Our Epic Hawaii Ed-venture, Part 2
“Your mind is no longer wholly untrained. You are quite ready to learn the form of exercise we will use today, but you may find that you will encounter strong resistance. The reason is very simple. While you practice in this way, you leave behind everything that you now believe, and all the thoughts that you have made up. Properly speaking, this is the release from hell. Yet perceived through the ego’s eyes, it is loss of identity and a descent into hell.”
~ A Course in Miracles
I have now facilitated/led about 10 of these 200-hr yoga teacher trainings in Hawaii, most of them on Maui, one on Kaua’i. All of them have been beautiful and epic ed-ventures, though as I mentioned in the last segment, they have not been without their challenges.
You know, the other side of what I was writing about in the last piece is the challenges that arise from a group of people living together in close contact for an extended period of time. Generally what happens is this: The first few days to a week are awesome. Pretty much everyone gets along, everyone’s loving the yoga and the teacher (me, usually : ) and life is all peaches and cream. Grace and gratitude prevails over the face of the earth/retreat and all is well in the Universe. We’re all pinching ourselves (is this really happening?)
And then generally (inevitably?) something happens. It might be just one person who begins to grumble about this or that (often another participant) and before you know it, the energy has shifted in the group. Or, little cliques begin to form. At one retreat, for example, the people who lived on the island hung together, and the ones who were coming from the Mainland and abroad hung together. Another issue that has come up is that the training doesn’t seem to be fulfilling expectations for one or more in the group. Or the yoga practice is bringing a lot of stuff up and it becomes very difficult to be nice and kind. Or there’s an ego power struggle of some kind that develops, etc. etc.
Whatever the cause for the disturbance, and there are many, they all really come back to the same thing, namely that we tend to externalize our inner disturbance and try to make it someone else’s problem. We make a problem where instead we could see an opportunity – a golden opportunity — to look within and see what inside of ourselves is not at peace. To put it differently, what within us is resisting the truth that, as A Course in Miracles puts it, “I could see peace instead of this”? And the question could be phrased this way, too: What within myself is choosing to remain stuck in the muck of my own anger and grievances, and is that truly serving me?
Please look at the following related words and tell me what they all have in common….
grumble groan gripe grudge grievance anger
Have you grasped it, or are you still groping?
Got it now?
Are you sure, tiger?
Right, yes, all of these words have a “gr” in them, and the “gr” is onomatopoetic, meaning that it’s a sound that we make when we do these things. For example, when we are angry, generally from the pit of our stomach will emanate a “grrrrr!!!” And that feeling might be slight, like you’ve misplaced your keys, or it might be quite massive, like you want to rip someone’s f-ing head off, mothaf-a!.
Now, the question that no one hardly ever asks, but which we really need to talk about, is whether anger and grievances are healthy and helpful. I mean, we’re so used to them being there that we almost take them for granted, we think they’re natural! Like, everyone gets angry, and sometimes it’s simply justified to be upset! You know, righteous indignation and all that.
And I would say that, yes, we all feel anger and we all have grievances, and yet the work that you are invited now to do is to look at how you might be using your anger and grievances as a way of resisting the truth, which is that there really isn’t any problem, until you decide to make one. Or: The only “problem” is that you’re resisting the truth, and you’re resisting your own peace, which IS our natural state.
Let’s look at the word “forgive” for a moment. Notice that it has the word “grief” in it, and it essentially reverses that “gr” so that now we can return to our truly natural state of grace and gratitude once again. It’s all so simple, yet again (as was discussed in the prequel to this piece), few choose to listen, because it’s very diffi-cult! And yet herein lies our freedom!
Forgiveness truly is the key to happiness!
And so, I will conclude with the title of this piece:
Viva La Nonresistance!