Silent Sundays: Personal Stories, Universal Truth

On this Silent Sunday, I find myself pondering Truth. Given the seeming complexity and elusiveness of the topic, I wonder why I feel compelled to wrangle with it: However, in questioning my yen to address Truth, I find a ready answer. What I refer to as complex and elusive is, essentially, fundamental and ever-present. So, to enter the fray with Truth is to seek Reality when the external environment feels surreal and inexplicable. 

Some of my thoughts were helped into a framework after I read an article in The Atlantic: “Our Brains Want the Story of the Pandemic to Be Something It Isn’t,” by Joe Pinsker. He describes the need that most of us have to “storify” our experiences. In doing so, we create an understandable through-line for events and feelings that could otherwise overwhelm us.

The notion of a narrative-based reality is, in itself, confounding. If events—their cause, their effect, their purpose, and sometimes even their existence—can be perceived and described so differently by so many different people, how can Truth be discerned?

While the the context of the article is the COVID-19 pandemic, the premise can be extended to address the current conflict in Ukraine…and more. Those in the midst of the bombings and attacks certainly feel the real pain and fear: However, those in Russia hear a different narrative, one that either denies the combat and resultant horrors, or one that rationalizes—even glorifies—the war. 

And “out here,” in a country thousands of miles away, I read and listen to Western news sources. I take it for granted that I hear the truth of the events: I watch and hear the stories of Ukrainians who have left the remains of loved ones in the rubble of what was once a home. And from my own throat and lips, sounds and words emerge that point to one thing: anger.

This is not the kind of anger that stirs when personally affronted. It is however, the kind of angry frustration that occurs when blatant inhumanity reigns. I felt similarly during the racist events of 2020; I feel the same soul-tearing when I think of the Holocaust; and I feel the uneasy quakes when I realize how prejudice and persecution is interwoven into our lives here on earth from Day One.

Then, I circle back to the contemplation of Truth. Confronted with the infuriating, confusing events that are taking place now—and those that have and will—my recourse is two-fold: release the unsettled emotion, and restore calm, abiding Faith. For when Truth is disguised, or when Truth is blurred by or replaced with conflicting narratives, I return to the one and only constant that also always was and always will be: God.

For those who question or hold no belief in the powers of the Divine Universe, the following practice is nonetheless applicable. Simply wrap your mind around whatever your sense of the ultimate Truth is. If, indeed, it is the world and body that you inhabit, then hone in on the most positive vibrations that exist within those forms. 

Regardless, the practice works to bring one back to a centered state of being, and then expands to unite the human self with the eternal Truth. This is the Truth that knows no narrative; it can not be rewritten or reimagined, nor altered in any way. It is unto itself. 

To free yourself from the constraints of ingrained stories and perceptions, you will undertake a thorough clearing of the entire chakra system. To stimulate each energy center and bring each into its optimal state is the first step. Then, all are harmonized, which establishes the foundation for impartial clarity—the ability to discern and receive the Truth.

Begin seated. With the palms or fists on the ground, press down to lift the hips off of the ground. Quickly drop the body down. Inhale to lift, exhale to drop. Be sure to keep the spine lifted and long: ideally, you will feel a reverberative shock all the way up through the spine with each drop. Complete 16 Drops.

Then, move immediately into Sufi Grinds. With the hands on the knees, circle the torso clockwise; undulate powerfully through the waist and ribs as if to massage each organ as you circle. Inhale through the front portion of the circle; exhale as you circle through the back space. 

Continue for 1 minute, then reverse directions. Continue counter-clockwise for 1 more minute.

Then, still seated, place the feet on the floor, knees bent. With the hands slightly behind the body, press down through the arms to lift the hips into a modified Rear Platform, or Table Pose.

Tilt the head back slightly; if necessary, you may keep it in a neutral position. With eyes closed and focused on the Third Eye, begin Breath of Fire through the nose: Continue for 1 minute.

Next, lower down and “flip the Table” to come onto all fours. From here, lower yourself down to bring the crown of the head to the floor. Release the hands behind you, and interlace the fingers. Lengthen through the elbows to straighten the arms, and lift the arms away from the back.

Inhale: As you exhale, settle the hips down toward the heels, and lower the arms down to the back. You will roll from the crown to the forehead. Inhale to shift forward and up onto the crown as the arms lift; exhale to settle back and down. Continue this Moving Yoga Mudra for 12 rounds. (One round is inhale up/exhale down.)

