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Ashwini Nakshatra

1. Ashwini Nakshatra: (0° 00’ – 13° 20’)

The star of transport. The power to initiate. The odd couple. Ruled by the Ashwini Kumar twins as an aspect of solar power. Ketu is the planetary deity. It’s represented by a horses head and can be translated as “born of a female horse” or “horse woman.”

Key Themes

Ashwini people  are innovative, impulsive individuals whose quick spontaneous activity inspires and gives energy to others. They do well in emergencies but they can also be the cause of emergencies as they often act without thinking. The energy of Ashwini can be very unstable. They are good to start things but rarely see things thru to completion.  

They do well in any field that takes a lot of initiative, they like adventure and often become leaders,  pioneers, or innovators in their field. They make good adventure guides, sales reps (especially travelling sales people), or  inventors. They love the feeling of being out on the open road and can work in any field related to transport.

They are usually nice looking and youthful even in their older years. As the  physicians of the gods they teach humans how to heal, regenerate, and maintain their youth. Strong placements here give healing powers, knowledge of the psycho-physical body and Ayurveda. Ketu’s rulership can bring healing with light or sound. Not just new age music therapies, but things like ultrasound or laser eye surgery; working with polarity, pulse and propulsion and the sciences related with these things. They are said to be sensitive to vibrational frequency and may be clairaudient. From the point of view of string theory the Ashwinis represent the wave and the particle, two completely different realities whose mutual existence is theoretically impossible.

Their helping nature can also lead them into emergency response work like police, fire department, ambulance, military. Jobs that involved a dispatcher or on call type jobs where they have to drop everything and go. Anything related to birth, rebirth, rebirthing, or being born again often relates with Ashwini. A cure initiated in Shatabisha bears fruit in Ashwini (both nakshatras relate with poisons, herbal medicines, pharmaceuticals, and drugs).

Their ability to revive and regenerate is not limited to healing or curing the psycho-physical body they are good at taking things apart and putting them back together: they like to tinker with all kinds things. This can give them a powerful technical skills making them good at mathematics, science, astrology, as well as through mechanics, repair or renovation; making the old new again.

Their impulsiveness can be disruptive to married life. They like to flirt and have fun but also have little discipline for drawing lines or respecting boundaries so they can easily get carried away. They are often sleek, sexy and powerful like a racehorse and common sayings like, “sowing your oats,” letting “wild horses run,” and “whoa there little filly” are clearly applicable. They don’t like to feel “tied down.” They often question their sense of belonging and may feel the need to prove themselves to the community, but even if they do this they still tend to feel disconnected. This can lead to a kind-of “Great Helper  Syndrome.” 

They like to work in pairs or with a partner who may be physically present, distant or even disembodied. There is often something unusual about the coupling. They need a lot of autonomy.

Ganesha can be worshiped as a remedial measure for this nakshatra. Ganesha is the first to be worshiped, representing the beginning of things. He is also the remover of obstacles, and he is the deity related to the planet Ketu, the ruler of Ashwini.

Moon in Ashwini:

  • Varahamihira: Moon here gives a fine appearance and good manners, fondness for ornaments, skilled in work and intelligence. 
  • Barbara Pijan: Comforted by observant innovation, soothed by detached observance, protectors of start up energy, comforted by initial movement, need pioneering invention.

Qualities of Ashwini: 

Vaishya, Dharma, Deva, Rajas – Rajas – Rajas, Light/swift, Vata, Level,  Passive, Male, Earth element, Creative energy, Sage Mirichi, Male Horse – Stallion – Stud

Vaishya: Sprang from Prajapati’s thigh as the colour yellow representing the southern direction. Sales, trade, merchandise, landlords, agriculturists, animal keepers, money lending, artisans. Life of study sacrifice and giving alms. An educated but practical people.  Planets placed here will support marketplace activity.

Dharma: Focused on following dharma; reaching for one’s own highest spiritual potential. Can bring dharma into the market place. A planet placed here will help you find your purpose in life. 

Deva: The planets relating with the Devas will promote more refined and righteous behaviour; but may struggle with pride and entitlement. They are more capable of understanding the subtitles of life. 

Swift / Light Nakshatra: Support any kind of quick, light activity, light fun, easy amusement, enjoyable ceremonies and inaugurations. Taking a moment to appreciate the simple things in life: dating, sports, games, crafts, decorating, art, fine arts. Supports light, easy travel, healing or medical treatments that take some of the weight away. Lending or borrowing or making payments can be good here too. Light quick planets support these kinds of activities when placed here. 

Vata (air + ether): Cold, dry, light, movable, subtle, clear, hard, pervasive, rough

Level: Good for levelling things and with people. Suggestive of a more balanced perspective. 

