Containment - The Lesson of the Crab
by Guru Rattana, Ph.D. - Issue #45, July 10, 2002
Even if you haven't yet read Issue #43 on The Pluto-Saturn Opposition, you have certainly had a chance to experience the impact of this energy challenge. The last of the three direct oppositions took place the end of May. Oh good, we say, it is finally over. Well, yes and no. The direct impact is over. The bombs have dropped. The tornado has hit. The fires have scorched the land and leveled homes. The betrayal has been made known. The scandals have been revealed. The "restructuring" and layoffs have occurred. The change of heart has been announced. And here we are, left to pick up the pieces. We are stunned, confused, worn out and in disbelief. We are also clear, open, free (and perhaps even delighted) to start anew.
In other words, many of us have noticed that the transformation that Pluto requires is definitely NOT over. The nature of Pluto's transformation is DEATH AND REBIRTH. We may not physically die, but a total revamp is required, if we are to survive and thrive during the transition from the Pisces to the Aquarian Age.
Once we wake-up to the fact that the old is over, it takes time to reorient ourselves, reinvent our psyche and realign with new circumstances. We are currently in this readjustment phase, where anything short of rebirth isn't enough. We not only have to sort things out:
- we have to reassemble the pieces of our lives
- we have to change our attitudes
- we have to get rid of old thought patterns
- We have to gracefully accept and embrace altered life paths
- We have to be willing to live in transition
- We have to learn to surrender to and trust the unknown
This all may seem like bad news and emotionally overwhelmingly, but one day we will realize that it is good news, that we can never go back to the way things were.
An Internal Shift is Required
Now, just how were things before Pluto and Saturn started to wreak havoc on our personal and collective lives? We were more unconscious than is required in this period of transition to the Aquarian Age. We naïvely thought that we could discount our thoughts. We did not act from the consciousness that our thoughts and our emotions create our reality. We pretended we could be negative and judgmental and get away with it. We thought it was OK to be codependent, if we were loving.
Nothing short of total integrity is going to work from now on. This is obvious in the blatant business scandals, but how about in our personal lives? We have to move up a notch. Actually, we have to skip up a few rungs of the ladder, and then jump to another rooftop. We have to seriously investigate our deep motivations, our driving belief system, and our controlling subconscious programming. We have to do what it takes to release what does not create peace, happiness and joy in our lives.
Internal integrity requires sincere self-examination. Are we REALLY honest with ourselves? Do we really tune into our own personal guidance and follow it without compromise? Are we able to keep our focus on ourselves? Do we do what we need to do for ourselves, without being distracted from what we think we have to do to take care of others? At the same time, are we able to be both detached and compassionate in relationships, and take responsibility for situations that we have created? To what extent are our interactions with others fueled by the need for attention, validation and approval? Are our interactions directed by a subconscious need to feel safe and get love? We must carefully examine if we are trying to take care of others' emotions in order to try to make our world and relationships safe.
Examining Emotional Codependence
It is time to seriously examine deeper levels of emotional codependency. It can be scary to identify and admit the level to which we try to control our reality and relationships. It can seem humiliating to observe when our love is not completely unconditional. Well, get used to it. This has been the human condition for eons. No need to expect perfection or to take this all so personally. We picked it up from the collective unconscious. It is important to recognize that we are here as pioneers to participate in changing the collective unconscious. It is our job to create more fulfilling models of relationships, so use this knowledge as an opportunity to take a quantum leap, and drop self-imposed shame, blame and guilt. What we do for ourselves we also do for millions of others. The dysfunctions and pain we clear creates the space for countless others to be liberated from the same debilitating patterns, thoughts and belief systems.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having safe, loving and validating relationships. In fact, if they aren't so, we should not be in them. And this is the rub. We too often attract and cling to relationships that are not nurturing and satisfying. We do so because we are unable to take care of our own emotions, and satisfy our own need for safety and security. The bottom line is, that we energetically go outside ourselves instead of inside ourselves, to satisfy our basic emotional needs. We have to train ourselves to reorient our attention back to ourselves.
The Art of Containment
Containment is the term Yogi Bhajan used to refer to our ability to go inside ourselves, and hold our own energy in our consciousness. To contain ourselves, we have to become emotionally available to ourselves. We have to stay present to what we are feeling, and feel the sensations and the resistance in our bodies. We have to stay present and allow what we are feeling without judgment. We have to befriend and love our feelings. We have to develop an intimate, compassionate relationship with our feelings. We have to become one with all aspects of ourselves.
