MKE, Week 23: Dharma as Destination

“I do not wish to expiate, but to live. My life is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady. I wish it to be sound and sweet, and not to need diet and bleeding.” –Emerson

We often live our lives just surviving, going through the motions and pushing through one day to the next, from weekend to weekend, from vacation to vacation…if we even take time to reward ourselves those moments. I am guilty of the same…work hard to play hard, push through then recover. But who are we doing it for? For what are we doing it? We shouldn’t need to “diet and bleed” our lives to make them tolerable. We shouldn’t have to constantly run from our daily experience to some fantasy land in our minds. Nor should we create a life that is all glitter on the outside, yet unsteady in our hearts. These are the downfalls we experience when we live our life in the expectations of society or for the approval of others. 

“The objection of conforming to usages that have become dead to you is, that it scatters your force. It loses your time and blurs the impression of your character. (…)so much force is withdrawn from your proper life. But do your work, and I shall know you. Do your work, and you shall reinforce yourself. ” –Emerson

As I emerge from this Master Key experience, coupled with deepening my relationship to a yogic life, a bird’s eye view of the last two years reveals all of these offenses at play. I see that I’ve been conforming to patterns that are dead to me; I see that time has escaped me and my understanding of my true Self has been skewed; I see the force withdrawn from my proper life. All of these feelings are actually what pushed me into joining the MKE in the first place.

I love the way I can help people through massage therapy, but the system is imbalanced in it’s effort versus compensation. I am fed up chasing jobs, working hard to make money for other people, while slowly damaging my precious body. I am tired of being at the beck and call of others to only be thrown a bone or two. What kind of life is this?! Not one I intend to live! I had forgotten my Dharma. I had forgotten what I lived for and just lived for what I was doing…to make money, to pay the bills. This is Not what Emerson means by “do your work”. He means YOUR Heart’s WORK! Do the WORK to create the life your heart craves, and you shall reinforce YOURSELF. 

As much as I work to follow my heart and lean into the callings of my intuition, I must admit, that sometimes those callings are necessary distractions, for the purpose of growth. When reading Yoga Psychology by Swami Ajaya, P.h.D. a month or so ago, I had a major epiphany. He describes: 

“If you wish to take a trip to a distant city, you may find that after going a short distance down the road, you become attracted by various sights or objects that present themselves. You may get off the road and follow one attraction after another, eventually becoming so absorbed in these distractions that you forget your original destination. Later when you remember, you return to the highway and resume your journey, only to be distracted again and again at many points along the way. Some distractions may be brief and others so prolonged that they may take years of experiencing various pleasures and pains before you once again reawaken and resume your journey to the intended destination.” 

“The way in which thoughts divert us during meditation is the same way in which various allurements and attractions of the world take us from our purpose and goal in life or from the movement toward experiencing greater joy and harmony.” 

WOW. My mind blew open seeing a completely new perspective of the detours away from my heart. Where had I been wandering these past couple years?! No wonder I felt so unsatisfied with my life. The MKE, like a road map, got me pointed in the right direction. And I remembered my destination. I see the detours I’ve taken, but I don’t regret the people I’ve met along the way, the things I’ve learned, or the ways it has helped home me into a new version of myself. 

Although I am pointed back in the right direction, I lost so much time and the traction I had gained over the years as an reputable yoga teacher in my small community. Much of that knowledge has been filed in the recesses of my mind, although the wisdom is still there. Recently, I had the privilege of witnessing a dear friend and colleague from that small town, coming into her own, launching her website and emulating the life I intended to create. I felt a bit of a burn…not jealously, but humility in realizing that I could be in the same place had I not strayed from my path. But rather than punishing myself, I saw it as a reminder and motivation to strive harder to manifest my goals going forward, even if, step by step, it feels bittersweet retracing the steps of a path I have already walked a portion of. 

MKL 23.10: The power of attention is called concentration; this power is directed by the will; for this reason we must refuse to concentrate or think of anything except the things which we desire. (…)much leads to more. 

