Studio at Yoga at Rockbriar Farm In Summer
I have been reflecting over the past week on the book, The Four Agreements; honestly, rather than reflecting on it I should go back and reread it. I try to find humor in most situations, it is my way of keeping my cool and recognizing that I cannot control other people. In many instances I am successful, in relationships that I am passionate about, my family, my closest friends, I am not always. This is ironic since the people we are closest to deserve our best actions, right? Since these relationships carry so much emotional weight, however, it can be a challenge. Rather than bore you with my family dynamics, I will say that we cannot be so hard on ourselves. If we do not act in a way that is reflective of our true intent, we should forgive ourselves and try again. There is an Arab proverb that says that “the words of the tongue should have 3 gatekeepers”; before the words come out of our mouth, we should ask ourselves, is this true? Is it kind? And is it necessary?
Another important tool I learned in reading the book (and one I need to continually remind myself of) is that I cannot control another person’s comments or actions, I can only control how I react. We cannot understand how someone else’s life experiences, situations and even their mental health or memory impacts their words and actions. In fact, in the book, Ruiz reminds us of this. “Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”
So, over the next week I am going to practice my yoga off the mat, taking lots of deep breaths (not dramatically to let the person know), pause before speaking and ask myself, is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?
I have written here on this topic several times before and today stumbled on this article written by Eknath Easawaran from Blue Mountain, the Journal of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, Summer 2004. It is lovely.
Our Practice – Calming Supta Baddha Konasana – Reclined Bound Angle Pose
As we think about not taking things personally and thinking before we speak, we are actively trying to deescalate the tenor of our lives. This pose is good for helping us relax, destress and feel better. Hip openers can be associated with releasing stress and bottled-up emotions. This hip opening pose helps to improve circulation and stretches the inner thigh and groin area.
Lay down on your yoga mat with a cushion under your head if that feels good.
Bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees bend out to the sides.
Add cushions under the thighs for added support or to make it especially restful.
I love this pose and sometimes use it in savasana.
Meditating - Being Mindful With Our Speech
As we think about being careful with our word we also will come to find that we feel more at peace when we speak to others as we wish to be spoken to. As Eknath Easawaran says, when “we have removed all anger, what remains is compassion. When we have removed all selfishness, what remains is selflessness. When we have removed all hatred, what remains is love.” To break this cycle, we have to learn to be patient under provocation. “Suffer hard words,” the Buddha says, “as the elephant suffers arrows in battle. People are people, most of them ill-natured.”
“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you cannot help them, at least don't hurt them”. – Dalai Lama
Nurturing with Food – Crispy Vegetarian Fried Rice
Peter developed this new recipe recently, it is delicious as a main course, you could add tofu (or some other protein). It could also be a great side dish!
See you on the mat!