62 Minute Sat Kriya Meditation Experience…Turning Into A Tree

Last night during Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training we had to do a 62 minute version of the Sat Kriya meditation, which you can find HERE if interested. It happened to be one of the most powerful experiences of my life, even up there with taking Ayahuasca, kambo and mushrooms.

First of all, to stay in this position for 62 minutes is asking your body to do something it REALLY doesn’t wanna do. And when you’re in this highly meditative state, you start to become aware of EVERYTHING. At least I did.

I kept thinking of something my friend Carey said in a recent women’s group, that when she birthed her daughter it was an amazing experience because she became a true observer, and she said she was able to just witness the PROCESS and stay separate from it, watching as her body wrung out this baby. As someone who really wants to experience childbirth someday, I knew that I’d have to get through this experience and practice getting into this “observer” mode.

When we began, my nose and eye were already itchy, but I remembered what I read about Vipassana silent retreats and how when you’re sitting in meditation for such a long time, you start to notice that sensations come and go. So I decided to watch these sensations come and go and started getting really curious and interested to see what sensation would come next. I noticed how my fingers would ever so slightly take turns leaning on each other to alleviate tension in my shoulders. I noticed how shifting slightly in my legs would create a variety of sharp sensations that would shoot through my feet and ankles and result in numbness. At first it was really quite beautiful to experience the cycle of bodily sensations and truly feel the temporary nature of all our discomfort.

At one point I burst out laughing because I couldn’t believe how fucked up I must be to try something so painful, and then I remembered I went to the jungle to have a spiritual death and thought it’s been so funny what I’ve put myself through to heal.

I was hoping after that I was through the worst of it and I would break through into some blissful state, but then our teachers said it was only halfway done and I thought “ARE YOU KIDDING?!” The rest of the way was one of the most physically painful experiences of my life!

The sensations were no longer “interesting” they were just HORRIBLY PAINFUL and I couldn’t focus on the chanting as well as before. And then I had this realization that these waves of pain are the waves of life, and yes we do experience joy, but we also experience this PAIN… over and over again. And parts of us are constantly dying, over and over again. Within this pain in my body, I felt the ebb and flow of these life/death/life cycles that I had previously only felt mentally through ayahuasca and shrooms. Every time I feel these cycles it’s so overwhelming to me, but this was a different kind of overwhelm.

It’s like I was meeting my own emotions head on, and normally I lash out like scream at the top of my lungs or go be mean to Eddy or have a crying tantrum, but this was the first time I experienced not really having anywhere for my emotions to go, because I had to stay in this pose and had to keep chanting. I would also be fine for long stretches of time, then suddenly feel a sharp stab of pain and IMMEDIATELY start howling because that was the only way to get my mind off it, since I really no longer wanted to experience the physical sensations. My own VOICE was the only thing that could distract me. Jen would say things like “EXPERIENCE YOUR OWN TRUE POWER. NO ONE CAN TAKE THIS FROM YOU” and I feel like I DID. The fact that my screaming could distract me from that pain made me see this EXPLOSIVE side of me is actually SO POWERFUL, I just need to learn how to tame it — like fire.

I started to wonder if all this screaming and crying I was doing was all built up from my past when I used to never cry, never scream, and repressed it all. It was like all those uncomfortable moments in my life were represented by these shooting pains I would get, and I saw that THIS IS JUST LIFE. EVERYONE GOES THROUGH THIS. EVERYONE IS CONSTANTLY GOING THROUGH THESE SENSATIONS OF PAIN. And then I started grieving because I realized I have to ACCEPT this. The DARK part of duality. Because this is just… nature.

I remember also being ANGRY thinking “I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR THIS” even though I had TOTALLY signed up for Kundalini training, I didn’t sign up for life. We all have to go through this experience of being human… but we didn’t ASK for it. I’m sure in my yoga training they would argue that our souls all CHOSE to be here on this earth at this specific time in history to learn very specific lessons. On good days sure, I believe that, but because pain and suffering are SUCH a constant in our lives… honestly it’s pretty fucked up that we have to just keep going through this.

