In the age of spiritual bypassing, I often ask myself - why is it that I do what I do? Whenever I post something on facebook, Instagram or on this website even, is it really because I want to share something that I feel will help humanity, is it something that I am really passionate about - or is it for the sake of my own recognition and desire for affirmation?
The answer isn't simple, as anything in life really is never black and white. But as I look around, and see my entire facebook feed plastered in life affirming quotes and big statements about #livingyourtruth #followingtheheart and #love all the way through - I can't help but wonder - is it authentic? I can only answer for myself. Am I being authentic to who I am, what I stand for and what I share and am I in fact #livingmytruth?
Recently I have been reading a book called "Cutting through Spiritual Bypassing", by Robert Augustus Masters (I highly recommend this btw), upon this very subject. It dissects the modern yogi/persons approach to life and spirituality, when instead of dealing with the matters at hand, nearly always finding quick fix solutions to our issues, like fast-food quotes from enlightened masters and ancient texts. These texts for sure talk about living your truth in the heart and all those things, but they are also based on a ancient knowledge of walking the path of your own enlightenment. With that being told, a spiritual practice is more then setting the intention, it's also doing the work to grow as a human, not pushing ourselves into blind compassion and overwriting the basic essence of who we are. It is embracing the darkness and shadow in order to fully understand the light.
When I think about our essence, it doesn't only encompass beauty, expansion and joy - there is also a lot of ugly, contraction and pain in there. Anything that ever exists, will always exist with an opposite polarity. For how would we know lightness without darkness to illuminate it? How would we know joy without sadness to make us appreciate it? How would we feel vibrant and expanded if we didn't also feel disease and limitation? When we push away the sides of ourselves and of life that scare us or limit our ability to accept who we are, we are in fact bypassing the very reality of the inner work that is going to complete us in the end. Aristotle said: "Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom", and indeed I can only agree, that the yogic path is that of illumination of our entirety as human beings - including the sides that we perceive or judge as negative or dark, contracted ect.
So where do we grow from here?
In my belief, there's already a big shift happening from where fast-track yogic and meditation practises won a huge image value in the western world, became a business and a flashy lifestyle of raw-vegan-spiritual-hipster, to actual grounded pathways of connectivity for people to start re-building real compassion, authentic relationship and a conversation for the shift of consciousness that the world really needs to heal the wounds. The world has undergone many wars of peoples rights, freedoms and beliefs. The new frontier is to truly return into the embrace of what human nature really is and our ability to hold compassion for all that it is. Compassion in a real way, where we can learn to understand the pain and joy of others and not judge people from how they look or their actions. It is to forgive and accept forgiveness. It is to make sure that we don't make the same mistakes that our parents did, and our ancestors before them, to allow us to be who we are in our essence nature. It is to heal the wounds that we have been hiding behind and identifying with for way too long. Why stay hidden behind our fears and anger, when we can rise above them and spread our wings to embrace our glory? Why keep chasing a dream, that is merely an illusion of the future, that will forever change, and keep us locked in limbo of desire? Why stay broken in the past, instead of enjoying whats really here, right now? If anything is going to move forward in your life - the only one held responsible for that shift is YOU. It comes down to our willingness to see this moment for what it is, accept it fully and forgive the past - and move forward.
But before rushing out there and thinking that we need to heal the world - healing always starts with one self. That is how we can begin living our actual truth, is by looking at our own actions, and start taking responsibility for the life that we lead, the choices we make, and in every single life moment, choosing love over fear. It's always easier to flash happy life quotes and use hashtags while portraying your breakfast chia bowl accompanied by healing crystals, then actually being present while writing this post, and asking yourself: 1) is it true, 2) is it loving and 3) is it necessary? I guarantee that the outcome of the posts will be different.
Why do I care?
Well this is why I care. There's a entire business related to #yogaoffthemat, and yes I am also part of this business, as well as #yogaonthematt. I love both, and I also am well aware of the paradox in charging money for healing work and service of the greater, but how would I live a modern householder life if I didn't? So there's an exchange of energies in the energy of money, and in the energy of healing. I accept that. However when the messages that we convey in our lives through words, actions and posts on instagram that aren't an actual portrait of who you stand for as a human being, can end up being counter reactive to the purpose of the message in the first place. Living your truth involves not slaying the darker aspects, but illuminating them. That doesn't mean that we have to portray all our tears and heartaches, but rather deal with them, taking 100 % responsibility for them, and naming them - in order for the collective shift to happen. I am very passionate about this work, as I am myself in fact in the process of really illuminating my shadow sides. Coming clean, naming my fears, naming the very core of what is creating a rift in between true heartfelt connection and a fake illusion of what life is.
Lets start the conversation
In my opinion, a lot of us need to begin shifting the routines of our life - waking up from the numbness of intellectualizing and conceptualizing our spirituality and emotions. It is at the very core of yogic practice (as I perceive it) that once we become whole, once we start being open about and enlightening the dark - the true light shines through. Find a friend that you can confide in, and begin the conversation. It's harder to do this work alone. When ever you feel something like an inner critic (I call it the inner bitch!), a dark cloud washing up in you - instead of grabbing a beer, instead of posting your daily Tarot card making something up to feel better, instead of eating twenty red M&M's, instead of rushing to Hot Vinyasa - STAY! Stay in the forest of emotions, and figure out what this landscape brings forth in you. Use a friend, a therapist, a family member to shine light upon it. Once it has been illuminated - discover that the very essence of the fear and anger and judgment that lives inside you, has the very same character of energy that pulses radiantly through your body, the same way that joy does. And in that moment, there's a choice to either embrace this emotion, this part of you, or run away from it. What do you choose? #liveyourtruth