Be honest … we usually know exactly what we have done or are doing to create the results we are experiencing. We know what we could change, but we don’t want to make the simple straightforward adjustments that are necessary. Often, if we are going to suffer through the process of change, we want it to be in grand style!
– I’m detoxing for a week
– I’m going to read all the books
– I’m going to throw money at it
– A vacation will solve this!
Inevitably we find ourselves back on the couch with our familiar results, scratching our heads and wondering why this is happening to us while rolling our eyes at the people we think never struggle with our affliction.
I know three things for sure about human beings –, we are hilarious, we are pure love, and we are all a little crazy. Eckhart Tolle reminds us that our job is not to attempt to be sane, but rather to recognize the insanity so that sanity can arise. This cycle will not change until we are able to see the insanity, stop playing the victim and simply accept a less glamorous course of action. Remember: it is not a glamorous process we are looking for, it is a glamorous result.
Stop wondering why things are happening to you in your life. Look around you and take in the information you see and if you want a different result, just do something differently. Most of the time there is no rare condition or conspiracy at work trying to keep you from your dreams, it’s just harder work than you’ve been willing to exert. Once you accept that changing your actions will directly affect your results, you’re suddenly freed from the complaints and set on a new course empowered by reality, no longer weighed down by illusion.
Ignoring Red Flags
Often when something happens that you didn’t want or expect, you think to yourself, “that came out of nowhere” or, “I never saw that coming.” However, odds are good that you could look back at most of those situations and realize that there were signs; a true surprise is a very rare thing. Relationships are the easiest example: we know when something happens that isn’t okay, and we choose to rationalize the issue because we so badly don’t want it to exist. Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
We are often so unwilling to accept the world as it is that we desperately try to redefine things to fit our desires. As yogis we believe in the ability to manifest, but that is an act of creation, not an attempt at redefinition. Once the universe has presented you with something, trying to act like it doesn’t exist isn’t an attempt at positive thinking – it’s denial. Can you think of a time that you saw or felt a red flag and it didn’t turn out to be a real problem that you had to deal with eventually? This is one of those stupid things we can do better. We have nothing but evidence that we should take these things seriously and yet we still dance around them weaving stories together to make it okay. If you see, feel or experience something to be “off” you don’t have to react dramatically to it. Instead, SEE it, make a mental note and trust yourself.
Not Trusting Our Gut
This is different from ignoring red flags because red flags are when you know, see, and experience something to be true and decide to rationalize its existence away. Not trusting your gut is even trickier sometimes because the gut whispers to you when you’re not sure about something. You have less evidence and what you feel might not even make sense. I remember hearing a criminologist talk about how in all of the cases that he studied, the victim reported feeling like something “wasn’t right” just before the crime occurred but didn’t act on it for fear of looking dramatic or simply not trusting themselves. That feeling might have been a sound, a smell, or just sensing something in the air. We talk in yoga about how all things are energy and that we share that energy with the floor and the walls and each other. You know how you can feel someone looking at you, or sense someone behind you? You have been given a seventh sense, a connection to your environment and a connection to your source. It is as real as your sight, taste, or touch. When someone says something and you get that weird feeling -whatever it is – trust it. Your gut may overreact sometimes but it never lies. Your body and soul are talking to you, we can do a better job listening.
Putting Anything Before People
Chores, emails, to do lists … they can be done later, fixed afterwards, apologized for, often with little consequence for choosing to do them later. However, we only get single moments to be there for other people. Chores can wait, but the needs of others cannot. Our needs come in waves. When we reach out to each other it is usually out of a genuine need because we don’t like looking weak or lazy or sad. So when we ask for support we really need it, though often we aren’t direct in asking. We just hint at it and hope someone offers an ear to listen.
Life is relationships.
That bears repeating, life is relationships.
Have you ever regretted dropping everything to be there for someone? I doubt it. The way we spend our time demonstrates our true priorities so be generous with your time. Time has a way of expanding when you use it to love others.
Complaining Out of Habit Not Unhappiness
Have you ever found yourself in traffic or in a long line and although you aren’t even in a hurry, you complain about it anyway? How about driving … do you ever hear yourself yelling at the driver next to you and then swerving around them just to give them a dirty look? For some of us, this complaining is most apparent in our relationships when we gripe that our significant other “always has to do that.” Maybe for you, the complaining happens at work, because you think unnecessary stressing makes you a harder worker than the rest.
Try to recognize when you are complaining because you think you’re supposed to, because you have trained yourself and been trained over time to have a whining autopilot. If something is happening that isn’t ideal but also isn’t hurting you or have anything to do with you, then let’s not comment on it and invent problems where none exist. It’s not worth releasing stress hormones into your body and creating tension in your muscles.
We act surprised with things aren’t ideal as if we got a letter a birth that promised us everything would always go smoothly for us and now we feel lied to. This is a stupid thing we do because it doesn’t work, the traffic never moves faster, the line doesn’t get shorter and you can’t go back in time and not get cut off. This is an entitled habit and we can do better; all it takes is the choice to be conscious of our thoughts instead of the habit of reactivity, something we should already be working on as yogis.
Forgetting that We Are Divine Creatures
Sometimes people debate about this – believing that we are saying we are God by accepting that we are divine. That is not intention of the yogi, the yogi simply recognizes that you were made by the divine with divine materials and with a divine intention. You are an expression of the divine and cannot exist outside of it.
Most of the suffering of our daily lives comes from forgetting that we are intimately connected with all that is and all that ever will be. We forget and begin to believe we are separate and it is in that lonely place that we begin to try to build our own unique identity by working hard, worshiping our thoughts, and clinging to our opinions. This need to establish something of our own causes us to put to-do lists before people. This belief that we are inherently on our own gives us a feeling of victimhood that turns into a need to find fault around us and complain about this unfair world. This disconnection causes us not to trust the gut feelings that are the whispers of that very source trying reach out. This belief that we make things happen causes us to ignore signs because we so desperately want to believe that we can control any outcome by hoping enough. The truth is that you are so immersed in the whole that there is no place where you end and the universe begins. This is not to say you don’t have individuality, we are each a unique expression of the divine, the point is that you don’t have to try to be special.
You are already a perfect miracle; nothing more could possibly be done or achieved that can make you have more value. You are divine: a piece of God, a holy specimen, in you the universe is expressing itself as a human for a little while. If you knew that you were irreversibly connected to the source of all things then you would trust it when it talks to you, when it shows you something you would believe it, you would have no need to find fault because it does not exist and you would be fully present for people around you. Our purpose in life is to love each other, only then is happiness inevitable.
By Roni Sloman, with love, because you’re so darn worth it!