Bondage or Liberation?

“As the mind, so the person. Bondage or liberation are in the mind” is an old Sanskrit saying. 

If you feel bound, you are bound. If you feel liberated you are liberated.

Nelson Mandela arrived at a parallel perspective, which serves as a perfect paradigm. For years he was incarcerated and beaten daily. He realized that in order to survive, not just physically but spiritually and mentally, he had to make a choice. He could choose to remain in a state of victimhood to his captors, ORhe could “choose” to be incarcerated. 

He “choose” to be incarcerated and “choose” to be beaten. 

Crazy, right? Hard to imagine that is a choice

This last week at the studio, we too were faced, quite unexpectedly, with a choice.

In the midst of a hot, humid, Summer day, the power went out.  Without a doubt, the heat and humidity was palpable upon entrance. Many could have left the studio. Some did. However, for the majority, they choose, amidst the otherwise undesirable circumstances, to stay. 

They choose their practice and they choose the heat.  

For those that stayed (and there were many) they could have been bound by, and thus made themselves victims of, the heat.  In the middle of class, all of us drenched in sweat, I invited everyone to pause and to feel their bodies, wholly in that moment.  Then, I asked that they envision a freezer, and then suggested that they slowly open that freezer and allow their faces to bask in the cool, refreshing air.

A tactic of the mind, perhaps, but then again…

Bondage or liberation are in your mind. 

Where are you bound? Where do you find yourself as a victim to your circumstances? If you were to adopt a perspective of freedom, what might change?  How might you change?

The second sutra of the second book of Patanjali states that it is “the restraints of the modifications of the mind (the agitation, the consistent, otherwise unstoppable thought-circles and trails) which is yoga.”

This week I invite you to practice yoga — of the body and/or mind. If a negative thought or sensation arises, play with acknowledging those feelings … that’s the first step.

By not resisting, just acknowledging…you may be able to more easily [choose to] change your regular neural pathway. 

 

With love and light,

Rachel