New Millennium Being

ARIES - I AM MYSELF

by Guru Rattana, Ph.D.

Issue #15, March 25, 2000

It is amazing how dramatically the energy shifts when the Sun moves from one sign of the zodiac to the next. I always feel a sense of relief and freshness as we enter a new phase. This feeling of relief was particularity strong for me this week when the Sun moved into Aries March 19th. I personally had had enough of Pisces lessons of surrender this time around and was ready to get the show on the road again. I did decide that the next time the Sun is in Pisces and Mercury is retrograde in Pisces the ideal thing to do would be to attend a silent Buddhist meditation retreat.

As the Sun approached the Aries sky, my frustration with lack of action and the problems with my computer (which explains the delay in this newsletter) crystallized into the urgent need for action and solutions. I welcomed the new options and the opportunities that Aries so eagerly announced. Two days later, however, I noticed that the honeymoon was over. With all the new openings came the pressures and the stress of responding to new possibilities and responsibilities. I became aware of the challenges as well as the gifts that Aries brings to us all.

This scenario-relief, challenges, solutions, time to move on-- is repeated every month, every year throughout our lives. The goal of this newsletter is to help us all choreograph our lives so that we can respond to, grow from and enjoy the never-ending unfoldment of life

A NEW LIFE

Right in sync with the Spring Equinox, Aries announces a new life. We get another chance. If we have surrendered to Divine Will while the Sun was in Pisces and released another layer of our false ego, we can enjoy a more profound experience of our Self and life itself. Pisces teaches us that something must die to make way for the new. When the Sun enters Aries, we are born again and celebrate a new lease on life. The Sun in Aries between March 19th and April 18th offers all of us a potent new beginning and the energy to pursue our individual enterprises based on our own creative expression of Self.

FIRE SIGNS

Aries is the first of the three fire signs, which also include Leo and Sagittarius. The element of fire is related to the intuition, consciousness, primal energy and spirit. The fire signs possess an innate awareness of their individuality. They often have boundless vitality, enthusiasm and self-confidence, which is rooted in their innate self worth, not in their worldly accomplishments. The fire signs need no further justification than their existence. They innately believe that life is essentially meaningful and that they deserve the best from it. *(1)

The fiery trio possesses an innate sense of inner purpose and meaning and an unquenchable urge for self-expression. The fire signs know that they are the Self that expresses their unique personalities. They are endowed with a strong will and a deep sense of purpose. They are concerned foremost with the purpose of their own lives. The world is "a stage to be explored, acted upon, understood and loved, and, when necessary, destroyed so that new forms may be built. For there is value only in the meaning, and it is the meaning which is always sought in every experience." *(2)

SYMBOLOGY

The Ram is Aries power animal. The Ram stands alone, empowered from within, undaunted by any obstacles. In the Tarot deck, the Ram resembles the Divine Fool - the fearless adventurer, always excited about existence itself and ready to live life to the fullest. Both the Divine Fool and the Ram are naïve and enthusiastic about beginning the journey of life and eagerly set out to explore the world.

THE LIGHT OF LIFE ITSELF

Aries is the light found at the center of all life. Aries is the pulse of life that emanates through all creation. Aries is the presence of Spirit in all things. Aries is the fiery core in every atom. Aries is Divine Will and Divine Power-the directing urge for the Divine expression in all form. Aries is the birthplace of ideas and the energy through which the Will of God is known. It is through the intuition that Aries links the higher and the lower minds and acts as the messenger of the Plan. Aries is aliveness itself. *(3) The Ram's path is to master his raw life force and direct it toward self-expression and a higher purpose.

AIRES' PATH

Aries' path is to consciously evolve from a superficial and external definition of self to deeper inner Soul identity. Aries' path is to move from the definition of self as a body and a personality to the realization that he is in fact an eternal being. The search for his true Self requires an honest and relentless exploration of his psyche and a conscious relationship with his instinctual energies.

Aries motivating urge is to explore and to conquer. Aries' path is to develop a sense of will and to direct it toward purposeful activities. The "Just do it!" Ram makes things happen. The question for the Ram is how will it use its fiery, aggressive energy. Will it provoke accidents, arguments or wars or will it fearlessly step forward as an undaunted leader guided by the Truth? The answer depends on his conscious awareness of Self. Is the Ram driven by a hotheaded ego or is he guided by his intuition and Soul?

