~ The only constant is change ~
The sun is shining brightly this morning and I seem to have a little breathing room to sit down and share some thoughts with you. So here goes...
Last week, as I was finishing up a couple of very busy months at my college teaching job, I found myself mentally spent and looking forward to a break from the seemingly never-ending to-do-lists. My official March Break starts today. Phew...it felt like it would never get here.
☀️ This morning, as I sat on my meditation cushion writing in my journal, I pondered the never-ending cycle of change, the impermanence of everything. I reflected (as I so often do) on the ups and downs of life, ever present and often challenging. I have witnessed these ups and downs in my own life of course, and I have also witnessed then in the lives of so many of my friends and loved ones.
Last week my adult son was struggling with some personal challenges. He was experiencing self doubt, sadness and disillusionment with certain aspects of his life, despite his concerted efforts to work hard and try to stay positive. Fortunately he was strong enough to give my husband and I a call, and share his mental struggles. I am so grateful that he is able to reach out to us for support and guidance. This has not always been the case.
During my conversations with him I spoke of one of the yogic teachings that has been very helpful for me when I have faced similar mental and emotional challenges. It is this notion that "the only constant is change". We have all heard some version of the the saying, "if you don't like how things are, wait, they will change."
I have often referred to it as the rollercoaster of life. Sometimes we are sitting up at the very top and the view is glorious! Other times we are racing to the bottom and it is scaring and we feel out of control.
There is a Sanskrit saying; "Mana eva manusyanam karanam banhda moksayoh." "As the mind, so the person; bondage or liberation are your own mind." If you feel bound, you are bound. If you feel liberated, you are liberated. Things outside neither bind nor liberate you; only your attitude toward them does that. ~The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali; Book 1 Sutra 2. Translation and commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananda~
How can our yoga practice help us through life's challenges?
Despite the challenges life presents us, we can trust that things will change. Good things will happen and we will feel wonderful, and then life will continue and change will happen. Challenges will arise and we will struggle, and again life will continue and change will happen. Happiness and sadness will continue to be experienced in each of our lives. This we can know. We can also know that peace resides within us. It is our true nature. It is the essence of who we are. Our true nature is ever present and is not affected by the external challenges life presents. This is what yoga teaches us. The practice of yoga brings us closer to knowing and experiencing our true nature...peace.
When life is tough yogic teachings and techniques help! Give it a try!
Pranayama - breath awareness; even a few long slow breaths can invite us back to our true nature...back to the peace that resides at our very core. I know this sounds overly simplified, but I know it to be true from my own practice. Try it. Take a few moments to sit, to pause, to breath and to wait. Notice the change that happens!
Asana - body awareness; even when you don't feel like it, mindfully place your body into a pose. Choose any pose, it doesn't really matter. Just do it. Then stop, breath, pause and wait. Notice the change that happens! Feel your body in that very moment. Feel the shift and the change simply from noticing. I hope this was helpful.
Wishing you a very happy day 🙏🏻 In peace and friendship, Laura 💞