I love practicing yoga with others! When I’m in class as a student, I like to snuggle up my mat right next to the folks around me. Now if you pegged me as the pesky person who strikes up conversations on airplanes, you’re absolutely right. I enjoy making connections and I do so without hesitation or apology.
To me, the most compassionate act as a human being is the act of getting along. When we’re in class practicing Sun Salutations in a synchronized and peaceful way, it gives me great hope for all mankind. A hope that we can get along and sync our energies in every other way as well — become one tribe.
What is a tribe? According to Seth Godin, the bestselling author of Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, "What tribes are, is a very simple concept that goes back 50 million years. It's about connecting people and ideas. And it's something that people have wanted forever." Human beings are tribal in nature. We are raised in a community and are surrounded by other humans from the very beginning of our lives. This concept of a tribe is evident throughout all of nature as animals live in packs, flocks, and herds. Yet, as "natural" as it is for us to live in tribes, we often still face the struggle of getting along with others.
In kindergarten, we learn how to share and play with others in the same sandbox. That early childhood practice does not always translate into adulthood as most of us go on to dealing with difficult persons and situations in different circumstances. This sandbox is a metaphor for our world as adults, and the answer to successful "sandbox experiences" as grown-ups does not lie in kicking others out or leaving the tribe — this behavior simply advocates avoidance of issues.
If you follow that path at some point, one of two things will happen; you will either run out of places or "sandboxes" to play in, or everyone will be kicked out of your tribe and you will be left alone. Here are the Four Keys To A Positive Relationship:
1. Eliminating Assumption
Assuming that you know what the other person’s intentions are or what they are thinking is comparable to mind-reading and that simply does not work. Instead, understand that each person is an individual with their own story to tell that is likely far different from yours.
2. Listening Actively
In our daily encounters with other people, we tend to talk too much yet listen too little. As they say, there is a reason we have 2 ears and only 1 mouth.
3. Eliminating Envy
The “I want what they have” mentality is not one that leads to successful relationships or life as a whole.
4. Channeling Jealousy Into Something Positive
Author and creativity guru Julia Cameron suggests that when you feel jealousy toward something that someone has or is able to do, this shows a desire you have for your own life. Rather than put your energy into resenting others for what they have, be grateful for the realization and lesson you are getting from feelings of jealousy. More importantly, put your energy into manifesting that desire for yourself.
“No one can find inner peace except by working not in a self-centered way, but for the whole of human family.” -Peace Pilgrim.
Here are 5 suggestions we can implement to foster togetherness:
- Take responsibility for being clear in communication.
- Turn down the volume on your need to be right. Would you rather be right or happy?
- Practice being less self-critical and you’ll equally get better at being less critical of others.
- Stop measuring relationships on the basis of what’s in it for you. Don’t expect anything or be angry at let downs, instead try to understand where the other person is coming from.
- Stay focused on what is important. Let go of the petty annoyances and fights.
In all, what is truly important is that we get along with ourselves first. This self-acceptance will translate to acceptance of other humans, the grand life purpose, and Mother Nature herself. These three things are the culmination and at the heart of the Yogic practice which is defined as union.
The practice of yoga heightens our connection with each other and fosters the creation of a compassionate and tolerant community as a whole. Sustainability educator and writer Earon Davis says, “It takes a community to maintain a human.” Connection and union translate into peace and joy for all. There is no 'them' and 'us' but rather a uniform, "we." In other words, we all belong to the same tribe.
Love yourself, love your day, love your life!