I AM - SELF-MASTERY

Aries awakens us to the most basic personal reality-- I AM. Aries' gifts and lessons are about identity--Who am I?

Self-mastery through life experiences is the theme of Aries' life journey. Self-mastery requires an active dynamic dance between the self and one's environment.

Aries arrives in this world naïve, uninformed and uninitiated. Aries must develop his persona as he experiences life on Planet Earth. This is indeed a daunting task. Aries is always in the process of becoming. At the most basic level Aries is the physical body and the personality that relates to his surroundings and his interactions. Aries' soul will attract the experiences necessary to help him develop a sense of his own self and the tools he needs to live a productive life.

Aries embodies a two-way lens-one looking out and the other looking back in. The one looking out experiences the environment and projects its interpretation to the environment. The one looking in reflects those projections back to the viewer. Aries embodies the filter that constantly processes the inward and outward flow of reality between the individual and the outer world. *(4) It is through this constant interaction that the sense of self is developed.

THE PERSONA

Aries' goal is to develop a persona, which is an effective, positive medium through which he can present himself to the world. The Ram's life long task is to cultivate a self-expression, which genuinely represents his Soul. His life experiences will always accurately, and many times painfully, demonstrate that a superficial mask cannot camouflage hidden and unconscious aspects of his psyche. The Ram's persona will always reflect his inner reality. Through honest self-inquiry, the Ram can cultivate a statement of himself to the world that speaks for his soul and declare his role that is in alignment with his destiny path.

The Ram's life task is to develop the personal traits and create a functional self-image that accurately represents his inner self to the world. The flowering of the persona comes with maturity and is always something that he is in the process of developing. The Ram must learn to wear his persona lightly and not make the mistake of identifying with his presentation.

The Ram always stands in a precarious balance between his outer and inner worlds. His ability to maintain this balance depends upon how accurately his persona reflects who he really is and how capable he is of being flexible and able to constantly evolve through moment to moment interactions with his life experiences. The Ram must stand in the center of his environment and inner motivations, negotiating between the outer world and his own psyche and be willing to consciously evolve with every step of the process.

ARIES' JOUNEY

As the first sign of the zodiac, Aries teaches us that we must first find ourselves, if we are to successfully negotiate life. Aries' challenges and lessons include self-expression, autonomy, identity and self-mastery.

SELF-EXPRESSION- Aries must identify the childhood programming that keeps him from misrepresenting himself to the world. He must identify the internal conflicts that drain him of his vital energy and make peace within himself.

AUTONOMY - Aries must learn to protect his autonomy by resisting external attempts to control his behavior and action. He must claim his independence by establishing relationships that are free of manipulation and guilt tripping. Aries must learn to thrive independent of external interference. He must learn to be self-reliant and acquire the survival skills to look out for himself.

IDENTITY - Aries must develop a self-concept that he is comfortable with and that supports his spontaneity and self-confidence. Aries' personal identity must authentically reflect his Soul.

SELF-MASTERY - Aries must learn to master his own energy. He must learn how to use his energy for action and to magnify his own identity instead of overreacting to threats, interruptions, offenses or thwarted personal gratification. Aries must learn to follow his instincts and impulses with calm self-assurance. For Aries must learn not only to survive, but also to thrive and take effective action, in the world.

MARS

Mars is Aries' mentor. Mars embodies the instinct of dynamic motion. The irresistible evolution forward. Mars teaches us to discipline ourselves, to concentrate on specific goals, to focus energy and to take effective action. "Mars doesn't willingly turn its forces inward, especially when more stimulating, external targets are available." *(5) Mars teaches us to meet our challenges without losing our appetite for life. Mars helps us learn that when we enthusiastically meet life head-on, we can maintain our vitality and are capable of tremendous productivity.

TWO IMPULSES-"TO BE" AND "TO DO"

Aries embodies two primal impulses - TO BE and TO DO. Aries inherently knows that BEING comes first and that DOING happens from within our beingness. Aries teaches us that when we surrender to our beingness, our internal fire is spontaneously ignited and our natural urge to act is available at all times.

The problem in our modern day society is that we have forgotten to begin with Being. We use all our Aries energy to do. The further problem is that when our doing is driven by our mental manipulations, we mentally and physically exhaust ourselves. We artificially pump ourselves with stimulants, bogus affirmations, verbal threats and shame to get ourselves to take action. We wear ourselves out trying to make things happen. We abuse ourselves trying to fabricate the energy to be more and more productive.

