Discernment In Suffering.

It’s Halloween.  Another holiday.  This day isn’t particularly important to me and last year, my first without Sam, I didn’t feel sad that I was missing out on it.  This year feels a bit different.  He’s another year older.  Almost two.

Tonight I might be dressing him up anyways just to stroll him around town while his bigger cousins collect candy.  Tonight, I am missing out.  It’s nice to have Facebook gone but I’m still subjected to the sweetest kids in the cutest outfits via Instagram.  Elephants seem to be a theme this year.  Over lunch I glanced at my IG to see three different babies in elephant costumes.  I love them all.  I wonder if Sam would be an elephant this year, too.

I caught myself staring at my Instagram feed this afternoon and starting to somewhat shut down emotionally.  I immediately checked my yoga studio’s calendar to remember they’re closed today because they all parent living children and are celebrating the day, as they should.  Anxiety evoked.  But then something different happened – I caught myself doing it. 

I’m slowly working my way through Nicolai Bachman’s The Path of the Yoga Sutras and this afternoon at lunch I came across his challenge, “The next time your expectations are not met, see if you become upset.  Explore what you were or are attached to that caused the upset, and then view that thing as yet another changing entity within your seeable world.”  He continues, ” How we react to touchy situations can provide valuable information about our deep behavioral patterns.  Recognizing the existence of our discomfort or pain (duḥkha), identifying its cause, and then working to consciously weaken that cause will eventually eliminate suffering.

I undoubtedly suffer the most from losing my children.  So here was my opportunity to begin to practice viveka (what he defines as keen discernment) in my suffering.

See if you become upset. I was starting to panic.  My heart began to race.  I was frantically searching for a way to identify what was happening to me in the moment and how to best voice it.

What are you attached to that caused the upset? I’m attached to the want of something different than what is.  I want my life with Sam and Lion.  I want to dress them up and experience trick or treating as a mother to living children.  I don’t want to be afraid of the holidays.

View it as another changing entity.  I’d previously read that, “Understanding the transitory nature of all things is prerequisite of letting go of expectations and attachments.  Our senses interact with the outer world, yet we have the potential to turn our attention inward and experience that which never changes, our inner light of awareness (purusa)”.  I’m gently reminded there’s only one constant.

Unsure of what to do, as my workday closed I sat at my desk scrolling through online yoga videos I could do when I got home.  I searched for ‘Yoga for Anxiety’ and found one.  I realized on my drive home I didn’t know what was supposed to happen next.  At a stoplight, I grabbed my book and opened it to the next chapter entitled ‘Abhyasa – Diligent, Focused Practice’ and I smiled.  Maybe we innately know what it is that we need.  For me, it was the affirmation I needed that I am equipped mend my seemingly broken pieces.

I acknowledge the presence of my pain and I open my heart to healing.

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