Sunday, 17 August 2014

Who knows?

On Monday I left my phone at home. When I realized this on the subway into work, I felt like a rogue—so off-the-grid. I liked that I couldn't check my phone for messages, or the time—or to check the time as an excuse to check for messages. I felt freedom as a result of not being constantly available at every moment, and also through not seeking approval or affirmation from outside.

I thought about the way we compare ourselves to others, on social media, and something a smart friend of mine once said, regarding this: You're comparing your bloopers and outtakes to someone else's showreel. It's not real or reliable.

That day, Robin Williams died. Besides sadness, there was also a general sense of shock at his passing and specifically his unhappiness—a feeling of, Who knew? To which I thought, he knew.

It's only you who lives with your heart. It's only you who negotiates between the heart and the mind. We can have immensely supportive, loving relationships with our families, partners and friends. But you are the only one who lives with you.

This, to me, is what is so valuable and precious about the practice of yoga and meditation. The watching and listening. We get to see time and again the movements of the brain and the body, our inclinations and habits, and the decisions we make. We may start to see patterns, and maybe even find a little space to make an evaluation in free, clear space. Or at least get a moment's peace. We sit with our heart and we listen.

We strive to make healthy decisions. By healthy, I mean healthy for your body and your heart: Eat well, love well, rest well. Choose well. Looking after your own health contributes to others' wellbeing. Living peacefully with yourself results in your moving in the world with more peace, spaciousness and compassion for others.

Thinking about this made me feel closer to the prayer, "Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu". May all beings be happy and free, and may my actions in some way contribute to that; may my happiness and freedom radiate outwards to touch others.

It can be difficult to disentangle yourself from checking your phone, checking others' imagined opinions of oneself, asking for others to listen to your heart with some kind of divine stethoscope. But you're there right now. You are with your heart and at any moment can choose to quiet down and listen.

लोकाः समस्ताः सुखिनोभवंतु

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