Yoga and meditation classes create lofty expectations. Yet, upon leaving a Yoga class, we are faced with the reality of life. When students are present for Yoga practice, it is a wonderful experience. However, the challenge of real life can be found outside the Yoga studio or ashram. One of the many challenges people face is managing relationships.
For some of us, there are times when relationships appear to bring more sorrow than joy; and often, that is what drives people to decide that they are simply not worth the trouble. This leads to anti-social habits for self-protection. Seclusion is not a reasonable long term answer. The answer is to take difficult relationships and make them a learning experience. Why not turn problems, with other individuals, into a constant meditative practice?
Avoiding the Urge to Control Others
It is a fact that the only person one can truly control is himself or herself. Attempts to mold, shape, and modify the thinking of others, usually results in frustration. While some people do successfully control others, it is rare to see it last for long. Additionally, the desire to control others is usually rooted in selfishness. Ironically, our deepest states of happiness, inner peace, and freedom can only be experienced if we are free from attachment, controlling, and clinging.
Finding the Observer Within
As issues, disagreements, and irritations arise – take care to observe your mind patterns. Do not judge what you see; just watch and allow these thoughts or feelings to be. By observing the mind, while in the midst of an argument or disagreement, one may gain valuable insight into underlying mind patterns, which are usually hidden from view. It is a major challenge to observe, while you are “under fire.”
The simple act of observing the mind, during an argument, will promote a shift within the tone of the situation, because it prevents you from becoming identified with the thoughts and emotions of the ego. By keeping your sense of distance from internal feelings, such as indignation, irritation, and frustration, you may observe them, without becoming lost in them. This present moment awareness leads to a calmness and clarity that was not there before; and this shifts the situation dramatically.
Yogic Meditation Solutions for Conflicts and Healing Relationships
A conflict means nothing, if we cannot learn from it. You must remove anger and frustration first. As soon as it is possible, try sitting in a quiet place, and practice your favorite meditation method. Once inner stillness and calm is reached, bring back to mind the observations you made during the conflict with the other individual. Chances are good that this remembrance will bring back to memory all of the same mind patterns.
Now is the time to explore them in depth. Go deeply into the conflict, without emotion, and observe it fully; yet, continue to remind yourself that you are observing the emotions and thoughts. Do not identify with them.
This is one of the best ways to become aware of that which is hidden within you. Perhaps, deep down inside, you really do harbor resentment towards the individual; or perhaps, you really do hold them in disdain for thoughtlessness in their conduct. There is nothing wrong with these thoughts and feelings, but it is essential to become aware of them. Awareness of hidden negative emotions, and thought patterns, gradually leads to the removal of negativity and stress. In this way, all relationships become an opportunity for self-discovery and a deep consciousness of everyday life.
Unfortunately, all relationships will not be repaired by meditating on them. Sometimes, people really are selfish, deceitful, or ego driven – enough to justify putting an end to that relationship. Ending a relationship, based on a rational decision, which rises up from a higher state of consciousness (with no judgment or resentment) is much better than a relationship ended in anger, and without thought.
If you continually practice being conscious and aware of how your ego reacts to others, the quality of all your relationships will eventually increase. You will be surrounded by a higher quality of character. This may be due to a change in yourself or a change in the type of people that are drawn to you. Either way, better relationships are attainable through making them a part of your Yoga meditation practice.
© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, has written many books on the subject of Yoga. He is a co-owner and the Director of Yoga Teacher Training at: Aura Wellness Center, in Attleboro, MA. He has been a certified Master Yoga Teacher since 1995. To receive Free Yoga videos, Podcasts, e-Books, reports, and articles about Yoga, please visit: http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/