While the Sun is in Cancer, from June 21 through July 21, is an opportune time to cultivate containment. Cancer demands emotional maturity, and there is no shortcut for attaining emotional adulthood. Containment is how we cultivate emotional stability on a very organic level. It can seem like tedious work. However, the conscious discipline and dedication required have big payoffs. Through containment we become emotionally available to ourselves. When we are emotionally available to ourselves, we can be emotionally available to others. We can attract emotionally available relationships and experience true intimacy. When we are able to contain ourselves, we don't lose ourselves in relationship. Losing ourselves in a partnership is the number one cause of disappearing relationships.
How do we do contain ourselves? Everyone develops their own unique formula, but here are some guidelines that are useful:
- Close your eyes and look inside until you realize that you are in a space. It is often a dark velvety place. Sometimes there is light. Light or dark is not important. Just be in there. Don't interpret or explain what you are experiencing. Train yourself to go to and stay in this space.
- Feel your skin. Feel the air on your skin. Feel yourself inside your skin. Feel your space inside your skin. Train yourself to stay in your space, inside your skin.
- Feel the sensations in your body. Go from one part of your body to another. Feel the parts of your body that you resist staying with. Keep staying with these sensations, allowing them and loving them. Train yourself to stay with the sensations in your body, inside your skin, in your space.
- Notice how your sensations shift with different thoughts and emotions. Train yourself to stay present to shifts in mood. Train yourself to notice how and why your sensations change.
- You can impact and raise your energy by pulling Rootlock. (very lightly pull in the navel center as you pull the muscles at the base of the spine and sex organ.)
Be sure to let go and relax to feel the effect. If you concentrate too much on the "doing" of Rootlock, you will pull yourself out of simply being in your own space and being present to your feelings and sensations. Observe the difference between allowing and controlling. The body and mind act and react in very distinct ways in these two modes.
Our Inner Family
Cancer embodies the archetype of family. The first family that we must pay attention to is our inner family. Much has been written about the need to heal and parent our inner child. The process of containment gives us the tools to connect, at a non-verbal level, with the emotional imprints that we acquired as a young child. One of the tricks of working with and healing our inner child is to connect at a non-verbal level. Then we can figure out where the pain and the separation really come from.
I have found out, from working with myself and others, that the pain comes from our separation from ourselves. At some point in our childhood, we had (an) experience(s) that knocked us out of relationship with ourselves and our connection with the Infinite. We stopped feeling loved. We stopped loving ourselves. We have to get in touch with this (these) experience(s), so that we do not continue to base our inner reality on it (them) and recreate it (them) in relationships. The source of many of our relationship issues is that we unconsciously cling to this childhood trauma as a model for love. It is a self-sabotaging illusion upon which we build our relationships. No wonder most of our relationships are riddled with problems and end in separation.
Releasing the illusion, that separation and pain is love and healing our inner child, involves:
- getting in touch with our non-verbal feelings,
- identifying the original experiences that generated our programmed responses,
- clarifying why we cling to them (what were we trying to get back then?),
- energetically giving our inner child what it needs, that it did not get back then (parenting our inner child), so that we can
- let go of the imprints that keep creating more pain and separation.
From Separation to Connection
We hold on to our illusions, because we believe that if we let go we will not survive. That is why we have lived in pain so many years. We do not have to continue to create our lives from past wounds. To change our operating system we must internally heal our inner child, by recreating the love, attention and compassion that it felt cut off from. This is done by self-love and by connecting with a higher source of love. As an adult, we can create a conscious spiritual connection with the Divine. Our own attention, to our emotions and our spiritual connection, replaces the love of the lost parent and the forsaken God.
It is our own self-love, and choice to take action to meet our inner child's needs, that gives our inner child the confidence that his/her needs will now be met. I found that my inner child was angry because it felt no one stood up and took action for it. When I decide to take action for something I need in the moment, my emotions (inner child) calm right down.
Our connection with a higher Source is what ultimately heals all our wounds. Our identification with the Divine heals all feelings of separation, and creates a basis for surrender and trust, that many find impossible if they view God as a force completely outside themselves.
One of the things that happens when we go back to the source of our separation, is that we see the truth of the situation. Inevitably there was a misunderstanding about being loved. We find out that the person that we felt abandoned us, only did so in the mind of our child. In reality he or she was too preoccupied with his or her pain or situation to pay attention to us. I found that when I got in touch with this truth, the players who I falsely believed all those years ago abandoned me, started communicating with me how much they loved me. I did the work internally and never discussed it with them, but they picked up on our shift. It is very heart-warming to get these confirmations of the success of my internal work.
