The Four Aims of Life- Levelling Up

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These personal journeys that we’re all on have us questioning who we are, what are we doing here, and how do we serve. The more I’ve realized that I’m the one responsible for these, then more I’ve restructured myself to:

  • developing a secure relationship with myself through integrity,
  • living a life that’s a reflection of the richness I have inside,
  • having as much FUN as possible to feel fully alive and appreciative of the gift of life, and
  • surrendering and fully aligning with the will of spirit.


Today I came across The Four Aims of life, which are the four goals that Hindus pursue, known as  chaturvarga. Amazingly they’re completely where I’m at on my journey! What’s beautiful is had I read them before discovering them on my own, I wouldn’t have resonated. I needed to uncover them within myself to integrate them first and now I can fully relate to them! It’s also comforting to know that because there’s an entire tradition devoted to this way of life,  I’m clearly not alone on this journey and I’m very much on the right path.

 

The Four Aims of Life

Dharma (duty). Dharma can be translated as “truth,” “righteousness,” and “religion,” and all of those meanings coincide in the sense of one’s moral and spiritual duty.

Artha (material gain). Contrary to popular opinion, the Hindus do not look askance at success, wealth, or possessions, but merely seek to keep them in their proper place. One of the duties of a householder, for instance, is to begin each day pondering how to improve both dharma and artha.

Kama (physical and sense pleasures). Hindus also embrace the enjoyment of earthly pleasures, including sexuality, food, music, and the arts, during the second stage of life.

Moksha (release or salvation). The fourth goal parallels the fourth stage of life, representing the end to which all Hindu life aspires.

 

I’d love to hear from those on a similar journey!

xo
Erika Babe

 

 

source: https://www.myss.com/free-resources/world-religions/hinduism/the-four-aims-of-life/

 

What’s Stopping You From Total Freedom

 

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The Experience
As I lay imagining my daily visualizations, I noticed how tense my body was and how closed off I was energetically. I questioned, how am I going to receive everything that I’m visualizing while in this tensed up state? I fully let my body relax and opened up my energy field. To do this, I surrendered and let go of everything I was mentally, emotionally, and physically holding onto, and allowed my energy to naturally expand. I felt my heart energy grow and noticed how vulnerable I felt in this state. My energy field almost quivered in uncertainty, until I felt a surge of protection surrounding me. I relaxed into it and felt myself getting filled up with light. Starting from my heart, and filling up my entire body.

The Epiphany
A couple days later I had an epiphany that had related to this experience. I realized how stubborn I had been and how this was responsible for keeping me stuck in a daily routine that wasn’t aligned with the kind of life and experiences I envisioned for myself.

Having experienced disappointment and suffering time and time again, eventually everything in my being just said ENOUGH- I’m not moving. There’s so much that I wanted to do but couldn’t move forward. I was stubborn to a set of beliefs that don’t allow flexibility into a new way of being. My entire body reflected this with tense muscles, shot adrenals, and persistent anxiety. I had lost trust in myself and needed to rebuild this in order to feel secure to move forward.

Rebuilding Trust With Myself – Moving From Insecure to Secure
The people that we trust are those that we can count on. They have integrity. How many times have we showed up late, said we’re going to do something and not followed through, abandoned unfinished projects. In Anatomy of the Spirit, Caroline Myss says that to rebuild trust, which is at the core of our root chakra, we need to have integrity- loyalty and honour with ourselves and with others in our Tribe.

“You have to be able to give your word and keep it-whether it is to another person or to yourself. You have to be able to trust yourself to complete something and honor your commitments. When you don’t trust yourself, everyone and everything around you feels temporary and fragile because that is how you feel within yourself.”

You can start with small challenges that you know you will succeed at. I’m currently on day 17 of 21 of a no sugar commitment. And to succeed, I’m using my stubbornness to my advantage!

