Sometimes when life is really coming at us with its difficulties, hardships and disappointments it can be hard to see the “work” to trudge through these situations as anything but painful and heartbreaking. The “work” as a yoga practitioner is to remember that our practice on the mat is a “practice with discomfort” that we can then use as a tool when we feel discomfort in our lives. We learn to tolerate the pain, the impulse to quit, the annoyance with a pose, the heat, the teacher, the person next to us or whatever is vibrating in us at those times. Each time we do not “give in” and resolve to stick with it, we find our strength to handle this unease becomes bigger, more expansive and spacious. Each time we are a little more adult and willing to handle life on life’s terms.
Lama Surya Das, a modern Buddhist teacher, recently wrote this:
The tension of this kind of "in between" time is often colored by the sadness of letting go, the difficulty of living with uncertainty, fear of the unknown, the pain of being torn away from the familiar and comfortable, as well as an anticipation of new beginnings. So often we say we want and need to get out of our rut, feel stuck, stunted, and even trapped; but who's genuinely ready, willing, and able to get out of their familiar, homey, cozy rut, leave the nest behind, and make the leap and fly?
I use introspection, self-inquiry, and chod ("cutting, severing") or feeding the inner demons, along with the gentler arts and practices of cultivating lovingkindness, self-compassion, acceptance and forgiveness, among my personal rituals in the journey of unease, change, …. Meditation, journaling, storytelling, the company of kindred spirits and small group sharing, all encourage enhanced intuition….
As people on a spiritual path, we have so many tools at our feet to use to help us handle Life and all it presents. No matter what is happening can find some sense of gratitude, some insight that even if we think it’s “bad” what is happening in some way it may be useful in our lives to deepen our inner being and resilience? Like the Lama says, are you ready to leap and fly?