The day that the doctor told me that I had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was quite surreal. I had not been feeling well and a doctor told me I needed psychiatric help several years prior. The old self prepared for the battle of her life, put on her big girl pants and met cancer head-on. I continued to work and would occasionally tap dance for other patients at the hospital to make them smile; however, as the treatments progressed, my body began to breakdown. It wasn’t being bald that bothered me, or losing the eyelashes, eyebrows, and nose hair. It was the lack of vitality–the pain in my joints with every step taken, the nausea, and every part of my body felt like I was hit by a truck. It was an everyday struggle to live. When I would catch a glimpse of self in the mirror, I wasn’t sure who was looking back.
Rumi wrote “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” I won’t pretend to know the hearts of people who choose clenched fist rather than open arms, I suspect they fear love. Let us love all people no matter the color of their skin, their religion, gender or sexuality. This idea that we must all fit into the same beliefs and mold is an idea that causes the separation and keeps us struggling.
In Buddhism there is this idea that everything changes; nothing is permanent. For most of us, this isn’t something we embrace. If anything, we are reluctant to change. It can throw us off balance—rattle the cage we have built for ourselves. Change can require us to stand for or against something that is being shifted.
I was reading article about a new style of yoga called Strala Yoga founded by Tara Stiles. Apparently this style employs very (if any) few hands-on adjustments and allows the students “free-flowing movement” during practice. Strala encourages teachers and students to break free from the traditional do’s and don’t of a yoga practice and simply share the movement that works for them. You can read the article here:
During teacher training with Amrit Desai, I watched him do spontaneous movement. My understanding is that when the kundalini energy, the Shakti divine energy, moves through someone spontaneously it produces different postures. Eventually the movements can become continuous, fluid and non-jerky as consciousness becomes dominant. It was amazing to watch and it was clear to me it wasn’t about the physical shapes; it was about a meditative trance he was in. It was almost as if he wasn’t of his body in the physical form. He was formless.
What is freedom to you? We put a lot of effort in working hard for more vacation time, to retire early, and to make more money in the pursuit of freedom, which equals happiness in our culture. Some even detach from worldly possessions and expectations to pursue this liberation. Freedom is liberation of the mind—to be free from all suffering.