Reflections from a haze in Berkeley

This article was recently published in my email newsletter. I am reprinting it here for those not yet on my email list.

T.S. Eliot once wrote that April is “the cruelest month”, well, I think that February must then be “the fiercest month”. We have rain, sun, warm days and cold nights. As I journey through the labyrinth of February, I find it helpful to take pause. I’ll briefly share my thoughts with you.ganeshajohn

I sat one afternoon by myself in silence, in deep reflection softly gazing out of the café window into the rainy haze of Berkeley. I felt solace as I cast my gaze up toward the grey overcast sky looming above the trees lining Telegraph Ave. On this particular day, I had a lot stirring in my mind.

I had recently listened to a talk by one of my teachers, Tara Brach. In the talk she told a story about a woman who sat with her mother who was lying on her deathbed in a coma. Suddenly her mother woke up for a few moments and uttered to her daughter something like- “my whole life, I lived thinking there was something wrong with me!” Shortly thereafter the women died. It is hard to shake this kind of sentiment, particularly when placed in the context of death and finitude. It certainly sent shock waves through my bones. Tara went on to describe this type of thought as the “trance of unworthiness”.

We all have these kinds of moments. We are all vulnerable of a fall into self-doubt, self-criticism, a lapse of self-compassion and feeling that we simply do not measure up. In our culture, we are often given more examples or feedback in a negative direction. Based on this cultural-conditioning, our mind tends to gravitate and cling to these negative beliefs. Therefore, we must dig even deeper to reconnect to our inherent grace and beauty. We have to shine our light of awareness through these inner-veils of delusion to see the burning bright light of our own Divine perfection.

In light of these challenging core beliefs, we are fortunate to have found our way to the path of yoga. Yoga provides us with a systematic way of deconstructing the trance of unworthiness and restoring our heart connection. Being yogis we can make this heart transformation through effort and practice. I believe that our own efforts can extend beyond our own hearts and minds and reach out to those who may not have made this inner-shift yet. In this way our practice reaches out beyond our mats, beyond our own self and serves to liberate all beings from the shackles of despair.

We must stay close to our own hearts to keep this light alive. We must practice the gifts of meditation and yoga to keep the lens of awareness clear. We must not be afraid to live fully, to love fully, and to open up to the rainbow of emotions that shines through us each day.

I hope we can share in this celebration of life, love, and yoga together soon. Check out some of my upcoming special events and classes below!