When I returned to Boston, I was frazzled.
Not frazzled because I was running around with many things to do, but deeply frazzled on the inside. I was filled with anxiety about the state of the world. I was emotionally shot from all I went through after meeting Kate. I was unsatisfied with my relationship, the prospect of my future, and life itself. I worried constantly, a neurotic sort of nonsensical worry. When people talked to me I listened with about 30% of my attention and the other 70% of me was perseverating about who knows what. You name it. I felt as if the hairs around my hairline were actually frayed wires sticking out in all directions. I was fried.
“Mom, I need yoga.”
“Well honey, I saw a place just down the street on my way home from Target the other day. There’s a big yellow sign outside that says Yoga, Tai-Chi, Meditation.”
So it was my mother, my angel, who actually spotted the Dahn Center first. I don’t know if I ever would have seen it myself . It was in such a remote spot – behind a gas station, above a dry cleaners, in a small parking lot. Fortunately, that big yellow sign was facing the street where my mother often waited at a red light on her way home from her frequent shopping expeditions. It must have been Divine Providence 🙂
The first thing that I fell in love with during my initial week of classes at the center was the instructors. They seemed Heavenly, and I was intrigued. From Korea, neither one of them were excellent at speaking English, although the head master, Park, was better than her assistant, Goo. Park had a yoda-like magic about her. I always felt deeply honored to receive the tid-bits of wisdom that she would deliver during our post class “tea time” and sharing sessions, where we all sat on the floor and gathered around an asian-style table in a ceremonial sort of way, sipping on freshly brewed healing tea. Goo said little, although he taught many of the classes, and I always giggled to myself when I would hear him say the cutest things with his utmost sincerity, such as “peel your pinger tips and toe tips.”
They were the most authentic and beautiful people I had ever met. They were far more ‘true’ then anyone that I had encountered in college. They were supple and soft and gave warm, welcoming hugs whenever I arrived at the center. They had an aura of peace and light around them and I found myself wanting to just sit and talk and be with them for long periods of time.
After about 2 weeks of practicing, I started noticing that there was something very different about this yoga from the Kripalu yoga that I had taken when I was in Iowa City. Of course, I loved those yoga classes too, and always left feeling refreshed, calm and happier, but by the time I had gone over the bridge and crossed campus, passed through downtown and arrived at my apartment, I would be in a bad mood all over again. However, Dahn Yoga was different. First of all, through softening my intestines with ‘intestine exercises’ I quickly resolved the chronic constipation problem that I had been having for the previous 6 months, which would not go away despite all of the prunes, “Smooth Move” tea and Malox that I ingested. But even more importantly, the happiness effect of Dahn yoga was lasting longer. I would have a lingering sense of relaxation in my body and mind, a lightness of being, for several days. I remember waking up one day thinking, “I’m not mad at the world today. I haven’t been so negative lately. Wow, something’s changing.”
I think that this notable result was coming from the energy meditation that we would do in every class. In sitting posture, we would raise our hands to face each other, move them in and out, and try to feel sensation between our palms. From the beginning, I was amazed by the magnetic force between my hands that was palpable. I came to learn that this exercise was called ‘ji-gam’, which simply meant, “to stop your thoughts and emotions.” And that was exactly what was happening while I was feeling that push and pull sensation. My mind would get quiet, deeply still. And when we would stop, I would feel clear and bright.
Enjoying these positive changes, I began to attend classes everyday. In the third week, Park approached me after tea-time. She sat me down, looked into my eyes and asked me, “Do you want to find your true self?”
I felt as if she had seen into the bottom of my heart! I felt as if she had read my mind! I felt as if I had been waiting for someone to ask me this question for my entire life! And I expressed all of it with my desperately eager reply, “Yes! Yes, that’s what I want more than anything! I have to find it! Can you help me find it?”
To which, of course, she just smiled gently and nodded, with that yoda-sparkle in her eye, as if to say “Yes, young padawon, yes I can.”
I attended the “Finding True Self” workshop at the end of January, 2000. It is difficult to describe in any words what I experienced there. Transformative and life-changing would be the simple way to put it. I participated in the workshop with such a sincere desire to find some sort of peace inside of me. As I shared, I was tired and quite lost. I was only 22 years old but somehow I felt that there was nothing that this life had to offer that could bring any fulfillment unless I found peace and truth inside of me first. I was desperate to find that peace. I believe that it was that pure and powerful intention alone that created such an amazing experience for me at this workshop. I dug deep into my heart through sweat and tears and traveled inward, through layers of judgements and emotions, wounds and memories. In the most challenging moments I pushed forward, and forward once more, believing that there must be something beyond all of this suffering. And finally, at last, I discovered THE MOST AMAZING jewel waiting for me at the bottom of it all.
It was not something that I came to understand in my mind, or something that I learned from someone else. It was something that I felt in my body. An unforgettable feeling that happened in a moment and lasted for many weeks. With a loud crack that seemed to happen on the inside, I felt something shift in the center of my chest. It was like the wall of a dam broke open and a warm, soft river of love, peace and total bliss flowed through my heart, and through my entire being. I felt silent. Deeply silent. And all that I wanted to do was smile.
Finally, I had met with my Soul.
I had found the light inside of me. I had found the place where I felt God residing, where I felt the essence of the Tao inside of me. I had found the purest, deepest, truest me that was buried underneath a lifetime of fear and insecurity, anger, sadness and confusion. The most beautiful me. It was precious, so precious, that I wished that I could hold it tenderly and carefully in my hands as to both admire it’s magnificence, as well as to protect it from the chaotic world. It was my most beloved friend and guide. It was all of the love and peace in creation. It was more, much more, than I ever could have dreamed of.
On the way home from the training I stopped off at a grocery store to get some cough drops, as I had used my voice quite a bit. The man standing in front of me in line turned to look at me with his eyes widening and said, “You don’t look sick. You’re glowing.” I was very surprised to receive such a compliment, then realized Ah, now I must have the aura that I always see around the others! Now I understand what that is…It’s the glow of the Soul!
When I arrived to my parents house my mother, who was worried that I had ran off with a cult for the weekend, swung open the door and said “You’re alive!” Then she paused as she looked at me and said, “And you look so……happy.”
This was just the beginning. For weeks I was in a magical state of existence. I would be walking down the street and find tears of gratitude flowing down my face. Gratitude for the amazing life that I felt inside. Another time I wept thinking about Jesus. This is what he must have been trying to share with the world! I thought. And he only had 12 disciples…how sad… I felt like I could somehow feel his agony and I altogether stopped resisting him. From then on, at family gatherings, I whole-heartedly prayed along side of everyone else. And one day I was sitting on my front steps, looking at the sunset with my father, and I felt such a distinct knowing in my heart, “I’m falling in love with myself.”
I had found my place, my home, and it had been right there inside of me all along. It was a beautiful time. And although it did not last forever, it changed me forever.
I am posting a song here that I have been introduced to recently. It reminds me of that time of awakening, of who I really am, of what lies within me ~ within all of us. I hope that you too will enjoy it with your Soul 🙂