Maybe this just means I still have a lot to release before I can achieve a true state of peace, but peace is pretty damn hard when you’re living such a dualistic, paradoxical existence.

At the very end when Jen said “YOU ONLY HAVE A COUPLE SECONDS LEFT, THESE ARE THE ONES THAT COUNT THE MOST” I actually did manage to enter a strange state of peace, where all this bright light came in and I had a flash of what I saw when I did ayahuasca, this triangle symbol… what I feel represents my soul. And then I collapsed.

My body felt broken, like my arms and legs just no longer worked. Plus I immediately started crying so hard it was like my dad had died all over again. It took so much energy to just get to laying on my back.

But I made it, while in that position I literally felt completely spent. I couldn’t move ANYTHING, all I could do was heave heavy sobs. But then a familiar vision came to me that I had had years ago when I did energy work with Jackie.

I had washed up, unconscious, on a black volcanic shore, and a little being of light that I’m now sure is something representative of my inner child, comes up with a pitcher and starts pouring liquid light into my mouth. It spills out the sides of my mouth as rainbow light and the rainbow liquid starts to collect around my body and seep into the volcanic rock, and as it does, life begins to grow — grass, flowers, plants — everything becomes green.

That’s where the vision previously ended, but this time as I lay in Savasana on the ground after this kriya, I started to feel as though my arms and legs had become roots and they were rooted into the ground. Then in my vision, I saw that this tree began to grow from my abdomen, and my body was the root system. It grew until it had a fairly decent canopy, but I could tell it was still a young tree. However, it was able to grant shade.

And suddenly my whole life was flashing before my eyes, starting with my pregnant mom appearing under the tree that was me, using it as shade. I’m not going to type out everything that came up because it’s WAY TOO MUCH, but from there it accelerated through my childhood coping with the struggles my parents had, then into me waiting in the hospital during my mom’s miscarriage and feeling her pain so deeply that I never even thought about. Then my thoughts shifted to my mom and how there were so many points in my life that I hated her, and even now it’s rough sometimes to go back and do this healing work and see the depths by which her words and demeanor affected me, “stunted” me. And although I feel like I’ve forgiven her and seen her as her own person, it wasn’t until last night that I feel like I began to really open my heart to her and feel for all of her sacrifices, her loss and pain. Lol I even texted her about it but I’m absolutely certain she doesn’t know how to respond…

And THEN after I went through this with my mom, I continued to go through my life, my teenage years and my relationship with Michael, and Vince, but then when I got to Eddy it’s like the heart opening happened AGAIN with him, and I started to cry for all the pain HE had gone through in his past that he always tried to tell me about and I thought I was listening, but I suppose I wasn’t EMPATHIZING. It felt as though something was cracking open in me, and it’s the part of me that has always avoided truly opening myself to experiencing the horror and pain of others at a deeper level, rather than just sympathizing with them from the outside.

It was a POWERFUL experience.

Trees have been coming up a lot lately, and I love this quote by Ram Dass which Jen brought to one of her morning meditations recently.

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I was witnessing my OWN tree. The moments that came up for me when my life flashed before my eyes were the moments when my tree BENT, or took a different direction. And this tree represented my WISDOM. This tree is the wise woman within me… growing this entire time but never able to provide shade until NOW. This tree was the perfect symbol of the observer within me, and it also enabled me to feel on a deep level the WISDOM of ALL TREES. They stand there, weathering countless storms, witnessing a variety of lifetimes, that life/death/life cycle ALL AROUND THEM CONSTANTLY, and THEY’RE not allowed to have tantrums, THEY’RE not allowed to cry… but the WHOLE PLANET is dying and they just stand there and OBSERVE it ALL…

When I finally was able to get up to write all this down in my journal, I had realized that there were so many times I WANTED to get up, but my body straight up would say “no, stay there, you’re not ready” and would tense up instead of rise… and I had to repeatedly breathe into it and relax, and as I did I would go back into my visions. It was all such a trippy experience, but I felt like I did so much intuition building work and have shifted so profoundly because of it.

