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Bowing

on March 2, 2014
Bow

Bow

As part of my Kriya Yoga spiritual path, I have multiple assignments/ challenges. I would like to write about one here. The full assignment is described in the Spiritual Treasures – Final Edition and is called “Bowing to the feet”.  Please read that page for the most accurate description of this act and its meaning.  In short, this assignment recommends to bow as a gesture of dropping one’s pride/ego at the feet of an adversary/enemy/or any entity that we feel conflicted towards.  The bow when enacted is the same posture known in yoga as the child’s pose, except the crown of the head is touching the ground.   Study the above picture closely.

In addition to holding the correct physical posture, I find it is important to have the correct intentions.  Love is the intention that I hold.  I often visualize my ego descending into the core of the earth and being cleaned there.  My bowing always comes from a strong, loving place, never out of humiliation, shame or pity.

I followed the instructions of the Spiritual Treasures, starting alone in my home, bowing to God. The first time it didn’t feel sincere. I revisited the exercise several times and finally noticed a release of tension physically after the bow. I noticed my facial muscles relax (almost as if I had been holding a fake smile for some time). My eyes relaxed and I felt at ease.

Next I bowed alone at work during a time of conflict. I had been struggling with aggressive mind chatter and again this act did help initiate a reconciliation.

Then I decided to bow in a church, a place I had felt conflicted about. It was tricky to find an empty church, most are locked. Eventually I did. This was a different experience than before because… as I bowed deeply in the church, there was a chance someone could walk in. It was harder to focus on feeling the bow because my mind was preoccupied with worry about being discovered and how people would react. Finally there was a release.

A more challenging bow was a second time at the same church. This time I entered while a band was setting up for a rehearsal. I didn’t stop to look at anyone, but just bowed. It took longer for my mind to let go of the worry about “how I might look”. But it did. As I let go of pride my body relaxed and I knew the bow was complete.

The most challenging bow experience I performed in a park in the middle of the day.  I felt the urge to publicly bow directly in front of someone since my mind had been fussy about I would look in the church.  In the grand scheme of things, my “reputation” was much less important than becoming stronger than my ego.  While walking through the park, I knew of a sitting area off the path, with a bench.  I decided if there was someone sitting there, then I would walk straight up to them, ask if I could bow, and then do it.  When I came around the corner, God had a surprise for me…. there were two people sitting there!  I hesitated at first.  I felt out numbered and unprepared.  But I knew it was now or never.  I went up to one of the people and asked if I could bow.  He looked a little confused, but said sure.  When I bowed this time my mind was whirling.  But soon I felt my mind let go, and again my body relax.  The whirling continued but it was energy inside me that whirled, not my thoughts.  It felt good.  After about 2 minutes, the whirling energy relaxed a bit, and I stood and went on my way.

Later I felt compelled to bow to a female companion.  It resulted in a flow of silent tears on her part, an inner shift on my part and the melting of an invisible wall between us that I hadn’t realized was there, yet it was having a real negative effect on the quality of our relationship.  I ended up repeatedly bowing to her to foster an equally founded relationship feeling in my heart.

I also love to apply this practice towards my children.  I often find their actions make me angry and that same dense invisible wall comes up between us.  I prolonged bow helps soften me and the wall up.  Family life is better when forgiveness occurs at the level of the heart.  It tends to bring out the best in all of us and is the most lasting solution for selfish behaviors, compared to punishment.

Now, when I feel pride/ego becoming a problem, I can often just visualize bowing and it produces forgiveness inside.  Or if I need to overcome a spiritual crisis or am having difficulty forgiving someone, I will bow for an extended period of time at my home.  My knees may go numb, but my heart is much stiller when I’m done.  Even as I progress on my spiritual path, bowing remains a firm and basic practice to maintain inner balance.


2 responses to “Bowing

  1. rgietzen says:

    My guru reminded me that when bowing to a stranger, asking for permission is unnecessary. It is a gift of healing to both.

  2. […] Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. It is to choose happiness over fighting.Bowing in privacy or public is a power spiritual practice of forgiveness, when you find yourself really […]

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