DEVELOPING A DAILY PRACTICE
Following post is contributed by our member teahers Aaron & Chantelle
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In the 4 years I’ve been working with Eliyah, the biggest resistance I’ve had has been committing to a daily practice. I would do the different processes and embodiment practices when I needed, would do my sessions, attend retreats and “do the work” when I had the time, but actually committing to time every single day, for myself, felt way too overwhelming.
It was only during the Being Woman Retreat in India last November that I finally faced my resistance to a daily practice. This process began as soon as I arrived in India. In the first few days I became sick with full body aches, extreme tiredness and an eye infection. But I was determined to keep “showing up” for the team, to lead my Temple Dance evenings as I’d committed to and to be an active participant in the retreat. However, my body had other ideas. After resisting and resisting, and with much support from the incredible people around me, I finally got out of my own way, and over my ego, and took a complete day off. I slept all day which something I hadn’t done in years. My body desperately needed the rest.
The following day, I felt rejuvenated. I felt rested and I felt my body healing properly. I had been so worried that I would be missing out, that I wouldn’t be part of the fun, or would miss some deep spiritual teaching that I absolutely had to hear. I also worried that people would think I was letting them down or that I had failed.
But what I discovered, was that the world kept on turning and that I was much better able to show up for others when I show up for myself.
A couple of days later, on the final “integration” day of the retreat, Chantelle gave us the discourse around the importance of a daily practice, and I could really feel the final tendrils of resistance moving through me. I felt heavy. Depressed. Resistant. Grumpy. But I also know this was the time to really practice what I preach. To use the commitment and discipline that I direct every day towards my external work to the internal work that I know is so incredibly important.
When it comes down to it, for me, my resistance to my daily practice, which still sometimes rears itself, is a resistance to feeling whatever is present in my body. It is a resistance to surrendering control to the universe and wanting to keep “pushing through.” It is a resistance and discomfort with “doing nothing” or doing something for myself that has no external outcome. It is a resistance to my own pleasure and ease.
Gently working through these resistances, each day, to me, feels like the most radical spiritual practice I can be doing in this moment. To take a breath, to check in, to feel what’s present in amongst the chaos, the drama, the excitement of life.
Chantelle has taught me how important it is to commit to this, and I am so excited we can share these teachings in this week’s blog.
With love x Erin
DEVELOPING A DAILY PRACTICE
Living a Tantric Life means completely embracing everything — sexuality, rage, grief, ecstasy, despair, fear and frustration. Nothing is excluded. However, living with total acceptance and self-expression is not what we are taught and encouraged in modern Western culture. Thus, a daily practice is needed to release what no longer serves, embrace our true nature and delve deep of who we are. It is then we can embrace life, love and living to the fullest!
People often have a daily practice like yoga, the gym or meditation and yet, they often only do it out of obligation. The first thing that needs to happen when we commit to a daily practice is that it comes from a genuine curiosity to explore what is going on internally. Ask yourself, “Would I like a daily practice to tune into what’s real?”
What is real is love. What is real is freedom. We are love and we are freedom, but we identify with the thoughts and the body so much that we think that’s what we are. It’s not about discounting the body or the mind but feeling our essence beyond that duality.
Daily self-practice is a way of dropping in, getting to know who you are and sitting in a space where you are making way to connect with God/Love/Freedom. It’s not something that you can be determined to do without actually desiring to clear your field, to clear everything that’s not love.
A lot of daily practices are about going upwards. For example, meditation is a mental exercise to go up and out of the body. In a Tantric Daily Practice we breath into the body and get real with what’s inside, allowing the mind to slowly let go of us, rather than us trying to let go of it. This can be hard to comprehend, but when you try it and feel into your own body you can get a sense of how it feels.
Daily self-practice brings you into your centre. It helps you to know who you are. It is an entrainment for a different way of being in the world from what we are taught from our conditioning; to constantly be attuned to what’s outside of ourselves, i.e. what our partner/parents/boss think of us, or that our success is determined by what feedback we are getting.
Committing to a daily practice is a new programming that says, what if instead of looking out all the time, we began a process of looking within.
