Anger

Anger is a teacher.  There are a lot of lessons for us in our anger. Lessons about our limits, our weaknesses, our fears, our ways of armoring and protecting ourselves, our vulnerabilities, and about the sometimes frightening power of our individual energy.

Anger teaches us about the needs of our human bodies every time we boil up because we haven’t eaten or slept or given our minds and emotions the rests they need from demands and pressures.

Our anger teaches us when we mean, “no”, but we say, “yes” – all those times we agree to favors, tasks, engagements, responsibilities that we actually do not want to do or are simply too filled up to take on.  In short time, our anger will rear its head at the person, job, volunteer position or needy family member we perceive as putting us in this position.

The biggest delusion of anger is that our feelings of anger are the other person’s fault, that they are responsible for causing these uncomfortable feelings and that they are responsible for fixing them.

They are not.  We are each, individually, responsible for what we feel and how we respond to those feelings.  What we do with our anger reveals where we are on our path and what lessons we have to learn – some need to stop repressing, others need to speak up for themselves, others need to learn how not to be so aggressive and bullyish with their anger. Whatever it is for each of us, we all are learning how to experience, manage and use our energy in ways that are most beneficial to our individual souls and our collective souls.

Anger reveals itself when the stress and emotions we are experiencing have surpassed our ability to manage them gracefully. Picture an empty glass. If it is almost entirely full already with physical stress, repressed feelings and undigested dissatisfaction, then simply a few more “drops” of difficult feelings, physical stress or disappointment will cause us to spill over emotionally. We begin to talk in a frustrated tone. We become rude and focused on blame. Our feelings overflow spilling out of us and on everyone around us until we suddenly feel drained, remorseful and guilty at the mess we have made. I am a mother of small children who grew up in a combative east coast family so for me, this scenario is all too familiar.

We are human beings. We are messy and while we are evolving every day, we still have a long way to go in managing our anger.  In our most intimate relationships, anger arises. It is part of the human experience. But bringing our anger angrily to others is often a disappointing, combative, and hurtful experience.  When we come at someone angrily, demanding more love, respect or whatever different behavior, we usually don’t get it.  What we get back is their (understandably) defensive anger or their remote silence as they try to protect themselves.

Where we can take our anger is meditation.  Sitting down to meditation when one is fuming with cranked up, bitter energy is a freeing and empowering experience. At first, we might only be thinking about the object of our blame or frustration, but if we visualize a ball of growing white light at our heart chakra and we invite in Divine consciousness to bring us healing, we begin to feel a shift.  We may start to cry as we realize that our angry focus on another is actually a clever trick of our internal defensive armor. Actually, we are quite sad, tired and worn out and in need of an emotional release. Anger could give us one that would probably hurt another, but it turns out that when we sit quietly, we get as powerful and an even more honest and beneficial release from crying. Or it could be that by sitting quietly we begin to recognize the physical needs that have been affecting our thinking – we are tired, hungry, in desperate need for play and fun and a break from adult responsibilities.

With a regular meditation practice, we find that the anger comes up less often or that when it does we have a growing awareness of our choices.  We no longer feel that anger controls us. We no longer need to act on the angry energy of urgency, (“Go tell him how mad you are right now!”) and instead we realize that we can give ourselves time to sit quietly with our feelings so that the full truth of them can be revealed.  As we sit and rest in the healing divine energy of meditation, we may discover solutions, perspectives and feelings that we were unable to hear in the loud, urgent noise  of our angry feelings.  When we communicate our anger respectfully and simply with a willingness to let it go, others are much more able to hear us and consider our point of view.

In the paradox of life, it is often when we most urgently want to confront something or someone, that we could most benefit from hitting our internal pause button and taking a break for meditation. It may be terribly uncomfortable to force ourselves to sit down those first few minutes, but when we do a resource of inner healing, peace and comfort reveals itself and we discover how very small that frustrated urgency can be made by the vast and eternal love that continuously surrounds us. It’s flowing always.  Tap in.

 

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Facing Confrontations 

Sometimes walking our path means confronting an obstruction. Sometimes, we are given a path around it, under it or over it. But sometimes, we are asked to stand our ground and confront it. 

