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No Man’s Land risk, change, growth

March 11, 2014

Jessica Magnin, GatherYoga Emissary and founder and co-director of O2yoga, shares her perspective on taking a leap into the unknown.

The last tiny bit of perceivable solid ground fades into the horizon as I loosen my grip. Suddenly my line of tether disappears. Night falls quickly. The wind dances the waves as they crash relentlessly against the fragile sides of my only sense of security. I am carried farther and farther out into uncharted waters. I look back in hopes of securing my need for something tangible, something to hold on to. There is no life jacket aboard. I am totally alone. I have severed all ties with Point A, the past 27 years of my married life, what I have known, to humbly take my first steps toward a very unfamiliar destination.

I feel my heart breathing a mixture of fear and loss. Tears of black mascara run down my cheeks. My mind slips into the foreground and takes control. I stoically wipe my tears away. ‘’There must be a map hidden somewhere on this tiny vessel!”  My heart sinks in hopelessness. In all my busyness of planning my departure, I carelessly forgot that one important item — the map that would offer me a ‘’what’s next?’’ plan and guide me safely to another shore.

With no map or game plan at hand, I find myself here, with me, right here, right now, with nowhere to go but being thrown about in the waters of raw uncomfortability. It is raw, because there is no knowing of what, where, when, and how. I am dead center in no man’s land, and it is a seriously vulnerable place to be. Change and risk have always been easy for me to embrace. Just between you and me, I can courageously jump because I ultimately always know where I am landing. This gives me a sense of security, maybe false, but a comfy sense of courage. Though, this time is different. I don’t want to return to Point A even at the risk of never encountering Point B.

I have crawled to the brink ladened with fear and doubt and jumped off the cliff, eyes wide open, and nothing lies below. I am in mid-air; everything appears to be in slow motion. I watch. I feel. My senses are alive. I feel alive. Being in midair is being in transition and transition is always present, always happening, we just don’t realize it. If we look closer, we notice that not only is there always a beginning, a middle and an end to everything, we are always between two things, whether it be two holidays, two jobs, numerous relationships, or something as simple as the inhale and exhale of our breath.

It is painful to cut ties with the past when we can’t secure the future. This is transition. This is life. This is living authentically. Things come and go, and yet we as humans have a painfully difficult time accepting the truth of Inicca, the Buddhist philosophy of impermanence. Our refuge in pleasure makes us grasp that much harder as if to make the experience, taste, relationship a solid thing. We erroneously believe that solid equals permanence. This is the mind’s way of scrambling for security. But take a deeper look and wake up, to the unprocessed fact that everything is in perpetual movement; our relationships evolve, sometimes dissolve; food perishes; plants wilt; and no matter how many pictures we take to capture pleasurable moments, those too will fade into memory, and memory will soon fade into loss.

Ironically, knowing might offer us a (false) sense of security, but it also offers us a boxed-in, limited viewpoint with one possibility. Being nakedly available to the unfolding of not knowing seems scary for the mind, but op

ens an ocean of endless possibilities for the heart and soul.

The golden sun peaks above the hazy horizon like a lotus flower surfacing from its muddy past. This new chapter of an untold story brings butterflies of excitement and endless new beginnings to my belly.

ImagePhoto by calsidyrose, used with Creative Commons license.

The Unescapable Truth death, suffering and the gift of life

LIFESTYLETRAVELWELLNESSYOGA

Photo of the Mekong River by Jessica

Photo of the Mekong River by Jessica

 

February 16, 2014

Jessica Magnin, founder and co-director of O2yoga, is one of GatherYoga’s newest emissaries, and today she shares her thoughts about death, suffering, and the gift of life.

It was past midnight when my father came into my room to announce the tragic news. He had just lost one of his closest friends. I was just barely twelve. It was the first time I had ever seen him really cry, and the first time I had experienced the pain of witnessing the grief of someone I loved dearly. I desperately wanted to relieve his pain, because it was his pain that caused me more suffering than the actual loss of his friend.

