Positive Possibilities Living: Seeing Past the Shimmer, by Parvati Devi
When I lived in India for a year where I eventually met my guru, I was known for saying that I was seeking yogis, not bogies. As they say, not all that shimmers is gold. And the world of a spiritual seeker is no exception. There are a lot of self-proclaimed prophets who are attached to power rather than learning to serve. As spiritual aspirants we need to learn to discern the fool’s gold from the real gems.
Sometimes people think being spiritual is being a Pollyanna, pretending to be perfect and ok with all that comes, while really feeling in knots on the inside. I am sure you have heard people say “it’s all good”, when you can see terror in their eyes, glazed by a thick dose of denial.
Other people misinterpret the spiritual phrase “we each are expressions of the Divine” and begin to think of themselves as gods, rather than energies in respectful and humble service to a wise, potent, co-creative, flowing force with immensity beyond our wildest imagination.
Thinking of yourself as either better than or worse than another is an expression of the ego and is an easy pitfall for anyone. I find the power of discernment, rather than judgment, to be a key tool on my spiritual journey. It fills me with the possibility to witness that which is, rather than separate myself from the moment and impose my own story on it. I can pause, enquire, feel, explore and see, before I act. Judging something closes my mind to it, whereas discernment supports my choice to co-create with energies that amplify the presence of I AM consciousness. Out of guilt, self-pity, loneliness or fear I may allow myself to get pulled into energies that are tricky and pull me off path. Discernment helps me see that.
Each one of us has a unique life force that flows through us. We each are the gatekeepers of that life force. When we experience energies that do not expansively support that life force, it is healthy to say no to them. It is essential to remember that everything that happens in our life is an opportunity for us to grow. That which we see in another is a reflection of ourselves. That which we cannot stand in another we cannot stand in ourselves. That which makes us judge another is some thing we judge in ourselves.
Having sought the Divine through drugs and alcohol, my friend “Stephanie” came to yoga, meditation and healing naturally through her own painful journey. Born out of necessity, she is a good healer. But she must manage her shadow moment to moment lest it take over. When things don’t go her way, she explodes into temper tantrums and exhibits powerful rage. Yet once the heat has passed, she has forgotten all about it, as though it never happened.
In the minds of many people like Stephanie, it never really did. Deeply attached to her self-perception as a spiritual person, in denial about the depth of her own pain, she uses her spiritual insight and energy to try to control the moment, rather than humbly meeting it, because she is too afraid to see her own vulnerability and lack of control, and touch her inner wounds.
We all have an aspect of Stephanie in us but to varying degrees. Some people live by denial and don’t even know it has become their core identity. I have met very few people who I would say are evil. But I have seen evil energy come charging through people, even those I have called friends. Such is the risk when one opens, when one seeks. One must be ultimately discerning on the spiritual path.
Just because a person has a guru, and feels they are committed to the light, does not mean that they will act in righteous ways. I have seen practicing yogis and healers fly into a rage when their buttons get pushed, toke up before teaching a yoga class, eat a hamburger before giving a lecture on the necessity of being vegetarian.
It takes a certain fierce courage to be willing to face one’s ego and meet the moment as it is, not as we want it to be. It is a kind of death, a death of the temporal to be born again into the infinite. A real gem of a spiritual aspirant will not be overly shiny, but will radiate a warm humility, a potent kindness, a strong, inner steadiness and fierce dispassion. By resting in vast stillness, the infinite light shines through.
Parvati Devi is the editor-in-chief of Parvati Magazine and an internationally recognized Canadian musician, yogi and new thought leader. As a chart-topping touring musician, Parvati spearheads the Post New-Age musical genre with her independent success hit single “Yoga in the Nightclub” and accompanying show “YIN”. She founded YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine, a powerful yoga method that combines energy work and yoga poses. Her critically acclaimed self-help debut book “Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie – A Revolutionary Life Makeover for the Sincere Spiritual Seeker” is currently in its third edition.