UNDERSTAND. This is the theme for December. This is also the energy of the 7th Chakra - the thousandfold lotus at the crown of the head. What does it mean to understand? As Einstein says, this is different than knowing. In class I like to remind students to drop what we know...and what we think we know. This is because knowing is a formation of thoughts that come through the mind, while true understanding is cosmic knowledge that is, was and always will be true. The biggest question really is, "how do we know the difference?"
I've had a lot of conversations lately with people about the mind-stuff. Yoga teaches us that it is all maya or illusion. But we live in a world and a culture that praises people on their intellect and teaches how to reason and think with the mind. Yet, ancient philosophies all agree that this is pointless because it only keeps us further away from the truth. So does this mean we should all stop thinking? Well, not fully. I mean, we have to function in the world that we created, don't we? We have to reason to a certain degree. But, quite often I find that this can also confuse us very much. We start to ask lots of questions when our lives aren't what they thought they would or should be...and we think about things - A LOT. In fact, we think about things TOO MUCH until we begin to obsess about it. And that constant thinking keep us stuck in that loop of misunderstanding.
To Understand is to move energy upward - from the lower chakras associated with the body and the mind - to the upper chakras associated with freedom and expansion. There is more to the Universe than what we know. We must make room for all the possibilities. Meditation is the best tool that we have for doing this work. Creating a clean, safe environment in which to unplug, be still and breathe is so important. We should all be carving out a little peace of time every day for this. Meditation does not have to be a long, grueling process of sitting in an uncomfortable position "trying" not to think of anything. Meditation can be lying down focusing on deep breathing. Meditation can be crocheting or gardening or skiing, quietly and mindfully. Mediation can be chanting or focusing on sacred sounds or mantras or positive affirmations. Mediation can be taking a silent walk. You see, it really doesn't matter the avenue you take, the idea is to release your brain, let it get quiet, and breathe and be. It is only from a place of calm and peace that we can enter the realm of Understanding.
In the business of the holiday season, don't forget to make time for yourself to get to the heart of the matters. Take time for unplugging and getting true and you will be closer to Understanding.
In Love, Service & Wisdom.
OYC Founder, Tracey L. Ulshafer & your OYC Teaching Staff
* * * * * * * * * * *
I remember a time in my life when I often used the phrase, "I don't understand." This was before I practiced yoga and at a time when I walked through my life like a zombie, unaware that I was able to steer my life in the direction that I wanted. But I also had no idea what I wanted back then either, so even if I knew that I could direct energy, I wouldn't have had a clue as to where I should direct it to.
I had years of insomnia. For as long as I could remember I lived in my head. I created stories upon stories up there and always felt that my imagination was a safe place of retreat from the realities of life. But I would obsess and worry about the littlest things. Instead of taking any type of action, I would think about all the possible outcomes - usually dwelling on the worst case scenarios. I was compelled to believe that my mind ruled me and when I first heard that I actually could control my mind I couldn't actually fathom how.
Flash forward twenty years and now I Understand. And as much as I may want to go back and talk to my younger self, I don't believe that she would have listened anyway - because I simply wasn't at a place where I was ready to truly Understand. Maturity, time, life lessons and the myriad of experiences that we traverse throughout our life gives us the ability to unlock the potential to Understand. Of course, I do believe that a more awakened person can certainly Understand at an earlier age, but there certainly is something to the connection of age and wisdom.
One of my favorite quotes has always been from Aristotle: "The more you know, the more you know you don't know." That sums up where I am now - where I have been since discovering yoga. The vastness of what is out there is unfathomable. Every time science thinks they've locked something up, they split it open and discover a deeper dimension. We, as a species, are constantly learning how little we actually know. And yet I am often astounded by the assuredness in which some people speak. I'm the first person to tell you that I don't have all the answers and I don't know everything. I realize that some people look to be for guidance, but ultimately all that I can do is point you back to yourself. You see, we do have all the answers that we seek already within us. We, the beings created from stardust, are all a piece of this amazing ONE consciousness. It is omnipotent. It Understands all that there is in the Universe to Understand. We already have the capability...yet, we often look for external validation. While on the road to discovery this is often something we should seek, yet we should be very careful in whom or what we look to for this guidance.
In Love & Light.
Tracey L. Ulshafer,
Founder/Director, One Yoga Center
* * * * * * * * * * *
There has been an ongoing argument between Science and Religion for ages about the origins of the Universe and evolution. Each side believes they know the truth. As we learn more about Quantum Physics and we get closer to Understanding the nature of our Universe, we continue to be surprised by how little we previously understood. This always reminds me of an old Friends episode where Phoebe and Ross argue about Evolution. I thought it might be fun to offer a link to that scene where Phoebe gives quite a persuasive argument to Ross about this. In the spirit of being truly open and having a sense of humor with ourselves, please click on the link below. And continue to leave space for the unknown this month as you work through our theme! Namaste.