Monday, September 22, 2008

Spiritual Growth - The private relationship between you and God

GOD: Now there's a loaded word! If you want to see an argument break loss bring up religion or politics.
My relationship with this label has had its ups and downs over the years, but in the end it's just a word. Stick in any combination of sounds that works for you, be that Universal Consciousness, Higher Self, Jesus, Buddha, etc. What's important is NOT what you call it; rather that you understand that I'm referring to the part of you that is within and beyond--a calm and peaceful place void of ego. This is what I'll call Spiritual Source--I could just as well call it Buga-Buga, but to avoid too much silliness, we'll stick with Spiritual Source.
Dr. Douglas Brooks shared a story about three years ago at a yoga teacher training in Massachusetts saying that his teacher "never shared his spiritual beliefs with his family. Not even his wife." Yet, this master spoke of his private practices with Dr. Brooks. This is because Douglas asked. The Indian culture was set up in such a way that
one's spiritual life was private but not secret.
This concept aligned deeply within me. As soon as one is off yakking about their beliefs to others the ego (or attachment) gets involved, and in a severe case people are attempting to shove their beliefs onto others. Did you ever have someone ring your doorbell over dinner to tell you about "their God?" Oh, pleeeeease! These are total strangers invading someone's home-time to push ideas. Tell me that's not ego driven.
As a teacher of yoga, which is by definition a spiritual practice, it is the teacher's responsibility to guide others spirituality. This is not to be confused with religion--the rituals and traditions. This is about helping others to experience for themselves what Spiritual Source is for them. In a class or in the student-teacher relationship, this is part of the agreement. However, this does not give the yoga teacher license to even attempt to guide those that do not want guidance. It took me almost seven years to understand that when I tried to help my sister with issues by providing my outlook on Life, I only drove her farther away; she hadn't asked for spiritual guidance, she had only wanted a listening ear.
Dr. Wayne Dyer, one of America's great spiritual leaders today, reminds us again and again to stay private and keep your relationship with Spiritual Source sacred and just within your own heart. I've never quite gotten this, until last Friday. Why not share your profound inspirations with a close loved one? I'm not talking about knocking on doors and telling my neighbors--who quite frankly could care less. I'm talking about expressing the excitement of spiritual growth with your most intimate partner.
Well, I did this last week and awoke the next day in doubt--the thinking mind had stepped in. I believe this is why Dr. Dyer advises so strongly to keep your personal spiritual path just that--personal. No words can accurately describe the spiritual realm. Language can point to it, but not fully explain it. So the simple act of attempting to describe a remarkable spiritual experience, is always lacking. Also, one must consider the reaction of the other person. It's like telling someone the name you've chosen for a baby while still pregnant. If the reaction is hesitant or someone tells you why/how they hate that name, then it mars the joy of using that particular name. When I attempted to describe my spiritual life and shifts in it to my partner, the thinking mind slipped in and took hold. This is in part due to simply using words for something that words can not be truly used for and in part due to a conversation that ensued regarding where inspirations come from and what the results mean. Suddenly the peaceful surrender that I had been experiencing was replaced with worry, doubt, and "trying" to figure it out.
Admittedly, a stronger person may be able to share how the universe works through them and how sometimes the most perfect actions or words just appear, but this was not the case for me. For now I will focus on returning to that place of peace and hold my tongue until the desire to share stems only from knowing it is the right time and not from anxiousness or excitement.
Love Much,


Today is the first day of the rest of your life!


Darcy said...


You are so right that words fall short when trying to describe transcendental experiences. It's like listening to a symphony: no one can describe that to you in words; you have to experience it for yourself.

You may feel that your words fall short, but I must tell you that the way you lead a yoga class is an incredibly spiritual experience in itself. You don't need to describe spirituality to people, because you help us LIVE it.

For years and years I have been reading and studying all kinds of spiritual texts, memoirs and doctrines, but you really bring it to life for me through yoga. It's such a powerful conduit for me. Again, being a musician I am reminded of the analogy that sheet music is really just ink on the page; it takes a true artist to help bring it to life. Thank you for being such an inspiration, for demonstrating, radiating, and living what you so eloquently "preach" in class.

Hugs and many lotuses to you,

Nadine Fawell said...

Just one word: amen.