We are made up of so many aspects of duality and opposition. The kindest person has the ability to be mean. The most peaceful individual, angry. The most selfless human can demonstrate moments of selfishness. A loving person is capable of being spiteful.
Yoga is about the union of opposition – breath & movement, strength & ease. What if to experience yoga off of the mat in our everyday living it is simply to find the union between kind & mean, peace & anger, selfless & selfish, loving & spiteful? What if it means simply to acknowledge, accept and maybe even embrace the duality within ourselves… all aspects of ourselves… to find that sweet spot where these opposites meet?
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where something someone says or does triggers something in you? In my experience, when this happens it can be showing you where there is something not yet accepted or acknowledged in yourself. The beautiful thing about having the willingness to see this in ourselves is that we can then start to integrate it into the whole self. It creates a sense of acceptance of what is and then with that, we can begin to decide what to do with it. By looking at things within ourselves from a place of non-judgement, it allows us to build compassion for self which can eventually be extended outward toward others.
People in our lives tell us, whether purposefully or inadvertently, how we should be. We are told to hide parts of ourselves (fear, anger, pain) while having other aspects glorified (tough, mean, strong, smart). We are taught to hide things out of fear of being vulnerable or being hurt… or maybe shamed into hiding our feelings to not embarrass another. Think about it… How many times in your life have you been told, “What will people think?” or “Real men/women don’t ….”? By stifling parts of who we are, we don’t have a chance to accept them. Instead we have learned to fragment ourselves and tuck pieces away. These fragments may come to the surface on occasion when we become overwhelmed by things – anger can creep up, fear can take over without warning, grief can bring you to your knees when you least expect it. It is normal that feelings come up. However, it is what we do with these moments that can help us create the most powerful change in our lives.
“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” – Henry Ellis
How many people can sit in those moments and in those often uncomfortable feelings as an observer, looking at them without judgement and maybe even with a sense of compassion and acceptance while allowing the valuable parts of the experience to reintegrate back into the self while releasing damaging judgements? And how many people are so uncomfortable with those feelings that they continue to judge them while lashing out at others, stuffing those fragments back down and trying to pretend they don’t exist… until they sneak up again. In my experience, the more you allow yourself the time to sit with things and observe them without judgement and accept what is, the less they sneak up on you and the less you are triggered by others’ actions.
One of the greatest things that comes from practicing this is that your awareness of yourself increases and when you know more of your self, you’re able to draw on more when you find yourself needing to deal with a situation. Another benefit to creating this self awareness is that we are then able to be more responsible for our selves and our choices. When we know better we do better, right? There is more peace found when things are observed instead of judged.
It is when you come to a place of peace with all aspects of yourself that you are then able to acknowledge them in another with a sense of acceptance, understanding and compassion for them as well. Whether it is the opposition or duality of aspects within ourselves, seeing the same aspects coming up in another, it is in finding that union where the oppositions meet… that is where we find our living yoga. 🙏🏻💕