Afterward Eddy was playing all these beautiful old songs in this playlist that he made for me, titled “Elora.” Every song he would play just spoke to my soul on such a deep level that all I could do was cry. I was completely drained. Absolutely spent. But in the best way possible.

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4HHEknDfulSD4CezbshFf3?si=azK-DHwaSX-pXeXzGdfoTw

Eddy and I of course had a wonderful discussion after, and he always brings things back to this world, this reality, this system that we’re living in. I could see how self centered I’ve been because of the programming of this society, this culture, and the reason I seek out such extreme experiences is because there’s such a strong part of me that KNOWS I need to be reprogrammed. That knows I need to learn to PROGRAM MYSELF.

This quarantine is exposing so much of our broken capitalist system and the brainwashing of this consumerist society, and I see now that every time I do something like this, I’m slowly breaking down the effects of this culture and coming back to myself in the way that I can open my heart and be there for other people, like my mom, like Eddy. It’s disgusting to me the gluttony and selfishness that has pervaded most of my life, simply because my mom wanted me to have what she didn’t have in the Philippines, but the excess becomes TOXIC.

It’s so nice to feel like my heart is finally starting to open and I’m hoping this means I’m beginning to move out of my lower chakras. I am beyond grateful for tools like yoga and meditation that don’t require me to go on some trip or take some substance to meet my truest self… and now awesome it is that the closer I get to myself, the closer I also get to other people. Yes life is pain, but it’s also beautiful as fuck.

I wrote this hours ago and am just posting it now, but now I need to post something else. What was even the point of this? God.

Here are some crappy drawings that I didn’t get a chance to finish but I’m gonna put them here anyway because I don’t think I’ll ever go back and finish them later so might as well. Gets the point across.

Sat Kriya01Sat Kriya02-00Sat Kriya02Sat Kriya03

Confessions From Quarantine 03

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It’s been SO WONDERFUL to finally feel like I have an outlet to express these emotions… I was never able to before and it was so painful ;__; Phew!!! These are some insights from my depressive episode last week. I think it’ll be interesting to see the comic flip flop in styles depending on my mood haha!

I AM…

At the Journey Home women’s retreat I went to last year, we did an exercise where we went around to each woman as a sort of “speed date” and we told our partner positive traits that our intuition FELT about them, while looking deeply in their eyes. In the end we chose which of those traits to claim, in the form of “I AM.” Gosh I haven’t looked at this for a while…and it just makes me tear up. I am so grateful for all those wonderful ladies I connected with that week. They told me what they could see in me… and it was beautiful. Posting here as a reminder for when I need it:

I AM MAGIC
I am a seeker of truth
I am barefoot in the jungle
I am in a huge underground cavern nourished with running water and beautiful rock formations
I am acceptance
I am an infant and wise woman all at once
I am chosen innocence
I am deep wisdom
I am the fairy lights
I am overwhelming at times yet sparkle with infectious aliveness
I am fierceness, vitality and exuberance
I am a warrior goddess who champions love, joy, courage, honesty and authenticity
I am Elora. 

Perhaps I’m starting to see it a lil bit of this within myself… 🙂

Bipolar Extremity As A Superpower!

Mood: 😀

So that’s what I mean by “enjoying life”– allowing yourself to feel this blissful, like everything is right in the world, even if it’s burning down around you.

baloothisislivin

“Now this is livin’!” – Me at this very moment (Wonder what it’ll be tomorrow lol…)

Dunno if I’m going manic or what, especially after what happened yesterday… but I dunno I’m just feeling really great all of a sudden. I think it started when I was working and thinking “I wonder if I can enjoy this” and then I realized that, part of what’s been wrong is that I NEED TO ENJOY LIFE and I’ve been CHOOSING not to this whole time! And it JUST dawned on me.

How ridiculous is that?!

I think… on good days like this for me… I can step back and see that life is just one huge game. I think it was as I was reviewing older posts and I saw this enneathought I posted.

