(Scroll down below for my free 21-Day Interactive workbook)
fluctuations of the mind, or, in Stillness, we meet the Self.
Vritti: Mental Wave, Mind Motion/Whirlpool, Mind Disturbance
Eknath Easwaran, Dhammapada
Recently I’ve had a very close family member that is entering a life cycle of serious physical pain and decline of health. Each thing that they love is seemingly getting taken away from them. They are aging. Their physical freedom and the joys that go along with them seem to be diminishing. I’ve watched my close family member go into severe bouts of depression, resentment and anger, guilt and regret. It’s difficult for them to access positivity for too long, as it’s often met again by pain, unfairness and pointlessness in the quiet moments, which are increasing.
It’s been a very important and uncomfortable learning process for me, caring for this person. Often those who are entering the later years of life in our culture are disregarded and ignored. They’re treated as out of date, unimportant, expired, or a nuisance, and become too much of a mirror to the inevitable frightening fate of us all, the places we are terrified to look at when all goes silent.
In synchronicity to natural cycles, this year, I too set out on a quest to purposely go on what I call a “Vritti/ Mind Habit Detox.” Many things had dismantled in a small portion of a community I knew, coincidentally much was changing in my family too, and so I aligned with it in a total SVAHA ceremonial embrace. I got rid of numerous material things that I owned, moved into a more simple home, I stopped drinking alcohol altogether, reduced shopping, lessened the pull towards newsfeeds/others’ opinions, emptied my inbox subscriptions, stopped the fads, cut cords with obsessiveness, nixed the Netflix addictions, worked less, trained less, traveled less, said yes less, said no a lot more. In time, I questioned the true intent and purpose of many relationships. I sat down, shut up, renounced blame, gripped to nothing, unplugged, and made things simple so I could question my values, which is all that I am really in charge of. I must say now that this has been one of the most transformational, freeing, empowering and INNER-taining years of my life. I feel 10 years younger, more clear, stable and less triggered, persuaded or co-dependent to any “thing.”
In Ayurveda (the natural medicine of Yoga), in what’s called “the forest dweller stage,” it’s said that the 5 senses tend to slowly decline and lessen as nature’s way of turning our compass inward, preparing us to go back hOMe and back Up as we ready ourselves to leave this body. This year, inner activism has become my most important inside job. In entrainment, I felt this transmission affecting my family member quite naturally, being with instead of telling them anything.
Without filler, many of us feel uneasy. There is an obvious fear in many of us once it gets quiet and the lights go out. My family member has felt somewhat infantilized, bound, helpless, bored, frustrated and afraid. So many things have now run their course or cannot be accessed for them anymore. It’s been very hard on them, as they’ve never considered stillness or needing less a priority. They were taught more was a win. This is the embodiment of Svaha. Less is more. We can deny it or think we can prolong it, which create more Vrittis, but a letting go process is coming just the same, for us all.
Pro-active silence will speak to us if we listen. Anesthetized, do you try to escape it? Do you look at your phone? At what others are doing? Is more ever enough? More importance, more attention, more opinions, more emails, more work, more likes? Have you created any personal boundaries to these things? These are all ripples in an initially calm lake. They are neither good nor bad in and of themselves, but they are indeed all Vrittis, which can lend towards whirlwinds of fluctuations with the potential to makes things very complicated.
Dynamics are certainly a part of this material world yet the wisdom of making the complex simple requires experience of our center. Complication can pull us further from our center whereas being uncomfortable to what hid it can often magnetize us back to it. We don’t meet each other in complication. We only meet our Vrittis’. When we meet in stillness, our Higher Self is happy to no longer put up with a false version of us, where our purpose is far less effective, off the mark or absent all together. “If we are chaotic on the inside we will fundamentally be unable to alter the chaos on the outside. We are not liberated by a bursting out but by a gentle melting in.” –Marianne Williamson.
In the winter season, we are meant to slow down, refrain, reflect and appreciate our company. There could be a way to reduce gracefully and gratefully. This last month of the year, I challenge you to be careful replacing what truly offers you more, as you are indeed heir to the world that you give all of your energy to. I challenge you to deeply investigate the things you subscribe to and ask the prophetic question: if you had to give it all up, would you still be ok? What would remain after offering to the fire? “To save the world we must have a plan, but no plan will work unless we meditate.” The Dalai Lama. Svaha!
