Earlier on I was in my yoga class. I hadn’t been to yoga in over a week and after a stressful few days and an early morning, I really needed it. The class was great – energetic, revitalising, and relaxing. But as I sat down on the mat before the class began, an odd wave of emotion came over me.
I felt angry.
Not like the suddenly seeing red kind of angry. In fact, I don’t think I would of noticed it was anger if I hadn’t been in a yoga class. Yoga forces us to be present and not worry about what’s circling within our minds. The type of anger I felt was something I believe all of us feel quite a lot, possibly on a daily basis. It’s probably more destructive than those red hot flashes. It’s the kind of anger that we don’t notice, seeps in, and then proceeds to eat us up.
I felt angry and bitter about so many things. Things in the past. Trivial things. Things I can not change. I was angry at other people. And I felt all those negative emotions associated with anger and bitterness – jealousy, rivalry, frustration, etc. And it wasn’t even about anything specific or important. Just silly things that I think run through all of our minds. As unphased as we like to think we are by these things, we all feel jealous and frustrated from time to time. I caught myself in this thought process. I realised what I was doing. I dedicated my practise that day to letting go of all of these things, to let life be and not worry about external circumstances I cannot control or trivial things, and to simply be present. And now i’m extending that into this post.
I read a quote earlier. It said this:
‘An old Cherokee told his grandson:
“my son, there’s a battle between two wolves inside of us. One is Evil. it is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies, and ego.
The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, and truth”
The boy thought about it and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”
The old man quitely replied:
“the one you feed”
This is very true. If we focus on the negativity in our life it will destroy us. And the deep parts of our soul that negativity destroys are parts we can never get back. Hate breeds more hate. If instead we focus on the love and compassion we have for ourselves and for others around us, everything will fall into place.
Of course, it is totally unrealistic to say we should wander around glowing and smiling and feeling joyous all the time. The nature of life is that we go through ups and downs. This is something we can not control. However we can control how we react to certain situations, and we can control how we let situations affect us. Do we dwell on the things that leave us feeling bitter, twisted, or stressed out? Or do we accept them for what they are, and move on?
One of the reasons I love yoga is because it teaches you to forget about silly thoughts, and to be present, and to simply focus on your breathing, posture, and alignment. Having this practice really puts it into perspective. You are capable of being an amazing, fantastic being, and when things go wrong there is only so much you can do. We need to learn to reach out and practice love, instead of hate. Just as feeling anger will transform us into resentful shadows of ourselves, practicing positivity, gratitude, mindfulness and acceptance will allow us to be the most incredible, glowing force of ourselves we can be.
Next time you are caught up in that negative mindset, I challenge you to notice it, and to take a moment to breathe and think about why you feel that way. You may notice that actually, you have no legitimate reason for feeling that way at all. And what if you do? What if you have reason for being angry? Then see how you can address that, instead of dwelling on the anger. It is up to you which wolf inside of you wins.