I'm extra-grateful for you all this morning because my commitment to writing to you once a week has helped me shift.
See, yesterday, an adult said something hurtful to my daughter. And I have been in a "state" ever since she told me about it -- imagining and re-imagining my confrontation with this adult, thinking about the effect on my child's psyche, ruminating on why this line was crossed.
In other words, I added more pain.
Earlier this week before this happened, a friend reminded me of the Buddhist teaching of "the second arrow." I'm no expert on Buddhist teachings but as I understand it, the lesson is that life launches arrows at us and we are going to, inevitably, take some hits. People are not always kind; accidents happen; stress builds; loved ones die. When we are hit, though, we don't have to shoot "the second arrow."
"The second arrow" is the mental reactivity to the first arrow. Rather than just sitting and breathing into the situation mindfully and waiting for the right response to emerge from the heart center, we dive into a swirling, chaos of thoughts. And what happens as we drown in that sea of negativity? We suffer. The suffering is the second arrow.
So, even though I had just been reminded of the the second arrow, when I got triggered yesterday, I dove right into my messy, angry mind and flailed... and suffered.
I sat in meditation this morning before the sun and that helped. Writing this right now is helping. Meditation, writing, and my community are my life rafts. So thank you for being there and for being in community with me.
Who are we as a community? I know I speak for Savitri too when I say that we want our community to be people who come together to heal. We recognize that life's arrows will come but, with our practice, we can move through and beyond the pain. And hopefully, we (I) can learn to stop compounding the pain by suffering our thoughts. When we falter, we can remember again. We can remind each other. We can remember together.
May the Truth in you guide you.
I want to say a word about community today. I've said before that our yoga community is kindred spirits coming together to practice and dwell in sacred space, to prioritize ourselves, inner and outer peace, and authenticity. But I'm feeling now that the word "kindred" may feel exclusionary.
When I started my Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training, almost a decade ago, I felt that I wasn't "kindred" enough to really be part of the group. Others were deeper. Others understood more. Others wore turbans and all-white. Others knew all the mantras by heart.
I remember hoping the topics of vaccinations and ice cream didn't come up --vaccinations because my kids are vaccinated and I knew many on a natural, holistic path don't agree with that; ice cream because my kids have been known to have a Pavlovian response to the music of the ice cream truck coming down our street and they've been known to fervently chase it down clutching money I'd given them to purchase crap with crazy dyes and high-fructose corn syrup.
Quick Aside: I realize that some of you reading this (some of you whom I care for very deeply) will be thinking that I poisoned my children. I respect your opinion and your right to make choices for your body and your family. We are all doing what we think is best.
The point is: we are all one, whatever choices we make. Some of us eat meat; some of us don't; some of us wear glitter eye shadow; some of us don't; some of us drink coffee; some of us avoid caffeine; some of us are immersed in the teachings of Kundalini Yoga; some of us just like to chant sometimes and don't really understand what we're chanting about. It's all okay. It's all kindred.
We all have that longing to go deep within ourselves, to understand the way forward and what's True. If Kundalini Yoga feels like your way in or that it may be your way in, that's what brings us together in community. Each of us is equal in this community and we each bring our own gifts to the table. Kindred.
If you're thinking about coming to class for the first time but worried that you're not going to be an instant part of the community, let me put your mind at ease: You will be.
If you've been coming to class but you still feel somehow separate, let me remind you that we are all one. That is one of the sutras of Kundalini Yoga: Recognize that the other person is you.
If you're considering the Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training but worried that you'll have to keep quiet about certain aspects of your life, let me assure you: All are welcome! All histories are understood.
May the Truth in you guide you, Kindred Spirit!
Blog by Cate Baily
Cate discovered Kundalini Yoga by accident over 20 years ago and was surprised and thrilled by how engaged, energized, and inspired it made her feel. She's been practicing ever since. Click here for more complete bio.