Teaching a one-to-one in Warrington tonight we got to discussing how it’s our perception of events that mould our emotions and happiness more than the events themselves. How in the Western world we may consider a happy life to be one free of stress whereas this is never going to be possible. Instead we need to accept that misfortune and sadness are necessary parts of life, and it is our reaction to them that guide our emotions and our view on the world. That in fact a life without suffering is not possible, instead we need to learn to find the positive in our reaction to the suffering.
Last week I had ‘one of those days’ where I felt as though I was dealing with one unexpected situation only then to be faced with another. I had two notable reactions; at the time I was aware of how much stronger and more able to cope with the ups and downs in life than I may have been in previous years. As my tutor has described it..becoming like teflon (non stick) in that whatever life throws at you just slips off and doesn’t stick!! As the klesha (our afflictions) are reduced by regular practice we are more able to differentiate between what perceives and what is perceived. In this way we are more able to put the event into its’ proper perspective and observe its’ effect and influence on us more dispassionately. It is the practice of yoga and meditation that reduces our clouded perception of the world and allows us to view the situation with a clearer perception.
The events that occurred also helped me to realize how my first reaction was to see the obvious negativity in the situation. It wasn’t until I took a step backwards and looked at the actual situation with clearer perception that I noticed the positive shining through. That now actually my life could be easier, with more room (literally!) for my personal practice and study. Also that I would have less responsibility in the summer of 2011. Which has meant I am now planning to enjoy more time with family, friends and my mat!
I am lucky to have a life which generally runs smoothly. I may work long hours but I do so with great people and teaching something I am passionate about. Generally I have been happy of late to stay in my happy ‘rut’. Samskara are the seeds of our past actions…we can get into habits without realizing it, be it always driving the same route to work or just accepting without question what path our life is taking. It sometimes takes an outside event to allow us to move out of our comfort zone. What we need to do is to see this as positive in that it allows is to work with our practice and observe with clearer perception. It also allows us a fresh view of our life, for sometimes only when we look with fresh eyes can we see the positive in new situations; the fortune in apparent misfortune!