A lesson in Yoga: BE FIERCE

I met with my mentor this week and shared an incident where I took something personally, and then adjusted myself to have more compassion for the person.  As Thich Nhat Hanh says, “it’s likely that the other person who hurts us also has a lot of pain and doesn’t know how to handle his/her strong emotions.” In response, my mentor shared a story about Sharon Salzberg getting her bag stolen in India. She saw her teacher after and said, similar to me, that she should have compassion for the thief as they need her belongings more than she does. Her teacher looked at her and said, “Sharon – compassion sometimes means taking your umbrella and hitting someone upside the head!” The point is: the yogic path means standing up, speaking the truth, and being fierce in the face of adversity. There are situations where it is best to walk away, and there are situations where the most compassionate thing we can do is reveal our dismay. This means telling someone they are being inconsiderate, even though it may hurt their feelings hearing it. It means experiencing anger, annoyances, and negative emotions, but responding to them in a way that is constructive to ourselves and others. Yoga is about seeing things as they really are, especially the things that are unsettling or deemed negative. It means picking up the sword of wisdom and slicing through the baloney like the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī or channeling your inner Kali, the Hindu goddess of fierce energy and strength. Yoga teaches us to be honest and look deeper into the true nature of things – to construct a voice out of wisdom and convey our inner truth. Even if it means smacking someone upside the head, figuratively speaking. Or literally, if that is your style. 🙂

temple statue (1 of 1)-2*photograph taken in a temple in Nepal*

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