JULY 20TH, 2009: Why do I come to the mat each and every day? I return because I want to make and keep peace with who I am. I practice in the safety of class radical self-acceptance. Through that practice I stay present to life and what it is offering me breath to breath, email by email, thought to action to observation. We are all a work in progress but that awareness of letting ourselves be who we are is vital to positive mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Think about it you can come to class at any time without having to meet any single prerequisite. You just come as you are and the power and beauty of yoga embraces you. I can tell you during times of challenge the mat was the only place I felt like I could be myself. And I mean my real self (not the pretending we do for our neighbors, colleagues, even sometime our family members). Eckhart Tolle in the book A New Earth says it like this on page 184:
"Accepting means you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at that moment. It is part of the isness of the Now. You can't argue with what is. Well, you can, but if you do, you suffer."
Finding peace inside through compassionate self-acceptance is not that easy, but the thing is only when we find peace within can we become the kind of people who can live at peace with others. It is a straightforward spiritual law. You cannot offer to others what you donít practice for yourself. If you donít have peace you canít make peace, if you donít love yourself you canít really love someone else, if you donít fully accept how amazing you are, you WILL NEVER accept others. This is why when Iíve encountered the most critical or judgmental person I feel compassion for them because I know they are only treating me like that because they are first criticizing and belittling themselves. I donít want that to be the way of energy exchange for any of us. This is why I want the world to practice yoga.
ďSome people confuse acceptance with apathy, but there`s all the difference in the world. Apathy fails to distinguish between what can and what cannot be helped; acceptance makes that distinction. Apathy paralyzes the will-to-action; acceptance frees it.Ē Says Anne Covey
And perhaps the greatest misunderstanding of acceptance is that it is apathetic. This is not the case. Yoga is at its core learning how to accept ourselves in this moment not staying stuck in apologizing who were in the past or hyperventilating about who we might be in the future. As Fulton Oursler puts it, ĎMany of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future.Ē When we are allowing ourselves to accept our innate goodness we can learn how to ask ourselves better questions and to listen to the answers (i.e., What do I want? What do I feel? What do I need? How can I give myself what I need right now?) In other words we arenít trying to fix ourselves as if we were broken we nourish ourselves with self-love. This leads to a sense of feeling light, freer and healthier. So today make the choice not to keep yourself in a prison of your own making through self-criticism and harsh self-judgement but instead as Rumi says, ďonly from the heart can you touch the sky!Ē Accept yourself, lover your day, love your life! Silvia
"You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge. But it can only emerge if something fundamental changes in your state of consciousness." - Page 13 Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth