INTRODUCTION

A tree diagram breaking down the One Person Revolution: the strategy, steps, concepts and expressions.

The One Person Revolution is facilitated by a practice of coming home to yourSelf.

The first step is to create a safer space internally and externally so that you can actually practice.

The second step is to practice!

Choose to feed your transformative fire within, discover your personal power, and embrace your personal freedom to live life on your own terms.

 

The concepts that underlie these Self-Intimacy practices include Yoga (as moral philosophy), Nonviolent Communication, anti-oppression work, trauma theory, Jyotiṣa (Vedic Astrology), Āyurveda and aromatherapy.

To learn more about From The Hearth, click here.

YOGA

As it is presented in The Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali, Yoga is a formal South Asian contribution to moral philosophical disagreement.

What is the right choice and the good outcome in any given moment? Yoga provides a response to these questions; it is a way of making decisions while you practice living life.

In this way, “The One Person Revolution” and “Self-Responsibility” are synonymous with “Yoga.”

In fact, the pre-practice of Yoga starts with creating an environment that is safe to practice living life in, as is described in the chart above as “Creating Safer Space.” This is described in the first limb of Yoga, the Yama-s. Patañjali – the compiler of the Yoga Sūtras – shares that when one practices interrupting harm (through direct action, civil disobedience, activism, etc.) (āhimsa), what results are the facts of the world (satya) that leave people’s property intact (asteya), and their personal boundaries intact (brahmacarya), all while the practitioner does not hoard or enrich themself in this pre-practice process (aparigrahā).

The Yoga lifestyle is one that reflects this pre-practice; it is doing your part to create a place where you and every other person can safely practice living.

Once the practitioner has started engaging in their pre-practice, they can move on to making their formal commitment to Yoga practice itself which is described above as “Self-Intimacy,” and is outlined in the second limb of Yoga, the Niyama-s.

You have the choice about whether you practice Yoga or not; this is outlined clearly by Patañjali in the Yoga Sūtra I.2-.4. He states that you can either choose to lose control of your mental content, or you can take responsibility for your thoughts, words and actions.

If you choose to practice taking control of your mental content, then you are choosing to be part of The One Person Revolution.

It is important to note that there are many expressions of yogic practice. Any practice is yoga when it is done within a context of devotion to unconservativism (it pushes against your inherited limitations (tapas)) and self-governance (it exercises self-discovery and a setting of your own agenda (svādhyāya)). Essentially, any practice where the right choice is devotion to Sovereignty is a yogic practice.

Self-Intimacy is one expression of many.

 

When devotion to Sovereignty is practiced, past trauma and experiences are released, resulting in personal freedom for the practitioner. And yet, it is not this outcome that is the motivation; rather, it is the intrinsic good of the practice itself that propels the practitioner; it is a practice fueled by devotion (bhakti).

 

All of the information shared in this section is based on the work of Dr. Shyam Ranganathan of Yoga Philosophy.

Viṣṇu, Ādi Śeṣa and Lakṣmī floating on the milk ocean with Brahmā floating above.
A brass statue of Lakṣmī sitting on a lotus flower.
A brass statue of Viṣṇu sitting on Ādi Śeṣa.
This imagery depicts the philosophy of Yoga. 

 

Yoga Sūtra II.1: Lakṣmī represents self-governance (svādhyāya). She herself is symbolized as a lotus, and in the statue depiction of her shared here, she is literally sitting on herself, representing self-governance in action. 

Yoga Sūtra II.1: Viṣṇu represents unconservativism (tapas). There is evidence of his past action (a conch shell, a cakra (a discus), a lotus flower, and a club-like mace), yet these things are not constraining him now. Out of his belly comes Brahmā – the Creator – symbolizing his ability to create new things from this state of unconservativism.

Yoga Sūtra II.1: Ādi Śeṣa – the multi-headed serpent, symbolizes devotion to Lordliness/Sovereignty as it supports Viṣṇu and Lakṣmī.

Yoga Sūtra I.2: Lakṣmī and Viṣṇu easefully float on Ādi Śeṣa, over the world of external influence, symbolized as the ocean.

 

Engaging with these images is a practice of coming to an understanding of the philosophical ideas of Yoga. For those who are interested, I hope that they serve as inspiration!

The following is a lecture by Dr. Shyam Ranganathan about Yoga as a basic ethical theory and South Asian contribution to moral philosophy. This is the final installment of a 4-part series; you can find Parts 1-3 linked in the section below on ‘Anti-Oppression.’

