April 25, 2011

Future Suffering Should Be Avoided. ~ Andrew Gurvey

or, How A Positive Attitude Can Alter The Universe

“Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.”~Ralph Waldo Emerson

In our society, we are often pushed to extend ourselves to what is perceived as “beyond our limit.”

In this economy, most of us are working longer hours, trying to get more done in less time and sacrificing the time we may use to replenish mind, body, and spirit.

Further, our society is notorious for promoting negativity. You can’t be good enough unless you look or act likesomeone else. You’re not smart enough unless you go to the right college. According to the television News, there’s danger around every corner and it’s not even safe to leave your home anymore! The most heavily championed concept is that happiness can only be achieved throughthe external stimuli that exist around us.

In our personal relationships, it becomes very easy to perseverate on the negative. This focus on negativity often manifests through a feeling of always being a victim. It’s a feeling of powerlessness that leads to hopelessness because of this prevailing illusory notion that nothing can be done to change our circumstances. Additionally, listening to and identifying with the negative feelings of others also becomes a regular occurrence.

Photo: Steve Ryan

As this recurring cycle of giving and receiving negativity continues, a samskara is being created. Focusing on the negative has a deceptive quality that can easily be misconceived as attractive. In our interactions with others, there can be a form of seeming immediate gratification and camaraderie that comes from being negative.

This is why we gossip. This is why we complain. When we perform these and other negative actions, regularly or occasionally, we are actually usurping the life force and positive energy of those around us. Even more so, just by adding to the list of complaints, or feeding the gossip, a vicious cycle of feeling negative, being negative, and sucking energy from others to feed the negativity is created. The effect of the perpetuation of this behavior often results in mental, emotional, and spiritual fatigue, which eventually steers into breakdown territory.

At this point, maybe you’re thinking that this cycle of negativity is inevitable and is just a part of life. More so, it’s possible to go the direction of thinking that the positive person is just a daydreamer with no sense of reality. With the way society perpetuates negativity, it’s easy tofall into this pattern of thinking. Having said that, it’s also important to realize that life, and the Universe that supports it, is not as black-and-white as that.

Negativity is a choice.

Experiences and situations that occur in the Universe are going to happen around us regardless of what we do. Our only option is to make a choice about how we perceive these situations and experiences. We can choose negativity, which is often easier, or we can choose positivity, which is likely more difficult because we are so strongly conditioned to look for the negative in everything.

Being positive or optimistic does not intend to indicate that life should be oversimplified. In fact, thisis not the case at all. Life is hard. Living your truth is difficult. The journey to enlightenmentis constant work, and requires an extraordinary level of vigilance and persistence. Though we may not know the answers, nor may anyone around us, the answers are still out there for us to discover.

However, if we choose to create a prison of negativity in our mind, sheltering us from our own greatness and potential, then we are stopping ourselves from journeying toward those answers, and we are obfuscating ourselves from discovering the truth and light that reside within us.

The practice of yoga allows us to work with our negativity and fears and how they exist in our perceptions of ourselves, while at the same time tapping into our positive energy. Yoga allows usto view how we react to situations through the prism of 8 limbs. Through this form of discovery, we can change our disposition from reactive to proactive.

Remember when you first started practicing yoga? Remember how much fun it was to discover each pose? There was no fear or angst about getting the pose “right”. It was an amazing feeling just to be practicing and to find some form of the pose.

This feeling does not have to go away. Every day you practice can be treated like the first time because, in essence, it is.

As human beings, we are fluid, molecular creatures that are constantly evolving and changing on a minute-by-minute basis. The skin we have today is not the same skin we had yesterday. The person we are today is not the person we were yesterday.

Photo: Grace to You

If you break down the walls of perception in your head, and look around at what’s inside, you’ll see that not only are you evolving, but the Universe is synergistically evolving with you! Yoga practice is a great tool to use in order to observe and participate in that evolution. Yoga is there to give you the opportunity to explore your internal surroundings, and to connect with the heart of your being.

Focusing on the positive has an immediate payoff, because it breeds true camaraderie and long-term gratification. Having a positive internal focus will light the fire inside of you, and give the Self the energy it needs to go into the world and ride on the waves of the Universe.

During this ride, the energy level can be maintained or elevated simply by continually giving and receiving positive energy. This is the fuel which fills and refills the emotional and spiritual cup. When positive information is shared with others, positive energy is not only added to their lives, but it also fills up the giver’s life energy.

There is a fellowship that exists between positive people, and there is lasting fulfillment because addressing the positive in your Self and others is also addressing the highest potential in both. Your Self is speaking to someone else’s Self.

With positive energy, it is not necessary to bring anyone down to elevate self-esteem. In fact, the act of being positive elevates the entire collective consciousness to a higher, more tuned-in way of communication. It allows us the opportunity to exist in the moment, and to be happy with what is happening right now.

What seals the deal on positive energy is that it is much less complicated. When you are positive about yourself and the circumstances around you, this breeds confidence and success. There is no need to create defensive emotional walls behind which to hide.

Photo: B Rosen

The Universe is your ocean, waiting for you to bask in its vast glory. Positive energy is like a surfboard that is designed for you to surf the waves. Choosing to be positive unlocks a vast array of options and pathways.

In yoga classes, positive energy gives you the space to see and admire someone else’s yoga practice, while giving you the opportunity to go deeper into your own. When you feel good about yourself, it becomes easier to connect with those around you.

Whether on or off the mat, next time you are leaning towards feeling bad about yourself or where you are, make the other choice. Make the choice to be happy about where you are. Make the choice to live your moment right now! If this is not something you are used to doing, you may be pleasantly surprised by what happens.

“The world is a great mirror. I t reflects back to you what you are. If you are loving, if you are friendly, if you are helpful, the world will prove loving and friendly and helpful to you. The world is what you are.” ~Thomas Dreier


Andrew Gurvey is an Engineer for the Fire Protection Division of Underwriters Laboratories by day, and a yoga teacher by night. Andrew has been a student of yoga for 6 years, and a teacher for 1. Andrews arrival to the yoga mat was a long and winding road that has since turned into a powerful, focused journey. You can read his full bio via his website, BalanceFire.com, or connect with him via Facebook.

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