Getting to Know Me

It wasn’t until the 80’s that I began to discover my dharma (soul’s mission).

I was living in Tyler, Texas practicing some Yoga and taking Dancerize classes. Being pregnant, tap and modern dance were no longer working for me.  I was meditating daily and journaling.  Life was fun and Carl kept me busy and lighthearted. I enjoyed being pregnant again, but there was a gnawing feeling that by now I should have gotten started with my life’s work. I was thirty-three and still didn’t know what my life’s work was. I was in mid-life stage now, and not having started, would it still be my life’s work?

I began a sincere twice daily meditation practice. I began with no technique, only a cushion, an alarm clock and a lot of willpower.  I would do some postures, then sit, focus on the third eye and wait until the timer went off 20 minutes later.  It took months of daily practice before I began to enjoy the time spent. It took even longer before I began to have some insights into myself.

If someone would have asked me if I was happy (of course no one did)… I would, without hesitation have said absolutely and totally – and meant it.  Yet, I was also restless.  I took to walking miles daily, by myself.  Walking was my sweet time to contemplate the question, why was I here and what did I want out of life?  I wanted to understand the mystery of re-incarnation and find out what I came here to do this life.  But, what I really wanted was to know was my self.  I was an enigma. I had so many contradictions.  Even as a child I always felt like a stranger in a strange land, looking for my tribe. But, I was even a stranger to myself.  I was philosophically radical from the beginning, yet conservative in actions, very spiritual and staunchly anti-religion.  I was totally different in every aspect from my parents, brother, friends and chose to marry someone totally different from myself.  As an adolescent, teen, college student, my life was always going to be about career, travel and self-discovery.  And instead here I was living the traditional family life, with a husband who was often traveling and always working.  My only defense was that Feminism is having the right to do whatever you want to do with your life.

When I had phoned my mother to tell her I was pregnant with Carl, instead of squealing with delight or congratulating me as I expected, she got silent for a moment, then said, “Are you going to keep it?”….

I said, “ah,…I doubt I would have called you to tell you I was pregnant and going to have an abortion, Mom!”
Her retort was, “well! I have never understood your feminist ways!”

I am still dumbfounded by that exchange, but give her the benefit of the doubt by thinking that I must have been an all or nothing kind of kind of gal.

There was no doubt in my heart that raising Carl and my new baby was my karma now, but was it also my dharma (in accordance with the soul)?  I accepted yes it was and furthermore, that when one was content with one’s karma and love was the outcome, then any other mission should give way to it.

The fact of the matter is that although I was not pinning to have babies, the thought of giving birth still makes my heart soar more than anything else.  My mother had two caesarian sections so unfortunately missed the whole event. I did not know what to expect so had no expectations, except that it would hurt.  I didn’t want the babies drugged, so being a mensch, went natural.  However, what occurred was nothing short of mystical.

I felt totally connected to the Source of the Universe.  Birth energy is Pure Shakti.  And when you are plugged in through the breath, giving birth is riding waves of Shakti energy – the intensity of the cervix dilating, the absolute bliss when you are told you can push, and the ecstasy of receiving your child. You are on a roller coaster that you cannot stop. The key is to throw your arms up in the air and surrender to the experience. There is nothing equal to it, believe me, not even samadhi (breathless state of union with Supreme Consciousness).

I had the same experience in both births, but one does need help in order to stay aware and achieve this state. Mikael was helpful with Carl –  not so much with Alexander. The boys were both ten days late and my water had broken so I was given pitocin to help speed up the contractions.   With Carl, they inserted an internal monitor to keep track of his heart-rate.

Mikael was fascinated with the monitor, and glued to the screen would warn me when a contraction was coming. He was compassionate before it came, holding my hand through it, breathing with me, but would abruptly take his hand away, saying the contraction is now over – when it definitely was not!  The monitor was not in sync with my nervous systems or something, so we ended up arguing about when the contraction was really over.  We had taken Lamaze classes and he did his best to make me comfortable and was great help keeping me focused on my breathing.  He didn’t however, have time to review the techniques, before Alexander was born, and I did not have an internal monitor so he mostly just read newspapers.  At one point, I was in the midst of transition and he was trying to recall how I was supposed to breathe.  I pushed him out of the way with my left hand and grabbed the startled nurse with my right, commanding, Breathe Me!

I knew the importance of breathing. Yoga ultimately means breathing in harmony with the universal energies which are in and about us at all times. And being in the midst of the most powerful universal energies there are, I knew I had to consciously breathe both in and out.  But whether it is the cervix being stretched or my frozen shoulder … the tendency is during the stretch to want to take a big breath and hold it, instead of smoothly inhaling and exhaling.

Conscious inspirations and expirations is the solution to discord in the body or mind.  It brings you to the center of your being and relaxes you.  Conscious breathing aligns the physical, vital (seat of emotions) and mental bodies with the soul to bring about an inward calmness.  It opens you to the influence of the soul and to the Divine energy constantly present in it.   You begin  to feel that you are  in sync.  Your thoughts and actions reflect that inner harmony.    Eventually such breathing can unlock the subconscious,  help heal lingering emotional scars and move you forward in life.  Or perhaps it will just help you see that your dharma is already at play in your life.  Dharma is experienced as being at peace with your karma.

During those years in Texas, I discovered my dharma.   It was to became conscious of the Divine around me all the time and to be ever grateful for everything I received, regardless of its form.

    • Gayatri
    • October 16th, 2009

    Hi, Ma Durga!

    Om Kriya Babaji Nama Aum

    Paragraph 11 (Source of the Universe) is quite thought provoking. 🙂 … that there is nothing equal to surrendering the process of childbirth (not even samadhi).

    Paragraph 14 and 15(on breathing)… While reading this paragraph, the Gospel of St. Thomas (from Nag Hammadi) became clearer to me. Interestingly I was re-writing that passage in my notebook last weekend. “The Kingdom of God is inside you and all around you; not in mansions made of wood and stone. Split a piece of wood and I am there. Lift a stone and you will find me.” Some translations says, “the Kingdom of God is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living Father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty, and it is you who are that poverty.I am the light that shines over all things. I am everywhere. From me all came forth, and to me all return. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift a stone, and you will find me there.” One of the best ways to be one with God and to remember God is through breathing. You put in such simple but profound words. I love it! Thank you very much!

    Jai, Ma Durga!

    Om Shanti Aum

    Love,
    Gayatri

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