Death was rarely ever spoken about in my family, and we were lucky: I had only witnessed first-hand the loss of a goldfish, a few gerbils, and a fern. The unspoken truth didn’t prevent visits of endless questions about life and death in moments of silent play. Those secret thoughts were kept under my pillow for monologues as I lay myself down to sleep.

My family’s closest friend, a devout Catholic, whispered in my ear during one sleepover that my family would burn in hell because Christ was not our saviour. I never shared this with my parents in fear that this “truth” would cause them to worry and therefore suffer. I would often hold my breath in fear of facing the suffering of the ones I cared about, and even the suffering of those I had never met beyond the movie screen. My heightened sense of helplessness was so overwhelming that at times I would play the game of Maya, not fully choosing to understand the true temporal nature of life, but covering my eyes to the world, convinced that it could not see me. This was my way of dealing with that monstrous pain that I felt in my heart when I witnessed the suffering of others.

******

Some decades later, crouched with my knees pressed against my chest, I held on for dear life to the flimsy sides of the wooden speedboat. My nails had gone white and cramps formed in my fingers. I clenched my jaw as the driver picked up speed, navigating “blindly” through the treacherous labyrinth of hidden rocks under the current of the Mekong River. My heart skipped 100 beats as the boat skipped a wave or two. I secured my helmet for the tenth time as I saw visions of us crashing into the rock formations, the wooden boat shattering into a million pieces, and me being thrown into the air, still clutching for dear life. I glanced over at my Lao companions, some nodding off, others enjoying the buzz of adrenalin. Their serenity only amplified my exaggerated fear and my inability just to enjoy the ride. It suddenly seemed ridiculous, I seemed ridiculous! I burst into laughter. I knew that all this excessive control on my part was my only way of offering myself some solid ground of security. No matter how hard I clenched my jaw and dug my nails into the sides of the boat, there would be no guarantee. With a deep breath, I threw my arms into the air and screamed at the top of my lungs! If these were to be my last moments here on earth, then ”let go and enjoy” would be my mantra.

Somewhere on the Lao peninsula of Luang Prabang, a ceremonial celebration of endless eating, drinking, and chanting carried on day in and day out for a succession of four nights and five days. There were three spirit houses ornately decorated with flowers, a black and white photo of the deceased, rice, kip, and other symbolic offerings. Candles burned well into the night and throughout the day. There was a continuous flow of lay-people and monks passing by. As night fell, many would camp out on the cold tiled floor searching for warmth against the unusual winter chill. The music continued. Food was served. People laughed. Some played cards and many drank. The sangha, the local Buddhist community, bonded once more.

This is the Buddhist tradition. Death, as well as life, are prevalent, and all sentient beings, without any exception, will inevitably experience suffering, loss, and yes, death. Abinivesha, the root of all of our fears, causes us to desperately cling to life and deny the existential truth of our brief, transient presence here on earth. Micromanaging our illusory permanent existence and our fear of suffering just causes more internal suffering. Surrendering to Buddha’s truth, that suffering exists,does not mean that we no longer care about life or about others. Instead, suffering could become a homeopathic remedy for feeling the preciousness of life, including its joys as well as its sadnesses, and the inescapable end. We can take this ancient wisdom to heart, letting it split our hearts wide open, feeling the inner connectedness with others and life’s fragility.

Death is always lingering. In fact, we are all moving one step closer with each breath, with each passing moment. As scary as it might seem, there is no escaping. Through total acceptance, we crack open the illusory door of permanence to wide open freedom, experiencing the gift of life not in fear but in celebration! Maybe, this is the practice.

