THE CONDITIONNED MIND

THE CONDITIONNED MIND

Where does your mind go when you are alone?
When no one is around, when you are on your own.
Does it go back to some far too familiar dark place, towards thoughts that you think you need to focus on?
Is your mind conditioned to at some point in the personal space, turn towards something negative?
As if you were looking for a worry. Looking for a problem. Looking for that thing that would need to be solved for you to be happy… Would you even blame your bad habits on that?
Are you sticking to things that keep you from changing? Because, let’s face it, isn’t it actually easier to stay within that zone than to make an effort to look at yourself?

Even though, probably, you don’t even realize that you are choosing to do so. You probably think it’s “the truth” and that The All Mighty has decided that this is who you are.
Have you noticed that if you just sit and calmly observe the present moment, that instant which is happening right now, the worry has no place. If what seems to be “The Problem” that keeps you from being happy isn’t actually in the present moment, why would it be the determining factor of your life situation?

AM I CHOOSING LOVE OR AM I CHOOSING FEAR?
We create this wall of fear around the heart, that way we put a safe distance between ourselves and others in order not to get hurt. But really, deciding to stay in the fear zone is deciding to stay on fight or flight mode, always alert and always ready to take off. And just like having the adrenaline pumping around our system on a regular basis, separation from others will slowly break us down.

When choosing not to trust, to put up the guard, we think that we are ready to take a potential failure. What we don’t see, unfortunately, is that we are not preparing for it, we are creating it. When you’re in the zone of fear, I know, you can’t see that.

However, when you see it from the outside, from a safe spot, you can read the writing on the wall clearly. When you are in the right zone, you can see beyond the behaviors and you can actually see the fear talking. Try it.

THE BODY AS THE STORY OF YOU

We started off our yin class with this open heart pose and stayed in it for over 5 minutes. As I came to release them from this rather big challenge for the chest, I asked “what is your heart’s deepest desire?”
Today we will talk about fear. Why do we fear? To survive. Fear comes along when we switch on the sympathetic mode of our nervous system. Fight or flight.
The body store information, it is also for our survival. That way we know how to react to a situation we have already experienced, in order to avoid danger/pain.
So we have that reaction to fear already installed and we remember it (not consciously) from the first time it happened, from the first slap we got with this danger.
As a little baby, we are completely left out to our mother. First mother, then the rest of the most intimate circle we have around us. Our base. So the danger at that stage was to be abandoned. If our mother abandoned us, we would not survive. But in order for the individual as a person to exist, we need to separate from her. This is where the Ego is born. From the day we stand on our own little chubby legs, we start to write the story of our life. Who we are. Our identity.

The paradox that comes along the way of experiences is that our Ego feeds on pain. Pain reminds us of our first loss. It will always bring us back to that emotion. Not the memory, that our mind has taken care of and stored it far away not to look at again. But the emotion comes back. Ego feeds on pain (if you’re familiar with Eckhart Tolle and his pain body, you might agree with me here) because it makes us feel separate from the rest.
So the mess we are in is that we act out of the story of our life, written on the sheet that is our body but in invisible ink for the consciousness to understand. So we keep on behaving accordingly without realizing it. In psychoanalysis we call this “repetition” (for once it’s easy). So we keep having the same conversations, relationships or living the same situations, thinking this is happening to us. When really, we are doing it to ourselves…
What is your heart’s deepest desire? What are you doing to keep avoiding it?

YOU CAN’T SPLIT YOURSELF IN HALFS
– the paradox of definition

A little while back I was sitting with a friend, talking about housing and the idea of sharing one, the two of us. He said: it’s hard where we live because you want your house to make you feel at home which means you need to put in a bit of an effort. But we find it hard to commit to a year’s rent since that would keep us here, being blocked here.
Defining means limiting. If I define myself with words – and I have quite a few coming to mind – this becomes my reality. This is who I am. This is what I do. This is where I am.
If I refuse to define myself, then I won’t have to feel that I’m limiting myself to words describing me. However, I stand still. I float. I can’t progress – or even regress- because there is no starting point. When defining yourself, you take a stand, you actually take a risk. You can see where you are and name where you want to be. If I don’t define a home, I never really settle in. But that way, I don’t face what my desire would be. To settle and feel at home.
To live in a constant non definition is limiting oneself to be in between.

NOTHINGNESS
Cosmic voids are enormous empty spaces in the universe, containing nothing or very little. Yet they play a very important part. Big parts of nothing. Just empty space. Like the space in between two entities.
The fact that there is space in between them creates a relationship. We think space is nothing, but space is everything. It’s what creates intervals and they define existence.
Space between noises makes a melody. Intervals in sound make music. It’s because we pay attention to that nothingness in between that we relate to the sound as music. To hear that melody is to hear the empty space. If there was no empty space between events, there would be no moments. It would all melt together in one big continuing action.
Space is the opposite of what just happened. Emptiness oppose to presence. It’s the existence of nothing that defines the presence. Its absence in space of what was there. It creates a relationship.
When that space is perceived as lack it becomes suffering. So we live in that space as if it was our prison of suffering. But just like the intervals in sound makes a melody, the suffering in emptiness becomes the teacher in surrender. To really understand what surrender is, you must have experienced it. Only when you are fed up with treating the space as suffering will you actually choose to surrender.
When I stop inflicting suffering on myself I can stop inflicting suffering on others. If I don’t know, I cannot do. If I haven’t learned, I cannot be.

