“The Yoga Journey as it unfolds”
There is an expression: Take down three walls, but leave the fourth one standing: this is the centerpiece of your being grounded. Welcome to A Light From Within Yoga Coarse™ (ALFW™). I commend you in your desire and willingness to create vibrant health and achieve greater awareness. We all have the ability to transcend our personal experiences, and, it is never too late to live our life the way we want to live: to renew or reconstruct the blueprint(s) of our life’s perceptions. ALFW is based not only on the seasons of the year, but the seasons of our life. It has a common-sense approach to the art of lighter living. It is deeply grounded into the roots and details of our life, our community, our friends and our family. In many ways, it helps us to become more aware and tuned in to the conscious process of “letting go and holding on.” I invite you to think of this course as your living autobiography. Feel free to explore its many different platforms and possibilities. Have fun with it! Now, I’d like to introduce you to some of the courses operating principles. First and foremost, unlike a novel, you needn’t read and work through the book logically from the beginning to end. It is dynamic and is meant to be as polymorphic as possible.
I encourage you to take your time with this course as the purpose is the process. The course is based on a 342 page book and has six chapters. It is divided into two parts. Part One contains 102 Health and Wellness news updates, 102 workbook questions and 102 journal entry plates. Part Two contains the physical yoga exercises, anatomical renderings, personal enhancement exercises, mudra meditations and miscellaneous Pearls of Wisdom. It is self-directed, and after interacting with the it for just a short while, you will begin to see and feel the difference it makes in your life. Just remember: do not over-edit yourself while responding to the workbook questions.
The important thing to keep in mind while working through the course is that as long as you’re journaling and answering the workbook questions, you’re doing the work. And, as long as you’re practicing the physical yoga poses, mudras, and other exercises, again… you’re doing the work. When it comes to working through personal change, many of us take an analytical approach, while others may take on a more organic and intuitive approach. No matter your approach… it’s all good! After all, we’re all neurologically wired a little differently. That said, ALFW was specifically designed to be used by the many different kinds of thinkers and learners.
A young or elderly woman?
We all know that we feel and experience things differently in life. So, many of the things that live and express themselves through us now are nothing more than mirrored portals from the past. Living in full awareness requires the ability to transcend any and all forms of prior conditioning. When we safely bring to surface the various layers of our past conditioning, we also expose the many operating assumptions and preconceived notions attached to them… which, more often than not, sometimes mislead the direction of our life’s purpose.
This course is self-reporting and is based on your life’s own timeline. What you get out of the course depends entirely what you put in to it. The ALFW method demonstrates how often it is that you may (or may not) have consciously, and even unconsciously chosen to default to the various emotional responses throughout your life. Emotions proceed and are very different from our feelings. They request an in-the-moment response. They cue us in on the various events from within and around our physical body. However, they are more concrete and measurable than are our feelings. Emotions can be measured by Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), blood Flow, facial Expression, body language and brain EEG patterns. And, we must remember, we all have an equal opportunity as to how we chose to act or react. When we objectively chose to respond to our emotions, there is greater clarification, more reciprocity and greater mindfulness. However, when we blindly live out our the energy of our emotions, there tends to be a greater disconnect in the mind-body-heart tryad. Like the old saying “Every coin has three sides”: two large flat sides (opposite to each other), and the third side: the edge with which connecs the two. I like to tell remind both myself and my students that it is the third side with which we gauge and give rise to either given side. Simply put: It acts as our filters. what ever filters through creates the presentation.
Let’s face it, we all know what it’s like to have experienced insecurity or rejection. We all know how uncomfortable negative emotions tend make us to feel. However, it is very important to understand the critical importance of not getting caught up in the whirlwind of any single emotion. So if we remember to incorporate the tools and skills of critical thinking, we may more readily stay in the moment of mindfulness. Let’s look at this scenario a little differently: hypothetically speaking, if we were to strip away all the elements of time such as the past, present and future, what would be left for us to see? I will tell you: the raw collection of all your lifelong learning, conditioning and coping mechanisms. These “functions,” in part, represent how often it is that you have habitually (or otherwise) gravitated toward and/or defaulted to overusing particular positive and/or negative emotions. Remember, we are looking to balance our emotions and feelings— not get rid of them.