As ceremonies are for our personal growth and never for show, I challenge you to not take inventory on nor monitor anyone but yourself and to keep your eyes on your own paper. Fire, the element present when we renounce into “Svaha,” asks for honesty. It’s like a witness with no personal motive. Whether
you discover you are awake or asleep, the Divine, illumined like the fire, loves you just the same. There is no judgement to growing. You can say Svaha to where you are underdeveloped. I’ve never found a true detox to be a total party nor easy, but it has always been valuable and simple in effect. These psychological detoxes do thin the imprints from which to then better receive the most meta-stable of all guidance. There is a realm that lies behind it all we all too often forget.
So let’s dig in. A healed mind heals actions. All vehicles need fuel no matter what vehicle they are in. Your stillness is a win for us all. Your happiness means more happiness is accessible to us all. Your sincerity and undistracted gaze, just like you would gaze at a campfire in a forest, attracts profundity. An internal gaze means you are no longer looking all over the place horizontally to gain, blame, avoid, change, point, control or destroy. Stillness is a place we can all meet, near or far, in any diverse form, alive or no longer in body. Just like a fire’s direction, which goes up, stillness is our unified vertical connection to Spirit, which can never be separated. It’s pointing to the point. I will meet you there! In stillness, we all meet together.
“Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing there is a field. I will meet you there. And when we lay down in that grass, all thought will pass.” Rumi
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but yourself can free your mind.” Bob Marley
Going in, you are less likely to forget we are all Divinely made. A healthy mind knows that temporary value may have no value. Doing doesn’t necessarily mean we go anywhere. It is in stillness that we recognize an invaluable, emancipated spirit beyond needing attention or letting things get our attention so easily. Going in, you realize you have nothing to lose. “I never lose. I either win, or I learn.” Nelson Mandela
This entire month, let’s call back our energy and harness our potent focus together into a mutual, interconnected win of lucid, powerful Self-reliance. IN your practice (off and on the mat), activate meditational moods with longer held poses, seated meditations, yoga nidra, yin yoga, restorative yoga, sound therapy, longer shavasanas, ritual, resonant music, mantra, breathing exercises, making conscious art, writing, reflecting, reading, candle gazing, fire gazing, being in nature, walking slowly, eating slowly, cleaning slowly, uplifting speech, less idle socializing or chatting, listening, less multi-tasking (even while we do yoga), and Being in silence alone or with a loved one.
Is your practice working for you? This month, question it. An effective practice will reveal to you the source of your suffering. If the same suffering keeps reoccurring it is time to question your method. Awareness ultimately cannot be learned nor taught. It is uncovered from how it became compromised. It can be everything that we do, in the superficial to the very essence of all forms. Claiming single-pointedness is a daily re-membering back to wholeness. Doing and knowing doesn’t mean we are embodying the teachings. In our practices, we can align instead of direct. In or out, on your mat or off is no different. There is no this and that when we realize we are not separate.
This is the revolution of your mind, free of it being compromised by emotional instability, craving for a high, justification or blame and then crashing into helplessness. Remain humble enough this month to hear the voice that tells you who you are and what to do and then do it. What each of us is to do is not for anyone else to determine. It is not asked of you to be anything different from what you really are since you are the champion of the world. (thank you Freddie Mercury of Queen for reminding us.)
“All things are valuable or valueless, worthy or not of beings sought out, desirable, or not worth the slightest effort to attain. Choosing then becomes easy because of this.” A Course in Miracles
True “Seeing into”, called “Darshan”, comes with the reduction of the Vrittis. It is where vision is no longer avoidant nor neglectful. It is where we “see” before we “do”. Remember, stillness is not just on the meditation cushion. Request the eternal to be with you and your responsibilities. Tend to your duties. As “yoga” also means “to integrate,” it is your very life. With Self-control and energy economy, there is a way to be in the world while in a meditational mood. With equanimity, let stillness be a reset button instead of a total shut down. Awareness is in the world but it is not of the world. May we all consciously connect to awareness and request eternity in contrast to any unsubstantial, exhausting and totally confusing mirage.
A youthful mind is a healthy mind in Ayurveda, which means to not so easily be shaken by disturbance, fatigued quickly. Called “biological aging” versus “linear aging” and the comparison of biocentrism versus anthropism, the health and biological age of all humans drastically varies due to our inherent access to happiness, lifestyle choices, self versus Self gratifications, diet, sleep patterns, mental stability, adaptability and independence from environmental, emotional, or external factors. A connection to Spirit will always reveal levels of vigor (or lack of) that are independent, untouchable, internal and eternal when we tap into the Source. Unconditional happiness, even underneath extreme and trying conditions, is a sign of being well-nourished on a Soul level. The real fountain of “youth” is inhabiting a mind that is not tired yet well-guarded in the stillness of the Divine.
