The yogi who is established in a steady posture easily becomes immersed in the ocean of the heart.
~ Shiva Sutra 3.16
As I reflect on this sutra, what is most compelling to me is the phrase “ocean of the heart.” As we all know, the ocean can be still and smooth as a mirror reflecting the thousands of tiny diamond lights of the sun. Or, it can be swirling with tumultuous waves reflecting a sky of darkened clouds. In the same way, the heart can be calm and serene or it can flutter with anger and anxiety.
To me, a steady posture is not just the asana form. It is a steadiness in the heart, where we can reflect the pure Light that we are. This steady posture is a heart free of emotional static, free of charge.
The word charge has many meanings. You can think of two or three right off the top of your head. But the charge I talk about is an emotional static that indicates when things in life are out of balance, or more accurately when you’ve gotten wrapped up in the maya of the ego. There are as many individual ways to feel charge as there are people on the planet, but why is it important to pay attention to when you feel charge?
Any time you feel static, or charge, you are getting a clue that you are not in a steady state. It’s a clue that you’ve shifted identification from the Light that you are, to the ego’s play and dramas. Something has triggered a reaction and taken you out of the flow, out of the current of YOUR life. Sometimes people say, “Oh, that’s just how it is.” Or they will make excuses for it, trying to ignore the charge or deny it. Neither of these options is particularly helpful in the long run.
Charge comes to us or comes from us so that we can use it for information. In fact, it’s more than information. It’s a gold mine for spiritual growth. Develop a kind and curious relationship with your charge and what charges you and you will get clues as to how to find your way back into a steady state. Charge points out our attachments. The resistance to what is shows us where we still have work to do in achieving a steady inner posture that allows us to flow with the ocean of the heart.
Any time you are feeling reactive you are not in the current of your heart’s flow. A steady inner posture feels like an ease of being, a sense of harmony with everyone and everything. You become that ocean of the heart and that ocean becomes you.
So how do you cultivate that steadiness inside? The same way you do in your asana practice. Start to develop compassion for yourself and really begin to look within with self-compassion. Take responsibility for your state. Use that feeling of charge as a beacon to illumine where things are out of balance and recognize what is going on from a place of humility and kindness. Do this with detached mindfulness, just noticing.
Any charge can be released temporarily by any number of things. You can pet your dog or go for a walk and discharge some of the energy surrounding whatever issue has come up. But a deeper release is possible.
Deeper releases take deeper work, however, and that is where the PEAT (Prime Energy Activation Transcendence) processes help. In PEAT processes, we take an issue and we work with it until we come to a pair of opposites, a polarity. That polarity can be anything really, it is individual to you and it is driving you with or without your knowledge.
Once you have found that polarity, through PEAT you integrate them, creating more freedom within. From that place of freedom, you can choose from the spaciousness of a steady heart.
As a result, you become freer to be who you really are. The limiting beliefs fall away and you are able to live life from the ocean of the heart.
Paying attention to your own charges and those tensions that come up for you and then processing them through PEAT is like hygiene for your heart. It helps to clear out the debris of what has come before. You begin to take care of yourself in a profound and fundamental way. And by taking care of yourself in this way you can start to release on deeper and deeper levels and become established in a steady posture, immersed in the ocean of the heart.
Melanie McGhee, L.C.S.W. is an award-winning author, relationship expert, psychotherapist and spiritual coach. She is also the founder of Abhimukti Yoga Coaches - providing coaches training to yoga teachers.