Of what must we become aware in order to let go?
written by Marc St. Pierre
Inspirations from a workshop taught at Openlotus Yoga Studio – Friday 18th, Oct 2019
First I must ask exactly to what? am I holding on?
Once I am able to gain clarity, usually whatever this feeling – whatever this thought – whatever this “sense of something at unrest” will likely be rooted somewhere within the lack of awareness. It awaits understanding. It needs deep inquiry.
For example: When I reflect upon any harm that I may have afflicted upon myself or another, it was always due to a lack of awareness. If my intention WAS bring harm or cause suffering to another or vice versa, that too, while worse, will still be due to my lack of understating. When those terrible feelings arise accompanied by my inability to “be” with them, I then had hastily moved to blame and then punishment.
Rather than, breathe and doing further inquiry and contemplation in order to gain understanding, so that the insight of a deeper awareness allows me to move forgiveness. Forgiveness, deep and real forgiveness arises with potent ease in the light of truth. The light of this truth with rooted in deep understanding dissolves the that which has been nagging at me. I gain an expanded vision to now objectively observe the sequence of events – I say to myself, “This happened, oh, then that, and before that happened, this also happened, and then finally, this situation manifested.” “Wow, okay.” There will be a place along that type of inquiry that you will discover the blind spot – several blind spots – some belonging to you, and some to whomever else is involved. THIS, is not so easy to face – yet this is where the steadiness you and I have cultivated through practice. Each of us is human, and each of us prone to error and folly. It is part of this journey – Concealment/Revelation. And somehow needed for our hearts to embrace the mystery that is life.
What is real?
The Rig Veda, the oldest spiritual script from the Upanishads, says, the first line of this great scripture tells us, “No One knows for sure.” To cling, (to people or events, or maybe the feelings that those interactions have created both good or bad) is usually the beginning of troubles. What I mean to say is that a lack of awareness combined with projection, seeds the fertile imagination with delusion. This grows fast and deep. I have moved away from reality and am experiencing only what I choose to see. Not what is real. Delusion is what eventually creates suffering. So I must ask myself: what exactly is delusion? Do I wish to be free of this burden? If “yes,” then I must be willing to do the work it takes to gain the insight and understanding needed to release the added sufferings that my delusion has created. A good first question often is, “How did I participate and/or sustain the delusion of this dynamic through which suffering arose? Next question: What were the perceived expectations? This is actually a 4 part question. Expectations of myself set towards myself? Expectations of myself towards those involved? Expectations others had towards me? Expectations the others may have had of themselves.
Once observed, to the best ability, expectations that were present at the time of the event that seems to have been the “cause” of suffering, I then can see the structure or reasons for my delusion, and hence, the reason(s) that suffering arose. Clarity and Understanding arise from this process. It may not necessarily bring about fast and full forgiveness – but “seeing” the ignorance that is part of being human will help. The reasons things fail is due to an inability to know my truth, to speak my truth, and have to demonstrate the courage to love myself within that truth. To imagine that we are likely to disappoint some people when we live our truth is reasonable. There is the saying which is appropriate in these times; “Are you willing to disappoint another to live the truth of your own soul?” This is about letting go. Am I willing to release the fear of being “unloved” by another? To think that I cannot say my truth for fear of abandonment, which may or may not be true, is usually the motivation. Anyone who cannot accept my true self, may not be someone who really sees and truly loves me anyway, so why build upon a foundation which lacks this primary element? Do you see and truly love yourself? This is the practice.
Once seeing the part I played within the delusion dynamic, (which again, is not so easy) I then may look at the other(s) involved and begin to see the pieces of the puzzle. This expanded view or perspective is often a big “ah-ha.” Now, I must be willing to receive the teaching. To yield my once limited knowing to this new understanding. Now then begins the practice of forgiveness. First, towards myself. Forgiving my own lack of knowing, my ignorance. Forgive. Eventually I learn how better to begin to forgive others. This is not a flimsy shallow forgiveness but one that is rooted in profound understanding and humbling compassion. Now – just a Warning: just because I have forgiven someone doesn’t meant they have become aware of their part within the dynamic. If they have, then wonderful! If not, I need not place myself in the circumstance or their company again. That may be foolish and harmful. Forgive from afar.
Also – I should not be surprised if likely I “attract” the same energy for a time because as shifts slowly occur, awareness may be tested to see if that pattern is still in place. Tread slowly and with gentleness and with all the awareness available. Breathe. Remember to breathe feel observe. We will have many challenges in life. Some not so important – others strike at our core. Those for certain are the invitations to gain awareness by doing the work of inquiry. It’s only through truly doing this work of transformation that the lightness of being may arise. Keep repeating the good. Mantra Asana Breath. These are the foundations of the practice and keep us connected to our awareness. On Yoga Asana & Letting Go – Asana gives us the opportunity to become present. But let’s observe the quality of that presence – The breath invited and mediates the conversation between the mind and body. Breath supports the interaction of the two, so that body may perform Asana with more skill. In turn, this calms both the mind and body even as they collaborate. Breath draws the mind from it’s noisy “busy place” towards a state of focus and then arising will be a serene awareness. During Asana, awareness stills the mind so it may observe patterns within the body. These will be misaligned or aligned. When the alignment is achieved the poses become comfortable and steady as the Sutras suggest. The mind and body combine to create a oneness of being and a state of beauty arises from the dynamic tension (the balance of spanda) in the poses. Observe yourself in a pose. Do you: tend to force your body into poses without awareness, breath, understanding, or skill? Do you: tend to be more passive and just absently let yourself mentally slip away? Do you: listen with your senses and to the breath to support the integration of the body and then respond in kind? In other words: are you forcing the pose into something to support some Delusion of what you think it should be? Or are you Doubting any of your ability to skillfully or effectively engage. And therefore tune out? If so, then pause. Breathe, invite yourself to this moment, this breath in, this breath out, and release expectations and doubts. Breathe. Be with the breath. Practice being present and truthful with your body and your self. One breath at a time. This way you honor “what is” from one moment to the next, and you will travel with steadiness and lightness. These are the instructions we receive from such teachings as the Sutras. This is a way to reduce suffering and make life more fulfilling.
Blessing and gratitude, Marc