Emotions serve us in such a beautiful way— each has a place, purpose and function. It is critically important to remember that all the various things that have happened to you— in throughout your life, are exactly what led you to be the wonderful person you are today! Embrace and feel your gifts. But at the same time, trust yourself to let go of that which no longer serves your purpose: Journal and talk to others about your life:Let’s open the doors and windows of our lives together!
In life we create goals to get or achieve the things we need and want to get done.There are countless ways upon which to aim and direct the bow and arrows of our life. And, we all know that, until now, there were endless excuses and personal circumstances, which, in one way or another, seems to justify and validate our beliefs, behaviors and habits. Our intention influences the integrity and clarity of our perception’s aim. So, we must find effective ways with which to feel more safe and secure in expressing ourselves to others. A Light From Within is an inquiry into the heart and wisdom of your life. It is an effective tool to explore the various landscapes of your being. This brings us to the subject of yoga: Yoga helps to bridge the mental, physical and spiritual triad of our life. It is a practice whose integrative process allows for uncanny discernment. Yoga helps to teach us to become more present and it actually helps to create greater community! Throughout the six chapters of this book, you will learn how to safely open up to the more hidden aspects of yourself so that you may more easily accept that of which is, and that of which isn’t. You will safely learn how to tap into the poetic truth from within your heartfelt being. In many ways, ALFW is a living autobiography that helps guide us away from our fictitious being and more toward our truthful self. A famous German poet by the name of Friedrich Hölderlin once said:”Dichterisch wohnet der Mensch” Poetically man dwells
“Never let your negative past steal the beauty of your present.” -Edmond M Biaka
So, learning how to open up to yourself, is, in part, a lesson of patience and great observation. One important thing to keep in mind while working with this book is that feelings are not always analyzable as is emotion. In other words, sometimes it is a “gut feeling,” a sensation, thought or association from the past that gives rise to an emotion. So, after working through this course for just a short while, you will begin to understand the difference between an emotion and a feeling. Here is a brief distinction:
Feelings are senses working through your body via:
• Hearing • Taste • Sight • Smell • Heat • Cool • Pain • Pleasure • Sense of balance (vestibular) •Pressure •Motion (kinesthetic)
Emotions are somatic:
They are felt/sense-based processes that you can experience within your body. Again, emotions are physical and instinctive. They are programmed into subcortical levels of the right and left brain as stimulus-response patterns.
In many ways, when you read or hear the words “Poetically man dwells,”‘ please know that this is what I think the author had intended: Every living person is mortal and capable of dying. Therefore, here on earth, over a period of time, one man replaces another. Therefore, the dwelling is both you and the earth, together to do the miracles of one only thing. We find and/or create a more meaningful perspective by comparing the nature of our existence to that of which is linked to the greater whole: something greater than ourselves. For example, this could be your Godhead, nature or even the skies and stars above. When we learn to trust and feel more comfortable in our skin, we no longer have the fear (as an emotion) in exposing our vulnerabilities, wounds and scars to others. And why would we want to make ourself vulnerable and more visible to others? Well, because when we work through the fires of introspection, we create a clearing or space for a whole new possibility.