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I am simply the result of too much selfishness and egocentricity, but to look at it and accept it… to KNOW that where I’ve come from has turned me into that… I can now just… let it go.

I wish I could see the enneathoughts for the other types for that specific one… because it shows me that we humans on earth, basically all we’re here for is to exist to provide examples for other humans to learn. I was looking back at my life today thinking “at what points do I feel like I’ve learned the most? And what am I learning from? I feel like I’m ALWAYS learning!”

And that’s because you learn from the world around you!  Yeah sure people go to school and value that sort of academic learning… learning more about how other people say the world works… but someone like me learns from doing. Learns from experiencing.

And I think that’s why I’m one of those “Apocaloptimists” they’re talking about, and Eddy is the complete opposite of that.

apocaloptimist

I’ve been following this “healer” path for a while, but I guess just realizing it’s a healer path since I’ve come back from doing Ayahuasca, even though I had been doing it all along.

You know, people say about mental illness that you can shift your perspective to see it as a “superpower” rather than a “flaw.” I could clearly see the obvious superpowers of bipolar — boundless energy, sometimes productive mania, generally more open with others — but one of the something I’m starting to become really aware of is the EXTREMITY of it all.

I guess I’ve been slowly becoming aware of this for a while, but it hit me really hard today! When I went to the Journey Home women’s retreat last year, Claire brought up the idea of a pendulum, and how we have to allow ourselves to swing all the way to each end in order to truly see ourselves and heal, but a lot of us are afraid to and only swing somewhere in the middle.

But if you live just in the middle…it’s true that you feel less pain because you have walls up to protect yourself, but is that truly living? Some would argue that not truly feeling life to it’s fullest isn’t, but I suppose some people would be ok with that in order to be safe. One of my friends literally told me so when I mentioned the pendulum — she did NOT want to venture further, which was shocking to me!

So that’s what I mean by “enjoying life”– allowing yourself to feel this blissful, like everything is right in the world, even if it’s burning down around you.

Lol I feel like I now understand this on a deeper level:
onfire

Yes, this is a good mood day, but it made me realize how much I value this “enjoyment,” and I suddenly started seeing that I was choosing to just look at certain things as “unenjoyable” when… that was only a perception I was deciding to choose.

But that’s just a habit right? A pattern? And something I realized today was the effect music can have on me… I never knew before, but I guess today I was extra sensitive, and I noticed that listening to mantra calms my mind down enough to simply enjoy the act of working.

And now having felt that enjoyment working, I can continue to chase that feeling to release dopamine and keep me entertained by something I previously disliked. And maybe turn THAT into a habit instead!

Of course this is just a hypothesis and I won’t know until I try it tomorrow and… I wonder if it can work even if I’m depressed. At least it’s a ray of hope!

Something interesting too is, I asked Eddy if he considers it a priority to “enjoy life” and he said no! I knew it! I don’t think it is for an Enneagram Type 5! To him it was more about “protection of life.” I wonder… what would YOU consider your “priority” of life? Yes, it changes… but I’m curious what it could be other than to “enjoy” it too.

ANYWAY LIKE I WAS SAYING!!! The extremity is a superpower because we as bipolar people ALLOW OURSELVES TO FEEL BOTH ENDS OF THE SPECTRUM!!!

I dunno how this is with other people, but at least for me I feel like I come alive in a crisis situation. Like… if everyone else is freaking out, I feel like I can keep calm and somehow make people around me feel better, even though normally I feel like I’m complete shit.

Yeah, it sucks to be on the low end but I’m betting that being in that dark place so much gives us a tolerance to it that only people with similar experiences have. And because we’ve been equally as far on the other, “good” side… (remember: pendulum) we’re able to stay optimistic because that feeling was SO GOOD that we’re constantly trying to get back there. Then once we’re there and people experience our true joy, they see that it IS possible… to feel that. And that’s one of the true beauties of life, isn’t it?

