When I was 10 years old, my mom brought me and my sister to a local community pool so I could strengthen my arthritic legs.  Since neither of us could properly swim, we’d spend a good hour floating around, sometimes using a kickboard and walking in the shallow end. From the shallow end, we noticed the diving board across the pool. It wouldn’t be long until my sister made her first cannon ball.

Several times, I tried to mount the board, but I was terrified.  The water below looked far away and very, very deep.  All sorts of crazy thoughts ran through my mind…

“What if I drown?”

“What if I bang my head and black out?”

“What if I don’t plug my nose in time?”

“Do I really need to do this?”

… and on and on. This “what if” dance around the diving board took what seemed like weeks before I got the courage to mount it and dive in.

Fear is lurking in our subconscious when our thoughts wander into the past or future. Mystics like Eckhart Tolle and yogis call these wandering thoughts ruminations of The Ego Mind, which is incapable of thinking NOW, the present moment. If you are a trauma survivor or suffer from anxiety, the worry and fear are always whispering “what if” scenarios.

Getting rid of fear or worry is especially difficult if it is your “normal way of thinking,” a habitual pattern to which you’ve become accustomed. A friend dealing with her own demons recently asked me, “How can I discuss my fears if it’s going to be so difficult, so painful?”  That’s what the Ego does with fear, so you can’t move forward and leave the Ego behind. You can only heal when you’re ready to discard F*E*A*R and the irrational thoughts and other emotions that accompany it.

I’m ready to move on, to leave the past behind. Although I still have some hesitations (little “fear whispers”), I’m working on them. I’ve found my spiritual center and I use the tools my yoga masters taught me. I take deep breaths, focus on Now, and face the fears with the wise perspective of a detached observer. I release those memories from my mind, my body, and my soul. There’s no room for them in my life, my present, my Now. As with that diving board long ago, it’s time to dive in and realize that everything is — and will be — okay. Like an eagle, I’m ready to soar, and let the light in.

Garuda Mudra: Soar and Find Your Grounding

In ancient Hindu and Buddhist texts, the Garuda is a mystical eagle who rescues his mother from serpents. The Garuda mudra (hand posture) signifies strength, balance, freedom and groundedness.Garuda Mudra

Place your hands over your heart center, with the thumbs intertwined and remaining fingers fanned across your chest. Women place their right hands on their chest first, while men start with their left hands.

Once you make your mudra, place it over your heart and close your eyes. Breathe slowly, deeply and evenly into your heart center, and exhale. Imagine healing energy with each inhale, and purge all fears and negative thoughts with each exhale.  Continue for several minutes. Move your Garuda to the navel center, and repeat. Garuda is also a great mudra for prayer.