Choosing Teachers/Mentors – My Story

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“Grow & Bloom in places that seem unlikely”

As I have explained here, I did not trust my own company for the longest time. Now I enjoy my own company yet I know the significance of having the presence of a guide, mentor, teacher in my life.

A true mentor/teacher holds a clear mirror to your being, reflects your strengths and your weaknesses, without any personal agenda attached.

I say this because I have gone through a good number of teachers and mentors, long term and brief, in my quest (thirst, greed) for more knowledge, more perspectives. I found only very few who walk their talk, live their lessons and lead with compassionate authority.

There are teachers who try to lure by dangling a carrot of some conjured bliss. I could smell these carrots from afar. I have also met those with whom the work began well, I grew rapidly and then they fanned my weaknesses to keep the work going. It ended from my side, not without distress for both parties. I seek greedily, but not needily.

My humanness always saw the other greater than I am. It took me a while to become a person who seeked with clear intention. There is tremendous trust and vulnerability involved in these relations.

When they saw the potential in me, kept it a secret and worse tried to manipulate it to their advantage, it made me confused, sad and furious within, to not know what is really happening in our teacher-student relationship. When they infused fear in me to satiate their egotistic authority of their role in my life, it made me grieve and mourn the end of our relationship.

If I was feeling fearful or furious, it was time to be on my own. The right teachers always showed up next when I was ready.

I have the gratitude and blessings of this lifetime to have some truly amazing mentors/teachers in the present and past. They are true mentors because they know about each other and their significant role in my life. They are aware when I am working with more than one of them parallel, for different reasons. They are not threatened by the other nor is their ego bruised by my choices. I am able to be crystal honest with them. They don’t judge me for what I am yet don’t entertain my dependence on them. They hold safe space for my humanness and facilitate me to see my way clearly.

A true mentor strives to outgrow the relationship with the mentee and empowers you to thrive on your own.

I have never stopped being in touch with this kind. One of my past teacher of Yoga philosophy insists I should never stop working with my current teacher of Yoga philosophy. She even asked me to teach her the new perspectives I am gaining. This to me is the height of humility of a teacher for whom I had very high regard any way.

All the teachers that I crossed path with, helped me become who I am today. They modeled the right and wrong. I love having students who share with me what other sources are being helpful for them. I will never be done growing myself. I teach, facilitate, mentor with joy and freedom. I offer the same to others. We are in this together. I am walking my talk, if you see me ahead of you, just call out to me and I will reach out to you.

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Don’t trust yourself too much!

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“Crowded Mind” Photo Credit: Manish Doshi – Indian Banyan at Hindu Monastery, Kauai

As precious little humans we are often perpetually running in our minds, with the relentless churning of thoughts. We go through the day, and our lives, one escape after another, and back to the inner running mill of thinking, and more thinking.

“What? Meditation? Do you know how excruciating it gets when I try to sit still with myself? I just want to sleep and not wake up …not to these thoughts …not when I seem to have a knowing that they are not working for me, my thoughts won’t just leave me alone, so I can Think of doing something with my life. There is this stuck tape on repeat … over and over, 10, 000 times! My thoughts are sometimes killing me.”

I confess that the one above was me, seems like a lifetime years ago, and it felt lousy to be that one. If you are that lucky one who doesn’t know what I am talking about, you truly have a gifted life.

I never really trusted myself. Trust was never a part of the foundational paradigm of my living. The gift of that is, it made me into a greedy seeker. Always yearning for a teacher and teachings to guide me. I also lived with a fear of going wrong in some way in life. So I always chose to have a personal check on myself, by having a teacher or mentor, one way or another.

I became aware when enough was enough to stay with my own thoughts alone. I used a lot of Thought Replacement Therapy. That is my fancy way of saying I listened to or read from authors/teachers tremendously.  Reading from masters like Wayne Dyer, Louis Hay and studying the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, personally with teachers gave me a good influence on my thought direction.

I was still aware of times when my own company was useless for me, while doing mundane chores. Talking to other humans had its own limitations. So I listened to audios to replace my thoughts, particularly the dim ones. ‎

2 major influences on me are Dr. Dain Heer of Access Consciousness and Abraham Hicks.

