Rituals and Practices
I strongly believe that this life is an energetic play. EVERYTHING is energy. Throughout my adult life I've experimented with different spiritual traditions, many of which involve rituals. Working with tangible energy in the "outside" world with the belief that it will affect my "inside" world. I'll share some of these rituals and perhaps you will feel encouraged to do or create your own.I'm also sharing some more personal practices & meditations that I've done. They may not resonate with you, or they may inspire you to follow through on some of your intuitive impulses for you unique practice. These are just examples to share and perhaps encourage you to not be afraid to follow wherever the energy leads you.
Nothing I do has to do with one religion or another. I am not religious in any way. Yet, if you have a particular religion you follow you could tune any of these to be more specific towards that.
Self-massage was an important tool for me for a period of time as I was getting back into my body. Many mornings I would get up, heat a little ayurvedic oil, lay a sheet out on the floor and begin to massage myself starting from the soles of my feet all the way up to my crown. I took my time feeling every inch of my skin, noticing where there was dryness, toughness, numbness, sensation; noticing when my mind would get distracted or would tell stories; noticing what my own body actually looked and felt like. Often when people hear of self-massage there is an assumption that this must be something sexual. We are so programmed to assume that if there is touch involved with the body then there must be eroticism and lust involved. I wouldn't discourage allowing yourself pleasure but I would also encourage you to do some further exploration. Can you stay tuned to your body without automatically turning it sexual? If you do feel stimulated can you just allow that sensation to run through the body without feeling you need to heighten or dampen it?Can you stay curious about where your mind goes and what it says while being in contact with your own body? Can you find where repressed emotions are being held? This is often in small "bubbles" of energy sometimes held deep in the muscles or joints.
When one of my sisters was first diagnosed with a return of cancer I began to do a nightly homa with mantras (mantra: repetition of particular words, for me they are in sanskrit). A homa is a small indoor fire ceremony that helps to keep the energy of the house and one's physical & energetic body clear, and also an opportunity to cast out anything that you are looking to release in regards to thoughts, emotions and behaviors of the day. I would intuitively connect into her nightly, envisioning the fire clearing her energetically. She knew I was doing this ritual and would connect in as she could. We both felt it was impactful. It also gave me a sense of engagement since I was on the other side of the world from her and not able to be there physically.
Most homes in India, or the ones I've been in, are made of cement and tile floors. So having a small indoor fire in a copper pot is no problem. If your house has wood or carpeted floors you'll probably want to do this outside:) Make the entire process a ritual, from the setting up of the space, lighting of the fire, sitting with the fire, and either watching the fire diminish or putting the fire out. Using intention and attention is important. You can burn journal pages, throw in pieces of rice or grain, or throw words into the fire. The flame transforms matter into ash and then into smoke. When we understand the laws of energy we learn we cannot create or destroy it, we can only transform it, just as the fire does.
There is something about the process of surrendering these issues to the fire that then allows for the letting go. It's no longer up to you, let the Universe take care of it.
Sometimes I gather magazines and cut out words and pictures that represent what I feel inside. I arrange them onto a poster board with something representing "me" in the center. I sit with it for awhile in meditation and contemplation, to get to the root of my emotions. It is usually a mixture of things - material, spiritual, physical, emotional. When I've spent a good amount of time with it I then begin to move the pieces around, taking some out, adding some new images or words in that I want to cultivate in my life. Once I feel the board is now full of my intentions and dreams I glue the words and images on. I then place the board some place in which I'll see it every day so I have a visual reminderof what is true in my life.
I went to sleep in India after speaking with my oldest sister in Minnesota. She is being challenged with a second round of cancer. I connect to her beyond blood lines and do as much as I can energetically to support her. I went to bed with thoughts of her deep in my consciousness.
The next morning was the first day of a personal sadhana that I had planned. Deep meditation, writing and various degrees of fasting were to take place for 10 days. The same morning I woke up to the news that my nephew and his wife gave birth to a baby girl in Minnesota. As I took in the beauty of the pictures of this new human I found myself immediately praying that she does not carry on the trauma of her ancestors; that she knows the beauty of her lineage yet feels no obligation or responsibility to live her life for anyone before her.
I also woke up to familiar pangs in my womb space, signifying the coming release of the blood that continues to gather in my body, offering to provide for the growing of human life if I so choose. Usually it would be 2-3 days after feeling this before the release begins. I know these cycles are coming to an end and I no longer have a desire to bring forth a child, but I still cherish the process of potential and understand the power of creation. As I felt into my womb space, holding both my sister and the new baby in my consciousness, I began to focus on all that was gathering in the blood lining of the uterus; all the dna that carries my family's genetics and energetic imprints. I asked that with my own release that I cleanse not only my body but also that of my family. That this new baby girl is not burdened with the traumas and woundings of her lineage, on either side of her family. I prayed that my sister be freed of her suffering, blessing and giving gratitude to her for taking on so much family karma and praying that she be free of all of this so she may return, if she chooses, to live a life full of joy, vibrancy and true knowledge, that she come back as an enlightened being no longer burdened with the trivialities of humanity but able to share her light with all.
My body became very heavy and I could barely open my eyes. I focussed on my ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus. I imagined the blood gathering and I could see various fragments also in the blood. I imagined them to be different energetic molecules that were no longer enhancing my life and were waiting to be released. I continued to pray for my sister and the newest member of our family. My womb space remained heavy and I felt very emotional. I allowed myself the emotional wave. And then the spotting began, surprisingly days early. And the pressure in my womb subsided and my emotional state lifted. I will continue to pray for my sister and my new niece as I go through my whole cycle, releasing physically, emotionally and energetically. I know we are connected and by clearing myself and I know all are affected.
As women, we are all connected through the womb - the temple of creation - whether one is still in their bleeding years or not. I do a lot of meditation during my menstrual cycle as I feel I am more connected to everything and everyone at that time. It can be as simple as placing my hands on my womb and meditating, or focusing on the cleansing as above. It's a powerful time for women, even if you experience pain with it. Focus on the pain for a few minutes and see what comes to your consciousness - what is being held in that pain? Don't disregard any thought, image or idea. You may be surprised at what you are holding energetically.
A daily sadhana is one of the most important aspects of my journey. It includes movement, pranayam and meditation. I use it as the fire for alchemical transformation. It literally changes my physical and mental state. The breath is tied to the nervous system. The nervous system works with the endocrine system, which can be linked with the chakra system. The endocrine system works with hormones, immune system, making sure the brain and body receive the proper chemicals to run and think properly. Every day I commit to this practice. It is a purification - not because I am dirty, or wrong, or bad, but because I know throughout my life I have collected so many ideas that are not truly mine. This purification helps me to discern which of these ideas are still worthy being in my life by allowing my brain and body to receive the proper chemicals it needs to think clearly and operate properly. If you care to see what I do, you can watch it here.
© Jnana Janani