Yogas Chitta Vrtti Nirodha
Most of you who have studied yoga for any length of time are familiar with this definition of Yoga by Patanjali. Yoga is the calming of the whirlpool of the mind.
At times the mind feels like a busy shopping district crowded with panicked last minute shoppers 3 days before Christmas. Every thought is bumping and jostling for first place in line. All the while trying to find that special something that will grab you with its need for attention, fulfillment, and gratification.
When I am identified as these thoughts, life is chaotic indeed. All that push and pull, and what about me me me? It’s impossible to think that we would interact with every person in the mall and still accomplish our goal for being there. In the same way we need not interact with every thought in our head. But, in stepping back and becoming the observer of the thoughts, life takes on an enjoyable atmosphere where there is great choice as to which thoughts will receive interaction as well as when and how that will take place.
Yoga is not “positive thinking” but it is mindful choice of how we use our attention. Mastery is the ability to notice the thoughts that are present, whether positive or negative, (usually both) and giving them the appropriate response. This may simply be to note their presence and dismiss with kindness. Just as being in that crowd can be a nerve wracking experience if we are self centered, it can be pleasant, festive and even joyful if we look upon the people in the crowd with friendliness and compassion.
Prescott is a small town of 45,000 souls. There is rarely traffic congestion or long waits for tables in restaurants or difficulty finding parking. However, every year at Christmas time there is an event; “Acker Musical Showcase”, where over 100 musicians perform in 100 downtown venues to raise money for music scholarships in the schools. It seems that the whole town turns out which makes finding parking difficult and getting in to see your favorite acts somewhat challenging. But I wouldn’t miss it for the world. The lights, singing, community spirit and palpable joy far override the small inconveniences. Just as we cannot choose the thoughts that pass through our minds, only how we will relate to them, we cannot choose the conditions of our everyday life only how we respond when they arise.
I wish you joyful acceptance of all that arises this holiday season and in to the New Year and a kind response to yourself and others under all circumstances and conditions in your life.