Dain Heer gave me the childlike lightness in my living. While reading his book ‘Being You Changing the World’ my heart danced with delight, like a kindergartner. The book exactly described how my child-mind worked, before I began, fearfully trying to fit in, in society. We make too many things way more serious in life than required. His audios are a profound and phenomenal work. It basically replaced my thoughts with what would have been my original thoughts. In a language, as refreshing as it can feel to the heart and soul. Gary Douglas and Dr. Dain Heer, founders of Access Consciousness, you helped change my life back to my true self!

When I stumbled upon the recordings of Abraham Hicks accidentally, I felt like she knew exactly how I feel and how I wonder and imagine in my innocent phases, about how this Universe functions. She spoke the Truths from the depths of my being and helped me see why I suffered. She described the exact ways that I had implemented intuitively to fulfill any of my desires and the exact ways I perceive life. What an affirmation! I may easily have 1000s of hours of Abraham in me …OK, that is an exaggeration, but I mean it.

My Yoga teachers/mentors, a longish list from India and US, the audio teachers and authors are an integral part of my Being. I am in deepest gratitude for each of these teachers that appeared for me at exact times that I was ready for them.

When you awaken to your own thoughts and their influence, you find access to the space beyond thought, from where true beauty & joy of living emerges!

Don’t trust yourself too much, if your own company is not being helpful to you. Seek out a book, audio, mentor, teacher for a good Thought Replacement Therapy. I found my trust in myself through them.

I am deeply grateful to those in turn who have used my writings and/or sessions with me to replace their thoughts, successfully creating change in life. I take immense joy in facilitating the journey of awakening, that I have chosen for myself too.

 

Yoga – My Work & Life

Truthful Commitments

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Photo Credit: Manish Doshi “A wave washes over” at sunset on Kauai

Please read my previous post Don’t blow up your Life, as I continue my thoughts on long term relationships, while staying true to yourself, in this post.

There are long term relationships that have security of commitment and complete trust. Sometimes the problem that people face, in such relations, is of feeling saturated and locked in roles chosen for themselves.

The point of view of what you are required to do day after day, year after year becomes a sort of a confinement. You forget to ask if, whatever you choose to do, adds to the well being of you, or your relationship. When you do things because the other won’t do it or do it well enough, resentment builds up. The really small things in life become the biggest concern in such relationships.

There comes a rigidity of perspectives or a denial of an important communication that needs to happen. There is a knowing that one can depend on the other for life itself when needed, yet there is discontent on a daily basis.

The small things that become a pattern in a long time, call for conversations that feel difficult.  You make the conclusion that it is not something worth bringing up. After so long why doesn’t the other understand without explaining? – you ask. Eventually distress comes up just in presence of the other person. The original intention of love is so strong that you can’t imagine having THE conversation. This so called love cannot see the other in pain, angst or anger. So the pattern continues.

I think it is very arrogant of you, to keep living your partner’s distress and your’s, on your own. Robbing the other, an opportunity of living and facing their own humanness. Say your truth, yes the difficult one, and let the other feel the distress.

Hold the space for all unfoldings with love. Give space so you are not intersecting emotions. Allow the mess and the chaos. It is as short lived as the phases of happiness themselves. Remind each other anew the goodness that made you choose each other, in the first place.

When that wave has lived its life and washed over each of you, it will leave behind, your own joyful ways of being. Then when you meet each other in your own truth and joy, THAT is when you really meet each other again.

You experience the juice of the joy of being together. True commitment and love in relations comes in allowing space for each to find themselves and their truths.  Accepting the other, in all phases of that quest.

Marriages have happened for all kinds of reasons – physical, societal, familial, and because you had a knowing of certainty regarding your commitment. None are exempt from evolution, personal or relational. When we feel the greater Love in our being to share with each other, THAT is true union. And it always exists in intention and potential.

We are souls who found each other in commitment to do this work with ourselves, to have someone to come home to, from our deep explorations of ourselves.

And so we hold space for each other, in trust, love and kindness, through our own courageous, individual life journeys. We speak our truth, the ones that did not have an opportunity before, because what we had was enough, or we simply chose to escape the discomfort. Don’t be afraid to take the lead!

 

This post is a contribution to ForgivingFridays of Forgving Connect, a blog space I adore by dear Debbie Roth.

Don’t Blow Up your Life

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Photo Credit: Manish Doshi “New Day begins on Kauai”

In the recent days I have had probably one less than someteen conversations regarding relationships while being true to yourself.

