As it stands, some of the best days I've ever had in this lifetime are firmly linked to a dear friend of mine who quotes the bible over and over (sometimes ad nauseam, admittedly, but I have decided to view it as a loveable quirk of his). He's REALLY into that stuff. And not shy to let you know. My only salvation in his presence is to quickly turn the topic around into something that I feel comfortable discussing, too. Thus far, it's worked quite well.
Growing up under the strict influence of convent school for girls, I have an innate drive toward freedom. So, I normally avoid everything overtly religious. But I also know enough about humanity to recognize when the bible or anything remotely religious CAN serve purely as a means for self-encouragement (with the right mindset and focus, of course!). After all, these things ARE tried and tested. They've been around for a long time. And people have been falling back on them in troves.
I don't need to be paying church taxes or tithing or donating on Kiva to know the symbolic and ritual powers inherent in things that have been repeated by millions as mantras for long stretches of time, with a certain intent: namely that of inspiring love and hope. The intent to find the strength in oneself to keep going.
To me, bible quotes are just the same as Reiki symbols: little helpers that have assisted millions of people over centuries to keep their faith in the greater power, and with that, in universal love.
Did you ever examine the vedic deities (Shiva, Shakti, Saraswati, Ganesha, Lakshmi etc.) in depth? Without prejudice, and with a fully open and receptive mind? -- Well, I certainly wasn't planning on doing that, but my yoga teacher training course kind of forced me to, back in 2011.
It was one of those OM-ing, chanting, tea-drinking, Ayurvedic cooking and hugging kinds of ashrams that I had signed up with. I'm not trying to ridicule my Sivananda lineage, but it appeared a bit over the top to me when I started (it still does, to be perfectly honest, even after I'd embraced it for a while). I'm definitely not into "DOING YOGI" or "DOING SPIRITUAL" - when the point of this whole school of life is becoming and "BEING." But I digress...
2011: Finance professional that I was, I was hugely skeptical, but also knew instinctively that I needed something softer and very different from P/Es, rate of return calculations, stock market commentary and trading systems to "shock" my system out of the acute overwhelm and disconnect that I'd been experiencing for a few years prior to signing up for yoga teacher training.
Meaning, I was acutely and painfully aware that I needed a very open mind and a new perspective that challenged everything I had known to be true until then. In retrospect, my understanding is that I needed to overshoot in the other direction to balance out the hard-numbers and performance-driven "religion" that I'd been following to a T in my career life ever since starting my MBA studies at one of the top private b-schools in Germany in 2005.
You think I was caught between a rock and a hard place there? - Indeed.
Boy, was I in resistance to sitting quietly after having spent a day behind my desk at work! And how I detested the theoretical portions of my Tuesday nights. I really only came to life again in the practical segments. The meditation and breathing exercises at the start helped. But what I really came for where the asanas that started around 9pm. The slow stretches. The deep breathing. The actual reconnection to my body. Feeling muscles that I hadn't known existed at all or that I hadn't properly used in years. Reactivating dormant strength. Slowly and consciously releasing muscular and energetic blockages that I wasn't consciously able to pinpoint during my work days, but painfully aware of because - well, my body was IN PAIN. These asana sessions were always like coming home. And well worth the agony of sitting through the theoretical aspects of the night. Every single time. Now I am aware that as an empath with a high energetic activation, I wasn't only feeling my own resistance - I was feeling the resistance of every single person in the room!
Not everything is what it looks to be at first glance. Sometimes - in my life - most times, actually, I need to look at least twice, and then shift a bit inside of myself to find the gold nugget in whatever it is I'm experiencing. And I often have to challenge myself to keep looking and digging before I find what I need. Having things served on a silver platter is for beginners... I find a lot of satisfaction in being persistent and coming out stronger and healthier against all odds.
Just as the opening bible quote said "... that whoever believes in him (and him/herself!) shall not perish but have eternal life." All the hardship are lessons. Experiences to be made. Once - or as often as needed until we've integrated the lesson fully. Not over and over. Except the ones we consciously choose to. Let those be the happiest ones we found on our respective journeys!
Because in the end, EVERYTHING is a choice. Every being walking on this planet has made the choice to come here, and chosen to reincarnate over and over. It is my understanding that humans have the capacity to choose eternal life in the physical. It's for the experienced, old souls, and you'll know if it is for you or not in this lifetime. The power of immortality lies in the small choices of everyday life, the choices we make every moment - I'm even tempted to say the choices we make with every breath and every single thought we allow in our beautiful and immensely powerful minds. But more on that in other posts and my book.
With love and gratitude,