How do we deal with the fragmentation that comes with complexity? No one can argue, we live in trying times; politically, socially, environmentally, technologically, and personally. We are navigating through a continually changing arena of questions and challenges. As we move through this complexity, a feeling of completeness can be enough to keep us going. It’s time to call your heart back. In the midst of heartbreak and disappointment, it’s essential to put your Self in the center. We MUST realize that the continual output of our energy into other people’s problems, into judgements and blame, into resistance and fear, is draining us of our vital force.
We must realize that this outward commitment, though honorable in theory, is actually the prime dysfunction in our world today. We have broken our own hearts and tossed them out into the world as a way to show our love. We have placed expectations upon others whose hearts are fragmented to bring us to wholeness. We are giving away our heart in so many directions and so many different ways that we are internally shattered.
We must STOP looking outside for our deliverance, to Yoga, to religion, to our politicians, our spouses, our community. We MUST start turning inward and owning what we find. We MUST start arriving into our communities whole and offering our wholeness. It’s time for us all to call our hearts back. To return to the state of wholeness and completion that allow us to show up fully in all aspects of our lives. We must cultivate a strong relationship with ourSelves. Then and only then, will the change that we so deeply desire start to take root.
I bet you know what I am going to say. Practice right? But maybe there is more to it than that. If our practice is simply another opportunity to fragment the sweet wisdom and guidance of our heart by trying to do something “right,” or achieve an outcome, then maybe Practice alone isn’t the answer. If we are using our practice as yet another opportunity to doubt, criticize, fall short, or condemn ourselves, then our practice isn’t supporting our growth. At least not by itself. The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali says that the highest level of Practice is Abyasa and Vairagya, Practice and Detachment. See, according to this revered Sage of Yoga, we can’t really have one without the other. We can experience the heights of Samadhi unless we are unattached to them.
Our culture gets all wound up about the word detachment. They think it means lack of caring, or coldness. They think it means renouncing all that they love and value. Detachment in the west is synonymous with rejection. So let’s provide some clarity about detachment before we move on.
Detachment is feeling without an object. We can feel love, but not attach that love to a specific person, experience, or expectation. We can be “in” love, macerating in the beauty, joy, and sweetness of the moment without attaching that feeling to an object. We can do the same with anger, fear, joy, excitement. You name it. And what happens when we can fully and completely experience the feeling without dependency on the object of it? The feeling grows. The feeling becomes more impassioned, more expansive. We can make clear commitments, because our commitments are no longer made out of fear or clinging. We no longer try to manipulate situations in any favor, because the experience becomes more important that the outcome. We can work through our disagreements because we are unafraid of loss. We can fully step into our power, because we realize that the source of all feelings is within, not without. We step toward possibility instead of shrink from it, because there is no dependency on outcome, and in it’s place we find an innate and unwavering trust in experience itself.
When we practice Vairagya, we empower ourselves. We become Self contained, Self centered, full of ourSelves. It’s from this place that we can reach outward with the greatest effect. We stop inhibiting and start inhabiting. And inevitably we forget, and get swept up by life again and again. This is when Abyasa becomes essential. We practice to continually remember. Who we are, why we are here, what we can do to most fully align with what is good for all. We practice to recalibrate, to reset, to allow, and to accept. Our practice provides a training ground for our challenge. Whether contrived in the form of asana, or experienced as a deep emotional unfolding, we practice because it sharpens the tool of detachment. If we could exist fully within Vairagya in all moments, then we would practice to give thanks for the opportunity to experience all of the feelings, processes, relationships, battles, and ecstasies that the simple act of living provides..
How do we call back the fragments of our hearts and begin to heal? We continually seek the moments of wholeness and land in them: the mat, the cushion, the rock, the trail, the dance, the soil, the sunset. In those moments, feel the recognition of your infinitely expanding capacity, and yield to it. Start to grow those fleeting recognitions. Inhabit them. Remember you are real, that you are purposeful, that you deserve to be whole. Practice loving yourSelf, in all of its brokenness and imperfection. Forgive yourSelf for the mistakes you have made, and give thanks for the lessons you have learned. Stay inside the challenges that you want to run away from until they have resolved into growth. Be unwaveringly honest with yourSelf. Value yourSelf, your existence, your experience, your wisdom. Honor that knowing, every day. Find the path of practice that tunes you into what you need.. Do it. Every day. Yes, every damn day. Your practice will not make your life easy. It won’t deliver a new existence to your doorstep. But it can light you up inside, help you remember your innate wholeness, support your innate purpose, and orient you toward LOVE every day. Your practice can call your heart back, and it’s only with a whole heart that we can truly make a difference.