There comes a time in the path of personal transformation when you question every single one of your choices that you seemed to comfortably live with until now.

My simple message is don’t blow up your life and relations entirely in your minds. Stay steadfast in making choices that work for you. Take responsibility for those choices. Give others involved, space to catch up with your new choices. Do it with love for yourself and gratitude for anything that relation has given you until now. This is Yoga of Relationships. With yourself and others. It is a skill developed to continually attain a state of balance, in our day to day life and interactions.

“Don’t Blow Up your Life!” – Chase Bossart, Yoga Therapist

This is important for long time committed relations. Your new found realizations of right or wrong about the relation are yours to resolve. Unless you are choosing to walk out of the relation, your reasons to stay are part of your gratitude and not your limitation in life. If you are receiving something, anything from the relation, then be willing to contribute to the relation. The contribution would be, you going for the change you seek while allowing space for others to be themselves. Keep asking for the truth in your relationship while you keep going for your own truth. Give up the blame, shame, game and the fight.

Go for your own joy while giving others the space to be shaken a bit, or a lot. Hold them in the space of Love. When possible hold them a bit tighter in love. You can do this in your mind, if you don’t actually hug.

This becomes easy only when you are being courageous to choose your own joy and wellness. You don’t need to turn it into a you versus me battle. Carve out small ways of being yourself. Shop for yourself, open your hair, put on make up, cut back on make up, take powerful life decisions to bring change, do what it takes – small and big. Show up beaming with joy, or choose contentment, just for making a different choice.

Begin to imagine how you would like things to be. Then inch by inch, even millimeter by millimeter, start making different choices. If you are confident of making a mile of a change, go ahead do it!

Have kindness for all involved, including yourself. Do things differently than habitual, be bold, convey your truth. Give it time. Keep steady in choosing what makes you happy. Hatred in your heart will not make you happy. Forgive in the name of human limitation. It is a choice for your own peace. Break your own limitation on this. Love is not dramatic or romantic sometimes. It is way bigger. It is something that helps accepting what Is, wholly, and then changing it!

 

Yoga – My Work & Life

P.S. This post is a contribution to ForgivingFridays of ForgivingConnects, a wonderful blog by dear Debbie Roth.

Breathe life

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Photo Credit : Vikram Phale “BE in harmony with yourSelf”

While significantly playing our roles on earth …parent, son/daughter, employee/employer, relator/related in every/any possible way …somewhere we are always trying to connect with the individual in us. We are trying to make sense about what brings us pain and joy. To make choices that work for us best.

If we are not giving any regard, during the day, to the fact that we are breathing …how else are we, in any more effective way, connecting with ourselves? We came in alive on earth with our first breath in and we will leave when we last breathe out. If we are not cultivating a full breath, then in a way, we are limiting our possibilities at anything that is called life or life-related. We are cutting short the supply of life force itself, that which propels anything out of us. We put daily demands on our body with such enormous expectations.The quality of our breath determines our experience in our body and life.

If we work with our breath, the breath will work for us, for  lifetime.

When we are forcing, resisting, feeling like nothing works in our favor, not even in our body …it is our turn to work with our body and life. Allow it, nurture it, nourish it, communicate with it. Bring your attention to effective methods and cycles of breath, so that it flows in and out, empty of thinking …and then it is available for the messages from the body. They are not very logical, mental messages in words, they are more intuitive cues that feel more relaxed from within. They lead you towards more integration and choices more in harmony of your being.

 

P.S. Check out the new page added to my site Yoga – My work & life. I am grateful for your time always!

P.S. Dear Debbie, this post is a contribution to ForgivingFridays. I love the space you have created.

What are you really looking at?

I wish to reblog this post for 2 reasons:
1. Now it is updated with a gorgeous image to go with it.
2. I find myself revisiting this process of transformation, letting go and healing. May this season bring us all closer to the Light & Love.
I would love to know your thoughts on this.

Infinite Living

Peeping thru the leaves - starburst at dawn - Kala Pathar beach - Havelock - 1F8A1073 “Peeping through the leaves” by Atanu Chakraborty

There’s an empty glass of water sitting on the counter. It is broken. It is holding together but it has been shattered and has cracks going all direction. I look at it and see just that and nothing else …a piece of broken glass.