NONVIOLENT COMMUNICATION

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing, and right-doing, there is a field. I will meet you there.” – Rumi

With Nonviolent Communication (NVC) we learn to hear our own deeper needs and those of others. Through its emphasis on deep listening—to ourselves as well as others—NVC helps us discover the depth of our own compassion. This language reveals the awareness that all human beings are only trying to honour universal values and needs through all thought, word and action.

NVC can be seen as both a spiritual practice that helps us see our common humanity, using our power in a way that honours everyone’s needs, and a concrete set of skills which help us create life-serving families and communities.

The form is simple, yet powerfully transformative.

Through the practice of NVC, we can learn to clarify what we are observing, what emotions we are feeling, what values we want to live by, and what we want to ask of ourselves and others. We will no longer need to use the language of blame, judgment or domination. We can experience the deep pleasure of contributing to each others’ well being.

NVC creates a path for healing and reconciliation in its many applications, ranging from intimate relationships, work settings, health care, social services, police, prison staff and inmates, to governments, schools and social change organizations.

“All that has been integrated into NVC has been known for centuries about consciousness, language, communication skills, and use of power that enable us to maintain a perspective of empathy for ourselves and others, even under trying conditions.” – Marshall B. Rosenberg, Phd

Nonviolent Communication contains nothing new. It is based on historical principles of nonviolence – the natural state of compassion when no violence is present in the heart. NVC reminds us what we already instinctively know about how good it feels to authentically connect to another human being.

 

All of the information shared in this section is from the Center for Nonviolent Communication’s website.

If you’re interested in learning more about the genesis of NVC and its creator, Marshall Rosenberg, you can watch an interview with Marshall above.

The following is a presentation by Maria Engels about Nonviolent Communication. If you are interested in the resource that they referenced about Emergent Strategy, you can click here to learn more!

ANTI-OPPRESSION WORK

I would like to start this section by sharing my social location (my position in society based on my social group memberships) for context:

I am in a white body which is non-disabled and neurotypical, which was assigned female at birth. I grew up in a middle class family with access to generational wealth, and was born as an uninvited settler on, and citizen of, so called Canada with English as my first language. I have a post secondary education. I identify as genderqueer and pansexual. I hold an incredible amount of unearned privilege at the intersection of my identities, which in turn leads to an incredible amount of ignorance of other people’s experience of reality.

I believe that anti-oppression work within any identity spectrum begins with learning about and acknowledging the violent system of thinking that is in the process of ravaging the well-being of every person on – and including – this planet. The harm that is caused by this system is different for different people depending on their social location. This is why I have shared mine above; this context is important to acknowledge as I will always be taking responsibility for unlearning the internalized -isms and -phobias that this violent system of thinking has socialized me with.

I am NOT an expert on anti-oppression work. To the folks who are relatively new to anti-oppression work, I encourage you to check out this Unlearning Resource Library – a free, self-guided space that I have put together which features many of the educators, articles and exercises that I have come across on my journey so far.

So what is the Western Tradition of thought?

It is one of many global traditions of thought.

The Western Tradition originated in Greece where there was one word used to describe three concepts: thought, reason and language. This word was logos.

This was the basis which created the Linguistic Account of Thought, where thought is the meaning of what one says, and every thought has to be explained in terms of what the individual would say.

THIS IS INTERPRETATION. And this practice of interpretation colours all moral philosophies that are practiced within the Western Tradition.

We can see the effects of this way of thinking in the devastation and violence of imperialism, colonialism, racism, transphobia, etc. The list goes on and on.

 

Here is an abstract example:

If one group of people (A) encounters another group of people (B) and interprets what they (B) are doing, saying, and/or thinking through their own (A’s) lens of perception, then A will inevitably misunderstand what B is doing, saying, and/or thinking unless A and B have exactly the same thoughts.

In the more likely event that A and B have different thoughts, and if A also is practicing Virtue Ethics (the moral philosophical theory that the virtuous character makes the right choice), then A will compare B to their virtuous paradigm case of what it means to be a person. With any diversion from that paradigm case, A will have justification to oppress, assimilate and/or erase B as they are less of a person based of the way A thinks.

In the real world:

If a non-menstruating person encounters a menstruating person and interprets that process through their own lens of perception, then the non-menstruating person might interpret menstruation as ‘abnormal,’ ‘gross,’ ‘inconvenient,’ and/or ‘something to not be talked about.’ If the non-menstruating person is also practicing Virtue Ethics and compares the menstruating person with the virtuous paradigm case of what it means to be a person (in our case, this is a cis-male), then the non-menstruating person will have the justification to oppress, assimilate and/or erase the menstruating person as they are less of a person based on the way the non-menstruating person thinks.