Bringing our spiritual connection to love and nurture our child consolidates our healing. When we (each of us and our inner child) are emotionally confident that we will get our needs met, and that we are loved and cared for by our inner parent and a higher power, we acquire the strength and the trust to move through our life challenges. We don't cling to relationships that do not serve us, because we have replaced the model of pain and separation with that of caring and connection. We can attract what we want instead of being drawn to what we really don't want, and we can transform unsatisfying relationships into emotionally available ones. There are so many ways that the old can die and the new can be reborn.
I find that getting in touch with the reality that I was never abandoned, and that no one ever really cut love off from me including God, helps me accept things as they are in the moment. When we feel unloved or abandoned, we don't want to accept reality. When we live in denial in one aspect of our lives, we create denial in other areas. Denial becomes a mindset. We end up living in illusions that we hope will protect us from our pain. We struggle to avoid reality when it only confirms our pain. It is easier to accept things the way they are when our mindset is founded on connection with the Source of love. Reality is so much easier to embrace when we are connected to ourselves and the Divine. We start seeing the lessons, and how they will deliver us to higher levels of connection.
The Healing Process
Healing our inner child is an internal non-verbal process. One way to do this is to go into meditation and create a safe, beautiful place to receive your child. Call out for all the children in you to come home. Welcome them one at a time. Ask individually what is bothering them and simply listen. Spend loving, patient time with each one. As a parent, take care of their needs and make them feel loved. There may be only one or there may be many children. They may be the same child, at different ages with different experiences, that need healing and attention. Initially this exercise seemed too mental and a bit phony, but with time I got in touch with the critical issues and real healing occurred. It doesn't have to take long to do this work. But stick with it until it feels real. Also, accept connecting with your inner child as an ongoing process and life long relationship. Once you reconnect, the goal is to deepen the connection and to make the relationship more and more authentic.
One issue that must be examined is your attitude towards feelings, and being with your feelings in your body. Many people have some program that tells them that they should not have feelings, that feelings are bad and should be ignored, shamed or blamed. The inner child expresses through feelings. If you condemn your feelings, you condemn your inner child. If you condemn your inner child, you shut off your connection to your soul. Feelings are messages. Through feelings we know what we want. It is the parent in us that validates our feelings, and takes action to get our needs met.
If you have a problem working with the concept of inner child, just stay with and relate to your feelings. You can even treat them like a pet. Be kind to your feelings (especially in your gut and belly) and your body. This is a good practice in our daily lives, even if we can relate to our inner child. We can train ourselves to be aware of what we are feeling in our body and follow these instincts. Mind and body become integrated and start working together. Nothing like mind-body collaboration to feel self-empowered.
In meditation, I claim my own worth by getting in touch with my infinity. Then I use this vast identity to nurture my feelings. I find establishing a relationship between my feelings and my own infinity very healing. I like to feel my infinite essence and then bathe my feelings with this energy. The connection is very soothing. When my feelings, especially in my abdominal region, are integrated with my Divine identity, I feel that love replaces fear. The core fear of abandonment disappears, as I become emotionally available to myself. Feeling solid and grounded, I am confident that I can attract situations that serve my highest good and well-being, and relationships that are loving and emotionally available.
It is motivating to know that once we have a conscious caring relationship with the child within ourselves, we will have internalized a different pattern from which we can create fulfilling relationships in the future.
Personal Healing Sessions
It takes time to connect with and heal your inner child. It takes attention to feel your true nature as love, joy and peace. Here are some guidelines for being with yourself in this special way:
- Use your breath to integrate your finite self with your infinite being. Breathing in the belly connects your physical source of power (lower chakras) with the Infinite Source of power. Being with your breath in your belly connects "me with Me."
- As we cultivate awareness it is so easy to see how, in the past, we ignored our emotions, overlooked our child and suppressed our feelings. Emotions are slower than the mind. We have to slow down to be with our feelings. In a more relaxed space and at a slower pace, we can give ourselves attention, kindness and compassion.
- Be patient with yourself. Healing takes time and is an ongoing process. Emotions move slowly. Physical connection happens in stillness. To connect with power and love in the moment, we have to feel and be present in the moment. Experience happens in the physical-emotional body. Ideas happen in the mind. We need to train our minds to hold our attention and awareness, so we can be present to our moment by moment experiences.
- Homecoming happens in the body. Tune into a higher source of love. Nurture your body and emotions with infinite love, the breath and soothing mantras. Realize that you are in the process of reconnecting your body and Spirit. You are activating the sensory system of your soul.
- Early in my journey, I asked Yogi Bhajan, "How do I experience God?" He replied, "Relax and feel it. That is what I did". Relax and feel it is a good technique to use when you are sitting there, wondering how do I get in touch with my inner child, how do I feel my infinite self, how do I connect with Divine Love? Turn your attention from thinking to feeling, and the unknown becomes known to you.
