3/7/23 Loving Kindness
Negative feelings or emotions are useless in themselves. Negative attitudes can become positive if one realizes that it is not actions or deeds in themselves that have value, but rather the way one feels. This is not to say actions can be independent of feelings. Harmful actions breed negativity.
In general, a positive attitude brings more favorable results and as long as you can be objective, your circumstances will not make you anxious or depressed. You have the power to remove negative feelings and replace them with positive ones.
Yoga Sutra 2.3
avidya smita raga dvesa bhinivesah
Nescience (avidya) ego,attachment,antipathy,and dread of death are five obstacles (kleshas)
In Sutra 8 of book 1 the 5 kleshas of misunderstanding (viparyaya). Now we are getting to see the details of how those kleshas bring us suffering. Sutra 4-10 the afflictions (kleshas) are explained. Then a practice to bring contentment and free us from the wheel of karma.
Stay tuned to see each one in action daily. Reflecting on how we bring about suffering to ourselves daily by holding on to these ideologies. Its really as simple as letting them go.
Doesn’t this tarot card match perfectly?
The card is reminding us that its not the actions or deeds that cause our negative feelings. Its our attitudes and thoughts about the outward experience that causes negative emotions in the body and what is called “suffering” in most Sanskrit teachings.
“In order to be who you are, you must be willing to let go of who you think you are.”
― Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself
A Long Short Story
I recently had the pleasure to meet this amazing author in a chance encounter. I drove home from a Vipassana 10 days silent meditation retreat in Georgia. I met some wonderful women who talked about Temple of the Universe, Michael Singer built this mediation spot in the woods outside Gainesville. I took a detour on my drive home to take a picture of this funky cabin in the woods. I packed up and headed out not knowing what day it even was.
My GPS found the location it was only 5 miles out of the way and it was great to come back home sight seeing along the way. When I drove down this path in the woods I came to a clearing of cars parked along the gravel road. I wondered what was happening or if I was intruding on something. I walked up to the porch of The Temple of the Universe and I saw shoes lines up across the entire porch. A bohemian women with a thick accent and a very eclectic outfit asked me if I was there for the talk? I explained I did not know there was a talk. She told me leave my shoes and go on in, so I did.
I walked into 1970 with blue shag carpet and every Deity I know, and some I don’t, displayed throughout a large wood room filled with people sitting on pillows and chairs lining the wall and people sitting in side rooms. They were all gathered around Michael Singer giving a talk on “Letting it Go”. I sat next to the door greeters feet on my purse as a cushion in Hero’s Pose. His lecture was a New Age repeat of the Vipassana teachings I had been in silence with for the previous 10 days.
Then the Kirtan-call-and-response style song or chant, set to music, wherein multiple singers recite or describe a legend, or express loving devotion to a deity, or discuss spiritual ideas. It may include dancing or direct expression of bhavas (emotive states) by the singer.
When Mickey was done with this Dharma talk. As we sang tears of gratitude, love and devotion flowed over me. I was so grateful to receive this experience and felt to humble and full of love to have received such a blissful experience. This is Bhakti Yoga – Devotional Yoga. I emoted and sang from my heart and opened wide to this experience I was in. I was fully immersed, in this place space and time. I was in the NOW.
When the service was over we were invited outside for tea. The man next to me complimented me on my singing and I thanked him. It was not me, the person writing the narrative singing, it was at the soul level so I can only describe it from the feeling the body was left with but I know I was in flow or in a state of being this entire experience. Then it gets even better!
After a tea Metta Circle I got to meet Michael Singer and talk with him he told me to call him “Mickey”. He autographed his book- The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection, about his life for me to give as a present to my friend Jessica. He helped me pic which book to get for her. I also received a Sprig of bay leaves from a member. He took a picture with me and the book for her and I left the Temple of the Universe and resumed my journey to Tampa.
This was my third time sitting for Vipassana and day 10 is Metta day and there is usually a bliss state or glow up after 9 days of intensive inner reflection.We practice Metta and the loving kindness and energy is experienced. I didn’t get it much.
You see, I was looking forward to it I was expecting it. The craving and aversion I had been working on was still there, looking for a feeling. We practice equanimity, just being the observer of feelings thoughts and perceptions. Making no judgement good to bad because all of life is Annica- the concept that nothing stays the same and everything is always changing. This concept is also known as impermanence . I felt a dismayed a little cheated that I didn’t get the good feels I was really after. I was playing a mind game with myself, but I let it go.
On the drive I was giving metta to all the wonderful women I had met and talked to the day we left the retreat. I let it go and was ok with the outcome no matter what it is always a worthwhile experience. I went to the place they suggested. I wanted a picture but I got so much more. The egoic mind is so unimaginative and small in its thinking, it could not possibly have conjured up the entire scenario I have laid out before you. But my soul is boundless and its energy limitless. When I give up controlling my outcome I am always more than overjoyed by the outcome. The Universe- One Song is always conspiring in my favor. I went to The Temple of the Universe and sang my hearts song.