Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Use The Force

"Prayer is you talking to God.  Intuition is God talking back."
Wayne Dyer

One of my favorite quotes from a movie comes from a conversation between Luke Skywalker and Yoda in "The Empire Strikes Back" (where Yoda is teaching Luke how to save his spaceship from sinking in a swamp). Yoda is trying to teach Luke to "use the force", to tap into his connection to all things, but Luke's heart and mind are clouded and he is steeped in confusion. Feeling defeated with his training he is on the verge of giving up when Jedi Master Yoda wisely says: " ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us… and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this… [nudging Luke's arm] crude matter! You must feel the Force around you. Here, between you, me, the tree, the rock… everywhere! Even between the land and the ship."   Luke regroups his efforts, closes his eyes and focuses on using the force around him to lift his spaceship out of the Dagobah swamp.  It's a powerful moment, one in which we see Luke connect to the power of 'the force'.  Watching, we can relate to our own struggles and ability to find clarity and connection to our own deep inner knowing.

When we clear the clutter of the mind, our ability to see, hear, feel, and know expands and it is then that we are more easily able to enter the space of our intuition and our connection to the matrix of life we call "being".

My intuition has been a beautiful guide and friend to me for my whole life and I trust it more than anything. I have always had a deep, abiding faith in 'the force', though there have been times, like Luke Skywalker, that I have been clouded and unable to see, hear, or feel it clearly.  Regardless of our being able to see, hear or feel it, it is always there - like Yoda said: "its energy surrounds us and binds us."

The system of yoga asserts that this force can be most readily accessed through our sixth chakra, or "ajna", also known as the "third eye".  Ajna is the Sanskrit word that means "beyond wisdom".  It is located between, and just above the eyes (in the area of the pituitary gland). It is said to be the seat of our intuition or inner knowing, our direct connection to "the force". says: "This chakra resonates with clear thinking, native intelligence, and intuition. It is from here that we develop our psychic ability, our memories of the past and visualizations for the future, and can stand unafraid to see the truth about what’s happening in our lives."

We can strengthen our mental clarity (sixth chakra energy), by taking the time to calm our scattered thoughts and focus on what is happening in the moment (sort of like Luke Skywalker trying to lift his spaceship out of the swamp!).  We cultivate the power of our intuition when we accept that there are many ways of thinking and living in the world, and we open ourselves to understanding - without pride or negative judgement - that we don't always need to conform to those ways.

When we are fully grounded and centered, we are better able to determine whether our intuition is coming from a place of deep inner guidance or if it is stemming from a fear-based idea.  When we practice being inwardly still, we stop being afraid to know the truth.

Yogi Bhajan of the Kundalini Yoga tradition sums it up beautifully:

"Silence is core to all spiritual practices. The Buddhists are masters of silence. Or at least they recognize its value and practice the discipline. One must be silent to 'hear' the Divine. Silence is an art that we cultivate. Your experiences will be more profound and your practice more effective if you incorporate silence into your spiritual practice and into your daily life.

The purpose of silence is to turn our attention inward. As we tune into our inner space we are able to identify and stop relating to what is called "excess personality" or "externalized ego". We begin relating to our Essential Self or Soul. It is our Essential Self that accesses our intuition and finds the Infinite within. Cultivate the art of silence and listening.  To be silent requires being able to listen. There is a silent channel in our mind.  First we have to access it.  Second we have to listen to the silence and be with it.  The silence is always there.  Our challenge is to train ourselves to pay attention to it." 

Just as Luke Skywalker needed to connect with this ever-present silence within in order to "feel the force" (his connection to all things), we too need to practice exercising our third eye.  Sometimes the only way to know is through experience.  But whether the question is that there's something we need to do or something to avoid, when the gift of intuition presents itself and kindly offers to guide us, our practice is to be awake enough to hear and respect its voice.

Try it now: close your eyes.  Draw  your attention to the area of your third eye and allow yourself to expand into the boundary-less space behind your forehead.  Ask yourself: "What do I need?", "What no longer serves me, even if it once did?", "What is God/the universe trying to tell me?". Then silently remain open to the answers without trying to analyze, formulate or visualize a response.  Sit in the silence of this space for a while then slowly open your eyes and feel yourself being moved by something greater than your little 'ol ego.

Until next time...
Intuition is a spiritual faculty and does not explain, but simply points the way.  ~Florence Scovel Shinn

One With Truth
by Dana Faulds

When I recognize that
I am one with truth and
the whole searing, seamless
universe, I don't need proof.
I stop seeking reassurance.

This knowing is too strong
to second-guess or oush
away-it's what I am.
It seeps in, leaks out,
changes everything and
leaves me much the same.

It isn't a realization, really-
more of an experience of what
has always been, and will be.
There are no separate pieces
in this creation-not one of
us exists outside the whole.

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