—Jessica

Golden Goodness for Laos

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Golden Goodness for Laos

The Art of Karma Yoga

Starfish Story Loren Eiseley
“While wandering a deserted beach at dawn, I saw a man in the distance bending and throwing as he walked the endless stretch toward me. As he came near, I could see that he was throwing starfish, abandoned on the sand by the tide, back into the sea. When he was close enough I asked him, ‘’why are you working so hard at this strange task.’’ He replied, ‘’the sun will soon rise and the starfish will die.’’ Without understanding I replied,‘’this is foolish, there are thousands of starfish on miles and miles of beach. One man alone could never make a difference. ‘’ He smiled as he picked up the next starfish. Hurling it far into the sea he said,
                                        “It makes a difference for this one.”

Yoga is often defined as the method or science of joining, connecting or yoking. If this is so, then what are we seeking to yoke?

Through the practice of yoga and meditation, we are offered glimpses, if not wide-open doors into the true nature of our being. Yoga, as well as many other parallel traditions, teaches us that, at our core, we are of humble goodness and divine light.

Within the parameters of yoga, there are hundreds of interpretations or paths (marga), sometimes opposing, yet most often, sharing the common denominator of inner peace and reuniting our individual soul (Jiva Atman) with the universal soul (Para Atmam), in which we all originate. As students and teachers, we seek to experience, via yoga’s canvas of sweeping nuances, to reconnect with that place we can call home, untouched by time, place or causation.

Each interpretation yields something different. Through the practice of bhakti yoga, we connect with the heart by means of devotion and love while the practice of hatha yogaunites us with the sacred temple of our bodies. Jnana yoga offers us insight into the mind through discernment and meditation, and swara yoga empowers us to reunite with the power and mastery of the breath.  By means of karma yoga we connect through service.

Karma yoga, one of the four pillars of yoga is understood as the path of selfless altruistic service. The word karma is derived from the Sanskrit root kri, meaning ‘’action’’ or ‘’to do’’. Karma yoga is the path of union through our actions, but not just any actions, those actions that are aligned with right intention and with our dharma or duty and when we are unattached to the fruits of our deeds. It is the gateway to generosity and is the first step towards eliminating greed, hatred and delusion because behind every act of giving is an act of loving kindness (meta) and compassion (karuna).

Shantideva, an 8th century scholar, yogi and monk spoke about changing roles. He proposed, in order to touch the heart, we can practice humbly stepping outside the limelight of the epicenter and retreat to the periphery. This act of mindfully and purposefully placing others in the center without forgetting our own needs fosters human kindness.

Karma yoga is the art of giving by offering our time, our presence, our services, our money or anything that can benefit others. This intrinsic path has an instrumental role in yogic philosophy reminding us that, as much as our practice appears to be all about us, our bodies, our minds and our accomplishments, it is really a reminder that we are all fundamentally connected at our core, breathing the same air, supported by the same earth and sharing the same basic needs as love.

Karma yoga encourages us to stretch the limitations of our heart and extend compassion right out there to others, even to those that are less fortunate, those that we judge lacking in merit, and above all, those who don’t extend anything in return.

‘’A single, ordinary person still can make a difference- and single, ordinary people are doing precisely that every day.’’ Chris Bohialian

Helping others is known to boost self-esteem, appease depression, solitude and self loathing, cultivate empathy and eliminate apathy, grow compassion, gratitude and self love, and make the world blossom into a good place to be.  It has the power to free us from past karma while stimulating the 4th chakra, the muscle of love, and, it brings a smile to the heart of others and boomerangs right back to you.

My grandfather, my mentor, used to say, ‘’giving should hurt’’. What he meant by this was that giving should be felt by the altruist. It should take something away from ourselves whether it be some of our time, our finances, or whatever we choose to offer up.

We, at O2yoga, would like to thank you for taking the time to Spring clean and help us fill close to 100 boxes of much needed clothing, school supplies, and books for the children at Deak Kumpa Orphanage in Laos as well as donations in benefit of the students that are part of our scholarship program for continuing education, Practice for Compassion. Without you and your generosity we couldn’t have succeeded!  Even symbolic acts of kindness offered with right intention and a big heart are capable of changing the world, at least one step at a time.