And THEN, when the world goes to this level of darkness, like it has, many of those people haven’t allowed themselves to feel enough pain to be ok with it. Like their tolerance is too low. But I suppose… being a hungry ghost to the extreme level — a “perpetually unsatiable 7,” the hunger trains you for… The Hunger Games. LOL.

“Lessons from gluttony”, if I’m not mistaken haha xD

I’ve noticed that people at these retreats and such that I’ve been going to are similar… they’ve gone through enough pain to make them seek an alternative path in life… a path that’s painful, but they don’t give up trying to understand — themselves and others. It truly is the path of healing, because once you heal yourself, obviously you’d want to pass that knowledge along.

And that’s what I’m vowing to do. Hopefully I can remember this… and come back to it.

We’ve all got superpowers! I’m so happy I feel like I’m starting to discover mine!

This is the song that helped you have this epiphany btw, good idea to maybe come back to it later when things go bad again. Ganesh is a great for you — “REMOVER OF OBSTACLES” — exactly what’s needed right now 🙂 Highly recommend this mantra if you wanna stop being stuck! I’m gonna try listening to it the whole time I work and see what happens!

The Pain of Duality

“Grief is the space between what you expect and what you get.” – Dan Harmon’s Therapist

Yesterday was my first day as a character designer on Rick and Morty. I felt really lucky because it ended up being one of their monthly screening parties where they show a finished episode and have pizza and beer and do a raffle. In the beginning the creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland got up to say something before showing the episode, and Dan’s speech really got to me. It’s been a rough season and a lot has happened, and he wasn’t afraid to reflect that in his speech which was so admirable to me. He mentioned a “sociopathic god” and how we don’t know if he loves us or hates us so what we end up getting is “randomness”, and how his therapist said that “grief is the space between what you expect and what you get.” At the end when he was thanking the crew for their great work, he said that as creatives our minds are different, and basically how we should embrace that. He said something like “so have your anxiety, depression, autism—whatever! Your brains are brilliant how they are, and because of those brains coming together we’ve made the best cartoon in the universe!”

This REALLY got to me, more than I even realized. I was still contemplating it in sadhana this morning, and it turned into a meditation on the nature of duality and mental illness. I feel like this year I’m really only starting to feel the real effects of my bipolar diagnosis from last year, which I can only say because of a drastic perspective shift. Working in animation has always been a love/hate relationship for me, because even though it IS a dream come true and what I’ve always wanted to do, working the jobs themselves simultaneously makes me hate myself for my current skill level, and also makes me wanna quit and do my own thing because I feel like I’m wasting away helping someone else complete THEIR vision, even though I haven’t felt like I have adequate skills to make my own thing ANYWAY. But starting at Rick and Morty and hearing Dan’s speech…I couldn’t help but feel welcomed in the best way possible. I felt like because of what these creators experience, they’ve created something really special…something that has managed to become the most popular cartoon on TV and find a place in cartoon history for a reason. They are able to inject existential angst and the struggles of life in these high concept sci-fi adventures which lightens it up enough to be digestible by the general public, and make everyone who watches the show feel like they’re not alone cuz “Hey! Someone else is feeling this way too!” Hearing them talk, especially Dan, made me feel like it was DEFINITELY the place for me. A place that understands and welcomes the pain of existence…a place where you can just be. A place where I can truly work on a show with a message that I’m proud of because it’s the message that I too want to spread. 

Anyway. All of that stuff made me realize that as humans, we ARE duality manifest. ALL of us. And within the duality we experience, we begin to cling onto SPECIFIC aspects of duality and obsess about them. For me…something that hit me real hard today was noticing that I go back and forth between thinking mental illness is real and thinking it’s fake. Back and forth between believing I’m “bipolar” and wanting to just attribute what I feel to “being emotional” and I’m just how I am because of my past and environmental factors. Nature vs nurture right? But what Dan said about artists brains made me think…

Diagnosis or not, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US HAS A DIFFERENT, SPECIAL BRAIN. That brain makes our minds function in complex ways that we spend our entire LIVES trying to cope with and figure out. But I think…as a human…this is always how it was meant to be.