The most important power you have is the ability to change your own mind. My personal and most important “ambition” and priority this year has been undoing the need for outside validation to the worth of my existence. I realized really nothing (no “thing”) can make me happy or important. I have found myself less willing to compromise my reservoir. With Soul durability, we can all absorb a few physical losses, which can be initially painful, knowing all the while we will always be ok. The past died when the sun went down last night. “Adapt, adjust and accommodate.” Swami Sivananda
The Indweller, a place we can all meet, hides nothing, avoids nothing, ignores nothing and gains nothing. We also act! Yet, we also no longer find acceptable what is valueless and meaningless. As the indweller, we pause in discernment as to what is yours to take on. You simply can’t do it all nor are meant to. Happiness is a conscientious effort to work with whatever you’re currently “doing” and turn the doing into being. Whatever you are doing right now is what you are meant to be doing. It’s never the circumstance we’re in. It’s how we respond to it.
Contentment cannot be intellectualized. It is a practice. Even 5 minutes of stillness every day sets the tone for your Soul to speak to you all day about more aligned choices you could make. Conscious stillness is a decision to no longer replace what truly offers us more. You also do not so easily fall victim to the hype. “Only what you are not giving could be lacking in any situation.” A Course in Miracles
In Ayurveda, excessive motion, the opposite of stillness, is the key to a compromised immune system and rapid decline of health. As the natural medicine of yoga saying goes “the faster you move, the faster you die.” With initial vulnerability, I’ve worked with allowing my cup to be half empty rather than full. When I pause instead of project or point, I’ve noticed that the Divine has better ideas than I think I do. Haven’t you? I don’t really desire to know it all. It kills the gift of mystery. I’ve found it isn’t really all that fulfilling.
Projections and excessive motion bring along with them the temptation to avoid our own personal work, short comings and grievances altogether. Vrittis can lead to addiction, sickness, delusion, restlessness, unsteadiness, reactivity, mental instability, avoidance, sleeplessness, exhaustion, spiked cortisol levels, a jacked up nervous system, shot adrenals, achy joints, unhealthy digestion, poor diet choices, attack, abusiveness, shaming, depression and violence. It can begin with something as innocent as multi-tasking, ignoring where we are in pain or under-developed within, doing all that we can to avoid it. Be careful making temporary “bargains” that tarnish the Truth into something ambiguous & inevitably costly or unsatisfying. “With too much projection and motion, you deny the things you already have, believing they are not there.” A Course In Miracles
There is one voice inside of us that is energized, clear, and simple, yet often not heard. Just as loud does not necessarily mean strong or smart, simple or quiet does not mean easy or lacking in depth and intelligence. Hype is hype. It’s often our history repeating itself. New ways of being come from an original mind, not a reactive one, which produces more of the same. Without any noise reduction practices we are easily persuaded by what is disproportionate and disempowering. More Vritti’s/ripples then arise.
Since the goal of yoga is Yoga, there is One inner voice that is the worthiest of all voices to pursue. It’s ingenious, authentic and not typical. In equal vision and a balanced mind, with both precision and compassion, we distinguish between what is everything from what is no-thing. “Be still and Ye shall know.” 23rd Psalm
Consuming comes in many forms. It can cloak and diminish the worth of being at home within our own bodies. Do you too give all of your power away to the object you focus on? A healthy home has walls. It is where we go to recuperate, rest and process, free of distractions. Walls are personal boundaries. A home must also have doors and windows from which to See. This is the coming back out into the world with the conviction of a fresh perspective and pivotal new day. This is your rite to claim with just as much certainty as the sun that rises every morning.
Heaven begins within. Sit in it. Take personal IN-ventory. You have everything. What more do you need? Words don’t always have to be spoken. Let’s make stillness cool again. There is a great and gentle treasure within the hOMe of all beings. No one has more or less of this treasure. With the wisdom to daily and consistently access both our intelligence and care as our Highest priority, changelessness is there. I too am practicing as to meet you there.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to see and found all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Marianne Williamson
“We are all just walking each other home.” Ram Dass
Below is a creative list of ideas if you wish to be inspired by our month of stillness. I too have worked on this and will continue to, gladly narrowing down my own ignorances into the Light, so that my actions are offered from a place of Wholeness. My Mother listened to this song a lot when I was young. I am reminded of it’s sentiment: “Let it be… whisper words of wisdom, Let it Be.” The Beatles.
