Intuition and the manifestation process

The thing about manifestation is that we need a certain set of skills in order to do it properly. I’m sure that many of you have read The Secret and other new age spiritual books and they’re great, and they work, and while there is a lot of problematic victim blaming, in this world they are a great first step towards harnessing our ability to create the life of our dreams.

With this said, the process becomes more complicated as we open up to the spiritual forces that allow us to channel our imagination into reality. First of all, we have to understand on an individual level: How does this actually work in the first place?

There is indeed a method to this ostensible madness. So when we manifest and open to the universe, we are using our 6th (and hopefully) our 7th chakras to connect to our ability to tap into the psychic and spiritual realms, respectively and draw the energy that we desire into our lives.

This is all well and good but in order to live a life of integrity, compassion and love, we have to do so much more than open ourselves to spiritual and psychic realms. A being who has not purified their mind, body, and emotions from the traumas in this world will both be overwhelmed by the premature opening into a greater world.

This is why so many new age devotees seem to be simply floating around in their imagination rather than sharing the world that the rest of us are in. I speak from direct experience, and am not encouraging judgement, but rather offering a path to integration.

Psychospiritual integration can start in any way and at any point in your life. It could be argued that it begins even before we are born but certainly when we draw our first breath.

My experience was that of a spiritual awakening in which my energy centers simultaneously awakened, revealed my path to wholeness and then led me to where I am now. I initially woke up in the standard kundalini awakening, with the standard symptoms of shaking, feeling a profound yet ineffable connection to all that is in the universe, with an almost physical yet etheric atonement to the life force around me.

I don’t think that I had any understanding the chakra system but certainly understood that there was an energy awakening within me that was traveling up my spine, destined to reach the top and it would come back down and that was basically what I had to do. What I learned later is that this process is called a kundalini awakening and shakti returns. There was rapture, love, connection, bliss, awakening to immense pain, trauma, and then, there was a need for it to end.

What I didn’t understand is that it does not end and what was happening-what I perceived as pain love connection, were all just energy sorting itself out. In fact, kundalini has its own intelligence. My energy centers-these balls I saw inside of me-had their own intelligence.

The process of awakening had begun and I was now merely a spectator-but instead of embracing this-I just tried to calm it down and stop it-but the crazy thing is that this energy just does not care about you! And I worry about people who are entering into this arena of growth, as I did long ago without any guidance or warning sings.

Anyway, I was seventeen, literally shaking with rapture and making ancient yogic hand symbols. There was a knowledge that something beautiful was happening and I was going to be perfectly okay and at the same time the conscious mind-the part of self that I identified with, was totally confused.

Now that part still exists. I’m conscious of it. I’m aware off it. But that is the only part that was confused. My body knew what to do. My soul knew what to do yet I was blossoming underneath the conscious sense of self-which was confused. It was confusing suffering with explosions of spirit. It thought it was failing but it was excelling at growth, I was committed for my entire adult life to allowing the flow to overtake that part of us which worries, thinks, and you know I thank it because it was trying to protect me.

The ego took medications and created seveere illnesses, it found solace in lovers and friends and adventures and demanded life or death experiences to let it know that it was truly free and alive.

I think most of all a that moment, when I was seventeen and the white light descended upon me, it waas time for that fictional sense of self to retire. To take a well earned nap.

It had guided me through the loss of my father, the depression of my mother, navigating the demands of modern society on a small child, being raped, tormented, overwhelmed….but most of all it kept me here while my soul yearned for home.

My ego thought that hte only way back home was to die. So for years I fought off the desire to end my life because I remembered how great things were before. What I was to learn is that it is my right-all of our dive RIGHTS to create a home here, on earth where our souls and flourish. And this is possible. And I’m going to dedicate the rest of my life to making that possible.