Passive: Planets here will be more passive about achieving their goals: allowing things to happen rather than “forcing” things. The moon is said to persuade thru temptation so she does well here. Venus draws us in by her promises of beauty so she also does well. Saturn is the master of patience so he also does well. The active planets can cause a bit of trouble in trying to force things that we should just allow to happen naturally. 

Male Nakshatra: Masculine planets exhibit masculine traits like strength, bravery, and protection in a balanced way; they tend to do well here, like getting a man to do a man’s job. Feminine planets here are like getting a woman to do a man’s job. More planets is masculine signs and nakshatras with give a more masculine disposition. 

Earth Element: Heavy, slow, cold, dense, stable, gross, grounded. 

Creative energy: There is a creative enthusiasm here, but the enthusiasm wanes with time and one seeks out a new project. 

Sage Mirichi: “Ray of Light” Instructs his students on dharma, especially the laws of the Brahmin caste: ceremony around food, cooking, eating, etiquette (bhojana vidhi), marriage ritual, offering of the the bride (kanyadana phalam), offering water to the ancestral lineage (tarpanam), rules of cleanliness and purity (shouchavidhi), casual acts of piety (naimittika sanani), pujas for the gods (devarchana), rules for homa, fire ritual (homa vidhi). Denounced renunciation in favour of completing worldly duties. Very harsh punishments for not following the proper rules of caste. 

South: planets here are likely to give their results in the southern direction. When this asterism is placed in the southern quadrant of the chart it gains extra strength to give results.

Ganda-Moola: A junction point in the Nakshatra that can be harmful to the mother or the child at birth. The first pada can be especially inauspicious for the live significations of planets here.

Auspicious Activities

When the moon passes thru ashwini it’s a good day to keep things moving and keep it light and easy going. A bit of travel or adventure, treasure hunts, dating, making love.Ashwini is not comfortable when things get too heavy or demanding of patience and commitment. Commerce can go well here as well and any of the arts and crafts. It’s a great day for medical treatment or just to help people out. Lending money is said to be favourable in quick nakshatras as it’s said that it will be quickly returned to you. Marriage is not said to be good during this transit.  

Health:

Knees, upper feet

  • Problems due to heat, inflammation, fever
  • Insect stings, malaria, smallpox
  • Head & brain injuries, fever, headaches, mental illness
  • Prosthetics, eye problems (glasses), hearing problems (hearing aids)

Gods & Symbols of Ashwini

Ashwini Kumars:

Handsome, youthful twins in golden armour riding on a golden chariot with 3 seats. They are the physicians of the gods with the power to quickly reach their destination or objective and provide healing service and help to others. Their names are Dashra (bringing help) & Nasatya (truthfulness). 

Sons of Lord Surya and Sangya (or Sandhya). They were conceived when their parents took the form of a Mare and Stallion. Saturn is their eldest brother (Step brother) who was born from Chaaya when Sandhya went to stay at her father’s to get out of the glare of Surya. When the two got back together she soon gave birth to Yama and Yamuni, but again ran away to the Himalayas to get out of the glare of her brightly shining husband. She disguised herself as a Mare and wandered the forests. Her father, Vishwakarma, took away some of the glare from Surya and then he went to find his wife. He took the form of a Stallion, his wife swooned and soon gave birth to the Ashwini Kumars.

They worship Brahma who gave them their good looks and knowledge of Ayurveda. They later convinced sage Dadhichi to teach them Sanjeevani to revive the dead. Knowing that lord Indra would chop off the Sage’s head for imparting the secret, they replaced it with a horse’s head so that when Lord Indra took it they could easily revive him with their new knowledge and replace his own head back on the body. 

They were at first outcast from the Gods. Indra did not at first invite them to the ceremony for drinking the Soma that came out of the great churning. He said they spent too much time with humans  and perhaps they had also broken the injunction of working with the human body and touching human flesh. Brahmins are not technically permitted to be doctors and these kinds of things. They become untouchable brahmins; still brahman, but the lowest kind of brahmin; the same as those who work the death ceremony. Indra also had the idea that as physicians of the gods they were more like servants to the gods than gods themselves.

Chyavana was the son of Lord Bhrigu. He spent most of his time in meditation and practicing austerities. He was an old and feeble invalid deep in meditation at his hermitage when the king showed up. Chyavana’s body had become covered in ants (some say it was cockroaches) with just his eyes sticking out. The king, baffled by this mound of insects, poked what he thought was a hole in the mound with an arrow and blinded the great sage. He was so horrified when he discovered what he had done that he offered his beautiful daughter, Sukanya, as a bride to take care of him. 

