For most of my 20's I was deblitated by resentment and anger.
Because of my childhood, I lived under the delusion that I deserved to be angry. I also believed that my anger and resentments would protect me from future hurts.
Instead, they only served to cut me off from life.
It wasn't until I was introduced to yoga practices beyond the yoga mat - and earnestly applied them within a consistent daily practice --that I became equipped with tools that would serve to set me free.
Instead of circumstances, the yoga tradition points to a fundamental idea of misperception (avidya in sanskrit) as the root cause of our suffering. Not life itself.
In other words:
- When we feel stuck, it's not life that's creating the stuckness. It's how we see it.
- When we experience anger or regret about our past, it's not the past that's causing our upset in the moment. It's how we see it.
- When we feel anxious or afraid of the future, it's not the unknown that's causing it. It's how we see it.
This was a hard teaching to swallow. My mind was trapped on a channel that viewed life as unfair, and preached that other people and circumstances were to blame for my unhappiness.
It's important to discern that the kind of perception (or misperception) that yoga refers to as the root cause of our suffering isn't the same seeing that we do with our eyes.
Instead it's the projections we place on life conjured up by our memories, past experiences, expectations and beliefs.
From the foundational text of yoga, The Yoga Sutra, our suffering happens when we over-identify with our ego (or fear voice) instead of our true inner voice of peace and love.
Therefore, the reason we might feel stuck isn't so much about the event, although that does matter, it's more about how we take it in, assimilate it and eliminate it from our system.
Like some foods, there are those life experiences that can be difficult to digest. But that doesn't mean we should push them down and lodge them in our body/mind.
Jack Canfield, the author of "Chicken Soup for The Soul" writes that whenever we experience a block it is because we have either created it or allowed it. Blocks alter our perception.
Perception is why two people
- Never experience anything in exactly the same way.
- Can be faced with the same obstacle; while one person moves through it and the other gives up.
In "The Heart of Yoga", T.K.V Desikachar writes that it is our perceptions that keep us in our difficulties. The lasting problems of our life are mind created and therefore can be transformed by perceiving them differently.
Marianne Williamson, in "A Return to Love", writes that a miracle is simply a shift in perception.
When we accept the liberating viewpoin that we, not life or other people, are ultimately responsible for our happiness we become faced with a decision.
Do we want to be free or imprisoned?
One of the most valuable and life-affirming principles to set ourselves free is the Spiritual tool of forgiveness
Yet, for many of us forgiveness is one of the most resisted practices of all. We resist because we falsely believe that forgiveness is about the other person.
However, once we understand that forgiveness is a blessing for ourselves, not the other person, we realize that we must do it. The cost is just too great if we don't.
When we forgive
- We are set free to live and love fully
- We free ourselves from re-experiencing the same pain in the present moment and in our future
- We open ourselves up to more love, happiness, peace and abundance
- We clear our energy and feel alive and whole
The spiriutal tool of forgiveness takes courage and strength. It is about you and your life. Harboring resentment, hate or negative emotions actually binds us more powerfully to that person, place or thing.
But when we let go, we can breathe again. It sets our soul free.
Research from the growing field of positive psychology strongly demonstrates that our happiness and well-being is a daily choice. It's something we can learn to discipline ourselves to experience.
I humbly offer you the following guided visualization meditations
to support you on your journey.
- Forgiving others for a hurt they have caused us. We can forgive someone without ever having to see or talk to them. We can still be set free.
- Forgiving ourselves for a hurt we have caused to another. Sometimes we find it difficult to forgive ourselves for a mistake or harm. Whether we have received forgiveness from others or not, we need to find a way to forgive ourselves and open our energy to love.
Please be kind to yourself and remember that for most of us forgiveness is a process. Give yourself permission to do your best and continue to practice until you feel released and free.
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