I once heard a yoga teacher tell a class that yogis are “peaceful” and “don’t fight”.  I kindly confronted her on this point, reminding her that the Bhagavad Gita, a central yogic text, is entirely about the divine embodied as the God Krishna showing up on a battlefield to persuade the main character, Arjuna, who is in internal conflict about what to do, that he needs to do his duty and fight. 

Essentially, Krishna says that we have to live our dharma and do our life’s duties even when we would rather not.  It’s important if you are not familiar with the text to know that Arjuna and his ancestors have already exhausted every peaceable means by which to confront the problem. Krishna is certainly not advising fighting for the sake of fighting. But Krishna also does not tell Arjuna to be peaceful in the sense that he should lay down upon the ground and refuse to battle.  (Though Arjuna in his confusion and fear would like to.) He instead urges Arjuna to be peaceful within himself – to accept that this is his life’s duty, that fighting for this cause is something he has incarnated to do…Arjuna knows this deep down in his soul, but he judges himself for being called to battle.  He wishes his duty were different than it was.  But Krishna with very beautiful and powerful examples shows how much bigger everything is than the individual while also expounding on how important the warrior’s individual role in it is. 

Being peaceful and not fighting are two different things.  Gandhi was peaceful.  Martin Luther King, Jr. was peaceful.  But they both confronted and fought against existing systems and the individuals who embodied them.  They did refine the battlefield though, teaching millions of others the potential power of non-violent confrontation. The peace they embodied was within themselves – and the means with which they fought their battles revealed this deep inner peace toward humanity.  Their battles, as the most important battles are, were righteous – they were matters of human justice.

Sometimes yogis or other spiritual seekers have a mistaken expectation of what living a spiritual life looks like.  I know that I used to think being spiritual meant being above everything, being untouched…it looked something like floating around in the air in a lotus position with a serene expression never leaving my unlined face.  But as I deepen and deepen and broaden my spiritual practice, I find that what it looks more like is feeling deeply, is embodying one’s own true, authentic nature – however silly, fiery, transformative and challenging that nature is.  It also means being courageous. It means being able to hear your heart’s whispers and being willing to act on that guidance even when your actions may cause you to have to confront the injustices or negligences of another person or institution.  

Developing our spiritual connection doesn’t make us instantly popular with everyone or make our life problem-free and easy.  What it does do is give us a connection to our most authentic self and to the divine love and support that is our birthright.  With this on our side, we are much more equipped to face the difficult battles of our life with a sense of peace.

Krishna stresses over and over that we are here to take action – change through action is the nature of this world.  We can’t simply stick our heads in the sand and hope that someone else does our duty.  When we are called in our hearts to answer justice’s call, we must – but we can do so with confidence in our divine nature and with unattachment to the outcome.  The actions are ours, but the results belong to the divine. 

Peace and justice are worth fighting for, whether we are called to confront a neglectful landlord, an unjust work environment, an individual who is threatening our well being or an institution or government that is participating in unjust or harmful acts. We create change by envisioning it, believing in it, and taking the actions that we are called to in order to make it come about.  We are all called to play our role. We a play a role within ourselves and we play a role in the world. We can play that role peacefully by practicing meditation and prayer before, after or during a confrontation.  We can asked to be guided to our highest possibility.  We can treat every being in the situation with respect.  We can do our best to remain calm and thoughtful and open to the highest guidance.  But we must do, it is why we came here – we embodied out of a desire to learn and grow individually and collectively.  We are here to change and shape our selves and the world.  

Walk lovingly through your battles knowing that the divine is in all things and that through these greater conflicts, even when it seems darkest, we are moving toward increased happiness, love, light and peace for all beings.  It is possible to do our duty, however trying, with calm and peace and even joy, in our hearts.   

Peace be with you.

Taking a break

So many, many demands come at us seeking our attention, our energy, our actions, our time.  There are the demands that come with relationships. There are the emotional demands of our relationship with ourselves – the time and space we need to properly digest our emotional experiences. There are demands on our bodies and from our bodies. There are financial demands. There is an endless series of actions we can always be taking – the sink that needs fixing, the cleaning that hasn’t been done, the phone call that still needs to be made, the personal project that yearns to be started. 

