Rainbowyoga's Blog

Not just another yoga site

How to see people, not just our reactions to them September 29, 2011

Filed under: Dailies — rainbowyoga @ 12:07 am

When we encounter someone, usually the mind automatically slots the person into a category: man, woman, your friend Tom, the kid next door, etc. Watch this happen in your own mind as you meet or talk with a co-worker, salesclerk, or family member.

In effect, the mind summarizes and simplifies tons of details into a single thing – a human thing to be sure, but one with an umbrella label that makes it easy to know how to act. For example: “Oh, that’s my boss (or mother-in-law, or boyfriend, or traffic cop, or waiter) . . . and now I know what to do. Good.”

This labeling process is fast, efficient, and gets to the essentials. As our ancestors evolved, rapid sorting of friend or foe was very useful. For example, if you’re a mouse, as soon as you smell something in the “cat” category, that’s all you need to know: freeze or run like crazy!

On the other hand, categorizing has lots of problems. It fixes attention on surface features of the person’s body, such as age, gender, attractiveness, or role. It leads to objectifying others (e.g., “pretty woman,” “authority figure”) rather than respecting their humanity. It tricks us into thinking that a person comprised of changing complexities is a static unified entity. It’s easier to feel threatened by someone you’ve labeled as this or that. And categorizing is the start of the slippery slope toward “us” and “them,” prejudice, and discrimination.

Flip it around, too: what’s it like for you when you can tell that another person has slotted you into some category? In effect, they’ve thingified you, turned you into a kind of “it” to be managed or used or dismissed, and lost sight of you as a “thou.” What’s this feel like? Personally, I don’t like it much. Of course, it’s a two-way street: if we don’t like it when it’s done to us, that’s a good reason not to do it to others.

The practice I’m about to describe can get abstract or intellectual, so try to bring it down to earth and close to your experience.

When you encounter or talk with someone, instead of reacting to what their body looks like or is doing or what category it falls into:

  • Be aware of the many things they are, such as: son, brother, father, uncle, schoolteacher, agnostic, retired, American, fisherman, politically conservative, cancer survivor, friendly, smart, donor to the YMCA, reader of detective novels, etc. etc.
  • Recognize some of the many thoughts, feelings, and reactions swirling around in the mind of the other person. Knowing the complexity of your own mind, try to imagine some of the many bubbling-up contents in their stream of consciousness.
  • Being aware of your own changes – alert one moment and sleepy another, nervous now and calm later – see changes happening in the other person.
  • Feeling how things land on you, tune into the sense of things landing on the other person. There is an experiencing of things over there – pleasure and pain, ease and stress, joy and sorrow – just like there is in you. This inherent subjectivity to experience, this quality of be-ing, underlies and transcends any particular attribute, identity, or role a person might have.
  • Knowing that there is more to you than any label could ever encompass, and that there is a mystery at the heart of you – perhaps a sacred one at that – offer the other person the gift of knowing this about them as well.

At first, try this practice with someone who is neutral to you, that you don’t know well, like another driver in traffic or a person in line with you at the deli. Then try it both with people who are close to you – such as a friend, family member, or mate – and with people who are challenging for you, such as a critical relative, intimidating boss, or rebellious teenager.

The more significant the relationship, the more it helps to see beings, not bodies.

Advertisements
 

September 28, 2011

Filed under: Asanas — rainbowyoga @ 7:39 am
 

Filed under: videos — rainbowyoga @ 5:11 am
 

Filed under: videos — rainbowyoga @ 5:07 am
 

Golden Figs in saffron nectar September 27, 2011

Filed under: Vegetarian Recipes — rainbowyoga @ 12:19 am

Fig-ure this: the fruit of the gods—fresh figs— offer up some divine benefits for both men and women. They are packed with potassium, a mineral that assists in controlling blood pressure, plus a healthy amount of fiber to help you lose weight. Did you know that figs contain calcium too, making them a powerful bone density promoter.

A yogic recipe for Golden Figs combines the health benefits of fresh figs with saffron milk to make a delicious potency food for men and women (helpful for promoting vitality and prostate function in men). Soak 1 tablespoon saffron overnight in ½ cup milk. In the morning, blend the milk and saffron until smooth. Carefully wash 10-15 fresh figs. Draw milk and saffron into a clean syringe and inject the saffron “nectar” into the figs. Eat up to three per day and store the rest in the freezer. Celebrate the fantastic fig!

 

Filed under: Dailies — rainbowyoga @ 12:08 am

What is true can only be found from moment to moment, it is not a continuity, but the mind which wants to discover it, being itself the product of time, can only function in the field of time; therefore it is incapable of finding what is true.To know the mind, the mind must know itself, for there is no ‘I’ apart from the mind. There are no qualities separate from the mind, just as the qualities of the diamond are not separate from the diamond itself. To understand the mind you cannot interpret it according to somebody else’s idea, but you must observe how your own total mind works. When you know the whole process of it,how it reasons, its desires, motives, ambitions, pursuits, its envy, greed and fear; then the mind can go beyond itself, and when it does there is the discovery of something totally new. 

– J. Krishnamurti

 

September 25, 2011

Filed under: Asanas — rainbowyoga @ 9:14 am