Let Stubbornness Work For You, Not Against You
We’ll never be perfect, this is a planet of duality and we’ll forever have our inner gremlins. It’s what we’re unaware of that has power over us. When we practice self awareness and notice when we’re reacting with stubbornness, we can choose to respond differently. And alternatively, when we want to accomplish something, we can activate our stubbornness to help us!

But we do need to be weary of what we’re being stubborn about. Using it to help us finish something we’ve been putting off is probably helpful. But stubbornness is an attempt at control. So if we have a habit of being stubborn, we need to ask, how else are we being controlling?

Expectations Create Disappointments
This is really tricky. Some may say that our expectations in life- our goals- can fuel and drive us. But failed expectations create an emotional rollercoaster of excitement and disappointment.

For example, we meet someone, get excited, start to imagine the future with them, but it ends and we’re heart broken. We have plans to go out, something happens, event is cancelled. We experiment with a new supplement or healing modality with a high success rate, but it doesn’t help us.

The list goes on and in each instance, when we assume a desirable outcome, we’re trying to control the external world. So then how do we create a future we desire without having expectations?

Practicing Non-Attachment & Gratitude Because Everything is Temporary
This attempt at controlling everything around us is futile. Fortunately unfortunately, nothing lasts- everything is temporary. Like the ebb and flow of the ocean, we’re meant to be fluid. This moment right now is beautifully unique to never be re-created in all time and space. It is precious and fleeting. Hold it in your heart and revere it with deep gratitude because sooner or later, people leave, circumstances change, and tomorrow it may not be here.

Stop kidding yourself by thinking that you’re the only person that can beat it by creating expectations of the future and stubbornly trying to hold onto them. You will almost always be disappointed. All suffering comes from a fear of loss and all bitter resentment comes from things not having gone our way. Let it go. Trying to control, to hold on, only creates more suffering.

Let this humble us, let it soften us. By using integrity to develop security within ourselves, we can trust the process and trust ourselves that we can handle absolutely everything that comes our way. We would never be given anything that we can’t handle. Everything will always be okay because when has it not been? To have fun and enjoy ourselves is the ultimate form of gratitude. When we come home to ourselves, we stop attaching to things external to us. We enjoy the moment in full gratitude, and let it freely slip through our fingers.

No Expectations & Non-Attachment Allows a Total Freedom to Create
Creating is our natural state. Every day we use our imaginations to create prototypes of what we want to experience, and then we act in ways that allow them to show up. Life is a playground of creating everything we desire to experience.

Many of us don’t push the boundaries of our lives, living variations of the same day for years because our willingness to create is stunted by this fear of loss. We’ve grown attached to what we know, and stubbornly try to control outcomes that we want. But when we stop exhausting our energy trying to control, then we can focus on our values and act in ways that energize them. This can create experiences and circumstances that go beyond what we could have come up with on our own.

Surrendering Control Aligns Us With What is For Our Highest Good
This is HUGE. Say we’re in a relationship that has past it’s time and no longer supports our growth or is in alignment with our values, but we’re too stubborn to admit this, to let go of the future we’ve committed to. This relationship will only hold us back and bring us down.

Alternatively, we revere the relationship with the deepest gratitude for absolutely everything it has brought us, accept that we’ve had our time together and it’s time to flow in another direction, and to trust ourselves that we’re able to do this. This huge choice, though difficult, is what aligns us with our deepest fulfillment. It gets us unstuck and back into the flow of life. We’re free now to create everything we desire to experience in this lifetime.

This doesn’t mean treat people like they’re disposable. It means Love deeply, but don’t hold on when it’s time to let go. And don’t be resentful of endings because they’re a natural part of life. And to practice non-attachment, gratitude, flexibility instead of control, allows us to relax and Trust ourselves and the process, and really begin to enjoy life and start to play again. It really is about time that we get back on track and start having fun again.

HOW??
Lol. I’m working on this part. I have yet to integrate full flexibility. Body, mind, spirit are all connected and by working on one, the others benefit. So, I like to work on all three.

