Endings? … No, thanks!
Cycles are part of life. In Non Dual Tantric philosophy, every act – a thought, an event, a word, a season, a relationship, … and even life itself – is a cycle. Indeed, life is a succession and a juxtaposition of cycles with 3 main steps: (1) creation (“Srsti” in sanskrit), (2) sustainance (“Sthiti”), and (3) dissolution (“Samhara”). In other words, dissolution is inevitable, and so are new beginnings! According to this teaching, suffering results from our resistance of the essence of change, i.e. when not wanting something to end or getting trapped in the drama of an ending.
I love the spring season, seeing all the buds and the flowers coming out, enjoying the longer and warmer sunny days. I can accept the shift into summer, but the next cycle – fall – is always hard for me to accept! As far as I remember, it has always been the same also with holidays, my birthday 😉, and – more recently – when I teach or participate at a retreat! I love and enjoy it, but one day before the end I become anxious and sad; I reject the discomfort of going through the closing of something I love. I reject the necessary grieving.
More painful changes, such as ends of relationship, death of loved ones, and even our own death, are naturally way harder to accept and grieve. Yet, if we remember that dissolution is part of “the dance of life”, we come to a place of acceptance, which brings greater ease and inner peace.
Each step in its own time
Inner changes can also take time to come through. When I transitioned professionally from research to being self-employed and teaching yoga more and more, it took me a couple of years to truly let go of my identity as an academic (as well as the real and projected expectations from others). I would tell people that I became a self-employed consultant, which was partly true (I had created HeartwiseConsulting.com) but neglected my deep longing to teach more yoga. When I finally decided to come to term with this identity and let myself and others see me as the teacher I was, I felt much more joyful and free. My students and clients felt it too, and I could inspire and encourage them to step into their own truth, whatever that was.
When we accept that dissolution is a natural part of life, we flow through life from a place of acceptance and empowerment. This is not to say that one should dismiss the pain of certain endings. Grieving is also part of life. Accepting dissolution enables us to grieve what needs to be grieved and then move onto the next step of our journey, the following “Srsti” in our life. I love the image of the caterpillar before it becomes a butterfly. First the caterpillar forms a safe cocoon in which it then completely melts, before it unexpectedly transforms into a colorful butterfly – in its own time. This metaphor reminds us about both that (1) dissolution is a necessary step, (2) every step of the cycle has to happen in its own, organic time. If you try to crack the cocoon too soon, the butterfly will quickly die or never fly. Only when the butterfly is fully ready to spread its wings will it crack the cocoon open.
What we resist persists
One of my favorite quotes (used many times, but traceable originally to Carl Jung) is: “What we resist persists.” Put differently, it is utopic to resist change, because change is inevitable: It will persist and happen eventually. In psychology, if we resist experiencing pain, our limiting beliefs or our shadows, they will keep driving our behavior un- or semi-consciously, and the same limiting patterns will continue to play out in our lives and relationships. Resisting the work we need to do to “dissolve” such limiting stories or unprocessed emotions prevents us to open to the joy and freedom of the next Srsti of our life.
If you’ve read thus far, I invite you to take your journal and a few minutes to sit and reflect onto possible resistance.
What are you resisting in your life right now? For me, a good indicator is what triggers possible feelings of frustration, sadness or irritation. Write that down. Evaluate honestly whether you need the help of a professional or a compassionate friend to help you work with it, and if needed reach out to someone who can support you.
Now, reflect onto how your life will look like in the next step. What is the next Srsti? What will the dissolution of this resistance free up for you? How would you feel?
When we dare let go of the old cycle and accept dissolution fully, new inspiration and fresh energy emerge. What is your next courageous step towards your fuller, truer self?
Thank yourself for this exercise and let me know how that goes! I am so grateful for you and your dedication to go into your heart, and step closer to your truer nature, which is PURE JOY! The purpose of yoga is to bring us back to this place, joy and freedom are already there.
Keep on your practice, and enjoy its benefits for your body, your heart and your mind – also off the mat!
Want to go deeper and move forward in your practice?
… fancy festivals?
Join me for this splendid charity event, all money goes to good action helping women and children in India and Pakistan! Yoga classes, Kirtan, Vegan food, Gong baths, great premiums and more: OneDay Festival, May 11th (Copenhagen)
This summer, I am also part of an amazing team of heart-centered yogis behind the coziest and sweetest yoga festival in the most beautiful surroundings: amazing classes, workshops, and kula atmosphere just in between the forest and the ocean. YAY! And only 1h15 min from Copenhagen! Come join us there too! Tisvilde Yoga Festival – July 6-7th
Namaste and enjoy the rest of the spring!