Try This—Release your Aversion to Discontent

From Vieques—

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The philosophy of Unity is probably true and definitely comforting. Within the philosophy of Unity it is popular to extrapolate that everything is perfect just as it is. That may be so, but is it your experience? Is life perfect just as it is? Philosophically this is an extremely attractive idea. But I feel there are problems with accepting it when it is not your direct experience. Am I perfect? Maybe, but do I feel perfect? Not really. Perfection is not my ongoing and immediate experience.

Is perfection a quality inherently contained within Unity? Does perfection simply mean that nothing can be anything other than what it is? Clearly there is no floating standard out there that can be called “perfection” that everything is weighed against. It’s either all or nothing. Is this so-called perfection really just a statement of Unity? I think so.

It all comes back to the same thing over and over again: Recognition of Unity is the game. A feeling of lacking or imperfection is always the result of a perceived separation from the Vastness, the Unified Field, the Divine.

Our ego-mind is very good at creating a personal sense of imperfection in a perfect universe. Ego likes to be in charge and loves to perceive itself as the ultimate reality. We may know philosophically that this is an illusion and that ego is just one of the many expressions of the Divine, but when we are caught in the dominance of our ego we feel separate and distinct from everything and everyone else. Not necessarily a bad thing, but not great for recognizing Unity. My perceived separation from Source makes me feel imperfect even if in some ultimate reality I am. So how useful is the philosophy of perfection and Unity if it is not my experience? Our sense of separation breeds the inner sense of imperfection that penetrates all levels of our experience.

We say that this perceived separation is a problem. But if we perceive it to be a problem aren’t we caught by it? Seeing it as a problem has an insidious effect of making us want to get away from something – away from the problem.

Ultimate philosophies are so attractive to the suffering body-mind. As I rest relax, swim, write, read, and bask in the perfect sea breezes, I am struck by the ongoingness of my resistance to life as it is. Yes, it is almost unimaginably beautiful here, and okay, you could just about call this beach perfect. But there is a mitigating factor here that is remarkably strong. It is me. It is my personal ego mind fighting it out with itself. This is no more than usual. It is usually doing this. But in the relative perfection of this amazing Caribbean beach my mind is just more noticeable.

The reality of Unity is absolutely clear to me. I have seen it, over and over again. I have felt it, touched it, yielded into it and know it to be true. And that, I now know, leads to a very tricky area of my mind to navigate. Since I know it, it is so very easy to feel discontent with any perception that doesn’t place the Vastness itself at the forefront, as the experiencer of any aspect of expression. I know, based on personal experience, that all of this is the vibrating and radiating expression of the Divine. So now, I am caught in wanting to perceive it as Divine all the time! Everything else dissatisfies. Even as I laugh, love, swim, read, whatever it is, I am at the base of my personal self, deeply dissatisfied.

So, I inquire: I follow the dissatisfaction to its source. It doesn’t take too long to see that my dissatisfaction is the direct result of the lack of immediate perception of Unity. I find a powerful aversion to the separation of my ego-self with its own Source. As I get under the surface just a little bit I find so many of my held self-concepts from a lifetime, battling it out with one another. The ego mind is all swirled up on itself, talking to itself, and jockeying for supremacy with its own parts. The parts are not only in charge here – they are wild and desperate! What a situation.

How to unhook from the ego? Turns out that is the wrong question. Wanting to unhook from the ego seems to give it more strength! My discontent is strong and the more I don’t like it the more I notice it rise up and try to do something about my discontent. I would really like not to be discontent. And that, in itself is a problem. I am in strong aversion to discontent. Is this a breakthrough? Well, momentarily, however enough of a breakthrough to see that the aversion is the problem. These self-concepts that take up way too much of my attention are very powerful and they rise up and vie for supremacy over and over again. Okay, that is the way it is. Now what?

