When I prepare myself to work on a newsletter, it isn’t always with enthusiasm and zest. Often I let myself get tongue-tied because there is just so much “out there ” and “in here” (our personal mailboxes). There’s so much accessible information on the web, which used to be harder to find, that I’m concerned anything I might contribute is just so much repetition. I don’t want to inflict any more overload on you!So I asked myself this morning, after looking at a draft containing the “newsy bits,” what really is important to me that I share with my students, clients, and colleagues who have signed up to receive updates? The answer came immediately, and came with conviction. What I really want you to know is: You are not alone. You are not forgotten. Even if it feels that way.
This truth was hard earned for me.
Two years ago on New Year’s eve, I participated in an evening event geared toward Buddhist practitioners. We spent time in meditation, clarifying our intentions for the New Year, and sharing them with the sangha, then celebrated with food and dancing till after midnight. It was great! And it was during that meditation that the message came to me about my own life: “You are not alone, you have never been alone.” It became my mantra for the entire year, an important and necessary one, because I was experiencing aloneness to a degree I had never know. And that is saying alot, due to how much loss I have suffered! Of all the people I have known in my life, it is my sister and I who have had the karma to experience an extreme amount of loss by today’s standards. Mother, step-father, aunt, uncle in one fell swoop, home and security taken away with them; a mentally ill, alcoholic father who was never “there” in the first place, who also died fairly young; unborn babies, financial losses and failures in marriages and LTR’s; loss of best friends to illness, accident, or unreconcilable differences; loss of career identity and self-esteem; loss of my brilliant, talented emotionally disturbed sister to alcoholism (age 54); and finally, for years losing my connection to my North Star–my spiritual practice.
So two years ago, when I was facing a new year, with new choices and possibilities, and knowing I still wasn’t ready to start dating after two truly heart-breaking relationship failures, I sat in meditative contemplation not really sure of any clear intentions to focus my will upon…
Spiritual practice is so interesting. Without the daily or regular grind of of it, where nothing special occurs (or is even suppose to occur!), the inner capacity to show up, fully awake, when something important does arise, would not be there. I was awake that night, and I experienced the truth of not being alone in my very cells. Because of that experience, sometimes referred to as hearing that “still, strong voice inside,” I have not had one day since where I felt unconnected or alone. When feelings of loneliness have arisen, I have been able to notice them, allow them and receive them fully for a moment or two, then I go on to remember, “oh, this is that old, ingrained feeling, a fear…but it isn’t True.” And so I free myself from being identified with it. That is one of the most powerful and positive things about our analytical mind–we (Consciousness itself) can harness it to do the work of discerning what is and isn’t True. But we have to practice.
And we can’t do it from a place of bias, our normal stomping grounds. We have to take the time to cultivate not only the ability to pull out and see the bigger picture (All of life’s a stage, sort of thing), but we must choose a way in toward consciousness, and choose one that inspires us to remain for awhile and stay deeply aligned with the path. And this is a bit tricky, because there are so many paths, and now so much information, so many choices, piled upon endless distractions and duties in our modern, high-tech lives. How does one choose?
This, I have come to understand, has been one of the greatest benefits of the yoga craze. Not only, as it is practiced mainly in the West, does it help with physical-mental-energetic stability; beginning any practice of yoga/meditation/energy awareness opens the door to discovering what your important personal pathway is, what my tradition refers to as “inner yoga.” from there, as we stay committed and diligent we eventually experience “the innermost yoga,” resting in the natural state of pure consciousness. And the experience of Oneness…
Then you too will truly know you are are not alone, you never have been and never will be alone.
May all beings be happy and free.