How it is Inside

A teacher of mine says that “how it is inside, is how it is outside.” What they mean is that how we are feeling inside–the energy (prana) vibrating and flowing within us–is exactly the same energy vibrating and flowing through the whole universe. Yoga is a process of awakening to the interconnectedness of all matter, all beings, and all energy in the Universe. It is a way to remind us that we are not separate and that we are all moving through space and time together. So when things are feeling a certain way inside you, it’s often true that others are feeling the same thing because we are all vibrating and moving based on the same energy in the Universe.

Those of us that live in the northern hemisphere have been blasted for the past week with intense solar energy. Not only did the solstice keep us up with vivid dreams, we are still feeling the effects of that energy days later. As I wrote late last week, this energy is particularly disruptive to sleep and many people are experiencing vivid and intuitive dreams. These dreams can leave us feeling emotional or irritable in the morning, but they can hold a lot of insight and are worth analyzing. For instance, I woke up today with a dream about a particular thing that was so implausible in real life–something that I would never be doing. But first thing in the morning, I found that this very thing that seemed so implausible was actually happening, and I was no longer dreaming. This is not the first time this has happened that I dreamed about something actually happening in the world. In our sleep, our channels are really open and we are more able to feel the Universal prana and vibrations caused by events happening in the real world. In this way, the mind is more like a radio or TV, picking up signals from across the Universe. The problem is that when we are awake, we often close off and can’t tune into the signals (even though they are still there).

One of the best ways to tap into this intuitive power while you are awake is with meditation. The most effective times for deep insight in meditation are when your conscious mind is closest to being turned off, which coincidentally happens right when you wake up from sleep or after you have done a physical practice like yoga. Try this: Upon waking tomorrow morning, keep your eyes dim and move slowly. Don’t look at any electronics (phones, computers, etc.). Rather, move slowly to a quiet place to sit, which can be a sofa or on the floor if you are comfortable sitting on the floor. I particularly like sitting on a few blankets on the floor and leaning my straight spine against the wall. It feels grounding and I can relax. The most important thing is that you want the spine to be straight and upright (no laying back down).

From your comfortable seat, close your eyes, relax your mind, and start to slowly count your breath. Count an inhale and exhale cycle as “1”, “2”, etc. and go all the way to “10.” When your mind wanders, which it will, tune back into your breath and start your count from “1” again. Repeat this until your mind is calm enough to count “1” through “10” without losing awareness of the present moment. From there, relax your mind even further and see if any of the dreams you had the prior night start to come back to you. They almost always will and you can then access them in your conscious mind for analysis. I suggest writing them down so you don’t forget. Pay particular attention to the implausible dreams and see whether anything that you dreamed comes up for you during the day.

Sometimes the intuitive dreams are not literal. For instance, when my grandfather left his body and died, I have an incredibly vivid dream that a bird landed on my head. I actually woke up slapping my head trying to get it off and when I finally came to consciousness, I realized it was a dream. However, I knew at that moment that someone had passed away and that they had just visited me in the vision of the bird. A few moments later, I learned that my grandfather had passed (and I had no reason to expect it prior to that night). Birds and other animals can be very symbolic. You can read the poem I wrote about this dream here if you are interested.

Regardless of whether you take this advice, know that “how it is inside, is how it is outside.” Don’t fight emotions or feelings that come up because they are beyond your control. Instead, invite them in, sit with them, have tea with them, and when they are ready to leave, they will say their good byes and go.

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