The primal energy of Aries is trying to show us that infinite energy is available if we follow our natural instincts and intuition, stop trying to mentally control ourselves and others and relax into our own natural energy flow. When we are in touch with our primal impulses, we naturally feel more alive, vital and passionate. We are internally motivated to take action and to live fuller, richer lives.

PRIMAL STRESS REDUCTION

The Aries in all of us is a master at creating stress and suffering because we live in a DO and a WANT world. Our focus on achieving and doing more and more creates stress. We erroneously identify with our accomplishments. We build up our frustration level and exhaust ourselves from our futile efforts to succeed. Or we finally flip out from faking our illusions. As the Buddhists have told us for centuries, when we live out of our desires, we create suffering.

The good news is that Aries in all of us can also be the master of releasing

stress. Aries is the master of being with that IS. To be the master of what IS, we have to be at one with what is happening in the moment. To "Be Here Now" we have to be at one with ourselves. Aries embodies the essence of I AM-the state of being that is present to what is, regardless of what is happening around himself. Aries can detach himself from desires and outcomes because he is motivated and excited about existence itself. For Aries, there is nowhere to go. There are no achievements that must happen. Aries stands on the top of the mountain proudly and nakedly present to the glory of himself.

Aries can teach us how to unravel ourselves from the rat race, not escape it, because Aries lives in the center of life, but not be a victim of it either. Aries teaches us that the main cause of stress is to be at odds with that IS. And that includes accepting and being nonjudgmental about ourselves, others and the circumstances in our lives. Aries ultimate goal in his interactions and relationship with himself and his environment is to be at peace with what is. He may not like it. He may not agree with it. And he will probably use his energy to change it! But his starting point is realistic and real.

To be at peace with what is, in no way means that one should be resigned to or satisfied with the status quo. Quite the contrary for Aries. The attitude of acceptance is a tool that keeps Aries' energy free to take action and make things happen. The present is a dynamic point of departure into the unknown. Aries teaches us that the more we eliminate our mental trips of "could, would, should, ought to" the more energy we have to devote to enjoying ourselves and our lives. Our instinctual energy is freed up and we can vibrantly participate in life.

Aries does not settle for what does not work for him. Aries relentlessly explores the unknown, pushes ahead with his life and moves into new opportunities. The Ram's drive keeps him going ever onwards and upwards. Aries grace is that he never loses his inner drive and thrives on his quest for adventure and meaning.

FEAR AND COURAGE

Aries embodies the seed of the Soul. Through consciousness he waters his Soul. With time, the seed sprouts and blooms with purpose and meaning. In full bloom, the Ram faces both his outer and inner worlds with courage, confidence and joy. Aries wants to be free, to be first, to explore the unknown, to encounter challenges and to revel in the wonderful realization that his existence is his raison d'être. *(6)

In the early stages of life, the unpredictability of events evokes a natural fear in Aries. Because of his instinctual nature, his natural response to many life situations is often "fight or flight." His challenge is to overcome the feeling of powerlessness when confronted with events that he cannot control or even understand. Feelings of powerlessness and inadequacy are directly related to unconsciousness. As Aries becomes more conscious of his inner resources and energies, he learns how to use them in productive ways. As he matures, he is not only better equipped to cope with life, he experiences a sense of self-empowerment that naturally dissolves his irrational fears.

THE RIGHT USE OF WILL

Aries struggles between the desire to face challenges head on and to experience life to its fullest and the fear of being dominated, hurt or crushed by negative relationships and a hostile environment. This struggle can manifest as either a timid self-effacement to avoid outer conflict or in a more aggressive temperament.

The self-effacing Ram will back away from situations that call for direct confrontation and aggressiveness. The problem is that when natural instincts of anger and frustration are unexpressed they are also repressed. Repressed emotions often lead to psychosomatic illnesses such as migraine headaches. The reluctance of entering a fight because of the fear of losing it is often rationalized as being unselfish. "But to be unselfish he must first have a self to give away, and the difficulty ...is that ...until the individual comes to terms with his fear, there is no real acceptance of or expression of the self in the first place." *(7)

Aries may feel that he is unable to get what he wants and that his desires are forever being thwarted. He must learn to ask for what he wants and to believe that he deserves to get what he asks for.

The Ram's underlying fear is of his own will. Aries embodies raw, primal power that can destroy and even kill. He must learn to tame his own desire nature and shape his powerful energy into a disciplined tool directed by an inner and higher purpose.