There appears to be only one way to explore this situation more deeply and that is to release my aversion to discontent. Easier said than done. Is my discontent a personal failure? My spiritually oriented ego mind definitely thinks so. My thinking spiritually oriented mind says, “No, it is not a problem. This is just what egos do”. But that argument doesn’t seem to hold much water when I place myself where I am at sixty years old with forty-five years of spiritual practice under my belt. I should be better. More problems, more discontent with a good smattering of self-denigration. Great, this is going nowhere…again ego-mind taking charge. Wow, what persistence this ego has!

Turns out, the only remedy is to accept my discontent. How can a spiritually oriented person like me accept this limited view of my life and personhood? I can’t. So, obviously, I think I have to change it. The desire to change how we perceive and what we feel has led many of us to practice yoga. In practice we make a mistake when we think that changing and improving ourselves will solve the problem. We just increase our resistance and harden our resolve not to feel discontent. Serious practice will take us deeper. But it is tricky.

The next step is where the problem so often gets even more vicious. This is the place that so many of us will stop and take on a philosophy of Unity – an idea of Unity – that ultimately is a giving up and leads to a kind of a spiritual mood-making. We say to ourselves that we are perfect just as we are and the Universe is One. We tell ourselves that we are undulating waves of perfection and bliss. We even feel it sometimes. We “think” that all we have to do is yield to that reality and it will take us away. But what really happens most of the time is that we get stuck at this level of mood making, call ourselves yogis, and settle. Underneath it all we remain discontent. Ego mind gets excited because it continues to run the show and gets a lot of adulation from friends and students because we say the right things.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, this doesn’t work! We must go deeper. It cannot be all about surrender when the ego still has such strong tendrils into our awareness. At the source of ego, just under its wild growth and attempts to stay supreme, is this deep discontent. The best use of this discontent is to allow it to prompt us to inquire more deeply. Attention, attention, attention! When we give up at this moment and take on a philosophy upon which to rest we are toast. We cling to the philosophy for dear life.
The philosophy of Unity may be right, but if it is not the underlying and abiding reality – the experience of every waking-sleeping-dreaming moment of your life – than you may be trapped in spiritual mood making. Adhering to a philosophy because it is easier than going deeper is a real obstacle to clear vision and bears no significant fruit in personal experience. I am talking about myself, of course, but I feel it may apply to you too.

Accept it. Accept your discontent and look at it even more deeply, and without aversion. Really allow it. After all, what is so terrible? You feel it anyway. You likely see the beauty of the Unified Field often enough to keep your attention – that’s why you practice. But you also, likely, spend most of your time in aversion to your own discontent. Or worse, you may spend most of your time, as I do, trying to improve yourself so that you won’t feel so discontent anymore!

Try this: accept your discontent fully. Allow it as your human birthright just as you allow your enjoyment and your joy, only more so, because at least you are not in so much resistance to your own joy. Let go of your need to alter, change, and improve. Watch your ego do flips and turns using its reservoir of tricks to try to keep itself on top!

Let me know how you do.

And may we all experience the truth of life: sat chit ananda,
Patty

 

27 thoughts on “Try This—Release your Aversion to Discontent

  1. "Accept it. Accept your discontent … But you also, likely, spend most of your time in aversion to your own discontent. Or worse, you may spend most of your time, as I do, trying to improve yourself so that you won’t feel so discontent anymore!" ~ This paragraph speaks to me on so many levels. Thank you for your humanity and willingness to share it. The opposites in my life have been on my mind recently. Loving it when I practice and tapping into this field and how good it feels only to run off to the realities of my "discontent" in other areas of my life or even with my body itself. I mean really what’s "wrong" with "me"? Nothing, but my lack of acceptance. It has helped me to realized that the concept of "support precedes action" applies to all life. It no longer makes sense to me, to push and reach for goals without the yield of support under me first or at least without making the conscious decision to risk – which is also a very exciting human thing to do. To me, the whirling chaos of life does not offer anything firm to grasp onto but only the space to yield or one of my favorite words – surrender. Yes, it has negative connotation of defeat (if you consider that negative) but it is important for me to make room for compassionate loving of my losses so that I can get up and just do again – to live this life as a human in one big inquiry. Thank you again.