This way of thinking has contributed to why menstruation is not accommodated within spaces that are built on this Western Tradition of thought. This way of thinking is the basis for misogyny, sexism and the patriarchy.

Insert other oppressed identities and experiences, and you will yield the same results.

 

Every person that is born within an oppressive society has been socialized to believe that this is the only way of thinking; it is so deeply engrained in parenting, advertising, and all institutions including the school system, the medical system and governmental systems.

THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE! THIS IS NOT THE ONLY WAY OF THINKING.

If one can unlearn this way of thinking, they can dismantle oppression. It is this simple. And it is not necessarily easy.

In anti-oppression work, resistance and/or trauma activation can occur as the harmful system senses attack and begins to fight back. This can manifest in multiple ways:

  • Internally, one might feel extreme discomfort leading them to consider clinging to their own bodily security over continuing to interrupt the harm.
  • Externally, one might be physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually attacked by other people who are knowingly or unknowingly upholding the system.
  • Externally, the system itself might exert it’s force, withdrawing previously enjoyed unearned privileges and beginning the process of enhanced marginalization of the individual.

 

While this system holds and extreme level of supremacy that has and continues to devastate countless lives, I believe it is also incredibly fragile as it relies on humans being alienated and disconnected from their innate spirit. This disconnection is not a human’s natural state of be-ing, and the human spirit is powerful.

I believe that anti-oppression work is a human’s return home to their natural state. It is only through past and present experiences with this violent way of thinking that the foundation for the harmful world that we currently live in has been built. I believe that underneath this all, the human spirit is benign and compassionate.

As the system was built, so too it can be destroyed. This is anti-oppression work, and it is a coming home to yourSelf.

 

All of the information shared in this section about the Linguistic Account of Thought and the Western Tradition of Thought is based on the work of Dr. Shyam Ranganathan of Yoga Philosophy.

The following are a series of lectures by Dr. Shyam Ranganathan where he explains the philosophical roots of oppression. You can find Part 4 of this lecture series in the section on ‘Yoga’ above.

TRAUMA THEORY

“A common denominator of all traumas is an alienation and disconnect from the body.” – Peter A. Levine, PhD

‘Our bodies are programmed to automatically respond to physical threats by fighting or fleeing. An experience becomes traumatic when this natural fight/flight defense is halted. When one is assaulted and realizes that there is nothing they can do to stave off the inevitable, this self-protective system may break down, resulting in the inappropriate activation of fight/flight reactions in response to minor subsequent irritations, and an inability feel relaxation or to meet one’s Need of safety.” – Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD

“Human beings are tender creatures. We are born with our hearts open. Sometimes we encounter experiences that so violate our [Needs] for safety, order, predictability, and right, that we feel utterly overwhelmed – unable to integrate, and simply unable to go on as before. We have come to call these shattering experiences of trauma. None of us is immune to them. [Their] impact may be sudden and dramatic – or the result of gradual and unrelenting violations over time. Sometimes, we are not even aware that we’re experiencing trauma until weeks, months, or even years have passed. Its damage can be quiet, creeping and insidious.” – Stephen Cope, MSW

“While thought process usually shuts down during a traumatizing experience, the bodily sensations associated with immobilization and helplessness carry the memories of having absolutely no control over the outcome of one’s life: the fate of trauma survivors is lived out in heartbreak and gut-wrenching sensations. The body, instead of being an ally on one’s road to recovery, becomes the enemy.” – Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD

Traumatic experiences can lead to is difficulty in regulating one’s physical, emotional, mental and spiritual experiences. Trauma permeates all levels of the body, and when in a state of trauma response, the body’s alarm systems never quite turn off. An individual who is experiencing trauma might be in a state of attachment and/or aversion. This may be subtle or obvious, and they could be in both states at the same time.

Attachment can manifest as addiction or a type of grasping for things or experiences that are external as a strategy to meet one’s unmet Needs.

Aversion can manifest as isolating tendencies or avoidance of situations or people that may activate the body’s alarm system further as a strategy to meet one’s unmet Needs.

It is important to note that these are coping strategies which are attempts to meet unmet Needs and that they serve a purpose for an individual who is experiencing trauma.

