When my kids were little, I bought them a rabbit. Two weeks after we got him, he got really sick. With labored breath and eyes half closed, he laid in his cage, too sick to move. I was pretty sure that if I left him alone he would eventually die, but I felt terrible watching him suffer.
I thought to myself, "I'll take him to the vet and they will put him out of his misery."
We were on a very limited budget at the time so I also thought, "I hope it doesn't cost too much."
After the doctor tenderly examined the rabbit, he said, "I can keep him overnight for IV antibiotics and observation."
I thought to myself, "What? Is he kidding me? How much is THAT gonna cost? The rabbit, his cage, and a month's supply of food only cost me $19.99! Isn't it obvious that the rabbit's dying! Wouldn't it be easier, cheaper, and more humane to just put the poor thing to sleep?"
Gently holding my sick rabbit in his arms, the doctor waited for my response.
Seeing this man trying to heal my sick rabbit when I just wanted the rabbit to die made me feel like a monster so instead of telling the truth about what I thought, a feeble,"ok" came out of my mouth.
I regretted my decision instantly when a flash of my husband's reaction to spending our hard earned money trying to keep a rabbit alive popped into my head.
The vet called the next day to tell me that the rabbit's condition was the same, but I could continue oral antibiotics for the next couple of days to see if his condition improved. Again I thought, "What? Wouldn't it be easier and cheaper and more humane to just put the poor thing to sleep?", but instead of telling the truth, a feeble "ok" came out of my mouth.
I walked into the waiting room feeling angry and annoyed that my rabbit was still alive until I saw all of the concerned pet owners seemingly prepared to try any means to keep their furry family members alive and well. Again, "monster!" came to mind so I paid my large bill, took my still sick rabbit and costly medication home, and watched him suffer and die within hours.
Carl Jung said that we lie when the truth feels too dangerous. In other words, it takes more courage to be honest and authentic than it does to be dishonest or fake. Sometimes being honest is just admitting a mistake that you made. Other times it requires leaving a job or a situation that you have outgrown. In my case, my fear of being judged as a "monster" overshadowed my core belief that the rabbit shouldn't be forced to suffer. Staying committed to my truth required the courage to say what I really felt regardless of what anyone thought.
In Yoga Philosophy, one of the yamas or "great vows" that we commit to is satya. Satya means truthfulness. Patanjali said that, "all of nature loves an honest person". The practice of yoga teaches us to have an inward focus so that we won't be distracted by another person's opinions or judgements. Being connected to our center also reminds us that the truth can change. What was true ten years ago may no longer be true today. If we blindly hold onto beliefs that no longer serve us, what was once a truth becomes a lie.
The most powerful example of a person committed to truth was Mahatma Ghandhi.
Ghandi said that his life was an experiment with truth. His truth was his deep committment to ahimsa or non violence. He created the concept of "satyagraha" which means, "to hold onto truth". By upholding his truth, he led numerous non violent protests which ultimately led to historic changes in the social and political environment in India and South Africa.
In the words of Ghandi, "Truth is God" and "God is Truth". When speaking on the subject, he used the two interchangably.
If we follow the example of this great leader, committing to truth (God) can give us the courage to be honest and authentic without causing harm.
"Wherever you go, there you are." Jon Kabbat-Zinn
Since wherever you go there you are, you better damn well like yourself!
No matter what you do to change your outward appearance or circumstances- new job, new relationship, new nose, new boobs, new city, (the list can go on and on), unless you become aware of what's going on inside of you , you will always take the same old YOU along.
Yoga asks us to turn inward and get to know our TRUE self. Ultimately, the more we differentiate between the REAL us and that inner critic that pretends to be us, the more we will begin to know and love ourselves.
If we aren't aware, we can never get away from the constant chattering part of ourselves. That part of ourselves has a memory like a computer. It records every experience, comment, judgement, and criticism from the outside world. It might even repeat a particular one over and over again just to make sure we don't forget it! It says things like, "You are stupid" "Your nose looks like a beak" "You don't deserve a good relationship" "You can't do THAT".
The goal is to not take THAT you everywhere you go. Who wants to listen to a constantly negative and critical companion all day long? Yoga can teach you to find the REAL you and leave behind that NOT REAL YOU. When you do this, you realize that you are none of those things that the NOT REAL YOU told you that you were, but you are actually smart, have a fine nose, deserve a good relationship, and CAN do it. According to yoga philosophy, the REAL you is loving, peaceful and joyful. We were all born out of and into this simple state and its what connects us to one another. It's our experiences and circumstances that come from outside of ourselves that cover up our ability to stay connected to the part of ourselves that is real.
When we realize this, we become our own best friend instead of our own worst enemy. Once we love ourselves like a best friend, we start to live our lives from this place of love, peace, and joy, and then everything changes (internally and externally). When we begin to become aware of this it no longer matters whether we get a new job, relationship, nose, boobs or city, or if we keep our same old ones, because we have created a good relationship with the self.
So next time that critical "NOT YOU YOU" tells you that you're not enough, remember that wherever you go, there you are so you better love the YOU that you bring along.
All Abhyasa Ahimsa Aparigraha Asmita-Ego Attachment Baron Baptiste Beginner's Mind Bramacharya Carl Jung Clear Seeing Colorless Comfortable Discomfort Creating Spaciousness In Mind And Body Cultivate The Opposite Deepak Chopra Dharma Empty Your Cup Enthusiasm Equanimity Family Fight Or Flight Great Vows Inner-awareness Inner Critic John Kabbatzinnb2faff332d Listening Mirrors To Ourselves Monkey Hunting Non Stealing Patanjali Pause Pillar Pleasure And Pain Posseses Us Practice Pratipaksa Bhavana Pratyahara Present Moment Present Moment Awareness Respond Instead Of React Samadhi Samskara Santosha Satya Sauca Sensual Pleasures Shadow Side Spirituality Steadiness And Ease Sthira And Sukha Strength Sustained Attention Svadhyaya There You Are Thich Nat Hahn This Too Shall Pass True Self Uncertainty Universal Truth What We Possess Wherever You Go Wisdom Yoga Philosophy Yoga Sutra 1. 14 Yoga Sutra 1.33 Yoga Sutra 2.33 Yoga Sutra 2 37cfe9965fa2 Yoga Sutra 2. 46 Yoga Sutras