It seems to be my truth that in fact energy and our bodies are one. It’s not mind that is the problem…there is no problem. Butthe truth is that mind is a tool to be used by being. At our heart we are one with the universe. We can read books about chakras and manifestation and spirituality but all of this is to get mind to a point where it realizes that reality, true reality is an ocean in which we are both the entirety and a part…and when we transcend mind this reality is not dual but one continuous flow of energy. And embodying and being that truth is what creates the world in which we can all be truly free.

Being the Best Possible Self

So many of us want to be the best that we can but such things can seem daunting. Being our best self, I view is something that we aspire to rather than necessarily achieve. We can all strive for this. In fact it’s our job to.

It doesn’t have to be impossible though. It’s all about skillful prioritization of goals and then breaking those goals into manageable chunks. I like to think of them as munchable achievements. Instead of quitting smoking, why not find a way to slowly reduce your nicotine levels? Instead of dedication to that diet why not simply focus on eating more healthy food at first, then slowly replacing those foods with your old vices?

I like to set timelines for these things, as an amazing woman reminded me the other day, we have to have timelines to keep us on track. Our timelines have to be compassionate. Immediate jarring changes don’t work for all of us. These are the people, like me that I’m writing to.

How do we prioritize in the first place? It’s all about thinking about your ideal life, and working backwards.

First I want to be healthy happy wealthy and wise. Okay, what does that look like for me? Make a startup, do yoga daily, quit my vices and be present and mindful. What actions achieve this? Working on business, going to yoga class, slowly reducing caffeine and daily meditation.

Now the best part, what’s preventing me from doing these things? This is where it gets deep. It may be something psychological, physiological or environmental. You’re probably not just lazy. There’s something else going on there. It’s your job to figure out what is holding you back. So how?

Well psychologically you might want to journal, find a therapist or just talk to a friend. Physiological things are harder to figure out. Doctors often get these things wrong but pay attention to your body. What makes you feel good is probably all that you have to figure out. You might have a serious condition in which you need professional help. Perhaps you simply lack the skills to organize yourself. That’s fine. You’re not a failure, in fact you’re aspiring to a beautiful life. There are many books on the subject.

What do you do to keep motivated and accountable to these goals and solving these problems? Make yourself accountable to someone else. I just tell everyone in my life what I’m striving towards and how I’m doing them. Then I check in with 3-4 friends a day to keep me on track. Is this overkill? I don’t know but it works. 

So those are my thoughts on self improvement for the day. Do these work for you? Be sure to tell me.

Healing Heartburn Heals Chronic Pain

It wasn’t too long ago that I healed my chronic pain. After that there was still a problem: I had a huge pain in my left shoulder. It constantly felt like I was being stabbed in the heart and back. Nothing worked and I thought that I might die. That is until today when I found the secret to healing the rest of my pain.

I had heartburn! GIRD to be exact. Simple changes in my diet and lifestyle led to me feeling better. The culprits: Coffee, cigarettes and the wrong types of exercise.

First exercise: I’m a card-carrying yogi but I loathe downward dog. It turns out that any bend that places your heart upside down is an open invitation to heartburn.

Diet is obviously all fatty foods but simply eating too much can also cause heartburn. It’s better to eat small meals through the day. I always knew that this worked for me for some reason but now I understand why.

Eating green veggies and lean meats are the way to go. No wonder being vegan made me feel amazing. Time to re-evaluate the diet.

But why was heartburn causing excruciating pain throughout my body? I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia years ago but didn’t really buy it. It turns out that the acid was burning my chest, causing it to contract, pulling my shoulders up, throwing off my back, making it hard to breathe and reducing blood flow, making it impossible to relax.

Stretching had almost no long-lasting effect because my own diet was throwing me off. One great thing is that while coffee is a culprit, green tea is actually good for reducing the body’s acidity. So I’ve been loading up on that. While fatty foods are bad for you, lean meats like white tuna actually have an anti acidic effect on the body.

