Our entire lives are full of questions about being happy, successful and loved. What we seek is usually something nebulous outside of ourselves, and always involves other people.
The ancient mystics use the world “Purnam” to describe wholeness or completeness. It is thought to be our true nature, and yet we have become detached from this reality, needing approval and validation outside of ourselves.
Think about it: to function on the Earth plane we need a birth mother, someone to take the trash and to provide the food we eat.
Even before we take our first breath, we are dependent upon other people to bring events and circumstances into our lives. This continues until the moment when we take our last breath, which is perhaps the only time we don’t need the help of anyone else.
A few weeks ago we encountered a lunar eclipse, which is typically a very intense time emotionally because the pull of the moon is so powerful. My 12-year-old house bunny died at this time, along with my lovely ex-mother in law. It was a real opportunity for me to look at “letting things go.” It is not easy.
The grieving process continually changes, and I think unless you believe in life after death, it must be very difficult to deal with. Even if you are not really sure what happens after death, an awareness of the possibility of this concept can be a comfort for many people. My father, for instance, does not believe in reincarnation, but I think on an intellectual and curiosity level he can listen to discussions on the subject without being biased either way.
Ultimately, I think it is about finding inner peace. This is the quest towards enlightenment for the yogi as they try to bring contentment into every facet of their lives. We become at peace with our world internally and externally and that is a sense of no-duality or oneness with LIFE itself.
The system of yoga can offer a way back to a sense of oneness or completeness by introspection and watching our reactions to life circumstances. We try to take a long look in the mirror and see what needs to be changed in our lives in order to become more content.
Loneliness or fear of being alone is an epidemic, especially as people age and lose loved ones. I thought about the phrase, “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” and I think for the first time in my life, I believe it. I didn’t need the bunny or another person to make me feel complete, but they sure made me happy.
Right now, my happiness comes from looking at a chair that is filling the space where my rabbit’s litter box once was — and closing my eyes thinking of wonderful times with family. Memories linger, and this can be a blessing if they are harmonious. Loved ones will always be with us beyond the physical plane and so we are never really parted.
Embracing the concept of oneness can be achieved by getting out of the house and being close to nature. We come from seemingly “no-thing” and return to the same as our body dissolves, yet there really is no-where else to go. We become as we are living, a part of the cosmic mind that is not separate at all from life.
Becoming aware of how we are breathing is another way. The inhale is an aspiration to move forwards with life. The exhale is a process of letting go. This tends to be the hardest part of the cycle for many, which seems crazy as we are actually letting go of carbon dioxide on a physiological level and decompressing on a mental and emotional level. Try to become more aware of the pauses at the end of the inhale and exhale. Slow down the breath and try to balance the intensity and duration of inhale and exhale. This practice in time yields a feeling of connectedness that transcends everyday consciousness and leads us to knowing that indeed we are never alone.