The Ashwins, seeing this beautiful young woman with an old decrepit husband, decided to try to seduce her. She refused their advances, but suggested that she could help them gain entrance to the Soma drinking ceremony if they helped rejuvenate her husband. They agreed and used a three-part method in treating Chyavana:soaking in a mineral water hot spring, massaging a herbal oils into the body (kayakalp), and having him ingest a rejuvenation paste called Chyawanprash, an ayurvedic dietary supplement that is still used today. Amla is the main ingredient. It’s said to be the best of all the general tonics for anti aging, sexual potency, improved respiration and digestion. 

Chyavana then went to speak to Indra about allowing the Ashwinis to partake in Soma, but Indra would not change his mind. So, Chyavana created a demon called Mada to change his mind (mada is a little like hard alcohol, or toxicity that occurs in Aries when Saturn is here). Mada proved to be more than he could handle so he decided in favour of the young Ashwini twins. This is how they became immortal. 

They replaced Vispala’s leg with an iron one (prosthetics). They restored sight and power to another man. 

Nakula and Sahadev (pandava brothers) are children of the Ashwini twins. One became a great doctor and healer while the other became a great mathematician and astrologer. 

Associate with the rising of dawn, the dispellers of darkness, the light bringers, Usha, 

They restored the eyesight of a man who had been blinded by his own father for slaughtering and feeding 101 sheep to a wolf. 

Curing impotence, helping overcome the obstacles and disharmony of married life, and helping in child birth. They help other animals as well as humans.   

The Stars of Ashwini: 

First three stars of Aries located on the Head of the Ram (or horse): Gamma-Arietis (Mesarthim) 3º 11′, Beta-Arietis (Sheratan) 3º 58′ & Alpha-Arietis (Hamal) 7º 40′,

This was the vernal equinox, the point where the sun crosses the celestial equator, in 68 BCE. The point of contact between the celestial equator and the celestial meridian. This point marks the split between “western astrology”, the Tropical chart and “Vedic astrology” and the sidereal chart. This equinox position changes by about 1º every 73 years so it’s currently at about 6º Pisces. By 2597 the vernal equinox will be enter the final degrees of Aquarius. After about 26 000 years the equinox will again return to the first degree of Aries. Known as “the indicator of the reborn sun.”

Binary stars beta & gamma rotate around each other completing a cycle once every 107 days. Beta (Sheraton), a fixed star, rotates on its axis at high speeds and while generating energy through thermonuclear fusion at its core. There appears to be a ring of dust around these two, but it’s not dust, it’s chemically peculiar. Gamma (Mesarthim) is said to have seeded the world with inventions which will carry us into the future. When the moon is here is said to be a good time to buy cattle, plant crops or travel.

Mesarthim and Sheraton are said to have the nature of Saturn & Mars: malicious, thieving, merciless, fiendish, repulsive and a liar. Accidents, violent death, bodily injuries, destruction war and earthquakes occur. There is a danger of acting foolish and  impulsive.  Mesarthim is more administrative and less impulsive. Said to rule the throat: Mars and Saturn are said to give throat problems when located here.

Alpha-Arietes (Hamal): the “death wound.” The brightest star of Aries, 48th brightest star in the sky. Located mid forehead of the ram. Often used for navigation. The greek built several temples that aligned with Hamal. According to Ptolemy this star is as malicious and thieving as Mesarthim & Sheraton. It causes violence, accidents, and premeditated crime. Mars of Venus here are said to give problems with romantic and/or sexual relationships. Rules over the parathyroid gland. 

Tree of Ashwini

Poison Nut Tree: Strychnos nux-vomica

A medium sized deciduous tree that grows in open habitat. Short, thick truck. Hard dense wood. Flowers are a small pale green colour with a foul odour and bloom in the cold season.

Strychnine: Tall green to orange fruit about the size of an apple contains seeds that are highly poisonous, intensely bitter source of strychnine (a poison commonly used in pesticide which causes muscular convulsions and death by asphyxia in less than 6 hours) & brucine, which is less poisonous than strychnine but still has toxic properties. Seeds are the shape of a flattened disk with hairs radiation out.

Chinese and Ayurvedic herbal concoctions for anti-inflammatory & analgesic agents. Added to alcohol (like rubbing alcohol) to make it unfit for human consumption. Herbal medicine claims strychnos to provide treatment for cancer and heart disease. 

Huda Ayurvedic concoction: seeds are soaked for 5 days in water followed by 2 days in milk and then boiled in milk with other ingredients, very minute doses are used as an antidote for alcohol and drug poisoning. Can also increase muscular activity. The wood burns nice and can be used for building.

Some say Ras Tree, Coconut, or Pomegranate also belong to this nakshatra. 