Positive personal change is akin to that of a flowing river. A river continuously fills and empties itself. Again, we see a process of holding on and letting go. Water continuously morphs. You may know the old saying by Heraclitus,”You can never step into the same river twice.” This is also nature’s way of assuring Her health and resilience:emptying and filling itself. This is no different than how we conduct and maintain our daily life. One of the six entry points (portals) into ALFW is Haiku. A haiku, traditionally, is a 17-syllable poem. It was invented in the late 19th century by the Japanese. Haiku has always been deeply rooted into Zen culture. Haikus are arranged in a three-line format of 5, 7 and 5 syllables. Why did I choose to incorporate haiku as an integral part or entry point of this book? Simple: Haiku helps to express our union with nature. Usually, they revolve around the four seasons of the year,and are otherwise timeless. Haiku helps to cultivate simplicity and heightened awareness. They keep us grounded,close to the details and, truly, in the present moment. So, to that end, only you (the observer) and that of which is being observed (object) become one. The following quote was written by Basho describing the “ah-ness” of the haiku moment:
“Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine, or to the bamboo if you want to learn about the bamboo. And in doing so, you must leave your subjective preoccupation with yourself. Otherwise you impose yourself on the object and do not learn. Your poetry issues of its own accord when you and the object have become one – when you have plunged deep enough into the object to see something like a hidden glimmering there. However well-phrased your poetry may be,if your feeling is not natural – if the object and yourself are separate – then your poetry is not true poetry but merely your subjective counterfeit.1
Here is an example of a famous haiku, so famous that a group of Japanese men once carved it into the rocks of the mountains:
There is a beautiful moment in time when, every 17 years, cicadas appear seemingly out of nowhere. Their sounds are so piercing and intensely loud that nothing else seems to be of significant importance. Only the listening of the sounds of their celestial song. It is my great hope that ALFW will help you delve more deeply into the essence and nature of your personal experiences, that which makes you the beautiful person you are today.
The six main tenets of this book:
• Self-compassion and compassion for others
• Fulfilling your social obligations such as donating or volunteering your time for others
• Expansive emotional awareness
• Social and cultural tolerance
• Nonobjectification of animate and inanimate entities
The six main tenets of this book:
• Attentive introspection
• Appreciative discrimination
• Sustained effort
• Integrative movement forward
1 Yussa Nobuyuki (trans.), Basho: The Narrow Road to the Deep Northand Other Travel Stretches (Hammondsworth, Midddlesex: Penguin, 1966).
Just below is an illustration of the Caduceus staff. It has somewhat of an esoteric meaning. However, it does have two serpents, each spiraling around a staff from two different directions. It also has a superimposed set of wings attached toward the top of the staff. Traditionally, the Caduceus relates to one’s physical and subtle being. As you can see, there are seven different colored discs known as chakras embedded upon the staff. Chakras are aligned along the axis of our spinal column. They consist of avortex of oscillating vibrations that regulate the subtle electrical impulses that affect the
Staff of Caduceus
seven different glands of the body. Chakras play a critical role in the function and operation of our endocrine system. They have to do with polarities and the transmutation of energy. Simply put: Chakras regulate the up and downward flow of energy via ida and pingala. Ultimately, it is their job to keep the sushmna healthy and resilient. There is an old saying by Hermes Trismegistus: “That which is below is like that which is above and that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing.” So ou see, the upward moving force of the chakra system is prana and the downward moving force is apana. Each working “… to do the miracles of one only thing.” Chakras are nothing more than the regulation of a feedback loop.They seek to balance each other, just like all the other forces of nature do.When the earth and atmosphere get too hot, the ice caps melt to cool it off!
Now here is the beautiful irony: as Hermes Trismigistus said, there are two elements, one above and one below. The magic is in how the two elements come together to “do the miracles of one only thing.” All throughout time, the laws of opposites (or contrast) have existed. For example, let’s look at two elements from the periodic table— sodium and chloride— each by themselves, caustic and corrosive. The two together create a stable unit called table salt. The same is true of hydrogen and oxygen, left alone, each is explosive and even deadly. United, they sustain and create the harmony of the universe as we know it. So you see, in life, it is ery important to observe and respect the various laws which bind and hold things together as they do. In the scientific community there exists three different kingdoms of Life: Eukarya, Eubacteria and Archaea. In the yoga world, we also say that there are three kingdoms of Life: Animal, Vegetable and Mineral.
Each is a form of life. We must think to ourself: just because crystals do not have organs, brains or blood running through their “veins” doesn’t mean they are devoid of what is scientifically, otherwise believed to be “life qualifying.” In fact, crystals grow and belong to the mineral kingdom just like plants and animals. Through evolution, man is just one of God’s many beautiful expressions. In order to live and maintain a healthy planet, we must learn how to harmoniously coexist. We must also learn how to properly release strong and unwanted negative emotional patterns and replace them with positive and uplifting energy or habits. To that end, this book is about the nature of what binds light to dark, life to death and thought to form. Awareness is a process of learning how to accept yourself (and others) without condition. It is about learning how to forgive others, therefore yourself, for the stumbling blocks placed upon the path of your growth and autonomy. Awareness is, in part, learning to understand why things are the way they are— and not the way we’d like to change them for our personal gain.
