The Wisdom Within
By Suzette Scholtes
Feeling Down? Look Around!
A temple is a place of worship to a devoted believer, an artistic monument to a tourist, a place of solicitation to a beggar, and even a place of ridicule to the atheist. The existence of an object cannot depend solely on any one person’s observation. The river does not stop flowing because no one is looking at it.
-T.K.V. Desikachar, The Heart of Yoga
One of my challenges as a yoga teacher is interpreting the complex yet valuable knowledge of the yoga sutras so I may share ideas with students with ease and understanding. Desikachar’s comment about perspective inspires me to reflect more…a good habit to create in 2008. We “look” around “inside” ourselves.
For example, I received news last month that a project I hoped to complete was canceled. I felt let down as my expectation was high. This situation where an “outside event” through me a curve bothered me, so I sat with it. Now an outside event such as a family member’s illness or death is a different situation. There are no cookie cutter approaches to the intricacy of being human!
As I reflected and pulled back to “enlarge my perspective,” soon I recognized my own self pity. Poor-little-ole-me not getting what she wanted on her time table and my negative ego pounced on that in its covert way, leaving me unhappy. So in meditation I invited love into my heart and asked for self forgiveness for getting caught up in the currents of life once again. By changing my perspective, in a short time, the energy changed from unhappy to content…..from confused to clear. Best of all my negative ego had no power over me. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves and love at the same time. We can’t be in self pity and love at the same time. We can’t be controlling and love at the same time. And so on.
The yogis write about “ahisma” or non-violence which translates into causing no harm to oneself or another living being. Non-violence in mental, emotional or physical energies is a respect for others. It’s a state of mind.
“Do you find sometimes you are hard on yourself and put yourself down?” writes Jon Kabat-Zinn in his book Wherever You Go There You Are. “Do you talk of others behind their backs or do you push yourself too hard beyond limit?” This is “ahisma,” he writes.
One of my favorite teachers, Judith Hanson Lasater, shares on her website the same focus she taught us last fall. She writes: When I say silently to myself, “How human of me to react with fear, or anger, or disappointment.” Then there is space for compassion to arise. And I like how that feels. Then I am in peace and in the present moment, she comments.
Maybe the next time you feel irritable or are “having a bad day” take a moment to get quiet and breathe into your center. With quiet reflection, maybe you will gain new insight. Wisdom, in part, is seeing the bigger picture!
Suzette Scholtes shares yoga philosophy each week at The Yoga Studio of Johnson County where she is founder and director of teacher training. Learn to deepen quality of life by touching your inner resources for more health and happiness. (9l3) 492-9594.