Being in the Wake of Violence, Part 1

Parvati | Being in the Wake of Violence, Part 1

Image credit: Angela Marie Henriette

BEING IN THE WAKE OF VIOLENCE

Last week, I posted a blog update in honour of International Women’s Day. In it, I shared staggering statistics about women around the globe today. I also encouraged women to feel whole within themselves by cherishing their unique qualities of womanhood and not give away their power by feeling that life is happening “to” them. By tapping into our essential beauty, we become like the flower that blossoms from under oppressive concrete.

In response, I received many positive comments. But one person came back asking if by saying that “the problem is not out there but within” that I was suggesting that if more women looked within, they wouldn’t be tortured, assaulted or otherwise face abuse. She asked if looking within is really just for those who are in physical safety, security and privilege, not for those who are the victims of the sobering statistics I quote. I appreciate this question, and value it being raised. Today’s post (and next week’s) is my response.

PAIN SEEKS PAIN

I by no means suggest that anyone – man or woman – whose safety is threatened should sit and navel-gaze. If any one is in harm’s way, he or she needs to do all they can to move to safety. This is essential, and in alignment with the laws of nature.

Nor do I suggest that anyone who is abused should feel as though the actions of their oppressors are their fault. To even consider that any painful act done in ignorance by another is in any way our fault harms ourselves even more fully. It would allow the abuser’s pain to seep into our deeper selves.

An abuser attempts to create pain in others because he or she is identified with his or her own inner pain, which seeks validation in having someone else experience similar pain. Pain seeks pain. When someone who has been abused starts to believe that they are the cause of that abuse, it is as though the abuser’s attempt to control them through violence has seeped more deeply into the victim’s system. Such thoughts become like parasites that burrow beyond the boundaries of healthy soul immunity. They break down one’s sense of dignity, and ability to know one’s inherent beauty. An abuser has no sense of his or her true inner beauty and is trying to get you to feel that way too.

The need to look within is not limited to women, but is something that all beings must do, whether or not they are in a position of privilege, being oppressed or oppressing. By looking within, the abuser will come to see that his or her painful actions only perpetuate his or her suffering. Hateful or vengeful actions, even if they seem somehow empowering in the moment, can never lead to freedom. This insight can only come through self-understanding, which happens when one is willing. It is completely up to the abuser to find this inner clarity. No one can do it for him or her. We can never do it for anyone but ourselves. But when one who is abused makes it clear that he or she will not co-create with this pain, whether by quietly leaving, making a protest or coming to profound inner peace, they provide the first opportunity for the abuser to understand that the acts of violence are not ok and need to change. I believe that looking within is harder for the abuser to do, because he or she believes fully that the problem is “out there”: in the person they attempt to oppress.

THE PROBLEM IS NOT OUT THERE

The oppressed and oppressor participate in a painful dance when they each feel that the problem lies within each other. Eckhart Tolle might say that each of their pain-bodies are active. In my words, they are both co-creating in the impossibilities, identified with the idea that life is happening “to me”, attached to an illusion that one’s personal power lies outside themselves. In truth, lasting change can only happen from within, when we free ourselves from the idea that someone else holds our power.

By looking within, the one who has been abused can see that no one can take away his or her personal dignity. This does not mean that the abused should passively accept being unsafe. The ability to look within fuels clarity, which provides the ability to act with inspired confidence. For example, one may gain the insight to see a clear exit route from an abusive situation. By knowing his or her inherent worth and timeless value from which true confidence arises, one who has been abused can rest in a power that no one can ever take away, no matter how much pain may be inflicted. Ideally, that person moves into a situation that is safe and free from all forms of harm, one that fully nurtures the good, the light, the beauty that lies within all beings.

I know this to be true because I am part of the statistics. I have experienced violent assault more than once. One almost cost me my life. I do not speak from a place of theory, but as one who has asked herself, “How come I am in this situation? How do I move beyond this pain, this rage, this grief, this suffering? What am I learning through this, through these repeated incidents?”

In Part 2, I will share how I came to find answers to these painful questions.

