CHAI TEA WITH CAROL

Several years ago, I was retained as the script writer and yoga instructor filmed in The Reunion of Self video. The producer’s intention was to create a door opening video for those who were interested in learning more about yoga and meditation but had never actually experienced these practices for themselves. Hence the content of yoga asanas and meditation technique was designed for students at the very beginning of the learning curve.

In accordance with that intention, the producer began the video with four women—herself, the meditation teacher, the hairdresser/make-up person (representing a brand new student), and myself sitting around an outdoor table with coffee and juice, having a conversation about these ancient and yet ever-new practices. The questions and answers were on the level of someone who is just beginning her search for something more.

Many students now are seeking deeper connections, deeper meaning in their Yoga practice, and so I have chosen to create a more intimate, hopefully more satisfying connection—as was done by one of my master teachers on her web site—by means of a virtual conversation between myself, as a teacher and student of Yoga, and you. Although the “About” section can provide you with an overview of some outwardly verifiable biographical facts and credentials about me, it cannot provide a view to the inner.

So please join me for some virtual Chai tea—or coffee if you prefer—and conversation, compiled from some of the more meaningful questions posed to me by various students over the years.

Student: I would like to get to know you beyond the techniques and skills you could teach me. Would you be willing to answer a few questions?
Carol
: Yes, certainly.

Q ~ Who is your most significant teacher?
A ~
Myself. Just as your most significant teacher is you. Provided you pay attention.

Q ~ How can you teach yourself something you don’t already know?
A ~
First you have to ask the right questions. And then throw the full light of day into all the dark corners of yourself that you have hidden so skillfully from yourself. You have to be willing to dig up the buried parts of yourself and really look at them with no excuses. Then pay attention to what the daily happenings and relationships in your life present to you as teachings.

Q ~ What are the most important questions to ask?
A ~
Who am I? Why am I here? Where did I come from? Where am I going? What do I need to learn from this to assist the evolution of my own consciousness? How can I use this (situation, event, relationship, etc.) to bring more love and light to the Planet? How can I best help co-create heaven on earth now, in this moment?

Your answers to these essential questions will change for you over time, so pay attention when each of these questions comes up again, as they will each time you look at them from a different perspective and from a different chronological age.

Q ~ How did you come to this realization in the first place?
A ~
Ever since I can remember, I have sorted things out in my mind by what they mean to me and how I feel about them. My mother says that as a baby, I seemed to look at everyone as if asking “How does he or she fit into my life?” I think most babies have this kind of curiosity. I now know this practice of self study as an authentic Yoga practice—an aspect of swadhyaya. But for a long time I had no mental concept or realization about it. It was just something I did naturally.

In reading Socrates as a young adult, I learned that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” When I first began to read about Yoga in the ‘70’s, I came across the sentence “You are your own guru.” That idea was pretty much a mystery to me then, but as I have continued to explore Yoga experientially, it has become much clearer to me, and today it is like a brilliant diamond shining in the full light of the sun.

I found a third expression about living a fully aware life in a Bob Dylan song, in which one of the lines is “He not busy being born is busy dying.” These all came to me during the 70’s at which time I was in my 20’s.

“Don’t die with your music still in you” is a more recent expression of living a conscious life. You can find this Truth in many places in the various spiritual traditions and holy books. Richard Bach writes in Illusions: the Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah that we are on Earth for two reasons: education and entertainment.

When you’ve learned enough about you—when you’ve experienced joy and even gratitude in just being here—you may choose to continue further along the path to discover who You really are on an even deeper level. If so, you may come to realize that being of service without attachment to being rewarded is an even higher reason for your being here. The path of selfless service is known as Karma Yoga. And that may or may not be part of your chosen path. All paths to the One are worthy.

Q ~ What is the most challenging thing you have faced in your quest for spiritual growth?
A ~
My desire to experience, practice, feel, and share unconditional love—to be able to truly love unconditionally. Now I just want to Be Unconditional Love. I have not realized this desire yet, but I have made much progress and have actually experienced the first four parts of this realization. It has been a part of my daily prayer and intention for the last 10 years or more—I know it began prior to 1994. One of my chief realizations is that I/we first must learn to love ourselves unconditionally.

Q ~ Why was that so challenging?
A ~
Have you ever heard “Be careful what you ask for”?
It’s easy to love your children unconditionally. It’s easy to love unconditionally when people around you resonate with you, when they believe you hung the moon, and when they never speak to you with irritation or anger.

But if you have the courage (or innocence) to ask to work with unconditional love, be prepared for life to toss you into one of the most intense trials of your life. When you ask for this from full integrity and really want to get it, everything around you may suddenly devolve into shambles. People around you, especially the nearest and dearest, become—cooperatively—your biggest challenges. They become huge hurdles to your peacefulness. And they are your master teachers for this lesson.

Once things took that direction, I discovered I also had to ask for the courage and the will to continue pursuing my desire. I never wanted to give up on anything more than a part of me wanted to give up on developing unconditional love. At times it became very painful. But I’m grateful that I was assisted with the courage and will I needed to bring the desire into manifestation, step by step. I realize how much this quest has changed me.

And it is an ongoing journey. I do not claim to have fully arrived yet, but I can point to numerous times when I have experienced unconditional love for myself and others in the middle of emotionally intense situations.

Q ~ You seem to really honor teachers and teaching. How do you find your teachers?
A ~
Richard Bach says in his book Illusions, “You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self.” Trust that inner learning creature within you to find your outer teachers.

Some of them will teach you how to be. Others will teach you how not to be. These are the ones who hold painful lessons for you and to whom you will need to find it within yourself to be grateful for their for having served as your teacher.

I find my teachers everywhere. I find them by seeing everyone and everything as my teacher. Books, nature, animals, pets, family members, dreams, movies. These are all my teachers. I consider myself enormously blessed by the amazing teachers I have encountered in the fields of Yoga, the healing arts, mysticism, and spiritual consciousness. They have come to me as I have been ready for them.

Allow me to quote from Richard Bach again. “Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers, teachers.” The best teachers I have had are those who have found ways to remind me of what I already knew but did not yet realize. They are my role models as a teacher.

If you just pay attention, you are constantly learning, constantly growing, constantly being born anew. When the student is ready, the Master will appear. You will always know exactly what you need to know in the moment you need to know it, so when your teacher appears, you will have an inner knowing that he or she is the one.

Some of you may have a number of major teachers. Each is here to give you something you can really “get” from only that person. Respect, love, and feel grateful for your teachers. But avoid being attached to them. The true spiritual teacher will not require your attachment or the giving up of your free will. The true teacher does not live for your adoration. The true teacher’s desire is that you will surpass him or her in wisdom and accomplishment.

We all stand on the shoulders of giants who have come before us, and our gratitude for that support and that gift is ever flowing.

Trust yourself. I have learned to go only to teachers and events when I “hear” an inner resounding YES!! If it is just my mind wanting to “seek” or be entertained, or if it is a friend who tries to convince me to go, it is not enough. I have to hear that big “YES” from within. When I do, I will go to that teacher and I will learn the reason for the “Yes.”

Q ~ What do you think your highest purpose is?
A ~
To be the best me I can be. To BE the change—the peace and harmony—I wish to see in the world. To hold the Light and to hold the space for others to awaken.
 

 

 

 

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