Where is your inner self? you don’t have to search very far…
(Above passage adapted from The Radiance Sutras: 112 Gateways to the Yoga of Wonder. The translation of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra and commentary is by Lorin Roche)
I even participated in one such retreat. Without going into the dirty details, I’ll tell you it left me exhausted, confused, and weak. I had expected to be able to work through at least some of my problems, but I only ended up being overwhelmed by them.
After that miserable experience, I returned to my room and looked in the mirror. My eyes were bloodshot and I was sunburned. I was tired and broken and scared. But there was an upside – I saw that my body was still standing, holding me up, supporting me, even though my mind and emotions were in shambles. I also saw that my body had lived through some pretty bad-ass challenges – it had always been there for me! No matter what abuse I subjected it to, my body adapted.
There a book called “The Body Keeps the Score” by trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk. I could see, my body had kept the score of all my experiences, positive and negative.
Another sudden shift I experienced was the realization that I could END the negative experience I was having. If I believed the people around me, the people telling me I had to “commune with the grandmother plant” or stop taking all my medicines, or go on a strict diet of fresh fruit and vegetables to truly be “whole” and have access to my true power – if I believed those people I had a pretty hard road in front of me. But if I shifted and believed the reality that I was seeing in the mirror – that my body and I are a team that can take on profound challenges – that my body and I have ALREADY accessed our true power – the reality that my body and I have successfully navigated tons of the crazy challenges this world presents – if I believed that, if I believed in myself, I was in GREAT shape!!!!! No crazy diet, mind-bending drugs, or grueling pilgrimages required!
That’s what I like about this passage. You can do all the crazy yoga poses you want. You can take drugs. You can go on diets. If it works for you and you like it, do it do it do it! But, I think what this passage is saying is that you don’t necessarily HAVE TO. You are already a majestic being with worthwhile experiences. You have already overcome challenges big and small. Your true Self-with a capital S, your inner Peace – with a capital P is RIGHT HERE.