With infinite gratitude,

Namaste, 
From that place of goodness inside us we salute that place of goodness within you,

Jessica and Philippe 
O2yoga

 

Don’t miss
Charity EVENT Saturday, June 1
Practice for Compassion
In favor of continuing education for young Lao individuals.
Please join us in making a huge change in the lives of others by showing up for a class or two and spreading the word. 100% of the proceeds go directly for the education of the 7 Lao students.

For more information about this event and our karma yoga projects in Laos, please visit our web site http://o2yoga.ch/karma-yoga.html

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REGLES DE CONDUIT

REGLES DE CONDUITE

Jessica Magnin

 « C’est seulement lorsque l’esprit est libéré du passé qu’il peut tout accueillir à nouveau, et il y a de la joie dans cela. » Krishnamurti

 Tout a sa place dans le temps et l’espace et les règles ne font pas exception.Les règles et autres codes de conduite nous empêchent de tomber dans l’anarchie et de vivre dans le chaos. Mais les règles ne sont-elles pas conçues par notre esprit ? Peut-être même sont-elles générées par la peur ? Quand bien même nous avons besoin de règles pour vivre en harmonie, on peut se demander dans quelle mesure elles ne nous limitent pas trop dans nos rencontres et nos relations avec les autres.

Ici, à Luang Prabang, une liste de règles est affichée publiquement un peu partout dans la ville. Ces règles sont prises très au sérieux et doivent impérativement être respectées. Avec plus de 350 novices et moines vivant dans la ville ancienne, le respect de ces règles se fait naturellement, même si cela dépend de la manière de les interpréter…

A 5:30 du matin, la sonnerie du deuxième gong annonce le début de saibat, le rituel des offrandes. Dans la faible lueur de l’aube, une file de novices et de moines vêtus de la traditionnelle robe orange apparaît tel un flux infini de silhouettes aux pieds nus portant sur leur épaule, nue également, une lanière tissée au bout de laquelle pend une urne.

J’arrive à ma place habituelle, m’incline respectueusement devant mes deux amis laotiens, plus âgés que moi, prends place sur un siège en bambou tressé reposant à une vingtaine de centimètres du sol, dépose soigneusement mes nu-pieds derrière moi et replie mon sin, la jupe laotienne traditionnelle, sous mes genoux, en m’assurant que mes jambes sont entièrement couvertes. Une écharpe blanche, le pha bien,  couvre mon épaule gauche. Je remonte mes cheveux en chignon.

Derrière moi, l’épais mur du Wat Sene me sépare des quelques vingt novices et autres moines qui finissent de se préparer et d’ajuster leur tenue avant de franchir l’enceinte du monastère. Un panier en osier rempli de khao niow, du riz gluant venant d’être cuit à la vapeur, repose sur mes genoux.  Je l’élève à la hauteur de mon front, m’incline en silence et bénis ces offrandes avec bienveillance et amour. Mes chers amis laotiens sont assis à côté de moi. Nous échangeons seulement un regard de douceur avec un léger sourire, rien de plus. Nous laissons le calme du petit matin baigner le caractère sacré du moment présent.

La procession commence et un ou deux chiens du monastère ouvrent la voie. Les pieds nus et les cranes rasés défilent gracieusement juste devant nous, s’arrêtant brièvement devant moi alors que je dépose une louche de riz gluant dans les bols en faisant très attention à ne pas toucher les novices et les moines, ni même les urnes. Les regards sont furtifs, tournés humblement vers le sol en signe de respect. Cela fait partie des règles non écrites du rituel des offrandes.

Jour après jour, 94 en tout, voyage après voyage, 6 au total, saison des pluies, 3 pour être précise, ou saison sèche, je suis là avec la même présence, la même intention et le même rituel respectueux. Mais, conformément aux enseignements de Bouddha, les choses évoluent avec le temps. Avec l’habitude et les jours qui passent, les choses changent, même les paramètres des règles établies.

