I was whipping cream the other day for some lovely strawberries I had purchased at the market, and as I was concentrated on my task I started thinking about how similar some things in life are to this churning process.
You start whisking the liquid cream and maintain a certain pace as it slowly becomes thicker and thicker, until it eventually changes its consistency to a rich, foamy, fluffy cream. You don’t know when this is going to happen, so you just have to be patient and keep at it. More importantly, you cannot push or force the process. But as you keep going, something suddenly ‘clicks’ and the outcome you’ve been waiting for finally appears!
This is part of learning or accomplishing anything as well. Whether it’s the multiplication tables we want to memorize as kids or complex concepts or skills that we would like to master later in life, we need discipline, repetition, determination, and persistence. Awareness goes through a similar procedure. You churn and churn your emotional patterns and mental habits until, all of a sudden, the insight emerges and you own another important piece of your inner puzzle that nobody can take away from you.
The Battle Between Ignorance and Self-Awareness
The churning of the Ocean of Milk, which is the famous episode in the Hindu Puranas celebrated in India every 12 years in the holy festival known as Kumbha Mela, represents the spiritual endeavor to achieve Self-realization through the concentration of mind, withdrawal of the senses, and control of desires. In this story, both demons and demigods reluctantly share the task of churning the Ocean of Milk to produce the nectar of immortality (or amrit). Each team wants to be the first one to grab it, representing both our ignorance and true nature.
The stirring first produced a deadly poison that only Lord Shiva, master of life and death, could swallow without being affected. That is because as spiritual seekers, all our negative aspects must come to light before we can proceed to higher realms of Consciousness—there are no short-cuts. On the most basic level, this poison shows as resistance and procrastination, killing our spiritual practices: we get frustrated and distracted, we question their purpose, we doubt their value, and we skip or stop them.
The process of self-awareness and growth is similar. We start by looking within and trying to understand where the things we think, feel, say, and do come from, and as we continue unraveling our patterns and discovering deeper layers of ourselves, piercing through our resistance, deeper aspects of our soul emerge through the cracks to show us who we are and guide us toward greater understanding and insight.
The Invisible Poison That Kills Your Desires and Goals
However, if we allow our pain or resistance to deter us, and we give up on our self-exploration, we are swallowing the poison that the ego-mind cleverly brings up to stop us in our tracks. After all, personal and spiritual growth require radical honesty with ourselves, and this emotional honesty usually hurts as it bursts our bubbles and delusions. For many people, the poison takes the form of alcohol or drugs or any other form of addiction (or avoidance) buffering them from feeling things, which keeps them stagnant in the same emotional place.
This also applies to any goal or business venture, because we never start from a blank slate—not even as babies. There are layers of mental and emotional energy that need to be removed before we can tap into better aspects of ourselves and take charge of our life. This is how the soul evolves and expands Consciousness, and that’s exactly what we come every lifetime to do!
I encourage many of my clients to become conscious entrepreneurs, so they can be completely independent and align with their purpose, but I stress that their venture has to have a solid emotional exploration. I’ve seen many holistic and spiritual entrepreneurs jump ahead of themselves, which is a form of self-sabotage, because they didn’t have the inner work, the clarity, or the humility to be guided, and acted from the impulsiveness of their ego-mind.
Successful conscious business owners have the ability to make quick decisions and create good opportunities, but only because they have clearly defined goals that have emerged from a big internal WHY, not just from interesting or profitable ideas. It’s this clarity that allows them to grow financially and emotionally, not because they don’t have doubts or fears, but because their reason to be in business is much bigger than the fears or the money issues—it’s a journey fully aligned with their purpose.
Uncovering Your Hidden Treasures
Regular day-today life is no different. If we have the courage to dive into ourselves, the insights we get from stirring our wounds and mental patterns can become crucial turning points that help us see clearly where we’re headed—and why and how. Once the emotional churning bears fruit and the truth dawns on you, you cannot look back—things can no longer be the same because your soul speaks to you and you can actually hear it.
Before then, however, the ego-based impulsiveness and resistance (or arrogance and fear) are louder. I see this everywhere, and I have been no stranger to it myself. The ego is very tricky and knows you better than you know yourself, so if you’re not continuously looking within, how can you know if you’re guided by intuition or by fear?
In business, there’s a simple, quick method to discern this: you just ask yourself, “Is this (choice, action) taking me closer to my goal—and not further away?” If the answer is yes, you’re good; if it’s no, then you know you’re in resistance mode, no matter how you justify it or how many excuses you make. You can apply this to your life as well, as long as you’re clear about your goals.
During the famous Indian churning, many divine objects and beings emerged from the ocean, including Kamadhenu the wish fulfilling cow, Ucchaisrava the white horse, the white elephant Airavata, the rare diamond Kaustubhamani, and Kalpavriksha the wish fulfilling tree, as well as Shri Laxmi, the Goddess of material and spiritual wealth, who was reunited with her husband Lord Vishnu after having been separated for many ages.
These objects and beings symbolize some of the precious inner gifts and spiritual senses that come to light when we access deeper aspects of ourselves hidden in the subconscious that grant us the awareness of inherent yet often forgotten abilities: our creative potential, divine intuition, inner freedom, spiritual dispassion, discriminative wisdom, and so on—the integration of the Feminine and Masculine principles of Consciousness within.
You Are Your Healer
Now, the last figure to emerge from the arduous churning of the Ocean of Milk was Lord Dhanvantari, the God of health and longevity, with the coveted ambrosia that the demigods were finally able to get energized with. So good health and longevity can be ours when we take full responsibility for ourselves and our well being, and remove the impurities and energy blocks that prevent us from truly embracing life.
If you want to be healthy, you have to be happy, and to be truly happy you need to know yourself and remove what is blocking a deeper connection to the flow of your life. The old mens sana in corpore sano (“healthy mind in a healthy body”) is a partial truth that keeps most of the world focused on the physical and material aspects of life. Not that you don’t have to listen to and take care of your body, but the task doesn’t end there.
If we understand that the deeper layers of our being are reflected on the physical plane and that the physical body, which is responsible for making us feel pleasure or pain, is the vehicle of the other layers of the soul, then we can start turning things around by looking within and churning our own emotional ocean, to get past the poisoning resistance and fully embrace our life!
Isn’t it time to drop the resistance and fear, to honor yourself and feel excited about the new and wonderful experiences awaiting you—both on this practical plane and on the higher realities of your cosmic potential? Then contact me today to begin your inspiring journey of self-mastery, and take care of your spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health by understanding your WHYs and doing what it takes to truly love your life!
© 2013 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.