9/7/2022 1 Comment
If you know anything about me, you know I have taken some risks when it came to my family relationships. These choices were far from easy to make and could have ended in disaster. Many people were sure they would and felt obliged to tell me so regularly. Little did they know, I was connected to my choices at a very deep level and I am so glad I took the risks I had because they are paying off big time now.
Autonomy is all about making moral choices even when others do not understand what or why you are doing what you are doing. Frequently, when you choose to live from an autonomous place many will be far from supportive.
Why is this so?
Well, many people get stuck in unconscious habits and they quickly become blind to their actions. When we get trapped in this place a feedback loop has been created and reinforced. Anything outside of that loop seems bad or wrong. Think about a group of people that began smoking together. As soon as one person decides that they don't want to smoke anymore the group often shuns them. Or say you were a part of a group that was all about eating really rich foods and indulging in glutenous behavior and for whatever reason you decide you are going to eat differently. All of a sudden you don't fit into that group and they won't want you to participate with them. Is it because what you are doing is bad or wrong or what they are doing is bad or wrong?
I propose it is because the two don't support a seamless fully integrated experience. Watching a creepy movie while trying to relax, for example, these two things are diametrically opposed. Why attempt to confuse your nervous system? Why not just dive into one experience and then the other? As civilized humans, we try to integrate opposite experiences in an attempt to make everything all-inclusive.
When I came across meditation I began to change very quickly. My desires had already been shifting and that was straining my relationships, much like the two examples listed above. I could not stop my desire to follow a thread that was fulfilling a major internal desire. I attempted various times to have the two integrate. But much like the individual choosing to quit smoking while hanging out in the smoker's lounge, I found it very hard to progress in my goals when everyone around me was oblivious of what I was doing or experiencing.
Some of my family attempted to understand. Their attempts however exposed that they didn't get it.
I remember the first time this type of thing happened to me. My friend was way into jazzercise, I loved yoga. I convinced her to try yoga, 100% sure she would love it like I did if she just gave it a shot. She gave me the gift of deciding to go to a class and then reported it was like nails on a chalkboard to her! How could this be?
On a planet with 7 Billion people, we are all designed to be different. This is truly an amazing feat if you sit back and let that sink in. We have similarities, but there is not a single person on this planet that is exactly like the next. So why do we try? Why do we fight this and attempt to put everyone into a box rather than embrace their uniqueness? From a Vedic standpoint, it is because the ego likes things to be safe and controllable.
Ok. I'll get back to my choice to step away from my family life which shocked the people who loved me to the very core as I did it.
I faced a profoundly hard moment about seven years ago when I had taken a trip to see my children that lived with their father thousands of miles away from me. My children and I had been communicating regularly and having yearly visits for about three years. During that time they were being told that I was just sewing my wild oats and would return to my senses and the children. The narrative they were told left them very confused and very hopeful every time I returned that this time it would be for good. This story they were told made them believe that I didn't love them and that I was sick at some moments. Other times they were certain they had done something wrong and I didn't like them because I didn't live with them. I had tried in vain to help my family and ex-husband to understand and embrace what was going on for the children's sake. They couldn't understand that their need for me to conform to their way of life was exactly why I needed to make different choices.
Fast forward seven years; my children one by one began seeking understanding and connection to me and my choices. These young adults each came to me believing the narrative that they had been exposed to. The result of which was leading to plenty of uncomfortable life challenges for them. One by one they were exposed to a different piece of the puzzle that resonated with them. As they began to see their mother in a new light and far from the victim or devil that she had been painted as things in their life began to naturally improve.
I took a huge risk when I decided I would lead by example. The only thing I wanted for my children is that they lived the life of their choosing. I did not want to watch them compromise who they are to fit into a crowd or to stay in a loveless relationship where they needed to pretend to be something other than what they were to fit the status quo. I wanted them each to live a life that they loved so they could never conceive of wanting to purposefully end it. That day seven years ago was a painful scary risk that I knowingly took. But to me, it did not seem like a gamble. I knew that choosing to lead by example was the only way I could ensure their success. Our children frequently follow not what we say but what we do. I am pleased to discover that is absolutely the case with my children.
The greatest part of this story is that I am now capable of truly loving and supporting them in whatever choice they make, even if it is something I don't understand or agree with. I have gained the skill of allowing them to think in whatever way they do and to be confident in exposing those thoughts to me. Through their forgiveness and connection to why I made the choices I did, they can share openly their thoughts with me. This provides me with the opportunity to explore concepts with them while allowing them to be open to perspectives outside of themselves. I am careful to remind them that they are the only one who has any control over their choices. Regardless of how the world around them may attempt to convince them of some external controlling force, it doesn't exist. They alone make choices and face the resulting consequences. There is no "right" approach to their lives. No one has the absolute, omniscient answer to the riddle that is their unique life. But boy, so many people have opinions!
Learning to recognize this opinionated part of myself has also deepened my relationships with those I love. Demanding that I get to live freely, necessitates me allowing others the freedom to do the same. It has been through meditation that I have been able to recognize these self-defeating habits and make better choices. It has been my experience that gifting this to others (as well as myself) has solidified the importance of autonomous relationships that are based on unconditional love.
The purpose of this blog is to allow Sivani to express thoughts on Ayurveda, yoga & meditation that are not typically found when googling the topics. Sivani's deepest desire is to encourage autonomous living in all people. There are no infallible persons to whom one can turn for perfect guidance to ensure success. When it comes all the way down to it, we are each responsible for our choices regardless if others have led, will lead, or actively attempt to lead us in any direction either for our good or our destruction. Even the best-intentioned individuals make grievous mistakes. Yet, within each individual is an Infallible Source that governs all of existence. Through exploration and discovery, individuals can connect to and build a strong relationship with this Source and thus make their own choices based on their moral objectivity. Does this approach come at an expense? Potentially. But blindly following others has proven to be just as dangerous. Stimulating others to approach any and all exploration to deepen their first-hand relationship with the Inner Intelligence active within the confines of their nervous systems is Sivani's life's mission. The more this is done, the more the Inner Intelligence permeates and pervades all of creation and will be unmistakable.