We live inside broken pieces of ourselves, don’t we? We keep those pieces in our backpack, and carry them around, wondering why it feels so heavy. Why we feel tired, burdened, and weighed down.
Why though? Why do we continue to carry them? Is it because there is still something to learn from the process that broke us? Are we afraid, that we may lose ourselves if we let these pieces of us go? Does it provide security - the gravity of the emotions covering us like a protective blanket so may be, hopefully, nothing gets broken again?
It is a catch 22 situation. We feel too tired to take the pieces out of the backpack, yet we are out of energy because of these pieces we are carrying around. May be, if we could take these pieces out and observe closely, we will find value in those broken bits. Perhaps, if we look closer, we may find these pieces are actually seeds - full of potential to grow and transform. Perhaps, we can find piece of earth inside ourselves, composed of compassion and respect for all that was and all that is. And we take these seeds, plant it into the new earth. Perhaps we will find, that letting go of these pieces into this vast Universe does not mean we lose ourselves. To the contrary - we find more space to be.
The Universe, that is not separate from us, was only asking is to open up and go back to the home of all being. That releasing would expand us beyond ourselves. As these seeds grow into a forest that aspire towards a blue sky, we may find ourselves sitting under the shade of these trees, free.
(This blog has been published also via Medium)
Last year during yoga, I noticed something interesting and slightly concerning. When instructor instructed us through breathing techniques, he explained the incidence of lung expansion and general physiological expansion when we inhale, and opposite as we exhale. He asked us to notice as our belly was moving outward, and space created as our ribs expanded. I noticed mine did not. It was infact the opposite. As I inhaled, my belly went in, and apparently contracted, while exhaling made my belly flow outward. This was not intentional. Hmm.
Today someone pointed out I may be a reverse breather (its a real thing?!). And I possibly acquired this without realizing due to past frequent anxiety issues. When we get information that may not be easiest to process we often go 'HA!' where we sharply inhale (open jaws) and tuck our belly in. Interestingly, in Taoist tradition, it is a technique used to build stronger immune system, increased lung capacity and increased energy (https://www.livestrong.com/article/155298-the-effects-of-reverse-breathing/).
So essentially, it is a protective mechanism my body adapted initially for specific occasions, and when occasions became frequent, the mechanism became a habit.
Unconsciously done, I wonder what other habits and ways of life have we developed to protect ourselves from perceived threats in life - threats that even include feeling unsupported, uncertain, feeling stuck, or simply not knowing how to express ourselves? What has become natural to us, that we need to become unfamiliar with, so we can let go of that which has served its purpose to be?
You throw the phone on the couch, turn off Netflix and sit in the darkness of your living room. You savor the silence. There is space to just be.
You wonder to the balcony, and stare out at the sky, listening to the train changing tracks and suddenly realize you have forgotten to breathe.
The air smells like sun-scorched summer, having stolen a kiss from the water on the way. You inhale some more.
There is a scream echoing in the soul and the mind is quiet, as you observe the redness of the Mars. The city lights are too bright - you remind yourself to breathe again. There is a floral hint in the earth-drenched breeze. You wonder if you have been breathing all summer.
Contemplation on moral appropriateness close down on you, but you hear your heart chanting "but love...but love...but love...". You remember Rumi saying "somewhere beyond the right and wrong, there is a garden....", you follow and look for a sign.
You consider sleep - a way to make it to the morning. You let the void be. You stay with the void. You remind yourself to breathe again. The summer breeze smells like promises, only - only if you could just believe, in the substance of things hoped for, and evidence of manifestation not yet seen.
And all the roads we have to walk are winding
And all the lights that lead us there are blinding
Here I am again, at another crossroad. Here I am again, caught between what is defined as practical by society and what is considered foolish. Amid the polarizing rhetoric of my heart and my head, I find myself yet seeking for a third path covered with fairy dust, and God's Voice booming from inside somewhere: "Come, this is the way. All you wish for is here. But first, what are you ready to give up , so you may know all that awaits?"
What are we ready to give up ? What truth about our own selves resonates with a vibration that renders any other reality a non-option? Will inner peace come? Is it already here, waiting for us to see?
Being in survival mode for the past eleven years, I have gotten lost in a singular view of myself and how to make life work for me. I lost a sense of being part of something bigger. In the past few days, I have been feeling a sense of community with those I cross path with. In some way or the other, wanted or unwanted, agreeable or not, we are all connected. The radius can range far, from micro communities of those living under the same roof - our families and roommates to those strangers you share the train ride with. How am I supporting this community? Is my presence being of support? Who are we, if not part of each other?
Though my cynical mind opens the door with caution, I feel a sense of mixed relief to know I am not the only one here.
May be I am searching for magic
In the sky
In the places
In the faces -
Dang it I will not only survive
I will thrive!
I will reset my DNA
For the love of my daughter to come,
I will release my preconceived notions
And build a better world for my son.
And even if my open wings can only cover my nest
They will carry a Kingdom within
Where doubts had no place,
And fears have been put to rest.
And if so shall happens, that the ghost of uncertainty returns
They will know how to swim,
They will know how to fly -
Damn it they won't only survive, they will thrive!
When we first started learning physics in school, I was having difficulty in grasping one basic concept in physics - the concept of initial velocity. To me, initial velocity was always suppose to equal 0 because we always start at 0. It confused me that it was always not the case. Being unable to visualize what was going on, my primary physics mentor then - my brother - explained it to me as such: he asked me to visualize that both our parents and my brothers were traveling in a car at x km/hr. Then God suddenly decided to drop me inside the car between them, while the car was traveling at x km/hr. Therefore, the initial velocity for me would be x km/hr, while to rest of the folks in the car it was 0.