“Most people I see in my practice have become experts in bracing against their inner sensations and in ignoring the inner world of their bodies. The lives of many trauma survivors come to revolve around isolating and neutralizing unwanted sensory experiences.. from dulling their intolerable internal world to engaging in high-risk activities that provide a sense of control or relief through an emotional ‘high.’ – Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD

An individual may choose to explore different coping strategies that might be healthier and more sustainable in their experience, such as Reclaiming the Body – a structure developed by the Trauma Center

“Somewhere around 1999 we became familiar with a new biological marker called heart rate variability (HRV). HRV has recently been discovered to be a good way to measure the integrity of one of the brain’s arousal systems, the one located in the oldest part of the brain: the brain stem. Well-regulated people tend to have robust HRV, which is reflected in their ability to have a reasonable degree of control over their impulses and emotions. This is mirrored in the capacity of their inhalations and exhalations to product rhythmical fluctuations in heart rate. People who are easily thrown off balance tend to have low HRV.. this could help explain why traumatized people are so reactive to minor stresses and so prone to develop a variety of physical illnesses.” – Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD

“One of the profound lessons from contemporary neuroscience research is that our sense of ourselves is anchored in a vital connection with our bodies. That being the case, people who are traumatized need to have physical and sensory experiences to unlock their bodies, activate effective fight/flight responses, tolerate their sensations, befriend their inner experiences, nd cultivate new action patterns.” – Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD

Through gentle, invitational work to Reclaim the Body, an individual can come to bring their HRV within their control. This is valuable for all people and does not need to be reserved only for folks who have experienced what one might think of as a traumatic event. Every person has experienced trauma, and therefore every person can benefit from a practice of self-intimacy.

 

The quotes shared in this section are from the book Overcoming Trauma through Yoga – Reclaiming Your Body. The information in this section is additionally inspired by the work of Yoga Outreach.

The following is a podcast interview with Dr. Bessel van der Kolk about trauma, coping strategies, and the body. If you are using headphones, please be sure to turn the volume on the down at the beginning of this video and when the host goes to begin the interview as the brief intro is quite loud.

JYOTIṢA (VEDIC ASTROLOGY)

While Jyotiṣa is not a major conceptual underpinning of From The Hearth offerings (Tara is not a Vedic Astrologer), it is considered a minor conceptual underpinning as the timing and themes of product creations and releases, offerings, and posts are directly informed by the energies of the cosmos as described in Jyotiṣa. This is done in the hopes of maximizing the possible effectiveness of this work.

The key pieces that are incorporated in From The Hearth’s offerings are the positions of the Moon (Candra) and the Sun (Āditya) against the backdrop of the sidereal Zodiac.

The following is an in-depth video and wonderful resource discussing the importance of studying Vedic Astrology. Highlights from this presentation as they correspond to the major conceptual underpinnings are offered here:

  • Jyotiṣa – the science of light – is described in the Vedas (Ancient Scriptures of Knowledge)
  • It is a path to self-knowledge that helps you to understand who you are; the light of knowledge dispels ignorance.
  • The Inner Light – which once you learn to recognize – gives you the opportunity to look deeper within your consciousness, to be in touch with your real Self.
  • Jyotiṣa assists in the understanding of the fruits of your karma (detrimental and helpful), what you bring into this life, and how to deal with the predisposed issues of life. This is revealed through your Birth Chart.
  • Every person is – in their nature – perfect and pure. However, this is obscured by the planets at birth as well as the planets that influence one’s daily experience. You can understand your karma through the language of planets.
  • Karma is the action and reaction of both past and present lives. All unaddressed actions/reactions need to be reconciled. When we don’t practice reconciliation, we get caught up in the illusion of life and produce more karma. Only when all karma has been reconciled does the cycle of reincarnation cease.
  • You have the opportunity to exercise choice through right action in order to influence your future. You can improve your life and sort out situations; you should not be stuck in your past karma.
  • This is not about just destiny; it is about understanding your destiny so that you can do something about it.
  • The key to a happy life is understanding how to deal with the karma that you are born with.
  • The planets (graha-s) left on their own are grasping you. The knowledge of Jyotiṣa allows you to take responsibility and bring your karmic experience within the control of your practice.
  • This life is very precious; we are doing things so that we can develop and improve ourselves.

ĀYURVEDA

Āyurveda, a word usually misunderstood as a branch of medicine, is in fact a much broader study of life itself. It is a combination of two Sanskrit words: Ayuh, meaning ‘life,’ and Veda, meaning ‘knowledge.’

While Āyurveda is not a major conceptual underpinning of From The Hearth offerings (Tara has no formal education in this science), it is considered a minor conceptual underpinning, especially informing product creations and offerings.

Below is a video that describes the three doṣa-s and their qualities. You can also click here to learn more about the origin texts of Āyurveda, and here to access a YouTube playlist with additional information.

Want to know your doṣa? You can take a quiz by clicking here! You might choose to take this quiz twice; the first time could be general answers informed over your lifetime (a), and the second could be specific answers regarding your last .5/1 year (b). This can provide insight as to what your general constitution is (a), and whether you are currently in or out of balance with your general constitution (comparing b to a).