Summer News 🌞🌿🍉
I am writing you from Tel Aviv where I am currently on vacation. It is very warm, humid and sunny here. I try to visit Israel once a year, got family and old friends there, some memories and biased observations, a mix of familiarity and estrangement.
Ram Dass, the famous American spiritual teacher and psychologist, used to say - "If you think you're Enlightened, go spend a week with your family". Every spiritual seeker would admit that being in the company of family can be both highly rewarding and at the same time also tremendously challenging. It can fill our hearts with love and emotional nourishment, but it can also bring up some distress and agony.
We all have our buttons that trigger us, some of them have a strong grip. The path of yoga is a continuous journey that often takes me forward and sometimes sends me a step or two backwards. It's fascinating how the mind operates in habitual patterns that express themselves in different ways in the body, breath and mind. When I am able to snap out of the oblivion of being lost in emotional or mental roller coasters I am able to observe the phenomena of the fluctuating "monkey mind".
One of the most life-changing discoveries I made years ago was that there is no uninstall button for Samskaras (habitual patterns of the mind, mental impressions, psychological imprints). There is no effort one can make to fully eliminate them from the system. This realization can be discouraging but it can also be profoundly liberating. The deeply ingrained Samskaras are usually there to stay and the trick is to learn how to live with them in a way that doesn't feed them. Reacting to their push and pull in any way, whether rejecting them or indulging in them, or even trying to overcome them, usually makes their impact much stronger. Developing a capacity to observe them with a bit of detachment, to witness them come and go, to notice with clarity the way they manifest - is the most effective way to minimize their negative impact.
Another important realization that I've come to is that if I am not careful this process can also lead to emotional detachment from myself and others which can also be a source of suffering. The trick is to allow these habitual patterns to come and go and at the same time keep the heart open to all beings, to all experiences, to give space for thoughts, emotions and sensations to pass through. This is where the spiritual path becomes much more subtle and interesting. Easier said than done ;-)
Looking forward to seeing you in yoga soon :)
With love and gratitude,
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