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  2. Thank you, Mindy. I definitely do not mean to give a negative connotation to surrender. True surrender is glorious. I think we just jump the gun – so to say – when we avoid santosha – deep contentment with what actually is.In other words we need to accept that we are in aversion to our aversion – and often on and on. The discriminative sword can be used to cut the tendrils of the ego – only when you admit how strong it is.I appreciate your honesty and your insights.
    patty townsend | yoga center amherst

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  3. the swirling and whirling! the currents up and down! the ins and outs, backs and forths…i say thank you for sharing, Patty, and it leaves me with: hah!

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  4. Patty, what a heartfelt reflection! What sifts out of your offering here is the notion that when we settle, a kind of spiritual bypass is established that allows us to think we are safe, or supported, or beautiful, or loved. And in this, denial or aversion to the underlying discontent is created. I do feel this so strongly, this kind of denial and the accompanying fear that comes with it. You say "The best use of this discontent is to allow it to prompt us to inquire more deeply. Attention, attention, attention!" I appreciate the implication that attention needs to be to the whole gamut of experience. What I ‘worry’ about myself is the polarization of these experiences that I liken to riding a roller coaster and how most of my attention typically goes to the highs and lows of experiences as being most true. I’ve recently come to the realization that it’s not about getting off the roller coaster, but about learning how to ride it with grace. To really inquire and experience and own the transition between the highs and the lows. That maybe this is where truth or ‘content’ if there is ever such a thing really lives. Hmmmm. And then see how easy it is for me to ‘settle’ into an this idea that I think will take me out of the very experiences I am judging. And lets me see that perhaps I cling to the highs and lows as a way of further avoiding the real heart of something (discontent?) that might live in the space inbetween. Perhaps the only way to ride the roller coaster with grace then is to accept and dig deeper into what is actually there in that middle space… It came to me this morning in practice that I tend to do ‘sequences’ of movement that have something at the beginning, something in the middle, and something at the end and that choosing to inquire more deeply into what is in the ‘middle’ might be a good place to start practicing attention in a more non-judgmental way…Thank you for sharing where you are, in every respect!Kathy

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  5. Middle spaces… I like that Kathy.It’s interesting that when I use the word surrender about myself and in writing to a someone else, particularly a teacher, that I would assume they would consider the word negative. Now, that’s an interesting inquiry for me! Regardless, I love where your mind is going on vacation. Isn’t this "connectiveness" that is available in this "world-wide-web" thing amazing?Thank you all for sharing.

