As a yogi, I strive to approach every situation with an open heart and conscious mind. I’m philosophically familiar with the yogic teachings and methodology towards life, and I aim to embody the lessons in my everyday behavior.
Yet, there are times when I am faced with challenges, and my honest reaction is “What the fuck, this shit sucks!” and I want to cry, throw things, blame everyone, and scream the primal cries of my rage.
Yogic Advice, Anyone?
Many of us who are on a journey toward self-actualization are familiar with a certain rhetoric when dealing with suffering. We all know that “love is the answer,” and we have to “let go of negativity” while “accepting what is” and “allowing space for change.”
This is great advice. I believe all of it. Still, when you’re at your most raw, or when you’re dealing with a fresh wound that pains you deeply, talking to a serene yogi may make you want to slam your face against your yoga mat.
They may have valuable insight, but I still feel totally unheard when a yogi looks up from his or her full Bound Lotus position only to remind me how the actions of others are just a mirror of my own. Yeah, okay, fine…but I’m still pissed!
When Emotions Take Over
Emotions are challenging because they lack rationality. You can intellectually understand why someone may have acted in a certain way, and tell yourself to have compassion for their experience—yet that doesn’t mean your soul doesn’t ache from the suffering within yourself their actions have ignited.
It’s not that anyone actually ever hurts you—we hurt ourselves. At the same time, however, the behavior of people can inspire you to feel wounded. Of course, in yoga, we’re encouraged not to hold others responsible for our own sorrow.
We have the choice of how we react; but that doesn’t change the human truth that the conduct of people can awaken some of the greatest agony we can ever experience.
There have been times when, in the midst of dealing with something really intense, I know that I should be all one with the universe, but in actuality I’m either crazy, or angry, or sad, or disappointed, or all of the above. I usually find this is not the best time to talk to my most “yogi” friends.
If during these moments I have to see them look at me with concerned eyes and suggest I connect to my fifth chakra, I just might vomit bile into their smug face. Not that they aren’t right, but I’m just not ready to hear that.
Acceptance Is a Process
If I’m being real with myself, it takes a moment for me to come to a place of Zen acceptance. What proceeds before that may involve a lot of swearing, stomping my feet, frantic pacing, sweating, and nervous eating of goji berries.
Yet in a way I feel like I have to admit that process in order to actually move on from my reaction. If I try to immediately allow all things, I sort of feel like I’m lying to myself. Or even that I’m letting people stomp all over my pulsing heart like they were River Dancing on speed.
People have been really mean to me at times, and in response to that, it doesn’t feel authentic to immediately fill my being with white light and project loving kindness toward their aura.
I can get there. I want to get there. But I also want to be real with myself. Of course, my ultimate goal is to act with grace and treat people like I want to be treated. Yet, in order to do that, I need a moment to bitch, to yell, and to psychically eviscerate the person who lit the fire of my personal torment.
I appreciate the yogic advice, though, and when anyone comes to me with a problem, you bet your sweet ass it's the same advice I’m going to give—I just sometimes need a moment before I'm ready to hear it.