Steve Gold – “I don’t linger in the shadows nearly as much as I used to.”
Breathing has kept me practicing yoga all these years. I connected to breath first through singing. Once I became aware of the power of breath, my natural inclination was to monitor my breath.
I’m aware of it when I am breathing and I’m aware of it when I’m not. I’m aware that when I’m singing I am breathing freely. I’m aware that when I’m singing and not breathing freely, I’m restricting.
So what’s kept me going is keeping the breath flowing and wanting to continue to stay open and be childlike. This is what I want to maintain.
Even though I hardened for a while, I want to stay open and remain in that playful state.
I never want to stay hardened.
Yoga helps me, as breathing and singing helps me, to remain open.
Of course there is the shadow side. I absolutely have one. How it expresses itself is like everyone else.
When I’m caring too much about what others think and judging myself, I have a tendency to retreat. When I feel isolated or think I’m alone, I also sometimes retreat. If I stay in that state of mind for any extended amount of time, then the shadows get taller.
My practice has helped me to arrest the development of those thoughts a little sooner than later. That wasn’t always the case but I’m better at it now. When I say I’m better at it I mean that I’m just more aware of the shadows.
They were lingering quite a bit for a while. I went through phases where I sought spirituality through drugs, through different channels, which I believe are connected to the shadow.
I’m not a “just say no” kind of person. Through some of those experiences I’ve gained some awareness into other dimensions, but I don’t believe it’s totally necessary to have to go down that path.
When I was able to move beyond expressing myself through more of a shadow, I then became aware of how long I was in it. I also realized how much time I had been in pain and how much I spent time trying to numb myself from it too.
I made a conscious choice to show up more, to be connected more, and to be more open and loving with myself. Then I was able to care less about what other people thought.
I could get on with why I’m here.
In that I have the full realm of human feeling and emotion.
I don’t linger in the shadows nearly as much as I used to or as long as I used to.
Singing helps me find my way back to my center. I spend time with my family, my wife, and my kids. I notice nature. I also create something that feels beautiful to me.
I affirm how wonderful I am.
Years ago, I practiced with a voice teacher named David Kyle. He was a maestro.
I was singing one day and he was accompanying me on the piano and he stopped and looked at me. In a big voice he said, “I love you!”
My response was total silence. He said, “The problem is you don’t love your self enough.” I felt like I was in a glass house. He saw right through what was going on.
Then he said, “No one is going to love you as much as you love yourself.”
I was disappointed to hear that. I was hoping that someone was going to take care of that for me.
Then he offered me this teaching:
“Most people lie to themselves in the negative. Why not lie to yourself in the positive?”
“As you affirm, God confirms. So tell yourself how wonderful you are.”
“Tell yourself how much you love yourself. Tell yourself you’re the best because there is no other you!”
Of course when I first heard that I was full of resistance. Then he said, “If you’re full of resistance, perhaps that’s your problem.”
Sure enough I couldn’t deny that. He had me stand in front of a mirror and begin the practice.
Later on I realized Louis Hay does mirror work and many other teachers also do mirror work.
It’s the hardest thing because the shadow naturally wants to say “this is such an ego trip” and “this is so narcissistic” or what ever it says to resist doing the work.
He reminded me that narcissism is falling in love with an image of yourself, which is going to change.
What he said was, “as you affirm, God confirms. You have to take the first step toward your healing, toward your wellbeing, toward the light.”
When you take that first step, all the forces in the Universe that are conspiring for your wellbeing will confirm what you affirm.
So to get back to my center, I affirm. That is part of my practice. I use mantras to affirm. They’re a very powerful affirmation. They are actually spells.
It’s how I maintain staying in the light.
So with that awareness I’m able to chant “Aum Namah Shivaya” and I understand that is means “I Am That I Am.” I understand the power of the words “I Am.”
When I connect to the time tested and undeniably powerful sound vibrations of the mantras, that’s my affirmation. I feel confirmed.
It doesn’t have to be mantra, but they’re wonderful prescriptions if you’re open.
“Just sing, ding-a-ling!”
If you don’t want to chant then sing. Sing “All You Need Is Love” or sing whatever makes you vibrate at a higher level than you did.
I truly believe the reason why people go to yoga classes– or the reason they do anything that will make them feel better– is because they just want to feel a degree better than when they arrived.
They may have this lofty idea that they may get enlightened. That was my inspiration. Earlier in life, I thought I had to give up my desire for sensory pleasures to gain enlightenment.
Then I realized what Sri Ramakrishna really said, “As long as you have desires in life you must exhaust them to forget about them later.” It was a relief when I could finally hear those words. Until that point, I felt a lot of pressure on me.
I thought I had to forget the world and go for the biggest goal – enlightenment. That’s an ego trip.
What’s most important is to live your life. Live your desires because there is no fast track to freedom.
We all want the fast track whether it’s to health, wealth, love, or liberation. But you can’t have liberation first, unless it’s grace.
You have to go into the world and live it and experience it.
In doing that you will find out who you are. You will find out that you are not God but that you are producing God. You will find out that you’re living a wonderful divine romance.
Your desires will come and you will experience heartache and pain and suffering and loss and you will be okay with it eventually– but likely not in the beginning.
I know that when I’m in the dark, I have practices that have been bestowed upon me. There is a song that says it all, “My momma she taught me how to pray, my momma she taught me how to pray, if I failed to pray and my soul be lost, ain’t nobody’s fault but mine.” There you go. That’s it.
We are the creators of our experience. Amen.
By the way, I’m not a religious person. I say Amen to express Spirit. I do it in a way that feels good to me.
To be continued…
1st part of the Steve Gold interview series with Jack Greene in Solana Beach, CA. Edited by Jack Greene, Dawn Morningstar, and Hung Tran.
Photos courtesy of Amir Magal and Jacqueline Nicolini