April 15, 2012

Engaging Change ~ The Four Desires Virtual Book Club.

Chapter 22: Fulfillment May Be waiting for You (To Change).
Stage Two of Non-Attachment  

“Nature is always teaching us who we are meant to be.
To be teachable, we need to be  as open to learning from failure as from success”
-Rod Stryker.

After we have released the weight of disappointment and emotional pain (stage-one vairagya) we have made room for growth. In stage-two vairagya, we learn from ourselves. On the surface it may seem easy to learn from past mistakes, but the challenge lies in viewing ourselves objectively.   When we do take stock of ourselves objectively, we create space to change unwanted habits. We release a certain pattern, way of thinking, or deep seated belief. This transition only happens through engagement of aspects of ourselves that we are less than thrilled about, even resentful of.  We choose to respond to pain as opposed to pushing it down or running from it.

Rod gives us some examples of what we can do to engage vairagya physically, mentally and spiritually.

In the physical or external world we can engage vairagya by exercising compromise, selfless service, charity, humility, compassion and forgiveness in our relationships with others and ourselves, as well as exercising detachment in challenging circumstances. I often find myself operating in this mode when I am at the airport. This can be a place where all these virtues are directly challenged, and subsequently forgotten.   Bringing these ideals to the airport is a great practice, if not a challenging one.

My last trip to India involved many stops and layovers.  When I finally arrived in Delhi, I waited for all the bags to come off the conveyor belt but my big red bag was no where to be found. I went to claim my bag, and after waiting in line eventually made it to the counter. As the clerk began to take my name, an Indian gentleman kept interrupting and asking about his bag. He was obviously in the same situation. “Are you sure the bag didn’t make it madam, have you taken a look to see?” he repeated. Not to mention that we were in a little space and here was this tall man hovering over me.

How human of me that my first thought was “helloooo do you not see the huddle of people all waiting for the same reason? Get back in line!” I could have gotten absorbed in my frustration and resentment, which would have made the situation even more trying than it already was, but I decided to change my pattern of thought. I then realized that perhaps this man had never lost a bag while traveling before, and it would be o.k. for me to wait¾I did just that. When she had answered all his questions twice, he left and I was able to more clearly focus on where my bag was and how I would get it back.

To practice vairagya internally we can do practices that encourage us to spend more time with ourselves.  Meditation, prayer, relaxation, smooth breathing, slower moving or restorative yoga, massage and self reflection; all of these techniques ask us to be silent and listen within.

Though Bhakti yoga (love and selflessness), prayer and meditation, we can give vairagya a more direct spiritual context

Whether it be vairagya at the physical, internal or spiritual realm realms, these practices are a catalyst for emotional growth and a springboard towards fulfilling your desires.

What realm are you practicing in?


Learn more about Rod Stryker and ParaYoga at RodStryker.com 
Read The Four Desires book review on Elephant Journal.
The Four Desires: YouTube talks with Rod Stryker
Read other discussions about The Four Desires
Instructions: How the book club works
Rod Stryker travels to the largest spiritual pilgrimage in history in 2013. I’ll be there. Will you?



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