A friend asked me if he can re-post this note I wrote a few years back. I was quite reluctant at first because it was a little bit more personal, but also because I was not sure that it is relevant anymore. However after re-reading this notes, I thought that maybe he was right. Maybe it would be good to re-post this notes and to remember how it was back then: lost, helpless and in need of guidance. To once again feel how lucky and blessed I am to have two amazing Teachers who have been my guiding lights for the past 6 years.
We can never erase the past, but by acknowledging and embracing our past, we can be free.
With love – Jakarta, 8 April 2017
Do Yoga, Be Spiritual
I was chatting with my best friend a few days back when out of her deep broken hearted disappointment she said “honestly Dewi, I am so fed up with all this do yoga and be spiritual things. I just want to be one of those normal, good people and practice as a student without having to worry about dealing with all this spiritual people wannabe. No more politics in the name of Spirituality. How can you be spiritual when all you do is hurting others?”
The thought hit me and being in the yoga path and mingling in the yoga community for the past 7 years have exposed me to many facets of the practice. Some are good, some not too bad, and some are just plain painful to see. And everything begins with the childlike excitement, curiosity and being inspired. Of wanting to do more and be better. To find the path and connect to the Divine Self. Soon after I stated practicing yoga asana, before I even realized it, I have turned into one of those yogi-wannabe who slowly work my way down the list of ” what will you do when you start yoga that has nothing to do with yoga ” : listened only to kirtan style new age mantra chanting songs, collect numerous mala of all kind healing gemstones and wear layers of it everywhere and everytime, almost inked an OM tattoo on my belly, wear loose semi-hippie clothes and no make up, several numerous failed attempt to become a vegetarian, go to various healers to balance the chakra, go to astrologers (chinese, vedic, western, you name it) to check all my auspicious date, go to never ending yoga retreats, workshops, conferences and many more. Named it. I would have probably done it. All in the name of searching for the Path and Spirituality. To awaken the Divine Self which has been sleeping for all this time.
** See the complete list here ( and make your own check list!!)http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/10/the-10-things-youll-do-once-you-start-yoga-that-have-nothing-to-do-with-yoga-lee-anne-finfinger/
In the beginning of the journey, as a novice practitioner who came to yoga to cure my chronic back pain, it was quite exciting to suddenly being exposed to all this esoteric practices and teachings, to empower the self, to learn the concept of unconditional love, to always be grateful, offering your forgiveness, let go and be aware of whats happening around you with clarity and wisdom. I have to say that maybe because the root of the curiosity has always been there. As a young nerdy girl who has a life long infatuation with books, I have always been interested in the power of the stars in astrology, the ancient mysticism, history, eastern philosophy and medicine, and many other subjects which somehow ties really well with the esoteric yoga practice itself. To me, I felt like I have finally came home. To be in a place where I am no longer the weird. It is the feeling that you are not alone and the joy of connecting to others with the same interest, spending chai latte afternoon tea time talking about past life, full moon and new moon, how to get up to handstand and many more. We speak the same language and the heart is leaping with joy. Yoga and Spirituality has provided me with the medium to not only explore my heart interest, but to really practice it in hope to gain a better understanding of myself, the world, and others.
Off course the journey was never smooth. As a student searching for knowledge, I encountered numerous teachers, healers and other students within each new circle and even though the beginning of each new encounter always gives new excitement and brings twinkle in my eyes, at the end of the day human are still human, even when they wear the coat of a Teacher. After a short period of excitement usually the connection weakens and things crumble to leave me walking the journey alone once more. In the past, it never felt right to stay somehow and with every lesson learned I have always decided that it is time to move on. I learned that teachers are human too. They are not immune to faults, and it is our job as a student to differentiate between the teaching and the teacher. Absorb the teaching, keep whats useful for you and then let the rest go, including the teacher when you no longer feel the connection. As an evolving individual, your needs change with time and this evolution will trigger the needs for another knowledge, another teacher, a new connection to keep the transformation going and for us to continuously evolve. To continuously search for the one who will resonate deeply with your heart and who will guide you to a better place in life. The path of a student. The path of a practitioner.
” Everyone in your life is a teacher. Some will leave when the lesson is learned, but some will stay to always hold your hand in times of need.”
I have been with my current teachers for the past 2,5 years and for once I felt that this is where I want to be. These are the teachers who I can really trust to guide me in practice and in life. On the last retreat that I attended in July, one of my teacher, OP Tiwari made an open discussion on the subject of Spirituality. What does it mean to you? There were some many different answers coming up but one that hits me close was the one spoken by one of my friend from New York. He said that “spirituality is a journey inside. Of knowing who your are. Knowing what you want. Knowing how to love yourself and how to love others. To accept and forgive yourself and to always be grateful for what may comes”. And after going through so many facets of yoga practice in the past years, I could not agree more. I have long thought that this is the kind of Spirituality that I would love to practice. The one that focus on the growth of the self while at the same time offering love and gratitude with an open heart.
The practice of love, of acceptance, of gratitude and surrender
The lonely path of the self where at the end of the day only you, and no one else, can tell, feel and know what will be best for you. The practice of going inward instead of being immersed in the superficiality.
And while I was still trying to absorb and allow the knowledge to be fused and be integrated in my daily life, I received a FaceBook message from a person whom I have never met before. She was asking if she could repost a thought that I posted more than a year back. A note that I have forgotten about, but was so closely related to what I experienced in the past year. So maybe it was the start of the thought. The opening of a new chapter of understanding and her message was a reminder for me to walk my own talk:
“…a friend asked me today, ‘do you have to meditate to practice spirituality?’… and it got me to think that… no, really… spirituality doesn’t only come through meditation. spirituality is all those mundane daily task, done with clarity and awareness. how to love, how to forgive, how to understand. how to accept and how to let go. how to have faith and trust, to yourself and to others. it is not easy, and its never been easy. the hardest practice, to me, is how to be a good person every day…. not being extraordinary, but simply being ordinary… and be good at it…”
Going back to my dear friend above, she told me that, “don’t be fooled with things which come to you masked as an act of love, yoga or spirituality. Sometimes when presented with such fact we become blind and always accept it as a good thing when at the end it turns to hurt us. Only trust our heart. Through the heart, our soul speaks”
I am still trying to absorb and integrate the practice everyday. Sometimes it is a good day, sometimes it is a not such a good day. But every time the practice will be different, and all the challenges, when taken with a smile are there to help us grow. To find the teacher within and be able to independently support ourself through every stage of our lives.
With Love –
Notes : the over thinking writer is still happily learning from her current teachers while at the same time riding the flying clouds of life with a big smile and occasional bruises from crashing back down to Earth.
Jakarta, October 2014