technology & the divine search

It occurred to me that I deactivated my Facebook account around this time last year. How does it feel to be Facebook free? It’s still working for me. That doesn’t mean I’m anti-Facebook. It means I know my tendencies, and must limit social media for my own peace of mind.

Technology is a double-edged sword. While it’s mind-bogglingly cool to have this worldwide venue to express ourselves, the open-forum Internet easily becomes a platform where many react from defence and ego when their beliefs are challenged.

Using social media responsibly requires conscious attention and self-awareness. If we are not wise to our own projections, we might attack the other instead of looking within.

from my trip to paris, centre pompidou: františek kupka, ‘around a point’

I speak for myself more than anyone. For several years, I followed a woman on YouTube who regularly posted on spirituality and emotional healing. Her videos were targeted to sensitive people, and they brought me much comfort and guidance.

But in recent months, her channel has changed direction. She now posts exclusively on Jesus Christ and the Bible as the (only) true path to God. Her messages have included warnings to not practice yoga, for example, as it is ‘Luciferian’ in nature and invites demonic spirits in. Having studied many forms of new age spirituality throughout her life, she now views these as the ‘false light’.

I was very triggered by all this. I didn’t even know this woman, but her previous teachings had been deeply healing for me, and I felt an odd sense of betrayal and emotional pain. I began to doubt my own spirituality, including my views on yoga and ascension.

I was angry…but at who?

When I’m feeling threatened, it’s usually not about the other person. If I’d been truly secure in my own beliefs, maybe I wouldn’t have been so upset by this woman’s new messages. I’d understand that others have free choice to believe whatever they want, and it can be truth for them. I’d trust that there was room enough for all, in a way my linear human mind couldn’t comprehend.

I’m not contesting the Bible or the life of Jesus here, and I mean no disrespect to this woman. But I recognize that her new content had activated my old feelings of guilt and shame for rejecting the religion I was born into, and for pursuing a more ‘new age’ path. And I felt fear. Paralyzed by the ancient notion of God watching, judging, and waiting to punish me for one false move.

It is my responsibility to deal with my reactions and responses. So I’ve been asking myself: What do I truly believe? What do I know? I’ve previously written on honouring the inner authority, yet here I became so invested in another’s experience. When it comes to God and spirituality, have I taken others’ word for it, to the point where I don’t even know what mine is?

Am I allowed a direct relationship with the divine? Do feelings of unworthiness block me from receiving this? Can I be unshakable in my faith, but not so rigid that I proclaim my way as the only way?

My spiritual search has been about undoing the ego – a constant, likely never-ending process. And with that comes humility. The ability to admit that I don’t know.

Here in the west we have so many philosophies, including yoga, to choose from. But does one or the other make me more ‘spiritual’ or ‘ascended’? Perhaps I don’t need to do so much, to try so hard. (I’m reminded of my trip to Italy, where I felt very connected to God while taking a break from all things I considered spiritual.)

On this planet of limitless preferences, I would think that there are endless ways to express and embody love. If God can feel this frequency in us, this sincere desire, maybe little else matters.

And here, technology becomes the blessing. Through sharing perspectives, it raises questions that – with conscious awareness – bring me deeper into my own truth.

from karma to dharma

Through completing the final session of my Kundalini Yoga teacher training program last weekend, it’s become clear that my views on karma have significantly changed these last few months. Karma used to have very negative connotations (mostly surrounding punishment), and my chronic thoughts about it hung over me like a heavy cloud.

In my very first training session last October, I was hesitant to wrap my hair in a white cloth. I knew many Kundalini Yogis wore turbans, and in all my years of practice, I never saw myself doing that. But after a few days, I began to question why I was so resistant. And, near the end of our five-day session, I wrapped my hair on the top of my head.

My beautiful training group. I'm on the right.

My beautiful training group. I’m on the right.

It was very emotional for me. As a child, I was desperate to hide the fact that I was Indian. I wanted nothing more than to be white. I did everything I could to blend in, which, being brown-skinned, never really worked.

My intense feelings of powerlessness and separation – of feeling inherently inferior in my brownness – had become, in my mind, my karma. I didn’t belong anywhere on this planet, and there was nothing I could do about it.

These past few months have taken me on a journey of discovering the jewels of my ancestry, and what it means to be a woman – an Indian woman – in this day and age. It has been one intense, beautiful roller coaster ride as I unearth emotions buried deep within me, and in my ancestral line. Planet Earth is reawakening to the Divine Feminine – we know this. What truths can I now speak, that my ancestors could not?

Wrapping my hair was symbolic; it marked a return to myself.

A new path is emerging, one my childhood self couldn’t see. I have renewed hope of living from the oneness of which I am a part. I understand that I can’t be separate, because there is no separation – no matter how convincing the illusion, the maya, appears. Of course, my ego has a hard time with this. It wants to stay separate…to believe I’m inferior or superior, but never the same.

Karma used to feel like a curse, a burden – but I now see it as a gift, in that I’m totally responsible for all my thoughts, actions, and reactions in this here-and-now. I can do my best to live from my highest truth and consciousness, and correct anything I feel needs correcting. That doesn’t mean I’m always successful or that I live in ‘love light bliss’ all the time. It means I do my best.

And instead of obsessing about karma, I can choose to live my dharma.

My dharma is my purpose. It is the guiding factor in my life. It remained elusive for many years, but I’m starting to see it now. It’s what I’ve been doing all along. My dharma is not a job or a business or a project or a baby or any ‘thing’ out there. It is within. It is transforming all those things I once hated about myself into sources of strength, beauty, and love – in service to all.

Words cannot express my gratitude for my teachers, friends, and the sacred Kundalini Yoga teachings. I bow in deep reverence. Sat Nam.

my fiction put me in debt

My first guest blog post, as featured on A Holistic Journey.

A Holistic Journey

Last week my father told me that his local Safeway had closed down, soon to be replaced with a Whole Foods. Normally this news would’ve tickled me – I’m a Whole Foods addict – but I was inexplicably sad. He now scans the weekly store flyers and shops the best deals.

Why did this conversation leave me feeling so tender, so emotional? I realized it was the first time I thought, I want to be like that. Like my father. Careful, methodical. Good with money.

The money story has always been big for me. As a small child I constantly compared myself to others – me often holding the short end of the stick. Everyone else got the best toys, the best food (hot dogs and sugary cereals), the best clothes. I got a dad who seemed to say ‘no’ to everything.

It made me angry. It made me…

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releasing my debt

This seems to be the summer of saying what I need to say, no matter how terrified I am to say it.

A couple of weeks ago, it was calling my family members and acknowledging how I truly felt about…everything.

I’ve long played the role of the ‘good’ daughter, not wanting to make waves or hurt or offend anyone. But because I couldn’t express all parts of myself – the darker, more unpleasant things – I kept them within. And there was a lurking, hard resentment building as a result.

I’m getting that when I feel such resentment towards people, they know it on some level. They feel it. And no amount of smiles or sunny disposition can cover it up. And that hiding, that suppressing, is way more harmful (to everyone) than expressing myself outright.

When I shared with my family that I had blamed and resented them for things from the past, it was said with such a desire for love, peace, and harmony with them in the NOW. And they could actually feel that, because in that moment I was expressing all of me. They could feel that authenticity and, in turn, they welcomed what I said with love.

It’s the time to stop playing roles, and live who we CREATE ourselves to be. Not who we, or others, have thought we are. I feel that a huge weight’s been lifted from my shoulders. Like something that was struggling to get out of me is finally releasing.

***

A few nights ago I did something that I never thought I could do. I told a group of 30+ people about my financial debt. I gave them the breakdown of how much I owe, and to whom. I stated the total amount.

My money situation has always been my ‘dirty little secret’. The thing I’ve keep hidden. The shame has kinda paralyzed me. It’s the story I’ve allowed to rule my life.

I revealed all this on a coaching/leadership call as part of a workshop series I’m doing on integrity (an extension of the Landmark workshop I did a couple of weeks ago). Now that I won’t be receiving a regular paycheque – I’m starting school next week – it is time to really clean up the money stuff.

It’s not that being in debt equals a lack of ‘integrity’ as most people define the word, i.e., integrity in the ‘moral’ sense. It’s more that the stories we have about ourselves (because of our financial debt) reinforce our feelings of shame and powerlessness.

Integrity is wholeness and completeness. Powerlessness and shame are not.

If my underlying feeling is that ‘I have no willpower’…how empowering is that?! No wonder most of our efforts end in self-sabotage!

My debt had become loaded with so much. It was weighing me down. Being able to share the numbers with a group of relative strangers, especially those I couldn’t see, was…well, I can’t say it felt good at the time.

But – in the hours leading up to that call, I couldn’t wait to get it off my chest. And now, knowing that once again I’ve had a conversation and spoken words I would have never fathomed speaking just a short time ago, I’m feeling lighter. Seeing those numbers as ‘what is’, and not a negative reflection of me.

I know that more and more of these conversations are possible. And it’s those conversations that facilitate real transformation.

It’s like I’m pushing myself to see how far I can go. How much I can trust people. Ultimately, it’s showing me that I feel safe with myself. Knowing my world will not fall apart when I say what hasn’t been said before. Love will still be there.

Boundaries are good. Barricades are not. I’d isolated myself in many ways, and gotten used to going at it alone.

This sharing feels good. It’s kind of addictive. It’s letting life in.