Body: Notice where you’re holding tension and releasseee. Yoga is great for this. I started singing lessons and use diaphragm & breathing exercises to release the tension in my throat.

Mind: Practice self-awareness and conscious choices in every situation. Notice when you’re being stubborn and ask yourself if it’s serving you. Be honest! Perhaps using your stubbornness in ways that benefit you, like by creating healthy habits, will give it a healthy outlet!

Spirit: In meditation, surrender and let go of the tension stored in your muscles and the walls you’ve built up to energetically block yourself off. Once you’ve let go, notice how this allows your energy to expand. Pay attention to where it stops or gets stuck, hold space for it, and allow it to transform and move again. Yoga Nidra has guided meditations for this!

Good luck and keep me posted on your process!
xo
Erika

How To Create Genuine Relationships

It’s not as black and white as this, but it’s a way to simplify. We have casual friends and best friends. What’s the difference?

Casual friends we see once in a while for short periods of time, catch up, keep it light, update each other, maybe network a little, and celebrate each other’s successes. We could talk about deep, esoteric subjects and even share moments of deeply connected intimacy, but there’s a lack of something that keeps us from contacting the person on a more regular basis.

Best friends are people who share a deeply connected, intimate friendship all the time. They’re like family. They walk alongside you in life. They invest into you. They’re the people you call when something happens. Without making a list of expectations of these kinds of friends, we can agree that they make an effort on a regular basis to show you that they care about you and that you matter. They find out how you need to be loved- your love languages, and then do them because watching your happy reaction makes them happy.

There are several questions we can ask to investigate into why a casual friend isn’t become a best friend. They are:

Connection- Does someone have up walls that can’t be permeated?
Time- Is there time right now to invest into a close friendship?
Other priorities- Does someone already have strong relationships that takes up their time and energy?
Common interests- Do you want to do the same things together?
Common values- Do you want the same things from your life right now?
Common goals and vision for the future- Are you working towards the same things together?
Location- Do you live close enough to spend quality time together?
Spark- Is there a spark that keeps you wanting more of each other? Sometimes we just meet someone and think, “I like this one” and want to spend all of our time with them.

And maybe we’re in complete alignment, but still can’t further our bond. It comes down to vulnerability- being able to show that we love each other. Those that we’re closest to are the people we feel most loved by, the people that show us that they care, and the people we’re able to love in return. Best friends remind us that we’re loved on a regular basis, not just when it’s convenient for them. And this will look differently for everyone. The Five Love Languages is an excellent resource. It speaks to how people give and receive love.

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Balance is important. How are we showing up in our relationships? Are we a giver, a taker or are we balanced? Giving includes things and ourselves- our time and energy. If we’re always taking, then the other person gets depleted and stops giving. It’s not always conscious, but they’ll start to feel unappreciated, taken for granted, drained and maybe even resentful. Are we always the one complaining and needing support, or do we reciprocate and show our appreciation for our friend?

Communication is also important. Ask your friends what they like and do this for them. Nothing extravagant- small gestures go a long way. If you’re the one feeling unloved, notice if you’re over giving and if so, hold back so your friend has the opportunity to give. Also notice how you give to yourself, show the world how you deserve to be treated. And finally, have that conversation. Try not to accuse them of anything or demand they give things to you, but tell your friend that the relationship feels unbalanced and ask them if they notice it. Maybe they’ve never learned the gift of giving. Write down a list of things that make you feel loved so if they ask you what you want you know how to respond. It helps if you look back at things people have done. Remind them that small gestures go a long way and that you care about them so much that you want more of them, not less.

We’re not trying to complete each other or get things that we can’t give to ourselves. And we’re not feeding our anxious attachments here or creating obligations for the other person to meet. We’re simply communicating our needs in relationships that help us to feel loved and fulfilled in this area of life. Expectations lead to disappointments and expectations are just unspoken needs. So let’s communicate our needs! When we’re two whole people coming together, we’re celebrating life by celebrating each other. We’re appreciating our friendships and doing things to see our pal’s reactions because it makes us feel happy and alive and we love experiencing life with them because we adore this beautiful human being! It’s about playing with life and it feels fun showing up in adorable ways for each other.

