Of Tunnels, Life & Illusions

The light at the end of the tunnel is not an illusion, the tunnel is.

We parked our vehicle on a tiny street lined with closely spaced homes. We walked along to find a tiny opening between homes. It was this path filled with sand that led to the ocean.

There was no guessing of the expanse to which, that tunnel on Earth opened up. It felt like a magical portal. Especially because we walked through the tunnel before sunrise, so it was dark until we saw some light when out on the other side. The pictures of the tunnel were taken on our way out, so you can see the light coming through the roof made of branches.

This is from our trip to Oahu, Hawaii Islands in February 2021. The experience of being here felt so much like life itself. There is so much intricate and exquisite beauty available that we are actually immersed in when we go through the seeming dark tunnels – light keeps leaking in the form of exact people and guidance pouring from all directions. The sand keeps the feet engaged mindfully (I walked barefoot here), there are occasional pricks to make sure I am present to where I am and also heeding my direction.

Intense times
Life itself
Shapeshifting
Dig my heels
To stay standing
And oriented

Dropping
All things head
Into my heart
So I don’t
Lose myself
In the fluid reality
So I do
Find myself
In the flow easily

Guiding Light
So present for me
In the seeming
Absence of it too
I honor the seeming
Dark spaces

They are actually
Healing forces gathering
Fuel for my

Expansive Being
All that is exactly needed
For ease, joy & well-being

I am amused how this post turned out to be a combination of pictures, a bit of prose and the poem. The poem is what I wanted to post and the rest just tagged along, tugging in my mind to go with the poem. I was happy to see it all seemed to connect well – hope you enjoy this mixture of a post and the poem itself. I am curious to know which part spoke to you most.

What are you really looking at?

I felt moved to repost this inspiration first published on August 22, 2016. It has come back to me to help me look at my own deeper wounds and how I am doing at allowing the light to bring healing. I have had a long unconscious tendency to overlook all that is hurtful and gloss it over with positivity and love. Until the lies to myself stop working, I am forced to face the truth. I am grateful to find the capacity for greater deep dives in the crevices of my wounds than ever before. 

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 ever. Now if I somehow make evident to this person that he/she has wronged me, I can get on with my perfect life … 🙂

I glance up out of the window behind the counter. There is this big vibrant sweet gum tree, always standing tall majestically, un-wavered through the winds and seasons. There are 2 men cutting off overgrown branches. The ones that were weighing down on the core were being fell to the ground. The idea made me feel light. They then raked off the fallen leaves and branches, leaving the ground clean and green again. A lot felt cleared on the slate of my mind. The sky was in better view now that the tree was trimmed.

Looking down at the broken glass again, sunlight now reached through the window and pierced through the broken glass …as if pouring through the cracks …filling them up, making it shine like never before.

I closed my eyes. Trying to imagine the healing golden light pour through my wounds and cracks. The glass became all gold but a dull one …no more cracks. Instantly I erased it and opened my eyes. If I am healed of my cracks I better look lustrous, I do not accept dullness!! …Ohhh do I accept my cracks?!!!

Are they caused by blows caused by other people or person? No, I do not play that blame game in my life. Did I allow those to be caused to me? Was I never strong enough to stand up to myself? That self-judgment doesn’t feel good and hurts me. So I am not going to relate to that broken glass in any way!!!

How many times do we try to mask and escape this way? In day to day life, what are we really looking at? Is it really the person yesterday that has made your life miserable? Or is there a deeper patterning at work here, a deeper healing  that we are denying ourselves? Healing of our health, and also relationships, with ourselves and the most significant to us. So, all that is bare and there, is there to nourish us.

Be brave to see the cracks, the deep wounds, let light enter through them, seal them and heal them. Let the glass hold the gold of clarity for you to drink from it. A crack in the roof of a deep dark cave lets the light in …imagine the exhilaration of seeing your path clearly, when you encounter that crack. What chipped the roof to make that crack, all the trauma that it endured, is just the drama that can become your story, that you might tell one day.

Be wiling to see your cracks …not as some external object or person. Sometimes we have shown such enormous endurance towards something un-imagined, or even unacknowledged, we don’t dare to look back at it …making us cranky at the most trivial though. Sure it is very human and also helpful in the healing process. But really if you see what you are looking at and what you are trying to escape, it becomes a true digesting of life events …tantrums, tears and all that are a part of it. Let it flow!

The light will always lead you to solace …if you allow it to enter you …pierce through you …seal you and heal you and shine you!

The trail behind me

I feel that I am personally transitioning through a portal from a known past into an unknown future in so many ways at once. It is eerie how outwardly all the walls of reality still look the same, and yet as if all the mental castles of reality have inwardly collapsed. Each day I find another brick falling.

