A Word Before We Begin

This blessons (blog-lesson) is inspired by a documentary on Paramhansa Yogananda on Netflix entitled Awakening– (watch it if you haven’t already!)

There are so few role models for to learn from and for us to see what it means to live a whole, integral, spiritual and fulfilling life – and Paramhansa’s presence is still here – via the documentary – as a phenomenal role model to show us how!

Watch Awake!

After watching the documentary, I am left thinking about one thing that really has my attention. Paramhansa went out of his way – in every imaginable way—to help and teach the west. I can identify with his phrasing of coming to the “city jungle” and feeling that trees wouldn’t survive. It speaks to me because I feel like I can’t breath when I’m up to my neck in city, stress and m-band -like e stuff. Whereas being somewhere, like the beach, or a place that is comfortable but has nature’s presence, allows me to tap into the flow. I feel like I can breath, like life is more than good. Like I can sense myself and I exist. It is similar to the way I feel when I’m writing. I suppose it has everything to do with focusing on me versus my outer world

Back to Paramhansa, I’m just not sure that he was fully satisfied with life – and I’m fully aware that I’m projecting here (meaning I may be seeing what I feel, not what’s actually there). I’m not satisfied with life, with the madness, the lack of authenticity and with how difficult it is for me to connect or stay connected. For him, I feel like he dedicated his whole self to helping the western world and in return a hydrogen bomb was dropped in WWII. Maybe the bomb and war would have been much worse if not for him, and maybe he knew this, but it still sounds like a hard blow when you are teaching self-realization and, in this way, promoting peace. He certainly had disappointments, such as not making it back in time to say goodbye to his dying mother and his guru, Sri Yukteswar. On the other hand, his life was divinely guided and I see that he had some reminders (events that occurred in India) to focus his attention within. As such, when he returned to the US he spent days in meditation.

One pivotal moment for Paramhansa must have been when he realized he was always home, no matter where he went, because he was always with himself and God; thus balancing the focus within and the disappointments of life.

That’s really important and meaningful to me. I think I could find that quote by Paramhansa – and maybe I will – and make a 6 week course out of it. Then I could follow a weekly program about focusing on having my center, having my temple of strength and power with me. Having the ability to breath deeply and be here, now, always (you know, or until I don’t have a body to breath in anymore). The purpose of the course would be to add self-presence and a deep, deep sense (maybe a knowingness) that I have it all. Here, now.

I have to say, I just looked up and saw a photo in Starbucks. It is of two men on a truck in a tropical mountain – I guess going to the coffee beans. It’s green and I can almost hear the tropical buzz. I want to be there. I like all the travel I have done to places, especially in Mexico and Bali, (where I felt like life – the one created by the Creator, not the stressful rat-race called life)- was present. Nature’s presence – similar to self-presence. When you hear nature’s sounds, like the buzzing jungle or the crashing waves, you are drawn into the flow of well being. In a city where nature is silenced, there can be an absence of well being. It’s like the movie ‘Pleasantville’: In the movie, life was black and white until people tapped into passion, when life took on color and vibrancy. Sometimes I feel that life is dull in black and white when nature’s flow is absent; life returns to full color when that natural flow of well being, nature’s presence, is present.

That brings me to a dilemma: what is best for my spiritual and personal path? Is it a life closer to nature or a life in the big city where my challenge is to stay connected to my authenticity? On the one hand, nature holds authenticity for you, on the other hand, you have to be able to expand and build things in your life, but there’s not much to build in nature. Was Paramhansa glad he gave his life to living in the city-jungles of the US, which proved to bring him great challenges? Or would he have been better off spending his life meditating in the Himalia’s? By picking the apple, did Eve take she and Adam into the city jungle? Or did Eve’s apple enable them to go build something? Rephrased, was the apple the doorway to self-development that was not afforded in nature, in the garden of Eden?

