Reminders on Integration for When Life Gets Messy

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Reminders on Integration for When Life Gets Messy 

by Jessica Soares

Reflecting on Integration, the Building of the Bridge

I remember almost a year ago, nearing the end of my transformational 3-week journey in Hridaya Module 1, and hearing more and more questions being asked about what was coming next: How many hours per week should we be meditating? How do I experience this peace when I’m living in a big city? Do I need to practice for two hours every day now?

Essentially: How do I integrate this into my life? How do I take this deep experience—for no matter how varying students’ experiences may be, rarely does anyone leave such a container the same way they entered it—and bring it into my life? How do I hold on to the taste of Beauty that I sampled here?

We received a variety of responses, ranging from the practical to the inspirational to the intentionally vague. And yet—a common thread connected them all. Again and again, we were invited to reframe our perspective. To ask not how do we bring this newfound or rediscovered spiritual dimension into our “regular” lives…but how do we bring our daily life into our spirituality?

“Spirituality”—that also vague, multi-layered word we use to represent our connection with the Divine. Or, more specifically, the remembrance of our divinity. Ultimately, no matter what shape or structure your spirituality takes, it’s about union with the Eternal. And so once we find this for ourselves—whether on the mat in days wrapped by Silence or after three weeks of intensive yoga practice—it can be easy to panic a little bit. It’s one thing to spend two hours meditating every morning when we have intentionally set ourselves up to have that space. But it’s quite a different thing when we are getting ready for work in the morning, trying to get the kids ready for school and out the door. Those same two hours can seem to fly by. Accounting for the context of what most of our everyday lives look like, how do we then bring them into our spirituality?

Expanding Limitations

Like most perceived crossroads on the path, this question itself is a journey—one which we all must embark upon and answer for ourselves. Perhaps a starting point could be asking: When do I feel most connected to God? Maybe you did first discover this connection on a yoga mat or at a meditation retreat. But what happens when you start to zoom out? Perhaps you have felt similar sensations of resting in bliss while dancing under the stars with your beloved. Or while singing your favorite song with your three oldest friends. Or when you went camping and slept among the trees. Begin noticing the moments you feel most connected and the conditions that surround those moments. Strive to prioritize and create more of those moments. Yes, prioritize and honor your practice as much as you can. And also, expand its limits—if you find the presence of God in poetry, maybe swap bedtime TV with bedtime Love Poems from God. If you feel most connected when surrounded by nature, commit to hiking twice per month and bringing more greenery into your home. Little by little, begin to practice seeing and being with God everywhere and anywhere.

The Power of Perspective and Presence

This merging of daily life and spirituality can occur through intentional actions and by expanding your perspectives. Once you have experienced moments of profound peace in spiritual practice, you’ll recognize these moments whenever they arise. This is a beautiful gift. That quality of stillness, of presence, of love that you encountered never came from outside of you. It was born from within the recesses of your being. And the more you rest in the Heart, the more you naturally bring your “regular” life into your spiritual life. It’s not about changing your entire lifestyle (though it could be, and that, too, is beautiful!); it’s about shifting your perspective into the eye of the Heart and offering your complete presence to every moment unfolding before you. God is where love is. Where the present moment is. The more you can step out of your distracted mind and into your heart, anchored in the truth of the present moment, the more you’ll find that the lines between your spiritual life and your “regular” life will blur and merge. The separation between the two will begin to dissolve. Of course, this isn’t an overnight process; it’s a commitment, a practice…an act of devotion.

Nothing Is Separate from Spiritual Life

Recently, I have noticed myself feeling friction between what brings me closer to the Supreme Reality and what doesn’t. I have found resistance arising toward formal practice and disappointment when the depths are not reached. One day, I was struggling and internally chastising myself, and decided to stop meditating and listen to an episode of one of my favorite podcasts, Wisdom of the Masters. After a few minutes, my heart softened, my hard grips released, and I felt myself expand and deepen. Through the miracle of technology and the voice of a human being across the world, I melted into the depths I was skirting over in my practice, and I remembered. I remembered that I get to find presence everywhere and that sometimes, those places will change. I remembered to give myself grace. I remembered that if I choose to see it as such, nothing is separate from my spiritual life and that Love was always there, even in this resistance.

It can be challenging to navigate the waters of who we have been and who we are remembering we truly are. It’s incredibly supportive to be held by a sangha and a container of dedicated and devoted practice. If you aren’t surrounded by a spiritual community, get creative. Make being with Stillness your only practice. Allow it to take whatever shape it must and remember that in every moment you have a choice. The choice to live from the Heart or from somewhere else is always yours, and it is always available to you. Now. 

And now.

And now, again.

Jessica is a Hridaya Yoga Student and frequent contributor to our blog.

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