“He who looks outside, he who looks inside awakens”
– Carl Gustav Jung
PRACTICE: THE STEPS TO A DAILY PRACTICE
A daily practice is ideally 30 mins, but if you can at least commit to 5 mins, eventually you will be able practice longer as you realise how much time you gain when you commit to a daily practice. You start to feel more in your power and centre and can actually get more done with the time you have when not acting from a place of stress, rushing around.
Awakening happens as we realise the power is within us to create our own reality, Our thoughts, our feelings, everything we experience is within us and when we focus on the external, it only feeds further into the illusion and the dream.
If you are inspired to commit to a self-practice, then the first step is to ask yourself: “Am I prepared to look at the truth within every day? Is that something that excites me?” The true seekers path is a search for the truth, a search for love. The discovery is always the same: love is who we are.
The second step is having the discipline to choose that every day.
The third step is to feel and notice what goes on inside, when you do a self-practice, because that will give you the stamina to continue on with it.
Its not easy to stick to. It’s not something we’re accustomed to in Western culture. In a lot of Eastern cultures they are more used to daily practices such as walk with reverence to sit before altars, praying and singing to god. But we don’t have many things like that. So be gentle with yourself. It’s a new way of being. A new culture. Enjoy the journey.
CREATING A SACRED SPACE
One of the most useful practice tools you can use to support yourself in committing to a daily practice is to create a sacred space somewhere in your home that you go to every day. The energy that you create there will continue to grow and become a space of safety, expression and peace.
If you are limited for space, this can be as simple as a cushion and a candle that you place down in your bedroom each morning.
It is better, however, not to do your daily practice on your bed if you can avoid it, as you want your bed to be a place that is solely for rest, sleep and sex.
You may want to have a mirror so you can do some self-eye gazing, or you may want to have some essential oils and coconut oil so you can lather and adorn yourself with loving touch and sensual self-massage.
You can also create an altar, with symbols, images and anything else that represents how you want to feel in your life. You can light candles, burn incense and have crystals or flowers to adorn the space. You want this space to be attractive and enticing to you, so that you feel drawn to spend time there.
Have some comfortable cushions, maybe a yoga mat so you can do some stretching or gentle movement some days.
Have access to a sound system so you can play music. You may want to have a deck of guidance cards or other tools that help you access your intuitive, feeling self.
EXAMPLES OF DAILY PRACTICE FROM THE ELIYAH TEAM:
My daily practice starts off with shaking, discharging the nervous system of stored trauma. The more regularly and consistently I do the daily practice the more my body discharges. Some days a tremor will go throughout my body uncontrollably, other days I’ll have to shake consciously. It lets out my anger in a safe and controlled way with no external stimuli so my nervous system isn’t over stimulated. For me, anger is part of the fuel a person uses to really change the world. Anger and passion is what makes you really feel someone so it’s important for me to tap into that daily and really bring in the fire energy to fuel the passion I want to have behind projects and life itself. – Rhianne
My daily practice always involves a quiet, private space, evocative music, and an initial check-in with myself where I breathe into my body and breathe out with an active exhalation, any tension that arises. There’s a combination of breath, sound and movement, to release any emotion that is ready to move. This can look like shaking, punching pillows, crying, dancing, or chucking a tantrum. With emotion expressed and released there’s a deeper check-in with myself that’s available – ‘What’s underneath this? What’s moving for me now?’ Usually there’s a level of vulnerability that is felt here; a getting to know myself, be honest with myself, and give myself what I need, at a much deeper level. Then my practice ends with an invitation of sexual energy into my body and song through my expression, as I set intentions for my day ahead. – Tara
It’s really helpful for me to have a beautiful space around me so, even when I’m travelling, I pack a small altar kit with some red flowers, crystals, a small pack of goddess cards and some tea light candles. This helps me to tap into my feminine space, which I really need for my practice. I begin by picking some music and take some gentle breaths with my hands on my heart and womb. Then it’s a process of scanning through my body and feeling what’s present. From there, I may go into a strong express and release if there is a charge to be processed, some aspecting if I need to work through a question or I might do some uplifting dance and movement or sensual touch. I love to finish my daily practice with some devotional kirtan and then finish with an upbeat dance to my favourite song of the moment. It can take 20 mins some days and other an hour and a half depending on what I need. – Erin
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Online courses can also be an incredible support for daily practice. You can check them out here.
With Love Xx Chantelle
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