“Let it be” reminds me of Svaha and of stillness. I’ve grown to love it. It embodies an accountable, mature resolve and gentle ease of being. Oh, and me and my family member, we sit in the garden under the trees with hot tea, letting one another be, happier & more illumined to one another’s striking company than ever before without all that static “stuff” interfering. Let us ALL be still a moment and go hOMe within.There is a place we can all meet.
“You cannot give anything you have not received.” A Course in Miracles
Svaha and Namaste, Swan Michelle
A Vritti Detox for Human’s Being At hOMe Within
If you would like to go further…. this portion is unique. It is a daily workbook of assignments outside of the focus of the month essay and a list of daily recipes in stillness to gain nothing at all but the identity of the indweller of Divinity (kind of a big deal!).
In natural medicine, it is unhealthy to separate Spirit from matter since separation and motion form disease. These are recipes towards gentleness and carefulness. Take more time if you need. There is no rush. This next portion is a unique INteractive approach in celebration of travailing, strategically withdrawing and processing. There is no goal, nothing to win and no way in which you will fail since you are already Divine. Embrace the mystery.
(* Read 1 per day. Do not jump ahead. Read in order. Be committed!)
Your FREE 21-Day Interactive Workbook to Stillness
Day 1 Breath
Day 2 Pause
“No one can escape from illusions unless they look at them.” A Course in Miracles
Day 3 Pray
“I ask for rest today. For quietness. For lucidity and spontaneity of Spirit. To be unshaken and in resolve. I ask for peace and stillness in the midst of any world turmoil born of clashing dreams. I ask that I seek sorrow and danger less. I ask that through any storm or strife, misery or pain, past loss or death, that my mind is clear, aware and at ease. Today, I move onward to certainty. I rest in the Divine. Today I allow my mind to rest. I release burdens, anxiety, fear of the future and past regrets. Time does not touch me. In timelessness I rest. My mind is no longer tired. The world is born again each time I take rest. Hope is reborn and energy is restored. A stream of energy begins to flow again through my body. Today my steps are lightened and fluid. Today, I will be faithful to my rest, faithful to trust, forgetting no one, and bringing everyone into the boundless circle of my peace, the holy place where I rest. Today our rest is complete. Time is not the guardian of what I give today. I am timeless. In a restful mind, I remind others of their resting place. Inhale. Exhale. I rest in God.”
Based off A Course in Miracles Workbook Lesson 109
Day 4 Listen
Day 5 Prioritize
Day 6 Reduce
“Accumulation or having more does not mean you are more. You are already enough.” Marianne Williamson.
Day 7 Resolve
Day 8 Befriend Your Soul (instead of drama)
“Rest in God and befriend your Soul.” Yogi Bhajan
Day 9 Meditate
“The faster you move, the faster you age and die.” Dr. Marc Halpern.
Day 10 Examine
Day 11 Experience Your Teachings
Day 12 Release
“You lose it if you talk about it.” Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
Day 13 Refrain
Day 14 Inspire
“Beings against evil doesn’t make you good. Tonight I was against it and then I was evil myself.”
Islands in the Stream by Earnest Hemingway
Day 15 Simplify
Day 16 Slow Down
“Although you can not control all of the events that happen to you, you can decide to not be reduced by them.” I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Day 17 Revelation
“If you get the message, hang up the phone.” Alan Watts
Day 18 Vision
“You have very little moral persuasive power with people who feel your underling contempt.” Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
Day 19 Peace of Mind is Waiting There
“We were talking about the space between us all
And the people, who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion.
Never glimpse the truth, then it’s far too late when they pass away
We were talking, about the love we all could share
When we find it, to try our best to hold it there, with our love
With our love we could save the world, if they only knew
Try to realize it’s all within yourself, no-one else can make you change
And to see you’re really only very small
And life flows on within you and without you
We were talking, about the love that’s gone so cold
And the people who gain the world and lose their soul
They don’t know, they can’t see, are you one of them?
When you’ve seen beyond yourself
Then you may find peace of mind is waiting there
And the time will come when you see we’re all one
And life flows on within you and without you.
Day 20 Being It
“Yin is the becoming of a principle’s embodiment. It is about facing, feeling and letting go. There is no more I will be happy when…..” Marianne Williamson