I recently checked in with a presentation on YogaHub.com by spiritual teacher Matt Kahn and his partner, meditation teacher Julie Dittmar. They called the session “Effortless Freedom.” I’m all for ease in a world that is filled with those who try to make spirituality sound like an Iron Man Trialathon experience, so I dropped in. The session was one of scores of offerings from this year’s Virtual World Yoga and Meditation Conference. For those who missed the live virtual sessions, the recorded audio, and in some cases video sessions, were available for a couple of weeks after the five day conference.
Here’s what happend: the sound I effortlessly found emitting from myself as I settled in to listen to Matt and Julie was that of a distinct and extended “Ahhhh.” It felt so good to enter into the energy these two teachers emit and know that permission has been given to relax and simply “be.”
I first encountered these two spiritual teachers last year at the 2011 YogaHub Conference. I found Matt’s teaching so different and so powerful that I sought him out afterwards for some of the one-on-one sessions he offers called “Direct Transmissions” — which can be done via Skype. The effects of my work with Matt, or simply being a receiver to his transmission of Archangel and Ascended Master energy and activation, are still unfolding in remarkable ways. My sessions included awakening crystalline DNA and other shifts that simply begin durin a session. Yes, I know how woo-woo that sounds. A word to the wise: never practice contempt prior to investigation. There’s a whole world of awakening coming into being. Shifts initiated in the presence of energy as from a teacher like Matt continue to reveal themselves in the weeks and months to afterwards. In any case, having worked with Matt personally, it was with happy anticipation that I stopped into the virtual classroom for his YogaHub session along with Julie. I was not disappointed.
Julie began the session by explaining that what we were engaging in was the branch of yoga called Dhyana Yoga, a type of yoga that is contemplative. As we received the transmission of energy from Matt, we could also move into Bhakti Yoga that is a joyful, loving devotion in our journey to our true divine nature. (True Divine Nature is also the name of Matt’s website, by the way.) She explained we were like flowers blossoming in the garden of humanity, with the ego falling away and opening up new fields of possibility. The result, this Bhakti Yoga, was reverent gratitude for what was there all along. Anyone familiar with A Course in Miracles or teachers like Eckhart Tolle will recognize similarities in the teachings that unfold with Matt, along with his unique translation of the “downloads” from Spirit. Yes, the language of spirit had incorporated our own, so we now receive downloads which I have admit, is a great way for us to understand the transmission of energy.
The excitement both Matt and Julie feel for this particular time on our planet was palpable in their voices during the session. One thing I noticed was an unusual clarity of vocal quality, voice energy — something I’m very attuned to from decades in radio broadcasting and from my own clairaudient abilities.
There was what I would best describe as a crystalline quality to the sound of their voices. At the same time I was noticing this, I also experienced a kind of pulsating energy around my heart chakra as it seemed to open to encompass more space and allow more reception of loving energy to be received and flow back out in a kind of heart-breathing exchange. As Matt talked about the effortlessness of freedom in the spiritual path, the vibration was pulsing in such a way as to connect to my 5th, or Throat Chakra — and I was feeling the welling up of energy we recognize as welling up with emotion or tears. Sometimes we call that being “choked up” — but that’s really a misnomer. There’s nothing choking about this sensation — it’s the opposite, it’s the opening up of energy, not the choking off of it. It is simply because in our society we don’t like to be seen showing unexpected emotion or crying in situations where others might see us, that we’ve been programmed to “choke” it off — like restraining a sneeze! We do that, it’s not the energy doing the choking. My advice if you check out a session with Matt — don’t choke the natural responses. Let the sensations that arise during these sessions of energy transmission simply flow and “be.” If tears well up, let ’em flow. If sensations arise in the throat, the heart or other energy centers, allow the flow. Energy is moving and healing and transforming in this safe, sacred heart centered space.
The central teaching that Matt presents here is that Truth — as in Divine Truth — can’t be pursued, is not something accomplished and does not respond to the effort or struggle of a practice. In fact, all those spiritual practices leave us exhausted and wanting — for Truth. If it can’t be found or maintained by effort, how do we explore the realm of Truth? Matt’s teaching is that it is by letting go of those efforts and following one tool — our INTEREST — that we will find the key to effortlessness. Gradually for some, spontaneously for others, says Matt, you will find yourself becoming interested in exploring effortlessness. You will become more attentive, and see beyond the story. Without expectation of success or failure, we can come to the joy of effortless freedom.
It was helpful that Matt didn’t make the teaching only about an exalted state of spirituality, but pointed out the sheer natural humanness of this — and how all we need do is notice — notice our heartbeats, notice our breath. Notice even how effortlessly an argument can spring up! Notice how effortlessly the emotions around the argument can emerge. But then notice how effortlessly reconciliation can occur and emotions and responses shift. We do this all the time, but now do it with awareness. Notice the effortless joy and awe of looking on as the sun sets, or the joy of seeing a child at play.
Matt’s prescription for daily effortlessness includes getting a bunch of “Hoorays!” into our emotions and way of seeing. Stuck in traffic? Hooray! Frustrated? Hooray! Notice how effortless that frustration was! Be amused by it all, and hooray for that!
The essential ingredient for effortless freedom turns out to be — EQUALITY. This is something taught by all the great spiritual traditions and something made alive by a contemporary teacher like Matt: Equality is a sacred gift. Treat all these things as equal. Don’t discriminate between the annoyance of standing in line at the supermarket and the joy of a sunset. Welcome each experience equally. Hooray! It’s all the same.
Have a spiritual garage sale, Matt suggests, and unload the old efforts and practices that have not yielded what you’d hoped. They may have some use to someone else at a particular time, but they are no longer useful to you.
Matt is urging us in this transmission of his energy and teaching, to shift allegiances — to align with an interest in effortlessness, equality, openness, simplicity and — hooray for this one — happiness!
I don’t know about you, but I’m in for that.
My heart kept vibrating from the clarity of Matt’s transmission for a long while afterwards. Time for an effortless cup of tea. A visit to this Dhyana/Bhakti sacred space brought an effortless hour of joy with Matt & Julie at this year’s YogaHub conference. If you happen to be in Seattle, check out their TrueDivineNature website for in person satsangs at Planet Earth Yoga, 418 N. 35th St.