Why is it that it is so easy to spot other people’s neurosis or ‘unacceptable’ behaviours, while we sit on our throne of self awareness, positive that we are nothing like the people that we judge!
I have had some interesting conversations this week, and seem to be bumping up against the experience of my fellow travellers in this experience of life, who seem to focus a little to much on the faults of others, while effortlessly ‘spiritually bypassing’ their own.
What happens when the client that we are working with in yoga, therapy, coaching, reiki etc, simply comes to a pause in their ability to continue to grow beyond our perception of what their growth ‘should’ look like? Do we let them know we can’t see them anymore? That we only work with people who are ‘willing to do the work’ or, are we able to hold space for this perfectly imperfect experience of their habits that seem to be self perpetuating, and our habits of thinking that there is an ‘ideal’ self that is trying to be created.
In the realm of the self help world, and I would dare to say that Yoga fits into this category, there seems to be almost an addiction to becoming a ‘better version of ourselves’. And I have to wonder out loud, are we simply utilising the quest for self love, to cover up our self loathing?
Yes, I hear you. The whole point of self evolution is because we want to improve, we want to live in the higher realms of consciousness, we want to feel a freedom of letting life move through us, without our judgements, fears and opinions slowing it all down. But, what would happen if there was an understanding that the challenge you are trying to ‘heal’ or ‘meditate away’ or ‘exercise away’ is actually the very thing you need to chill with, and do nothing about until, by this very notion of allowing, you are set free from it…
It seems that there are a lot of seekers out there who utilise the experiences of yoga and meditation to run from life, or themselves, rather than to use the tools to be with the understanding that we all have imperfections, and these are what seem to be the very thing that give us the experience needed to grow fully into our centre. To be able to accept ourselves as we are, neurosis and all.
Of course, we all have behaviours that hold us back from the experience of life that we truely desire to create, and we have a billion dollar industry that can make us feel guilty for not doing as much as humanly possible to chase, yes, CHASE, this experience of higher realm perfection.
I remember listening to a podcast with my favourite Buddhist nun, Pema Chödrön, who has nearly 50yrs of meditation experience. Anyway, she was attending a retreat, and was triggered by another participant. She talks about how she went to meditate on this, and just had to sit and sit with this anger until it resolved itself. Notice she didn’t meditate to control the anger, or dissipate the anger, or to disappear into a world where she never feels angry, nope, she sat there, and says this anger she felt burned like a raging fire within her, until it quenched it’s own flames.
Now, we don’t all have Pema’s ability to sit with experiences, because most of us seem to be sold on meditation as a fix to our unexplainable emotions. Imagine doing a whole meditation where you sat for 20mins and just sat with anger, or fear, or anxiety and even after sitting with it, nothing changed. Would you walk away and congratulate yourself for truely being with yourself during that moment, or would you berate yourself and tell yourself it was a shit meditation and you will do better tomorrow?
Ultimately, the quest of self improvement, in my opinion, is about being able to accept and love ourselves, even when we are triggered, get angry, drink to much, blame others and have shitty days. I’m not sure there is a ‘perfect’ experience of ourselves that will ever exist, oh except on Instagram….. So how about we let go of trying to make it all better, and instead, just freakin embrace the whole messy process of what it is to be born into a world, filled with contradictions, of which you, my fellow human, are one of