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  6. Thank you for this very honest, determined exploration into the reality of the self.I think we misunderstand the idea of "the perfection of the universe". I don’t think it means that we, ourselves, or the world, or even the universe, perhaps, is a finished product that cannot be improved upon. I think it means that *the system is perfect". What system? The System of Becoming. This would explain the dichotomy of "discontentedness within a perfect system". If we are discontent, if we strive for improvement within a perfect system, that must mean that we actually *do* have someplace to go, because this discontent is by definition part of the perfection in order that we may move forward to an even greater "perfection".Yes, as you are saying, "A feeling of lacking or imperfection is always the result of a perceived separation from the Vastness, the Unified Field, the Divine." But again, the fact that we are here on earth, and that earth is the plane of duality, says to me that there is a REASON why we are *supposed* to experience duality here, even though we "know" that somewhere there is a greater truth called "Oneness". So what could that reason be? Perhaps it is to actually *create the discontent that will force us to gradually learn to LIVE unity*—not just say we believe in it.You say, "Clearly there is no floating standard out there that can be called "perfection" that everything is weighed against." Mmmm, I’m not so sure. As a matter of fact, I think this could well be the missing link. Actually, this could explain another conundrum—the riddle of why there seem to be so many competing religions, or spiritual paths. Looking closely, it seems as though each one holds a different key, and by examining them as if they were pieces of a Divine Puzzle, and looking at the Puzzle as a whole, one begins to achieve a more wholistic—and sane—picture. This also would explain the conundrum of *why* there are so many differing spiritual paths, each one claiming to be "The Way". I am not saying that every particular of every Path the way it happens to be practiced in today’s world is Ultimate Truth, but that there are pinpoints of Light within each, that taken together, create the Guiding Star.So getting back to this idea of a possible Standard of Perfection out there for us to measure ourselves against. That seems to have been the whole point of f the life of Christ, for instance. Perhaps Christ was actually *not* the *only* standard of perfection, but He’s an excellent and extremely useful example.Okay, so in terms of the nuts and bolts of the discontent vs. the Oneness (or as you say, Unity), on a practical level, perhaps we are meant to realize this unity between ourselves and others, and ultimately as a planet. If this is truly our purpose, and it certainly seems practical, then anything less that this at any time is going to create this discontent. It is as if our souls—the sum total of our being—register even the tinest thought, word or act that would in any way undermine the unity that we *truly* are with others, and would automatically create this discontent to prod us into examining the root causes of our sense of separation—our own selves, or, as you say, our ego, (selfishness, greed, sense of importance, of being "right"—the list goes on and on).What I am saying is that the realization of Oneness, or Unity, or Perfection, does not boil down to simply a trick of the mind. It is a *practice*, it requires work, it is something that we are here to build. Like a sculptor who gradually, over a long period of time, and with infinite care and patience, sculpts a masterpiece, so do we receive this lifetime in order to sculpt the masterpiece of our souls by continually pushing ourselves to practice unity, loving-kindness, truthfulness—and all the myriad virtues one can name—with everyone we meet…and in order to be able to do this, to take this on, we need encouragement, we need guidance…here again, is where the guidance that comes from the richness of the world’s spiritual paths comes in. What does it mean to "love my neighbor as myself"? How can I possibly learn to do this with my relentless oppressor? With the rapist and the addict and the child-molester and the person who gets on my nerves? Or, for that matter, my husband or my kids?I have found that each path offers unique and priceless guidance for navigating the complicated intricacies of human relationships.As far as ego problems go, I think we really have to let go of the notion that we—any of us, as far as I can tell—are anywhere *near* "ultimate perfection"! It is only in that humility that we can begin to see the direction we need to be going in.This world is in very, very critical condition. The people who are reading this undoubtedly represent the tinest fraction of some of the most privileged people on the planet. We might not be able to stop the wars by ourselves. But maybe we can stop—or at least try to address—the sense of separation between us and others. As well as to continue to serve the world in other ways.There is a spiritual teaching that says "if a man has one good quality and ten faults, forget the ten and focus on the one." And if we can’t do that? "Focus on your own faults instead." Why? Surely not to emphasize a sense of inadequacy, but for the sake of humility. To take our minds off the other person’s shortcomings. Remember? That person with whom we’re supposedly "one".I know, I know, this is not just Hinduism. This is a mish mosh—an "adulteration". Lately I’ve just been throwing myself on the mercy of the Divine and saying "Please! Just take me! Just let me serve You, Your Cause, Your Will!!! That’s all I want!" And every time I start thinking about myself I switch to this mantra. So far, it seems to be helping to relieve the terrible anguish that the ego so reliably offers. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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  7. Yogas chitta vritti nirodaha. It’s really a constant practice and Basically synonymous with Realize. Realize the base of your experience to be Sat Chit Ananda, if you try to Do anything else, you’ve already lost the game! :)But Patty you are so right and such beautifully put in writting. Thank you. Yes 80% of the time is this blissful Vastness… And then what? Deeep discontent. And somehow that 20% discontent is enough to spoil everything. What a fantastic mind! Anyway, I wanted to say thank you so much for your teachings, you are in my thoughts as I teach here in the southern tropics of the Indian Ocean!! and people are loving it!

