Monday, 24 March 2014

Life Through A Yogic Lens #2 - The F Word.

Question: The further I go on my spiritual path the deeper I feel love, joy etc. however the more sensitive I feel to things I once felt removed from, ie the pain in this world, with that has come a great level of fear as well. I know love is said to cast out fear but I find the more I love the more highlighted the fear. What tools do you suggest implementing to step out of this fear?

Offering: Ah.... The F word. As we step into Navaratri (the 9 nights of Durga) on monday the 31st March, its a great time to contemplate our relationship with the Divine Mother as Durga, especially though our relationship to the experience of fear.

Many people think that fear is to be avoided. Its not. Its a very human, very real, very necessary experience to help us navigate this experience of life. It is a gift from Ma Durga to be able to experience the root of life, which is Mooladhara Chakra. And we must root to rise. The energy through this chakra on the emotional level can be experienced as fear, known as anxiety, which moves up the body and stimulates the sympathetic nervous system or fight or flight, or faith/trust which moves down the body, is rooted in trusting the Divine for the perfection of this moment, this reality but not identified with it.

You see, Fear, symbolized by the lion, (sometimes tiger) that Durga is seen riding, is not riding her. She is riding it. It is present in her world, but it does not dominate her, she is using this fear to transport her into action, to right action. To slay the demons of ignorance and illusion. Fear to Durga is not something that is to be avoided, cowered, or discarded. It is a sacred energy that must be harnessed. In the face of fear, often we seek distraction, suppression, or avoidance when what is actually being asked of us is to actively seek to end the suffering of illusion and ignorance, bringing us into truth, into Faith. Trusting that we are all held by the Divine mother in this leela (play) of the souls evolution though the human experience. That all we experience, no matter how painful, (actual pain, not the fear of pain perceived or projected) is for our ultimate healing, to spur us forward into the experience of the One. Atma. Consciousness.

Fear, is rooted into the identification of the souls human experience having a beginning and an end. To not be in control of when/how we die. Who we leave behind. As a mother, this is something I am very intimate with. To fear death is to finally find the joy in living, now we must find the joy in living the unknown, even death.

When we experience fear the first thing to do is shift our awareness into trust. Then from this trust, shift it into action. There must be action for there to be the full cycle of transmutation. Remembering that sometimes right action is to do nothing. Action from fear creates chaos, confusion. Action from trust creates inner calm, contentment, clarity.

Mooladhara (trust/fear) is the foundation of our 3rd Dimensional experience, and Manipura is the peak of our 3rd dimensional experience. To get from one to the other we must move through the emotional waters of Swadhisthana chakra. The purification of the waters, through bringing forth our unconscious samskaras (memories), that seem so real but are really just an illusion, into a witnessing, a discernment to what is illusion and what is real.

Then we open ourselves to the next step, this is where the opening to Love comes in.

Just as to praise the dead is to truly grieve, and the grieve the living is to truly praise. This is the human expression of Love. Which, the same frequency as fear/faith but mirrored in the higher chakra of Anahata (the heart) just like ice and water are the same make up but different expressions. Mooladhara the root, and Anahata the heart, are the foundations of two different realities. 3D and 5D

So when you want to love more, work on your faith. When you want to transmute fear, root into the the unconditional love and protection of the Divine mother.

Though awareness of our actions, our sadhana (practice) to Durga in this auspicious time of Navaratri, we have a real opportunity to consciously step from the foundational 4 of Fear, to the liberated 5 of Faith.

Om Dum Durgayai Namaha!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Value of a Life.

Homesteading is hard work.  Not the kind of hard work where you want to give up, but the kind that supports your growth as a soul, as a human, makes you face the tough questions.  Homesteading puts life into perspective, right down to its core of life and death.

In the West we are so afraid of death.  We acquaint it with failure, with loss, with something we have to fight against.  But this life, in all its dualism, is a beautiful mess,  a tragic celebration, a cherished agony, homesteading.

The last couple of months at Niwas have been a lesson in just that... life and death.

