My inner voice said repeatedly: “Okay self – you got this, you’re good, you’re balanced and happy. You keep calm under stressful circumstances. Years of meditation, spiritual healing and “inner work” seemed to have done the trick and helped keep your emotional life stable and simple.”
Surprise!!! Life conspired to prove me wrong about this – as my comfortable, sweet and friendly world was recently turned upside down – without my permission, I might add. Not just in one way, in many ways simultaneously. I experienced shock. My inability to stay calm, respond rather than react and generally feel good was imperiled. I raved, I cried and squealed. I lost touch with my center and spiraled into places I haven’t visited for years. Some of them were new and exotic destinations, wholly unimagined. It has been a deep dive into the ocean of emotion. But I’m a snorkeler, I said to myself – you can do this. Just remember to keep breathing. Try to remember which way is up. Follow the bubbles.
I’ll confess I gained a lot of compassion and understanding for others during this unraveling. I also gained a powerful desire to understand in more compelling ways how to change my inner landscape to be what I genuinely want it to be. To respond in different ways means changing those pesky, troublesome unconscious thought patterns. If I’m making that sound easy, please forgive me, I’m sure it is not, it is one of the biggest challenges I have faced in my earth walk. How do we alter what is unconscious? Years of societal conditioning, childhood and adult wounding and ancestral patterns have been stored inside us, and are the unseen, often troublemaking programmers of our operating systems.
To correct the glitches in our subconscious minds, it calls to me to seek advice from on high. The Vedas – ancient Hindu wisdom scriptures say it this way – there are two paths, the wisdom path, and the devotion path. When they are brought together, our inner life is enriched, we are connected to all-that-is, and find our life on earth to be vastly improved and more meaningful. That is my interpretation, anyway. Bringing their esoteric teachings into modern life is our challenge. The “path of truth” has been paved over for centuries. Discernment, contemplation, courage – finding these inside myself is a step by step process. A wild ride!
Wisdom is always present. Some claim to hear a ‘small still inner voice’ that urges an even deeper listening. Sitting still, letting it be heard is so important and also presents a monumental challenge. Ironic, paradoxical and really hard – the wisdom side of things is always available to us. At this time in history, we have so many teachings that can appear at the flick of a finger. There’s no need to buy anything if you have internet access – the sages are all present there! Free Webinars abound if you will simply sacrifice your email address. And yet, it seems obvious that most of us would rather play a game or enjoy a meal than sincerely seek the wisdom of the universe.
Alongside wisdom appears devotion aka dedication. The subconscious mind blossoms and changes encouraged by repetition. Here’s where the two paths meet – the wisdom path is about re-training the conscious mind and the devotional path is about re-training the subconscious mind. There is another profound tidbit that has just appeared to me – it isn’t just about repetition. To truly reach the subconscious mind and guide it to behave differently it needs feelings – strong emotion. So it’s repetition with emotion is reputed to be the magic key. Absentmindedly repeating a prayer or affirmation doesn’t make much difference to our inner world, but add some powerful emotion there and Shazam – the inner self wakes up and pays attention!
Recognizing these simple truths is part of what can be called “awakening”. Living consciously means finding the nooks and crannies of our subconscious that are little rebels without a cause – and teaching them to behave in alignment with our higher self. It’s mind yoga – and as much as the physical side of yoga has swept the world and become mainstream – the yoga of the mind is likely more important especially to our emotional and spiritual well being who are walking hand in hand, or mind in body…
How does this all come together? Most of us know that to create a new habit takes some weeks of repetition. On my quest to understand healing and change I recently saw the results of a study that showed that when play is included, the mind learns more quickly. I would make a leap of faith and say that the unconscious mind may also learn more quickly from a playful attitude as indeed the happy people of this planet show us. Success seems to love joyful beings! Unhappiness, in general, is not the direction any of us truly want to go and finding our way through the darker times in life could be called “the quest”… or “enlightenment” since light is a lot more fun than dark, for most of us.
One of the most miraculous and lovely ways to “practice” is to “play” music! It’s not an accident that making music is called play. When ambition is airlifted from the area – and music making is merry making, surely that is one of the higher emotional states available to us. Why do birds sing at sunrise? I surmise that they are delighted to welcome a new day – and also find their family and friends in the nearby shrubs and trees. Music also brings us together, unites us in a common energy field, which usually also feels really good. Just right, comfortable, and fully present.
To recap I am working to feel my emotions more deeply, to understand when I’m acting from unconscious wounds, to reprogram my subconscious with affirmation, repetition infused with emotion all the while in a state of joy and love. Let’s get started!