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  8. ‎"Turns out, the only remedy is to accept my discontent"… i think you’re on to something there. Therein lies the santosha. Why can’t we accept that this is our experience? Because it sucks. But I’m pretty sure –it’s what keeps bringing us back to the practice. One breath at a time. When the rubber hits the road so-to-speak, can I be okay if i leave a big skid mark behind? I might like to think that I am able to perceive the unity from time to time, but the reality lies in the spaces in between. I like the image Kathy presented about riding the roller coaster. Sometimes i feel like i’m being tossed about on a turbulent ocean of my own creation. For me, when the going gets too tough (in other words, when I’ve created a sufficient enough shit-storm that i feel like i need out) –that is when the practice proves itself over and over again. And it may well be hanging on from moment to moment, but what is interesting to me is when I allow myself that space of self-loathing, discontent, however the ego chooses to manifest at any given moment, and not make a judgement about it one way or the other (it comes up a lot, so i have a lot of practice!) i find myself able to release into the discontent fully. Sometimes I’ll take it to an extreme –not always a good thing, but it is what it is– and let myself go down the rabbit hole; wallow in my discontent, self-loathing/judgement for just the next few moments (on a good day)… then I remind myself to breathe. Then turn my attention to the sensations in my body –where am i feeling that discontent? What are its qualities? Does it cause pain somewhere… usually. I can FEEL the stuckness.The beauty of this work is that we can always dive into the physical sensations created by that discontent and take a look around. Is this just a distraction? Perhaps! If we were in fact content with things as they are all the time, would we be human? It’s funny –i’ve always had an aversion to the idea of samadhi/kaivalya… it all sounded like bullshit to me. I never even used to believe in contentment (good little existentialist that i was…) but I think i’ve realized that chasing a continuing state of anything as the "goal" is where i start to stumble. Does this imply a certain sort of nihilism… i don’t think so, but there is that existential dilemma… does this have any meaning at all? Do I even care? Sometimes, and sometimes not. But I practice anyway, because, at least for a moment, i forget what I was all fluffed up about to begin with. For me, the movement and the breath bring me back to my place on the earth at that moment –is that a state of unity? Maybe. Maybe not. And what good is the idea of unity/divinity if we can’t access it? Ah –but we can and we do… if only for a breath or heartbeat. I’ve been at this a while, and i can say honestly that I’m not sure there is anything more than that. One moment/sensation/blissful (or not) breath at a time. The next one will surely be different. Maybe good, maybe bad, but definitely different. "Accept it. Accept your discontent and look at it even more deeply, and without aversion." Sage advice indeed. I think as teachers we need to embrace the humanity of discontent so that we can allow our students the opportunity to experience it without judgement! If we all think we’re supposed to be grateful/content/blissful (the spiritual mood-making you describe) much of the time, then we’re bound for disappointment. If we can give ourselves the space and permission to experience that sense of separateness; that is, truly embracing our embodied humanity with all its warts and wrinkles, maybe we’ll have an opportunity to experience the unity… if only for a moment. And that’s about all i can ask for… Thanks Patty!

