May you go beyond mere book knowledge
and attain realization through purity of heart in your very lives.
-Sri Swami Satchidananda
Thresholds of Power
Part I: How Honesty Paves the Internal Path of Least Resistance
For most of us, finding the "path of least resistance" means avoiding the road containing external obstacles in the way of our goals. Obstacles can come in various forms: disagreements with others, a lack of resources, unfavorable logistics, discouragement from peers, etc. On top of that, popular thinking has us in a tug of war between when to power through a situation and when to let go of the reigns. This confusion then has us spinning our wheels about what we should or shouldn't do rather than what we actually want to do. So much so that our actual motives for our actions can get lost in the process. Perhaps there's another way to approach life: to view the path of least resistance as an internal quest. Perhaps it would behoove us to remember age-old wisdom: if we encounter our inner obstacles honestly, the resulting change in perspective would free us to move more freely about the world, no matter what. The first step in the process is telling ourselves the truth about what we find.
Having a truthful and nonjudgmental look at everything we mentally and emotionally carry yields invaluable realizations that are life-changing. Once we know what makes us hold our breath, we also know our internal roadblocks. This investigation into ourselves might require finding the answers to some loaded questions: Do I know what makes me feel good inside and why? Do I know what makes me feel tangled up inside and why? Am I willing to make decisions in my life based on what I love and don't love?
Especially here, I can't lie: the process of gaining the answers to those questions takes a helluva lot of work and self study. Plus trust, self discipline, and the willingness to look and feel like what some would call a fool. Yet, these internal exercises, as gritty as they can be, gives one sustainable power, flexibility and openess in one's body and entire being.
The way to complete such a seemingly daunting task is paying attention one moment at a time.
Moment by moment, we can choose to live unapologetically by taking actions that honor ourselves and eachother.
That is the work of mindfulness: to act honorably in each moment and carefully examine the things that prevent us from doing so. Figuring out that which prevents us from carrying out actions from our highest integrity can be the most fun to untangle and can be quite enjoyable. OR, frankly, in the moment it can be pride-swallowing, painful, scary and humiliating while you're being honest with yourself and others. Oh sweet beans of mercy yes, that moment when you value your truth above everything can feel very topsy-turvy and some may call you crazy; fret not, fellow humans. 'Tis but a smidgen of time in the grand scheme of things. You know and I know that everyone has their turn on the wheel of "crazy". One truly happy day in your skin when you feel the rush of a breakthrough is worth more than five years of foggy confusion. And, on that day, you'll wanna cartwheel down the aisles at the market and smile at every face you see. Judgements shmudgements. They can keep it.
The reward here is peace in that at the very least, you have honestly done exactly what you felt you needed to do. Our internal knots are the results of accumulated shame, tension, and pent up emotions. We can untangle these knots by living life truthfully and owning our actions. After you do something (as in ANYTHING... start with simple things, like brushing your teeth or seeing a movie), take a little time to see how you felt about it. Ask yourself if you liked it. Inquire within and notice how the body feels. Why are you doing what you are doing? Once you have a conclusion, an honest conclusion that is yours and yours alone, take a breath. Say in the mind " well, this is what I think about that" (Yes, what YOU think at that moment in time, held to nothing else and without apology), and take another deep breath. When you don't fight your own opinion, the knot loosens, the obstacle dissolves, the path clears.
Without internal resistance to a situation, the body breathes the way it was born to breathe. Breathing skillfully not only creates openess in the body, it also provides a point of reference that allows you to be keen to what closes you up, what I like to call "tangle triggers"*. Once you know what your tangle triggers are, you can choose to avoid them, resulting in skillful experiencing and new perspective when it comes to the things that were once obstacles.
Thus, if we wanted to, we could view each of our experiences as an opportunity for the action of untangling. We interact with eachother and do the things we do because of our deep down desire to untangle our own knots/live openly and well/survive and evolve as beings on earth. All of it is the process of owning what we want and clearing our own path. Yes of course, sometimes there are flubs. Other times there is amazement and victory. ALL of it is the honest process of untangling. And it is in the sustained untangled state of least resistance that balance can be obtained, making life more enjoyable, giving the body a sense of vastness and openess.
New thresholds of power appear when we behave in a way that is true to ourselves. And hey, we may still become self-conscious about expressing our truth wholeheartedly, which is why we tend to admire those who are too cool for school and and seemingly don't give fuck about anyone else's opinion. Fear not, that's inside of you too. Being honest with yourself looks and feels sexy. It does the body good to be aligned with what we believe to be exactly who we are at any given moment. In short, being honest with oneself saves the body a tremendous amount of energy that was formerly spent on tiny stressors that were created from hiding from your own truth. This new supply of energy can give one the will to live honestly and openly, feeling liberated from inner and outer judgements. Which brings you to the threshold that can only be crossed by the individual on the path of personal liberation.
So, what does it feel like in the body when you're no longer afraid or apologetic of your own actions? Amazing. Like you're all smooth and jellyfish neon inside and you have wings that only you know how to deploy.
What happens when you connect honestly with yourself?
You learn to connect honestly with others.
What does it feel like to rest in peace while you are alive and still walking the earth?
Like you've beat the system.
I wonder what the answers to these questions feel like in your body.
When you find them, I hope you share your story.
So now, let's go and tell ourselves the truth, knowing that it may not be easy.
Let's rest in peace.
Let's play in our power.
*tangle triggers: generally, that which makes you clench inside, like being pretending everything's okay by faking your "fine", doing things out of obligation, saying you like something when you don't, any pretending or over-accomodation for no reason at all, engaging in things that are meaningless to you, people that treat you badly, doing the things that no longer invigotate you, the stuff that gives you the icky feeling