I got it crystal clear.
Fast forward sixteen years, I was sitting in the train, and found myself observing a human being - first I observed her gender, then her skin color, subconsciously assigning a culture and a race. Then I proceeded to notice her clothes, and her accessories, once again mentally evaluating her age, whether she was a professional or a student. My mind even went as far as to assign personality traits to this stranger till I caught myself. I suddenly felt very tired by my own thoughts, and wanted to stop this auto-pilot. Not just because the thoughts had faulty foundation, but my eyes wanted to see her differently.
Once I read about this guy who was color blind when it came to skin colors. His best friend was African american and he did not even notice. What if I could view people through that lens? Not just race but gender and appearance. What if nobody had pointed out to me these aspects about us? What would I notice if I am looking at someone for the first time? How do I consciously move into a 'fool's' mentality, where my perception is unaffected? What would my experience of world be like?
Sometimes I try to imagine, if I was suddenly dropped into being inside the current moment in life, what would be my initial velocity? Who would I be? Who would you be to me?
"You can't keep dancing with the devil, and wondering why you are still in hell" - Unknown
During one of my anxiety struck moments, I was looking for the Light when I suddenly became aware that I was standing in the shadow. I almost felt like I was looking at the devil, and it was almost funny - like watching a tiny bubble floating through the air and disappearing on your nose. Not sure about the connection yet - but bear with me on this.
I followed my thoughts, and realized that I was actually responding to doubts. Doubts without any basis. And by law of attraction, doubt is expecting that which I don't want. And that expectancy can create waterfall of events, that end up supporting the doubt-based thought. The doubt turns into fear, and next thing we know, we are on a mental marathon.
So here are few considerations to chew on for today - you may agree, disagree or add more to the basket. I am still chewing on them:
The devil invites through instigating fear based on doubts, manipulating the law of attraction by lowering our vibration. Doubts are often raised from earth-bound thinking, where physical manifestation is expected for believing in something. And it continues to invite with cookie crumbs, only that the cookie never comes in sight. We lose sight of the Source. We look away from the light, and start dancing with the shadow.
God invites us to focus on the path and direction instead of the crumbs. The difference in the two paths is focus on the instant, the immediate versus what is long term. If we focus on the cookie crumbs we may fall into the open well in front of us. Praying opens portal for angels to come in and make us look up just in time to prevent the fall. When we focus on the crumbs, we forget to look around. We forget to ask why we are after the cookie, and just run run run.
During my last yoga class, my instructor repeated asked us to find our balance, not only for yoga, but in all parts of our lives. Around the same time, I also came to learn about the Flower of Life.
The Flower of Life is a geometric pattern, created from thirteen different circles, intersecting at the middle to create a perfect flower. The number 13 is dynamic, ending in 3. It is prime, divisible only by itself. The number 13 therefore represents to me dynamic stability, one that stands on its own ground, and cannot be broken down, but retaining the flexibility to move as needed.
Flower of Life upholds the important life skill to center our souls and not be affected by different aspects of life, as represented by circles, yet being willing to bend with the wind. In everyday life we often get lost in the circles, and lose sight of the center.
Just as the petals converge to the center, the center diverges to the petals. Like there is no separation between the creator and the created. Perhaps, this is what Rumi meant by 'what you seek is seeking you'.
But this begs the question: is maintaining center the key to being balanced or a consequence of being balanced? Balancing the circles to maintain the center sounds intuitive. However, it does not leave space for allowance of chaos, and that we must. Trying to hold on to a given structure is unrealistic, and we must be humble to wind of change.
And what if it is not the center but the intention that is the key? The perfect amount of space created in between the circles to attain the right amount of tension? The breathing space. There is simultaneous separation and unity, with structure bonded by gravity of intentions.
Irrespective of the the view, it is empowering - the circles are us. It is also scary - the circles are us. Our life may just be fully our responsibility, with no one to blame.
I was once sitting in a traffic signal while I was a teenager, still living in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It is a common scenario to be approached by beggars or the flower girls at your car window, while you sit in your air-conditioned suede seats and complain about traffic.
On one evening, and only on that evening in my life to this date, a man in early to mid 20s approached the window of my car, offering roses for a price. Dirty white shirt, unkept hair and lack of nutrition was apparent all over his face, as was the case with all others who were selling flowers for five cents, hoping for one meal a day. But something caught me off guard as he spoke. As he spoke, this young man in dirty clothes, he spoke like a gentleman. His voice poised, his pronunciation flawless and his demeanor humble, yet direct. I looked up and noticed his face, to find absolute decency beaming from his soul, through eyes so earnest it cut my air-conditioned bubble like a knife.
He noticed my started look, as my voice shook, "No...". He stepped away and dropped his eyes. His chest was held high, like one determined to live with dignity that only comes from a dignified soul, irrespective of the appearance of his life. He walked towards the next car, offering his roses for a price. And for a brief moment his eyes shortly gazed back my way, at my still startled face. There was clear pain in his eyes - perhaps he felt vulnerable because I saw through, or may be it was through my arrogant prejudice that he saw through.
The beauty of this strange soul still haunts me today. I hope his dignity has been preserved, I hope his determination was not in vain. I hope his heart is light, may be we will meet again, in another life, at a different time, and there will be no price to be paid for roses.