For the past several years I’ve kept a copy of Julie Cameron’s The Artist’s Way close to my nightstand. I’ve read it through several times, yet most often I pick it up and review a few passages when I’m feeling the need to reroute myself. I bring it up today not only because my dog decided this morning that it was a good binding to chew on, but because one particular paragraph fits today’s existence:
We learn what we want and ultimately become willing to make the changes needed to get it. But not without a kriya, a Sanskrit word meaning a spiritual emergency or surrender. (I always think of kriyas as spiritual seizures. Perhaps they should be spelled crias because the are the cries of the soul as it is wrung through changes). (Ch. 5)
I would like to modify this definition/understanding a bit, because throughout the past twenty years I’ve picked up some sanskrit through buddhist teachings. Kriya is typically linked with a branch of yoga – it is analogous to achieving a specific [physical/spiritual] result through the cyclical completion of asanas (yoga postures). I would link the concept of kriya with spiritual emergence rather than spiritual emergency. Slight difference, same etymology – and I’m only modifying it because today we tend to think of the words “emergence,” and “emergency” differently. Kriya then, involves the emergence of coiled energies (kundalini – a serpent coiled at the base of our spine) to unblock the spiritual and physical self.
There is a point to all of this. The past four months (the fall semester) have been difficult, and today I came to the realization that my body, my identity, my spiritual self – are all enduring these spiritual seizures. To paraphrase another concept from Julie Cameron, I need to intervene by performing some sort of spiritual chiropractic method. My work suffered horribly this semester because I stepped over the threshold of do-ability and feasibility, allowing myself to take on far more than I could handle. Last year went so well that, as I have done my entire life, I thought to myself, “I should step it up.” Well, now that I’ve potentially screwed myself out of a plethora of opportunities as a result of an almost-arrogant confidence in my ability to multitask, I need to breathe and consider how to carefully take my next steps.
In order to ensure the quality of my work continues to develop, I need to spend the next two weeks (winter break) re-identifying the self that I lost in the process of seizing – but for the first few days I need to allow myself to stop seizing by simply resting. I have to develop boundaries to arrive at some semblance of clarity before this next semester begins, as it consists solely of thesis writing (and thus I need a great deal of self-discipline). On a pragmatic level, this means re-aligning my personal relationships, fostering integrity, and wiping the foggy mirror clear of the blur I’ve allowed to settle in place of my kundalini energy.
That’s all for now…