Sexual Animal (Animal Totem):

Male Horse / Stallion / Stud

Powerful & courageous with an eagerness to act and move swiftly. Their abundance of energy can sometimes make them nervous, fidgety and high strung. 

Males and females choose each other, mating is usually over in a few minutes (“arrives quickly to the destination”). Normal sexual behaviors include teasing, marking, flehmen response, erections, mounting. If the female approves she will eventually lift her tail, show off her vulva and urinate, Due to heart problems some males faint and fall over after mating.  

Pairs well with Satabisha which is ruled by the Female Horse or Mare.

Additional Points of Interest

  • Mars in 3rd house Ashwini gives the native a twin sibling. Natural karaka or functional karaka by house ownership in Ashwini can give a twin to the person signified. 9th lord Sun in 5th house ashwini can make the father or children twins (possibly both). 
  • Moon, or other signifiers of relationships in Ashwini are not conducive  to long term relationships as they typically like to remain free agents. Partners who can appreciate this, however, can have a lasting presence. 
  • Rahu will give a fascination for new things, the latest gadgets. unusual movements, or things that were “first of its kind.”
  • With skills training and discipline they can achieve a lot, without such boundaries they tend to run free, acting without concern for anyone but themselves (and sometimes not even for themselves). 
  • Worshiped on Dwitiya, the second day of the lunar fortnight
  • Remedy: Sandaya vandanam, looking at the sunrise thru water poured by ones own cupped hands. 

Planetary Rulers of Ashwini

Ketu: purity, innocence, headlessness, disembodies, moksha, pilgrimage, wandering, randomness, disconnection, surrender, letting go, ghosts, spiritual saints, numb, scattered, 

Aries + KetuInnovation gets expressed in a detached way. Energy is fresh, unbound, chaotic. They are quick to initiating things, but lack follow thru.  Can be oddly detached from their own activities. No boundaries to penetration, initiation, or direct action. 

Pada 1 (Aries + Ketu + Aries)

Vargottama. Most pioneering, innovative, fresh, and physically active part of Ashwini. Fiery side that wants to compete and win. Lots of forward momentum, fiery and perhaps unpredictable. Strong upward and forward moving force like fire. Lots of energy and enthusiasm is generated here but their headless activity can be aggressive leaving a trail of destruction. Warriors, police, military, martial artists, dancers, yogis. They typically maintain a lot of activity and may be known for breaking thru traditional boundaries (the glass ceiling). 

Moon: Karla Homolka (A), Virginia Woolf, Ingrid Bergman

Sun: AOC

Ascendant Lord: Berni Sanders (Mars), Robert J. Parks (Venus)

Pada 2 (Aries + Ketu + Taurus)

Resource driven and practical, handsome, will maintain a youthful sporty-sexy style, materialistic. Image may be everything to these people since for Ashwini natives it doesn’t matter what they do as long as they do something. May have an interest super-foods, supplements, new age diets. They may have unusual or speech may be incendiary. 

Moon: Kamala Harris (1), Malcom X, Paul Bernardo (B), David Gilmore, Pamala Anderson, Chris Rock

Ascendant Lord: Vincent van Goth (Mercury),

Pada 3 (Aries + Ketu + Gemini)

Sun exalted at 8° 10’. Intelligent, good communication, neighbourly, may have deep scientific knowledge. Excellent for logistics, private practice, massage, hands on healing, group activities, night jobs, hospital work, foreign postings, travelling sales, drivers, car salesmen, trail guides. They like to “tinker” and sometimes new inventions are born. They may be absent minded in the way they fiddle with things in the hands. 

Moon: Joe Biden (2), Henry Ford, Roy Rogers, Natalie Wood, Bobby Fischer

Sun: Hitler, Jack Nicholson, Michael Moore, Timothy McVeigh

Ascendant: Salman Rushdie, Nikola Tesla, Leonardo da Vinci

Pada 4 (Aries + Ketu + Cancer)

They usually have very good knowledge of the body and make good doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists, mid-wives, birthing experts with great knowledge on how to get started and they are not afraid to try something new. They make great helpers or side-kicks. Often involved in penetrating boundaries in some way: “Going where no man has gone before,” “Be here now,” and the “Power of Now.” are all popular slogans of this Ashwini group. 

Moon: Alfred Alder, Eckhart Tolle, Carl Jung, William Shatner

Sun: Al Pacino

Ascendant: Galileo Galilei,

Ascendant Lord: Ram Das (Mercury)

Out of Bounds

Boundary issues are everywhere. How we define our boundaries is one thing; how we defend them is quite another. In this modern age we are seeking to break the boundaries that keep us from living in space. In this world, we find all kind of political turmoil over national boundaries, border disputes, and of course Trump’s Wall. The movement of people displaced by violence has the whole world questioning their cultural boundaries.

