Saturday, September 27, 2014

There is...

When I was going through my yoga teacher training, I would download podcasts and put them on CDs so I could listen to them while commuting to and from work. I downloaded some guided meditations (which I did not listen to while driving) and also some discussions about the yoga sutras.

I can't remember who I was listening to now, but I'm pretty sure the yogi passed on a few years ago. It was literally him sitting in a classroom teaching a class, and you could even hear students asking questions. I found them very engaging and interesting, and even though I never got past the first three yoga sutras, I listened to them several times over.

One of the teachings that stuck with me was the idea of disengaging from your emotions (ha ha, I accidently typed email there. Yeah, disengage with that too!). Non-attachment is big in the yoga world, because one cannot find enlightenment if one is attached to... well, anything really. By disengaging with the notion that we own our emotions, we take the power of attachment away from our ego and thus free ourselves.

He goes on to suggest that instead of saying "I'm happy," "I'm angry," or "I'm sad" to reframe it as "there is happiness," "there is anger," and "there is sadness." The emotions are acknowledged (which is all they really want anyway) without the anchor of possession. Their control over you lessens. You're no longer stuck in a dinghy being swallowed whole by Moby Dick the Great Emotional Whale. Instead, you're on calm seas, seeing the emotional fish swimming deep below you while your little boat remains unaffected.

I find myself doing this often, especially in the car. Because I have a lot of time to think (ruminate, obsess, worry, generally work myself into a tizzy) during my daily commute. But by reframing what I'm feeling into its basics - there is anxiety, there is excitement - everything gets acknowledged without me labeling myself as anxious or excited. Labels are just a short, lazy stroll to stories and as we know I'm trying to do away with those.

I'm finding this is also a good way of finding the deeper emotions beneath the superficial ones. Why is there anxiety? Because there is also fear? What is the fear? Why is there fear? Is there a need for it, or is it being triggered by something old and no longer relevant?

You start going down that road and it takes all the power out of the anxiety and the fear. It has no hold on you. It's just there. And if it's just there, it can just be *not* there.

Of course, this also takes all the fun out of being happy. Which is why, being human, I'm perfectly willing to give up my fear so long as I can own my happy. I guess I'll be putting off enlightenment for a little while longer. ;-)

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