By guest author Carmen Howell of The Sadhana Studio
The title for this article came from a blog, where the writer shared her “tempest of emotions, regarding the question of whether to take and commit to a teacher’?
The advice she received was that window shopping for ceremonies, teachers and/or traditions prevents a situation where one can go deeply into any one tradition, and will only result in a shallow experience and knowledge of a topic.
In short, window shopping can be delusional and limiting.
The question, “To commit or not to commit?”
The concept of window shopping resonated with me. I had been considering and contemplating making a commitment to some form of spiritual tradition or teacher for quite some time. I have had numerous encounters with teachers, and healers, explored a number of modalities of healing, been a yoga student for 14 years, and lived in an ashram, but there was always a hesitancy to really commit to a teacher or tradition.
Jewels in the Mud
I began to realise that there was a depth to my being and karma, that I couldn’t access on my own, I was sinking due to the heaviness in my heart, and my nervous system was begging to be restored to a state of equilibrium. These were the jewels, that had been uncovered by my expereinces up until this point, but I could not lift them to the surface.
It was time to commit, it was time to ignite the buddhi. I had been window shopping long enough.
The confounding, conditioned and illusionary masks that stood guard, preventing the experience of wholeness, truth and love, that is as much my birthright as it is yours, set the wheel turning, and my yearning soul was heard.
I had only been scratching the surface and it was time to dive in. My soul called out in sincerety, and soon afterwards, a series of synchronistic events occurred in short succession and I initiated with the Ancient Indian Spiritual tradition of Kriya Yoga.
Traversing the Wheel of Fortune
At some point in our human experience, each of us will encounter a “changing moment”, which will be underpinned by how, we have, up until that point, arranged and perceived the world. This moment will guide us towards our own unique individual quest.
Most likely we will start asking “Who am I?” From which we will set forth the “Wheel of fortune”, diving into the depths of darkness and expanding into the lightness of love. We start to traverse our karmas and understand that there are consequences for our actions, which will keep unfolding and repeating until eventually, we align ourselves with our dharma, our truth.
The wheel of fortune may seem like an ironic term for an evolution that can often be wrought with uncomfortable, painful, difficult and challenging experiences. These experiences are the jewels that sit in our hearts that when revealed, shine the light upon the path, as we awake each day and take small steps towards a new awareness, in our thoughts, our purpose and about ourselves.
It is precisely the irony and the precision with which the wheel of fortue played out, that eventually lead me to commit to the ancient tradition of Kriya Yoga
Taking a teacher
Now I understand my hesitancy in committing to a tradition was because I wasn’t ready. I was influenced by perceived ideals about how I thought my teacher or spirtual path should be, combined with the reluctance of committing to just one tradition or teacher. I was fearful that I would lose my freedom to draw from other teachers. I was uncertain of my own and others perceived fundamentalism that seemingly exists within many spiritual traditions. And I was cautious of the increment spiritual ego that is deceptive.
I had this romantic notion that my teacher would be a shamanic medicine woman, who would ask the solid questions, verse me in ritual and ceremony, and assist with birthing the wild and free feminine child that was longing to birth.
The reality was vastly different
Kriya Yoga is perhaps one of India’s most ancient traditions, its practice is disciplined and cannot be shared with others unless they are also initiated, in order to preserve the purity of the practice. It could verge on being fundamental, and it’s lineage of masters have all been men.
The tradition was almost the complete opposite of all my romantic notions. At times this has been a contentious issue, because I feel strongly drawn to feminine and contemporary practice. Despite my imposed judgements and expectations there was a very deep resonance that this was the practice for me. I was conscious enough to trust the process that had taken place and that this was precisely where I needed to be.
Lifting the Veil
I don’t follow the Kriya yoga tradition and it’s masters because it is an Indian tradition. There are many elements to the tradition that put me out of my comfort zone. I am a student of Kriya because I am drawn to the source of the absolute truth.
India’s gift is to teach the language of the self, of love, devotion and truth. Kriya yoga has it’s foundations in India, however it’s source is universal. Most traditions born out of India come from the source of truth, and perhaps more than anywhere else, are complete in addressing all levels of our spiritual human evolution.
So far, it is my experience of the Kriya yoga tradition, I found a preserved tradition devoid of ego, pure in its teaching and essence .
Walking on by
When I reflect on the time since I initiated into the tradition, I hold an immense love, gratitude and humility for the practice passed on by the self realised masters. Despite the fact that my practice is drawing out heady, complex and uncomfortable experiences, it no longer feels shallow. When I ask a question and experience these karmas with integrity and consciousness, my understanding deepens, and my karma neutralises, in whatever form is relevant for me at the time.
I no longer feel compelled to window shop, I am content to walk on past the window these days.
Most recently, I have come to understand that I have a lot to learn from the masculine form and tradition.
In fact, the wild feminine child is coming into presence with strength and fluidity, as the karma unravels, creating space for free flow. I sneak glimpses of dharma. Slowly the conditioning is defragmenting, and I choose to act meekly, stepping out lightly, creating ripples rather than waves.
The fear of fundamentalism and commitment to a disciplined tradition is dissipating, as I continue to experience the exact opposite – freedom, an opening and expansion , supported by a steady, true, journey to the self and divine.
Carmen treasures the slower pace of living. Set apart from a frantic pace, she continues to evolve, nestled amongst the beauty and nature, of Lake Hawea. Carmen has developed Sadhana; Women’s Health and Consciousness.
Lifestyle programmes which draw on yoga and Ayurvedic wisdom, which assit and empower; Women of all ages and stages to reclaim feminine health and align with their purpose.