Those of us on a spiritual path (a healing path) also have to face this question of boundaries as we work with our students and teachers; and most importantly, with ourselves. Every social interaction faces this question of boundaries.

We typically think of strong boundaries as way to keep people from getting in, but they keep us from getting out. The boundary we put up defines the relationship we have with the other.

As Yogis we are often coached to look in the space between two things. We often call this space “the relationship,” but we could just as easily call it the boundary. I have my boundaries and you have your boundaries; the type and quality of relationship we have depends on how open or closed our boundaries are, as well as on how we approach or cross each other boundaries and the behaviour we exhibit once someone lets us in.

When we speak of boundaries in the healing community we typically use words and phrases like “surrender,” “let go,” “let yourself be vulnerable,” “be open to what the universe has to give;” in other words: “drop all your boundaries!”

From the other side we are told that we are boundless, we should forget everything we think we know and just follow our heart. There is often the assumption that acting like an idiot is acceptable if we are following our hearts (or “living in the moment” as we say). Since it was the divine voice of God commanded, go forth and act like an idiot, we expect to be absolved of personal responsibility.

Modern Tantra is especially vocal about dropping boundaries and the beauty of living spontaneously. It’s also known to be very dangerous since the mix of openness and spontaneity on one persons part is an opportunity for the other to conquer new territory unimpeded and later say that is way given to me them.

This is how the CIA and George Soros “make democracy” and spheres of influence and ultimately destroy countries, cultures and peoples lives. Even when they are preaching peace, love and belonging they are really only looking out for themselves.

It’s not so different from the toxic addictions that seem to alleviate our suffering but really only cast us more deeply into it.

We hear similar stories of toxic healers, Yogis and others who use their position and their skill to drop peoples boundaries so that they can manipulate them for their own benefit.

Manipulation is an ugly word, but it’s not the problem. We stay alive thru this manipulation. Just think of the baby screaming to make momma change the diaper or give some food. That’s emotional manipulation at its finest. The problem is when one acts for their own benefit without consideration or concern for how it will truly affect the other.

Manipulation is just an ugly way of talking about the diplomacy and negotiation that is on going between people and our numerous light bodies; each with their own boundaries and border controls. These boundaries maybe undergoing subtle changes moment to moment; person to person. Mostly we don’t notice this going on, it all happens fairly naturally and most people respect each other’s boundaries. But of course it’s not a perfect world.

Most of us are still fighting battles with this world, blaming others, pointing always at the other as a source of our misery when it’s our personal patterns, habits, mental narratives, and expectations that are the root causes of our suffering. All of these little things build up and define our boundaries.

Boundaries in themselves are not bad. Healthy boundaries actually empower us; it’s the unhealthy, unconscious, unrealistic boundaries that cause problems in our lives that leads us to seek healing.

Almost every human what’s more from life somehow. We want to expand our boundaries to include more land (more material prosperity), as well as our emotional boundaries to feel more vividly this life, and spiritual boundaries to feel more connected to the universe.

The key to such expansion is awareness. First we have to be aware of who we are. This will take us towards our innermost core. It’s a journey that takes us thru the fields of numerous personal identities. As we stare out the train window we see so many selves passing by: I am this, I am that, this I am, I am until we get to that “I” without a second.

After we have merged with the ultimate (or gone as deep as we can) we come back to a personal identity which has been reborn from a spiritual seed. Every breath cycle is an opportunity to realize such merger with the absolute followed by the rebirth of the individual.

Both sides of this coin represent truth, beauty and an expression of the divine. This is why Tantra says that liberation (moksha) is not a separate matter from enjoyment. Our enjoyment should be liberating in itself and liberation itself should be enjoyable. This does not mean decadent. It means that we want all parts of our universal self to enjoy equally. It means that nothing is isolated.

This is where boundaries get tricky. If the truth is that I am one with the universe; completely unbound then any harm at all that I cause to any part of nature will cause direct harm to myself. This is a spiritual truth suggest a greater degree of personal responsibility rather than the sort of careless way we treat objects and that are easily replaceable.

Such a grand sense of spiritual wonder actually suggest that we respect the boundaries between ourselves and the other to an even greater degree, as a way of respecting ourselves.

When we objectify our external experience, we typically see ourselves in this same way. We typically find some version of the conflicted mental narrative that sets man against nature. This boundary is an illusion and sows the seeds of war, pollution and toxicity. This war has been unleashed against the women of society as much as against Mother Nature herself.

Part 2

Truth and reality represent a similar energy applies to different experiences. You could say that both are representative of the absolute. Truth is The expression of transcendental experience and reality is an expression of immanent experience.

To experience transcendence we must realize ourselves as without boundaries. To experience reality we must realize the individual experience that necessarily occurs within the boundaries of time and space; the individual soul, the human body and the body of nature.