Les premiers changements furent à peine perceptibles : un croisement furtif du regard, un léger sourire échangé, un « saibadee » ou « hello », un « kop jai lai2 » tout juste murmurés, le don d’un biscuit, et même un sourire éclatant. Dans ces instants, au-delà des règles de conduite, au-delà de ce que nous appelons « jit », l’esprit, jai, notre cœur rencontre le cœur d’une autre personne et toutes les différences, les conflits, les incertitudes, la peur, la supériorité et les règles établies s’effacent pour céder la place à une seule chose, l’art d’être humain et la capacité illimitée du cœur.

 

« Pour être libéré de toute autorité, que ce soit la tienne ou celle d’un autre, il faut tout abandonner d’hier, afin que ton esprit soit toujours frais, toujours jeune, innocent, plein de force et de passion. C’est seulement avec cet état d’esprit que l’on observe et que l’on apprend. Y parvenir requiert une grande  conscience, la conscience de ce qui se passe réellement à l’intérieur de toi, sans le modifier en fonction de ce qui devrait être ou non, car dès que tu opères des modifications, tu mets en place une nouvelle autorité, une censure. » Krishnamurti

 

Les règles sont nécessaires mais elles peuvent nous endurcir, nous le savons bien. Pourtant leur mise en œuvre nous rassure. Notre esprit est très généreux pour nous dicter ce qui est vrai et ce qui est faux, ce qui est bien et ce qui est mauvais et nous fournir des solutions joliment emballées qui évitent que nous nous éloignions trop de ces lignes de conduite. En gravitant perpétuellement autour des ces limites, notre esprit en crée davantage. C’est la façon qu’il a de faire face aux aléas de l’existence et maintenir le chaos et la peur à distance. Cela étant, notre cœur désire ardemment connaître et échanger plus de moments sacrés et être simplement humain. Dans son incapacité à vivre réellement cela, l’esprit, limité par sa faculté illimitée à créer des règles et solutions, peut uniquement essayer de conceptualiser la douceur de ces moments sacrés: à quoi ressemble-t-elle, quels sens éveille-t-elle, que peut-elle nous apporter ?

Alors, en deçà des règles et codes de conduite existantes, n’oublie jamais ton cœur car c’est uniquement là que l’amour peut être réellement ressenti et exprimé sans limite.

RULES of CONDUCT

IMG_8691RULES OF CONDUCT

Jessica Magnin

“It is only when the mind is free from the old that it meets everything anew, and in that there is joy.” Krishnamurti

Everything has its place in time and in space and rules are no exception. Rules and codes of conduct keep us from falling into a state of anarchy, of total chaos. But then again, aren’t rules fabricated from the mind and perhaps rooted in fear? As much as we need rules and guidelines to live an orderly life, we might question, within reason, their potential of limiting our connection and heartfelt experience with others.

Here, in sleepy Luang Prabang a list of rules is publically displayed and posted around town. These rules are meant to be taken seriously and by all means, respected. With over 350 novices and monks living between the confines of the old town, one naturally abides by these guidelines but then, I suppose that depends upon the interpreter.

The second gong rings at 5h30 signalling the commencement of saibat, the giving of alms. In the faint darkness of the early morning, a thread of burnt orange robed novices, monks and abbots form what appears to be an endless stream of barefooted bodies with metal urns dangling from a woven strap resting on their bare shoulder.

I arrive at my habitual place, bow before my two elder Lao friends, take seat on a bamboo woven stool no more than 20 centimetres from the earth, place my flip flops neatly behind me, and tuck my sin, traditional Lao skirt, under my knees assuring that my legs are fully covered. A white “pha bien,’’or scarf, drapes over my left shoulder as I secure my hair neatly into a bun.

