Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Ego and the Soul: Lessons from Seane Corn

The Ego and the Soul: Lessons from Seane Corn

Once upon a time, there was a baby soul.

This baby soul was without experience and contained within a human body. As the soul and the body grew, the soul craved experience, all of it. The soul wanted to be happy, sad, and experience success and great failure. The soul wanted to evolve through all of the challenges that were possible.

The human body, within which this soul was being, was growing too. She was learning, and trying hard, and studying in school, and making friends. She worked hard to get As and please her parents. She wanted to be pretty and good in sports. She sang songs over and over until she got them right. She was terrified of not being all she could be.

She didn’t even know she had a soul within her. All the while, the soul continued in this human body and experienced everything through her.

They were one, the soul and the girl. When the girl fell in love the soul was so happy. This was such rich experience. When the girl was hurt by her love, the soul was in bliss as this was also a rich and beautiful experience. The girl could face only the love and not the pain. She had no tools for pain. She feared the feelings the pain brought with it and blocked her heart from feeling them. The soul tried to feel all of this despite the girl’s escapes, despite her attempts to bypass this intended growth. But, sadly the soul could not. The girl worked hard-- always- at school and in the attempts to block her experience.

The hurt grew big. It reminded the girl, this human girl, of her past, when her mother was drunk and did not soothe her (sooth with no /e/ means truth- interesting isn't it?). Ahhh, the soul remembered too. The girl then so little, learned to escape. She learned to pretend she did not need anyone, pretend she had no heart. And the soul tried so hard to feel.

At a party, the girl was offered a drink. It was cool and bubbly and tasted funny. She drank. Ahh- she did not feel any of the hurt at all, none of it. The soul longed for expression and the girl drew further an further away. And so the story went for many years to this very day.

All along, this beautiful soul, longing for experience, for expression, for union, was hidden, obstructed with alcohol, with escape. This soul had become-- a lost soul.

This soul lived within Sherece, Zuri’s mom.

Zuri and The Yoga Bag

It is late and a Sunday night. Zuri has finished all of her homework. Her mom went out Friday night and is not back yet. Neither is Eric. He’s been gone since last Wednesday. This is another long one. Zuri and Rashan are on their own again. He’s really clingy tonight and its okay, cause so is Zuri. They lie on the couch, Zuri’s book in her hand as she reads the Hobbit for school. Rashan is curled up as she reads aloud. He falls asleep. Zuri rests his head on a pillow as she lifts herself off the couch. She stops and sees him sleep. She kisses him on the forehead.

She’s in a thoughtful mood. The stress of her mom and brother get to her and she needs something, something to give her hope. She goes to The Yoga Bag.

I see her dig into the big box in her closet and grab the bag. She finds my notebook from workshops and conferences. She finds a page titled, The Soul and the Ego. She’s curious. She wonders about Thomas’s soul (the boy who was killed in a shooting a few months back). She worries about Eric and her mom and the journey of their souls.

She worries about her own soul. She wonders if she is just bad, from the soul on through. “Am I bad?” She figures life is so hard because the universe, maybe even God, knows how bad she really is and no matter how good she acts, the universe knows that deep inside she is angry, hateful, and bad.

She finds my notes from a Seane Corn workshop on the chakras. There are pages and pages thick with notes. Seane Corn is an amazing communicator and says so many wonderful words. I must write so quickly to get them all down.

She finds Seane’s story about how she found yoga and God (see below to read the whole story in Seane’s words). She reads about how a soul exists in each of us. She reads about how the soul is searching for experience from a place of love. She reads that it is our ego that is our own sense of self and can manifest all of the should’s and should not’s, the be’s and be nots. She reads how the ego can function from a place of fear and judgment at times. As she reads, it is like always, it is like my notes tell her exactly what she needs to hear.

She wonders again about her own soul. She wonders again about Eric and her mom. She reads the words below spoken to Seane by Billy Sleaze:

"Ignore the story and see the soul. And remember to love—you will never regret it."*

It is when Zuri gets in her fear, in her story for her mom and Eric (these fearful stories in her mind do not end well, I might add), that she struggles to love.

But what was so powerful for Zuri, at this very moment, was that she looked to her own soul. She laid on her back and placed the soles of her feet together. Then she placed one hand on her heart and one hand on her belly.

She said, "Ignore the story and see the soul. And remember to love—you will never regret it."*

She thought about her story. It is not a good one. Her mom is an alcoholic. Her dad is gone. Her brother is in trouble and her little brother is essentially abandoned by his mother. This was a story of a lost, sad, hateful soul. Or was it?

Maybe, just maybe, her soul was a beautiful light. One that Seane might say, “had it’s a%# handed to it on a silver platter.” Seane says that for some souls, they get the full ride, all of the challenges-- because that is the plan for that soul. Zuri wasn’t bad at all. Bad things were not happening to her because she was bad and deserved it. No, not at all. She was just being handed a big, huge, soul wrenching challenge. Fair? No. Not fair. But it was happening nevertheless.

Zuri thought about this. Maybe her soul was what showed up when she felt strong and she wasn’t quite sure why. Maybe her soul was that energy that drew her to her teachers like Mrs. Klein and her Aunt Jasmine. Maybe her soul was that burning feeling she felt in her chest when the sun was setting and the sky was a million shades of orange, red, violet, and blue all at once. Maybe her soul, the one in her body, was up for big things and this part-- the alcoholic mom, struggling brother, baby brother part-- was just here to get her ready for big things.

Then, Zuri felt something more. I think she had a sense I could see her. I could. I was sending love and hope and strength. Thing is, it is not just me. God sees her too. Her Aunt Jasmine sees her too. Mrs. Klein sees her. When she’s sober, her mom sees her and Eric and Rashan see her. She is seen. Her soul is seen.

Zuri, we see you and your beautiful soul.

Zuri felt an urge to pray just then. She said, “God, if you are there, give me the strength to ‘Ignore the story and see the soul.’* Help me remember to love.”

She hadn’t prayed by herself ever before. The feeling in her heart was strong.

This felt right.

With a deep inhale and an exhale, Zuri headed back down stairs to look after Rashan until her mom got home.

The Process

Among the contemporary yoga teachers of the west, Seane Corn is know for her exploration of spirituality and mysticism. This is what makes her distinct. A master teacher of the asana and Vinyasa flow yoga, she dives deep into the connection of the asana and the search for and journey of the soul.

You can read more about her on her web page

And excerpts on her story and teaching through the links below. She teaches at most of the large journal conferences. You can find her schedule on her web page.

Go see her. It will change you.



Catherine Cook-Cottone and Seane Corn 2013

*Where I First Came to Believe in God
By Seane Corn

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