“Do thy work in the peace of Yoga and, free from selfish desires, be not moved in success or failure. Yoga is evenness of mind – a peace that is ever the same.”

The Bhagavad Gita

In our Community conversation, we wrote down 3-5 challenging thoughts/situations and 3-5 positive things we have experienced during these past few weeks. We are often pulled to thinking that experiences are all positive or all negative, but the reality is they are a cosmic mixture of both. Underlying a pleasant experience there may be a tinge of fear/attachment not wanting it to end. While a challenging situation may be uncomfortable, but lead to something helpful. Throughout the week, continue to reflect on this – especially in a difficult situation – ask yourself – what is it that is positive here? Sometimes you have to dig deep. Keep in mind that it may not be immediate – for example a challenging situation now may mean that in longer term a positive change happens.

READ – From neuroscientist, Rick Hanson – Take in The Good. Rick explains the science of researchers call a built in negativity bias and shares some practices that encourage us to more fully appreciate/absorb positive experiences.

Breath Awareness-Balancing Breath. 

One of the first steps to take when we are feeling fearful or overwhelmed is to soothe the nervous system.  The breath can be like a soothing balm to slow down an avalanche of thoughts.  Simply deepen the breath.  Slow, steady inhalation, slow, soft exhalation.  Count the length of the inhalation and exhalation.  Observe first, then adjust to an even length of inhalation and exhalation. 

At Home Listening – TED Talk

This podcast illustrates perfectly the paradoxes of life.  Right from her first lines, Anne Lamott introduces us to the way that life can be absolutely joyful at times and wrought with dread/fear at others.  I appreciate how she balances the very serious nature of the talk with humor.  After listening, write and reflect – were there particular “truths” she mentioned that caught your attention?  What was it that resonated most for you?  If you were sharing things you know to be true, what would be on the list?

Optional for further reading

For those who have a yoga sutra book and want to read more

Sutra I.5 – There are five fluctuations of the mind – some move us closer to the aim of yoga, some pull us further away.

II.5– Mistaking the transient for the permanent, the impure for the pure, pain for pleasure, and that which is not the Self for the Self; all this is called lack of spiritual knowledge, avidya.

II.33 – In BKS Iyengar’s commentary he introduces paksa/pratipaksa – taking opposing view of something to come to balance.