I’m back. It’s been a long time and a lot has happened. Through the whirlwind of the summer my life has changed completely, yet again. And, thank goodness, it continues to change for the better. There’s a secret to change for the better – it doesn’t always look as if it is, but everything that happens in life can be seen that way…it’s a matter of perspective. So much of this last year has been blissful that you may be thinking – easy for you to say! But, in truth, for every up there is a down and my life is no exception.
As the bliss bubble begins to float towards the atmosphere and I settle into my married life at Ananda, I’ve begun to notice the currents underneath. There, to my surprise, I found more anger, frustration and pain. Probably not a surprise to anyone else, but it was to me. As much as those emotions may seem justified, they are the very ‘vritties’ or vortexes of emotion that we seek to overcome in the practice of yoga – “Chitta vritti nirodha” (Patanjali) or “Yoga is the neutralization of the eddies, or whirlpools, of feeling in consciousness,” (Kriyananda & Yogananda).
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want to be a zombie with no feelings. Instead, I seek to see them for what they are and release them. Emotions and feelings can be signposts along the way, telling us that something is amiss in our lives or something is going superbly well. But, true feelings are not the same as emotions. Emotions crest and fall like ocean waves; feelings lay underneath the surface calmly providing guidance through intuition.
So, what am I to do with these emotions that are destructive to my happiness? The clear and logical answer is to let them go…easier said than done, of course! As my friend Georgina (who climbed Mt. Everest) told me once, “to climb a mountain, you just take one step at a time.” With daily effort, I can report that change is happening and it feels great!
How is change happening? Well, aside from my daily meditation practice, which is no small contributor to this change, I’ve added some mantras that I use each day and every time those emotions rise up. Each day, I make sure to repeat a mantra of forgiveness for me and for the person in question until I feel it in my heart. Then each time an emotion sneaks in during the day I take note of it, examine it and decide if I’m ready to release it. These were suggestions from a wonderful intuitive woman named Trish Burrows and they align with Yogananda’s suggestion to say the “peace and harmony” prayer daily for those who you have trouble dealing with.
Forgiveness can be a slow process. I’m grateful for what I have faced and the opportunity it has provided for me to learn forgiveness. Jesus was the Master of this one and I look forward, each day, to inching towards a Divine form of that beautiful quality. In the meantime, I’m finding compassion for myself and for others in this amazing experience of life.
“One should forgive, under any injury,” says the Mahabharata. “It hath been said that the continuation of species is due to man’s being forgiving. Forgiveness is holiness; by forgiveness the universe is held together. Forgiveness is the might of the mighty; forgiveness is sacrifice; forgiveness is quiet of mind. Forgiveness and gentleness are qualities of the self-possessed. They represent eternal virtue.”