“May you be here now in gratitude. As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life.”
– Siddhartha Gautama
Last night, en route to teach a Beyond Addiction workshop in New Mexico, summer storms made flying unsafe and I had to sleep in the Dallas Airport. In the face of this “first world problem” I was grateful for the teachings of Kundalini Yoga and the principles of the Beyond Addiction program.
When my flight was cancelled, I observed my own drive to have things go “my” way and my desire to impose my will on others to have them behave as I wish. I then softened into acceptance. As Gabor Maté says, “I am here now in this.” There’s nothing any of us can do to change the weather, the cancelled flights, the frustration and disappointment of fellow travellers and airline staff. Simply breathing long and deep relaxed my body, and the ease I experienced in shifting my attitude was a gift. I can’t change the circumstances, but I can adjust my attitude.
As I surrendered to the situation and pushed two chairs together to try and rest, I was humbled to remember that many people have a much more uncomfortable, and quite possibly unsafe, sleep every night. Our addictions can bring us to homelessness or environments where our basic needs aren’t met in our desperation to feed the “hungry ghost”. This realization invited gratitude for what I did have in that moment – the privilege of airline travel, among many other privileges. Shelter, access to hot water, soap, tea. And gratitude for my parents instilling the values of self-care, self-reliance and responsibility – also aspects of Beyond Addiction.
As other travelers gathered to settle for the night, I was struck at how important is our need for human kindness, and the comfort found in a shared experience. Laughing with a stranger about our p.j. party, sharing my shawl with a woman who was overwhelmed with fatigue and frustration, seeing tiny kindnesses shared was so uplifting. The vibration of our little corner of the airport was elevated as we extended ourselves to each other in warmth and healthy vulnerability.
During the night, a fellow traveler shared the news about the shooting in Florida. My heart sank. I was even more deeply struck by the insignificance of my current challenge and I began to silently pray and chant for the families of the victims and for the perpetrator. For all those times any of us feel the tendril of fear or separation that can blossom into an act of hatred. And I was, and am, so grateful for the teachings on forgiveness this program offers. I extended love and forgiveness to all those who are afraid of difference, of “other”, who are seduced by the human idea of separation. This unconsciousness, this hate, dissolves in the face of love. “Forgive them, they know not what they do”. Those of us who struggle with addiction know that when we offer ourselves love, our self-loathing dissolves, and we are more fully able to accept and love others. To allow the grief to move through like a summer storm, eventually seeing the gift in the suffering – our own and others.
I invite you to join me to experience what the Beyond Addiction program has to offer, I’m in the Fire Tent at Summer Solstice Sadhana near Espanola, New Mexico on Monday June 20th at 7:15am.
Or visit beyondaddiction.ca for information on upcoming immersion courses in British Columbia, Canada: Nelson August 5-13, 2016 http://beyondaddiction.ca/event/beyond-addiction-nine-day-immersion-nelson-b-c/
and Hornby Island September 4-14, 2016 http://beyondaddiction.ca/event/beyond-addiction-ten-day-immersion-hornby-island-b-c-sept-1-10-2016/
“Who sees all beings in his own self, and his own self in all beings, loses all fear.” Isa Upanishad