I was asked these questions by two separate men last weekend at Wanderlust. I’ll start with the first question–
Do you know about kundalini? My responding question was, “Do you mean the energy or the style of yoga?”
It’s always good to clarify the actual question. I think it was Rilke who said to keep asking the question & one day you’ll live into the answers. But first, learning to ask a clear & needful question is a skill. And perhaps this is why we can then live into the answer, because most of the journey is working out what the actual underlying question really is.
Maybe this man’s real question was, “Can you help me make sense of what I’ve been experiencing, which I think may be kundalini energy?”
Because of my armband, I often get asked if I’m a doctor, nurse or veterinarian. The day after the kundalini question, I was specifically asked if I was a healer. I’m generally quite considered in my responses & those who don’t know me can feel unsure whether I heard them or whether they’ve offended me somehow. When I finally settled on a response, what I said to this particularly brightly-lit man was, “I like this phrase–Those who know don’t say, & those who say don’t know.”
He grinned & said, “Well that says it all!” I went on to say, “If my presence has a healing impact, fantastic, but I don’t feel it’s my place to pretend I can heal anyone, much less to call myself that.”
In my understanding & experiences of true medicine men/women/shamans they do not call themselves those names. If they do, it’s likely they’ve gone down the wrong track, the track built by the ego of misguided care.
And certainly I’ve gone down that track myself, which is why I’m wary of it. It’s a slippery slope. In my own personal quest for jivanmukti–liberation in this lifetime–I’ve mistaken everyone else’s liberation for my own. I’ve gotten busy on everyone else’s stuff & sacrificed myself to save the world (Martyr Alert! Martyr Alert!). This is partly why I chose a brand that is not my name–so it can be owned by the one who actually does the practices–myoga is your yoga.
I can’t do the practice for you.
I can offer you what’s worked for me & explain why, but only you can take the next step of experimenting & exploring whether it works for you. And then work out why.
Only you can cut your own shackles. Heal your own wounds. Yes, of course, there are all sorts of experts who can offer you tools & services & guides, but ultimately it comes down to not only your actions, but your intentions.
And this is where I’ve realized I have another issue with the modern commodification of the sacred.
Are we inquiring or are we acquiring?
Coming from an ancestral awareness of vast & deadly cultural acquisitions (aka misappropriations), I am not opposed to embracing what we’re drawn to. What I am opposed to is doing it mindlessly & greedily. Although I have always loved style & design, I’m not so enamored of fashions & fads. They are bound to change, they are made to change, the only constant to them is that they will change.
I’m more intrigued by the foundations that barely, or rarely, change. The universal truths are what draw me in.
So what I am constantly asking myself is:
Am I seeking truth here?
Am I inquiring into the foundations?
Or am I looking to acquire the latest styling of the sacred?
What’s my intention?
To fit in & fill up?
Or to empty out like an open cup?
To answer the second man’s question more directly, Yes, I am a healer, but not in the way you might think. I am a healer of my own small parcel of earth–my body, mySelf. That’s all I have any direct relationship to. And that’s plenty! In doing my own healing, I am thrilled to pass on what has worked for me, IF it’s something you’re drawn to. IF it’s something you’re willing to inquire deeply into. If it’s something you’re looking to acquire in some way, I’m not as forthcoming. However, if you’re genuinely seeking to heal yourself, then I will give you all I have, & know, to support you in your journey. It may or may not work for you–only You can determine that.
To answer the first man’s question about kundalini more directly, Perhaps. Perhaps my own path will offer some guidance, some clues, some treasures for the one struggling to understand his own piece of earth as it shifts & changes. I can never be sure if what I have experienced truly compares to someone else’s experiences & I suspect that the nature of my existence in this lifetime has meant that what I’ve known of kundalini has been far more measured & respectful than what I understand others have experienced.
Because I grew up on the fringes of society, created by & surrounded by “alternative” people…And because I witnessed as a young girl just how much mental differences & instabilities can alienate one from the mainstream…And because I was also exposed to the damages that drugs can wreak…Because of all these factors, I have been very cautious in my approach to altered states of being.
Trust the longer journey is something I say in my teaching because it’s something that I have been learning, my whole life. As a young person, I could not see to the other side of something because I hadn’t yet seen a pattern fully unfold & then replay all over again. In the absence of reassuring elders who have seen these cycles play out more than once, how do our young people know that “this too shall pass?” In the absence of practices that teach us non-attachment, how do we let go of both the highs & the lows, & trust that there is a through-line that resembles equanimity?
Here’s an abbreviated list of what has helped me to make some sense of those questions & my own experiences:
Learning gratitude. I say learning gratitude because this is accurate to my experience. Even if I knew how to say thank you, I did not know how to be truly grateful, particularly not for the difficult & painful parts of my life. I was still operating in victim mode then. So I determined to shift this by creating a regular, simple practice of pausing to make an offering of gratitude. In the roughly 2 years I did this, there were days, weeks even, when I struggled to come up with something to be genuinely grateful for. Yet through this experience I’ve seen how genuine gratitude is a skill to be developed & cultivated–not something to be assumed or received. Now, maybe 4-5 years on from that practice, there is an effulgence–a radiation & overflow of thanks. I imagine it can be somewhat tiresome for those not accustomed to giving so much thanks, but I often feel I cannot give enough thanks. On that note, I love this quote from Meister Eckhart–
“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was Thank you, that would suffice.”
Taking care of my animal by continually re-tuning my rhythms. Sleep. Water. Food. I am protective of the sanctity of these aspects of existing in this human form. I love this quote (was it Yogi Bhajan’s?): “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Which means to me that the real challenge is not in having altered states of spiritual awakening, but rather in integrating our innate expansive oneness into our finite human existence & all the seeming mundaneity that it calls for.
Meditative movement. Not only does this keep the body more fluid–less concretized in time & space–but it also enables me to experience not believing everything I think. The mind can be a trickster & speak many languages while the body is generally pretty direct & honest.
Tapping into the tap roots of my life means accessing my Support Systems, which can be identified as that which feeds me true nourishment, and those who want to see me shine. This requires discernment on my part to wisely choose my close associations, but it then means I have reliable systems of support for those moments when I falter or am fatigued on my own feet.
Children, plants & animals have all helped me as they are more instinctive & innocent than most adults. They teach & heal me unselfconsciously & unintentionally.
Of great value has been finding ways & means to shift my vibration & developing the awareness to know when it’s off to begin with. Sound work has been a huge part of my personal journey & it’s invaluable in literally shifting from contracted & fearful to expansive & confident.
Respect for all that’s come before–the lineage of your practices is a direct link to Source. But then so too are your own ancestors. However you view them, they made you & provide plenty of fodder for growth!
Humility–this is all far grander than I can even conceive of. How could it be otherwise? Humility is tricky though because it can only come from authenticity, which means you have to go through the work of purifying out what isn’t true…
Humour. Currently I’m exploring how to create humour that isn’t harmful. I see comedy as one of the highest skills–it reveals truths like no other & does it in a way that they can be received with laughter instead of blocked with righteousness. Mad skills those.
If you have any feelings or offerings on these topics, feel free to add them in. I would love to read from you!
Much love, M