Aries with a more fiery temperament is outgoing and ready to take charge of any situation whether it requires force or subtle calculation. The Ram's strategy is "The best defense is offence." Fiery Aries must learn to control himself and realize that self-control does not require controlling everyone else as well. *(8)

In both cases, the right use of will is one of Aries' challenges. Right use of will and indeed the discovery of his own will as an internal power that can be controlled and used wisely (as distinguished from a mental or gut reaction) is something that is developed during the maturation process of life. The Ram discovers his will as he explores himself and his interactions with his environment. The cultivation of will comes with his own self-knowledge and self-empowerment.

AWAKENING PROCESS

The awakening process is also the natural progression of human unfoldment. As Aries demonstrates, we each have to learn to survive in what we often perceive as a hostile and threatening world. We may all recognize the characteristics of asleep Aries in ourselves. These are natural human responses. The goal of human life is to grow, evolve, wake up and mature into the awakened embodiment of each of the twelve signs.

ASLEEP ARIES

The asleep Ram can act in a very selfish, anti-social and "animalistic" manner. His ego needs to fight battles and claim victories with adversarial forces. *(9) Because of his "me" versus "them" mentality, he can, and often does, create conflicts where none exist.

The unconscious Ram suffocates himself behind a false identity that stifles the expression of his true self. Imprisoned by his own limited sense of self, he becomes the pawn of a frustrated soul that constantly creates problems to try to wake himself up. Self-assertion is too often negative and destructive. The asleep Ram tries to force his will on his environment and to control others. His actions and communications are defensive maneuvers and attempts to attack first because he is afraid of being attacked. The need to control is also expressed through passive-aggressive behavior or indirect manipulation of situations.

Asleep Aries can also be shy, awkward and reluctant to expose himself to the world. Childhood experiences may have programmed him to feel vulnerable to attack and control from authority figures and his environment. If so, he tries to protect himself so that his vulnerability will not be discovered. He is suspicious and lacks self-confidence. He attempts to erect powerful barriers that isolate him from the harsh impacts of life.

The asleep Ram may create chronic ill health as a means to withdraw from the arena of life. He has not developed effective and safe means to interact with the world. He has little faith in himself because he identifies with his mask rather than with his soul. Asleep Aries has a tendency to cut himself off from both the flow of outer life and his own inner flow of being. As a consequence, the asleep Ram remains stranded on a small island of mental torment that prevents him from tapping into his deeper purpose and identity.

Asleep Aires is unconscious of himself and the impact that he has on his environment. He is driven by his instinctual urge to protect and defend himself. Naïve and unaware, his "me first" attitude is undirected and subjective. His interaction with the world is computed in terms of conflicts, victories and defeats. He is confrontational and has a strong sense of territoriality. His identity is "I am my urges." The modus operandi of the unevolved Aries is pushy, headstrong and impulsive. His desires for dominance and need for approval and recognition motivate his actions and define his interactions with others. *(10)

"Survival of the fittest" Aries may have to struggle to exhaustion. But he will eventually be confronted with one or a series of life experiences that yield enough pain to rattle his ego and direct him to expand his consciousness toward a deeper exploration of who he really is and why he is here.

WAKING UP ARIES

Awakening Aries starts releasing his inner tensions by learning how to take direct action and develop unambiguous approaches to removing obstacles. Awakening Aries knows his physical limits and is less prone to go to extremes or to be obsessed with immediate gratification. He learns how to keep his battery charged by using right motivation to direct his energies to meaningful pursuits. As he loosens his inner defenses, he starts being more self-confident and comfortable being himself.

The actions and communications of the awakening Ram are more consciously directed and focused. He is less prone to provoke fights and incidents and begins to use his energy to fight for causes that support not only his own well being but also the well being of others. His anger and moral outrage become less uncontrollable and instinctual and more directed towards a conscious and constructive purpose.

Awakening Aries learns to be more in control of his energies. Instead of blindly striking out, he is able to create a plan of action. Instead of trying to conquer any opposition, the Ram begins to use his aggressive energy as a vehicle to achieve balance in conflictual and inharmonious situations. "Instead of fighting as an instinctual response to territorial infringement, Aries now views himself as an instrument to correct injustices and, if necessary, as an instrument of sacrifice for some high ideal." *(11) As the "Sacrificial Lamb" the Ram sees himself as a noble instrument to achieve harmony through conflict.