Thanks to the practices of the MKE and it leading me back to lost portions of myself and my life, I have the concentration and will to focus on my dream life, my Dharma. I bless and admire the journey and lives of all the men and women that have blazed a trail similar to that of my own: an intention to share the Universal Laws of Nature, the Wisdom of Yoga, and the Secrets of learning to Listen to one’s Heart; the pursuance of refining the World Within.

“Few and mean as my gifts may be, I actually am, and do not need for my own assurance or the assurance of my fellows any secondary testimony.” –Emerson

And I do not need the approval of any outside source. I am enough, simply by being and walking my path. 

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MKE, Week 22a: Self Reliance

“What I must do is all that concerns me, not what people think. The rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” 

How do we maintain solidarity in ourselves when we are bombarded with the expectations of the world? When we have the privilege of solitude, it is easy to Know ourselves and do as we please. But as soon as we meet the world, and the voices and opinions of those we care about and care to please, and even those we don’t, we begin to drift from our true center. The sounds of the crowd drown out that little voice inside that tells the absolute and painful truth. Painful? Only because sometimes our truth is against, not only what is expected, but also what comes easy. 

I’ve been ever aware of this over the last few years, as I’ve wandered the Earth on some heart-directed journey of non-logic. Does anyone in their right mind want/think-its-a-good-idea to move thousands of miles across oceans and land masses at every whim of dream or intuition about once every year and a half? Um, no. I mean traveling is great…but Moving implies a different undertaking. But there’s something to be said for that level of commitment and affinity for risk. 

Courage: the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc, without fear; bravery. 

The heart as the source of emotion. ❤

To act in accordance with one’s beliefs, especially in spite of criticism. 

Heart-age. The age of the heart…is timeless. 

I’ve never really been able to quiet my heart. I mean, maybe temporarily. I mean, maybe there were times I wasn’t listening when it was speaking…I mean, maybe there were times the other, inauthentic voices somehow were louder…but with practice I learned to hear the whispers of my intuition, my heart’s voice, and developing trust in that inner voice created a level of Self Reliance that trumps all external validation. 

“The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion.”

We are taught to walk through the field in the direction of the other sheep. Society prefers us docile for convenience and control. It’s assumed that if we are “content” we won’t cause any disruptions. But inauthentic contentedness has its own kind of unrest. Distress of the heart. Following the crowd often doesn’t please the soul, even if it does feel comfortable for awhile. It takes a special effort to step out of the box of what we are told is the way of life. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to live some adventurous life of single-dom, traveling the world, taking epic pictures and eating strange foods at midnight. It means you create whatever version of this is sacred to you. I, nor anyone, even your most trusted confidant, can tell you what that path is for you. That is why you must listen, to the whispers within. That is why you must learn to rely only on your self…she knows the way, and only she. 

“No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong is what is against it.” 

In all my wandering astray the expected path, I’ve faced a fair amount of disapproval and lecturing from those who thought they knew what I needed better than I. I smiled and nodded, but I still followed the truth and wildness of my nature. And even though it hasn’t been easy, it’s been FUN and exciting!  And man, have I grown and expanded. Even more, I’ve found support and validation in the most unexpected places, and that has humbled me and filled me with gratitude and grace, only strengthening my will to listen and follow my heart with even more courage. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson has always been one of my heroes, since I first came upon his work in high school. His messages are timeless and ever applicable to a life of meaning. The quotations here are from his essay Self-Reliance written in 1841. 

 

MKE, Week 22: Energy in Motion

“Today I will be the master of my emotions.”

“The tides advance; the tides recede. Winter goes and summer comes…The sun rises; the sun sets. The moon is full; the moon is black…Seeds are sown; harvests are reaped…” 

I love how Og compares our emotions to the movements of nature. And it is so true. Within a second our countenance can shift, from an internal or external force…a memory passing through the mind, an ex-lover passing on the street. We must recognize though, that when he says we must be the “master” of our emotions, he does not imply control, rather, recognition that they are simply as moveable as the tides and seasons, and as a great teacher I once encountered suggested, just Energy in Motion. This, fortunately, means that we should not attach ourselves to their current state; a deep sadness will pass, just as readily as elation will fade, both gifts in their own right. 

