Thoughts lead to action

I was watching a commentary on 9/11 recently, and the reporter asked this individual, “Now a whole generation has grown up, without knowing of 9/11;  Why do you think it’s so important to keep on telling this story?”  He said words to this affect….

“Hatred expressed as anger will lead to destructive action, compassion expressed as anger will lead to positive change”.   Dali Lama

In other words, we are all capable of hatred; we all have amounts of dark and light within us.  Every day we make a choice as to what we will bring out, positive or negative thoughts.  

Our thoughts –  even unspoken, can lead to action down the road. 

Recently I was rushing to get to a store before they closed, and ran into some slow traffic.  Now all of you know, how type A I am…..before yoga, I would have said some choice words, had some hand waving going on, and encouraged the guy to move faster.  Driving close to him, I was paying attention, and kept a steady rhythm of chanting, something I almost always do in the car.  I made it to the store, and returned the tool I had borrowed, and went over to the studio to teach.  A student came in early to find me in a quiet state, meditating.  Coming out, I said hello, and they wondered what I was doing.  I told him about returning the tool, rushing, and he said, “I’ll bet you said some choice words”.  I replied, “No, I didn’t, but I thought them, and that’s just as bad as saying them.”

Here is proof positive that the practice of yoga can make you a kinder, more compassionate person.   I have mostly been successful in not planting bad seeds of saying unkind words, but I still have some work to do.  

There is a lot of reasons that people start the practice of yoga; flexibility, health, de-stressing, or other reasons.  It’s the same as me.  I didn’t think that making my hamstring longer might change my thoughts from negative to positive, but it has.  

I have also seen in my years of teaching, people start and stop their yoga practice.  I think they get close to this truth, this deep stuff we all hold inside, and get scared and stop practicing.  When you hit a deep groove of darkness in your life, it’s easier to stop all the positive things you have been doing, and fall down into the dark well that encompasses us.  It takes courage and a great deal of commitment to keep on the path, even if your body tells you something different.  Sometimes you might even wonder, why I did the same set of poses day after day, this can’t be doing anything for me….

The yoga philosophy says, that very regular, consistent practice is what we should be doing.  They don’t mention doing any specific poses.  So, show up, practice everyday.  See what comes up, and see how you change.  I told my class to practice yoga not to become a yogi Rockstar or achieve a certain pose, but practice yoga to become a better human.  

And that is what I’m striving for:  to become a better human.

See you on the mat,

Paula