Can we have friends we don’t love and that don’t love us? No. Those are bullshit friends. They’ll waste your time and sap your energy. They’re most likely opportunists trying to get something from you. Sure, some people are on the path of learning about love, but there needs to be SOME kind of genuine caring feelings with the potential to grow into more. If they don’t care about you based on their actions, not just their words, swipe left.

Getting Excited About Life and Overcoming Procrastination

It was brought to my awareness recently that in my rush to create more for myself, I was turning my life into a series of chores that need to get done. But as we know, it’s the journey, not the destination. Achieving a goal may bring us happiness but only temporarily. It’s the satisfaction that comes from accomplishments along the way that bring us fulfillment. But we don’t always appreciate these sometimes menial tasks as small accomplishments towards our desires. We lose sight of why we’re doing what we’re doing- the bigger picture, and life starts to lack it’s lustre a little bit more each time. It’s Saturday night and I’m at home writing this post. I could easily think of all the other ways I could be having fun, or I could feel genuinely excited that I’m choosing to stay home and write because it’s a small victory towards creating a life that inspire others to fulfil their highest potential as I fulfil my own. Playing Janga with pals, while fun, doesn’t quite have that same impact.

I’m currently taking a course on Tantra that requires me to do daily exercises. My initial response was, ugh, homework and reluctantly bullying and coaxing myself into doing the exercises, like forcing myself to meditate is really going to bring me any closer to enlightenment. But how often do we do this in life! We may dread working out to achieve our ideal bodies, or we’ll be excited to get a new project or client until we have to do the work. It doesn’t make any sense! We want these things, why aren’t we more excited to do the tasks that will get us there?

Consider this. We have the freedom and sovereignty to desire anything- any dream, and the power to make it happen for ourselves. Feel into this. This is incredibly exciting!

It’s easy to focus on the fear, the bumps we’ll hit along the way, the ways we’ve gotten hurt and disappointed in the past. Struggles will always show up because this existence is one of duality. But if we only focus on the bad, then this is all we’ll see.

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We need to focus on the big picture. Focus on our visions with complete gratitude that we get to have these visions and that they’re just on the other side of coming true for us. Fully savour this experience. We’re getting exactly what we want and we’re making it happen for ourselves. This is powerful.

Sometimes we need to remember there’s delayed gratification, where the benefit from doing something will come tenfold when we hold out a little longer. Or, if we do try something and decide we don’t actually want it, then we have the power to change course. How empowering that we get to make these choices. We’re in control of our own lives. Depression stems from feeling out of control, and being productive rather than procrastinating can be difficult when we’ve lost focus. But instead of accepting that everything feels like a drag, let’s intend everything we do as a step towards what we desire, and feel the excitement that accompanies that.

Feeling Safe To Be Our Authentic Selves

After being with my partner, Matias for four years, we split when he got a new job and moved to California. It was the most painful decision of my life. With him, I always felt safe in the world. Now I felt I was left to fend for myself. I still always have his support, but it’s different now. I’m here in Toronto alone. He is currently visiting, a few months after our split, and I can see the difference of how I am with him and how I am without him. When I’m with him, I feel safe. I am able to let my guard down, open up completely, relax, laugh, have fun, be my authentic self. When he’s not here, I tense up. As a way to protect myself, I unintentionally, close my heart, build a wall between myself and everyone else. In the process I become numb, depressed and cold. I check out, disassociate because it’s hard to be in the world when you don’t feel safe. I am still functional but I don’t feel like myself. I am not able to take chances and put myself out there, nor am I able to easily connect with others until I know them well enough that I feel safe again.

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Photo by: Laina Briedis

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