As if each day I wake up and walk into a hall of mirrors absolutely wanting to confuse me – Is that me? or is that one me? Until I push back on a mirror to have it open on to a very expansive space of peace, joy and lightness, carrying an air of crisp clarity.

It is so thrilling and awesome terrifying to surrender in to that space, and live without alignment or resistance to any mental constructs, comforts of relations, definitions, concepts of what exactly makes up our everyday life. Also it is awesome that I don’t have the ever insistent fear rumbling inside me. For I recognize this portal from 5 years ago, and I know now what brilliance awaits on the other side of it.

I love and embrace with a much robust gratitude and awe, the exquisite and divine guidance, synchronicity and perfection with which this play of life is executed. These are such powerful times that our tribe of truth seekers and heart followers are finding their way with themselves and each other like never before! I am now ready to show up in ways like never before.

And hence, I wished to post this poem and picture today to share with you, my gratitude for the trail behind me. For the people on the trail with me.

This poem was first published on August 16, 2016, 5 years ago today.

There’s a trail from the past behind me
From whence in this moment I arrive
I look forward to see
Whereto it wants me strive
The smile on my face
Belongs to those who helped me thrive

The chosen and unchosen soul friends
The given and unchosen of relationships
With their simply Being or coaxing mends
Diffused and dissolved perceived hardships

I have all of You in my heart
To walk with You, I would go back to start
Gratitude for You will keep You forever with me
Especially when I seem to have parted ways with thee
There’s times when only You can make me less lonely

That’s when I look back at the trail
Find the bend where you found me frail
Then I walk forward steadily a mile
Taking with me the newfound smile

Humbled by Honesty

Brutal Honesty can bring out your vulnerabilities. It is worth it when the result is peace of mind.” I wrote this to myself in 2013.

It had seemed the most challenging year of my life, as I was going through a ravaging health crisis. These words came to me as I was unwillingly about to enter yet another agonizing treatment phase. It was more than unpleasant for me to surrender to becoming completely dependent on others, until I regain strength, yet again.

“Do I really want to do this?” I checked in with myself. Without a pause came a YES! I sensed into how I was feeling, and it was PEACE. I felt so vulnerable to myself even. Because it meant I would be going ahead with the treatment, that too willingly. Saying Yes to an impending suffering by choice seemed like brutal honesty to myself. Why can’t I just deny it and be comfortable in ignorance? I thought. Because I felt the trust, that it was going to be worth it. And it totally was.

It has been deeply humbling how this lesson comes back to me, on repeat, wearing different garbs, cracking me open in every vulnerable spot in my being, everywhere I live in fantasy, everywhere I have a need for some things be a certain way. Though by now, along with it feeling Brutal, I feel a lot of Gratitude. For the Gods of Clarity are inherently kind with the revelations, in my experience.

I have found myself supported in utmost possible ways, before a shot of disillusionment hits me. Resources, divine and worldly, are made available to me in perfect design. I am at times lost in awe of the grace with which I am held and guided through the seemingly unexpected, as much I imagine I could slip down in the pain of another castle of made up reality crashing down.

If we are willing to read closely, there are signs along the way. Only in hind sight are we able to connect the dots, regarding any situation and our own role in it. I am amazed at how much I protected myself from the emerging uncomfortable clarity every single time. Not realizing how many mental justifications and worldly definitions, I keep living with regarding people or situations, that are not really serving anyone truly.

I would go into mediation on a rising sun, an object of meditation as instructed by my teacher Chase Bossart, and see myself sitting in a cave looking at the sun rise only partly, refusing to come out in to the wide open space. While discussing with my teacher I said “there are things I do not want to see, I am not ready for that clarity” That is one instance from couple of years ago.

In the recent months I have shared poetry about being Awake at Dawn, and yet not willing to open the curtains to enjoy the early morning light, wanting to take care of baby Me a little while more. I had been wondering to myself for quite a while why I wouldn’t want to see the light of the day, stay hidden in my cave.

Sunrise on Kauai

It makes me laugh at myself (I will do that only lovingly), at how each time I am shocked at how unexpected something that follows is. I am aware this will keep happening until I clear my own emotional geography at the deepest level that brings me these experiences. It will happen again to show me my ability to step up, in my vulnerability, and integrity. I take full responsibility, and it humbles me. I will keep moving through life with as much kindness to others and myself. This process empowers me and teaches me to live more as myself in the truest sense.