Behind me, the thick wall of Wat Sene separates me from 20 or so novices and monks making their final adjustments to their robes before stepping outside the confines of their monastery.  A wicker basket of freshly steamed “khao niow”, sticky rice, sits on my lap and I raise it to my forehead, bow in silence and bless these offerings with goodness and love. My dear Lao friends sit next to me. We exchange only a knowing smile of the eyes, nothing more. We allow the stillness of the early morning to bathe the present moment with sacredness.

The procession begins with a monastery’s dog or two guiding the way. Bare feet and bare heads gracefully pass at just arms reach, briefly pausing before me as I place a blessed clump of sticky rice into their urn careful not to make any physical contact, not even with their urn. One’s gaze should be soft, turned downward in humbleness and respect. These are the unspoken rules of conduct while offering.

Day after day, 94 in total, trip after trip, totally 6, rainy season or not, 3 to be exact, I am here with the same presence, the same intention and the same ritual of respect. But over time, things do shift and this is what is promised even by the teachings of Buddha himself. With habit and the passing of days, things do change, even the borders of set guidelines and rules.

The change began with the reception of an occasional yet discrete meet of the eyes, a faint humble smile, a whispered ‘’sabaidee’’ or “hello’’, a ‘’kop jai lai2”, a wrapped cookie, and even a brim-to-brim smile. Here, at this precise moment, beyond the rules of conduct, beyond what we call jit, or the mind, jai, the heart meets that of another and all differences, prejudices, conflicts, insecurities, superiority and even imposed rules drop, exposing one single thing, the art of being human and limitless potential of the heart.

“To be free of all authority, of your own and that of another, is to die to everything of yesterday, so that your mind is always fresh, always young, innocent, full of vigour and passion. It is only in that state that one learns and observes. And for this, a great deal of awareness is required, actual awareness of what is going on inside yourself, without correcting it or telling it what it should or should not be, because the moment you correct it you have established another authority, a censor.” Krishnamurti

Rules are necessary but they can harden us. We know this yet their implementation keeps us in tact. The mind is full of ideas about right and wrong, good and bad and packaged solutions to keep things from oscillating too far. Because the mind gravitates toward set boundaries, we create more. It is our mind’s way of making sense of the unpredictability of life and keeping chaos and fear at bay. Yet, our hearts yearn for more sacred moments of expression and connection and the humbleness of being human. Incapable of truly experiencing this humanness, the mind, limited in its limitlessness can only just begin to conceptualise what this softness might look like, feel like and be like. So within the confinements of suggested guidelines and rules of conduct, remember your heart. It is within the walls of the heart that love can be felt and expressed beyond measure.

L’amour désintéressé de l’Amour de Soi

L’amour désintéressé de l’Amour de Soi

Jessica Magnin

Si tu veux éveiller toute l’humanité, commence par t’éveiller toi-même. Si tu veux éliminer la souffrance du monde, commence par éliminer tout ce qui est sombre et négatif en toi. En réalité, le plus grand don que tu dois faire est celui de ta propre transformation. Lao Tzu

 

Depuis mille et une nuits, le mystère de la vie et la quête de soi-même  ont préoccupé l’esprit de l’homme. De nos jours, cette préoccupation est encore une actualité et est probablement plus pertinente et plus urgente que jamais vu le mal-être général de l’humanité.

En dépit de nos découvertes dans les technologies avancées, malheureusement il reste peu de place pour l’évolution de Soi. L’estime de soi, l’amour de soi et tout ce qui tourne autour de Soi sont associés avec l’arrogance, la vanité et le narcissisme. Cela montre que notre société ne comprend pas la réelle valeur de ce pilier fondamental de qui nous sommes.

