WHAT WE LIKE, WHAT WE DISLIKE: FINDING CONTENTMENT IN ANY SITUATION
FEBRUARY 3, 2010: I went back to read Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and what I was focused on today as I prepared for Yoga Teacher Training focused on Inversions and Arm Balances was where she writes, “You must be polite with yourself when you are learning something new.” This could be applied to any situation whether it be a pose or a relationship with our partner. That we be polite with ourselves and see each situation, each moment as new so we grow our insight.
It is easy to let ourselves believe that doing only what we like (same old thing) will make us happy and doing what we don’t like will make us unhappy. Yogic philosophy would have us understand that this is too narrow a definition of happiness and that it actually sets the stage for unhappiness because our degree of contentment becomes based on something outside ourselves. For instance, if our partner does exactly what we want (meets all sorts of conditions) then we will be happy. Or if we have chocolate then we are happy, or if we lose 5 pounds. However true happiness is UNCONDITIONAL. This is defined as a state where we find contentment in any situation (tough pose, stuck in traffic, our partners moodiness, no milk in the house, illness, job loss).
So on the mat we meet poses that are our nemeses. We actually make ourselves face our discomforts to come to terms with why we don’t like something. Is it fear, or worry or embarrassment? And how do we respond: ignore them and don’t try, approach them timidly, get overwhelmed, get angry, blame the pose? What is really going on?
I promise, if you practice yoga you will learn to find more effective ways to face the challenges of your life. (You know the nemesis moments, your dislikes). YOGA IS A STUDY IN HOW YOU DEAL WITH DIFFICULTIES IN YOUR LIFE. That’s it. And can you make peace with what life is trying to teach you? Lessons in patience, in humility, in acceptance?
If we don’t apply this then we will continue to live imbalanced lives thinking that true happiness alludes us because it is only as a result of doing things we like (or having our family members or partners or bosses or colleagues do it all our way.). Essentially what’s strong will get stronger (our ego) and what’s weak will atrophy. We need this practice now more than ever! Mostly because the world is not a game of solitaire, this is a group activity. We share this space ship we call Earth with a lot of other creatures and the sooner we stop blaming others for the quality of our life the sooner the whole world will become MORE POLITE WITH ITSELF.
Love yourself, love your day, love your life, love everyone in your life! Silvia