Recovery/Resilience/Resistance is about remembering our nature is Spirit, and acting from that place.
Join me in the sixth week of our seven-week series exploring the Yoga of Resilience, Resistance, and Recovery. I am offering this series in all of my current weekly classes: Wednesdays at 5:30 and 7pm, and Saturdays at 10:30am. If you have missed any classes, you can still jump in and join us. While the series provides optimum benefit if you are able to attend all sessions, each class is designed as a complete offering unto itself.
Yoga is a profoundly elegant, comprehensive and holistic system for experiencing vitality, complete freedom, and wholeness. It is a path and process.
It is precisely these things – a path, a process, a comprehensive system – that so many of us need right now. We are being called to a level of healing and recovery that is profound and uncharted. We are being called to the Next Level of resistance to oppression, requiring Next Level commitments to resilience as well. Read why we need this work more than ever in these times.
In the past few weeks, we been exploring the individual tenets that Durga Leela, founder of Yoga of Recovery, has codified. These tenets help to structure the work of resilience/resistance/recovery by speaking to the nature of human experience – acknowledging exactly where and how we suffer – and pointing to the tools of Yoga, Ayurveda, and the 12 steps which meet us at the level of our suffering. These tenets recognize the natural energies of manifestation/existence/the human condition, as well as the ways those energies can go awry, and the yogas that best allow us to express those energies in a more conscious (sattvic) way.
The first tenet, Life is Longing, speaks directly to our innate longing to know our own True Nature, to know Spirit. In Life is Prana, we acknowledge the reality that breath is life, Life Force, Spirit. Then, Life is Relationship teaches us that we are relational beings, and we must accept the imperative of cultivating a relationship with self and other (and god). Last week, we learned that Life is Sweet. This tenet reminds us of our biological imperative to seek beauty and sweetness in life, but that we need to find life-supporting ways to seek that taste of love and protection.
This week, right on time, we learn that Life is Love. We have learned throughout this journey that Ayurveda, Yoga, and the 12 steps all agree about the nature of disease and addiction – forgetting our nature is spirit. In this tenet, we are asked to explore our relationship to love, specifically the core question – is love for getting or is love for giving?
Last week we learned about the relationship between tastes and emotions in Ayurveda. And we acknowledged that we’re hard wired to seek the taste of sweet, since it is tied to love and nurturance. From this we know that we are bound to seek love, to long for it.
In this tenet, we are reminded that we what love, we serve. That service is love in action. That a life of service is a life of purpose. Thus, this tenet tells us that we cannot go out and find love, or make love happen for ourselves. In my own life, I have found that *true love* has come from a depth of devotion to myself and to my Sacred Source, and springs forth eternally in all my relationships when I stay rooted in that Source. Love, therefore, is cultivated through selfless service – through giving – and the highest form of love is devotion. That to serve one, we serve all (karma yoga), to serve one, we serve God (bhakti yoga).
Selfless service is the antidote to that which ails us, individually and collectively, namely an ego-based attachment to the illusion of separation. When we overidentify with our individual selves – with the “I” – then we are forgetting the Higher Self, forgetting our nature of connection and relationship, and seeking only to serve the “I.” When we are rooted in love and connection, then “I” becomes “We,” and illness becomes wellness.
In this tenet, we get the opportunity to reckon with the root cause of disease – forgetting our nature is spirit – which gives us the opportunity to practice love – forgiving ourselves for that forgetting. In this way, we learn that love is not forgetting but forgiving. Love is not for getting, but for giving.
In our resilience and resistance practices, we have the opportunity to forgive ourselves and each other again and again for the ways that we forget ourselves. This is particularly challenging in the face of mounting power-over dynamics, of repression, and the virtual man-hunt being conducted against so many of us and our people. The practice is not, however, about forgive and forget. We can forgive ourselves and each other for forgetting ourselves, but the work is not then to forget the wrongs but to continually find ways to remind ourselves and each other of what we’re made of, of what is right. This is not about turning the other cheek and allowing ourselves to be targeted over and over again. Instead, this is about rooting ourselves so firmly in our dignity, our sense of community and connectedness, that our very existence is a living remind of the Sacred Source. This is an act of love. This is how we show love for ourselves and each other. By remembering our nature is Spirit, reminding each other, and acting together from that place.