Archive for the ‘Yoga & Life philosophy’ Category

Why does bad things happen to good people?” one of my co-students asked our yoga philosophy teacher. ”Because it’s not good enough to be good – you need to be intelligent as well”, he answered with a smile.

The reasons behind the occurance of pain and misfortune has haunted the minds of men since the dawn of humanity. Why? Why me? Is the question we keep asking. We feverishly try to find reasons, scanning through our intellect for the digit that will make the equation add up and make sense. This is partly to blame for the misconception that there are bad things in the first place and that these either happen randomly (”one never walks safe”, which is a very effective way of keeping people in a submissive state…) or as a divine punishment. As if divinity had nothing better to do than to keep track of the so called ”sins” of man!? Personally, I find it absurd that divinity would keep track of peoples beird-length, number of prayers, diet, ammount of ciggarettes, alcohol, infidelity or anything else… If I were a goddess, I’d definitely outsource those boring tasks to someone else and see to the relevant things myself instead.

A ”bad” thing is often not anything but an unexpected change of circumstance which the mind wasn’t warned of in advance. Change is something a lot of people struggle with… And the question is; what makes an action good or bad? The intention or the outcome? Let’s say that someone is drowning. You through them a float ring but accidently it hits him in the head and he passes out, drowning. Was that a good or bad action? The outcome was unfortunate, but the intention was good, right? The road to hell is paved with good intentions, they say. Interestingly, we never question when good things happen to us. Rarely we think: What did I do to deserve this? or Why me? when we’re lucky. We just accept it gratefully.

I believe that there are two reasons for the things we label as ”bad” in our lives; one is that we are disconnected from our intuitive wisdom, and are thereby blind to the warning signs along our path.The second reason is the unavoidable bad things which are part of our Script of Life; tough things we must go through to evolve spiritually. I believe that before we reincarnate we write our own Script of Life; we fill it with characters, dialogues, drama that will come together in different symbolical constellations to lead us towards our highest potential… We enter into spiritual contracts with other souls before we decide to be born, deciding the relationships we will have for mutual spiritual benefit. It’s a contract, and a sacred one.

Rejection, acceptance, love, friendship, soulmates… all relationships that touches your core are karmic. All of them! The person you can’t stand is actually doing you a favor and sticking to the terms of your contract, playing out the role you’ve agreed on, so long ago… And when you start viewing people and relationships through your glasses of symbolic sight, the higher purpose of the events you used to label as ”bad” becomes very clear. The people we regard as good has often gone through a tremendous amount of bad things to become who they are. We don’t grow from a life free of obstacles, where we spend our time eating sweets and watching butterflies in the garden. We grow through the tears, the break-ups, the periods when we’re broke or unemployed, the people who pushes and provokes us…

The Script of Life is a Divina Commedia, that keeps the audience on its toes, waiting eagerly for the next person to enter the scene, the next drama to unfold so that the charachter goes from thief to hero or maid to queen… What is evident in all great books and what makes us remember the character long after we have finished it, is not the story itself but how deep under your skin the characters went and how they transformed during the story. often going from weak moral character to someone esteemed and admirable. From coward to king or maid to queen and that is the journey for all of us… Therefore, next time someone hurts you or something misfortunate happens to you; dust off your symbolic sight glasses and view it from a different perspective. Which fairy tale is being told? Cinderella? Snow White? Hansel and Gretel? Alice in Wonderland?, Aladdin? If you weren’t emotionally involved, what would your symbolic interpretation of the events taking place be?


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What lies beyond the horizon? Beyond your horizon? Where do you visualize yourself in a month, a year or a decade? Any answer is fine, except for “I don’t know!”, because if we don’t know where we’re going – we’re gonna end up somewhere else! The picture to the left is hanging on my living room wall, as a reminder of what lies at my horizon and what my sankalpah is. Sankalkpah is a sanskrit word for decision, resolution or affirmation. A clearly formulated, positive decision, expressed with conviction, which holds the power of transforming your life if you use it frequently during yog nidra (deep relaxation). I know, I am repeating myself, but I can’t emphasize enough the importance of intention. Intentions rule the universe and act with syncronicity!

The first time I looked at this picture, bought from a collection of Ener-Chi Art by Andreas Moritz (www.ener-chi.com), it triggered something in me. I was standing at three or four meters distance, viewing the picture and my heart started beating faster and I felt the energy stir throughout my body. It awakened something and I didn’t ask why, I just accepted that this painting had an energetic message to deliver to me, to remind me to at all times remember what I want to find at my horizon. I’ve carried the same sankalpah into yog nidra for a long time and now I’ve begun to repeat it to myself during Sirshasana as well and I can see that it is starting to manifest physically in an almost magical way.

