How can we shift when fear has us in its grip? When the challenges in our world, our politics, our environment and our personal lives are stirring us up, the ancient Yoga Sutras give us very sound advice. We are all feeling the intensity of a world going nuts. We are facing so many facts coming at us from facebook, the internet, TV if you watch it, iphones and we are getting overloaded at best. The sutras tell us how we can rise above the triggers that make it worse.
Through a clear intention and effort of the “will” we can learn to perceive the situation that often throws us into an emotional tizzy. It is a muscle like any other. The more we use it the more efficient it becomes. Essentially we are talking about developing “control over” our perceptions and the perceiving consciousness according to Charles Johnstons version of the “Yoga Sutras” written in 1982 and it is always at my bedside.
Johnston uses what he calls a “trite example” of a charging elephant suddenly appearing. Like the guy in his story, we might be enticed at first and then terror sets in. The man in his example used “an effort of the will” which he needed to restore his awareness. He had to perceive the situation, the consequences and realized that some “action” must take place. In this situation, he had to get out of the way as quickly as possible.
Johnston illustrated that this man had to recognize the urgency of the situation, his terror and take himself in hand, “control his thoughts”, and quickly calm down which helps him take right action. He was safe because he got out of the way as quickly as possible.
The point here is to recognize that there is an order to perception. First the situation ignites our minds because an object or situation triggers us. The second awareness comes from “the control of the mind” from within ourselves when we understand the nature of the agitating perception.
At this point, our spiritual eyes are available to open and we can see that a more true and piercing inquiry helps us grab a hold of the reactive part of us. This brings forth an “inner tool” that helps us control the triggered fear and suffering. Then we are able to release the automatic response that prevents us from seeing clearly and perceiving from a higher consciousness. A conscious and uplifting attitude cannot come forth when we are stuck in the reactive mind. That is one significant reason to meditate.
So next time you notice that you are stuck, try this out and see how you do. It is working for me and I see that I am bouncing back more quickly.
Know that you are loved, Rev. Barb