Then there are society’s demands – to read more, be more, participate more, know more, do more more more – whatever you are already doing plus what everybody else is doing.  To fall “short” in any area, can leave us feeling like we are not good enough, so we push ourselves, force ourselves or condemn ourselves as failures.  Along the way, the tension takes over and we lose our sense of humor, our goodwill, our generosity.  We have nothing to give because all of the doing has left our own inner well painfully dry and empty.  

Sometimes, we need to say, ‘no’ a few dozen times in one day.  No to answering emails, no to answering calls, no to cleaning, no to going on an errand, no to the internet, no to the news that’s going to stir us up, no to social media, no to the friend who is asking a favor (again), no to the family member who is trying to guilt trip us (again), no to the inner guilt trip we are giving ourselves. 

The religion I was raised in emphasized always putting others before one’s self.  It revered sacrifice and suffering. I don’t.

Personally, I have a very clear limit.  When I have passed my personal, emotional, physical or mental limit, I get frustrated. If I keep pushing past that, I get angry.  If I keep going past that, I melt down. If I keep going past that, I get physically ill.

We’ve all lived through crises when we had to simply show up to the demands of life regardless of our needs.  Any of us with small children, know that we repeatedly have to put our needs aside for periods to tend to them. But most of the time, we are not in crisis.  Most of the time, we are simply caught up in the momentum of stress and we choose – however unwittingly – to let its fast-paced, demanding energy rule us. At these times, it’s important that we take a step back, connect with our inner energy and put our own well-being first. 

We get caught up in the fast-paced whirlwind energy of modern life, but we don’t need to stay in that energy. We can choose to shift. We can take a moment to meditate, do some yoga, step into nature and connect with our own inner energy.  This energy source is spacious, eternal and calm.  From this place, we can feel our way through our priorities.  What really needs to get done today? Do I really want to do that or am I just saying yes to avoid a confrontation or to make someone else happy? (If this someone else is a child, it’s worth considering, but if it’s an adult we should take pause).  We can ask ourselves what is really important? To my day? My soul? My dreams? My authentic self? Is having a perfectly clean house as necessary to me as getting some time to relax, to be creative or to play with my children? (If you came over, you would know that for me the answer is definitely no, though it used to be yes). 

The paradox is that the more we answer the demands of the external world, the more pressing those demands feel.  They don’t lessen from answering them, they grow.  It is when we learn to connect and lead from our inner selves that the demands of the outside world recede to a more manageable pace as we grow in strength and clarity as to what our needs, dreams and priorities are.

Working in the meditative space of divine energy, the possibilities for clarity and empowerment are limitless.  There is incredible freedom in this space beyond space that is within me and within each of you.  

We are divine beings in human form. We don’t like to be constrained because we are meant to be free. 

Trusting our intuition

A few months ago, I walked out of a dentist office before the start of an appointment that had been scheduled for my son.  I had my baby with me and trust me, it is not easy at this stage of parenthood to schedule much less get both my children to an appointment. But the moment I walked in the office, my intuition started to tingle and not in a positive way – I felt a sense of apprehension and unease that grew as I interacted with the front desk. Even though nothing serious occurred, my intuition alarm bells were ringing with increased urgency letting me know that this was not the dentist for my child.  When I told the receptionist that I changed my mind, that I didn’t feel this was the right dentist for me and that I was leaving, she responded by rudely scoffing at me.  For me, that served as confirmation that I was making the correct decision.

Still as I walked out with my young son asking me questions, trying to understand the change in plans, I felt guilty and ashamed.  I worried that I was wrong, that I was making a mistake.  I got in the car, reached out to another local pediatric dentist who saw my child the same day.  We had a great appointment and he continues to be my children’s dentist.  Experience gave me the confirmation I needed. I had made the right choice for me.

The for me is incredibly important because when we trust other people’s opinions and advice above our own feelings and desires or when we let society determine for us what we should do, we lose our connection to our intuition.  

