Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Using Yoga Philosophy in Dealing with Tough Relationships

Today I was scrolling through Instagram and I came across a photo that spurred feelings of aversion, attachment and ego. When I thought through this a bit and ask myself "Why do I feel suffering?".I looked to the Kleshas for clarification (Yoga's Reasons for Suffering lined out in the Yoga Sutras) . Quickly I was able to see clearly what I was feeling. First I try to identify why I am suffering, then I will apply yoga as an application to understand and heal that suffering.

First: Identify the suffering. 
For me it is three of the 5 Kleshas: Asmita, Raga, & Dvesa

Asmita: Ego. My ego in comparison to this picture and how I had been hurt by this persons actions. For a moment I made it about me. How could I allow them to hurt me? Wasn't I smarter than this? Why did I continue to find myself in these destructive relationships? How could someone choose to do something so hurtful?

Raga: Attachment.  Sadness at the loss of my own faith in myself to choose to have relationships like this.  A pattern I've seen many times in my life. A person is very charming and kind and caring and then you start to notice a change such as distance, lying, anger, jealousy  (often when they lose interest or the gain for them from the relationship with you is gone). A pattern I repeat in my life from growing up with addiction in my family. There is a lot of manipulation with addiction and this often pulls you in, because drama is familiar.  This type of personality (addictive, self involved)  is often also drawn to a people pleaser or fix it person. That plays out in our relationships, as a child who grew up in addiction drama was just what we called "life". Adaptability is  our form of control and a way to gain love even though we aren't aware of it, until of course we are. These people we are drawn to are often charismatic and loved by many, but always at somewhat of a distance. They tend to run or change when they feel they have let their guard down or become vulnerable.  I am quite sure they are hurt people who do not know a healthy way of dealing with their hurt. Yet that does not mean we have to be a door mat for them to practice on.  I'm a person who tries (or used to, I'm getting better)  to keep peace at all cost because that was the control I once felt I had, hurt me, "Hey it's okay you are hurt so I'll protect you and your feelings even though I am hurt". This only turns inward and it's bad. It leads to being depleted & sick. I personally am in recovery now but it is a lifelong process to let go and heal from these tendencies. You may backslide now and again.

Dvesa: Aversion. I  felt sick when I saw this picture and the description because I felt it to be a false representation. Of course that is "my" perception alone.  I have to be big enough to own that someone else may see it very different.

So I went on over to the Yamas and NiYamas: Also in the Yoga Sutras, these are the guidelines for ethical living. Limbs 1 & 2 in  The 8 limbs of Raga Yoga.

I looked them over for a solution to my problem. Sometimes the solution is simply in the understanding.

A Yogic Application:

Ahimsa: Do no harm. By continuing to talk about this (I've already done that many times with my trusted confidants) I am feeding energy into it, only harming myself and potentially the other person. Not doing harm does not change even if the person is not what you presume to be a good person. Because it's not about them doing no harm, it's about your behavior.

Satya: Truth and Benevolence. The truth is this person was working from their own frame of reference no matter how distorted I think it to be. They have their truth and it is not mine. They may be acting out of fear or greed but I have to act in my truth and so the best thing is for me is to get away from them, detach.

Asteya: Non stealing. I can choose to allow or not allow someone to steal my joy.

Brachmacharya: Moderation and Unity. Keep my focus on thinking about the good not just the bad. Moderation in negative thinking. Being grateful for those good relationships in my life that have been lasting and don't involve drama.

Aparigraha: Simplicity. Keep it simple. Focus on my life. Don't over think it. Take care of Courtney.

Saucha: Clarity and Purity. What is true for me. I have clarity on what is true and good for me today. Be of a pure heart and be loving and focus on loving those who love me and treat me respectfully.

Santosha: Contentment. I have a gratitude practice. Again being content and looking around at all I have and the love in my life takes me away from the anger or sadness.

Tapas: Discipline. I discipline myself to my own self talk. To look at the situation as if I was coaching someone else. To focus on what I want my life to look like and how to achieve it. Such as I don't want this to hurt me and it does,  so I need to focus my mind in a different direction, one towards love and abundance.

Svadyaya : Self Study. Choose to practice my breathing, asana (postures) and meditations and positive thinking. Go to my Alanon meetings and read my literature that supports my recovery from abusive relationships.

Ishvara Pranidhana : Surrender to my God, my higher power. I am not in control. There is only so much I can control and I know God has my back.

Thank you for seeing into my world for today. Thank you for reading this. I hope this also can help you or someone you know.

Take care of you. Self care. Love yourself and be kind to yourself. Now I'm going to the gym!


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