Au départ, nous sommes éduqués, entraînés et conditionnés pour chercher notre épicentre en-dehors de nous-mêmes. Nous dévorons des piles de livres, consultons des boules de cristal et nous accrochons aux paroles de ceux « qui ont vécu et savent ce que nous vivons. » De ce fait, nos amis, notre jardinier, notre professeur de yoga, voir même notre coiffeur deviennent nos gourous ! C’est comme s’ils détenaient le sésame qui allait nous révéler qui nous devrions être et ce que nous devrions faire. Aveuglés, nous leur permettons de prendre des décisions importantes à notre place, croyant naïvement qu’ils nous connaissent mieux que nous-mêmes. Ce faisant, nous leur donnons tout pouvoir et en retour nous nous privons de notre propre autonomie. Nous perdons alors confiance en notre propre capacité de discernement et l’habitude d’écouter notre voix intérieure. En fin de compte, nous prenons des décisions qui sont fondées sur l’expérience et les projections de quelqu’un d’autre et, bien trop souvent, nous dévions de notre propre chemin.

Plus ceci devient notre vasana ou habitude, plus nous enracinons cette habitude dans notre être « périphérique ». Entraînés dans une spirale descendante, le manque d’estime de soi durable qui en résulte nous rend fragiles, instables et, au final, malheureux.

Face au changement des demandes d’aujourd’hui, nous n’avons pas d’autre choix que de chercher ailleurs. Par l’éclaircissement de notre propre lucidité, nous témoignons que des années de dysfonctionnement comportemental ne sont que ceci, des dysfonctionnements.  J’ai lu une fois que «en réalité, nous ne sommes pas des êtres humains à la recherche d’expériences spirituelles mais des êtres spirituels à la recherche d’expériences humaines ».  Lorsque les expériences de la vie sont abordées avec un esprit humble mais néanmoins curieux et dénué de jugements, nous commençons à semer la graine de l’acceptation de Soi et de l’Amour de Soi.

Quand bien même l’amour universel est à l’origine de nos racines et ce dont cette planète a désespérément besoin afin de panser ses plaies, l’Amour de Soi est le point de départ de ce processus. Des moments sacrés et enveloppés de reconnaissance peuvent nous rapprocher de notre origine universelle et nous aider à nous connecter les uns avec les autres mais ceci ne suffit pas. L’Amour de Soi est la seule vérité que notre humanité doit réellement adopter Ne nous détrompons pas, il n’y a ni raccourci ni personne qui peut faire le travail pour nous.

Se diriger vers l’amour universel sans se préoccuper de l’Amour de Soi, c’est brûler les étapes, ou comme on le dit de manière très explicite en anglais c’est « comme avoir des relations sexuelles sans avoir jamais goûté à la tendresse du premier baiser ».  Dans ce cas, l’amour universel devient un prétexte pour tout remettre au lendemain et éviter d’avoir à faire l’indispensable travail sur Soi afin de cultiver un amour propre de soi.

Dans l’Anusara Yoga, l’Acro Yoga, le kirtan et d’autres disciplines visant à développer l’amour universel et qui nous laissent flotter temporairement dans un état de grâce et de béatitude, le paradoxe est que nous sommes livrés à nous-mêmes quand l’euphorie s’éteint. Si souvent, la seule chose qui reste est un sentiment de vide qui ronge les profondeurs de soi. Est-ce que ce vide serait cet appel de notre âme qui devrait être entendu, chéri et aimé ?

En puisant dans la philosophie yogique, on peut se demander si l’étude de soi, intitulé Svadyaya, le 4e Niyama du Yoga Ashtanga de Pantajali, est l’intention fondamentale de notre sadhana, notre pratique. En général, une pratique régulière améliore notre relation avec le monde extérieur mais peu de pratiques traitent sérieusement la notion d’étude de soi et donc l’importance de l’Amour de Soi.

C’est une chose d’étendre l’amour envers un voisin difficile mais c’en est une autre de l’étendre à nous-mêmes de façon inconditionnelle : en sommes-nous capables ? Sommes-nous prêts à écouter notre voix intérieure et à la rendre plus forte que celles de ceux qui préféreraient que nous vivions en suivant leurs conseils ?

