Healthy living is rooted in “non-resistance to what is”, that is, receptivity to what this moment brings. Virtually every second each day, our ego-minds are busy filtering our experiences through the lens of our perceptions wired to support an illusory sense of security in our limited beliefs.
Our egos thrive on feeling separate and divided, taking all opportunities to attach a sense of “me” to an idea, action or circumstance. We do this so that we may feel more powerful than this moment, because in some ways, we fear what this moment offers. “This good/bad thing happened/will happen because I did/will do this good/bad thing.”
We tend to try to fulfill our desires by painting our experiences to fit a pre-existing narrative in our minds, whether that is “I am unworthy” or “I am extraordinary” or any other belief. We may continually categorize, divide, shelf and compartmentalize information so that we may temporarily feel better or worse about ourselves, giving us a sense of fleeting meaning and passing purpose – only to grasp at the next moment to continue the cycle.
When we resist the moment, we feed our sense of separate self and inevitably suffer and cause suffering. But when we open to what is, our monochrome, ego-driven world transforms into a technicolour world of boundless possibilities. We see that our limited self, our sense of “me” that we thought was divided, is only a temporal illusion sustained by our attachments. Our deeper, eternal self is an integral part of an intelligent, loving whole, no more or less important than anything else in existence. We are literally one with the fabric of life.
The following three qualities of healthy living provide us with practical tools to build a happier life. When we bear these in mind throughout the day as we practice non-resistance to what is, we move from feeling restless againstness and disconnection with the world and ourselves, to a lasting life of well-being.
Painful emotions like anger and hatred hurt others and ourselves. Like a pebble dropped into a pool of water, they radiate outward to create a ripple effect of harmfulness on the planet. So do painful states of mind like being judgmental, blameful or victimized by life. In these states, we are constricted, disconnected from life-force, enabling our ego’s limited perception and feeding the way we want life to be, rather than meeting what is.
In our commitment to healthy living, we need to explore in each moment the ways in which we may be harming others or ourselves in word and action. Self-harm and self-loathing are just as counter to the vibration of healthy living as any outward expression of anger or hatred.
UNDERSTANDING AND HUMILITY
The other day, after meditation, a thought floated through my mind: “There is no right or wrong, just understanding and misunderstanding.” I am still exploring the truth in this. I wonder – would not all unrest and wars be resolved through understanding? The trouble is, in busily trying to get our way, we often lack the humility to let go of how we think things should be and miss opening to how they are.
The famous Longfellow quote comes to mind: “If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.” In order to find the ‘secret histories’ in each other and in ourselves, we must be willing to not know. That means opening to this moment without resistance to what is. With receptivity and an attitude of knowing no-thing, we discover the universe within another person, within ourselves and within which we all exist – all lying beyond the limited grasp of our ego/will.
Understanding requires humility. Humility is to feel no better or worse than anyone or anything. Through this, we can become receptive. When we feel either better or worse than, we are closed to this moment for fear that our limited ego, to which we cling, will be challenged and disappear. Understanding moves us away from the grip of the illusion of “me” as being fixed and important, into a realization of interconnection and wholeness.
Only when we understand our innate interconnection can we learn to witness our ego’s tendency to invest our vital life-force energy in feeling separate and struggle. In so doing, we engage with thoughts, feelings, actions that drain us. Eventually, we become ill, which is nature’s way of reminding us that we are out of alignment with the universe’s compassionate flow. When we meet illness with compassion, as a gift from a compassionate universe, we let go of feeling that “life is happening to me”, a feeling which resists the ever-flowing effervescence of life. As we release that which does not serve, new life arises. and health returns.
When we witness what is, whether we may like or dislike, we no longer play into the ego’s dance of wanting, pushing or pulling at life. We can watch this moment unfold, without imposing a wilful narrative upon it. From the foundation of understanding, through the practice of witnessing, the flower of compassion arises. Compassion is an expression of health as the flowering of our inherent unity.
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”. 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.