Here’s the thing: Paramhansa’s said that he realized that either was fine, where he chose to live his life didn’t matter. He still developed himself and fulfilled his life purpose. For many of us to fulfill our life’s purpose, we have to develop ourselves and we aren’t able to do so without living in the city-jungle. Even though it is distracting to our self-realization, it provides the challenges of life that force us to grow and increase our connection to ourselves, which can lead to self-realization. Paradox: distracting us leads to realizing us. Yes, well, the more you experience who and what you are not, the more you begin to realize what you truly are. It is a slow process, like walking around in a dark room to try to figure out what room you are in. So, I always seek to speed up the process, as do my students.

Self Presence & The Garden of Eden

My teachers used the phrase self-presence and, for years, this made no sense to me. I couldn’t comprehend the idea of being here. It was a given, wasn’t it?

“Yes, I am here” – I would say, “So, I’m self-present?”

“No.”

Then they would say it was an energetic thing – and my understanding of what self-presence is, would lessen.

“How do I bring my energy here? I thought it was always with me. I’m here, right? Wait– what?”

Conclusion: ‘I’m confused. That’s all I know, but I knew more before class today.’- I would think to myself.

That’s what it was like for me. In case you can identify, I’m going to come at it from a different angle, from the two men on the truck in the jungle-photo-angle:

I bet you’ve seen the high school experiment in which a carnation flower’s stem is split in two and the stems are placed in red water and blue water, making the white flower half red and half blue. This experiment shows that the presence of color in the water affects the way the flower’s life goes because the flower isn’t only a different color, but perhaps it attracts different insects to pollenate it because of the color change. I don’t know the latter is true, tho it sounds good, and it makes a point:

If we replaced the red or blue die with energy and apply this to ourselves, things start to make sense for you – I hope! Similar to the idea ‘you are what you eat’, if you take this concept deeper, imagine that the colored die, as energy in you, will determine the energy you are ‘fed’. This energy determines how you see things, how you feel about things, how you think about things and your very blueprint. On the other hand, if your ‘stem’ is placed in the m-band energy of the city-jungle (the maya, or world of illusion) then your ‘color’ will be totally different and your thoughts, feelings, actions, energy and blueprint will all come from a lower-vibrating (and illusionary) place.

You too have a blueprint, like a building. For a building, a blueprint outlines the structure or the shape of the building and the systems, such as the plumbing or electrical systems. Your blueprint is the same. It outlines your structure, shape and systems too. For you these look like you physical body’s characteristics, the way your emotional body processes and feels about life and the way your mind thinks about life.

Like the flower, you are tapped into a die, or an energy. One difference tho is that, unlike the flower, you get to choose what energy you are tapped into: the energy of yourself and God or the energy of the city-jungle or whatever you may call the illusionary aspects of life that we believe and live by, hence, are being fed by.

Another way of saying that: back to the two guys in the truck on the mountain-picture: I feel tapped into a flow of life (fed) when I’m in nature. When I’m in the city or surrounded by stress, I’m tapped into a different energy. And it affects me – every aspect of me.

Let’s string it all together now

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Why is Self-Presence Important?

When you are self-present, therefore, you are tapped into the ‘real’ energy of the greater, more eternal, wiser and more connected aspect of you. You are coming from your own divinity.

Self-presence will lead to self-realization.

Self-presence will allow you to increase your personal power.

Self-presence makes you happy, healthy, wise and fulfilled.

How do You Increase Self-Presence?

Meditate. Flow. Choose You.

Self-presence will also come as a result of choosing yourself. What I mean by this is that you want to start to own your own life, putting your ‘stem’ into the colored water of your highest energies. Literally, you want to start to own your life by first choosing to tap into the energy that you are.

In the next lesson we’ll take the idea of self-presence you’ve developed here into the next step, developing your personal power. At the same time, in The Laws That Rule Skool, we’ll be doing exercises and meditative processes to tap you into that self-presence, a foundation we’ll build upon.