One of the most tragic things when you ask someone what they would like their life to be like, what they would work with etc. is when you receive the answer: “I don’t know.” If you can’t for yourself express and visualize where you want to be or how you want to live, there’s not a snowflake’s chance in hell that the universe can pick up your order and deliver it, right? The first step to getting the life you want is to visualizing it and the second is expressing it, because as I wrote in my last blog post: “We can’t reach any higher than we think”.

But the problem isn’t always so bad as that we don’t know… deep inside our hearts we almost always know what we desire, but it might be inappropriate or considered selfish or (I HATE this word!) “unrealistic” and so we bury it and like Cinderella tell ourselves: “Oh, well. What’s a royal ball…” and a part of our spirit dies with our dreams and as body and mind is one it naturally affects your biology as well.  Think about the energy flow you feel when you think about something you really want! It is similar to an adrenaline rush, right? Your heart is beating faster, you feel something stir in your heart center and it is easier to act on it than to restrain from doing it.

Now think of what happens when you unleash that energy just to repress it again…? It is like forcing the genie back into Aladdin’s lamp, which was never popular! I love stories and the Disney-version of Aladdin is my favorite one actually, not only because the orient has always allured me, but because the Disney stories (as most fairy tales around the world) are disguised spiritual teachings. The genie in the lamp is the divine energy, waiting to fulfill your wishes and be set free for the purpose of good, but you must dare to direct it and when it comes to your own life – master it.

In the story of Aladdin, there’s a constant battle of wills between the genie and the poor Aladdin, a battle which Aladdin eventually wins by treating the genie with honor and respect. What we may learn from that is that the energy is here to fulfill our wishes so that we may grow morally and spiritually, but it is not to be abused or treated disrespectfully as it can only resonate with thoughts and visions which benefit the higher purpose for all beings.

If today you don’t know where you want to be in a year or ten years… take the time to find out! Sit down and meditate, go for a peaceful walk and censure the criticism you may receive from others. Wouldn’t it be great if you by evening time have installed the GPS of your life and are ready to start driving tomorrow? It is not important where you are – it is important where you’re going! Most people going somewhere are not walking around with their eyes on their feet, but their eyes are on the destination or they would fall over or never get there.  Definitely, we should live in the present – if the present is where you want to be and where you can grow the most. But if you don’t like the present your in… change it!

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How often don’t we wish that the people we care for would see things as we  see them?

When I was a kid, I used to lie on the rocks by the ocean, outside our country house in the Swedish archipelago. The summer seemed endless, a whole life in itself, before school would start again in the fall. I remember lying there, gazing up at the blue, watching the clouds make their journey over the sky. Sometimes they passed quickly, as if they were in a hurry somewhere, and other times they lazily drifted by.

I had a vivid imagination and always saw different creatures in the clouds; a dragon, the head of a dog, a gazelle, a rabbit… and sometimes they transformed and suddenly the rabbit would look like the head of an old man, or the dog would turn into a witch with a pointy hat. The sky seemed to host an endless parade of creatures born of my imagination… But I grew up and during the majority of my adult life, the parade stopped and clouds became merely forecasts of rain or unwanted sun-blockers and their maigic vanished. For many years, I have not taken the time to lie down, watch the sky and let imagination arise… which is a small tragedy in itself and about to change, I have promised myself!

Who will have the richer life? The one seeing the unicorn in the sky or the one predicting the rain? People frequently encourage each other to “see things for what they are” and it always surprises me. See things for what they are? How on earth do you mean?! Do you see what I see? Do I see what you see? We may look at the same cloud, but I see a unicorn and you see a dragon… what is it then? There is nothing ugly and nothing beautiful in this world… it’s all about what you see in what you are looking upon. It’s all in your mind. If you see problems and obstacles then that is the conditions of your world, but it may not be the conditions of my world. There is not one truth, carved in stone. There is not even two sides to one coin, but almost 7 billion sides to one coin.