Ces questions et leur étude qui suit sont la pierre angulaire du bonheur intrinsèque et de l’amour de Soi. Le gourou externe est remplacé par le gourou interne, votre guide fidèle et loyal qui a toujours attendu d’être entendu.

Self-LoveEt si les 7.091.666.596 habitants de cette planète pouvaient entendre leur voix intérieure et connaître la joie illimitée de l’Amour de Soi ?


 

The Selfless Love of Self-Love

Self-LoveThe Selfless love of Self-Love

Jessica Magnin

If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation. — Lao Tzu

Since the beginning of time, the mystery of life and eminently the search for the Self have pre-occupied the human psyche. Today, is no different and possibly the search has intensified due to our lack of inner guidance and our worldly ‘’mal-être.’’

Even in the recent past, Self-love has received a bad rap. The common thesaurus equates Self-love with conceit, arrogance, vanity as well as narcissism. This alone is proof that our society’s lack the understanding and value of such a monumental building block of whom we truly are.

Due to this association we have been taught, trained and conditioned to seek the truth outside the realm of the Self by devouring stacks of books, consulting crystal balls, and absorbing the wise words of those that say they ‘’have lived and know us so well.’’ Our gardeners, friends, yoga teachers and even our hairdressers become our guiding gurus. They seem to hold the golden key that unlocks the answers to who we should be and what we should do. We blindly allow them to make important decisions for us, naively believing that they know us better than we know ourselves. In doing so, we disempower ourselves by empowering them. We loose confidence in our own capacity to discern and ignore our own inner voice while finally making decisions that are founded on someone else’s experiences and projections, and far too often than not, we deviate from our path.

The more this becomes our vasana, or habitual tendency, the more we ingrain this habit into the fibres of who we externally are and the downward spiralling effect results in low self-esteem, instability and at its core, unhappiness.

Facing the change of today’s demands, we have little choice but to look elsewhere. In our own personal account, we have witnessed years of this behavioural dysfunction with little sequel. I once read that we are not human beings in search of spiritual experiences but in truth, spiritual beings in search of human experiences. When life’s human experiences are embraced with a humble yet curious non-judgemental spirit we then begin to plant the seed of self- acceptance and Self-love.

Although universal love is the origin of our roots and what this planet desperately needs in order to heal its apparent suffering, Self-love is where this process must begin. Sacred moments of stillness remind us of our universal origins and interdependent connection but Self-love is the foreign truth that our humanness has yet to really embrace. Through our humanness of every day living, life offers us a multitude of moments to cultivate Self-honour. There are no shortcuts and no one can do the work for you. Moving towards universal love without addressing Self-love is synonymous to scoring 4th base before learning the tenderness of that first kiss. Without, universal love becomes a letter of excuse to procrastinate and hide from the ultimate work of self -awareness that must be addressed in order to tap into our heart of being.

In the likes of Anusara Yoga, Acro Yoga, kirtan and others, incontestable in their benefits in fostering universal love, the paradoxical truth is that after the high has waned of basking in the flow of grace, so many are still left disillusioned by the temporal feeling of that euphoric bliss of yesterday.  Today, all that is left is a lingering bad taste of familiarity, a gnawing feeling of emptiness. Could that empty feeling be our soul’s calling to be heard, cherished and loved?

In light of yoga, we might courageously ask ourselves if self-study or Svadyaya, the 4th Niyama of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga is the founding intention behind our sadhana, or practice. Most balanced practices enhance to some extent our relationships with the outside world but only specific practices earnestly address the notion of self-study and thus the importance of Self-love. It is one thing to extend love to a difficult neighbour but can we extend love to ourselves unconditionally? Are we ready to listen to our inner voice and make it stronger than the voice of those that prefer we live in their light?  These questions and the study that accompanies them is the cornerstone to inherent happiness. The guru outside becomes replaced with the guru inside, your faithful guide who has always been waiting to be heard.

What would this world be like if the 7 091 666 596 inhabitants of this planet could hear their inner voice and knew the boundless joy of Self –love?

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