If you’ve seen or if you’re doing my Exploring Chakras Through Tarot challenge on Instagram, then the thought has probably crossed your mind: who the hell is she to tell me about chakras?
She’s only 28. She’s barely ventured out of the state of Colorado. She’s a stay-at-home mom. What the hell does she know about this shit?
Well, according to some papers I have, I’m a registered, certified 200 hour yoga teacher. To some, this may seem like a qualification. But the truth is that it’s irrelevant. The process to acquire these certifications revealed the yoga community (in Colorado, at least) to be cliquish, money-hungry, and competitive. Instead of “finding my tribe” I felt alienated. Just like everywhere else.
This was when I went to spend some time at the Shoshoni Yoga Ashram. And by Yoga Ashram, I mean temple at four am, study of the 8 limbs of Yoga (surprise! Physical poses are only 1/8th of yoga), and meditation on those dumbass little pillows.
My first day there, I chose to take a class instructed by the Ashram’s Swami, a white haired woman wearing saffron-dyed robes who had “reached enlightenment.” I could write pages and pages about the way she moved and the way she spoke, but I’ll refrain here.
As soon as I walked in, she gave me a sharp look and tapped on the carpet right in front of her. I unrolled my mat right where she’d directed me. I was embarrassed, worried, all that shit. There were no mirrors in the crooked little hut to check my alignment and, mere months after a c-section that left me with a separation of the muscles in my abdominal wall, my core strength was shit.
The class that she taught had little resemblance to classes that you can go to your local yoga studio and take. The movements were smaller, slower, and she didn’t even have names for the poses she instructed.
I was terrified of fucking up two feet from her, so of course I fucked up constantly. If she noticed, nothing about her showed it.
In a very Luna Lovegood sort of way, she spoke quietly and had meandering conversations with the spaces in between students. This was where it got weird. She was prattling about “enlightenment.” Different cultures have different names for it, but it’s all the same thing.
“What you’re doing right now,” she had said, “Has nothing to do with enlightenment. Maybe that’s why you’re here. Maybe it’s not. Maybe you haven’t thought about it. Maybe you’re working to attain it. Maybe,” and here she gave me a very slow wink, “You’ve already encountered it.”
I remember the next thing she told us to do was to put out arms above our heads, shoulders down and back, and motion like we were climbing a rope. I felt like the teacher had just caught me passing a note and she’d intercepted it and read it to the class. I knew exactly what she was talking about.
I went on to fuck up the last pair of half-lotus chaturanga of the class and I ran to put my blocks and straps away. But I was farthest from the bins in the back of the room and everyone was bigger than I was, and I was one of the last people to toss my props in the bin.
My escape foiled, I walked back to the Swami’s mat. “When you were talking about enlightenment,” I said, “How did you know?”
She didn’t smile, but she wasn’t unpleasant when she said, “There’s just a stillness.”
Satisfied, I left.
So what the fuck was she talking about?
Let’s take a moment to talk about enlightenment. Enlightened people aren’t walking around in an enlightened state all the time. You can’t. Your physical body is unconscious. People who have reached enlightenment can meditate themselves into this state at will.
I didn’t do mine on purpose. At all.
From my research afterward, I accidentally reached an enlightened stage one evening through a Kundalini Awakening. This is a Hindu theory that a snake waits coiled at the base of the spine and, if everything energetically aligns just right, it travels up the spine, opening each chakra by blasting through it, and results in an “enlightenment.”
At the time that I achieved this, I knew practically nothing about chakras. I knew that they existed and that was it. I started linking the chakras to my “moment” during my chakra classes during yoga teacher training.
I’ve since realized that I should be very excited about it, because this shit is the kind of shit I must have been working on for fucking lifetimes.
Although I had no “training” in this life, I was obviously doing something right.
So, how did I do it?
I unthought myself.
Sometimes, the tapestry of reality has little frays. When you think too hard about reality, you’ll notice them. One evening, lying in bed, I found one. So I grabbed that sucker and pulled it. Most people, I think, notice that they’re unravelling the sweater and stop pulling, but this one time, I decided not to. I pulled until the whole sweater came apart. I pulled until it was the sheep’s wool, and I pulled some more until it was an egg in a sheep’s ovary. I pulled until the sheep weren’t sheep yet. I pulled until the planet was lifeless and then until the planet hadn’t existed yet. And then I pulled some more.
What was at the end of it?
And I was the nothing.
I can’t really describe the nothing. People talk about interconnectedness and all of that. People know it makes sense. People know it’s true. But this was like KNOWING vs knowing. It’s not even something to be talked about because IT JUST IS. I can’t convey it to you and I wish I could. The words I’m trying to use have been cheapened by excessive use from parroting lips.
But I haven’t been the same since.
That was a long story. But I offer you this: I’m doing something right.