I coached two soccer games this past weekend. Saturday's game was a real nail biter. As the game got more and more intense, one of the parents on my team became more and more agitated. She was particularly forthcoming with her criticism of the referees. Each time the ref made what she considered to be a bad call, the disgruntled parent would yell out a negative comment.
Before long, her voice was joined by others. The voices in the stands became louder as the score of game got closer. More than once I turned around to the boisterous crowd and made a "please stop" gesture with my hand. My attempts to calm them down went virtually unnoticed.
After the game ended in a tie, my daughter came to me and said, "What was with the parents? They were so loud! I was getting really annoyed and angry. I couldn't hear you at all." I agreed with her and told her that I would have a talk with them. We both left the field feeling upset and irritable. I prepared a speech in my head to give the parents before the next game.
Distracted by the preparations for Sunday's game, I forgot all about giving the parents my speech regarding their behavior in the stands the day before.
Again our game was extremely close and competitive. I noticed that despite the intensity of the game, the parents were actually quite calm. The only yelling that I heard was positive encouragement for the girls.
I considered for a moment that someone had provided cocktails to the crowd making them mellow. Then I realized that they were different today because the disgruntled parent from yesterday's game was not in the stands.
This experience reminded me of how strongly influenced we can be by one another. It only takes one person to establish the consciousness of a group. If we aren't aware, we can be dragged into another person's emotional turmoil almost without realizing it. We can also get a false sense of protection from personal responsibility from being in a group. I witnessed this not so pleasant truth at my eleven year old daughter's soccer game.
Paying attention to not only your thoughts, words, and actions, but also the thoughts, words, and actions of those around you will keep you from getting caught in a group consciousness that isn't for your highest good.
If you look around, you will see that there are groups almost everywhere in your life. Your family, your friends, and your co workers are all obvious groups that you associate with. You also find yourself in groups at a sporting event, a concert, a fundraiser, or a yoga class. Each group that you blend into can have an influence on you and the world around you. If you find yourself feeling judgmental, agitated, or negative, take a look at who you are with when these reactions surface. Be aware of your tendency to get caught up in the group's negativity and be ready to leave the group if you need to.
In Conversations With God, Book One, God says, "If you cannot find a group whose consciousness matches yours, start your group!"
Making a conscious choice to surround yourself as much as possible with only those who uplift you will make your mood, your mindset, and your life better.
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