We need to know ourselves both ways: we are timeless, but we have also chosen to experience time by thru various limitations.

Being aware of different ways that we perceive time will help us to understand our limitations and who we are in this life and what is our path.

The linear experience of time allows us to logically understand our life: where we came from and where we are going. This allows us to make sense of our experience, and set expectations. When our expectations are too high we find much disappointment; when they are too low, we sabotage our own growth. We should work hard to find the balance in this so that what happens in the future in pretty much what we expect. This sort of time we experience in short duration. Today I have one story about who I am and tomorrow that story has changed, even just a little bit. The experience of time on this level is not absolute truth, but it should be more or less in accord with reality. This works thru our short term. This is one way of knowing the self.

We also experience time thru timeless emotional impressions. This is just the opposite of the mundane stories we are constantly changing and revising and telling ourselves in order to understand reality. These emotional impression have a very strong influence on our linear understanding of ourselves but the impression is often from a different time, maybe a different life-time. Mostly we recognize this thru our subtle gestures we make with our body (the way we hold ourselves) as well as thru the emotional boundaries and defensive (or offensive) strategies that shapes the story of who we are (linear time).

This is where much most deep transformative healing arts work. We seek to tap into that timeless side of ourselves to find the impressions affecting our present life that are holding us back or are simply inappropriate in some way. Typically it’s merely an inappropriate response to some particular subject. Physically we feel it as allergy; emotionally we feel it as trauma. In either case, the reaction is disproportionate with action; the trigger.

This kind of healing is very delicate since to access this memory with awareness and direct intention we need to drop all our guards despite the feeling of impending threat. We need to do this in a safe environment where there is no actual threat. One needs to follow a deep sense of trust and have that trust reinforced.

Just talking or thinking about a traumatic memory will take us into the past, and despite being no actual stimulus being present the nervous system along with the endocrine system will react to trigger some kind of inappropriate stress response (which brings all of our resources to defend against an enemy from another time).

Talking about these traumas and sharing stories, understanding it all as a part of our story is necessary, but as things fade into the past, we also have to be open to changing the story of who we are. It’s not that we lie, but for simple understanding a single traumatic event is lumped into a broader time frame in life thru which we faced learned from the trauma.

When fire burns us it does no good to try to put our every fire. We learn to place certain boundaries between fire and ourselves so that we can still enjoy the warmth and light of fire without getting burnt.

Many people actually find their life paths thru their traumas by turning them into wisdom. This is transformation; turning poison into nectar.

We also experience time thru change. This is where we measure time and our boundaries are measured by resources: life force, energy levels, moods, physical form, the seasons and all these thing we can see changing from day to day; year to year. We might even measure this time by how for we’ve walked or how much we’ve completed. If we are following our life path, we are typically comfortable here as we focus and meditate thru our work. If we love what we won’t actually think of the time here; we will only see time when we look back at the change or are considering some future actions.

A very important concept of time actually combines our awareness of change with a kind of timelessness that we cannot imagine. When we recognize that we are connected to a whole lineage of universal archetypes going back to some unimaginable beginning of time and stretching into some unimaginable future. Here, we find ourselves repeating the the same archetypical patters expressing themselves in a new time and place. Though this sense of time is eternal here, we are capable of making a plan to change the future. This is where we understand ourselves in our connection with the whole. This is our dharma, our truth, our path in life; that path we have be on since the beginning of time; our universal purpose and how we employ that in society.

This is where we need meditation, silence, deep relaxation and contemplation because nobody can tell us who we are or what is our purpose; we can only feel it and know it for ourselves.

This bring me to the final concept it time. Present time; just being here and now. For this we have to be capable of dropping all other concepts of time. We have to have great trust in God in nature. No thought of the past or the future perfectly at peace until some spontaneous activity is provoked. To reach this state we have to know who we are, what our purpose is and have the necessary skills and health to complete our destiny.

We are beings bound by time. By understanding our place in time and how each concept of time binds is in a different way forming different relationships with each other we can then begin a focused course in self realization that will allow us to empower us with healthy boundaries rather than victimizing us they our subconscious patterns.

Healing from Within

I was about 9 years old when I was walking thru a frozen forest, shouldered my pellet gun, and discovered the great transformative silence of death as a chickadee fell from the branch.  In 2003, my father was killed in a work accident. Later in life I came to live and practice in a holy place between the cremation grounds of Varanasi, India; the chosen abode of Lord Shiva. When my grandfather passed away, we shared our fear of death and brought peace to the whole family. That light and purity of a new born baby also shines in the eyes of those who burn for that final release from the wheels of time. All of our lives we seek the flavour that will quench our thirst, but eventually, we thirst for the most unthinkable mystery; death.