Now, return to a seated posture. Bring the arms in next to the body, elbows bent, palms facing each other: Fingers are straight and together on each hand. Begin to alternately shoot the arms straight up, full lengthening each arm as it darts upward. Fully and quickly extend and retract each arm before moving the other. Alternate left and right as quickly as possible: inhale up, exhale down. Continue for 1 minute.

Sit quietly for a few deep breaths. Then, bring the hands behind the neck, interlacing the fingers: Open the elbows as wide as possible. With eyes closed and gazing at the Third Eye, inhale deeply through the nose: Use your mind’e eye to guide the breath from the Root Chakra, or base of spine, up the front of the spine, all the way to the Crown; exhale to send the breath down through corridor of energy vortexes, back to the Root. Complete 8 of these long, slow visualized breaths.

Finally, place the left palm on the Heart Center. Bend the right arm, elbow against the waist, palm facing forward. Create Gyan Mudra: Touch the index and thumb tip together, other three fingers together and straight up.

With eyes closed and focused to the Third Eye, begin to silently chant: Aum Tat Sat (ohm taht suht). I suggest the inner chant of “Aum” on an inhale, and “Tat Sat” upon the exhale. The mantra acknowledges and exalts the eternal Truth of the Universe. Remain here, invoking and infusing that certainty within, for 3-11 minutes.

Happy Sunday…

Silent Sundays: Future You

So often, that which we need to do to make ourselves feel better—stronger, calmer, clearer, kinder—is the very thing that seems anathema to the need. When angry, how to convince ourselves to take the time and self-inventory necessary to move past the rancor? When down, how to find the vigor to move or breathe more? When tense or anxious, how to settle into seemingly elusive stillness?

At such times, I recall a sweet, simple motivational phrase that an acquaintance once shared: In a state of procrastination or resistance, she would rouse herself into action with the words, “Future Me will be happier if I…”

The self-encouragement has greater implications: It serves as a reminder that the Soul needs our efforts in the earthly realm to ensure its progress in the next incarnation. Future You…

In recent days, I have summoned this idea more than once. A general agitation—be it from household circumstances, last week’s heightened planetary activity, or familial concerns—had seeped in to my head and heart. Certainly, I have a repertoire of ways to ameliorate barbed thoughts and errant nerves. But, of course, the most extensive supply of know-how is useless unless one engages with it in earnest.

On this Silent Sunday, I offer a way to approach yourself, regardless of state of being: It begins with the adage that Future You will thank you for your actions now.

To begin, give yourself the next 10 minutes. If you are uncomfortable physically, set yourself up in whatever position is most soothing to your body; use whatever props or covers you like. If mental dis-ease has become a roadblock to Future You, do nothing to change that: Take yourself by the hand, note your mental mire, and lead yourself into the next minutes nonetheless.

Once situated, return to basics. Close the eyes, relax the tongue in the mouth, and rest your hands in your lap—one in the nest of the other, palms up.

Take your first conscious breath, in and out through the nose. Proceed through any resistance: Remember—Future You will thank you.

Keep breathing, allowing the breath to deepen with each inhale and exhale. Recheck that your tongue is floating free in the mouth; the closed eyes are soft, the brow relaxed; and the chest is open, shoulders at ease. Take about a minute to establish complete breaths.

Now, turn your closed eyes up to gaze between the brow points, i.e., to the Third Eye. On your resting, nested hands, touch the fingertips of the thumbs together. And begin to extend the exhalation: Breathe in slowly and steadily for 4-6 beats; exhale deeply for double that count. Continue for about 2 minutes.

Now, to further ascend above any earthly concerns to a place of peaceful clarity, you will assist your Crown Chakra to open. Inhale fully without any count; as you exhale press the tongue firmly up into the roof of the mouth. Create a soft, yet firm energetic nudge upward through the mouth, the brain, and into the Crown. Keep the closed eyes focused on the Third Eye as you breathe in through the nose, relaxing the tongue; and out through the nose, pressing the tongue upward. Gradually, feel the release and ease in the Crown as it opens to welcome the wisdom and guidance of the Universe. Continue with this gift for Future You as long as you like.

Happy Sunday…