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  9. Wow, friends! thank you for your very lively dialogue. I so appreciate all that you have said. Jacki – thank you for such a heart-felt and thorough response. There is so much there to think about.Kathy – I have a real sense of your resonance with what I am saying and it really feels so nice to share the airing of these feelings together. I know when I see your face in classes that your body feels all the way through and it is a delight to watch and share that experience with you in every way, the sadness and the joy!Nikhil! I didn’t know you were in South India!!Karen -Your statement: "I think as teachers we need to embrace the humanity of discontent so that we can allow our students the opportunity to experience it without judgement! If we all think we’re supposed to be grateful/content/blissful (the spiritual mood-making you describe) much of the time, then we’re bound for disappointment. If we can give ourselves the space and permission to experience that sense of separateness; that is, truly embracing our embodied humanity with all its warts and wrinkles, maybe we’ll have an opportunity to experience the unity… if only for a moment. And that’s about all i can ask for…" That is definitely true. There just is no experience of Unity when one is subtle or overt resistance to personal pain!Gina, Mindy, Amy!, and Katie – Really, thank you for joining the conversation…As Karen said above, "There is so much resistance out there in the spiritual community of yoga to allowing the warts and wrinkles". (Speaking of that – how about yoga teacher having face lifts- what does that mean?) This is a problem. I do think that this underlying suffering – that Buddha (thank you Lakota) has described as the first principle of Buddhism – is under emphasised. We run from it! Of course we do. No one wants to suffer. But you know what, unless you are radically enlightened you suffer! Mood making won’t solve this. Deep practice will. I wouldn’t recommend this if i didn’t think it is the only way to inhabit more of the reality of life – sat chit ananda. I am actually a real optimist. I believe in this stuff. More than believe, know by direct experience the awakeness and the dream-illusion state of being run by the subtle vritis of discontent. The universe is reeling with blissful waves. Wake up! Wake up by getting out of resistance to all and every thing you are in resistance to! That means allowing everything and perhaps going deeper than you commonly do. You go deeper knowing that what you unravel will have sat chit ananda at its core. You don’t just dive in to suffer more. Who would do that?Thank you for sharing my practice with me for this time…

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  10. Thank you Patty. You really put words to what I often feel and now I feel less alone. I also like the permission to accept the discontentment rather than telling myself I shouldn’t feel it because of all the good I have in my life. Definitely something to ponder.Blessings!

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  11. Karen, I did a big LOL at your description of, "when I’ve created a sufficient enough shit-storm that i feel like i need out" I mean, it’s not really funny, but then it is, the image of the self induced craziness of the drama that brings us to that place of wanting ‘out’, or thinking we can get to a place where the suffering will stop. I know this one well! And I do so appreciate how you express your self awareness!Patty, indeed, who would dive in to suffer more?? In the end I too feel the optimism inherent in continuing to dive, it is also the very expression we use in Continuum work to describe the process of going all the way in to places unknown! And not for the purpose of suffering more (though who knows what suffering might be encountered), but for being able to connect with those blissful waves if only for a time and most importantly, for being able to inquire, to see what is new out there. I too appreciate being able to share this way, to witness and be witnessed, to be able to share by transmission the core of what can be touched by doing this work….And am enjoying the image of dives into all that gorgeous blue water…!

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  12. Karen, i don’t want to embrace my warts! 🙂 i say burn ’em off. and let them take their little virus with them 🙂 ❤ thanks Patty, for reflections from the sea that we once crawled out of, slithering on our bellies probably.so, this was my thought, speaking of slithering. what if there is a natural process of growth that happens when we follow our dharma (intermittently sometimes, and sometimes with dharma dragging us by the hair 🙂 )? through this process we shed our metaphorical skin like a metaphorical snake, which is accompanied by a sensation that we call discontent because we don’t know we’re shedding our skin, we just know that something’s happening that feels uncomfortable. What we don’t know is that staying in the same skin would be even more uncomfortable, and would limit us immensely, and that happens often, too. We can choose to suffer, if we want to — perhaps because it’s familiar and something to hold onto when other things seem unknown. But if we want to choose not to suffer, then, as you say, we just feel what we feel, whatever that is, and let the energy move as it will, without identifying with it. We slither out of the old skin, with our new naked skin that needs some time to toughen up, and lying around on the beach on the warm sand in the sun and ocean spray and collecting beautiful variations of azure sand glass is just right!and the map is not the territory, and metaphorical snakes shouldn’t be taken too literally, (unless you’re in cobra), and that’s my story for this evening in response to yours! and… all i know is that i love you. see you when you get back! joyce