Indicators of a Shift
There are many ways to identify if you have really created an internal shift. Here are a few:
- You feel calmer, more at peace.
- You feel less afraid and more able to take action for yourself.
- You are more patient with yourself, and take your life at your own pace.
- It feels safe to let go of what you once clung to. The release gives you a sense of freedom and you enjoy the space from which you can create something new.
- You feel safe. You can trust and surrender to what is.
- You can relax and let your life organically unfold without having to outguess the future.
- As you stop judging yourself, you stop judging others.
- As you become more loving to yourself, you become more compassionate towards others.
- Once you acknowledge your own feelings, you realize that everyone has deep feelings whether they are able to express them or not.
- You recognize that everyone is trying to grow so that they can experience love and freedom.
- You can contain the energy of your own emotions and not identify with others' emotions.
- You start noticing when you are taking care of others' feelings, stop it and take care of your own.
- You don't take others' issues personally.
- You stop making excuses for others. You accept their reality as their reality and separate it from yours.
- You operate and communicate from clarity of what works for you, not from neediness.
- You communicate from an unconditional place without projections of guilt, blame or shame.
- You give others room to feel what they feel and do and say what they need to do and say.
- You can hold the space of unconditional acceptance and love.
- You want to bless everyone to receive the love they are looking for.
Inner and Outer Families
Everyone requires time alone to do their inner work and to connect with who they really are. We need to be alone to expand our capacity to be consciously aware and to open ourselves up to love unconditionally. While the Sun is in Cancer is an ideal time to:
- let there be space,
- do our inner healing,
- practice and perfect the art of containment and
- surrender to higher love.
Isolating ourselves while the Sun is in Cancer can seem very natural, but it can also be tricky, because Cancer energy also indicates our outer family. Some of our family members may still find their identity through their roles in the family and society. We probably don't want to alienate our outer family, because they are usually our support system when all else fails. If you choose to spend lots of time alone, you may wish to communicate with your support system (friends and family) that you need time alone at this time. Set up a time to party when the Sun goes into Leo after July 22. Do your best to not judge those who do not understand, and do not care - take them at your own expense. Sincere, compassionate communication creates trust. Blessings everyone helps. Unconditional love heals.
When dealing with our outer family it is interesting to observe how we have internalized the way our parents treated us as a child. Is your internal mother nagging and shaming? Is your internal father demanding and critical? Or is he absent and unavailable to take action for your inner child? Are either of them emotionally available to listen with empathy to the needs and requests of your inner child? Our internal healing requires that we shift the mode of communication between our inner parents and our inner child.
It is interesting to watch how our internal shifts affect our outer relationships. When our inner child feels nurtured and is treated with respect, we feel more peaceful inside ourselves. Our inner state is mirrored in our relationships. The healing of our inner family is mandatory to attain emotional maturity. The process is easier and quicker if we are less serious and use a bit of humor. Observing the relationship between our inner and outer relationships can be entertaining. Amusing our inner child just may be the ticket to healing all members of our family.
Kundalini Yoga - Meditation on Your Own Identity
Kirtan Kriya, known as SA TA NA MA meditation, is a great meditation to do before the above process. 31 minutes daily is the ideal time, but it can also be done for 11 minutes. For the 11-minute version do 2 minutes out loud, 2 minutes whisper, 3 minutes silently, 2 minutes whisper, 2 minutes out loud.
Definitely Tune In first. Do a few Kundalini Yoga warm ups or a full kriya if you have time, before doing this meditation and beginning your process. I like to tell students that what is left after doing Kundalini Yoga and meditation is what we have to deal with. Kundalini Yoga clears out the dust and many of the cobwebs. It helps balance our emotions and clear our mind, so we are capable of dealing with our deeper issues. Kundalini Yoga and meditation bring to the surface what we must clear, and supports us in our process.
SA TA NA MA breaks codependent bonding, connects us to divine truth and brings us back to our own creation. SA means infinity. TA means life. NA means death. MA means rebirth. Perfect for this period of time, when we are letting go of our limited identity and claiming our expanded identity. Supportive for our process of releasing old ways of doing and being and inventing new ones. The vibration of SA TA NA MA can carry us into the Aquarian Age.
God Bless this Earth with Peace
In the early years many of us thought that if we practiced Kundalini Yoga, problems and challenges would magically disappear from our lives. I remember Yogi Bhajan telling us, "I didn't tell you it would be easy. I told you, you would be able to make it through".
The passage from one age to another is marked with chaos and turmoil. People freak out and don't know why. We are so blessed to have the technology of Kundalini Yoga to guide our spiritual journey. We are doubly blessed when we share it with others. Please share this with a friend.
May we live as women and men of love that others may remember love in our presence.
Many blessings to all,
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