So I went to sutra study. I was able to read a few comments on yesterday’s post before I left, rather in a distracted rush, for yoga class and sutra study. Many of you made excellent points and I was left feeling awkward, silly and vulnerable. I particularly hate feeling vulnerable. I am much better at over thinking things, if you hadn’t noticed.

When I started this project I knew this quarter would be a challenge for me, but I didn’t realize just how hard it would be for me. I’ve spent most of this quarter practicing Christianity by not practicing the Pagan things and Hindu things I’d like to practice. As the comments brought home, that’s not actually a practice. And it’s not very true to Christianity. I ‘knew’ both of those things, but I didn’t know what else to do.

Like all of the major world religions, Christianity is a broad tradition that embraces both fundamentalism and a liberal side so open that many might not recognize it as Christian. Until only a few years ago I was within the Christian tradition thanks to the wide berth a living tradition offers, yet it took a while to recognize that it wasn’t my narrative, it wasn’t my story. Christianity’s symbolism runs deep, but it’s not my metaphor.

When I started this project with Hinduism last summer I faced some of the same issues: how do I practice without falling into the snare of legalism. I think this is the problem that faces people who haven’t embraced the narrative and found a home in the story of a faith. In my reading I kept bumping up against Vedic orthodoxy and I didn’t like it one bit. I kept looking for the parts that resonated with me, and when I got to Tantra I found my narrative thread.

But Christianity is not my story anymore. How many times can I repeat this? It’s not you, the reader, I need to convince, it’s me. I was at peace with this, until I tried to return. And I can’t. There is no returning for me. And that’s what I realized on my drive to yoga. A huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I wanted to cry. I felt exposed.  Look at how ridiculous I’m being – and in ‘public’ too!

How do I stay true to the ‘rules’ I’ve set for myself on this project? I guess I stay true to them by staying true to myself. That means getting back to my practices – back to MY practices. I can finish out this quarter engaging with Christianity, engaging with a beautiful, rich tradition that has given me so much. But I won’t and don’t have to practice.

Several years ago, when I was studying with T Thorn Coyle, I used to beat myself up if I didn’t meditate for at least 20 minutes. And then I realized, the tools are there for me; I’m not here for the tools. Meditation isn’t going to come knocking on my door and ask why I shorted it ten minutes. Or forgot to show up. No, meditation is my tool to use for my liberation. Same with this project, same with this work, same for my path. They are tools that serve me, not the other way around. The point of this project was to get clear and to struggle and to find out more about myself and my practice, and I’d say it’s working!

I’ve been neglecting several things, all in the spirit of ‘not practicing.’ I haven’t set up my altars in my office. I’ve had this wonderful (if cold) new space for several weeks and it’s still unfinished and chaotic. I haven’t been doing my sitting or my prayers or making kala. Boy, do I feel the effects of not practicing! With the exception of the meditative mercy prayer, there hasn’t been anything else to fill the space. That is silly and not particularly helpful.

During yoga class we worked on back bends, which open up the front body, especially the space around the heart and breast bone. That exacerbated my feelings of vulnerability and at several points during class I wanted to cry. I’m not a crier and wish I was. I think it would be healthier for me. Yoga sutra study was nice but not what I’d made it out to be in my head. I felt foolish for making such a big deal about it. I still feel foolish.

humility, vulnerability, and resolution were the themes for me last night and they carry over this morning. On more than one occasion I’ve been encouraged to stop over thinking everything, to get more honest, more vulnerable, more personal here and it’s a struggle for me. But last night was a great gift to me, a release, a resolution. Thanks for helping me along.