MKL 22.2: If the state of our health is not all that could be desired, let us examine our method of thinking; let us remember that every thought produces an impression on the mind; every impression is a seed which will sink into the subconscious and form a  tendency; the tendency will begin to attract other similar thoughts and before we know it we shall have a crop which must be harvested. 

MKL 22.3: If these thoughts contain disease germs, the harvest will be sickness, decay, weakness, and failure; the question is, what are we thinking, what are we creating, what is the harvest to be? 

MKL 22.5: It is through the law of vibration that the mind exercises this control over the body. We know that every mental action is a vibration, and we know that all form is simply a mode of motion, a rate of vibration. Therefore, any given vibration immediately modifies every atom in the body, every life cell is affected and an entire chemical change is made in every group of life cells. 

MKL 22.6: Everything in the Universe is what it is by virtue of its rate of vibration. Change the rate of vibration and you change the nature, quality and form. The vast panorama of nature, both visible and invisible, is being constantly changed by simply changing the rate of vibration, and as thought is a vibration we can also exercise this power. We can change the vibration and thus produce any condition which we desire to manifest in our bodies. 

And in a stroke of beautiful serendipity, Haanel’s lesson this week also emphasizes this same theme. The explanation is a bit more complex, but the root of the information stands: we have the ability to change our vibration, our mode of motion, our Energy in Motion…by the mastery of our thoughts. As one recognizes that our physical bodies are simply a more solid form of the vibration we create in our minds, we might also recognize that our thoughts in turn determine our state of health. Our thoughts create our emotions, our emotions affect our health, therefore mastering our thought, and therefore emotions, gives us the power to determine our state of vitality. Vitality implies a state of exuberance, an expression of ultimate energy and life force. Is this not what we are all striving for? 

In Ayurveda, the oldest form of medicine from India, dating back at least 5000 years, there is also this recognition and striving for ultimate vitality and health, and in fact the entire science is built around that objective. Ironically, within this frame there is also the recognition that dis-ease is part of the ebb and flow of health. Just as the tides rise and fall, the sun rises and sets, the moon waxes and wanes, so does our vitality. Ayurveda is the science and art of techniques to brings those natural movements back into balance when our vibration shifts from its pure state. Ayurveda also wisely recognizes what Og and Haanel offer up in more modern times. 

“…(E)motions need to be processed and metabolized. To metabolize an emotion means to be aware of that emotion. Paying total attention to a feeling or emotion allows (it) to release. The anger, fear, or anxiety can then leave with awareness and maturity. Repressed, unmetabolized emotions can create stress in the organs. These emotions want to come out but, if we suppress them, they accumulate in the tissues and lead to disease. Ayurveda does not separate emotions from the organs. We cannot separate body from mind and mind from consciousness.”  –Vasant Lad, MASc, Textbook of Ayurveda Fundamental Principles, Vol. 1

What this illuminates further is that being a master of our emotions includes being with and “in” our emotions. This does not mean wallowing in depression or drifting away on a cloud of bliss; a true, steady presence with what you are feeling gives those feelings the time and space to be processed and therefore alchemized into wisdom. We watch them arrive, we feel them around and through us, and without attachment we release them into the Ether, dissolved and transformed. That is the true mastery, not control or suppression. And therefore, what brings us the most Vitality in both our bodies and minds.

Nothing in life is compartmentalized. Coincidence is not serendipitous, nor by chance; the Universe presents lessons from all angles, which we may recognize if we are paying attention. A 5000 year old science intersects with a turn-of-the-century mastermind intersects with a best selling author from the 60s. Our emotions, thoughts, and physical health are completely interdependent. And by embracing our power of thought, we can consciously affect our entire, integrated state of health. It is all just Energy in Motion; watch it ebb and flow, and ride the waves with presence and mastery. 

 

MKE Week 21: Think Big Thoughts

Master Keys Lesson 21 blew my freakin’ mind…I’ve kind of been speechless. I highlighted, like, Everything. Still not even sure how to bring it all together. Kind of speechless about life right now…so many rich experiences, and intersections of teachings, and desires manifesting at an unexpected rate. I’m simultaneously energized and overwhelmed, as my mind, heart, soul, tries to process all the goodness and expansion. 

