Love. Inner Power. Diwali.
What don’t I know?
We are all pretty sure about one thing: our own perspective. So many conversations begin with, “Look here,” or “Listen up,” because “This is where I stand.”
The whole entire enterprise of human engagement becomes a quest to be understood.
But standing in that mentality means staying in the dark—denying that there’s another point of view.
So here’s something new: What if you start each encounter with the question, “What don’t I know?”
Example: The neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking and it’s making me crazy. What don’t I know? Or: Marty left his dirty laundry in the middle of the floor, again. What don’t I know?
I fail at it daily. But when I remember this practice, my life is just better. It’s like real world enlightenment. The light shines on another’s perspective and I find out that we weren’t standing so far apart, after all.
Today is an Indian holy day: Diwali. It is an opportunity to celebrate the light.
The light of awareness.
The light of consciousness.
The light of your inner power.
There has never been a more crucial time for the teachings of Mystic Traditions to make their way into the real world human experience,
to make life... just better.
diwali. love. marriage.
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Imagine the world before electricity. I bet you'd tend your fire carefully. Make it last through the cold, dark night.
...And then comes dawn. Every morning is like a victory–the triumph of the light.
That is why Indian holy days, like Diwali. celebrate the light.
That is why Indian mantras, like Gayatri, invoke and worship the light as a divine power.
In yoga, I honor the "dawning of awareness" as the power of illumination which awakens, heals, and provides clear vision.
But the light does not always come easy. Let me explain with a story:
Once upon a time my husband and I were arguing. It was heated. Now, I can't even remember what it was about. But at the time I was quite certain–I had no doubt–that I was "RIGHT!"
He disagreed. He presented his case, but I doubled down on my point of view, again and again. I wanted him to realize (and admit) that I was "RIGHT!"
Then something happened. Mid-sentence. It hit me like a floodlight: "Oh, shit. He is right...
Daaaang! I felt just like Wile E. Cayote when he looks down from his full-throttle pace to realize that there is nothing beneath him but empty space and a long, hard fall.
We celebrate the light as if it is always welcome. As if we are in a state of perpetual curiosity, always ready to expand and embrace personal development.
But sometimes we're not.
Sometimes we think we already have the answer. We already know. We are "RIGHT!"...and nothing will change our minds. Then the light of awareness "dawns" on us illuminating our flaws. It isn't comfortable. Sometimes, truth be told, we wish we could stay in the dark.
Our practice often determines what happens next.
Yoga provides the courage and compassion to face, and embrace, the light.
So back to that one time, when I was wrong:
I took a deep breath, mustered up the humility and said, "Wait. I'm just realizing that you are right. I am wrong. I am sorry."
My husband looked at me, first with surprise, then tenderness. "Yeah," he said. "I love you."
I had braced myself for impact, but it turned out to be a super soft landing. Blissful in fact.
Because in that moment, I realized that being wrong gives me the opportunity to experience his unconditional Love. If I were always "RIGHT," I would never feel the sweet sensation of forgiveness.
When I embrace my imperfection it becomes a radiant gift.
I am human, and growing. I wouldn't want it any other way.
Inspired by the words of Leonard Cohen: The cracks are where the light gets in.
That realization has been, for me, like the break of a glorious new day.
Keys for a better relationship from R.R. Shakti, PhD.
MJ and I have been together for fifteen years. Most of that time has been pretty easy, but there have been moments (or months) that were down right HARD! We struggled to communicate, failed to see each other's point of view, and generally lost our way.
Through fits and starts, we have made it to the sweetest, juiciest, most connected time of our Love...so far.
If you are trying to find Love but your wheel is spinning, get yourself back to your center. That's where the Love originates.
Breathe, meditate, practice you...then ask your lover the following three questions. They will completely transform your relationship for the (oh so much!) better.
1. WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU, TODAY?
It's easy to get caught up in the feeling of lack–"not enough" time, money...energy.
We unconsciously turn to our partners to fill the perceived void with a "what can you give me?" approach to relationships. And before too long we feel that we are just not getting our needs met.
But when you embrace the reality that you are a uniquely embodied expression of the Infinite, you come to know your Self as whole–complete just as you are.
You recognize that your partner, too, is a uniquely embodied expression of the Infinite.
You see every person as a uniquely embodied way for Infinite Consciousness to witness itself, that is, to experience "with-ness."
With-ness requires a subject/object relationship, after all. There must be a semblance of "otherness" in order to experience "togetherness."
Creation stories worldwide explain that the playful and sacred dance of relationship requires a singular Infinite Consciousness to become two (and then myriad more created things) so that Self-knowledge, aka Source-knowledge, aka LOVE can actually happen.
When we Love each "other" we are fulfilling the universal destiny of reunion with Source.
When you wake up each morning, look your partner in the eye, and inquire:
"What can I do for you, today?"
you are REALLY asking:
"What can I do in the service of Infinite Love, today?"
"What can I do for my Self, today?"
(That is "Self" with a capital "S"–the YOU that is way bigger than your ego.)
When we serve each "other," we serve the One Love that abides within–beyond all opposites.
2. WHAT AM I NOT SEEING?
Because we are each uniquely embodied expressions of Infinite Love, we each witness the human experience from a distinctly unique point of view. Friends, lovers, co-workers, even so-called "enemies" can be our greatest mirrors, revealing our blind spots.
From his vantage point, my partner sees things that I sometimes overlook.
Once a week, or so, I will ask him: "What am I missing?"
It gives him an opportunity to air his grievances in a loving way...before they get bottled up and shaken. It gives us both permission to be human. We grow together as we help each other broaden our scope and clarify our vision.
But it takes practice.
I have to let go of my ego's attachment to being "right."
I have to listen without defense, which can be a colossal challenge sometimes.
But it's always worth it.
There is nothing more delicious than feeling Loved in my wholeness–feeling Loved in my complete and vulnerable humanity. When I let myself be wrong, it allows someone to Love me anyway–unconditionally.
Some of the deepest bonding happens when I let my lover clean my lenses and receive the valuable insight of his heart's unique perspective.
3. WHAT IS YOUR SOUL'S DREAM?
According to teachings of non-dual Tantra, every person shares a common Soul's purpose: to live our lives as uniquely embodied expressions of One Love.
Your unique expression of Love may take various forms throughout your human experience, as you awaken more and more to the reality of your infinite potential.
Your intentions, visions, hopes, and ideas are the stuff of your Soul's dream. You get to decide how you want to express your particular embodiment of the Infinite...to the world.
It may look quiet or rowdy. It may be earthy, watery, fiery, airy...or outer-spacey. It might include flowers, computers, baked-goods, and/or jokes. This is your story. And you are a Soul Artist.
The full moon is a sacred time for connecting to an "other." Allow your light to illumine each other's hearts. It can be a powerful time to ask your friend, sister, father, or lover: "What is your Soul's Dream, in this moment...right now?"
Listen intently for the real answer. The one that shines bright beyond "should"s or "if only"s–
the dream that comes unabashedly, ecstatically, and giddily from the Soul.
When we honor and celebrate our Souls' Dreams together, we remember that we are each fulfilled in our own individual wholeness. We are reminded that those two "whole"s fit perfectly together...
in One Love.
R.R. Shakti, PhD
* PS: If you feel that you may be caught in an abusive relationship, please seek support.
About The Author
R.R. Shakti, PhD
Founding teacher of Inner Power Yoga®, Shakti is a Contemplative Mythologist, ritual facilitator, and writer who presents a Tantrik approach to personal empowerment and social action. Through contemplative story-telling and mind/body practices, she offers a vision of deep peace and radical freedom.
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