can you be better all the time? practicing compassion
September 15, 2010
It’s not a revolutionary idea to say that there’s a lot of pressure to be better.
ON THE MAT In a yoga class, the idea that we need to be better can come up anywhere. It happens a lot within asana (physical poses), where we compromise the integrity of the pose—and put our bodies at risk of injury—when we reach and pull and muscle our way through, in the struggle to go further, deeper, faster. What happens most often, when we get in this head space, is injury. Then we’re off the mat for recovery, because we set ourselves back, in the rush to move forward.
Our challenge: To accept where we’re at within our asana practice, no matter what pose it might be, and just breathe into that space. When we can relax enough, lighten up enough, and let go enough to feel the expansiveness within the physical challenge, suddenly we’re further, deeper, faster—without even trying.
OFF THE MAT In our daily lives, the idea that we need to be better comes up everywhere. It happens within our careers, our family relationships, our friendships, our love lives, and our exercise regimen. We can feel that we need to improve ourselves in everything we do. Often, we push, pull, struggle to get to our idealized state of being within each area, and we crash and burn. The pressure’s simply too much, and our nervous system loses its strength. Then we’re out of commission, for recovery, because we set ourselves back, in the rush to move forward.
Our challenge: To accept where we’re at within each area of our lives. To treat ourselves with compassion, with ahimsa (no-harm), and loving-kindness. To recognize when we begin to struggle, to reach and pull, and lovingly, gently, surround that state with space and ease.
Bonus: When we begin to create space and ease within ourselves, we find space and ease in our life. Suddenly, we’re further, faster—without even trying.
P.S. This challenge is mine, too. Have I aced accepting where I’m at in every area of my life? I’m getting there. That’s why they call it a practice.
I think the key for me is to not just accept where we are in everything, but to learn to enjoy the process of trying to improve more than improvement itself. This helps us detach from the result leaving it less important and more of a direction.Ben –