We can imagine our intuition like a golden thread of light that connects up to our higher self.  In the incredibly loud noise of this world – society’s opinions, culture’s “rules”, family’s expectations, friends’ opinions, our own fears – it is easy for our own inner guidance to be drowned out.  Yet, it is this very guidance that like a personally designed GPS system from divine Source, will lead us exactly down the path we most need to walk to learn and grow and accomplish what we most deeply desire to accomplish in this world.  

Following our intuition means being our own person, not who anyone else expects us to be. It means deciding what is right for ourselves regardless of society’s pressures to conform.  It means honoring our highest wisdom and desires.  It means being willing to say “no” when everyone else is pressuring us to say “yes”.  It means being willing to possibly disappoint, annoy and frustrate others in order to most highly honor ourselves.

Meditation calms the distracting mind so that with repeated practice even when we are not sitting in meditation, we continue to have a strong connection with our inner voice, with our soul. We are first and foremost our own best friends and when we tap into our highest, we can not lead ourselves astray. We grow confident in our decision making.  We find we carry with us a secret wisdom.  We feel more supported and less afraid.  We learn to trust in the divine, but also, very deeply in our own Self, which is our own individual piece of divine light.  

It can be scary and intimidating to trust our intuition, especially when we perceive that the stakes are high or when we face others’ judgment and condemnation. But it can also be incredibly freeing.  As I drove to that second dentist, I felt such a sense of exhilaration – I was empowered. I was in charge.  I was fully, unequivocally me.

The person most important for you to listen to is already right there with you, inside you, for you, as you.  Listen….

Going big to manage fear 

It is easy to project our worst fears onto a blank future. It is even easier when the present climate stokes our fears with real and imagined scenarios.  Fear makes us myopic. It drops us into survival mode. We can think of nothing, but protecting ourselves. Our thoughts get increasingly panicked and distorted as our brain assaults us with an endless series of negative and threatening scenarios. Our health and relationships suffer.

We are humans and as humans, we want to escape pain.  Our fear causes us to consider fighting or fleeing.  At different times in our lives, each is a valid option – sometimes we have to stand and fight, sometimes we have to run and seek shelter.  But there is also a path between these two extremes.

If we are not in literal and immediate physical danger, then we have the option of seeking release from our fears while still retaining the will and energy to take positive actions in the world.  

Sometimes we need to step back and get a bigger perspective and when the fear is big, we need to step really far back and get a really big perspective – an eternal perspective, a soul perspective.

Life is change.  We are continuously learning, growing, evolving, creating and destroying.  The earth is our school – the place our souls come to incarnate as humans to deepen our understanding of ourselves as individual souls and as a collective soul.  The experience we have here on earth is very different than the non-judgemental, high vibration experience we have in spirit form.  Here, there is much pain, darkness, delusion, disease, and anger.  

As we each work to connect individually and collectively with our higher selves, slowly the high vibration of spirit begins to raise the low vibration of the solid, human state.  Sometimes, the clashes between these two collective parts of our selves is quite volatile.  It is an earthquake.  A tsunami.  A major energetic surge that presents as violent, upending, and terrifyingly out of our control.

But what if I told you that we designed it this way? What if I told you that when we were in spirit we devised this current earth drama in order to ultimately bring change and light to the human world? What if all that is playing out are steps in the seemingly too slow path that leads us as a planet out of darkness into light? Out of individual ego conaciousness into collective soul consciousness? How does that affect how you feel? How you react?  What you fear? 

Accepting that there is purpose and light and divine love even in the darkness doesn’t make us complacent. It doesn’t make us airy fairy. In fact it does the exact opposite.  It grounds us.  It gives us the energy and hope to keep fighting the good fight, to keep loving, hoping, connecting and moving forward. 

The most frightening challenges in life – death, violence, oppression, suffering – all demand that we get very big in perspective because to stay small is to stay human, to stay delusional and to lose sight of our bigger, more full role as souls in human form.