Finally I’ve found some peace, hours after realizing what was wrong. My body is able to relax and I’m going to take it relatively slow. Instead of cigarettes? Gradually reducing the nicotine levels in my e-cigs will let me still have that smoking sensation while moving towards that wonderful feeling of embodied wholeness.

The point of all of this is that a diagnosis of chronic pain that will never leave doesn’t necessarily have to be a tragic life long illness. It may be for some but there are many causes to “diseases” that doctors simply miss. We are all human afterall.

I’m grateful. I feel the best and most hopeful that I have in my entire life. I hope that there are others with similar stories. I’d love to hear from you!

The Innocent Heart: How to Bypass the Mind and Access Peace

Have you ever been plagued by the anxiety bugs? Wondering what people thought of you, fretting over your new job or how hard your new diet was going to be?

If so, I completely identify, these things can get out of control. If not, you are either very lucky or in for a surprise when you start a mindfulness practice.

These bugs can become more apparent the clearer we get in our practice and in doing so, sometimes, we begin to focus so much on the parts of us that are chattering and worrying that we forget the purpose: to reach that calm center that actually exists inside of each of us. 

What if you could just cut through it all and access the part of us that is playful, that  is calm, that has no notion of hard, of criticism, of criticizing others, of just being in self? It’s a lot easier than it seems I assure you.

The truth is that the meditating and journaling and sharing our thoughts and feelings with others is an essential part of self discovery but our bodies hold the truth that we’re looking for. Most importantly while we’re going through the process of discovery we can find respite in our bodies and the heart contains the panacea for anxiety. It’s something that I think people have called inner peace or unconditional love, I just call it a beautiful state of being.

Start by putting your arms behind you and taking a deep breath. Interlace your fingers with your palms facing in.

Taking a deep breath, see if you can explore what is going on in your chest. Are you tense, do you feel feelings of love, peace, anxiety, hope, something that you have no idea how to label? This is where the journey begins.

Lean forward with your hands interlaced, taking deep breaths in and out. Feel the blood moving through your arms to and from your chest. You may not feel things this clearly yet.

Follow the blood as you lean forward, legs hip width apart. Lower your head. You’re now practicing yoga mudra. We want to bend from the hips and keep our back as straight as possible. Once we do this, we can curve down.

The most important part of yoga, is feeling strong, safe and at ease. It’s important to adjust your poses in any way that serves you. What we’re doing right now is exploring our innermost feelings, opening the heart, literally opening up our chest. We’re physically opening and bowing to the heart so that we can explore the feelings here.

Over time we will find a peaceful lake. There may be volcanoes and landslides but all of this is part of the practice. Part off the journey. You can definitely do it.

This was written spontaneously and turned into a yoga practice, I’m definitely not offering medical advice, only what works for me. But I am growing in my practice and feel called to share. I would love any ideas or comments on the format and content here. Thank you!

How I Beat Chronic Pain

Bruce-Lee-jump

“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough We must do”.

– Bruce Lee

 

We all have a nemesis. That thing that just takes you down when you’re about to do your best. That part of your life that holds you back. For me that was chronic pain.

It took me 15 years just to be able to face it. I had to work through things like PTSD, bipolar disorder and so on. Those were easy to face and look at compared to this. But 15 years ago, my body went completely numb. I couldn’t meditate, I couldn’t do yoga. I felt completely disconnected from myself, other people, my emotions; it felt like my soul was trapped in a box and couldn’t get out.

I think that we all have things that keep us from feeling life fully, from feeling refreshed in a beautiful morning or appreciating the warmth of a loved one.

The problem, for me has always been internal.. I’m very good at fighting and not so much at nurturing myself. Chronic pain was one of those things.

First I had to do a lot of research in terms of what diet I needed, and started juicing and making smoothies filled with fiber, plant-based protein and fruit. Then I experimented with jogging, yoga & weight training to see what would work best. It turns out exhausting yourself when you’re already tired isn’t very effective. Slow stretching while in burning pain is torturous. So I have to let go of some ego and accept that the elliptical is where my body needs to be.

