Addicted to Yoga: Owl Meditation for Examining Darkness
Through the years yoga has undergone many transformations and evolutions. One such change I never would have anticipated is the use of yoga as a form of addiction. It has been confessed to my ears on several occasions that yoga was used as a way for individuals to check out of their daily life or responsibilities, or used as a method to procrastinate timelines.
“But yoga is a good addiction, right?” No. Addiction is addiction - plain and simple. Using a medicine, beverage, way of thinking, belief system, tool, or activity repetitively out of context or outside the original intent is abuse. Using anything deliberately and with repetition to hide, run away from, or cloak reality is the foundation of addiction. You can be addicted to yoga when using it outside its intentions.
Yoga has an inherent design to have its practitioners remain mindful and driven with purpose. Every breath, every position, every movement is an act to wake up the practitioner into seeing their limitations. To become cognizant of hiding spots and addictions is the essence of yoga. To become more of who a person is cognizant is the nature of meditation.
Yoga, especially Forrest yoga, is a tool to go deeper than the layers of pain, tension, wounds, and ego to hear the voice of your spirit. It is an aid to penetrate through these layers, to get to the true spirit that existed prior to any life experience. Spirit is who you are beneath all of the layers. Addiction, in my opinion, is a person’s path separated from his or her own spirit. A disintegrating way of relating without sense of contribution or purpose in the world. A forgotten land that became disturbed from time, spent in a cell of tension, strain, misgivings, wrong attitude, misperceptions of reality, neglect, pain, injury, scarring, and disease, to name a few.
How we view our experiences or memories from life can become a method of distorting an alternate reality to be seen as positive or negative. Your spirit is truly everything you have. It is who you are. It is you. You are not your pains. You are not a sum of your life experiences. You are who you are because you have cut back through the layers of experiences to remember your identity, your spirit.
What are your addictions? How do you self medicate and obscure the viewing of your experiences? Are these the methods you use for testing your relationship with your spirit? Answers always lie within. We have tools to find these answers. Use your tools instead of the thoughts that generate actions of addiction.
When I need support and sense my spirit flagging me to come home, I seek wisdom from the animals to guide me back into knowing. There is a miraculous world of wisdom in the animal kingdom. These creatures and guardians of the planet have existed long before any bipedal mammal.
Winged creatures help us to remember to keep our heads high, keep looking up, and take a bird’s eye view perspective on our experiences and use hawkeyed precision to see details. Owls help us see our hiding places. They accompany us through the shadows and darkness. They are our night eagle guardians and see our secrets. With their brilliant eyes, they help us navigate out of our hiding places. We need to face the dark to learn about the beauty that lies in the shadows. Stillness, silence, solitude - when we meditate we are attempting to recreate this nighttime during the day.
“To be a warrior is to learn to be genuine in every moment of your life.”
- Chogyam Trungpa
Genuine means unadulterated, unobstructed, without addictions, and in the very raw nature that is yourself - silence, stillness, sitting with your own thoughts, feelings, and skin and bones. What comes up is you. Who are you without all of the distractions? Do you know?
Break a pattern and program your mind to be in the alternate reality where you view your life experiences as beauty tokens adorning your spirit. Make an updated, stronger, wiser warrior of your spirit. Use this meditation.
Ask yourself these questions. Wait for an answer before moving on. Write as needed.
- Where do you go to hide?
- What do you have hiding inside?
- What are you scared to see?
- What do you fear that keeps you wedded to your hiding?
- Are your current actions or behaviors with these fears supporting positive change?
- What alternative actions can you take to initiate action full of purpose and integrity with your spirit?
- When you come to an obstacle, speak “What else can I do?”
- Repeat this mantra as many times as you wish to generate multiple options and choices.
- Now see yourself stepping out of your hiding spot with a strategy to resolve the issue you have been hiding from. When needed, tell someone you trust about your plan so it is not a secret nor locked in your hiding spot. This individual should be someone who can help encourage you on your plan.
Initiating change can be an arduous challenge or an exciting journey to freedom. Choose your own adventure, choose your own outcome, and make certain it is in integrity with your spirit. It is your voice that you hear your entire life and if you do not like the messages you hear, they will only get louder until you are forced to deal with them. Your spirit cannot be broken by any one experience or person. Remember, it is who you are. Live your spirit’s voice. Be bold. Be you.
Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.