15 responses to “Resolution

  1. I have been following your posts with interest, but don’t feel qualified to comment on the religious aspects, other than to say I admire your searching and your courage to explore different faiths in your daily life, to get involved with them in a practical as well as a spiritual way, to educate yourself and to critique your experience.
    What I do want to do is to encourage you in teaching yourself not to overthink, or at least to be able to lessen the amount of overthinking you do. I recognise this way of coping from personal experience, it is actually a way to remain “safe”, it helps block out feeling (and tears). I would like to encourage you to develop the psychological tolerance to feeling vulnerable and honest. The two go together. If you can allow yourself to feel vulnerable, you will develop courage, and this combined with honesty (counsellors call it congruence), will help you be fully emotionally, spiritually and physically present in your experience of life, which, I feel, will enrich your practice as well as your sense of yourself.
    Feeling vulnerable also is a protective mechanism, but somehow, when we are feeling vulnerable and can be vulnerable with others who may also feel vulnerable, our true selves are present, we are more “real”. We are more able to connect empathically with others, and they with us.
    Just like any spiritual practice, these things are developed over time, they are not easy, but they are well worth the effort.
    I wish we could talk about this face to face….. sending you much love and encouragement.

  2. A bit
    Won’t practice christianity, and how its christian quarter?!
    Everything is based on Vedas, both rituals and philosophy- karma khanda and jnana khanda. I don’t which one orthodox refers to!
    Again you don’t like yoga sutras but love yoga.
    Total confusion for me!
    Thats why I advice you, take one at a time. Philosophy of Vedanta and that of Yoga sutra are entirely different.
    In Yoga there is no compassionate god or devotion, prayer. So if we practice that with Yoga sutra total confusion.

    • I am a contradiction, wrapped up in a mystery, smothered in…. oh, how does that saying go? I do like the yoga sutras! But the sutras come out of the dualist, more orthodox side of Hinduism, and I’m definitely more of a non-dual, Tantric, left hand path kind of gal.

      Thanks for sticking around, even though I confuse you!

      • Left hand path, beware! No problem if u get real guru. One who asks to take 5 important things-pancha makaras, is dangerous, coz either he is a fraud or he is real Veera achara path that is very dangerous and passive.
        One who says they are representative, must be a real Guru.
        As far as i know, a Guru ‘PARAM EASWARAN’ in Tamil Nadu, India is good.
        Bhagavan Ramakrishna who practiced Veera achara hadnt taught it to Vivekananda, its a bit dangerous.
        I Am completely non dualist.hehe.
        And Advaita-non dualism is internal essence of Hindu dharma.
        You may follow Advaita-Vedanta if you are really interested in Non-dualism.
        But again i advice
        put away contradictn and mysteries.lmao.
        I had totally given up Vaishanavism- vishnu path to take advaita, stop reading all other philosophies to concentrate on it. After doing it well, i again became a non-dualist devotee.

          • Pancha makaras or 5 Ms
            1. Matsya – fish
            2. Mamsa – meat
            3. Madya – wine
            4. Mudra – cereal
            5. Maithuna – sex
            these 5 can be taken either as representative or as such.
            Tantra is A nastika philosophy or heterodox, but as all nastika like Jain, Budha, Tantra also depends on Vedas in certain aspects.
            Those who take these 5 as such may get mystical powers WHETHER YOU BELIEVE IT OR NOT.
            But very steep path,
            you may fall for sex, for meat, for fish, or for these mystical powers or ego.
            But there are Advaita Followers who accept the authority of Veda who take Substitute. The other way is dangerous and most of its followers endup mad or Black magicians.

              • See, there is lot of difference. Here black magic means Abichara kriyas, rituals to harm others, nt what poet says. These are done to gain power and result is endup in Jail or continous negetive thoughts leading to madness of practitioner.
                Veera achara is found only in assam, and there are frauds and mafia using this tradition to fool people. They are found in OZ, USA and many parts of Europe.
                Even in Assam most aren’t real veera achara but those fallen into ego and power thirst. Salvatn is not reachable for them.

  3. Another thing is those who take 5Ms as Such are very rare. Not at all in west. Only found in Assam, west bengal in India.

  4. Thats why Great soul Ramakrishna Paramahamsa refused to teach Vivekananda.
    You can read about Ramakrishna’s Tantra left hand practice in Gospel of Ramakrishna.:-)

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