"Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” —Buddha
You lost your job. The wedding is postponed. They are out of toilet paper. Those plans/dreams/goals/traditions you had...gone. It sucks. It hurts. It's the most horrible moment ever of your life. I hear you. We're all going through it. Lately, I have been thinking about the nature of the human experience, the suffering associated with change, and the ancient wisdom available to us specifically for moments like this. It is a well-known Buddhist teaching that attachment is the root of all suffering. During times of crisis, we may find ourselves suffering intensely as the external things we had come to rely on for our sense of value and self worth collapse or disappear. We are forced to adapt and change in big ways at a time when we are not ready. The pain is real. And yet, change is a fact of life. The universe is in a constant state of destruction, creation and transformation. We were born, we change, we die. There will be joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain. We may think we are in control, but really, we are are absolutely, totally, fundamentally not in control. Yoga, as set forth in its founding text, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, is defined as the practice of restraint from the distractions of the ego. (yogaś citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ, Sutras 1.2). In other words, thinking we are control and believing that we are defined by external things—our job, our bank account, our appearance, our social circles, our habits—are misconceptions that leads to a world of pain when all those things change and we are reminded of the truth that we are not in control. Yoga provides very simple guidance on how to flow with our ever-changing world by doing what we can control: breathe. The fourth limb of yoga, pranayama, is the practice of breath control. In yoga, our breath is the source of our energy (prana). Just as certain yoga poses target specific parts of the body, there are pranayama practices designed to move our energy in different ways for different healing purposes. If you are feeling the high-strung, heart-palipating, flight-or-flight, intense energy of crisis, consider a pranayama practice designed to move this powerful energy through you and harness it for something positive. The energy of transformation is the energy of creativity. There are many practices out there for this. I have included one that I like below. It might not be what you want to hear right now, but I am reminded of another ancient adage: This too, shall pass. And maybe, just maybe, it was meant to be. So feel the feelings. Rage. Move. Breathe. Meditate. Create.
The silver lining is there. And don't forget, in good times and bad, there is always Champagne. Namaste and cheers, Chiara Pranayama for Times of Transformation Kali's Sword Breath Inspirational Quotes
“Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise.” — Maya Angelou "Was I deceived? or did a sable cloud/Turn forth her silver lining on the night?" — John Milton
For more messages of joy and inspiration, follow Chiara @theyogisommelier