So many times, I wish I could make my loved ones see what I see, so that they wouldn’t have to worry, that we didn’t have different levels of understanding and that we could see the same unicorn in the sky. So many times I wish I could see what my dear friend sees, or that he may see what I see, so there would be less misunderstandings. That would be convenient for me of course, and they would be equally happy if I could see what they see, instead of being blind to that. There’s often a thin line between the artist and the lunatic. Psychic people used to (probably still are!) be locked up in mental hospitals not too long ago, for seeing what other people couldn’t. That’s how cruel and mean we are when it comes to other people’s visualization capacity and creativity. What we can’t see or understand we often condemn or ridicule as a defense mechanism…

Never mind if people can’t see what you see. We are not unique because of our features, skin color, profession or nationality, but of what we are able to dream and imagine. Our creativity is what paints the color of our life and as someone wise said: “We can never go any higher than we think”. So aim high and dream bold, I say! My dad often says: “Aim for the stars and you might at least reach the top of the tree line!”. But our different perspectives is what make us unique.

Fill your sky with dragons and unicorns and let others fill them with whatever they can imagine…

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Surya Namaskar, sun salutation, is a vinyasa sequency in yoga that most yogis and yoginis are very familiar with. A vinyasa means that the postures are following eachother in a flow that awakens the prana and that doesn’t let you rest in between.

Last night, I was contemplatingchange and how life actually is a vinyasa sequency. A sequency where we sometimes rise up, go backward, bend over. We get scared and jump back, we hold our breath and endure, we come down on our knees and we rise up again… Sometimes, we’re cobras spitting poison to protect ourselves when we’re intimidated and sometimes we are dogs, following someone else’s lead.  Other times we are brave warriors, fighting for what we want life to be, and other time we are pigeons, ready to fly off in a blink of an eye, or equestrians riding the waves of opportunity…

Life is ever changing – the only constant thing is the fact that things will change by law of nature because everything is movement going forward and everything that doesn’t serve you anymore is being left behind. Stopping the flow of life is like asking mother Ganga to stop flow for a second, so that you will have time to think things out… She wouldn’t! She would say: ”Sorry child, but I’m moving… are you flowing with me? Swimming in me or drowning in me?”.

My favourite animal is the cat. Cats are in my eyes beautiful, independent, smooth creatures here to teach us dignity, self-respect and love. My friend claims they are unfaithful, but they are not – you just have to learn to read them and realize that cats don’t ever accept what a dog would… A cat can never be forced into submission. You have to earn the cat’s respect and trust and then only will it purr and be your best friend. You also need to see the subtle signs of the cats mood changes to predict when it will pull out its claws. A dog is a simple and obvious creature; barking, gnarling, showing its teeth, whining, waving it’s tail in quite apparent ways. While a cat’s mood changes can be seen in its eyes and a slight flattening of the ears as it starts to lose patience with you.

Have you ever seen a cat fall and how elegantly it lands on its feet, even from high heights? It manages to do this because it’s flipping around in the air, while falling. It ”rolls with the punch”, so to speak. I believe we can learn a lot from that; when life brings us changes, whether anticipated or not, we need to roll with it, flip our mind around in the air, land on our feet and get ready for the next challenge… the next asana.

Yesterday, my friend and I were discussing opportunities. What is opportunity? They say that luck is merely the ability to see an opportunity coming your way and have the wits to catch it. Perhaps that’s true! But I believe that there is no such thing as an objective opportunity. All opportunities are subjective, because unless the offer sparks something in your heart that you desire – it is not an opportunity but an offer and offers come and go every day. ”Chai? No thanks, not today…”, ”Mangos? No… not really in the mood right now, maybe tomorrow!”, ”30 camels for your daughters hand in marriage? No, have no real use for 30 camels, sir…”… those are all offers, not opportunities, unless you would die for a cup of chai, a sweet mango or suddenly find yourself in immediate need of 30 camels. It is only an opportunity if you desire what you’re being offered.

With practice, the asanas included in Surya Namaskar are being stretched by your discipline and ability and you gradually find out your own boundaries. You find out how low you can go in Downward Facing Dog without losing your touch with the floor, which is symbolically important for staying grounded in this world. If you’re going to have your head in the sky, you need your feet firmly placed on the earth, right?

In the Equestrian you may take the chance to find out how open your chest can get. To which extent are you willing to reveal your heart and keep it open? Can that position be held or do you slam the door to your heart shut again, at the first sign of danger or disappointment? How far back can you bend for someone else before it gets painful? May the Warrior teach you how to stay focused and balanced in life, with your eyes on your dream and may Headstand make you look at life from another angle.

The point I’m trying to make is that to cope with the constant changes of life, we need a well practised life vinyasa to master the changes successfully, roll with the punches and spin around like cats in the air. We need to be chess players, ready to reposition when our opponent is blocking our way in life and get ready to choose a different path, but always make sure that your heart’s in it. Without the support of the heart, nothing works and all opportunities are mereley offers!

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