It may sound radical to state that no one has the power to make us feel anything. Our egos will insist on blaming outer circumstances or people for causing our feelings, but it’s not true. No one can completely get inside our heads, plant and cultivate specific thoughts that eventually become our feelings, attitude and outlook. Even if they could, ultimately we let them. If we really look, we can see that it’s how we look at and interpret life that actually causes our emotions. When we take 100% responsibility for our particular spin and resultant feelings…We’re free. Jarl & Steve
The freedom Jarl and Steve reference arises from a deep sense of knowing who we are at our core — loving, peaceful, wonder-filled beings experiencing what it is to be human. When we carry this confidence of knowing, little can cause us to be deterred from our true path of dignified exploration and creation.
Of course, we may still confront people, things and events that trigger an old fear and its subsequent negative response pattern. However, owning and thus taking 100% responsibility for our less than harmonious eruptions frees us from the lingering effects of such negativity. Consider this … the first and most important death I experienced was that of my father. I was in my early 20s, no one had taught me about death and I reacted in a very ego-centric way. Although my father undoubtedly suffered much pain from his cancer diagnosis and early death, my primary fear was for myself—”Why me?” “Why my father?” I remember after a month of sleepless nights saying to myself, “I have to let go of this. I need to sleep.” Sleep did return but every time I witnessed death — pets, movies, songs — the heartbreak was still there embedded in my tissues.
Seven years later, when I received the news of my mother’s terminal illness, I immediately responded with “I am never going through what I experienced as a result of my father’s death!” And, I set about making a difference. The difference amounted to ending the “conspiracy of silence” that surrounded death and so many other important topics during the time of my youth. The conversations that ensued opened my heart and mind to a new view. Considerably more loving-kindness and less self-indulgent pity were apparent. In what could have been my mother’s final pain-filled weeks, I was able to lay alongside her suffering body and tell her that she could go now, that we would all be fine without her. That very night, she did go, and I was also freed. My freedom came in the form of an expanded, rather than constricted, heart. I celebrated her release from pain, and in doing so celebrated my release as well.
Every dark cloud truly does have a silver lining. We just need to seek its seemingly hidden presence by digging a bit deeper. Not into how others are behaving, but into our own emotions, opinions and behaviours. Miraculously, the more we intervene on our own behalf to alter our negative personal thoughts, words and actions, the less they occur. Eventually, from lack of use, the neuroplasticity of our brain completely erases that particular negative pathway.
It just takes time, practice and patience to replace negative experience with positive living. However, if you are in a hurry and speed is your modus operandi, you will only have time to live on the surface of life. You will miss out on life’s deeper essence and meaning. Become a true seeker and find a regular practice that enhances your innate potential one act, one day at a time. For me that practice is yoga.
Yoga never demands the sacrifice of our reason. It only bids us: use it a thousand times more. Yoga does not require us to give up our active lives. It says simply: act but know how to act. Yoga does not by any means wish us to push our understanding aside. It only tells us: discriminate correctly and act fearlessly. Yoga does not expect us to flee from the world and to retire into the Himalayas. It assures us: the refuge you seek you will never find in the outside world. It is within you.
Leave the stormy world of the senses behind you, raise your consciousness to the central point of your being and realize that here alone is the force, here alone is the peace and here alone the refuge you are seeking. Yoga teaches us: do not condemn the world. Deify the world by your deeds, purify the world by your utterances and ennoble the world by your presence. Selvarajan Yesudian