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The Fierce Journey of Individual Light

Suppose any soul’s purpose were defined as “the blossoming of one’s most unique expression of Self”. Would anyone be known as eccentric?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our Deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us...”

The essence of mortal life is a paradox. “We are one.” is the message of any yoga practice. To yog is to merge into universal oneness. Seemingly contrary to this, the incarnate experience requires individuation. The celebration of our physical reality fundamentally requires autonomy. How many times do we inhibit our ebullience with an inner voice that says, “I shouldn’t stand out; it would be a sign of ego.”?

Reminding ourselves of the contrasting qualities of linear and vertical realities helps clarify the dilemma. Daily pragmatics force us to respect the laws of matter (the linear). These include the boundaries of time, space, function and identity.

Without a healthy ego, or sense of self, we don’t develop and execute decisions responsibly. Responsibility requires that an individual own his actions, decisions and perspectives. We’ve gotten so accustomed to hearing ego mean a self centered person, that we’re scared to death to admit we each house one.

Life isn’t too magical in the land of the absolute linear, however. We integrate various practices to imbue our journeys with spiritual awareness. The vertical reality is a place of oneness. “I am you, and you are me, and we are all together...” as the song says. The sensation of interconnectedness alleviates our dread of isolation, soothes our yearning for the uncompromising womb, and embraces each choice with unconditional acceptance. We practice to remember eternal truth, not to escape the conditions of the physical world. This was the mastery of Job... losing linear success yet living in the practice of the Divine.

Although achieved by rare masters, ascension isn’t the intention of incarnation. Illuminating the earth bound experience with consciousness is closer to our inherent blueprint. In other words, we’re alive in order to anchor the light of God on the planet, as individuals, with as much ecstasy as we can generate.Why is it so difficult to execute the path that is ours by spiritual and energetic design?

“...We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”

Modesty and humility are traits often touted as holy. Our definition of these words suffers the same misinterpretation as does the word ego. “Oh, I’m not so great. After all, the job was easy for me.”, “I’m just low man on the totem pole.” or “It will never be perfect.” are familiar words which discredit our radiant potentials.

It’s a worthy practice to say, “Thank you. I did my best!” Political activist and poet, Robert Bly, defines the term fundamentalist as a person who can hold only one truth at a time. We as humans fight an awful lot trying to conquer any assertion with which we don’t agree. Embracing our journeys of individuation is the prerequisite to loving, listening and dancing without shame.

Being brave enough to hold a truth which isn’t validated externally demands a warrior spirit. The real holy war is a vertical experience. Its casualties are doubt, fear and paralysis. That is the war articulated in the Bagavad Gita. That is the Crusade that banishes the darkness of intolerance.

“...We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

It’s very easy to point an extroverted finger saying, “You should be doing this!” Difficulty arises with an introverted direction. Thousands of books are sold on the subject of meditation, but how many individuals actually sit in stillness and connect to the vertical? The inner walls of our unique selves have created a container for some pretty scary stuff. Sitting through our discomfort transmutes our judgments into bliss.

“...As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

What better reason to shine?

Source of quotations: Nelson Mandela, 1994 Inaugural Speech

by Toni Zuper
Alternative Healing
Center City, Philadelphia

published in Yoga Living -- March 2005 issue