Hello and Happy Monday,
Today is the perfect Fall day and I will keep this one short, so you can enjoy it too!
Pratyahara, meaning withdrawal of the senses, or gaining control over external influences, is tough. I don't know about you, but I struggle day to day with this. Last night Melissa, my 8-year-old daughter, and I were discussing how no one makes you feel a certain way, that it is us that makes ourselves feel the feelings. This took me a long time to put into practice and admittedly, I still work on today. There are so many people that trigger negative emotions in me and it's a practice to remember to breathe and stay present.
The breathing helps, a lot, also looking people in the face helps - even more! I have been through two incidents in the past year where seeing the person changed the entire dynamic of the conversation. Both these interactions were through email. Both conversations were short, rude and lacking any pleasantries. Keep in mind that it's so difficult to tell tone over an email and I myself have been told that my "work" emails are "mean". But I digress, it's difficult to tell tone in an email and we read through our own lens, not just our eyes, but our experiences change the way we view things. Just when these email exchanges seem to be turning for the worse, I used my investigative skills. That's what I call "googling" someone or looking them up on FaceBook. Both times, it turned out I knew the people I was having conversations with, turns out I didn't know their names and they know mine, and it was amazing how my attitude changed. I softened. I became compassionate. I knew the person behind the name. So I suggested we meet. In both meetings the other person also softened, also became compassionate, and the outcomes were much different, SO MUCH BETTER, than I could have imagined. How incredible is that?!
Last week in class I suggested that when we learn to become an observer, we begin to see all the hurt around us. I believe part of practicing pratyahara is to remember this and treat all with softness, compassion and love, especially those we cannot see, the interactions we have online, or on the phone with all the different customer service representatives.
Keep breathing, keep loving, keep working on you so you can BE for others.