour that prevent our individual and collective evolution. There is no more urgent work in this moment of human history.
Many people are experiencing great suffering these days, and practicing compassion is the way through it all. Compassion is not condescension, and it can sometimes appear quite tough, paradoxically. When someone is caught up in delusions it is more compassionate to mirror back to them that what they see is a product of the mind, and not grounded in reality, rather than let them continue to perpetuate their own suffering (and thereby add to the suffering around them).
What do you believe, and why? Were you taught what to believe, and then never questioned it? How does what you believe affect others? Do you believe you belong to a separate and special order of humanity? Can you look at any single living being and see how you are connected? What single step can you take today to benefit the world around you? Always relevant, these are the big cosmic questions of the moment, and will be an important theme for the next two and a half years. You can ponder them and set intentions to help steer you forward with the energy of Tuesday’s powerful new moon.
The intensity of these times means that more compassion is needed towards oneself and others. Being kind and compassionate is at the root of every spiritual tradition, and brings a healing balm to the many wounds around us.
With much love and light,