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  13. Well, not south India but Mauritius. (southern Hemisphere — still the Indian Ocean)And teaching in Reunion Island in 2 weeks. (The next island over) People are very appreciative, they are loving the navel flooding breath! WOW learning how to breathe is fantastic! Again many thanks to you for teaching this to us and teaching us how to teach it.One more thought. What about equanimity in the face of pleasure and pain?I think that while we have aversion to pain we are still stuck.The moment that I realize that no matter what I "do" I cannot get rid of the pain, I stop. I simply remember that our nature is inherently blissful and that remembrance for me is key. It is an underlying nature that is beyond my immediate perception of pleasure or pain. Yet it is there, it is concrete. It is the very substratum of my experience. The container for the experience and the knower of the experience itself! So immediate sensations are not irrelevant, they are instead put within the context of our nature of Sat Chit Ananda. We cannot help but be of the nature of bliss but we forget…..And yes if we get angry at ourselves for forgetting, it’s of no use. All we do is remember… constantly…. This in my opinion validates the use of Mantras and especially the technique of Jappa, where we train our minds to remember

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  14. Everything you have all said is wonderful and wise. I love you all! And Joyce, when I clicked on the link you sent I nearly went into rapture…(just another experience, doesn’t mean a thing…but it sure felt good!).

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  15. buddhism and yoga have been having a dialogue over the ages and informing and sharing ideas with each other to the point that scholars have a hard time saying in which camp many of the ideas originated.. some ideas are (at least these days) however more prevelant in one or the other. sometimes these "buddhist" ideas are very helpful for me to organize and describe my experience, whereas yoga seems to be more advanced on the physical plane, buddhism is the most psychologically sophisticated system (as a philosophical system vs religious) i have personally encountered. one thing i have noticed to be true for myself is when we can sit, without aversion, or perhaps even better still WITH our own aversion something naturally starts to occur.. in buddhism it’s refered to as the rousing of boddhicitta, sometimes translated as loving-kindness or maitri but literally.. wisdom-mind found in the heart.. ie. discerning-compassion. if we are searching for or clinging to states that are..well to any states at all.. or averting, we are trapped in a cycle of hopes and disappointments and therefore suffering (according to said buddhists) and for me even more importantly we are trapped in a sort of classical yoga dilemma of trying to transcend our humanity. in either form this clinging or averting is a form of dissociation and leads to problems (again in my own experience). i love that you wrote this post in vieques.. it is the picture of perfection, the ultimate travel agency snapshot of the "getaway".. heaven incarnate.. and yet… just as we can go inside to our cells and access the bliss of vibrating awareness while standing among our chaotic kitchens with kids and dirty dishes and all, it makes sense that even in the most "perfect" of spots we would still have all the suffering of the world right there with us.. in buddhism, Patty, this would be seen as a blessing rather than a curse (and i agree) .. they call it the god realm (really used to describe a state of mind but isn’t everything a state of mind ;), the trap of all traps because it tricks us into getting lazy and no longer working towards true freedom ie. compassion for all beings.. (http://buddhism.about.com/od/tibetandeities/ig/Wheel-of-Life-Gallery/Realm-of-the-Gods.htm) and if i remember correctly fajardo, the gateway to vieques (if you take the ferry vs. plane in), was where we saw the worse poverty and human and animal suffering we had ever seen in the "western" world.. so it’s a short fall to earth from vieques 😉 when i go into my own experience and find.. whatever.. saddness, anger, selfloathing and can rouse compassion that’s when i find unity with the world and human beings in particular. i think this is important in terms of how we practice.. per recent conversations in the yoga world.. i think the shapes and even the more subtle practices can help or harm depending on the energy motivating them. which is why i love embodyoga.. because it reminds me again and agin that noticing is the most important part.. thank you so much for sharing your experience with us.

