Thursday, January 22, 2009

HOMEWORK  Hello Stranger

Every now and again I like to give little tasks  to those who frequent my classes (when I'm feeling brave enough). It has less to do with the physical side of yoga (so the laziest among us can rest at ease) but a lot to do with a kind of yogic outlook. This "homework" is actually more of an invitation, and invitation to try something different. 

I thought I could jot down some of them here. 

The first is about dealing with people who might usually get your back up.

Next time you are in a queue and someone pushes in, next time someone steals your parking space, instead of mentally venting your anger (or worse doing so vocally or physically) just think that it's only due to chance and destiny that the person who has "offended" you hasn't entered into or isn't part of your circle of friends/acquaintences. If someone stole your parking space and you peeked in the car and saw that the driver  happened to be  your best friend, your reaction would be different. You may laugh rather than feel adrenalinic and aggressive (and you certainly wouldn't want that person to see you acting like some kind of hysterical maniac with temperament problems).   That "driver" may have been someone you sat next to at school, your boss, your mother's neighbor, someone you met in a group of people having a drink the night before, or someone you could meet through Facebook in the future. That it is highly improbably is neither here nor there -  it is however (more) constructive to contemplate. By seeing the offending person as an "outsider" you are creating distance and in the case of a queue pusher for example, feeling the physiological pitfalls of being angry ("stress" hormones released such as adrenalin). Once someone* said that demonstrating your anger towards another is like picking up a burning coal to throw at your "enemy". You burn yourself in the process.

So next time someone, a stranger really annoys you, try to see them as someone  who could have been, or could be someone close to you. Remember that your  object of hate is an object of love to someone else. Therefore it's not he or she that is intrinsically bad but simply circumstance and/or context that has rendered him so to you at that particular moment. 

For the Italian readers may I just point out that "stranger" in english is a "sconosciuto" NOT a "straniero"!!!


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