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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.