mixed healing arts
I have stalled my series on Tibetan Heart Yoga for reasons both internal and external. Leading the pack are the external reasons, simply for lack of time. I am a teacher and there is no busy like beginning- of-the-school-year busy. On that same front, the cogs of The Winter House wheel begin to slowly chug back to life in fall. The chug becomes a roll, the roll becomes a steady clip. The steady clip, suddenly a speeding train. This, my friends, is fall at The Winter House. It is a rocket ship, a speeding train car, a dive into the deep end of the ocean from August to December. So. The externals have been a beast.
But, the internal was at work as well. I had a deep-seated need to go into my heart and figure out what I was not saying. What I was stepping around rather than through, as it pertained to The Gift of Taking. And I finally realized what it was. It was this: Taking other people’s problems onto myself is not my mojo. It’s not my jam, and it does not come naturally to me.
To be clear--Tibetan Heart Yoga is not asking you to do that. The portion of the practice that is called, “The Gift of Taking” is very clear that in unburdening others, you must truly believe that you have not taken their burdens onto yourself. And yet? I can’t get there. It still feels too vulnerable. Still too much like a boundary issue for me. I don’t want to invite the Universe to give me your pain, your challenges, your burdens. Not because I don’t care, but because...let me tell you...I’ve got enough to carry on my own. When I was young, I can remember that my mother loved that old saying: “If all of our troubles were hung on a line, you’d take down your problems and I’d take down mine.”
In the original translation from French, The Prayer to St. Francis says:
“for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned.”
And there is pure truth in that. It is the basis of all faiths, all creeds, all ancient practices--what you do to others, you will bring upon yourself. So, it’s clear to me intellectually and spiritually that if I would be willing to unburden others, it is likely that I would unburden myself. And yet…? I’m not there. My pesky humanness gets in the way. A trip wire. A booby trap.
And it isn’t as if I stop practicing at this point. On the contrary, I still push through and do what may be even more than T.H.Y.[Tibetan Heart Yoga] calls for. I just have an alternate practice that I put in place.
In “The Gift of Taking” one should sit silently and visualize a loved one who may be struggling in some way--an unrest of mind, heart or spirit. And through further meditations, you imagine that you can take the troubles of their heart into your heart, where you have the ability to release them in a way they, perhaps, cannot. This is a beautiful practice and one which requires discipline and an incredible amount of peace...and kindness. And trust--gosh, the trust! Just a bedrock, immovable trust in the Universe, an unshakable faith in the Divine. It’s not for lack of those things that I diverge, rather it is the abundance of something else: curiosity.
I am a teacher, it is in my nature to look for the path that led us to this crossroad. Why are we here in the first place? How have we arrived in this moment with your tangled aura? Your blocked heart chakra? I don’t want to give you a fish. I want to teach you to fish. The back end. All these ‘why’s--they are the root. The murkiness, the smokiness of your unclarity, the fear that holds you back, the tangled, back end of the chakra that is so rooted in past pain, in the brain’s old, addicted processes. These are my curiosity, These are the root.
And it is in this place that--try as I might to practice yoga--I go back to my Reiki roots. Put me in, Coach. Back to the blessing of the studio in Wildwood, Missouri where I was first set upon the Reiki path.
I have heard in yoga that you should “take the practice seriously, but yourself lightly”--and I love that. It is holy, human, and humble. It gives far greater honor to the practice, the faith, the divinity than it does your role in it. Plus, I love the amalgamation of things. Remember Bruce Lee? He got in so much trouble for his mixed martial arts approach, but it ended up to be more than the sum of its parts for him because they were all so interconnected anyway. And I tend to think….? Well, I think it might be okay to have mixed healing arts as well.
In my common, ordinary humanness, I believe that surely I could lighten the hurts of the moment if I was so lucky to be the giver of such a gift. But I find what comes naturally to me at this juncture is not with praying hands at heart center doing the hard work of meditative visualization, but with palms outstretched, toward the spirit of whoever has joined me on the mat at sunrise, doing the active work of being a channel of peace. Clearing chakras to the entire extent that distance and my Reiki Level 1 training have to offer. My hands, the palms, the fingertips, they tingle every time.
I have to believe in my heart that that matters the most. It doesn’t matter more than the pure, ancient practice of Tibetan Heart Yoga. But it matters that it still does good, that it harms no one for me to complete this practice in the best way I know how. It is not much, this I know--and it certainly isn’t the way it is supposed to be done. But the intention is pure, and where the intention is pure, the Universe finds value.
Stay tuned to the next in the series: The Gift of Kindness...coming soon!