Q: I've had so many powerful insights come up since I began practicing with you. But something keeps stopping me. To be honest, I'm inspired but fearful. How does a Yogi deal with fear?
A: Don't let it stop you. Fear never goes away at any level of success. Don't wait for someone to give you permission to succeed and achieve. Get yourself busy and do it. Don't wait for someone to tell you how to do it. Take it upon yourself to figure it out. Don't wait for just the right situation. Don't count on being lucky. Do what it takes to make your own good fortune. Learn from others. Seek the advice, input, and feedback of those whose opinions you respect. But don't depend on anyone or anything to do it for you. Make the best of fortunate situations, but don't depend on luck or chance.
Depend on those things over which you have the most direct control–your own thoughts and actions, your ability to make the choices, which will lead to precisely where you have decided to go. Your destiny is in your hands. Think like it and act like it with each passing moment. Take hold of that destiny and make it the best it can possibly be.
Q: Rod, you've seen me struggle to make my relationship work for a few years now. Can you give me some advice about how or if to go on? I keep trying to work on myself, but things aren't changing no matter what I do.
A: The ground of a relationship is trust and respect. It is built through honesty. I don't think, no matter how hard you are willing to work on yourself, should you assume that you should be comfortable being intimate with someone who consistently lies and fails to treat you as an equal. True love requires it.
If a person is consistently dishonest, then they're not treating you with respect. Why stay in a relationship in which you're not being fully supported and not told the truth? Perhaps that's where you need to look at yourself. It is important to ask how much does your fear of loneliness, (seeing yourself as incomplete without the relationship play a part in you staying in the relationship). These are the things that you should analyze and work on within yourself. The relationship must be supportive and fair to both of you, and from what you've told me in the past, it is not.
Q: My mother passed away last Christmas. It's been a year and I find myself having the same feelings I had twelve months ago, perhaps even more so.
A: Our culture (American or the modern Yogic) doesn't make much room for grief. You have every right to feel a loss, especially around the holidays or the anniversary of her death. Grieving really only means that you cared and are alive to feel what that connection was and is and forever will be.
Q: Rod, I am curious how you are holding up during your divorce-you are able to still help and be there for so many people?
A: The fact is that changes in my life and that of my sons I can already tell are all only wonderful. While I am still going through the expense and distraction of a divorce, this process has come to help me see that one is either living their soul's purpose or they are not. It doesn't really matter what is happening outside of us. Luckily I have had 25 years of dedicated Sadhana (practice) to build a reservoir of understanding and link to spirit to help me prevail positively in these times. The other thing that's been crucial is that I've come to see receiving and giving as indistinguishable. That is through the grace of my teachers. Simply recalling, as it says in the Bhagavad Gita, “we are not the doer.” If ever I feel lost, I find my way again whenever I remember that.
Q: My nephew recently died (he was only 22). The sadness I felt is going away even though I am practicing every day.
A: Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the loss of your nephew. There is nothing that the depth of meditation reveals that prohibits us from shedding tears for great loss. The true sweetness of it reveals how we are all part of a great streaming mystery that is itself beauty, auspiciousness, and truth. To be in awe and touched by it to the point where it moves us to be more giving and compassionate is the true result of practice.