The Transformative Journey from Your Head to Your Heart

“The longest journey you will ever take is from your head to your heart.”

This proverb has been repeated by many over the years. Some say it was a Native American Sioux saying. Others say it was by the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, or even the former Anglican archbishop Donald Coggan. Present in so many traditions, this idea seems to speak to a core wisdom of our shared human journey. We know intuitively that we need to live with heart if we are to experience a full and meaningful life.

In the quest for inner peace, we come to understand that our busy, thinking minds are not going to bring us the happiness we seek. The intellect is important and its electric speed is an immense gift from Nature for us to use wisely. But if it is not tempered with the compassionate awareness of the heart, then we miss out on the fullness of the moment and our connection with others.

Nature is a loving mentor, which we access fully when we are open, ready and willing. Now, in touch with our mentor, the journey begins in earnest. The transition from head to heart is part of the threshold we cross on our way to finding our inner peace sanctuary, because ultimately the heart is the home of peace within us.

The Heart Centre

You have probably heard the phrase “get to the heart of the matter”. No one would say “get to the mind of the matter”. We understand that the heart is our vital core. In yogic teachings, the heart centre is known as the anahata (“unstruck bell” in Sanskrit) chakra. This energy centre is about learning to transcend your personal needs, which are expressed and supported in the three energy centers of your lower body. At the heart centre, you tap into the transpersonal and unconditional. It is the place of alchemy where the personal meets the universal.

For some, connecting with the heart is easy. For others, those who have learned to rely on their intellect to get through life, or who have been wounded in the past and have their defences sky-high, it can be terrifying. There is a softening in being heart-centered that may seem threatening. But it awakens you to greater possibilities, and helps you tap into your true source of power: Nature’s compassionate presence. If you have been relying on your intellectual ability to feel in control and figure it all out, the idea of dialing that down for a more open, connected state can feel as though you are losing your safety and bearings in the world. You may even feel as though you will be attacked—or even die.

Radical Acceptance

The way through these intense feelings of fear and resistance is radical acceptance. In this deeply therapeutic practice, you accept that you do feel afraid to open and trust your heart, however much you wish you didn’t. You unconditionally accept yourself the way Nature does. This includes forgiving any past circumstances that may have triggered fear and resistance in the first place. You also accept that those past circumstances are in the past, not in the here and now, though you have the tendency to project them onto this moment.

When you look deeper, the sobering truth is that part of you gets something out of hanging onto old patterns. Perhaps it is a sense of control, or of reassuring your ego in its belief that you are a separate being, a victim to life or hard done by in some way. When you accept that you have that impulse, you set yourself free because you let go of the compulsion to keep following that impulse. You accept the temporary discomfort of moving into the new. You accept the loss of perceived control and increased vulnerability. This acceptance is the loving force of Nature, of the unconditionally accepting Earth that has given you every cell of your being and that totally has your back.

This acceptance is not something you can cogitate. Your heart, not your mind, is the home of radical acceptance. I like to think of the heart as God’s living room, where you open to welcome the divine in each moment. It is a place of great alchemy, where the lead of your old stories transform into the gold of compassionate understanding and true power. Its nature is infinite spaciousness and everlasting light. In your heart, you can find room for even the deepest pain, the most wrenching fear.

Open The Closed Doors

Behind every door within you that your mind has slammed shut is not a monster waiting to devour you, but your own vital energy, closed off from you due to fearful misperceptions. You cannot force these doors open. Nor can you figure them out intellectually like a logic puzzle. Only your heart has the power to soften your resistance so that you open them willingly, accept what lies behind them, and reclaim your whole self in all its inherent goodness.

If you are willing to soften and no longer resist the journey from head to heart, you will learn tremendously valuable lessons, gifts that become irrevocable parts of your very essence. See if you can go deeper into yourself to touch that which is timeless, expansive and whole. Try to move beyond your usual perspective on situations. Just on the other side of your habits lie tremendous possibilities. Your heart is the way. Go there.

Between now and next week, find a quiet and safe place where you feel you can be vulnerable and honest with yourself. Then ask yourself the following questions, and answer as candidly and openly as possible:

• How do I feel about going from my head to my heart?
• What does it feel like when I do so?
• Are there places in me that fear being present and in my heart?
• When I go there, what do I feel? What do I see?
• Why do I have this fear? What is the payoff I get from holding on to it?
• Are there parts of me I struggle to accept? What are they and how come?
• Am I willing to see that part of me gets a payoff from not liking them?
• Am I willing to see that my imperfections don’t make me bad, but human?
• Can I begin to soften now and find compassionate acceptance for all aspects of myself, even the ones I don’t like?

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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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