Next I found an interesting article about the fight response and how it creates a buildup of lactic acid when we live with people we have very tense relationships with…I live with my mother. Enough said.

So I had to forgive her! I, for my own sake had to do everything that i could to fundamentally change my relationship with her. After forgiving her I realized how much I judge other people and let it go…I physically felt the anger leaving my body. I was now able to meditate for what seems like hours.

With this peace I realized that I had to change my thoughts about pretty much everything. I decided to focus on a mantra that my body was healing and I was feeling great.

When we focus on something positive we start noticing the things right in front of us that we didn’t notice before. I looked and in front of me was a bottle of pills that stop neurological pain-I hadn’t opened them because they were prescribed for something else. Long story short in 3 days I went from chain-smoking, drinking ten cups of coffee a day, being (relatively numb and bitter) to energized, exercising, living a primarily vegan diet and regularly meditating.

They say that sometimes the obstacle is the journey. This was very much the case for me. I realized that my goals in life, while wonderful, were really aimed at what I thought would make me feel the way I’m beginning to feel now.

I’m sleeping better, not perfectly, I have much more energy, it’s not perfect but I feel a hope and a power inside a renewed connection with life itself. It wasn’t about pain or numbness, for me it really was a journey of personal transformation.

It turns out that applying the things that I’ve been studying my entire adult life actually served a purpose. But in the end I feel kinda badass. To quote Bruce Lee

“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough We must do”.

 

 

 

Coming into Reality

There’s this funny phase after you recover from something like alcoholic infused bipolar disorder: You have to live like everyone else!

I swear, in 24 years since I had my first episode, the debauchery, thrills, life or death scenarios, I was never nearly as challenged as this.

I have to clean my room now. I, apparently, have to finish college and find some sort of employment. This is odd.

Life was a blur of living in altered states of reality, ones that demanded that either the unreal were happening or reality was so impossible that it was so impossible death was a valid option.

It’s not like that, it’s utterly boring but the stability and predictability of it all is unreal. It’s like I’m stepping into a portal of an alternate universe that everyone else has been living in my entire life.

I’m actually pretty excited. As I get acclimated to this monotony of existence, I’m thrilled because for the first time I feel a semblance of power over my life. The things that I have lived through may have been because I wanted them, but what I wanted or what I did were never really up to me.

Having mental illness is like being possessed. I really understand the phrase “the devil made me do it” instead it’s more like “my dopamine and serotonin receptors were on overload” or “I was so completely and utterly devoid of all energy so I couldn’t do [fill in the essential but inane task]”

What’s funny is that today, there are more people who understand the concept of possession than neurochemistry.

Funny world we live in.

Inverted at Burning Man

I’m upside down dressed only in glitter. Playing guitar. Behind me has assembled a group of backup dancers, a fiddler and what I think was a vocalist.

We’re in the middle of the nevada desert. I’m on the main stage at burning man. I had just changed my name to Ravi; it’s the first week of classes at the only Buddhist college in the US. The day before my therapist told me that I should have some fun. Leaving his office a woman I met the day before asked me if I’d like to tag along.

So naturally I accompanied the hari krishnas to the greatest party on earth in the middle of the desert. Upon arrival it was about ten minutes before I was dressed in glitter riding atop a solar powered triceratops with “The Burning Milfs” a friendly group of mothers who made sure that everyone had enough condoms and rolling papers to ensure that their trip was encased with the appropriate wrappings. A genius idea…

…”you know this stage is only for professionals” one of the workers yelled to us. Strumming my guitar that had played both naked parties in new england blizzards and naked festivals in a nevada sandstorm I reply “We were asked to fill in for the main act.”

The funny thing is that I was dead sober. If it weren’t for that car crash, lord knows where I would have wound up.