In Autobiography of a Yogi, Sri Yukteswar appears and tells Paramhansa Yogananda in his description of the afterlife, “The astral world is infinitely clean, beautiful, pure, and orderly…. The terrestrial blemishes — weeds, bacteria, insects, snakes — are absent.” I often think of this line when my fingernails are caked with mud and my back is grumbling from the endless task of ridding my yard of that terrestrial blemish, the weed, so plentiful now after these spring rains.
The weed offers one of many earthly metaphors for our spiritual life, doesn’t it? It’s no major leap to imagine that as one uproots the weed, so too does one uproot the bad habit or limiting belief stored as swirling vrittis in our energy bodies, particularly the spine. The way I think of weed-pulling mirrors how I approach — sometimes subconsciously, sometimes very consciously — the process of cleaning up my own inner act. For instance, at times I want to:
— Just ignore the weeds (wrong attitudes in my awareness). But it doesn’t make for a pretty yard, nor does it make for attractive personal energy or spiritual progress. Sure, the world won’t come to an end, there’s always “later”, but eventually, I know I won’t be able to stand it and everyone looking at it will think, yuck! More negative energy will gather in, to boot. Nope!
— Hastily pull the weeds with great gusto, ripping them out as fast as possible, probably hurting myself, but just trying to get it over with. Doing this, however, will leave a lot of the root of the weed still intact, allowing it to return in just a few months. So, too, will a cursory glance at or one affirmation against the bad habit not really transform it completely. It’s a good effort, but it will probably return to be dealt with in the future when it grows back.
Ugh, does that mean I have to do the slow, steady work of individually pulling every weed, with a gentle, determined steady force until it yields all the roots? Sorry, yes. Here’s some tips I find that help:
* Take it easy and give yourself breaks. One hour of weed-pulling will be painful, but 4 15-minute increments is more sustainable. I may find I can go even longer. Likewise, don’t try to fix all limitations in one fell swoop. If I know the origin of a limitation, I can examine it with detached compassion, forgive all the players, and shower with love all the events and auxiliary events that have led to a certain habit. If I don’t have this level of understanding why a part of me is the way it is, not to worry. I offer it up to the spiritual eye during meditation as often as it takes to feel it gone.
* Enlist helpers to pull those weeds. So, too, I surround myself with uplifting company, music, media, nature, and meditate with others. One may think this last tip is not necessary, but it does help in ways we can’t even begin to fathom. Trust the Masters on this one.
* Water helps loosen weeds from Earth’s viselike grip. Water your bad habits with self-love, a sense of humor, and genuine enjoyment of the path of yoga and spiritual journey. Make peace with the weeds!
Let’s pull our inner weeds this Sunday by energizing and meditating together. Here are the usual details:
Where: Be Well Yoga Studio
1906 W. Koenig Lane
Austin, TX 78756
When: Sundays 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. (shorter time this Sunday!)
What: Energization, prayer, chanting, meditation, affirmations
Details: Park behind the house. Look for the driveway between Be Well Yoga and Bare Body Day Spa to park in back. It’s OK to park behind 1908 as well and walk through the gate. Take the outside staircase up to the deck to enter the yoga studio. Bathrooms can be accessed through the downstairs back door. Suggested love offering $10 for rent. Venmo: @Kim-Pradhan
Afterwards: Optional brunch at Brentwood Social House, walking distance down Koenig Lane.
Joy is within us,
for Ananda Austin,