Tag Archives: meditation

Authentic Power: Week 6 2015

Power is a loaded term. Perhaps more confusing and misunderstood than any of the other virtues I’ve contemplated thus far. We tend to regard power in terms of having power over something or someone. This sense of personal superiority is distinct from true power. It’s very life force is premised upon needing someone to be inferior so it can express its power over it. This, of course, is the ego’s method of overcompensating for its own sense of inferiority. Truly authentic power knows no comparison. It is not derived from being more than anyone else. It is derived from knowing ourselves at the depth of our being.

I’ve chosen to write about authentic power because it’s something that in all honesty has been somewhat of an internal struggle to fully realize. And I feel compelled to share this because it’s when I’m unabashedly honest that I feel most powerful, most real. It would be easy to write or teach yoga from a false platform of pretend power. I can say something wise or invoke charisma to seem powerful. But I’m not interested in seeming powerful anymore. I’m interested in being powerful. I’m interested in being real.

And in it’s most real sense, power is a virtue I’ve had to discover through necessity. Through feeling powerless. What I’m speaking of is not necessarily powerlessness in my capacity to be productive or to affect change. I’m talking about the conversation we are having with ourselves. The one we are rarely bold enough to reveal to the world. I’m talking about giving more power to what I know as truth, within the very moments of emotional obliteration. It’s easy to feel powerful in the moments where I feel my life flowing. But I’m interested in bolstering my power in those moments I’m triggered emotionally, where my false story re-emerges and I feel panic or anxiety or deep sadness. To claim my truth in those moments- that’s my yoga practice. That is truly powerful.

And here’s what I’ve realized: for so many years when I’ve felt that silent anxiety begin to rush through me and waves of darkness take over, I would believe it was real. I would derive my sense of self from my depleted emotional state. And I would become guarded- even if no one could tell. Concealing our sense of powerlessness is something we can get good at.

But what I’ve come to see is that guardedness never fulfills it’s intended function. Guardedness does not protect- it stifles our growth. The true force that prevents us from being overcome by powerlessness is truth itself. It is standing in the remembrance of who we are beyond our bodies, our possessions, our jobs, our roles, our beliefs and our emotions. It is standing in the remembrance of Self, of being, where power flows naturally not from us but through us. If we dig deep enough to know who we are at a root level, we will come to know the true meaning of authentic power.

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Namaste Mother Fuckers

I am ambitious. I am a yoga teacher. I am an ambitious yoga teacher. Fuck. It’s not my fault. I was born this way. I also drink coffee & curse. Shit, I am a caffeine drinking, profanity laced, ambitious yogi. And it’s not that I lack a deep reverence for the sacred roots of the yoga tradition. And I’m not the 100 chaturangas “work out” kinda teacher. For whatever reason I’m more like the 108 aum’s “work in” kinda teacher. So when the people who come to my classes see me carrying a starbucks I get funny looks. The kind of suspicious “I guess he’s not the real deal after all ” kinda looks.

It’s a funny dilemma we contemporary yogis face: Are we to divorce ourselves from our cultural roots in order to become “authentic”? Is there some required quota we must meet in order to pass the authenticity test? Maybe something along the lines of not leaving the house, I mean cave, without the requisite mala beads and sufficiently interspersed lexicon of sanskrit & english? In other words, is our humanity an indictment on our spirituality?

Don’t get it twisted. I fully realize that in its essence yoga implores us to confront the unexamined aspects of who we are. At some inevitable point, if our paths are genuine, we must all encounter our conditioned habits and tendencies to discern whether or not they are in alignment with our higher Self. But where do we place this seemingly arbitrary benchmark for both ourselves and one another?

It seems to me that perhaps these desires and habits that we are all reconciling along the way have less to do with our external actions themselves and more to do with our internal relationship with them. It’s not so black & white. When we start putting people in defined little boxes we run the risk of becoming spiritual elitists condemning the gluten ingesting, bad mood having, sports watching, facebook loving wannabe yogis of the world. As though there is one pre-determined standard of what an awakened life looks like.

I prefer to think of each of us a process rather than a person. This reminds me to give my life, and your life, space to breathe, permission to be human. Permission to start the day with a hot, fucking delicious cup of coffee thank you very much. Followed by meditation of course. Then we may finally be able to honor the beauty of this ancient tradition within the context of our own cultural heritage.
~Namaste Mother Fuckers