The movement of the breath is controlled by the Great Spirit in the Sky of Consciousness and it comes and goes; starts and stops only by that ultimate grace. The power of Great Spirit is raw and pure when we go thru the great transformations of birth and death. Between these two great moments lie all the smaller cycles of the breath and the days and the seasons and so much more that we can experience fully and deeply as we experience that great birth and death of the body. This is the experience of reality.

Yoga and spirituality suggest we can experience a deeper reality  if we look at life beyond our individual experience and experience life in relation to the universal expression of consciousness; of spirit; of spanda; Shiva’s self expression thru his powers; his Shaktis. We are so much more than these limited bodies and the experiences we have in this lifetime; we are intimately connected to the whole span of time and everything that has and will exist. We are not just a part of this universe, we are this universe. The truth is so mindbogglingly beautiful and wonderful that we can only experience it as that…… astonishing beauty, dazzling amazement and wonder. We’ve all felt this as some time in our lives. This is the experience of reality,

There is little difference between letting go of our egos so that we can transform ourselves in this life, or doing so so that we can prepare for the next life. In either case, we want to turn our awareness towards the truth of who we really are here and now releasing ourselves from the past and the future; releasing ourselves from our own stories. Each time we transform ourselves we seek to reach a higher consciousness; we want that positive growth which which will benefit not only ourselves, but our families and communities and the universe as a whole. It’s that universal connection and experience of non-difference that we seek, but which remains, for most of us, just out of reach. Like a shy damsel, ultimate reality casts only the most fleeting glimpse from the corner of her eye. And this is were we must also seek out that ultimate reality: in those dark corners of our mind and along the edges of our breath and our thoughts and between all things which seem distinct.

Between you and me is some chemistry which brings us into perfect and blissful union because it allows both of us to taste the ripened fruits of our individual karma while contributing, each in our own special way, to the collective karma that ties us all together. We call activity karma when we experience it a force of limitation that separates; but when we experience activity as a force of freedom and play arising and falling away from the same place, bringing everything together, activity is then called Kriya (the spontaneous activity of one who experiences life as universal agency (the actor) and preceiving subjectivity (the witness)).  This is the experience of life; reality; divinity.  ​

We are all on this path of healing together. Together we will grow and evolve; find the courage to face our fears and overcome the false limitations we put on ourselves. To do this we practice being open and honest to the reality of the moment while applying our most sincere efforts to whatever activity is at hand. This sincerity is especially important for healing and spirituality, since it provides us with the impulse and the will to gather the necessary knowledge and put it into a meaningful action. Tapping into this personal sincerity for healing is what we mean by healing from within.

Yoga Therapy Client Relations: Homework

  1. What does it mean to create a safe container?

Every sort of therapy, regardless of the intensity requires the client to feel a sense of safety and security in the space and in the presence of the therapist. W

One of the main roles we play as yoga teachers and traditional therapists is just to see people for who they really are; which from my perspective is Shiva; lord of the universe. The truth being that everyone is filled with divine beauty. Darshan is the Hindu expression for divine vision: they go to the temple to both give darshan and to receive darshan; to see god and be seen by god.

Darshan involves seeing without judgment; acceptance without condition. People can feel this and they generally feel safe in such an atmosphere. This sort of attitude of acceptance also involves ensuring that our expectations are balanced so that the client may feel empowered to take control of their own lives and be successful on their own terms.

I think it’s equally important for students and clients to understand that they are the ones doing the work and that healing will arise from within. It certainly is not the role of the yoga instructor to take any credit for any changes (or healing) that takes place. People who praise us for our helping hand would be better to direct their praise to that Shankara who is lord of the wheel of energies. This is just our luck to be present and to be used as a instrument for healing.

  1. Telling a student what is best for them vs encouraging them to find out for themselves?

This issue has been raised many times in different ways throughout the workshops I have been attending at Ajna. On the one hand, the body is incredibly strong and can handle almost any posture that we enter into voluntarily, on the other hand, the body is an incredibly fragile thing that can be injured for almost no apparent reason.

Yoga relies on several forms of knowledge including scriptural (knowledge of the experts) and experiential (knowledge gained thru our own experience). As yoga teachers’ people come to us because we have prior experience and study of a practice they would like to incorporate into their lives. From this perspective, it’s our job to advise them based on our own experience or personal study of the scriptures (modern scientific research on yoga could be considered scriptural knowledge in the modern context since modern scientist often play the role of guru these days).

However, telling people what we have learned thru experience or scripture is only half of our job. We must also inform students that if they have any doubt about our teachings, they should discover it for themselves either thru their own personal experience contemplative meditation.

