June 27, 2011

You get what you give

“Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world.”
“Whatever you think people are withholding from you–praise, appreciation, assistance, loving care, and so on–give it to them.”
“You cannot receive what you don’t give. Outflow determines inflow.” – Eckhart Tolle:

“There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life — happiness, freedom, and peace of mind — are always attained by giving them to someone else.” – Peyton Conway March:

Take a deep inhale…deeper…and hold. Hold it for as long as you can and just notice, notice how uncomfortable it is to hold on to something that has to be released.
Exhale…exhale completely…and hold it out…and notice. Notice that discomfort also exists when we resist what we need.

It’s the age old concept of ebb and flow; we can not be filled if we are not empty. We cannot give if we don’t receive.

This is how Deepak’s 2nd Law of Giving and Receiving is described in the book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga (I talk about the 1st Law here)

This is a particularly touching concept for me recently as I have watched a dear friend struggle with self worth. What touched me so deeply is this way she has of seeking and then not hearing or actually letting in when it is laid at her feet. It’s this sense of desperation, of need, coupled with a lack of not feeling worthy. As I watched her self destruct in the face of so many wonderful things (something I myself had done REPEATEDLY in the past) I felt helpless, to empathize so completely with her process and know that her path was her own is to know that no amount of advice or empathetic listening could help her know her worth; it really does have to come from within.

I would love to hand her this chapter, these quotes and a key to that place that knows, just knows that we are all worthy of love and happiness.

To help someone be able to share the feeling and understanding the greater/deeper/more purely you love (without expectation) the deeper the love that is returned to you.

All life is flow… the flow of water, the circulation of breath and blood, the cycles of life and death and rebirth — each cycle is a micro and macrocosm of that essential reality that only when one thing gives can other receive. Inhale to Exhale

To get into the flow of life is to give joy and receive joyously, graciously and without attachment to reward or outcome.

The three practices reviewed in the book, as this principle relates to yoga, are as follows:
1. The breath. Enjoy an effortless flow of breath in your poses. “Anytime throughout the day that you feel resistance in your body because things are not going the way you think they should, bring your attention to your breath and use it to regain your sense of effortless receiving and releasing.”
2. Cultivate the sense of gratitude for the gifts you have in your life. On the mat enjoy the sensation of being, celebrate your existence – just as it is
3. (this is my personal favorite!!) Surrender to the needs of your body. “Rather than forcing your will upon your body to attain a specific pose, practice listening to the needs of your muscles and joints. The impulse to give flows naturally from the experience of gratitude”

The thing that further astounds me about this principle is that it transcends yoga, in that it truly is a universal law…what you give is what you get, not in some moralistic judgmental way just a pure simple truth. Joy Begets Joy. Sadness breeds Sadness.

This is not an reason to say people “deserve” pain or bad things…yes “bad” things happen to “good” people (sometimes it’s just and empty boat) it’s a matter of realizing that we can effect the way people treat us, the way we experience the world, and in the end it isn’t about avoiding difficulties it’s about how we feel at the core of our being no matter what the external occurrences may be. The more love you give the more love you will receive. The more smiles you give away the more they will be reflected back to you. Try it, you’ll like it.

The Suggested Mantra for this practice is just astoundingly beautiful:
OM Vardhanam Namah “I am the nourisher of the universe”

If you aren’t a “chanter” per se – just repeat the mantra in your head to start.  If the sanskrit is too foreign you can start with the translation. I recommend sitting after your practice in meditation and focusing on the mantra. It’s as if the universe holds us it’s hands and vice-versa.

Asana (yoga pose) of the week:

Bhandas: Uddiyana Bhanda Mula Bhanda and Jalandhara Bandha

Practicing our locks helps us feel that awareness of retention, release, holding on and letting go. The bhandas help us create a storage of Prana, not so that we can keep it inside, but so we can shine brighter and share our light with the world.

Is there a place in your heart that is locked? Are their areas of your life that you have blocked the flow of love or joy or happiness or abundance?? How can you bring more flow into your life? Where can you give OR receive more?

When you’re smiling, when you’re smiling
The whole world smiles with you
When you’re laughing, when you’re laughing
The sun comes shining through

But when you’re crying, you bring on the rain
So stop that sighing, be happy again
When you’re smiling, keep on smiling
The whole world smiles with you

PS — one final thought? remember you can be both giver and receiver simultaneously – if you  love yourself first and foremost and most deeply the rest comes so much easier.   And if you love others even with their humanity it will be easier to accept that others could return the favor.

Inhale – Exhale

No More – No Less

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Aminda R. Courtwright  |  Contribution: 9,785