Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Empowerment, Love and Amrit

Life is perpetual therapeutic irritation. Learn to make it therapeutic and not problematic. ~ Amrit Desai

The urge to take pen to paper hit tonight as a few things came to mind I'd been letting marinate for a few weeks.

I had the honor and privilege to sit right up front during a lecture my Yoga teacher's guru gave two weeks ago. Amrit Desai, who studied with the masters in India, where he was born, and is considered one of the pioneers of "authentic" Yoga teachings in the west, came to my instructor's studio from Florida, where he now resides.

In his 80s, it is quite possible he may never come this way again. But there he was, in Columbia Station with all of us for an evening, bringing an amazingly serene essence and a breadth of wisdom with him.

I could go on and on about the things he spoke of, but I wrote down some of his quotes from that night that cover much of the high points in his discussion:

~ As inner conflicts reduce, the external conflicts reflect that.
~ We are hardly ever present in what we do.
~ Start giving what you are asking for (or as Gandhi famously says, be the change you wish to see in the world).
~ We are always looking for fulfillment outside. The ego is always trying to find fulfillment by looking for the right partner. Everything you are looking for comes from within.
~ The ego mind uses Prana (our life energy) to find outside solutions … excessively using energy for who you are NOT.
~ Don't buy into your reactive perception of anybody. You and I are not separate, we are all one.
~ When you remove the inner conflict, you see the outer conflict is false.
~ You have the power to change your life. No one else can do it to you. If you judge someone, you are lost. If you say you're a failure, that's what you'll create. You create your own problems.
~ When you are in love with that higher power in you, you are happy always.
~ Life is perpetual therapeutic irritation. Learn to make it therapeutic and not problematic.

Another thing Amrit said that hit me in particular is that I have all the power I need within myself. I don't have to be a victim or victimize myself. I don't have to bring my past scars into the present moment and allow my past patterns to repeat themselves or to influence my present moment reactions and responses to things.

Another point to ponder ... any external conflicts we have with others or a situation, etc. is a reflection of an internal conflict. I used to say "he made me react this way" or "she made me feel crazy" ... but no one has the power to make us do, react or say something that isn't already IN us. Yes, people "affect" us ... but to realize we truly do hold the reins to how we react or respond is powerful if embraced.

Observe, don't react, Amrit said. If we are able to observe ourselves and our lives from a non judgmental, almost third-party perspective, we will find it easier and easier to be at peace and ease ... to truly enjoy life and not react to things or instinctively fight or flee in situations that don't warrant it.

The past is the past and I can't go back and change circumstances or how I responded or didn't respond. But I can harness that power within me from this day forward. Amrit helped me feel empowered ... and more in control of my life and happiness than I truly realized.

Which means any of you reading can be empowered, too. We all try to seek fulfillment externally, in our partners or in other forms (i.e. alcohol, drugs, food, entertainment, sex) ... but that pursuit is the product of our ego. And it is a losing battle. It might bring temporary gratification, but it'll always be temporary, never continuous. Because the ego thrives on the "wanting more." 

But if we fall in love with ourselves ... if we truly accept ourselves and love ourselves, we will find true and continuous joy. I believe it. I also believe it doesn't come easily and it is an ongoing process. But it is one I'm finding more and more merit in as the days breathe past me. 

I hope you do, too.



  1. I liked this post a lot. A lot of people in the world forget how to love. I'm not exempt from that either. One of the most unique parts of Eastern religion and spirituality to me is the fact that you can be many things: a Buddhist and a Christian, a Hindu and a Muslim. Over the years, I haven't personally abandoned religion. There is truth in many things, everything. One of the most important things to me is human beings and how they treat each other. I've even found a couple like-minded people that call themselves Humanists. It gets confused a lot with Atheism, but requires the same degree of tolerance.

    Wish I could've sat in on this talk!!!

  2. This is why I am so intrigued with Yoga...I feel it will allow me to develop the level of introspection needed to answer these questions and reach my maximum level of self-actualization. You are right in saying that seeking fulfillment externally is a losing proposition.