By Uma Esmeralda Ritstier
You just had a life-altering experience that turned your world upside down. It made you look at life from a whole new perspective. Suddenly, you experience things differently. You start living life inside out, instead of the other way around.
Maybe you just entered your first (second, third, or more) retreat. You learned about the ancient philosophy of yoga. You started meditating, and for the first time in your life you experience the deep meaning of Silence. You feel the aspiration to continue to live your life this way—the path of opening, expanding, of living with a wide-open Heart. You want to learn about integrating daily life into spirituality.
Going Back Home
You are probably just about to go back. Or you already returned to the place that you call home.
And you find yourself in a place that suddenly makes you feel like you’re all alone. Lacking (spiritual) support, and without inspiration.
Fears arise: “What if I lose it all?”
The alarm bells ring loudly: “SOS! Please bring me back!”
Don’t You Worry, Don’t You Worry Child
When you feel the SOS call rising in you, breathe into the moment. Feel your breath. Notice how it flows in and out of your body naturally. Feel what is really alive for you now. Maybe there’s anxiety or a deep sense of nostalgia when you recall that moment of true heart-opening love.
Acknowledge whatever is present for you now. Don’t worry. Really, there’s no need to be afraid. There is only this moment. And, this moment is all you have. Feel it. Feel it deeply in every cell of your body, mind, and heart.
What you experienced “back there” is still inside of you now. The preciousness of life’s presence will never disappear. Just as it never came to you, either. In the spontaneous opening of the Heart it has revealed itself to you. And, it will never be forgotten.
“Don’t you worry, don’t you worry child. See, heaven has got a plan for you…”
Don’t You Worry Child, Swedish House Mafia, sung by Madilyn Bailey
Therefore, don’t worry dear one, as this song and my great inspiration and teacher Sahajananda suggest over and over again.
It is here, in you, in me, right as we speak. It can never be gone. As it never really came.
It is here, in the midst of it all.
And it is up to you.
You can choose to allow it to guide you or to ignore its existence.
But, you have tasted the freedom of openheartedness. You have received an invitation to be who you truly are. So, why would you ever go back?
What Am I Supposed to Be Doing?
“All day I think about it, then at night I say it.
Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?
I have no idea.
My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there.
I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way.
Whoever brought me here, will have to take me home.”
This short passage from Rumi’s poem clearly describes the questioning that comes up for almost everyone who steps foot on the spiritual path. In these moments of wondering “what,” “how,” and “why,” start with “who.” Who is questioning this? Allow the answers to unfold from there. Just continue to question deeply from your Heart:
Who am I?
Why am I here?
And, what am I suppose to be doing?
Spiritual teachings call this way of questioning, Self-Inquiry. It comes with a deep trust—like dear Rumi had years before us—that what brought us here will also take us Home.
Trust that all is exactly the way it is suppose to be, right here and now. Follow that innermost silence, that deepest longing of the Heart. It will never lie…
5 Tips for Integrating Daily Life into Spirituality Wherever You Are
When you find yourself in an “SOS-state of Mind,” these five tips might bring you back to trust and help you create supportive conditions for your transformation.
1. Maintain a daily spiritual practice.
Practicing meditation and yoga on a daily basis will give you the opportunity to tap into the collective field that we all create by practicing. It will keep your mind and body clear and connect you to the Heart. Practice is a great way to start and end every day.
2. Stay connected with sangha (spiritual community).
Stay in touch with your new friends from your retreat. You can create a special group via email, WhatsApp, or Facebook to continue to inspire each other and do group practices.
3. Share what inspires you with those around you.
Don’t hesitate to share your experiences with others. However, avoid preaching—some people might not feel ready for your new way of looking at things. Don’t be afraid of external resistance. Staying true to yourself might be the biggest challenge and, simultaneously, the most precious invitation to live life in openness, truth, and authenticity.
4. Investigate spiritual gatherings where you live.
Perhaps before your retreat you weren’t aware of it, but there are people gathering in the least expected places to share their spiritual aspiration. On Facebook you’ll find communities that post events and give space to share experiences. Or, you could go to an open day at a local school that offers yoga, meditation, satsangs, etc.—exploring classes and experiencing what they offer. You can start to find a spiritual community close to home.
5. Practice Self-study.
A way to stay connected and deepen awareness is Self-study. In addition to the practice of Self-Inquiry (“Who am I?”), this means reading spiritual texts. Libraries and the Internet offer a wide range of possibilities to continue reading about your favorite mystics, poets, and spiritual teachers. Sahajananda’s Suggested Reading list is a very good place to start. YouTube offers lectures and ideas to contemplate, and modern masters often film live teachings.
Self-study is a very intimate way to inquire about yourself and the deeper meaning of the non-dual teachings.
Uma is a Hridaya Yoga teacher. This spring, she will join the administrative team at the Hridaya Yoga Center, serving as our Karma Yoga Manager. You can read her post on being a Highly Sensitive Person here.