Throw off the shackles of oppression. Do not let fear hold your heart hostage. Meditate. Pray. Spend time in nature.  Read and connect with spiritually connected beings. Look deep inside your own heart and you will find what all meditation masters have found before you – that it is an eternal, endless space of wisdom healing and light.  

Earth is like a deep cave we are exploring.  We must bring our eternal light into it so that we don’t get lost and stuck in its darkness.  It is okay to let go of the fear. It will always find you again and try to hold your heart hostage, but it is okay to reject its oppression.  You will not lose yourself, your beliefs or your passion.  Instead it is faith in your self, in each other and in the light that will lead you and us all to freedom.  

The divine light in me recognizes the divine light in you.  For this world’s sake, for all that feel the call of the light in their heart, we can be brave enough to reject fear and go big in perspective so that we can let our lights shine- individually, collectively – a radiant mass, warm and powerful as the brightest sun. 

Love and light to all – MaSwami 

Waking Up

The alarm bells are ringing shocking us from our slumber. The light is pouring in upon our eyelids commanding us to action.  The time to awaken has arrived. 

 Many of us have been sleeping for a long time.  We have seemed awake – we have performed our tasks, earned our incomes, gathered with our family and friends – but there has been a piece of our consciousness, an important part, that was not yet activated this lifetime. This consciousness sleep has taken different forms for each of us. For some, this sleep has manifested as a compulsion to escape through drugs, entertainment, food, low-vibration conversations, time with “friends” we are not even sure we enjoy.  For others, it has manifested as continuous victimhood – the delusion that one is powerless or that others have entirely taken one’s power.  It manifests as suffering through situations, jobs, friendships that we know are doing us harm but that we mistakenly believe we have no power over out of fear.

Fear is the biggest delusion, the biggest consciousness sleep. Fear prevents us from owning our authentic selves, from manifesting the life we want, from fighting for our beliefs, from believing that the hopeful, loving vision of the world that resides in our hearts is possible. 

 The time has come to wake up. The time has come to accept ourselves, to embrace our power.  The time has come to be the person we each came here to be.  The time has come to make the change in ourselves and in the world that we most want to see.  The time has come for the old ways to be sloughed off like a ragged piece of clothing that no longer fits us. 

Our true self, our eternal self, out highest self is whispering to our hearts right now telling us, “Now is no longer the time to sleep. Now is the time to BE fully, to LOVE fully, to DREAM fully with our whole heart, our whole Self.” Now is the time for each of us to be the alarm clock. For each of us to sound our wake up cry to others. For each of us to shine our inner light out as brightly as we can so that we can reach other, awaken each other, activate each other’s souls. The time has come.  We are being awakened.  

Accepting conflict 

It can be vey difficult for some of us to live with conflict.  Our anxiety and fear yearns for all relationships, decisions and problems to be solved, as if life were simply a series of dangling knots to tie off and move on from. 

But life is not this. It is ever changing. It shifts. It runs up against itself. It encounters friction. It smashes against itself. It creates and it destroys. 

We experience conflict whenever our external life is not a match with our internal life. We experience conflict in our relationships when others don’t feel or act or behave as we think they should or when their actions or feelings create pain that we want to stop.  Some of us fall into frequent conflict with life because we expect the world around us to solve our problems and we do not realize that we are simply seeking outside of ourselves what we need to look for within. 

But all of this conflict serves a purpose. It creates change, self-reflection, examination of ourselves and the world around us.  While we may not feel we always have perfect harmony in our relationships, that is alright. We can seek a greater harmony – acceptance of the world and our lives as it is today with all of it’s apparent unfinished business, dangling ropes, and knotty confusions.  

We don’t have to be Pollyanna about it.  We don’t have to always like it and we certainly don’t have to invite in unnecessary conflict by repeatedly insisting on our way or setting ourselves up as victims. But we can accept it and even see the beauty in it. Afterall, it is the conflicts creatures have with their environments that cause them to evolve and grow stronger and more in harmony with their environment over time.  

We are all evolving.  We are all coming into greater harmony. Even if you don’t feel like we are after watching te news or arguing with a friend, the truth is we are.  Be patient. Trust. Enjoy.  It is happening. Right now. Seek that greater peace.