THINK BIG THOUGHTS, Hannel says. This is one of the METHODS OF ORGANIZING VICTORY. 

For some reason those words alone rang so loudly in my mind. Like I was hearing something I’d been missing for the longest time. 

MKL 21.1: The real secret of power is consciousness of power. The Universal Mind is unconditional; therefore, the more conscious we become of our unity with this mind, the less conscious we shall become of conditions and limitations, and as we become emancipated or freed from conditions we come into a realization of the unconditional. We have become free!

MKL 21.5: The ability to eliminate imperfect conditions depends on mental action, and mental action depends upon consciousness of power; therefore the more conscious we become of our unity with the source of all power, the greater will be our power to control and master every condition.

MKL 21.6: Large ideas have a tendency to eliminate all smaller ideas so that it is well to hold ideas large enough to counteract and destroy all small or undesirable tendencies. This will remove innumerable petty and annoying obstacles from your path.

One of the things I’ve struggle with in MKE as I crafted my DMP, and continue to, is thinking linearly…that I must place one foot in front of the other, that I have to lay out my plan in a timeline fashion, meeting each insignificant milestone before accomplishing the final goal. This lesson just threw that completely out the window! Thanks goodness! Focusing on the big picture, on the end goal, will simply erase the obstacles of the things that don’t matter in reaching the end goal. And it makes sense because I see it at work in my life. As I look beyond what I think must happen first, to what I really want to create, it begins to fall into place, leap-frogging the small objectives that were just detours from creating my full life NOW. Things start to fall away. A five year plan becomes a five month plan. 

MKL 21.7: This is one of the secrets of success, one of the methods of organizing victory, one of the accomplishments of the Master-Mind. He thinks big thoughts. The creative energies of mind find no more difficulty in handling large situations, than small ones. Mind is just as much present in the Infinitely large as the Infinitely small.

I no longer feel bound by time and space. I no longer feel I must walk along the tributaries before I can face the ocean. I feel my truth surfacing and my mind clearing to make way for my biggest manifestation. 

MKL21.17: Do not hesitate to aspire to the highest possible attainments in anything you may undertake, for the mind forces are ever ready to lend themselves to a purposeful will in the effort to crystallize its highest aspirations into acts, accomplishments, and events.

My mind screams, DON’T WAIT! DO IT NOW. Why hold yourself back from your highest good?! The world needs YOUR LIGHT…at it’s BRIGHTEST!! 

Each day I deepen my inner practices. I weave together the self love and care of Ayurveda with the good habits I’ve built in the Master Key Experience. I eat to nourish my body, I read to nourish my mind. I rub my body with oils, I sit in the Silence and listen. Sometimes I think I know completely nothing…and then everything I know presents itself. And there is nothing small about it. 

MKE, Week 20: The Edge

If you explore the realm of personal development you’ve probably heard the saying, “there’s no growth in the comfort zone and there’s no comfort in the growth zone.” This implies that if you pursue spiritual evolution (that’s what growth IS!) you may experience a state of constant discomfort. In the Week 20 webcast, The Fab Davene presents the idea in a way I hadn’t really heard before. She suggested that we can gently nudge our comfort zone wider and wider without taking some extreme action. By consistently doing this we create a habit, that creates a lifestyle, of constant growth. In a yoga asana practice you learn that enduring a little discomfort in a posture (and in life) can lead to the training of a steady mind and a strong, flexible body; we learn to stretch our edges gently, without forcing, with patience. The principles of my yoga practice is mirrored in the MKE. The intersection of these two perspectives deepens the understanding and experience of this concept at work in my life. 

I have really made a point for the last five years to listen to my heart’s call and heed my intuition. This has led me on many adventures, but more importantly has stretched the edges of my comfort zone consistently, one adventure at a time, one day at a time. It has challenged me to live life at the Edge of my comfort Zone. MKE has stretched my comfort zone in new and different ways too. This way of living gives you a completely new sense of being humbled by gratitude. Mundane moments become magical, as you see every minute as an opportunity to stretch toward a more expansive version of yourself. I had one of these moments this week. 

