The Buddha helped humanity realize the very essence of life is change. Every moment we are ever new, and dying at the same time…
The only thing that seems to interfere with this incessant motion of life is…..wait for it….another mind moment…..I already said it….yep, the mind.
There is one yoga sutra that, if the yogi could accomplish, would make the rest of the sutras null and void: yogas citta vritti nirodah Sutras I, 2. which stands for the cessation of the mental fluctuations of the mind. If you can reach this state, Patanjali said you have then accomplished the goal of yoga. The question is then, is this really possible? Can you stop thinking?
This is what Cognitive Therapy and yoga have in common, sort of. Before reaching the goal of yoga, Supreme Union, we begin by becoming mindful of our thoughts, and extremely curious when we find ourselves in a jam again and again and again….I think a pattern is forming here!! So, the practice of yoga can help unjam your jam as well as help you dig deep enough to examine yo’ dark selfie.
So what does all of this have to do with change? Well, for the mind/ego/personality, change can bring up FEAR. Yes, it may be F.alse E.vidence. A.ppearing R.eal, but shhhh do not tell that to your ego because it is likely to clamp down even harder. To examine why the mind trembles and does it’s best to keep us well…stuck, let’s look at the basic constitution of the limbic system. It is the job of the limbic system to keep us safe. A job it does so well, even to our own soul’s detriment at times.
Our emotions are little messengers that send info to this complex system. These signals are derived from basic sensory input: hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, and smelling. Pratyahara much? Another blog, another time…basically, when you are moving into uncharted territory, it’s the limbic system’s job to keep us safe.
Remember the last time you wanted to start something new, ask someone out on a date, ask for a raise or a loan or God forbid, speak in public? Maybe just reading/thinking about it can send your system into panic. When your system gets triggered it is just another learning opp to examine how your system works, how to pay attention to inner events, and figure out how to a create safety and regulation plan for yourself…basically how to FACE YOUR FEARS.
For many of us, new situations bring up so much anxiety that our limbic system wins, we agree with it, that yes, that new situation is just so scary, you and your limbic system say, “I will stay stuck in my sticky, stinky, same, mess, ” Blah humbug.
I encourage you to respect your limbic system. It has kept you from getting mauled by a tiger in more than one incarnation. Respect, however, does not mean game over. Learn how to become mindful of your own limbic system’s distress signals with basic practices such as yoga poses, breathing exercises, and meditation to help you regulate, and understand your body’s limitations so you don’t stay stuck in the same conditioned response again and again. In other words, recognize when it is Soul’s turn to trump conditioned response pattern.
May you be blessed with joy of ever-changing, never the same, not for a minute experience of life. Forever growing in appreciation of what gifts are in store for YOU, and trusting that with each passing moment, your soul is being fed the very essence of life. The nectar of life is CHANGE. Surprise your old self in the safest, boldest way possible. OHM!
About the Author: Angela Fe is a Substance Abuse Counselor, holistic healer & yoga instructor who lives with her two precious children and wonderful husband in Tucson, Arizona. Her approach includes mindfulness, prayer, meditation, mantram, nature, exercise, yoga, essential oils, energy and chakra healing, 12 step recovery, and nutritional balancing. She practices intuitive energy healing and coaching via Skype and over the phone, and offers in person training and workshops in all levels of Usui Reiki and Restorative Yoga and Chakra Therapy. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. OHM!