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  16. Patty and all:I have enjoyed these conversations on Unity and resistance and the reflections they have brought. We all have so many imperfections and so often blow our own up to be so big that we cannot see around them. That is why we practice I believe, to come back to clarity and the ground; where we accept that perfection in this human form will not exist in the way our ego minds tells us perfection “should” look. That is the gift of the breathe….to show us that experiencing the wonder and beauty of the breath in and the breath out…can focus us away from resistance. Is not the essence of unity experiencing pain and joy with the same wonder? Experiencing pain and hopelessness in ones I love, and then knowing I cannot change it, is where I meet the “ongoingness of my resistance to what is” to the point where I want to scream “why” ….but when I am able to just fall back into the resistance and be completely in the pain of what is…is when the grace of acceptance sublimely surrounds my heart and I can “embody” the sweetness of all that is in life, as the wonder of Unity….even if there are things I wish were not as they are…. Thank you for reminding me of this….and for your expressions of the heart!

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  17. Here is a great post from Beverly Duda on the subject. (She couldn’t log on – for obvious reasons).Hi Patty, I tried to "like" you on facebook but could not log on to my Discontent. I haven’t studied the philosophy of Unity but do know and accept my deep discontent whenever it arises. I too would try and avoid it at all costs and yet it still comes knocking at my door. So I let it in. Feel it, embrace it, see what messages have come with it. I notice physically how I feel with it. Sometimes it lasts for moments or months. What I also notice is the moment it leaves me and joy returns. So my question is Is Unity embodying discontent and joy equally without needing to extend or shorten the amount of time spent with either one. Is Unity and Perfection an opportunity to embody both as a way of balancing our spiritual lives because we are human and often percieve our species as being above all others? Perhaps we need constant reminding that our actions have consequences for the good and discontent for all life on our planet. Is our discontent a direct consequence from our choices taking us further from our most basic needs and consuming more than our fair share of our earth’s resources. Taking not only from fellow humans but our animal, bird, aquatic wildlife kin. Of course this is my direct experience when I follow my roots of discontent. I am guilty of consuming material things I can’t eat,wear, or shelter myself with. Driving my car, using this computer etc, Is not a joyful experience for me. I will accept my discontent when I must move from the vastness to communicate in ways I would rather have a one on one encounter because that seems to be one of the only ways to communicate these days. So I miss alot because I prefer to live outside more than inside which does help keep my discontent less than it would be otherwise. I really appreciate your words and experience of Unity, Perfection, and Discontent. For there is plenty of all three out there at any given moment. They are like the weather and if you pay attention you will feel what is heading your way and be better able to keep on your path. Peace and good sleep,Beverly

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  18. Thanks Bev (I know I’ll have to tell you this in person or on the phone 🙂 ) I really appreciated that addition to the conversation.

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  19. Hello Patty,Having read your original entry as well as several of the many responses, my deepest impression is that the yogi’s greatest obstacle to the experience of unity is obsession with control – an orientation toward manipulation of the self-experience. This, I sense, is the primary obstruction for every human being, but the yogi who I am talking about has mastered it and invested it with a powerful sense of esteem that is continually fed to the ego. Because much of yoga has been made out to be about (letting go) the opposite of what in practice it so often really is about (i.e., great resistance to life, to intimacy with what is at any given moment, in the guise of a laudable mastery or even an extraordinary act of valor), the average yogi’s true motivations have been driven even further into the unconscious, that place from which, under great pressure, they issued forth in the first place…Perhaps this is a buzzkill. In any case, it is the autobiography of the yogi I formerly was.Great love,Kristin

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  20. I heartily agree, Kristin. I think that this aspect of deep control is just that, deep. Deep enough that many of us convince ourselves that we have "mastered" that in some way. It remains a slippery slope that hopefully keeps our mind clear and our hearts open, even to our own continual arising of illusions about life.

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  21. I think this is the big picture: Recognizing that mind pattern over and over – it’s like all the other things that go on in a 24 hour cycle – waking, eating, exercising, sleeping and lots of etc. It just keeps happening day after day with various proportions of pleasure, disturbance, satisfaction, and aversion. It’s better if there’s some variety, but on the whole, if some says “this is you last day on this earth”, we’d beg for one more of even the crummiest of days.

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