The Yoga of Being Gentle on Ourselves

It’s a Crazy Mixed Up World of Men
There is madness in the world of men; economic growth, a push for getting from point A to B at a faster rate; okay, so what to do when we get there?  Making more money by giving less to the community; buying houses for babies so they will be ‘set up’ for the future, but forgetting the people around us are homeless…. what if the children become gypsies, nomads with invisible camels, wanderers and wayfarers, roaming Buddhas?   There are guys in suits, and stern looking power dressing women who model themselves on the worst of men, they struggle to get ahead in an insensitive arena of male mini tyrants; the cold stark air conditioned buildings with plastic plants, people shuffling papers and balancing numbers, lots of ‘doing’; children in daycare with strangers while their parents micro empires rise, and so often it falls in chaos as the family members don’t get to experience each other, overworked and too busy to appreciate the extraordinary meeting place called intimacy.

AS A SPECIES, WE MAY HAVE LOST OUR WAY.

The Spin dryer of Thought
Yesterday I hit the edge of despair.  This is not really a big  problem for me as my ‘Future Yogi’ (the part of me that lives outside time) looks at the experience and reminds me to change my point of perception, to stop and watch the play of life.  What was troubling me was, I am under pressure to deliver the fine details in a written testimony to my solicitor regarding crimes against humanity that happened to me as a child.  As I need to enter the memory of the experience so the legal team can proceed with my case, I got the wobbles, for a brief moment I was lost in the space-time tunnel.  It felt like I was in the spin dryer, trying to stop the emotions from jumping out and flying across the room.  My son was beautiful at this moment, and I understand why we chose each other as parent and child, he just said, ‘dad, is there anything I can do to help?’,  I said, ‘no, just saying that is enough’.  And I know from experience, I can usually sort things myself, nobody needs to do anything, it is knowing there is someone there that really counts.  So I decided to be gentle on myself.

The Warriors of Thought
I was too serious to do my usual therapy, the fine art of holding up my left arm and tickling my underarm with my right hand; this often works.  But these things I am dealing with are crimes against humanity, abuses of human rights that I have experienced.  For most people the heavy artillery would need to be called in, psychiatrists, meds, medical teams, guys in white coats with expressions of concern embedded into their wrinkled foreheads . Being the ninja that I am, I understand that there is always a point that holds everything in balance, there is a centre point at the heart of things.  If we can locate and manipulate that very fine whatever-thing that everything depends on,  the most powerful enemy can be defeated with a minimum of ease.   I know the greatest enemy of man is ‘thought’, knowing this gives me a starting point, I have an advantage, all enemies are already defeated.  If my problem is thought, there is no need go into battle and create more turmoil, things will just get broken.  A true warrior brings about peace with the least harm possible.   The dull, the bold, the buffoons will destroy the landscape, there will be carnage, collateral damage, everything gets stuffed over…. a wise warrior enters and leaves without anyone even knowing, while the villagers are sleeping, we come and go adjusting things to bring harmony, I took this path as there is no other one worth contemplating. And here is that path…..

The Ever Changing and Emerging Unborn
I love learning; the new, the fresh, the potential unborn, that’s where all the possibilities are. I am a musician and was gifted with the greatest teachers, masters of their craft.  One thing that these brilliant beings reminded me of was, we can always go into new territory, even if the terrain looks familiar we can take it out further, there is something we can extract and use.  I decided to learn a simple raga and play it on one of my beautiful guitars, (a raga is the underlying foundation of classical Indian music tunes), the guitar was in an irregular tuning, this requires additional thought and focus, and I was also playing in a different key, another set of notes than the original.  What this meant was I had to translate everything I was doing.  Although what I mentioned may sound irrelevant , or out of context, the underlying idea was to keep my mind active, to distract and create some new neural pathways instead of digging deeper into the ones that no longer serve me, those old ones were hurting, they were smothering me with emotions.  These ‘new pathways’ is where we can disable some things, ward off those arrows of life that seem like they will destroy us. If we want change and healing, we must take charge of the process, else we will always be a slave to things that no longer exist.  Things happened, true, they are in our past, they will have an affect…WE DO NOT HAVE TO LET THEM DEFINE US, to derail us and steal the joy from our life.

Healing is an Inbuilt Thing
I am confident that healing can come about naturally, this may be contrary to the ideas of many health practitioners, honestly I am not sure how others feel about this. From experience I know to ‘back myself’ to trust what works for me, regardless if someone says it’s impossible.  As musicians we get to play with many different people of various skill levels, and lots of things are not said at times.  I will use the example of everyone in a band being told before a music session starts that a piece of music has been changed, except one person was not informed.   The tune starts,  everybody else ‘in the know’ starts playing; the musician who hasn’t been informed looks momentarily puzzled, he has a number of choices: get upset and walk out, play the wrong music just to be annoying, or just listen and feel what is going on and call on the skills in the musical toolbox and adapt. Life is a lot like this; if every time something happens, we respond in a manner that is against the flow of what is going on, we will always be running, missing life; if we decide to struggle against what is going on and do something that is ‘never going to work’, we will suffer.  But if we are sensitive enough and trust the inbuilt wisdom we have developed in our lives, it will be less painful, we can navigate safely, slay the paper tigers and imaginary dragons who roam around in our thoughts.
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I say what I say from experience. I have learnt to be gentle on myself, to face what in many cases probably should have broken me, but I treasure my life, an adventure not to be missed or treated with disrespect.  We are creative beings, the past is gone, never to return.  By ever seeking the new, the past recedes in the rear-view mirror of life.
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When I struggle, all I need to do is to think ‘be gentle on myself’, the world around me softens.
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Tilopa 2.0

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