AWAKE ARIES

Awake Aries is a divine intermediary. Through his actions and communications he inspires others, instills courage and makes things happen. The presence of awake Aries inspires others to fearlessly be themselves.

Awake Aries has and continues to synthesize all his life experiences. He is consciously responsible for his own actions and for the right use of his will. Indeed he is able to align his will with Divine Will. Awake Aries infuses spiritual awareness into all his communications and arouses and stimulates this awareness in others. He embodies the fire of divine impulse. His will has the power to transform lower energies into their higher expressions. His intuitive mind is now his weapon to transform the world.

MEDITATION ON BEING

Strengthening the navel center or third chakra is one of best ways to tap into, align and take advantage of Aries energy. Yogi Bhajan teaches that the primal Kundalini power is activated and released from the navel center. He has taught many Kundalini Yoga kriyas to strengthen the navel center. Many of these are found in my first yoga manual Transitions to a Heart-Centered World, 2nd Edition, whose basic theme is that to get into the heart and stay there we must first create a solid foundation in the first three chakras. Breath of fire is the king of the pranayamas to strengthen the navel center and activate the flow of our primal energy. Four-part breath is also an excellent quick energizer that will get you in touch with your primal power.

1. Practice the breath of fire for 3-5 minutes, the Four-part breath or any navel set before doing the following meditation. To truly experience your Being, you must feel and be present to the primal energy that flows through the body, especially up and down the spine.

2. Following the activation exercises, simply sit or lie quietly and experience what IS. The goal of this exercise is to practice simply being present to what IS. This requires that you be in your body and present to your energy and sensations in your body. IS is NOT verbal. Thoughts, even about what you are feeling keeps you in the mind.

3. Gently notice the difference between your awareness of what IS occurring and your thoughts or mental desires. (Tip-if there are words its mental. Desires include all "should's, would's and could's." Desires also include all imaging and visualizing. There are infinite traps of the mind and all our mental activity takes energy.

4. Sooner or latter you will notice that the truth is simple and simply requires paying attention to it. Recognize what is still, silent and pure. Be present to it. Listen to it. Savor it. This is pure being.

5. In the space of pure being your vital life force will naturally arise. Be present to this energy and feel its power. The goal is to be guided by this power of the Soul. This is the challenge and the gift of Aries.

DAYTIME EXERCISE

When the Sun is in Aries is not only an opportune time to tune into your own identity, it is also a good time to observe everyone else being themselves and then to observe the effect that that observation has on you. I had one such experience in a telephone conversation with a man who I called for assistance in fixing my computer. He sounded very gruff too me. My gut response was that I had made him unhappy and that I should try to do something so he would not be mad at me. Thanks to Aries, I quickly deleted this response and simply observed how he was. I started to enjoy the experience of this efficient techie. I even started to laugh to myself. It was amusing to me how much he was himself, simply doing his job, which in fact he did very well.

Aries helps us separate ourselves from each other so we can achieve our own individuality. I am going to take advantage of that fact this month and enjoy others as well as myself.

I AM ME AND YOU ARE YOU

We have from March 19th to April 18th (Also Full Moon in Libra) to take full advantage of the primal Aries energy that pulses through each of us. The New Moon in Aries on April 4th is an opportune time to be guided by our Soul in creating a more dynamic, magnetic and self-empowered identity. There is so much vibrant energy available when the Sun shines in the Aries sky. If we center ourselves in our own BEINGNESS each morning before we begin our daily activities, instead of getting stressed out by all the demands on our time, we can enjoy the ecstasy of existence (and get a lot accomplished too!).

Have fun being you and watching others being themselves while the Ram invites us all to BE - I AM.

REFERENCES AND FOOTNOTES

Soul-Centered Astrology, Alan Oken, The Crossing Press, Freedom, CA, 1990, pp. 161-166.

Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil, Liz Green, Samuel Weiser, Inc, York Beach, Maine, 1976, pp. 71-79.

Alive and Well with Pluto, Bil Tierney, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN, 1999, pp. 97-112.

1. Greene, p. 71 2. Greene, p. 72 3. Oken, p. 162 4. Greene, p. 75 5. Tierney, p. 106 6. Greene, p. 77 7. Greene, p. 78 8. Greene, p. 79 9. Tierney, p. 108 10. Oken, p. 164 11. Oken, p. 164