The fact that I’ve been stuck in the duality of “bipolar or not” shows me that, even though I wanted to kinda “transcend the label,” I’ve still been focusing too much on the “label” without fully accepting how I actually am. I suppose this is the first step to acceptance…and it’s not that I’m necessarily trying to accept the diagnosis itself, I’m more just trying to accept MYSELF — myself and how my brain makes me think and function in this reality. It’s incredibly liberating to see that this is one of the prisons ive been trapping myself in. Now hopefully I can remind myself I’ve come to these conclusions next time this arises! That’s the challenge, right? Haha!

Something else that came through during sadhana this morning was this thought of “are we all just constantly somewhere on this duality spectrum until we cross a line from light to dark, negative to positive?”

Maybe “bipolar” can just be thought of as a term for people who cycle between those opposites quicker than others, who make their home at the actual POLES rather than the in between. And maybe this definition is an easier way for me to accept how my mind operates.

In a similar way, people who are depressed are more inclined to the negative pole. We’re all just vibrations and frequencies anyway right? And one of our goals in life is to raise our frequency go move more toward the light? Easier said than done but…that’s why I’m doing this Kundalini Yoga Training! 

In sadhana, the song choices that my teacher picked were a completely different vibe than yesterday. To me, they all sounded melancholy, somewhat urgent, yet angelic…seeming to express “it’s tough to live in a world with duality, but that’s what makes it beautiful.” 

This past weekend we were learning yoga nidra, and one offshoot of it is called iRest, a program developed by Robert Miller I think in the 70s to help with the PTSD of war veterans. In this set, we did an exercise to experience opposites — hot/cold, anger/joy, light/heavy — first separately, and then we were asked to try and experience them together. I could very easily feel the opposite sensations in my body separately, but when trying to feel them together I got frustrated and confused because my body just wasn’t able to grasp it. And after feeling that confusion for a while, I ended up just relaxing and achieving a sort of “calm.” When asked how we felt after the exercise, I raised my hand and described my experience and one of my teachers said that “calm” I felt is essentially the experience of infinity and the goal of yoga — to embody that stillness BETWEEN opposites. She went on to explain that in our human experience we can ONLY feel opposites SEPARATELY, which is why the darkness is necessary in order to know the light…the pain is necessary in order to know what it feels like to be happy. It’s that age old concept of yin and yang, and although I always “knew” about it since it’s so widely spread in our culture — that idea of the light and dark being NECESSARY to balance the world…to FEEL IT in my body was a COMPLETELY different experience. One approaching a more “true understanding.” 

I think BECAUSE I feel so much being bipolar, it’s so easy to be at and experience the POLES, because they’re EASIER to feel. Even though the negative pole of depression is difficult to be IN, it’s more apparent to feel THAT than some vague in between, and it’s also easier to feel the “positivity” of mania. But thinking about what Dan Harmon’s therapist said with GRIEF basically being the in between…it makes so much sense to me. I would RATHER experience the POLES than the IN BETWEEN because the grief of knowing that sooner or later I have to go back to one or the other is maddening. And that’s the melancholy I heard in the songs this morning — it’s almost like a constant state of underlying sadness, knowing that each day inches us closer to our deaths, and if we hold ourselves back and continue to have unrealistic expectations, then being in the in between will always somehow feel like failure. And that’s constant grief…grief about our potential not living up to how we see ourselves in our heads…grief that sooner or later we’re gonna die not having done what we want…grief that sooner or later, no matter WHAT we do, everyone and everything we love will turn to dust. 

I definitely feel like I’m beginning to grasp something deeper…and although it’s instilling more of a sense of “peace” I can’t help but be a little sad about it. Yet…I think I’m going in the right direction? I just keep trying to remember something else I learned in yoga…that we chose to incarnate in this exact lifetime at this time in history for a reason, and everything we go through is the exact thing our soul is yearning to learn. Regardless of how sad I feel, I still get the sense of being on the “right path,” and maybe that’s all that can bring us solace in this difficult human existence.