I sometimes think in my fantasy I am a transcended yogi free of blame and suffering. But that’s not true. I had an experience recently that revealed to me how quick I am to assign blame.
Somehow if I can blame someone for something that’s irritating me, it justifies my discomfort. I feel righteous in some way that reduces the pain of guilt or shame. It seems silly to think that projecting anger toward someone or something is a way of unburdening myself. But really, does that help? Does blame unburden anyone? Well, yes, in the short term but never in the long term. Blame is a way of venting pain or discomfort in an attempt to quickly relieve myself of the pain, hurt, anger, embarrassment, or humiliation. It’s an attempt to solve the problem quickly so that I can get on with my life. (Code for skimming over my pain and not embracing my shadow as though life should only feel good always.) This isn’t anyone’s fault. Our nervous system is wired for moving toward pleasure and resisting pain. This is a survival mechanism we absolutely need.
But there is another way to deal with discomfort. It’s yogic: hold the posture and breath into the pain. In asana practice, we are encouraged to go to our edge of discomfort, pause, breathe into it, become aware, release and let go of tension or self-judgment, and try to bring comfort to our discomfiture. Yoga is the life training to “hold the pose” of the unknown and the uncomfortable momentarily before doing anything, deciding anything, or assigning blame.
This moment of awareness is the gap, like the space between two trapeze bars. If you can put a space between […]