Are You Dealing with Your Sh*t?
As yogis (especially in the Anusara tradition) we are taught to always look for the good in everything. “Forgive, love everyone boundlessly and serve with all your heart,” are often heard mantras. Motivational speakers and self help gurus spew this stuff relentlessly: “Just think of the positive to attract more positive to your life, don’t focus on the negative or worse things will happen.”
You have to face the negative. Difficult situations present themselves and we must deal with it. That’s called “life.”
Working through conflict, sitting with the feelings that bubble up and learning from them is the work of true spirituality.
Suppressing our dark feelings and thoughts is not effective personal management. Identifying the triggers and truly dealing with the source of your discontent is a worthy cause. Disconnecting from pain and sad feelings keeps us from being grounded in truth.
Being a true yogi doesn’t mean living blindly, or in denial. In his book Spiritual Bypassing, Robert Augustus Masters lists the symptoms of the phenomenon as: “…exaggerated detachment, emotional numbing and repression, over-emphasis on the positive, anger-phobia. Blind or overly tolerant compassion, weak or too porous boundaries, lopsided development…and delusions of having arrived at a higher level of being.”
Embrace the pain within.
I have the pleasure of meeting countless people who are creating a deeper connection with themselves throughout the physical and spiritual practice of Yoga. At some point, you stop practicing yoga and then yoga just happens to you. It isn’t always pretty. All of your regrets, insecurities and true feelings may come rushing out at you like a freight train with no brakes. This is when the real yoga begins. Growth occurs when one acknowledges and embraces the lessons of what comes up from within.
It’s okay to be upset and not to love everyone. You can’t be friends with everyone, it’s really hard to love everyone…and why do you have to? Isn’t respect and compassion good enough?
To attain true spirituality we have to own our situations; life will have difficult, burning moments. Our connections to others may end for reasons we can’t understand. Swim in the authentic feelings of love, hate, anger and jealousy. They are a part of what you are but are not who you are. Love your light and your dark (it helped you become the person you are). This is the true work of spirituality and is the only path to forgiveness and acceptance.
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Editor: ShaMecha Simms