100 Days of Yoga, Day 31


September 21, 2012 by blogmasterjdeam



I love instant karma.  I used to hate it.  Now I love it.  I got an email from an older relative, I made an assumption, answered the email in a brusque manner and viola — instant karma — I got back a stinging, reprimanding email.  Under the circumstances, the response was deserved.  I was out of line and wrote with an intent less than respectful or honest.  On the surface, the words appeared good enough, but my real intent snuck in under the wire.  As it turns out, this relative was still on the computer, got my email, and responded with anger.  This immediate response allowed me to see, instantly, that I was not getting away with anything.  I had to face the music and face it immediately.  I apologized.  And in apologizing, erased any future karma I was in the process of creating.

What happens when our words and intent are not in alignment?  I believe for most people, the underlying message is the only one that gets through.  We discredit people when they take offense to something we’ve said or done by saying things like: Get over it, I was just joking.  Or, whoa, that wasn’t what I meant at all — where is that coming from?  Why do we think we can get away with this duplicitous behavior?  This is the thing that makes me crazy when people use sarcasm.  Is it possible the point of using sarcasm is to actually express our true feelings and hide said feelings behind a supposed joke?

There is, however, another layer to this story that I have not conveyed.  On the surface, and even when the first layer is peeled away, the story appears to make sense.  The missing piece, however, goes back to 1953, when I was too small to convey information, but old enough to retain it.  This particular relative did something illegal to me, for which this person, in this day and age, would have been arrested.  I’ve always known it.  That knowledge has stuck with me and been an undercurrent in every interaction the two of us have had.  Has this relative of which I speak forgotten this action?  It doesn’t matter, and I’ll tell you why.  When the two of us are not interacting, I don’t think about it.  But the part of me that retained that information gets woken up when we interact and that interaction becomes one of dishonesty.

There is this thing called “self-righteous indignation” that floats through my story line.  It is what has stopped me from examining this particular situation (among others) because it would have to be me that brings it to light.  Me, the small person who could not possibly remember such a thing at such a young age.  If this relative were to say to me: “look, I was young, stupid and angry, and I took it out on you.  I’m sorry.”  Then we could have a conversation where I say “yes, I understand, and of course I forgive you.  You were doing the best you could with the information you had.”  You see, I forgive very easily … or do I?

Self-righteous indignation is that part of me that keeps me from understanding and forgiving.  Is it possible to say to this person at this late stage of life, “I remember what happened and you are not mine to forgive, but for my own karma, I forgive you”?  For my own karma.  Because if I hang onto this bit of anger, like the poison it is, it will contribute to the many poisons capable of killing me.  A little poison here, a dash there — eventually it gets the job done.

Are you still thinking about the line: “this person is not mine to forgive”?  Yes, it is a confusing statement.  It goes back to my belief that each of us took a unique and particular birth in order to learn something while here at Earth School.  For example, if we chose to learn how to forgive ourselves, we would surround ourselves with people particularly adept at inducing guilt.  Every time we would do the work to get close to letting ourselves off the hook, in would waltz one of these people we chose to travel with, to remind us how quite unforgivable our act was.  So we just keep ourselves on the hook until we learn better.  But see the deal is, these people are simply doing their job.  We asked them to help us learn something and they are just playing out their role — they are doing what we asked them to do.  So, again, forgive them for what?  These people actually need to be thanked.  They are helping us WAKE UP.  And here is the other really important part of this equation.  The job they are doing is their karma — and we don’t get to judge it … ever.  We have no way of knowing what someone else is here to learn, so let’s not make assumptions about it.  Let the judging be over, please.

A tremendous amount of work goes into this job of getting to happiness.  We must clear out all the cobwebs, look at every leaf, turn over every rock and be painfully honest with ourselves.  We must be absolutely unwilling to brush things under the carpet.  I don’t mean we spend the rest of our lives dwelling on the bad stuff in a — poor me, what a victim I am– sort of way.  That doesn’t fix it either.  But being willing to bring the sh*t to the surface, hold it, examine it, understand it, and then release it for our highest good is absolutely essential to becoming a happier, more content, and, yes, whole human being.

And this is where asana works itself into the picture.  Patanjali believed we hold karma in our bodies and that particular poses help release it.  Have you ever been in a yoga class and seen someone break into tears?  I have, quite a few times.  What is happening is the body is releasing a long held emotion, physically.  My work, the emotion I hold in my body, still afraid to release, is the reason back bends are so difficult for me.  Back bends open the heart and I am not ready to trust enough yet to fully open my heart.

And then, factor this piece of information into the equation:

     “I don’t have many vices beyond caring what other people think, she said,
but that’s a big one.”    ~ Brian Andereas

This is also who I am.  We are very complex creatures and, I believe, it is our life work to “peel the onion.”  We can always choose not to.  I’ve pointed out many diversions available in every moment in every day.   But if we do choose to come awake, then pulling back layer after layer after layer until we finally get to the truth of who we are, so that eventually we can throw the whole ego away, is an absolute imperative.

So again I go to the mat.  And again I try to open my heart just a little bit more — incrementally, in very small doses, letting only a small amount of light in — only what I can bear at this moment.


Yours in vulnerability, Chris


3 thoughts on “100 Days of Yoga, Day 31

  1. Joan Shumway says:

    Thank you, Chris. This is what I needed to hear today. Love, Joan

  2. Cat says:

    Hey Chris! Yes, that whole “Get over it, I was just joking” thing is huge. My maternal extended family is big into this, chiding, negative ‘affection’. My mom thankfully was aware of it and tries to change it. Hard to change things you are raised on. I am happy she caught on, and that we could confer about it..that it’s not an ok way to communicate with each other.

    A friend of mine that I am living in the same city with after 10+ years of being long distance has thankfully begun therapy and does this less. It’s so hard to call her on it when she believes she’s just joking. She comes off as the most judgmental person I’ve ever been friends with b/c it’s such an ingrained way of her ‘affection’. I’ve considered not being her friend anymore b/c I am too sensitive to hang with someone that communicates by negative ‘joking’ followed by laughing at. Yuck! Like, there’s a place for it, and it can be fun, but rarely. Because she’s begun therapy and is taking a look at herself, she’s become much more conscious of how she communicates with her family and friends. So, I’m staying patient, maintaining boundaries, and hoping for the best. I need to tell her how I feel, but I haven’t yet. It never seems like the right moment. There’s friends who chide and we laugh together, but when your friend jokes at you and she’s the only one laughing…something has to change.
    Thanks for this blog dear heart!

    • jim clark says:

      “I was just joking” is in the same category as ” I was just saying…” Its something people who want to dis you say when they don’t want to be held accountable for what they are expressing.

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