In the parlance of yoga there is a concept known as Tapas, or Tapta Marga. Tapas is a spiritual process of rejuvenation.It is a heated-rebirth or renewal of energy. It usually involves giving up one thing for the gain of another. In many ways, it is akin to our yoga practice. Usually we build up heat when we string the asanas or poses of our physical practice. This, in turn, burns away many of the physical and emotional toxins in the body and mind. Therefore, we sacrifice physical effort for the gain of better health— a simplified explanation. The elements of nature have an incredible way of helping to recharge the batteries of our life. However, in order to accept the charge, we must remember to align and keep the cells of our thoughts and body healthy. Remember, while we’re still in our bodies, our potential is never fully exhausted. For this and the gift of life we must forever be in great gratitude!
The Two Landscapes of Man: Visible and Invisible
The visible landscape of our life has its weft and warp in the components of our everyday physical being. Articles of interest such as art, books, cars, houses, music, pictures of family and friends, etc., lend a hand in creating value to the appreciation and felt gifts of our life. I love my children. I love my family and friends. This too is a gift of life. Remember… things are not just good or bad, right or wrong. Things are layers of variable vibrations ranging from thoughts to physical matter. Very often, many of the things perceived outside ourself and outside our physical bodies are really nothing more than mirrored images or representations as to what is inside the world of who we are. We all posses the the capacity for honing in on greater awareness. We just need to remind ourselves that from time to time,what it is that really matters in our life.
The invisible to the eye landscape is a little trickier. It has a greater potential to cause havoc or disorganization in our everyday life. It is important to understand that what is inside, yet out of mind, can bury itself much more deeply, and,when not properly attended to, has the capacity to create disease from within. For example, when we eat food, is there not an outlet for its waste? Yes, there is. When we get physically sick, does our our body not restrict and limit our dietary intake? It does! Really, this is no different than an ngineered computer virus: when it hits our hard drive, we’re out of commission! The solution? We purchase and install an antivirus software program. And, so now we must ask ourselves: What tools do we have to help minimize or eliminate subtle or invisible negative energetic patterns or entities? Actually there are many! Yoga and meditation are just two practices of many that help to keep us strong and more positively aware— all of which, incidentally, help to minimize and deflect disease. It is, in part, the principles of yoga that help mitigate the ill effects of negativity and other strong emotions and neurosis. Yoga helps us to bounce right back to vibrant health. It helps to renew our spiritually rich life. Yoga grounds and keep us close to ourselves and the people with whom we belong in community. We must never forget this! It is with the help of our family, friends and community that we best learn how to responsibly self-heal.
So, when it comes to yoga and self-healing, I wonder, have we relied too much on science and not put enough emphasis on our own personal responsibility to do what we know is right in our hearts and minds? It is through the process of this book that we utilize the tools of yoga, journaling, workbook questions and other exercises to bring us closer to a better understanding as to how to create a new possibility that allows for simple living through full awareness.
We are all a great lotus, ready to blossom yet another gift of life. But please remember: both the observer and observed must unite to do the miracles of one only thing. No single entity is a universe unto itself unless, of course we are speaking of God.
Perhaps it is both chance and God that implied universal love and unity. And, so here we are, able to acknowledge each, the other as a gift, onto the other. Together, you and me, we hold the recipe for change and reciprocation. We can waste our precious time folding into the echoes of a fictitious self, or we can allow ourselves to become a little more humble, more intimate and awakened to the beauty of each other in this present moment. Therefore, I declare: I would like to share my findings of the world with you! For us to share of ourselves (and bread each other is indeed a gift of pure divinity. Oh, and, one last thing: Each day, we must commit to our memory, to engrave into each 206 bones of our body, one of the oldest proverbs known to mankind. It is from the Delphi Temple and it reads:
Man, Know Thyself”