Here’s what I have discovered until now. If there is inherent peace to a decision, it is worth it. It is actually a gift to everyone that you live in fear of hurting. It is up to them to find their truth or not. Fear is a Lie, I heard several times from Dr. Dain Heer’s teachings, and yet only now I realize the extent of how much fear existed in me because of some lies I was allowing to continue. If the lies are not your own to yourself, if they have been coming from other people, they are not going to be happy when you make choices for yourself. This can be painful for those who are as if born with the vow of keeping others happy. Often forgetting themselves in this quest for gifting happiness.

All of this keeps getting much more easier, with quicker recovery from the hits of reality, more surrender with faith to the Divine Guidance – whichever way you tune into it, more courage to make tough choices, with literally miraculous ways and people showing up for you.

Honesty as a conquest is worth it, don’t doubt your own knowing of anything. The peace is not short term. The Peace felt in the Truth is addictive. Life unfolds like you never imagined it to be.

Life Waves

Photo by Arnav Doshi

The process keeps going life beside
you yearn for a bit longer respite
A sense of having found a ground
maybe for a day and yet again slip down
Another layer being called to shed more,
then called to show up and Be more

Allowing lower energy mind games to penetrate
to become like others around to be able to relate
Showing how attached still to comforts of certainty
then suffering for not being your own self worthily

Feel and sense the divide happening
Grief of as if current reality leaving
Comes with having to keep going
while still staying in your Being

Cusp of opening up from the guardedness
feel the transition and rawness
The waves keep coming yes
you hope you can let go…
Maybe this is how it looks like always
you simply learn to breathe better in calmness

PS : This poem was composed sometime last year from my response to one of Sue Dreamwalker’s post on her profoundly inspirational blog Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary. I realized I had never published it.

Layers Illuminated

Photo by myself

My original fear, I forever lived with it. I have spent enormous time looking at it, understanding it. Allowing healing to come.

It comes in layers and layers, tough work this is. Work of this lifetime, scraping down through the bottomless pit. Peeling, shedding, newly forming. Visible and invisible outwardly. Is healing ever done?

It became evident with clarity, it had literally been eating away at my heart, mind, body
and existence. It made me so gravely ill at times.

I am on the other side of it now, the most than ever before, if not completely. I am aware of how it works. I am now able to enjoy spaces of no words, no requirements, no neediness, no projection of outcomes. Trusting all that needs to flow through.


The choices come to me. It is what it is. Grateful for the reminder to me that I Am doing some actual work, that I Am brave.

It is so easy to often feel small compared to the robust human pursuits and accomplishments around. They are all so valid. I forget to find the same worth
in the pursuit as a seeker, to celebrate where I am. Who I am
.

Yet I do cherish and indulge in the joyful spaces of nothingness that I often land in.

Love is the way, the only way and always the way. Hate, judgement and separation only creates suffering. Our own choices that we make right here on this planet, our perspectives shape our reality. When we see the death of our perceived reality, feel the pain and rawness, experience rebirth, rise to the guidance of spirit, we then know the difference.

You become the one whose mere presence anywhere would shine the light to this truth. Doesn’t matter who sees it, they feel it and they don’t know what just made them uncomfortable. For it takes a certain journey to know it for what it is. What reality in all truth and love looks like.

I am in deep gratitude for those who really support and empower my process by showing exactly how it is done, own the light and shine it. Their words and radiance illuminate me. I am in awe of their self awareness. They model not only high positive regard towards life but also towards themselves. Give themselves a significant space in this fabric of life. They are a huge inspiration to me. I find all the escapes and excuses not to shine. To stay in the shell. Yet the force is relentless in how it pulls me out and into the Light. So I trust the process. I trust the process.

This post is a thought process that has come from my responses to some posts by Amy on her blog Heaven On Earth. The energy coming through her photography is absolutely that kind from beyond. Each and everyone of her picture is stunning, a pure glimpse of Mother Nature in all true love and glory . My words in the last paragraph are for Amy absolutely, for she has been a tremendous inspiration and support to me always.

You are Here, Awake & Alive

There is subtle calibration of life processes that keep us going at our optimal, or become out of balance. It may show up in our ability to stay calm or feel overwhelmed in turmoil.

How do we access that calibration? How do we access the unmoving stability, strength, focus, ease of our being when surrounded by chaos, confusion or challenging life experiences that seem to be real and unreal at the same time.

The capacity to bridge & reach the unmoving stillness within, from all the unrelenting movements around and the mixing up of what is normal and the new normal – how do we explore the edges of this capacity?

One way for me is through a breath-oriented yoga practice in which the breath is invited to stay long and smooth no matter what posture, and move only in co-ordination with that breath. It is a distinctly different effort for the body and mind. It helps us explore our individual patterns of how we add stress to our being and bring more awareness, consciousness, calibration for optimal functioning. The result is a sense of calmness and clarity. The more consistently I practice, sooner I am able to get back to balance, each time I lose it.

