“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ? Gautama Buddha
“If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.” Jiddu Krishnamurti
For many of us the years end is a time of reflection and whether or not you re into setting formal New Year’s resolutions, taking serious aim at eliminating a difficulty or achieving a goal through Yoga, meditation and healing arts brings with it a built in invitation to observe ourselves in a very specific non-judgmental way. From that self study we can then make the adjustments we need to support our personal evolution in some manner shape or form. It can be a very interesting and challenging task to balance healthy self-esteem and the ability to recognize those behaviors or parts of our lives our lives that need attention and change.
Whether we see a need to lose weight, or let go of a destructive habit, reduce stress in our lives or somehow change how we are in our relationship with others or ourselves, the time honored practices of Yoga and meditation can be powerful tools toward achieving those ends.
These practices can be the ultimate transformation system, offering us so many instruments and tools to change whatever is that we encounter that is creating obstacles to us being our happiest self.
Built into the traditions of Yoga is the most important component of any healthy process of lasting change. This is a core belief that a healthy self-forgiveness and love of self needs to accompany us on every step of our growth. Without compassion for ourselves and appreciation of who we are Yogis believe it will be unlikely or impossible for any achievement outside of ourselves to bring us lasting happiness. As fundamental that this is to Yoga, I continually discover is is the most difficult Yoga practice to master.
Ancient Sages, modern therapists and common sense speak to the belief that any change process of that is fueled in a reactive self–rejecting way needs to quickly evolve towards one of self-acceptance for it to lead toward authentic healing. Struggling with ourselves as we seek to achieve changes is quite common as we begin, of course. After all, as we are likely looking to change something that has brought itself to awareness though a symptom or difficulty of some sort. In other words, we want to change those things that are or are may become threatening our well being and happiness.
Continuing on the path of change with a sense of struggle, or otherwise framing the process in a negative way will likely be a disincentive to persist through the obstacles that so often arise in achieving our goals. Even if the we get to where we want the sense of self-rejections and pain that caused the core problem will still be presnt. The self-rejection creates its own chronic tension, engendering struggle and resistance that is antithetical to happiness. Simply stated, without healing this deeper distress or dis-ease we are unlikely to create lasting change or the happiness and satisfaction we hope that change would bring.
So I believe that as we address the more prickly parts of ourselves, first and foremost we need to be our own “Judgment Free Zone”. Only then can we accept the fits and starts, setbacks and challenges that accompany the achievement of any meaningful goal.
If we are work skillfully and consciously in our practice of Yoga and the other healing arts we may, as Krisnmurti states above, have moments where we do see ourselves as were are, without judgment. Our practice of paying heartfelt attention toward ourselves becomes the way and the end of our search. In this moments we can know the joy of having come home to ourselves.
I leave you now with the words of the Chinese Sage Lao tzu, who speaks of the way of compassion that offers awesome and mysterious healing into the peace that comes when we are able let go of our struggle with ourselves.
“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”
From The Tao te Ching, Aphorism 67
****I teach both individual and group Yoga classes in the Guilford, Madison, Branford, Lyme and New Haven and Woodbridge Connecticut areas. In addition I specialize in employing Yoga and other powerful energetic, meditative and corrective movement practices that offer non medical support to help with stress management and mitigating the effects of stress, balance and movement difficulties and chronic pain. For a free no risk consultation on which services may best meet your needs please call me at (203)488-1700.