I was reading Untethered Soul, agreeing strongly in the part about breaking down the barriers we build around ourselves... Then I came home and my window wouldn't close because it's broken.
Immediately I felt fear. It's cold where I live! What will I do when it's not hot and sunny out? What will I do to get my landlord to fix this? Panic spoke for a moment. Then I literally looked past the open crack and saw plain beauty in the nature beyond. Wow. Outside is majestic. There isn't anything to fear in sight. I have views over trees, mountains, birds, and insects. A cool fresh breeze wafting through. Sunshine peaking over the mountains. It is life-affirming. What I can see is incredible!
Ok, Universe. I get your message, loud and clear. I will get out more. I will open the windows of my mind and let in the unlimited brilliance of nature. I receive your challenge to be more open, and I meet it without fear.
That said, does anyone know a good window repair person?
In case you haven't read it, here's a particularly moving excerpt from Michael A. Singer's Untethered Soul, page 122-124.
"There are two ways you can live: you can devote your life to staying in your comfort zone, or you can work on your freedom. In other words, you can devote your whole life to the process of making sure everything fits within your limited model, or you can devote your life to freeing yourself from the limits of the model [the cage]. …
When you are truly awake spiritually, you realize you are caged. You wake up and realize that you can hardly move in there. You’re constantly hitting the limits of your comfort zone. You see that you’re afraid to tell people what you really think. You see that you’re too self-conscious to freely express yourself. You see that you have to stay on top of everything in order to be okay.
Why? There’s really no reason. You have set these limits on yourself. If you don’t stay within them, you get scared, you feel hurt, and you feel threatened. That’s your cage. …
Going beyond means going beyond the borders of the cage. There should be no cage. The soul is infinite. It is free to expand everywhere. It is free to experience all of life. This can only happen when you are willing to face reality without mental boundaries. If you still have barriers, and you know what they are because you hit them every day, you must be willing to go beyond them. Otherwise you remain within your cage.
And remember, decorating your cage with beautiful experiences, fond memories, and great dreams is not the same as going beyond. A cage by any other name is still a cage. You must be willing to go beyond.
… Eventually you will realize that it cannot actually hurt you to go beyond your psychological limits. If you are willing to just stand at the edge and keep walking, you will go beyond. You used to pull back when it got uncomfortable. Now you relax and go past that point. That is all it takes to go beyond. Go beyond where you were a minute ago by handling what’s happening now. ...
When you are trained, like a great athlete, to immediately relax through your edges when they hit, then it's all over. You realize that you will always be fine. ... You end up loving your edges because they point your way to freedom. Then one day, when you least expect it, you fall through into the infinite. That is what it means to go beyond."
Let’s talk about self-hate. If I'm honest, I spend a lot of time quietly hating myself. That happens. I own it.
One thing I know for sure is that my life is easier when I am living from love. By that I mean when I’m allowing space for that self-hatred to be here, when I’m hearing its nasty garbage dialogue… and letting it speak.
I let it have the floor, without reacting. Then I start to watch over it with a sense of okayness. I hear you, nasty voice. I'm just listening. Just giving you space to speak.
But who is this part of me who is listening to it and watching over it? Does this part of me have the gumption to give love to the other parts? The answer is yes. I can always deliver love. I can’t always shout louder than the garbage dialogue, but I can quietly shine kindness upon it.
And just like that, it’s ok. The loving gets louder than the hating.
I learned as a kindergarten teacher that the kids who act out with hate or nastiness are starving for patience and kindness. So I gave love to them. And they would respond with softening, loosening, then joy, self-acceptance, and better behaviour.
Now I apply this same compassion towards my own inner dialogues: Nastiness, I love you. I am here for you. I don't know where you came from, but the world is an OK place and we’re going to get through it together. It might get weird, and that's OK too.
I got you. Even when you are nasty or cruel. And I love you anyways. Because you don’t need any more shit from me. I give you love instead.
I used to think my life would be easier – better – if I could touch my toes. “When I can touch my toes, man, things are going to be different.” I’d get starry-eyed just thinking about it.
Unconsciously, lots of us think like this: Life will be better when I can do "x." (Have you?) But this belief is straight delusion. Totally insane.
It suggests that flexible humans contain more worth than inflexible ones. It suggests that people with tight hamstrings are bad.
That is plain crazy. We should ban toe-touching.
But seriously, have you ever caught yourself wishing for more flexibility? “Touching my toes” can become a psychological shorthand for “being a better human.” And doing yoga can become a trick to improve oneself.
Spoiler alert: Yoga does not exist to make you a better human.
Yoga exists to remind you that you are simply living. Within the swirling drama of life there is a calm, still space. Through yoga, you connect your mind with a peaceful, vital state of being. You discover that your life source is enormous - and it's the same as everyone else's. That's yoga.
So if you come to yoga to touch your toes, you may work and strain and push. Then one day you'll finally touch your toes … and nothing will happen. Zero! No celebration, no streamers, no enlightenment. Just your hands on your toes. And the same unchanged state of being as before.
So, come to life to be as you are. Come to stop struggling on outward goals. You are not an eternal struggle of inadequacy glazed in wistful aspirations.
You are here. Now.
If you locate self-worth in your hamstrings, you block actual fulfillment. Instead, cast inwards your choice to be happy and sentence yourself to satisfaction of eternal adequacy.
Free your hamstrings; free your self. Stop trying to touch your toes.
Are you making an improvement project out of yourself (and others)? Do you do yoga to make yourself more special?
If you have tied your self-worth to your body project, change your mind today. Come to yoga to accept yourself as you are. Witness the still steady space within you, and witness the world meeting it. That’s it. This is it.
While you’re at it, recognize the silliness of contorting your body in silence with a room full of strangers. Enjoy every second.