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WHY YOGA IN THE NIGHTCLUB

I am often asked what inspired me to bring yogic expression into the club scene. I answer easily. Yoga In the Nightclub is a natural expression of who I am as a musical artist and dedicated yogini. Yoga is not a physical practice but a way of life. It is about learning to be present in all one does, to see the divine here, now, in this moment. As such, yoga is everywhere. It is about feeling connected to something much greater than our limited ego or will. It is about being in service to life, feeling interconnected to that very life force. Yoga In The Nightclub is a celebration of life and a reminder that we can find awakened presence everywhere.

Yoga in the West is mostly known as a series of bendy physical exercises. Yet there is much more to it than fitness. Yoga’s systematic breath and body exercises, designed to clear the subtle channels in our energy system, prepare us for meditation, through which we may experience a life inspired by our interconnected, multidimensional true nature. Our body, that once was seen as “mine”, is no longer our identity, but a gift on loan from the divine. We care for it, but we are not attached to it. The practice of yoga offers us the opportunity to experience the transmutation of matter into pure light, embody the multidimensional and rest in the eternal.

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WE ARE ALL CONNECTED

Hatha yoga, the physical practice of yoga, is just one of many aspects of yoga, which range from selfless service to astrology and prayer. The Sanskrit word “yoga” most simply translates to “union”, implying that the practice of any yoga will bring together our perceived sense of separateness. As a whole, yoga is an ancient science of life. It is a practical method of shedding excess and bringing us back from the self-delusion of separation from the divine so that we may realize our inherent interconnection to and ultimate oneness with it.

As we begin to understand that yoga is everywhere, we come to see how we are all connected in vast ways far beyond the limitations of our personal will and ego. What I do affects you, and vice versa. We are one earth family. At the heart of it all, we share the same heartbeat. Breathe to be. We are one.

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AWAKENED LIVING

When we are open, life blossoms, just as a flower opens to welcome the morning sun.  We see that the sun, though it is millions of light years away, has a tender yet powerful relationship with the flower, as do the rain and the clouds. From this perspective we see that we are part of the whole. Life is a symphonic masterpiece with which, when we are open, we are completely resonant.

As we come to understand our oneness, we can revel in it with wonder and joy. We can consider in awe how immense it all is. We can let go of the idea that an illusory, isolated sense of self could possibly be in control, and open to an exquisite unfolding of life in absolute perfection. Our actions become not about “me” but about the whole. Each moment is integrated within the whole. No one decision is separate.

When we begin to see that each decision we make affects not just ourselves but everyone and everything on the planet, we act with more compassion. When we have more compassion, we realize the impact of our actions and we naturally want less and practice more kindness. As stewards of the Earth, we each are called to learn to live in harmony with ourselves, each other and our planet. We all breathe the same air and live on the same living organism, our planet. Varied in race and creed, we are all one family, children of the same mother, the planet Earth.

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THE OPPORTUNITY FOR GRACE

In each moment, there is infinite grace. By becoming more conscious as we practice yoga on the mat, at work, at play or in the nightclub, we let go of the unnecessary and develop greater internal spaciousness which blooms throughout our lives. In this space new life and possibilities arise.

As we rest our awareness on the simple purity and grace of the breath, we realize - we are alive! We let go of wanting things from the future and the past and open to what is here and now. We feel as vast as the sky and rooted in the richness of this moment.

When we “breathe to be”, we understand our interconnection. We see that we are not the doers but a part of the whole, the same energy that is in the flowers and in the stars. We know that our essence is divine - from which we have come, to which we return.

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PARVATI'S NEW SINGLE - MARCH 2016
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I AM LIGHT

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SHARE YOUR YOGA
I am light!

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
Gone, gone beyond. Oh what awakening!
Gone, gone beyond. Swaha!

I am light, dancing in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!
I am light, in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
I am the light, liquid gold light
I am in delight! Swaha!

I am light, dancing in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!
I am light, in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!

I am the light (gate gate), liquid gold light (paragate)
I am in delight (gate gate) transforming the night (paragate)

Gone, gone beyond (gate gate)! Oh what awakening! (paragate) (I am)
Gone, gone beyond (gate gate)! Swaha!

I am light, dancing in delight
I am light, dancing through the night
I am light, in delight
I am light, dancing through the night

I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light (gate gate)
I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light (paragate)
I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light
I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light

I am light!

© 2015 Parvati Devi
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