The examples from Patanjali emphasis surrender to that divine will which is always guiding our material being, but there is another side of yoga that emphasizes personal responsibility. If everything is arising from within then the truth is that we cannot blame any of our injuries on our yoga teacher; we have to take responsibility for that. (We cannot blame anything on anyone else for the events of our lives or the way we perceive them). We cannot expect to be healed by our yoga teacher, as this is also our own responsibility.

…. This will be continued in the answer to question #4: “owning” ones own practice.

  1. How does my awareness of privilege (or lack of privilege) affect my actions?

By all appearances I am a middle aged white male; top of the heap.

I’ve spent considerable time traveling places like India where my white skin quickly distinguishes me as a wealthy and privileged person of this world. Add this to a society where the “guest is god,” then I most certainly take a privileged position in Indian society. In Canada, this travel is seen as leisure, which also creates an appearance privilege (how many times have I heard: “You’re so lucky.”)

On the other hand, I’m hard of hearing, metis, forest loving traveler following some foreign beliefs. I can let my appearance get pretty rough, and of course isolation has it’s own effects. Other than being a white male, whatever privileges society offers are swept away in the way marginalized people get swept away in almost any society.

Perhaps I’m especially privileged that I can choose one appearance over the other. Knowing I can choose, I generally prefer to choose the role of marginalized. It’s part of the lesson for people to look beyond appearances. On the other hand, it can be very useful to play into these appearances, polish myself up and assert my privilege to get what I want from society.

The important thing is to recognize that the world of appearance does not change what we have inside, which is where our true strengths and weaksnesses lie. We cannot take it personally when someone gives way to our privilege, nor should we take it personally when someone takes advantage of theirs. It’s always give and take and it all arises from within.

  1. How to empower our students to “own” their practice?

I often tell my students that my role is only to teach them yoga so that they can go back home and make their own practice in the bedrooms and private spaces. I teach pretty close to the same routine every class and try to remind them (and myself) that it’s their class; I can adjust to what they want. I often tell them that listening to me is actually taking away from a much greater inward experience that they could have at home. I ask them about their own practice (yogic or otherwise) and encourage them to follow that and perhaps discover the yoga in it even if it doesn’t seem at all like a yogic activity. I try to inform clients on the various kinds of yoga that are not necessarily asana based and encourage them to connect with those things that bring them a clean and clear sense of joy. It’s also not uncommon for me to go to people’s homes and practice (or teach) yoga with them there. And of course always trying to direct their awareness inward where they can experience their power and realize their own personal responsibility.

  1. Strengths based practice: how does this intersect with how I’ve been taught to teach yoga?

This field is perhaps one of the main ways that yoga and other forms of traditional healing differ from healing in the west. The experience of most traditional healers that we are not really healers at all; but perhaps, at best, we are instruments of healing in the same way almost anything can act as such an instrument when the time for healing comes. The true healing, of course, comes from within the individual. I have often been taught that my job is just to do my job to the best of my ability and not worry about results. Not everyone will get the same results and certainly not everyone is looking for the same results; they will get from me whatever they have in them to get and I will get the same from them.

This is traditional ways: give up seeking results, give up your attractions and repulsions, forget your prejudices, be aware and see people deeply for who they really are which in yoga essentially means to see ourselves deeply for who we really are: we are that shiva nature, that consciousness permeating everything, that joy and freedom that underlies everything. Be aware of who you really are and then express that in the therapeutic model that resonates with you, master your own practice (whatever that is) and share it with others, it will resonate with some people and others will be repulsed by it. This is not personal.

Yoga talks about the different kinds of students, this relates also with healing: some will be healed miraculously from the slightest hint, some will need some explanation, some will need practice and explanation, some will need even more work for just the slightest understanding, others will never get anything from us; some might get a small token, others a fortune. These things are not for us to be concerned with; this is all karma. By some combination of their luck and our luck things will happen. However, we are still very much personally responsible, so, in the context of yoga therapy our job is twofold: 1. to keep up to date with the latest therapeutic models; and 2. to cultivate inner yogic awareness. Put another way, we must be aware of all the tattva (which is all this science and nature we are studying from this guruji who has so many impressive years of experience); know them by scripture (specialists) and know them by personal experience. These classes are modern form scripture, however life experience is always the highest knowledge.

We will heal to that tattva for which we have awareness. The more pervasive our awareness the deeper is our ability to heal… ourselves….. and then we see that we are not different from those who come in front of us.

Our job is not to heal, but to be ourselves to the greatest possible degree. If our dharma is too heal, then we have a particular responsibility to be the absolute best version of that healers self we can be. If we want to teach empowerment we have to realize it in ourselves. Prove that the method works on your self and then teach that method to others.

I would love to hear your comments.