If you try to think of a situation or event in life that might have shattered your intact way of being …what do you really think of ? A situation that has cracked your core and wounded you open in places? Or something that has been bothering you very much since yesterday or last week? The broken glass probably doesn’t really represent anything to you. Life is perfect …except that this person, yesterday or last week, did not behave well, had a wrong attitude, did not do exactly like you expected or even deserved. My glass is as intact as…

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Finding My Balance

Golden sunrise - on sea of blue - Sitapur beach - Neil Island - 1F8A1566

Golden Sunrise at Sea by Atanu Chakraborty

I find a place…for my elbow to rest on. A platform that is a good space to give me relief. My elbow finds balance on a solid surface, my head rests in my palm sideways. My mind finds some moments of peace.

The platform turns out to be a floating piece. It starts to shift, putting my elbow and my rest, out of balance. I could rely on it but only for a while.

Pulses of life, stir through the surroundings of the iceberg where I was resting my elbow. The solidity of the iceberg now seems shaken.

Shock of the coldness hits my face as the elbow slides off. I am thrown out of my comfort space.

I have been seeking concepts and beliefs and relations and interactions to depend on, for balance. To rely on, when challenged. Only to find out that they are all floating icebergs.

Lean on anything a bit too much, and you plunge into the cold deep abyss of the sea of truthful revelations, eventually.

Some icebergs are memories that we escape to. Trying to find any semblance of joy or pleasure or balance or support that we felt at a different time. As all icebergs, this one too, serves only for a while.

I have sought it in persons and relationships sometimesOnly that I am an iceberg for others too, sought out to balance some need in them. Oftentimes, each ends up blaming the other iceberg, for not staying steady and still, for them to lean on.

I decide to walk on to dry grounds, with none of the unreliable icebergs around to entice me. There are trees to rest under and the lush grass on solid ground, looks fulfilling. I will now depend on the nurturing Mother Earth to hold me, to support me. I find rest in the shade under a vibrant tree.

It seems like I have found my solace and semblance of balance that I can finally rely on. Only until …the winds start howling and the skies turn dark and shower me with piercing drops of revelations, leaving me drenched in the cold again.

Sometimes it wasn’t even the furious weather that left me all lost on the face of the planet. My own thoughts could create a tornado within, that left me as if, there is no ground to stand on.

“Where do I really rest? Mother Earth! Where on earth can I just rest?” I cried in despair, kneeling down with my head hung low.

Mother Earth, as if smiled, while continuing her own journey through the void, around the sun, not knowing what, comets and storms and humans, might hurl at her, at any time.

Nothing seems to be at rest. Relentless movement. We go on while coloring our perception with the illusion of support and stability.

At times, memories of someone and the conversations, color our days or months. Giving a sense of balance to the emptiness in the place we call home. The home that stands on the compassion of the planet and it’s time bound stability.

There are times I am totally present with those physically with me. And I become aware of the hurricanes within them, uprooting my sense of balance.

I also often become dependent on other people for my soul nourishment and direction to my human mind. Every time I become completely dependent, that iceberg plops under.

In my sane mind I realize that they have gone away seeking their own nourishment, or might have faltered their own of self depletion. In my human mind I sometimes blame them for not being there for me anymore.

After many such hurricanes and toppling under of icebergs, I finally realize there is this vast ocean of space within me. The more I dive into the center of it, the more stability I find.

I begin to sit with myself more often, without leaning.

I feel more grounded as I allow a deep breath in, into the expansiveness of my being, and empty it out from the core of my being, as softly and smoothly as I can. The more I rely on my own ability, to glide on the current of the life force, flowing through me with the breath, the more rooted I get in the stability of my own being. The platform I lean on is not tangible yet so plausible.

A sense of trust and surrender and choices of possibility and tremendous courage, gives me an easy resolve of steadiness, and the experience of innate balance.

I wobble at times, escape into known comforts sometimes, fear the unknown darkness sometimes, and then find my balance again, as I recognize it all for what it is.

The darkness is pure nothing until I fill it with something. Its spirit is illuminated with each breath and awareness that comes. The silence is rich with the knowing and the perceiving and the feeling that guides me, unless it is purely divine silence.

A warmth develops within me, that balances out the coldness of any sharp revelations. It flows through me, which feels like love in some form or kind.

That’s how, I find my center and balance, time and again, until I fall off, time and again …

 

Originally published in This Glorious Mess on Medium