I ran across this quote, when for the hundredth time I was hushing down a voice that from time to time urges me to do just that - sit down and write (read bleed). In some bizarre way, the acknowledgment that there is some shared sense of suffering, anguish and release in the process of writing gave me the last push.
It is hard to locate the beginning tough, isn't it? How come I ended up where I am today, how far back can I trace the co-incidences, the little meetings, decisions, turning-points that have lead me to this very point in time and space. As if trying to trace the beginning of a single wave in the ocean, when we step back far enough, broaden our perspective, we realize "the beginnings and endings are not known to us, only patterns. That wave began where the universe began and ends where the universe ends (Jed McKenna).
Yet bear with me. I'll bring you 3 stories that describe how in my journey the pattern has formed and shaped my life into what it is today. I wonder often about co-incidence, fate, free will versus destiny. I don't attempt to provide an answer, but I open the dialogue and throw out the questions.
Story number ONE
How I became a yogi and a seeker...
I was in my early 20s, living a "work hard, play hard" lifestyle in Estonia. I was working as a junior consultant in a recruitment company. I was a few years out of university, determined to be the best version of me which I knew could be achieved with hard work and dedication. I had been a straight A student throughout high-school and university, I knew how to push myself, I was a perfectionist and my own worse critic.
One day a friend of mine asked me a favor - she wanted me to join her at a yoga class at a local gym. The story goes: she had found out that a guy she had a crush on was attending that class and of course that was the reason for her sudden interest in taking up yoga. And of course she could not go alone?! I was reluctant at first, as I remembered the one and only yoga class I had attended years before, where the teacher asked us to open up like a flower which sounded like utter nonsense to me. Eventually I agreed and the door to a new way of living and seeing the world just cracked open.
There were no yoga studios in Estonia back then. No incense smells, no soft Tibetan bowl music. The mirrors and windows of the gym's aerobics room were still steamy from the class before, the pumping music and the clinks and grunts from the weightlifting echoed in from next door. It happened to be Kundalini yoga, not that I knew about any other styles or classifications back then. I remember looking around wearily during the repetitious exercises and the chanting of my first class there, it was the strangest form of exercise I had ever done. And it was surprisingly hard, no flowers opening, the teaches seemed very "human" and "normal" and the main thing - I felt amazing afterwards. After the first class I was hooked! My friend came a few times, the guy she had a crush on kept coming now and then for a few years. I kept coming almost religiously twice a week for the next 5 years.
The inner and outer conditions, the circumstances of my life, the degree of my openness and receptivity and what was offered by my first teacher matched. Anything too dogmatic would have left me running for the hills - all I knew was that I had a stupid grin on my face when I drove home from yoga, feeling happy for no apparent reason every time after I practiced. That kept me coming back. That was enough back then.
As my life kept getting messier over those 5 years - a break up from a long-term relationship; promotion at work that lead to longer hours, more self-doubt and self-ciritism; an eating disorder as a way to seize control; lots of drinking and partying as an attempt to avoid feeling the emptiness that hollowed at the very core of my being; riding the roller-coster of burn-out and depression. I was self-destructing, outwardly successful, inwardly withering away.
My soil wasn't ripe for the real depths of yoga, yet the field got blowed and harvest of the fruits would come, even if it was many years later. My attitude in life was "no pain, no gain", that is what I applied at work, that is I how I lived my private life and that was also what I applied in my practice. I loved the challenge of Kundalini yoga, the constant test of my limits and going physically beyond what I thought was possible.
Yet the seeds got planted. Showing up for practice, whatever my motivations were in those days, and touching that sense of ease and contentment at the end of the practice that was very foreign to me in other areas of life, sprouted questions and feelings that I had not asked or felt before. A felt sense, that "there has to be more to life than meets the eye", became my constant companion. For the first time I started to question the authenticity of the choices I was making and the "life template" I had been following: good education (check), make a career (I was on my up); future held: getting married, building a house, having kids, 2 cars, a holiday house and vacations to exotic hotspots.
There was a new sense awakened within me, it wasn't the familiar judgmental condecending voice of the critic, it wasn't the confused and conficting mind-chatter arising from the ego as it strived to feel safe, in charge and in control of life. It was gentle, subtle, wordless guidance that I have learned to listen, expect, trust and follow over the years.
Slowly but surely this quiet inner tone started to guide me to pay attention to the deeper meaning of life. To ask the right questions, to wait for the answers in the gut and to follow the voice of intuition even against logic and rational mind.
In hindsight, I believe that it was my yoga that over time freed me up to tap into this subtle guidance that is always available and present to point us in the direction of life lived and embraced fully from the heart. The apparent co-incidences that form the chain of events guiding our lives trace back way beyond my friend asking me to tag along as she was following her own heart's agenda (which did not end up bearing fruit, by the way). We inhabit a planet that was situated just the right distance from the sun, having just the right temperatures for life to evolve, the universe keeps expanding in just the right rate for the galaxies and stars to form. Is it all pure chance, accidental, co-incidence?
As you sever attachment and stop squandering your emotional energy, your perspective broadens and you come to see larger and larger patterns at work, patterns within patterns, your own patterns swirling in among them, in no way separate or apart, in no way greater or lesser" (Jed McKenna).
...TO BE CONTINUED
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