- These blocks, are accompanied by disruptions such as pain, depression, restlessness of body and erratic breathing.- CT
- The practice of concentration on a single subject [or the use of one technique] is the best way to prevent the obstacles and their accompaniments . -SS
- Practice [of fixing the mind] on one object [should be performed] in order to eliminate these disturbances. -EFB
Another way, beside purifying ones lifestyle, to get rid of mental blocks is to focus/meditate on one object.
This is precisely why we have chosen a specific object of meditation. You are building familiarity with the object of meditation. If you change it everyday you have to start over each time.
This is a follow up from yesterdays’s reflection exercise.
Why work with your heartache? What breaks your heart open?
Often in modern Yoga, we hear that we should avoid anything that is not positive. We hear, “Do what feels good”, “Honor yourself”, or “Be kind to yourself.”
Even when we say, “You should have a healthy lifestyle,” we often think of what we have categories and deemed “healthy.” When we think of someone who is a “Yogin” or a “meditator” we think of someone who is always happy, always smiling, has it all together, has the perfect diet and the perfect body, and someone who never disturbs or disagrees with others. When we think of someone who is a good citizen or a good member of society we give certain attributes more valuable than others, like keeping a clean house, being a good mother, worshipping a particular way, having this job or that. These qualities give us a certain value in our society.
The values that we have are sometimes conditioned by our environment, and they don’t always match up with our true nature, let’s call them constructs. Sometimes these constructs make us feel ashamed of ourselves, or ashamed of aspects of ourselves, so that we eventually represses these parts of ourselves, we oppress these parts of ourselves. We are told that you don’t talk about that, or you don’t do that, that’s not a good job, this is what you’re supposed to wear, you have to get it all done, you have to do this, or you can’t do that. We go along, because what else should we do?
We feel these repressions of the aspects of ourselves, as disease and stress in our bodies and our minds(disturbances).
If we adopt a practice to rid ourselves of these disturbances (like yoga) but then repress, even more, we create an even larger obstacle, that will eventually develop into a more severe mental or physical disturbance (illness).
Rather than trying to bypass the aspects of ourselves that we don’t deem to be “good” we have the opportunity to embrace the fullness of ourself, which is the real goal of Yoga. This means evaluating our contracts, and possible changing them, if we find they do not resonate with our entire being.
Use what breaks your heart wide open as the doorway to recovering your full self. Look at the shadow aspects of yourself, follow your own thoughts down the rabbit hole. Don’t avoid that part of yourself anymore.
By looking at our shadow sides, we can heal the discord, the fracture of our own self-image. We can develop familiarity with our self as a whole, and we can discriminate if we should embody or heal these aspects of ourselves. We may even find that just by looking at these pieces of ourselves, leaning into them gently, giving them our love and attention, that they become reabsorbed into our being and are no longer obstacles but instead are our path.
These parts of ourselves, the ones that we reconnect with, can often be the most powerful way for us to serve the world. Sharing our true selves liberates us and helps us to love ourselves as we are…Human, perfection in the emanation that is you and you and you….. Sharing our experiences with others can give them the safe place, love, and inspiration to do the same for themselves.
Developing the ability to lovingly accept one’s self is a liberation and a skill. As you develop the capacity to reconstruct your perceptions of yourself you also develop the same capacity for understanding and accepting others, seeing their true divinity.
One last note, having the experience of reconstructing the way you see your self or others is to have the experience of the full cycle of samsara. We often hear it described as birth and death, action and reaction, but that is not the full picture. I think the Tankrikas explained it best (in the teachings on the five act of God). To simplify they liken it to the blinking of the eyes. When the eyes are open you see the world, when you close them it dissolves, when you reopen them you recreate the world. You do not change the world by changing the world, you change the world (experience) by changing yourself.
- Grab a piece of paper.
- Draw a line down the middle.
- On the top of one column write Good on the other write Bad.
- Don’t think too much about it. In the good column write all the traits of a good member of society, a good women, a good man. How they act, dress, what they eat, what they do, what type of lifestyle they have, what their house and yard look like, how their children act.
- In the bad column do the same, write all the traits that make a person bad.
- Close your eyes and sit a moment with your hand on your heart.
- Keeping your hand on your heart, go through the rest of the steps.
- Look over your list and see if you agree with all of your answers. Do you absolutely know that these qualities make a person good or bad? Are any just more socially acceptable than actually good.
- Circle any qualities that are questionable. “Do these qualities actually mean a person is good or bad?”
- Highlight any qualities that you see in yourself, good or bad.
- Did you find any discord with your answers? (Ex. A good person goes to bed early and wakes up early. Is this true? NO)
- Where there qualities on the bad side that you have? Is that true? Are you a bad person? (Ex. I like to wear tight clothing, that makes me a bad woman.)
- Do you try to force yourself into lifestyle practices that do not actually fit you?
- Do you feel pressured by your own mental constructs to refrain from aspects of yourself? (Ex. I would love to dance, but dancing makes me look like I need to much attention, or I am too sensual. I want to talk about this topic but that is not supposed to be talked about.)
- Do you feel open to doing shadow work? Do you have anything thing that you need to share? (you do not have to share anything, but if you do we are here)