Have you ever had the chance to dive deep into an experience?
You know the kind of experience where you are off the grid and you are "in it" for a decent amount of time. You disconnect. You allow yourself to see cracks in your armor. You pull off the blinders that normally keep you pointed unmistakably forward. You allow yourself to pause.
I had one of these experiences in 2012. I had just finished paying off my SBA loan and had officially owned my Audiology practice for 10 years. So, I did the logical thing. I left. For an entire month.
I felt crazy and indulgent and selfish and stupid for even thinking that I could leave for my practice for that long and even more so for thinking that I could do it with little to no contact with my employees or even my family. "What if's" and cycles of impending doom were relentless. But somewhere in there I was compelled. I knew it in my bones. I was called to what I could only assume was the spiritual experience of yoga I had been craving. I went to Omega Institute to study the Jivamukti Yoga method with Sharon Gannon and David Life. No cell service, spotty internet and immersed in yoga.
I ate vegan meals, practiced yoga, meditation and teaching methodology, but the biggest prize of the experience was the nightly satsang. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Satsang is a Sanskrit term. Sat means ‘truth” and anga means “attachment,” so the word satsang means “to be attached to the truth” (satsanga is the Buddhist equivalent).
Traditionally, satsang meant to keep the company of the enlightened, to spend time with your guru or a saint or to make pilgrimage to a holy place where a saint may have lived or taught. Of course it is not always possible to live 24/7 with a saint, so the practice of satsang evolved into meaning "doing your best to make the most of your time".
How many of us really do our best to make the most of our time?
As Sharon Gannon says, "Good association is a key element for spiritual development. Anything that brings people together in an uplifting way to encourage contemplation can help guide us toward that path."
But then our humanness gets in the way. And the mirror in which we see ourselves as "whole and complete and perfect just as we are" gets dirty. The waters rise and we find ourselves treading in the deep, dark waters of uncertainty. We begin to lose perspective - comparing ourselves to others, grasping through over-ambition or finding ways to numb ourselves from our current circumstances.
My personal lens got so distorted and out of focus that I told myself that yoga had to go. The one thing that had been my non-negotiable life preserver got replaced with work. I went to work all day and I wrote reports all night. I spent weekends writing articles or preparing presentations or up-leveling my skills to defeat the unknown forces that I was sure was coming for everything I had built. How had I gotten so lost? So off-track? So self-sabotaging?
I din't recognize I was at my spiritual "bottom" but I was there. I had to rebuild my confidence and regain my balance. I had to realize that my truth was there all along....it was just that the water had become murky with time and disconnection. Human beings are hard wired for connection to others, but we have to choose good associations and let go of what is no longer serving us.
Look, we all have this work to do in life.
To become more radiantly alive.
The rest is dirt that clouds the mirrors of our perception.
If that sounds like you, then I say it's time for a little "soul" spring cleaning.
Put all the B.S. that holds you back in your rearview mirror.
Stand in your authenticity.
Share your stories...I dare you.