Sometimes we get so caught up with a mental image of how ‘things should be’, we work ‘hard’ to create or try to keep things together – to make things fit into that image that eventually we’ve forgotten how to relax or to do nothing without feeling guilty about it. Then we wonder why we get so tired or busy, because not only physically drained but mentally & emotionally too – putting our energy towards ‘creating stability in our families’ or ‘striving for the lifestyle that we want’. We’ve forgotten that there are many other ways we can feel or experience whilst doing our everyday activities.
Another way we’ve been mentally ‘fixated’ on are our concepts of the people around us. How often have we wished that our parents, partners , children or employees would act in particular way or value the same things we do? Unfortunately, as a result of ‘holding’ these particular mental images of people – how we feel they ‘should be’ or ‘do’. Then, anything different from this ‘image’ or expectation – they fall short of what we ‘expect’ them to be or we ‘judge’ them as being not loving enough, not caring or productive enough. Its like taking a polaroid photo of someone or worse still, taking a photo of ourselves in that situation and constantly placing this photo against a person and asking him/her to be a splitting image of the polariod. Then there becomes a duality of the ‘perfect image’ in the photo and the person infront of us – the image that doesnt really ‘fit-in’ with what we hope for in that person.
In this week’s Yogafun yoga classes for adults – we learnt that in any situation that we are facing, perhaps there’s more possiblities that we can experience other than just the two extremes. The ‘ideal’ behaviour of a person vs. what the person is currently doing or not doing – and how they fall short of that image. But when we focus so strongly of what we want to happen and that when it doesnt happen straight away – we focus on ‘what’s NOT happening’ and the problems around it. There’s no room for any other thoughts or experiences.
Story to illustrate this:
Students of a spiritual teacher asked her why do I have all these problems, they keep on happening, no matter how much I try I get running into obstacles and problems in my life – why is life so hard? The teacher answered, well, if you keep focusing on what is wrong in your life, then they will just keep coming. The more you try hard to ‘not’ stress, the more you invite it in your life. So the key is to let go of your stresses in life. Simply let go.
The students feeling quite unsatisfied, as they felt, it was easy said than done. Maybe they need to try harder to understand this one day.
Later that day, the students heard their teacher yell in the background, “help, help – it hurts so much, please help me!” The students rushed to the scene, finding their teacher hanging in a tree which was full of thorns and his hands were wrapped tightly around these thorns.
The students yelled out to their teacher “teacher, why are you hanging off a tree with thorns? If you let go of the thorns, than it’ll be easy and it wont hurt anymore” The teacher laughed and said, “exactly right, then why do you hold so tightly your sorrows and problems like thorns in my hands?”
I love this story, I heard this story (words to the same effects) over the weeknd at one of Amma’s public talks and felt it was so applicable to my classes this week.
We get so caught up about our problems in life, and before we know it we’re either putting out fires for problems or looking for the next ‘challenge’ (creating more problems to solve) to feel that we are progressing in life or our businesses. So our lives eventually become more focused or centred around our challenges – when we stop for a moment, it feels foreign, or worse it can feel ‘irritating’ because its too foreign to sit still for a moment. Sometimes, sadly, we need to be constantly doing things or solving problems to feel comfortable with ourselves. What a state to be in.
This week’s yoga classes for adults have been intense. They have brought up a lot of emotions that we have been ‘controlling’ or suppressing. Hence, at times have felt really uncomfortable and ‘irritating’. I congratulate my students for breathing through these emotions, as they have been intense. The very slow pace and simplicity of yoga postures, brought out a lot frustation in my students. It highlighted their expectations or ‘mental images’ of their yoga class. What intensity they wanted to work at, what speed they wanted to work at and when the class was nothing like what they were expecting in their minds – instead, they experienced their intensity of their thoughts and thinking habits.
They learnt how they approach their yoga practice – perhaps wanting to be challenged and constantly moving to feel better about themselves, to feel ‘more’ flexibilty’, ‘more’ strong etc. Feeling that they had to constantly ‘do more’ to feel good about themselves. Obviously, doing things to better oneself is not a bad thing – but my question is, is our image of ourselves that ‘bad’ that we need to constantly need work hard to even appreciate ourselves and who are we now?
So our mental fixations have been focused on ‘what’s wrong with us, life or others ‘etc. Can we ‘relax’ or ‘let go’ of what’s wrong in our lives and take the opportunity to enjoy what is actually IS infront of us. Our amazing qualities that we already are and living, the beauty and warmth of our loved ones and great things we have been able to achieve thus far through our work or sports etc? Or does it take a natural disaster or death to realise how special we are and our lives thus far?
Can you let go of the thorns (problems) & enjoy the smell of roses (sweetness & beauty of life) today?
Yogafun Kids Yoga Classes & Yoga / Meditation classes for adults will resume in coming weeks. Check this website again later this week or email Connie at email@example.com for starting dates etc.
Classes fill up quick, so registration your interest today to avoid missing out for Term 2.