Into all lives comes tribulation; into all hearts and minds comes the need to respond. How one proceeds with each challenge marks the defining moments each of us will have; this process occurs daily, often subconsciously. Today’s practice addresses the “bigger stuff”—the circumstances that necessitate awareness, discernment, and ultimately, commitment.
This Silent Sunday arrives one day after I received a positive note regarding a previous post: https://everythingelsa.blog/2021/03/31/nobodys-fool-lessons-from-pain-rehab-and-beyond/.
As I typically do after receiving acknowledgement or commentary on what I have written, I reread the piece. With each paragraph, I became increasingly uncomfortable: I came face to face with disappointment… in myself.
This was not, however, the self-flagellation of yore, when I might have retaliated against my reaction with less-than-helpful thoughts or behaviors. Rather, I almost immediately shifted from “self-disappointment,” to “self-correction.”
I thought of addicts, whose sober state is never a given. And I realized that none of us are impervious to “falling off the wagon,” be it a spiritual or physical endeavor: Whether the aim is to progress through the soul or body, Commitment is imperative.
And that is where I have tripped up in the past. I did not recognize that Commitment is not a blanket state of mind: It is an emphatic choice to address a specific situation. To be committed in one area does not suggest commitment to all. For example, one may readily commit to, say, a person, yet have trouble remaining committed to a project. Or a committed fitness plan may be second nature, whereas a commitment to balanced nutrition may falter.
As I read the post appreciated by a stranger, I remembered the feeling of commitment to my health that had spurred the piece. As I moved through the article, the sinking feeling that I have begun to wander back to taking my body for granted took me aback.
How close I had come to forsaking a chance to right my physical course and rewrite its future…
One of the psycho-spiritual philosophies of Kundalini yoga is the framework called “Seven Steps to Happiness”: Commitment is Number One. From there arises Character; then Dignity, Divinity, Grace, and the Power to Sacrifice; and ultimately, Happiness.
Like Life, however, the trajectory of this developmental course is not consistently linear. Sometimes several traits permeate an individual’s state of being; at other times, one seems bereft of any. One may be of solid character, but harbor self-doubt; one may feel connected to the Divine, yet be stymied by earthly processes.
I believe that the “order” of evolution toward Happiness is fluid, as is the state itself. Thus, the attainment of any one step along the path inherently comes with the need to remain vigilant: Such is the nature of any spiritual discipline and of any earth-bound achievement. Rather than bemoan the withering of Commitment, for example, I took comfort in the moment when I recognized the need to revitalize its energy.
With that, I offer a short practice to re-establish a sense of self-compassion and unflappable Will. There are only three pieces to the session, each of which requires a commitment to persevere despite physical or mental discomfort. Upon completion of the set, you will have righted your course and cleared your mental and physical page for a rewrite.
Special note: As always, feel free to modify or pause any movement. Do, however, give yourself the opportunity to rise above inner naysaying; know that your mental fortitude can supersede bodily resistance.
To begin, lie on your back. With the arms on the floor, palms down, raise the legs 60 degrees into the air. Here is the first chance to become aware of and kind to your physical body: If the angle compromises your lower back, place a small pillow under your hips; you may also place one foot on the ground (knee bent) to practice with one leg a time. Regardless, close your eyes, and begin long, deep breathing. The posture stimulates the Lower Triangle of chakras—survival, generative spark, and will power. Remain here for 3 minutes (or: 90 seconds for each leg, if modifying).
Maintaining the leg position, prop yourself onto the elbows to complete the challenge: Begin Breath of Fire, and continue for 3 minutes. (Remember: Take a break or modify as needed, and then resume your commitment to the process.)
Next, with both knees bent and feet hip width apart, help yourself into a Half-Bridge: Lift the hips and spine away from the floor, and interlace the hands on the floor under the back, extending long through the arms. In this position, breathe fully and deeply for 1 minute. Then, lower and lift the hips at a comfortable pace 54 times.
Briefly release the position to take a breath, pulling the knees in toward the body for a squeeze. Then, resurrect the Bridge, and complete 54 more hip-lifts. Upon completion, repeat the back-easing knee squeeze, then roll up into the Bridge again. Here, breathe steadily and deeply again for 1 minute.
Upon completion, draw the knees in, rock side to side, forward and back, and then help yourself up to sit in your preferred meditation posture. Extend each arm to the side at shoulder level. The left palm is down, the right up: On both hands, knit the index finger and middle finger together, with the ring and pinky fingers together; separate the two pairs, so that there is a V-shaped space between them.
This mudra works to soften physical and mental discomfort, while simultaneously opening through the Heart Center and stimulating its meridians. With the empowering energy of the previous moves, this final activating meditation creates the optimal environment for your resumption of commitment to Self and your goals. When yoked to the Divine through the Heart, Commitment is renewed with spiritual vigor.
Remain with the arms up, mudra intact, and closed eyes gazing to the Third Eye for 7 minutes. Breathe consciously and completely, and if you need to rest, do so: Then recommit to the kriya. When finished, move seamlessly into Svasana for as long as you like.