WHY DO YOU THINK THE WAY YOU DO? PERSPECTIVE
FEBRUARY 19, 2010: So today in class some of you are going to think this is the easiest class ever (and you'll blame it on me) and then others of you will think this is the hardest class ever (and blame it on me). And to complicate matters those of you who might think it easy love that and others will think that's just not so good, and those that think it the hardest class ever will call it your favorite class ever while others will rate it as your least favorite. What is this about? Well its about our perspective. In this practice we see our old mental habits and see what areas we are holding ourselves back from forwarding our lives because of self-limiting belief. Time on the mat helps us to contemplate why we think the things we do. Do you, for instance, allow yourself to from time to time refresh the way you think about yourself? It's like wearing the same t-shirt from 8th grade...maybe its time to try something else on? This practice is neither hard or easy it is often our perspective that is making it more or less difficult.
There is this story about The Problem with Human Compassion by Author Shankar Vedantam about why a dog tugs our hearts more than a distressed nation of millions that makes this point about Perspective. "On March 13, 2002, a fire broke out in the engine room of an oil tanker about 800 miles south of Hawaii. There were eleven survivors and the Captain's dog, a terrier named Hokget. The crew were rescued but as the rescuers pulled away they heard a dog barking. The captain's dog had been left behind on the tanker."
So long story made shorter, money, people, energy poured in to save the dog.
"The philosopher Peter Singer once asked if you see a child drowning in a pond - and you would ruin a fine pair of shoes worth $200 if you jumped into the water - would you save the child or save your shoes? Obviously a child's life is worth more than a pair of shoes. But if this is the case, Singer asked, why do large numbers of people hesitate to write checks for $200 to a reputable charity that could save the life of a child. Psychologist Paul Slovic at the University of Oregon asked two groups of volunteers shortly after the Rawandan genocide to imagine they were officials in charge of humanitarian rescue effort. Both groups were told their money could save 4,500 lives at a camp, but one group was told the refugee camp had 11,000 people whereas the other group was told the camp had 250,000 people. Slovic found that people were much more reluctant to spend the money on the large camp than they were to spend the money on the small camp."
So in our poses on the mat we learn about our personal perspectives and can view how we react or respond and whether or not it makes intellectual sense. This gives us the insight to make better choices. To have a more holistic perspective broadens our scope of knowledge so maybe we would want to save 250,000 people and not just the 11,000 if given the choice. We will learn Mandala Namaskar in order to help us find this global view within ourselves.
The other take away is that based in sutra 2.46 we can only really teach what we know, what we have integrated and processed for ourselves in this life. So what you learn on the mat you not only apply in your life but through your actions teach others. This is not a case of do as a I say not as I do. But all I ask is that you join me today and just learn to be conscious of what you say YES to and equally what you say NO to, and why. May all beings everywhere be peaceful and free, Silvia