Passion + Compassion
Create + Percolate
+ amanda's story
Years ago I was attending a yoga teachers immersion, thousands of miles away from home and community on the southern coast of California. Being so far from everything I knew and everyone that knew me. I felt relieved, the distance allowed the space I needed to truly feel and be myself. We sat on the floor of an unfurnished mansion in Malibu each day for our lunch break and yogis from all over the world shared their stories, loves and losses.
I was awe-struck by one woman who was chatting freely about her love for food, her devotion to art, her appreciation of the ocean swelling before our eyes. I was mesmerized by her passion for Life. And I realized, I want to feel that. I realized, I had slowly and silently slipped away from passion and somehow, into numbness. I compared myself to the passionate yogini and felt envious, I vowed to find what lit me up again, but I had no idea what these grand Passion could be. I placed a lot of pressure on this mysterious passion, it was my key to unlocking a greater Life.
The next day, the focus of the yoga practice was the heart chakra, we had been moving and breathing in unison for sometime when the woman next to me stood up on her yoga mat. She set her feet apart and took a deep breath. She opened her mouth and out spilled a long, high-pitched note that cut through the noise in my mind and the room. She sang in operatic tones and my heart cracked open, out of no-where I began sobbing and dropped to my knees, every note sent me deeper into the ocean of feeling.
She stopped singing and my tears continued to flow uncontrollably, there was no turning back .I cried for the scared little girl inside me. I cried for all the times I had fought back tears. I cried for all the times I had disrespected my soul. Holy waters poured from my heartbreak, my disappointments. The floodgates had opened and it felt as if I was grieving for the collective, for my ancestors and for the planet her-self. I cried for the rest of the day and into the night. As the sun rose, I walked down to the ocean and dunked myself in healing waters and with my whole body, heart and mind submerged it all became clear. Underneath the waves of grief, was a seemingly infinite depth of compassion. And in that ocean of compassion was forgiveness.
The word passion is like a loaded gun, full of potential yet with the ability to paralyse us. If you are thinking “I don’t know what my passion is!” you are about to extract the essence of passion and understand why it’s about Feeling. If you are tapped into the current of passion you are going to channel that energy and realise it’s actually part of your Yoga.
Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray
Rumi, 13th century
The path of passion is as old as time. Before we worshipped science, we had an unshakable faith is something greater than ourselves, Love.
In the ancient spiritual text, The Bhagavad Gita several paths are laid out, all are routes to self-realisation and the path of bhakti is one of them. The word bhakti, is a Sanskrit word translated as meaning devotion. The path of bhakti is not for the faint hearted; it means bringing yoga theory into practice and directly into all your relationships. Your relationship with the divine, other humans and yourself.
Being wildly devoted to someone or something we realize who we truly are. Self-realisation, is a remembering of your own divine nature, is considered the ultimate liberation as we shake off the limiting beliefs and social conditioning that make us forget.
We place too much pressure on passion, we have been led to believe that passion should look a particular way. But it doesn’t look like one thing, or even 50 things, it is unlimited. Passion is an energy that you can consciously cultivate on a daily basis, and I recommend you do. You can be passionate about food, piano, pottery or your partner. The Thing is irrelevant; you can be wildy devoted to anything or anyone.
When you are overcome by passion you are Present, you lose time and thoughts about past or future fall away. Lovers and artists talk about existing in a timeless space, others call it being in the flow state ,we all have access to that state. It can arise spontaneously, like falling in love, where you get sucked into a vortex of no-time. Or you can choose to tend to your passion, like a musician and the Muse,
Be wildly devoted to someone or something.
Cherish every perception.
At the same time forget about control.
Allow the beloved to be herself and to change.
Passion and compassion, h
olding on and letting go
This ache in your heart is holy
Accept t as the rise of intimacy, with life’s secret ways…
The Radiance Sutras
Desire as our wild direction
The essence of passion is the desire to be present. There are many reasons why you might avoid the present moment (Explore the module on Truth for more on this) and another roadblock on the path of passion is the denial of Desire.
Our current patriarchal culture has systematically distorted and denied healthy desire and as a result our relationship to desire in all forms is complicated. To simplify things, look at nature. Every single living creature and plant has a desire to live, to stay alive and propagate the species. Every tree grows in the direction of the sun. Every tide is pulled in the direction of the moon. The direction that we are pulled in is our natural, pre-conditioned desire to grow and evolve. Embrace your desires as your wild, weaving path and move in the direction of your curiosity, it will not lead you astray.
