There has been so much talk in the media about how terrible 2016 was. I suppose turning the news on at any point in time would reveal the horrors of the world we live in – like the unimaginable suffering that some people endure – and the consequences of ‘natural’ and man-made disasters to mention a few. So, it is easy to think we live in a turbulent world that is out of our control and we can’t do anything about it.
My view is we can do something about it on a personal level. We may not be able to directly change the world – but we can change ourselves – and that change can change the world. This is one of the main reasons I practice yoga & meditation – using these ancient practices helps me transform myself and ultimately helps me to suffer less – and with that goes guiding others onto a path of transformation that helps us to suffer less – and that goes out into our relationships – our community – our world.
I am fortunate to have many wise teachers who help and guide me along my path of transformation. Among them is Rick Hanson, who I have been listening to his teachings for some time now and really like the way he brings ancient wisdom into every day ordinariness.
In a recent talk on ADVICE FOR DIFFICULT TIMES, he says (para-phrased by me):
Life includes the truth of suffering, no-one gets out of this life without suffering. So, what can we do with that?
Put things in perspective
Be with what’s there, witness it, observe it with a quality of acceptance – not getting into trying to change it
Try to gently reduce the negative; calm & soften the body; let emotions flow; open to higher wisdom
Increase the positive; cultivate wholesome qualities that engage the heart & mind; let good experiences really sink in
He goes on to say: The mind is like a garden:
1st we look at the garden and see what is there
2nd we start to pull out weeds
3rd we sow the seeds - plant flowers
In other words:
WE LET BE * WE LET GO * WE LET IN
I like this simple take on what is a quite profound teaching. Maybe we could take this opportunity at the beginning of a new year to look at our own garden (mind) and apply these principles. This can then inform our yoga & meditation practice, can help us set our INTENTION for our practice and perhaps then we can see the fruits of our practice have a positive effect in our relationships, our community, our world. Keep up your practice!