THE COUNTERPOSE TO LIFE
As I was researching on backbends I found an interview on how to practice them safely. The more I listened, the more I started to see a pattern within myself. Back bending feels scary, it feels unsafe and unnatural. It’s hard but such bliss to get there. These asanas are so beautiful and seem to release something within.
We spend a lot of time bending down, closing in and feeling heavy. Well, gravity isn’t making that part easier. So bending backwards is to balance that heaviness out. It’s a counter pose to life.

To make it work for you in a backbend you need space and you need connection to your legs so that you feel grounded. To balance out heaviness in your heart and mind, you need some space and you need to come back to basics.
When my mind is foggy, when I need clarity and determination, I need to connect to nature. I need it to resource myself, to clear my energy. So I go to Mother Nature and I reconnect with her. I turn to the ocean and I turn to the mountains. I need open space and connection to the earth. So that when I feel the gravity, I don’t feel heavy. I feel home.
Because the planet that I’m standing on is telling me I belong there. When something seems to work against you, it’s important to turn it into its opposite. And that’s only up to you. Because you are the one troubled by it. Don’t rush it, sit with it. Get to know your discomfort in order to resolve it. Just like the way into your pose. That asana will either bring you pain in the back or help you release big amounts of energy and open your heart.

THE NARCISSIST

“The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother” – John Wooden

If I had known, ten years ago when I wrote my thesis on narcissistic perversion, the money I could have gotten out of it today, I would have stayed in the field of psychoanalysis. It seems as though the narcissist is the new black. Everywhere there are articles about them, in all conversations about relationships, they are on everyone’s lips. It’s the narcissist’s wet dream come true. Where did they come from all of a sudden? They’re carrying the karma of lost generations….
Their fathers failed in the role and the mothers turned to her children in comfort and smothered them instead, filling the void of unreturned love from her husband (yes, back then I guess most people got married. Not because they were more structured on an emotional level, their fathers were even worse, for them it was acceptable to become physically violent. The narcissist’s father got married forced by the norm and passive aggressive instead). What did the narcissist learn from that? Well the worse the father treated the mother, the more attention the narcissist got. And since we learn how to live amongst others by watching our parents, well that is how they were taught how to treat their partners in life in order to receive love.
The rest, on how they treat people and how they use and abuse sex and other pleasures in order to fill their void, you can read in one of those many articles on facebook.

SAUCHA – SPRING CLEAN
#padmasana – the destroyer of all diseases
#saucha – as a result of cleanliness there is freedom from attachment to one’s body

As I sat down early this morning, having finished off my morning sadhana, I opened a random page in my yoga sutra for inspiration to see which word would speak to me today, and sutra 2.40 came up. Right then and there, a beautiful tropical rain showered the garden, brought a fresh wind and a melody not of this world.

I stopped to just watch and listen as it poured down. Saucha is physical, mental and emotional purity. Clear out the clutter, make space by simplifying. Let each action be made only for the sake of that action. Without “hintergedanken”, without agenda.  Only, and simply for the sake of doing. No expectation, no judgment. From the pleasure of the heart and that is where you find your strength. My students have told me several times that what I say in class really speaks to them on a level they haven’t heard before. Because it comes directly from the heart. No fuss, not even preparation…
I sat there and enjoyed the simple pleasure of the stillness within after my practice, the stillness of the rain and the pure and lush view of the garden. Have a beautiful Sunday.

NTIMACY WITH THE BODY

Something clicked in me today when I heard the words “be intimate with your body, it is not an object”
My whole life I have struggled with the physical part of myself, the gross, the manifested part of me. I would punish myself in the most obvious part, the physical. Because the body is the representation of the being, we get so scared that it will not do us justice. That it will limit us from the greatness.
What does it mean to be intimate with your body? It means to not treat it as an external object. When I hurt the body, I hurt me. When I close the body, I close me. That’s why there’s something so magical in the Asana practice.
When I put my body in kurmasana, when I make it into a pretzel, I make myself into a knot physically and mentally. And when I come out of the pose, it is not just the physical opening up… When two bodies connect it isn’t physical, it is you and I connecting. Touching another body means touching you. Not an object but a spiritual being. In the most intimate of relationships between two bodies, we are completely open. Two spiritual beings are allowing themselves to connect, to interlace, to become one for a brief moment. Everything inside of me is connecting to everything inside of you: our hearts, our breath, our blood. And the most magical of all is that the whole being that you are, is reacting to the whole being that is me.