If you’ve ever felt stuck or like your life is pure crap, then you know the pain and anxiety that comes with those thoughts. Over the years of teaching and coaching, there have been many times people have asked for my advice. Many times, they don’t want advice, they was approval and acceptance.
We know when we are not in the best version of our life. Sometimes it when we chose people who do not support, value, or accept us for who we are. Other times it is in not meeting our potential and choosing jobs or life circumstances that are limiting. There is an inner friction that happens when we play in those circumstances.
There is plenty of psychology about why we do this. I am fascinated with the yogic perspective. Humans forget our true essence. That creates a forgetful state called avidya. We create identities that allow us to survive without the memory of our essence. This is asmita, or egoism. It feels like the world happens to us, there’s a lack of control, and the seeds of suffering begin to sprout. We create a self-image of ourselves that we believe is us, but it is not actually us. This self-image can contain both external (I am fat) and internal (I am a not good enough) false projections. We become trapped within the projections we have created of our life.
Our asmita plays with desire though raga, or attachment. This is the attraction to things that bring pleasure. We create mindless actions and myopic vision. Inability to obtain what we desire creates suffering and even when we get what we desire, we start looking for more which creates suffering.
There is also dvesha, or repulsion, which creates an aversion towards unpleasant experiences. Not being able to avoid the things we dislike creates suffering. Even the thought of our dvesha creates a physiological experience of suffering. Don’t believe me? Try it! Think of something or someone you really don’t like and notice how your body feels.
Our brains take the painful experiences in our lives and maps them. The mind is programed for survival, so in its quest to protect us, it measures data unconsciously at a rapid rate, measuring pleasure or pain potential. It then projects the past into the future, even though the present moment is unlike anything we've experience. We do it with raja and dvesha. We can take pleasant memories and strive to keep the situation as it was. There’s no way to keep people or situations frozen in time. We grow, evolve, change, even when we don't think we are.
All of this is part of the Lila, or Divine Play. Our growth is largely dependent on how well we can move through those, moment by moment, layer by layer.
Getting free of your crappy life starts with perspective shift. First, you have to look at what is working. There’s probably a lot. Start focusing on that. As you build an ever increasing attitude of gratitude, you can start to look more objectively on the raja and dvesha of your life.
I love to play with words. This is a great way to shift perspective. Let’s use the internal false projection from above, “I’m not good enough.” You could turn it into a number of other perspectives:
- I am good enough
- I feel good enough
- I am better than enough
- Enough good I am not.
- Good enough I am.
With each, what proof or examples do you have of those in your life? You may find that by shifting the perspective, you can take action towards aligning more authentically with your true essence. The perspective shift also provides liberation from a faulty mindset. What is interesting is that the new perspective makes you stop seeking validation and start seeking to meet your own needs. You make better choices. You’re happier.
It’s a simple formula that humans complicate, but that’s part of the Lila. It’s all play, though.
Wendy Reese is 500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher with 15 years of teaching experience, a yoga lifestyle coach, author, speaker, host of The Whole Being Zone, and a Desire Map Facilitator. She is passionate about helping people live their yoga off the mat by infusing ancient wisdom with pragmatic woo-woo in applicable, fun, and slightly irreverent ways to optimize wholeness. Wendy holds a BS in exercise science from Northern Arizona University and a MA in Applied Community Change and Conservation from Future Generations Graduate School. Join the free 7 day series Living Yoga Off The Mat here.