Shuba’s Weblog

Journeys of the soul…

The power of staying..

on October 9, 2007

The theme of my yoga classes this season is ‘staying’. Our teacher Sue has a theme for every season and this fall’s theme seems timely to me. For I find ‘staying’, hard to come by. Whenever something uncomfortable or unfamiliar or unexpected happens, my first reaction is usually to run, to escape. To get out of the situation. And yet, staying in an uncomfortable situation has much more to teach us.

In yoga, we felt this by holding bridge pose. We held the pose at 50% effort for about 15 sec, and then at 75% effort for a couple of breaths, and finally the full manifestation of the pose for 30 sec. As I was holding the pose, I could feel the wanting to just give up and come out of it. My body rebelled. and yet, as I held the pose and transferred the attention to my heart’s center, I found I could increasingly let go of this feeling. Yes it was uncomfortable to hold it. But I was no longer bothered by the discomfort. Instead, I could connect to a deep sense of calm-and I felt like I was free. As we came out of the pose-my mind was completely calm and at peace. It made me realize, yet again, the power of staying.

In my everyday life, this has a very powerful impact. I have often found myself impatient when things don’t go my way. And my immediate reaction has generally been of escapism in several of these situations. I think thats a general reaction for most of us. When we find things not being what we expect, we immediatly want to take off. or at the least, do something about it. But what about how discomfort feels? Is it all that bad when things don’t work out? Can we still find a place of calm and use our heart (instead of our head) to guide us? I have often found, to my surprise that staying in difficult situations and letting it unfold without pressure, actually has been very pleasurable when I look back. I have usually been glad that I stayed. And I have often learnt something about myself by staying.

By becoming familiar with the unfamiliar, with pain, with the unexpected, we are no longer afraid of it. and when we are no longer afraid of suffering, we come a step closer to freedom.

The power of ‘staying’ has been in my mind for the past few days. and then, yesterday, I came across this article I had printed out a while ago, written by Sally Kempton-about the three gunas, the three energy qualities. One of which is ‘satthva’. satthva is the sanskrit word meaning ‘being’ or ‘truth’. Satthva is that place of stillness, of beingness. Sally writes about how satthvic strength arises from the willingness to wait for things to unfold out of the quiet of your center. Its not about doing nothing. Instead it is about wise action, of being in touch with what you really want.

If what we really want is to be closer to our loved ones, escaping when things get tough, and when they are suffering, or we are suffering, is not the answer. Instead, it is about staying and looking deeply to know what is wise and what will be beneficial for what we truly want. Its about waiting it out intelligently. and that intelligence comes from mindfulness-the first step of which happens when we become aware of our habits, our inclinations, including the reaction of wanting to get away.

By staying, we get a chance to rediscover ourselves.

Peace, S.

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