The past couple of days reawakened a personal tendency of thought and behavior that I diligently have worked to alter throughout the years. Certain interactions and events preceded my “relapse”: Basically, I found myself in what felt like a “Me vs. Them” situation. Such a dynamic typically arises when one feels vulnerable or insecure; it takes great insight and determination to oust oneself free of the feeling.

While the adage, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” may seem like a worthy option, I find that it can feel untrue to Self, and worse, allow bitterness to taint any real sense of resolution. Thus, for me, what helps most in conflict or tension with others is to find the truth in the very simple statement: “It is not about you.”

Rather, it is about seeking and eliciting the “U” in You: Universality. As I wrestled yesterday with why I was feeling so strongly about a rather inconsequential turn of events, I had to push through those emotions: What was required was an Ego check, and then a deep pursuit of what the others involved may be thinking and feeling. Ultimately, I could see that their desire for a specific outcome was not purposely a slight of me and my opposite desire. Fundamentally, their objective and feelings under the circumstances were different, but not antagonistic toward mine.

And that is when the universal human condition becomes clear. Always, we each have our own minds and hearts to consider and protect and open and change; yet, also always, we have to remember that that state of being is the same for all. Not always will minds and hearts behave synchronously or harmoniously; yet the underlying connection of humanness—of mortality, of emotion, of struggle, of elevation—lives on nonetheless. 

Universality, like the Divine, exists whether or not we see it, feel it, or “believe” in it.

Today’s practice is a classic, straightforward, yet immensely powerful kundalini kriya called Ego Eradicator. The pranayama and associated mudra posture forces one out of the part of Self that inhibits Universality. While this may feel at first like “losing” yourself, the opposite is the result: The more one  sheds selfish sorrow, bias, arrogance, resentment—all born of an overactive Ego—the more space one creates for the True Self. As this essential You expands within, it—You—are more able to abide Universality, and thus to connect with the Universe.

To begin, seat yourself in the most comfortable, upright posture you can establish (with or without props). You may want to prepare with a few neck and shoulder rolls, shoulder shrugs, and/or spinal flexes. Then raise the arms straight up alongside the ears; from there, open them to the sides, about 30 degrees away from your head. Reach strongly through the elbows, opening the armpits, but keeping the shoulders relaxed and down.

Bend at the wrists, so that the pinky sided of each hand is parallel to the floor, palms facing forward. Then, curl all the fingertips into the pads at their bases; the thumb, however, remains straight and points directly upward. Hold this expansive, yet specifically angled mudra strongly; begin Breath of Fire through the nose. (Remember that you can begin by panting through the open mouth like a dog, in equal, rapid inhales and exhales. Once that breath is consistent, close the mouth and continue Breath of Fire through the nose.)

With eyes closed, gazing steadfastly up to the Third Eye, inhabit the powerful mudra and breath for 3 minutes. Then, as you take a deep, long breath in, bring the thumb tips to touch each other overhead; suspend the breath as you guide the energy up through the spine and crown. Then, when you must, exhale fully as you relax the hands and slowly sweep the arms down through the side space.

Sit quietly, eyes remaining closed, as you feel the charge of prana and the presence of peace within. If you like, move into a few minutes of Svasana to further integrate the effects of your practice.

Happy Sunday…

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