Above pictures are from a Healing Trail I walked with 2 of my meditation friends – We walked with prayer and intention for all our families, brothers and sisters from India who are in such deep suffering with losing loved ones on a daily basis. We expressed humble gratitude for this blessed opportunity to get to walk on this planet, be together in that moment – “You are here awake and alive” – we have that available preciously in each moment Now. I chose to share just these out of a lot more such markers on this trail, because I connected with these the most on this day. I feel a sense of spaciousness after walking this trail, within me and around me along with being connected to everything and everyone.

Perhaps go back and look at the pictures again, peer through them if they can give you the peace.

P.S. If you are curious, check out my yoga website : www.YogaSaar.com

Healing & the Emerging Beauty

Photo by myself

I found myself in this tender raw space of being this past week. Outwardly I was functional for day to day life and inwardly I have been sliding down, what I now call, a healing hole. It is a messy, vulnerable experience every single time when that happens. You know the kind of unwellness that you feel and there is actually nothing really wrong in the present times? The kind that would convince you of your loneliness when actually what is true is the wisdom of being present with the aloneness in this process.

I felt assured that I will be guided and supported throughout. There was something within me that was almost thrilled at this opportunity of cleansing and renewal that it usually is. Knowing fully well it comes with much heart ache, tears and discomfort.

It can get pretty dark and lonely in the mind forest where you are clearing away the dense thicket of old beliefs, tendencies and old patterns. Some are so much our comfort zone yet a source of continual Dis-ease. I am not new to this geography of our mind for how we create our reality from all that we allow to grow here.

Just in case that I don’t lose myself fully in the seeming abyss, I made sure I informed few friends that I am feeling the urge to isolate. One soul friend accompanied me into my thickest and reminded me to remain in this human state of suffering only long enough that I am actually using it to clear out the old, and emerge renewed. The realities that we get stuck in, are mostly created in our mind by humans around. It is our responsibility to change that. She reinforced my connection with this Universe, my oneness with the Earth, the sky, the grass, so I could tap into the Infinite source to breathe and feel good where I am.

I found access to a deeper level of myself, that corner of my mind basement that had long gotten neglected. I had to shine the light on everywhere I was conforming at the cost of being my true self. I had to become comfortable to allow the chaos while I clear the space and make the required shifts to reclaim my power. It can feel very disruptive and scary, but then it is all in the mind. The only way out is through.

Photo by myself

I am amused at my arrogance that I feel shocked initially for having to do this inner work yet again. Judging myself for getting hit with this intense a low. As I watched myself continue to slip deeper, I knew I had to surrender to the wave. I slowed down to the fullest. Giving myself full permission for zero productivity. It is surprising how all the necessary gets done with better quality of attention and satisfaction this way.

No matter who is available for us, these are lonesome stretches that we have to be willing to walk through, without mistaking it for being alone, or trying to escape it. Even though it might feel excruciatingly lonely while going through some of it. How we relate to family and society are constructs of our minds. The greatest support from our immediate family is the space for these individual journeys. Drawing boundaries around our personal well being is a necessity.

I marvel in gratitude at how richly beautiful this life is, how amazingly supported we are. AmyRose a divine friend from this blog world sensed where I am through my comment on her blog and wrote this to me, affirming powerfully –

This journey all of us have been on is far from easy. We all have our good, bad, and then some iffy days. It takes practice acting like you and not how you have been conditioned to behave. You are fortunate you are learning this now, for the energies are creating the opportunities for you to grow rapidly. Always listen to your heart for it will not ever lead you wrong. You will know when you do or say or think something that is not lined up for your highest good because your Inner Guidance will not leave you alone until you rectify whatever it is that rubs your Golden Heart wrong. Be gentle with yourself ….”
(Do visit Amy by clicking on her name above, you will find her photography, and authenticity incredible at the least! She inspires me, guides me through her work and words.)

Today I woke up with a very tender nascent feeling, as if I had managed to crawl back to the rim of the hole and now simply absorbing the light. I decided I will take a break from my every Monday blog post. I felt exhausted and absolutely blank about wanting to share anything. Then the following words popped up as FB memory, that I had posted on my wall exactly 6 years ago today in 2015, when I didn’t know what a blog meant and that I would be called a writer.

I felt charged with aliveness after reading these words, a bold reminder of how I have been here before. That I can restart small and slow. I decided to put those words on the burst of blooming pink flowers as you can see at the top of this post. I thought I would post just that image. Then I realized I do not want to only share the full bloom of the flowers. I also want to share about my experience of having gone underground into the dirt before I could find my own joy beginning to bloom again.

