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From Agony to Alchemy

Road to Wellness

By William Brashear · October 26th, 2005 · The Road to Wellness
A man went to a priest to get relief from the misery of losing his wife. The priest gave him a name of God to chant and instructed him to do this whenever he felt distraught. Religiously, he did this for what seemed like years, but to no avail.

Later he met a yogi and explained his disappointment. The yogi said the problem is that he is not total, nor able to be total, in his approach to the priest's instructions. He saw that the man's love for this woman was so deep that there was no steadfast depth of concentration that he could maintain to truly sublimate his suffering away. Therefore, his attempts were merely distractions that took what little energy he had. There was no power he could cultivate in this manner to transcend his problem.

The yogi told him that the Yoga Sutras (a sacred text) say that we should meditate on something we are deeply interested in, or love. For if we're naturally compelled to follow the good in something, we have a great opportunity for our attention to quickly crystallize into a deep state of meditation -- leading to the same place that all points converge, the same place the priest was pointing.

Yet if we're pulled between two things, even if one is divine, we still remain in a sort of middle space or limbo.

In this case, both are paths of love and thus going to the same place. But we can't take both paths at the same time. We must surrender to one to get anywhere, and it's usually to the one we're trying to avoid that we should surrender.

If a fight continues within, you have probably attempted to surrender to the wrong side. For in true surrender we give up all fighting and find our energies integrated. That sick feeling of being split apart is an indication we're not taking a path that will allow us to be total, and its uneasiness stays with us as an indication to change directions. Consequently, if you do change directions you quickly feel confirmed in doing so and gather momentum in the certitude that you're now on the right path.

The yogi told the man to make his wife's name his mantra and her remembrance his meditation, to visualize her heavenly face, to recall her angelic voice singing to him and to let every breeze that wafted the scent of lavender or rose to enrapture him in a state of her loveliness. Essentially, he was to allow all the remembrances of her that he had been formerly avoiding -- so as naught to haunt him -- to now totally come into him.

Instead of running from her ghost, he was to have the holiness of her ghost entirely inhabit the temple of his being -- to the point that his own self would move out and the love of her move entirely in. Thus, if fully surrendered to that divine injunction, "Die in me that I may eternally live in thee," he might find the quintessence of spiritual practice.

Three weeks later, the man came back to the yogi full of gratitude and full of love! He was vibrant and full of energy, for he was no longer running from anything.

If we can remember the agony is not in the circumstance but in the split of our consciousness, we can perceive a direction that might merge our energies together into a new feeling of wholeness. And continuing this path, we might find a surprising joy at who is actually forgotten and an overwhelming awe with whom is remembered!

WILLIAM BRASHEAR is a Yoga Psychologist and owner of Cincinnati Yoga School in Blue Ash. He's been practicing progressive meditation since 1988 and gives lectures and instruction locally and internationally. Contact him at Will@cincyoga.com.


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