Because of this complication and confusion around desire, you might have a little hangover from religious or even yogic doctrine that taught about desire as being a sin or a distraction from the path. Your desire is your path. Know that, through doing the practice of self-enquiry and participation, doing your yoga, your true desires will become clear. Initially you might embrace superficial desires. A handbag, an inappropriate partner, pizza. But a side effect of doing your yoga is a refinement of your desires. The handbag or destructive relationship will have less pull, they will seem less interesting. As you connect with your centre, your heart and experience true satisfaction, you will magnetise the experiences that quench your thirst for life and you will be attracted to the people that ignite your most heart-felt desires.
Through the practice of yoga, you feel all the feels. You suddenly recognise your desire for more presence and gradually defrost the numbness that is often necessary if the map to navigate the territory of Feeling is missing. –
Devotion is the divine streaming through you.
From that place in you before time.
Loves energy flows through your body.
And into eternity again.
Surrender to this current of devotion.
And become one with the body of love
The Radiance Sutras
CREATE + percolate
You were born to create. Creative energy is why you are here, you are a result of masculine and feminine energy in union, starting as a tiny pulse in your mother's womb. The same creative energy enlivens every leaf, the great pulse of our great Mother, Earth. Swimming in the waters of creativity, you will be reminded of this primordial energy that formed your bones. You remember who you really are and why you are here.
When you are riding a wave of creative energy It can be a tidal wave that knocks you out of daily life and there is no choice but to surrender to the surge. But, like everything in nature, creative energy has an equal and opposite force.
This percolation period is essential, the first pulse of life needs 9 months to gestate. A seed grows through many cycles to bloom and it is natural and necessary to allow your personal creations time to steep, to become potent and refined. Something to be aware of is the personal blocks and resistance that arise when in the process of making creative energy into manifest form. Here is where the yoga practice comes in. The practice allows us to see ourselves clearly and discern the difference between when we are percolating and when we are procrastinating.
The more important the activity or creation is for the evolution of your soul, the more real the resistance will feel. The yoga practice circulates the creative energy, so you don’t become stagnated or blocked. Just like a child, or a flower, in order for anything to manifest; an integration of masculine and feminine energy must take place. Surrendering resistance so that Life is your creation, your path becomes your art. will not be a defeat of the mind but a divine release of addition to self sabotage and an embrace of the whole. Your whole, holy self; masculine hustle combined with feminine intuition, powerful light and fertile darkness.
The yogic understanding of Feeling is that emotion is simply energy-in-motion. When this moving energy is held in the body or mind, it becomes stagnant and then suffering begins. Pure emotion, only lasts seconds to minutes on a biochemical level, anything longer than that, is our mind replaying the trigger.
THE Cascade of Feeling
The invitation here is to lean in to emotions, to ask yourself “what's deeper than this?” Let go and drop into the next level of feeling. Let go, not because you no longer care or are not in pain but because you know you’re supported by something greater than yourself, the ever-nurturing Mother Earth is supporting your evolvement and you can Land.
The first phase of Feeling, is actually not feeling, numb-ness. Your practice will dissolve the armor that accolades around the heart and lungs, the practice itself initiates this process on both the physical and energetic level. We connect with the body as a whole and begin to feel with the whole body. Naturally we begin to experience feelings that are painful, they might be memories or they might be current experiences that cause this pain, suddenly things that were tolerable in relationships and in life are no longer tolerable.
There is likely to be Anger. You might feel rage coursing through your blood for no apparent reason. Or your colleague might be irritating. You might be infuriated by politics or poverty. You might wonder why the yoga isn’t working and feel impatient to get to feeling ‘good’ rather than feeling more patient. It is normal to Feel all this and the yoga works by moving that energy and transforming it into fuel for you to lean in to the next phase.
Under the anger is something deeper, fear. Usually fear of the unknown. Fear of being alone. Thisse deep rooted fears are intrinsically human, we all experience fear in one form or another and we are biologically wired to. The primary motive of fear is to keep you safe. In rare cases, it may be a protection of your physical safety, more often fear is protecting the ego-self, your known identity. Fear is always a projection into the future, with a comparison to the past. Mental projection into the unknown while feeling what is known and familiar. Fear can be one of the most powerful emotions, it grips onto the safety of your ego and the known reality and paralyse you into inaction. Remember that fear is just like all the other emotions, it’s natural state is moving, energy in motion. The Key, as with all emotions is to embrace it, fear is The Key, to unlocking the gift of grief.
get to grief
All the emotions cascade down to grief. Your job is to get to grief as swiftly as possible. Not to be confused with bypassing the layers of feeling. Imagine you are at the top of a long waterfall as you gaze down, you see it’s too far to jump all the way to the bottom but there are rock-pools for you to pause on the way down. There are two things that can happen here that obstruct the natural flow. One is, you linger in a particular rock-pool for too long, causing a backlog of energy, or you remain at the top, not participating and missing the invitation to soak in the sweet waters of emotion. Feel the fullness of grief and know your capacity for grief will become your reservoir for Compassion.