I had to make a phone call to a utility service in Kentucky, regarding my Dad’s Estate. There were several issues with locating the account at all: my father’s last name was spelled wrong, there was no account number listed on the notice, and the address they had on file for me was my old address in Alaska. On top of that, the customer service number on the notice was wrong, and in the end we found that the account had already been transferred to my step-mom anyway. I approached the middle-aged black lady on the other end of the line, with her rich, velvety voice, like she was my best friend. I appreciated her patient and friendly manner, and she had a great sense of humor. We spoke candidly within a few minutes. We waded through the scavenger hunt of this notice for probably 15 minutes and were laughing and carrying on before it was over. She reflected back to me the greatest affirmation of why I live at the edge. 

This angel of customer service blessed me with the recognition of living this expansive life. She said she was amazed at my courage to travel and move to new places. She admitted that she just couldn’t endure the discomfort of getting on the airplane; she was afraid of flying, but maybe she was also just afraid to leave the small bubble of life she had always been in. I encouraged her to explore beyond her norm. “All it takes is practice,” I said. She treated me with reverence, and accepted her fate. She took responsibility for it. My heart broke open, feeling that reflection of inspiration. Just by living my life and sharing my story, I was able to inspire her. Maybe someday she would stretch the edges of her “zone” because she remembered our exchange? Maybe it would remind her to stretch to her higher potential? I was reminded of the many exchanges previously in my life which elicited those same feelings of validation, as someone would message me, saying that they lived vicariously through me or were inspired by my story. I felt so Right in my heart. I was in the depths of humble gratitude. 

Sometimes living at the Edge is uncomfortable; you are constantly flirting with the unknown…and that takes a certain level of attention…and intention. It’s harder work than living in that sense of comfort and security. But with constant practice you get good at it. And it all feels worth it when someone witnesses you and you see/hear/feel a spark light in their eyes/mind/heart. Inspiring others to live their dreams by living my own, as messy as it sometimes seems, is really the best life plan I can think of. I feel really good in my skin. I am in my Dharma, I am in my flow, I am enlightened, as in, my Spark is lit! I’m excited about life and I want to inspire others to feel that too! So I’ll keep practicing, I’ll keep stretching to my edges, and shining a little light into my next unknown. You should try it too. 😉

MKE, Week 19: Concentration Meditation

MKL 19.27: For your exercise this week, concentrate, and when I use the word concentrate, I mean all that the word implies; become so absorbed in the object of your thought that you are conscious of nothing else, and do this for a few minutes everyday. You take the necessary time to eat in order that the body may be nourished, why not take the time to assimilate your mental food? 

Let’s start with the admittance that despite years of practice, concentration is still a challenge for me. I’m like the kid who turns her head at any random noise or shiny light. If one could watch me trying to achieve any project that takes longer than an hour, you’d wonder why every 20 minutes or so I am wandering off into another sub-project or getting something to drink or sending a text message.  

As a kid, I used to have anxiety attacks when I had to do any big project for school: book reports, presentations, etc. I would procrastinate until the last minute and then have such bad anxiety that it would make me physically ill and I couldn’t go to school the next day. It wasn’t until I saw a therapist in my mid 20s that I understood why.

I was overwhelmed. I could only see the whole picture. And it always looked like way more than I could handle. She gave me the sage advice of breaking things into smaller parts and tackling one piece at a time. Though I still struggle at times, I constantly remind myself to do this and it is extremely helpful. My challenge was not so much the concentration, but how much of it I had to do at once. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about that final statement: You take the necessary time to eat in order that the body may be nourished, why not take the time to assimilate your mental food? Last week I spent A LOT of time meditating, practicing yoga and sleeping. I just needed to process, to assimilate, the Divine information coming in; the breakthroughs, the understandings, the possibilities. I needed time to let it all start to settle. It felt so nourishing just to be quiet and out of Time and not doing so much. 