As a homesteader, a farmer, life and death is not as emotional as off the land.  It has a price tag. And i don't mean that cruelly, but honestly.   6 or so weeks ago our pied (black and white) Muskovy ducks started to get sick.  The others were fine,  but these 3, one by one... got sick and died.  It was distressing, frustrating, sad.  It was a dilemma i had never had been faced with before, well, not since the 6 chickens died at the beginning of the winter, but at that time i was in shock, and survival mode, not so much the witness of my experiance. You see, you have ducks on a farm for 3 reasons.  Eggs, Meat and fly control.  We are vegetarian, so meat dosn't really count,  and they arnt laying... so really its fly control that we have them for.

As they got sick, (which seemed to be starting with frozen swollen feet, to lethargy, to death) i had to come to terms that beyond basic first aid (cleaning and warming their feet, separating them with food so they didn't have to compete to eat) it wasn't realistic to have them get better.  I tried everything i knew, and the reached out to the duck community to ask for their advice, wisdom and suggestions... but the last option was the vet,  of which they said they didn't have the expertise and the duck would have to be flown to vancouver. Which would mean hundreds of dollars.  Even if the vet could handle it,  you walk through the door and its $60.  A Muskovy duck fetches between $20 - $40 on average.    So the 3 pied ducks died... nursed by myself to the end, but the end came for each.

Then came Prem.  Our first baby buckling who we spent hours intervening to give him the best start in life. Too weak to stand up, he couldn't get the nutrients he needed, and it was -20 so hypothermia was a certainty.  His umbilical cord was thickened.  Possible hernia, but i didn't think so.  On all other accounts he seemed as healthy as can be.

When you name something Prem (love) and you strip your clothes to give him the kangaroo, skin to skin, heart to heart,  treatment so that he will survive you can bet there is an emotional connection.  There is for all the animals,  but in varying degrees.

So when his umbilical cord got infected and didn't look like it was going to fall off like it needed too we got again in the same predicament, the value of his recovery vs. the value of his life.  A stud buck (which we were hoping him to be) costs around $100 - $150.  For a meat buckling your looking at $50 - $75.  To go to the vet, your looking at $60 for the consult, $50 for antibiotics, and $300 for surgery. 

Where do you draw the line?  It is not viable from a business stand point to pay $300+ to have a healthy goat that realistically could be 2-3 healthy goats for the same money.  Never for a moment would I want anyone, animal or human to suffer even a minute but you also cant emotionally be spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on every animal at the vets.  This is why a basic understanding and kit for first aid is crucial and having a husband thats a nurse comes in handy as well - he's not afraid of needles.

We decided to invest in Prem and took him to the vets for an ultrasound to see if it was a hernia or not. (A hernia is when the internal organs protrude the outside of the body because the abdominal wall is torn)   It wasn't, thank goodness, and with the consult and the antibiotics came to just over $100.  So we were lucky.

But to be extremely honest with you, there were tears,  trying to way up all the scenarios, the outcomes, the treatment options.  The pressure was huge,  the feeling that this being's life was in your hands and pragmatism had to play a part.  It was such and oxymoron.  To have to decide the value of a life.

And then there was Naata,  the Great Pyrenees puppy that ate a skunk with his mother on Saturday,  drove from Manitoba to Alberta on Sunday, from Alberta to us on Monday,  wouldn't eat on Tuesday and was dead by Wednesday.  Really?  was 24 hours long enough for such an emotional attachment to a little being that my streams of tears for hours was warranted?  understandable?  Or was it the helplessness,  the shock itself that elicits such grief?  Or maybe its a slight relief that i didn't have to make the decision,  that it was made for me between dusk and dawn.  We didn't even realize he was sick, we thought that he was depressed from being separated from his family,  scared of his new surroundings.  Its possible it was bone fragment ingested by eating the skunk that pierced his internal organs.  But even that is speculation,  one that gives me comfort.  So i hold on to it.

Why do we so fiercely fight death?  Why do we so strongly hold onto this reality? How do we love fully without attachment?

Maybe a short life as a duck is a huge blessing.  Maybe cycling through a glimpse of time as a puppy is all that is needed to clear the karmas at hand.  This for me is where faith comes in.  Acknowledging that I don't know the answers,  that when I make any decision on the well-being of our animals its from a place of love, of concern, of ultimate good.  Not from a place of emotional attachment.

Its such a strange reality we live in.  Where we have to consider the value of a life in terms of money.  Even humans get to the point where they draw a line on the cost of treatment vs. their attachment to life.

People think that homesteading is romantic.  It can be.  But its also hard work, especially on the inside.