Racism, sexism, sexual orientation, and world religions are the most heated topics globally as fuel for disagreement; all of them relating to something “different” from our own self. This difference seems to be about a lack of understanding of “the other”, and not so much about anything based on truth. We’re uncomfortable when we don’t understand, so we try to deal with it by dominating rather than learning. We see it all the time through denial of rights, or by fighting it out without any aim toward reconciliation. These tactics make us think we’re dealing with getting rid of it, obliterating it. The way we respond from our own ignorance to the outer world quite literally mirrors our response to what we don’t understand about our personal inner world. When we don’t understand a part of our own self we usually try to shut it down or pretend it’s not there. We reject it.
We’re masters at holding on to what we don’t understand, which is most often our sadness and fear…countless ways we find to psychoanalyse it. In this way we can have a bit of a love affair with it…we can while away hours, days even, mulling through our fears, feeding them and adding on with any morsel of a match we can use from the external world; but ultimately doing nothing about it, this is as far as we go. We’ll choose to rip out our own heart before we’ll choose to understand our pain and sadness. When we don’t understand what we consider “wrong” with us, it becomes “the other” which then gets pushed into a heap of the unknown…not knowing what it is or what to do with it. Until one day we give ourselves no option but to understand it.
When we reach this point in our lives, when we’re most sad and have no choice but to face it head on, expressing the love we have is the happiest thing we can do. Somehow our genuine happiness resides in what we have to offer, what we have to give to this world. We can’t recognize this once we’ve become critical of our own essence (or an aspect of it); instead we attempt to pinch off that which gives us life…but our essence is all we’ve got, and trying to deny its presence or existence is damaging at a critical level. And if we’re not giving we’re receding, we stop, we don’t seem to exist anymore…not really. And it’s this that seems to make us sad. We come to live in a closet of self containment, self control…of our actual being.
To instead develop the ability to encompass that part of our humanity provides healing, because that’s the place in us that really cares. When we have the capacity to connect with what we’re ashamed of within, we can teach ourselves about our own emotional lives. This is something we’re never really taught, we just know if we feel good or bad, and if it feels bad we want to get rid of it…and that’s it, that’s about the extent of our emotional development. But the more we can sit with ourselves as we are, the more accepting we become of ourselves; and from here, it’s our love, care, and compassion which become the deeper motivation to heal…it’s from here that we transform. From here we care about the reality of this part of ourselves, not about escaping its illusion…if we try to escape we just end up spinning our wheels. If our only aim is to get rid of our suffering then you won’t heal because we haven’t touched into the part of us that loves.
A genuine Yoga practice will guide us through this unsteady terrain until we’ve found our feet on the solid ground of self-acceptance. At such a turning point, it’s common to dive more deeply into our practice. When we have a genuine relationship with the fullness of Yoga, we begin to discover the lifeline of its teachings. An authentic Yoga practice is an integral part of integrating with our self. We become whole; we’re no longer trying to cut off undesirable parts of ourselves like a wonky limb. Instead we become integrated. We assist and become assisted by, all aspects of ourselves like one working unit. This in itself provides contentment. The teachings of Yoga can provide a place to become comfortable with, accepting of, at peace with, all aspects of ourselves…even our ugly bits (which will always be there). We learn that our fear has its place and we learn how unhappy (even depressed) we become when that fear stops our flow of love. Why were we originally fearful of this aspect anyway? Often because it doesn’t match what we’re taught to funnel ourselves into as “normal”, which is a very narrow scope of life. When we understand, our sad and unaccepted parts become teachers. These parts often provide that which we have to offer others, and with which we can be of genuine service.
To be of genuine service is a very personal expression because of its evolution from the depths of a previously painful aspect. This is healing; this is where we discover the Grace of its purpose, and how it leads us to serve those around us. It’s an opportunity to realize our grief and sadness over losing connection with our own humanity; but that grief indicates that we do indeed care. Returning to that conscious connection with our essence brings us such a feeling of self honour. This isn’t easy in the beginning, there is a development of stamina necessary. An inner listening is developed which will be what guides us through the quagmire of this dark story we’ve made around what we’re not accepting. In process, we develop the power of understanding that this feeling we carried about ourselves isn’t who we are, it is temporary. From here we move on to greater, requiring more from ourselves and understanding others. Our universality is revealed.
Above all, it gives us an Intimate connection with our humanity, our humanity is our God self, where resides an intimacy with our sorrows and our joys. We don’t need to be protective of our love when we’re in the flow of who we are. The love that stems from who we are isn’t twisted and gnarled up in manipulation, expectation, neediness and control which are all based an agenda and fear. No, when we’re just simply being our loving self we can be it no matter what others think of it, no matter the trials we face. We become freed up in our love because we no longer feel threatened by whether it’s approved of or not…because we don’t carry expectation with it. What comes to matter then, is that WE know the place from which is dwells.--with love, Letters In Yoga www.lettersinyoga.com