This week came with some challenges in moving back into a more “doing” state of being, but with Hannel’s suggestion to concentrate, I spent a few minutes each day focusing on one of the things that came up while I was just being. It was interesting to watch my mind’s relationship with the subject change as the week progressed. And it certainly did help me assimilate the idea. And my concentration did improve. But I still needed that time out of Time. 

We went to the North shore, Haena beach. What do you do at the beach when it’s cloudy and been storming for days? You look for shells. But I wasn’t looking for just any shells; I was micro-shelling. We are talking small, like a millimeter or two. You got to get real low and close to the ground. And I was lost. I could see the all the tiny parts and the big picture all at once. I was concentrating, I was meditating, simultaneously. I was in the Flow. 

And there’s something magical about being in that place. It is the space where your mental food gets processed; it is the space from which intuitions and imagination arise. It is completely essential to take time to Be in your Doing. And what I realized in all of this, is that I need more time to BE, not do. I need to relish in the fruits of my concentration, I need to be in Meditation, for the path behind me to make sense and the path ahead of me to arise. 

 

 

 

 

 

MKE, Week 18: A Matter of Perspective

It’s pretty cool that now, after several months, the concepts in the Master Key Lessons are starting to feel more like a review than anything new. Each lesson builds on the previous and illuminates similar ideas with new insights. 

MKL 18, intro: In order to grow we must obtain what is necessary for our growth. This is brought about by the Law of Attraction. 

MKL 18.24: In order to grow we must obtain what is essential for our growth, but as we are at all times a complete thought entity, this completeness makes it possible for us to receive only as we give; growth is therefore conditioned on reciprocal action, and we find that on the mental plane like attracts like, that mental vibrations respond only to the extent of their vibratory harmony. 

This reminds me that, not only do we attract to us everything we need to learn the lessons we need to learn, but also that our growth is dependent on our interactions and relationships with others!  None of us are an island alone. We cannot evolve without our connections with others. How we move through life, how we give energy of all kinds, calls that same vibration to us and makes the space for it to be received. This just reinforces my understanding that the “guru”, not a person specifically, but the teacher energy, can show up in any form, in any place, at any time. Proof in my life has shown itself so many times, as a genuine exchange with a person I don’t even know brings about a revelation or feels like a message from the Universe about whatever growing pains are orbiting my energetic field. It calls me to remain open to those around me, to the goodness of humanity, to not judge a book by it’s cover, and to give Love in every exchange I make. I try to bring a smile to the face of each person I encounter, and it makes me smile. 

MKL 18.25: It is clear, therefore, that thoughts of abundance will respond only to similar thoughts; the wealth of the individual is seen to be what he inherently is. Affluence within is found to be the secret of attraction for affluence without. The ability to produce is found to be the real source of wealth of the individual. It is for this reason that he who has his heart in his work is certain to meet with unbounded success. He will give and continually give; and the more he gives, the more he will receive. 

Who doesn’t want to meet with unbounded success?! To me this doesn’t mean money or position, necessarily, but rather happiness and fulfillment. But as the lesson states, that wealth within will lead to a wealth without. I know I certainly put my heart into all my work and there is certainly an abundance of love and gratitude that flows back to me. I consciously chose to create a career of service, and the years of continual giving has proved to bring many generous souls into my life. Being filled with gratitude allows that appreciation to return to me. Gratitude is a Cause, not an Effect.” 

And wow…I realize as I write this that it really is just a matter of perspective that makes the difference. “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Reflecting back on previous posts, I seemed to be struggling with a sense of lack in my life, specifically with my work and monetary compensation, and yet now, taking a step back and framing it in an light of gratitude and abundance, I see what may have been right under my nose all along. I was looking in the wrong places for the affluence. I see that focusing on the wealth of care and love that flows through the relationships I cultivate in my healing practice IS the GIFT that will eventually bring wealth in the form of financial abundance. It feels Good to Know that just by focusing on the richness of my work, and where it really lie, will bring about more of that abundant energy and consequently unbounded success…which maybe, in itself, is also just a matter of perspective.