The Yoga I study, and teach, is Tantra, and I pinky-swear to write that blog one day, but for now know that Tantra is about using all our tools in order to evolve into our most truest selves. (for the budding sanskrit nerds: Tan = to develop or expand; Tra = tools that liberate) The blog that will one day be written will go in-depth into Tantra’s dirty reputation, and bust all those myths (spoiler), and what really matters is that at the very essence of studying tantra is this idea that we MUST go into our own darkness. In the depths our darkness is where all our unconscious “stuff” lives, so it’s there just beyond our general awareness, pulling all our strings. We find freedom by digging around in the mud of the subconscious, uprooting those hidden away demons, and are no longer bound by that which we can not see.
One rather funny example from my recent, quarantined life is most likely a familiar scene for us all...I was preparing dinner for myself and my partner after being together for however many days in a row. I had a plan, he had another one, and I was in generally over activated state of agitation. We got into a petty argument (microwaves versus ovens), and I watched myself passionately defending my belief system, which was admittedly based on information from over 10 years ago. Familiar stories swirled…”I always have to do everything” I felt like every scorned house wife from the 1950’s was being channeled through me, and I was more than primed to explode into pettiness. Instead, I said nothing, and not in the silent treatment way, but in a new way of not reacting in the moment. We ate, in silence, and I watched as all the thoughts built up, and simmered out, and then would ignite themselves again. So far, nothing I’ve said is any different than anything else I’ve ever done in my life. Ready for the plot twist… when I was finished eating, I spoke up about my thoughts and feelings. I said everything I’ve expressed above, but with more words, and we had a conversation about the misfire. I admitted where I was letting past stories run the show, and he apologized for needing to be right, and quoting Harvard articles during the petty moment.
None of this awareness came over night. In fact, it took many failed attempts, a lot of money spent on multiple trainings and therapies, more than a few apologies, and lots of internalizing/swallowing of my feelings. My guess is that you have your own unique pattern. You have your go-to ways to cope, running, numbing, etc. My invitation to you is to first notice your pattern. I didn’t know until I knew. I had to catch myself doing that thing sooo many times, before I had the awareness around the warning signs. I had to beat myself up for doing that thing AGAIN, before I found compassion for myself in reverting to old ways.
So what's my secret? Failure. Maynard James Keenan says it best, and it's become somewhat of a personal mantra for myself "Spiral Out, Keep Going". It's permission to fail as many times as necessary in order to learn, and a reminder of the many waves of life. The more times I allow myself to spiral out, the more opportunities I have to observe myself and my patterns. Eventually, I got better at recognizing, and faster. Over time, I learned a different language. And I'm still evolving...