I recently had a powerful (not to mention painful) lesson to learn. It seems that when I don’t ‘get’ something the universe has a way of slapping me across the face with it. I am sure it has something to do with my stubborn nature and my refusal to shift my viewpoint when I think I am already ‘right’ about something. However, when I don’t pick up on the gentle subtleties of life’s lessons and the softly softly approach has failed me, the universe comes down on me like a tropical thunderstorm. There is no hiding from it, no running away and no pretending like it is not happening. So, I thought I would share my little lesson with you so that you may have the chance to learn from my mistakes and avoid being slapped across the cheek in the middle of a downpour yourself.
Recently, somebody crossed me. They belittled me, put me down, and attacked me (well, it felt like an attack at the time although I did admit after to being a little low, a bit oversensitive, and rather premenstrual-mental) anyway…. I reacted. That’s the key word here: reacted. Emotionally charged, fuelled with defensive anger, I attacked back. I lashed out with my scorpion sting and stung the guy right where it hurts – the ego!
Normally, I am such a sweet natured, charming girl but I am not nice to cross. I’m sure that the little girl with the little curl nursery rhyme was written about me. Anyway, I didn’t hold back. I let rip. In a way that only I know how. All that I said was true, but it was spoken in a vicious tongue with the intention to hurt. And, hurt it did. The problem is that when the scorpion produces that poison a bit of that poison stays in your own system, polluting the pure blood and makes you feel bad. I felt so bad about the pain and hurt that I had caused that I cried for 2 days.
You are responsible for your own actions and you can’t blame someone else. If someone hurts or attacks you and you become angry – you are choosing anger. If you vent that anger, you are choosing to. And then that anger becomes part of you; it becomes the colour that you have chosen to wear that day.
When these situations occur in my life, I dissect them. I chop them up into little pieces and try desperately hard to make sense of them. I have always been incredibly self-reflective, needing to learn from every situation as it arises. I explained the situation to my mum, who explained it to me in Astrological terms: She told me that I have a lot of personal planets in Scorpio, which explains the sting in my tail. Mars in Scorpio particularly affected this as it dictates how you fight. If someone attacks me then my natural instinct is to fight back, and when I do I do it with venom. I also have Pluto in my midheaven, which makes me stand my ground and I am not afraid to defend myself. I also have Sagittarius rising which makes me quick of the tongue – however, I tend to speak on impulse and think later. It also makes me spout words out rather than speak them quietly and clearly, especially if I feel that I have been treated unfairly.
However, this response does not work for me anymore, now that yoga has made me increasingly analytical about everything that I say and do. After the emotion and anger had drained out of the situation, I was the one left feeling bad. I cried for two whole days and lay awake at night regretting my vicious words and wishing that my tongue had held itself.
The yoga sutra’s offered me this advice: “you should always be honest, however a hurtful truth should not be uttered.” So if you are saying something just to be hurtful, even if it is true, then you should learn how to keep stum.
Yesterday I was reading my spiritual scriptures (continually trying to improve myself) and Eknath Easwaran shed some more light on my lesson.
“I have heard the most cultured of people, in the most affectionate of relationships, saying hurtful things simply because they have not learned to train the mind never to indulge in any kind of harm.”
He goes on to say “Nothing burns in hell but self-will. An outburst of self-will may seem justified at the time, but for those who are sensitive; a stab of remorse follows all too soon. This is a good sign. It is better to be sensitive, suffer from our mistakes and learn not to repeat them than to go through life, leaving a trail of broken relationships and wondering why we hurt inside.”
So this is my lesson, my gift from me to you. Learn how to act not react. Learn how to hold back a rude remark, even if you are being insulted, put down, attacked or belittled. You must learn to think “Oh no – I don’t want to lie awake at night feeling remorseful and regretting my words. Easwaran says that eventually the reversal of the conditioning will go so far that if someone says or does something unkind towards you that you will instantly feel sorry for that person (and not for yourself). That is my new goal, definitely something worth working towards.
This rule also falls into the moral principle of Ahimsa – non-harming. It is choosing how you react to not hurt others but also to not harm yourself by your words to others.
The very least we can do is learn from our mistakes and hope that next time around we act differently. When you acknowledge a mistake and lie awake at night unable to sleep because of it then you must use that pain to drive down to the depths of your inner being and bring about change. Connect to your deeper consciousness and help bring about the desire to not act on self-will again.
Don’t be too harsh on yourself though, remember that it is better to make mistakes, suffer and learn than not to grow at all.
Be gentle to yourself. Be kind to others. Love thy enemy in order to Love thyself.
Ashtanga Yoga Devon - UK Distributor for Yoga Paws
Featured Yogi: @odettehughesyoga