I trust the process always. It only gets better from here.

Original photos used for above images below

P.S. I am truly blessed to have your comments.
I have been feeling a tug for not being able to visit your work as consistently as I would like in these few days. I will catch up on all that I miss, genuinely my loss as I love indulging in all the beautiful works by my friends here. Much Love & Gratitude.

Is it necessary?

Photo by myself

Why is Letting Go often so difficult?

Lodged in my bones
are your words
through the years

Is it necessary
that I feel them all?
when they begin
to dislodge
on their
way out?

I had managed
to smile
with them
sealed
all within
my strong bones

My words
never really
made it
from your ears
to your heart,
slid right down
from your strong ribcage
down to the floor,
and you said
you heard me

And I said,
Letting go
Is the way

But
is it really necessary?
that I feel them all?
The words
that you
didn't mean
yet said,
And now
are getting
dislodged
from my bones
to be let go

Love remains
after it all
Is it felt
as dry
Or then
wet drenched
in my tears,
that you
don't see
any reason for?
Is it love
after all?

Love
I will not
let go of
I will hold it
through my 
screams to be heard

Will the holes
in my bones
accept
your version
of love
to get filled
enough
to bring me
a smile?

Did I hurt my ‘image’ by sharing about my pain?

My Meditative Moments – Photo by Manish Doshi

I shared about my recent knee pain here and how I used it as an opportunity for deeper healing. Since then I have had quite a few conversations with curious and also concerned friends. I was encouraged by one of them to write this part 2 for my post “Liquid Gold” Following are some of the questions/comments I received along with my responses.

Why do you share about your pain publicly? Doesn’t it hurt your image as a healthy yoga teacher, and affect your business?

I do not have a brand to create in this moment, if at all, I am the brand for who and how I am. If there is any public image I strive for, it would be one of authenticity. I am in the business of creating myself in the truest expression of my spirit, and I facilitate that process for my students to the extent they would choose to go. I am a good coach to help someone identify what it is in their way & reach their goals with clarity, if we are a good match to each other.

I am as curious as you are, if my approach creates a well paying business for myself. I am open to discovering it. I forever keep pushing the edges of my skills, courage and vulnerability, and will keep showing up with all that I have in the moment. The results come abundantly in ways we are open to receiving, and that can look different for each one of us. I refuse to create an image of that which I am not in my being and becoming.

You practice yoga every day and also teach people, then how come you have such knee pain suddenly?

I am a human first, then a teacher, practitioner and everything else. Yoga practice does not give me a pain-free pass through life. It gives me the ability to become present to the pain and find a positive skillful way of being through it, and maybe out of it. It gives me the capacity to discern clearly, where is the pain coming from – is it purely physical, or is it also from some stagnant emotions? Is it being inflicted and accumulated from some mental belief that has us make certain choices repeatedly? Often pain has deeper roots than we can imagine.

I am skilled at facilitating this process for others, designing practices that help them become aware of their own body, mind, emotion patterns, and replace them with more aligned, balanced patterns.

I am a bit worried about you, Pragalbha. Are you taking health risks by treating yourself with yoga & spiritual stuff? Do these affirmations and all work for you because you are really specially spiritual or are you really doing something scientific?

This is in no way to replace expert medical advise (which I did take). I simply believe I have absolutely contributed to whatever pain emerges in my body, and so I need to be of equal or more contribution to my recovery from pain. Sometimes there are perspectives and choices that are needed in addition and for any medicine to take sustained effect.

While my doctor focused on the inflammation aspect of my pain, I focused on lengthening my spine with postural yoga to relieve strain on my knee joint, using my breath to keep my mind calm & clear, and other ways to clear out emotions like fear, inflexibility, anger, resentment that tend to create stiffness and pain in joints. In my case, my knee needed help to allow me to move forward literally and in life. I still have some lingering moments of pain coming back, reminding me that I am falling back into my old patterns. Pain is a very intelligent medium that helps us by its presence, until we heal wholly, deeply and fully. I am in touch with my expert medical practitioner for advice as needed.

Yoga is a science and practice of Being. It helps us get skilled at Being through circumstances without added stresses like fear or worry for example. It helps us get through difficult situations with much more ease, without anything become a major impediment. We are able to function in ways that otherwise might not have become possible. I have seen countless examples of this in students that I work with, be it physical pain or other stresses of life. And of course, I hope to keep sharing my personal journey with honesty.

P.S. If you liked this article, you might like the poem Questions Answered that I wrote back in 2017.