Your capacity to feel compassion for another being is inseparable from the compassion you have for yourself. To live a life that is ignited by passion is to soak in the waters of compassion, being compassionate to another and to ourselves is the definition of True Love – the kind of Love that goes beyond flowers and fireworks, the kind of Love that knows no barriers, that unites all beings.
Each path has a masculine and feminine aspect, as you see all through nature, the combination of masculine and feminine results in a third aspect being born. In the case of the bhakti path, you have the masculine aspect of passion; the upward rising energy of inspiration, integrated with the downward flow of compassion as the feminine aspect. When these two aspects are united what is born is True Love. A love that is fulfilling, sustaining and regenerative.
When you unite Passion and Compassion you embody Love beyond conditions, that elusive unconditional love that you might experience a glimpse of, or maybe dwell in for an extended period. It’s through this experience of unconditional love we feel first hand dissolution of separate-ness and realize once and for all, all there is, is Love.
Writing Reflections + Inner Exploration
Below you will find writing prompts for each day, be sure to dedicate time to write one A4 page for each reflection, keep your pen moving until you fill the page and don’t settle for less. You can also refer back to the philosophy shared above and use it to spark your own inner explorations.
+ week one
- day 1. When was the last time you felt lit up or in the flow? What were you doing? It might be a memory from childhood or more recently. Dedicate a block of time this week to Do That Thing,even if you’re not ‘good’ at it.
- day 2. Write 1 page describing how you want to feel in your Home, sacred space and workplace.
- day 3. Write 1 page describing how you want to feel in your intimate relationships, friendships and family
- day 4. Write 1 page describing how you want to feel in the area of work, your livelihood and creative endeavours
- day 5. Write 1 page describing how you want to feel in relation to your wider community and your contribution
- day 6. Write 1 page describing how you want to feel in the realm of spirituality, your soul or original self
- day 7. Now go back over your writing for the last 5 days and circle/ highlight any words that stand out or repeat, write these keywords out and narrow them down to 3 potent words that you adore. Write them out and post them somewhere you will see them daily, these are your guide words, use them to affirm the life you truly desire and to navigate your daily choice. Ask yourself , ``Does this make me feel X,Y, Z?’
+ week two
- day 1. Identify what are some of your desires? List as many surface-level, material desires you want fulfilled and then go deep, what is your soul yearning to do, be or experience?
- day 2. Identify a “pain point” in your life, someone or something that makes you angry. It may be from the past or current relationship dynamic, experience or emotional triggers that cause pain or anger for you. Write about this scenario is as much detail as you can. If this is the first time doing this exercise start with something small and current.
- day 3. Recall the scenario from yesterday. Ask yourself, what’s deeper than that? Get underneath the pain and see what fear might be at the root of your experience. Keep going, ask yourself, what’s deeper than that? If you get stuck in one emotion, ask again.
- day 4. Continue with the same scenario and allow yourself to get to the grief, is there anyway you can be more compassionate toward yourself or the other person in this experience?
- day 5. What do you need to forgive yourself for?
- day 6. How can you be more loving toward yourself?
- day 7. Integration day. Write out 3 ways you can turn your insights into action today
All the pathways have points of overlap and intersection and what bolsters each path is your personal daily practice of yoga, which is your direct participation with the various energies of bhakti, jhana and karma.
At the intersection between Passion and Power you will find Freedom. Through truly loving, being devoted and compassionate, we create the conditions for the beloved (which might be another person, or might be yourself) to Be exactly who they are, empowered in their truth and in trust, this is Freedom. To embody more Power, Peace, Truth and Trust go to the path of POWER next.
As we near the intersection of Passion and Purpose, we see another exchange that elevates both paths equally. Love sustains purpose and purpose sustains Love. This means that being connected to passion and compassion is what sustains our offering of daily action. It’s Love that makes being of service selfless, regenerative and ensures that even through giving we are receiving to an equal degree. Walk down the path of PURPOSE next to continue in this direction.