Hello beautiful people,
How are you all? I wish I could hear your responses, lol. I read the Untethered Soul and was inspired by Michael Singer’s writing. I looked up his website online and saw that he had a yoga temple called The Temple of the Universe in Alachua, FL. Wait, this isn’t too far from Clermont, FL. I look it up and it’s about 2 hours away. There was a yoga class that night followed by a meditation followed by a talk by Michael Singer, the writer of The Untethered Soul. I love meeting the writers of books or youtube personalities that inspired me. It was around 1pm when I looked all this up and I would have to leave by 3:30ish in order to ensure I had enough time to get there. I spontaneously drive up there. On my way out, my mom jokingly says, fuck you for being so spontaneous. She just wants to do something fun too. She worries when I leave the whole time and called about 5 times worrying that I was going to die and did I have my will all arranged. Geez, it’s just a mini trip. Talk about guilt trip, I feel guilty leaving my mom at home alone. I go anyway, I’m being pulled and I have to go.
I get there and it’s a wooden temple in the middle of the woods. It almost looks like a house but it’s not. I walk in and it looks almost a little dated inside. There is a basic mini kitchen and a temple room. The temple room has light blue carpet that reminds me of the 1970’s or 80’s. There is an alter in the center with photos and statues of the great religious leaders and famous yogi’s. I like that they celebrate all the faiths as there were many enlightened teachers to pay homage to.
I was raised Catholic, including Catholic schools during grade school. For some reason it didn’t resonate with me. The most religious person that I knew was my mother and we also had the most dysfunctional relationship. I rejected religion for years. For a long time, I didn’t go to church and I really didn’t know what I believed in so I ignored the topic. I hate putting a label to anything but I guess you could say I was agnostic. I went to Christian churches, youth church groups and camps and I felt the same thing. My instincts were telling me that if the message wasn’t love then something was wrong. Some of the sermons created fear and separation and this is what I felt like I didn’t like. I did believe in Jesus but I also couldn’t deny the Buddha or other religious beliefs. After doing a lot of research I realized that there is a Oneness to all these different religions. If you study all of them then you will see there is a common thread through all of them. The different religions are the different vehicles to the oneness of god. This was something that I could wrap my mind around. For the longest time I rejected God. With this new understanding, I could accept God into my heart. The spiritual void in my life somehow was filled and now I have a strong devotion to God. I like this about yoga. Yoga helped me find God.
In the temple we do a yoga class around the alter with flowers, candles and pictures of Jesus, the Buddha, the Virgin Mary, Patanjoli and famous religious leaders. After the class we sat in silence on big pillows and they make a runway for Michael to walk down and put his keyboard at the base of the alter.
After about 30 minutes after yoga class Michael Singer walks in. He bows at the alter and then sits lotus style on the floor. He is in his 60’s or 70’s I guess. He does his whole talk in this lotus position and I think that I can’t even hold that pose for an hour without some discomfort. His does a mini stretch and starts playing a devotional chant on the keyboard. Everyone joins in. He finishes and begins his talk with is essentially a summary of his book. He talks about opening your heart and never closing it energetically. We are all one and if we keep our hearts open then we will feel joy and happiness like we couldn’t believe. He said this one simple technique alone is more powerful than meditation. Meditation is good for like 15 minutes in the morning and at night but that’s it. He has a simplicity to his style and he talks with joy and enthusiasm. There is something magnetic to this person. Everyone hangs on his last word. At the end he does a thirty minute question and answer. This is my favorite part. I can watch the lecture on youtube. I want to talk to this individual and ask him how to apply his teachings to everyday life.
I ask, “Michael, how do I apply opening my heart to death? Both of my parents are very sick and I am watching them suffer with pain. It sucks. The anxiety that I feel over the fear of their death is overwhelming to me. What should I do?” I start to cry and I can’t turn it off. I am a buggary wet mess. I have to get up to get the tissues. I sit with a straight face with tears rolling down that I fight not to let out. Damn it, this is embarrassing I think. I hate that I am crying about this and that I’m so emotional. Waaaaaaahhhhh. I ask anyway because I want to ask someone who is going to give me a really good answer. I could ask a friend but I want an answer from someone who has some some work on enlightenment. Here’s his response.
“Amy, you need to change how to think about death. You are attached and that is why you suffer. Death is a celebration of someone’s life. They lived it and now they pass. Everyone passes. It is just an event in life that happens and your resistance to it creates your suffering. Think of yourself like a rock in the river. The water is the events in your life and they need to flow through you. If you try to create a dam or stop the water from flowing through you then you have to work really hard and it’s exhausting. He references this analogy from the book Siddhartha. Stop resisting death and simply let it flow through you. You are the rock witnessing the events or water flow through you. Stop clinging. The details of death are not pretty but that is a part of life. He references the Bhagavad Gita and how Arjuna has to go to war and kill his cousins, friends and people he knows. It overwhelms him and he doesn’t want to do it. Krishna tells him it’s his duty and that he may kill the body but not the soul. My parents soul lives on as we are all one.” When I told him it sucks to watch them suffer he says I need to change my words and attitude about death. “Death is the ultimate expression of I love you. All of a sudden the last years, months, weeks, days and hours are filled with meaning. We tell people how we really feel. The sadness that I feel is just my love for my parents. Celebrate their life not suffer in the sadness of death. I have just been culturally conditioned in the west that death is a bad thing. It’s not a bad thing. They had a life. They lived it and they will die. It’s all a part of life. Iyengar didn’t cry when his parents passed. He did a headstand for some time and that was it. Let it go. Of course you suffer when you say death sucks. That is a very dark way to think about it. Change your conditioning. Change your words. Change your thoughts. Death is simply an event that I have to let pass through me. “
As we walk out he gives me a hug and asks if it helps and I say yes because I never heard anyone talk about death like that before. I drive 2 hours home in the dark contemplating what he says. He is a powerful teacher. I feel better. I feel light and I’m catch when my words are dark. A simple example is that my previous blog was originally titled “Home Improvement Obsession” to “Creating My Home Sanctuary”. I changed the language of the whole post to talk about this beautiful project that I get to create instead of it being a negative obsession. Now the work begins. I am being mindful of my words as they affect my thoughts. Words Matter! Change your language, change your life. Peace out beautiful people. Use positive words and watch how it can help lift your moods. I love you.