If You Want a Rainbow, You Must Put Up with a Little Rain!

If your mind becomes firm like a rock
and no longer shakes
In a world where everything is shaking
Your mind will be your greatest friend
and suffering will not come your way.  Therigatha

How do I develop a steady mind when the world shakes around me?  How do I become my own best friend?  How do I release and let go of suffering?  I believe that it comes through the teaching of yoga called, "equanimity, or acceptance."
    • Equanimity describes a complete openness to experience, without being lost in reactions of love and hate. It's a powerful quality in its own right, and it fortifies other qualities. It supports wisdom because when the mind doesn't shake, we can stay with the truth of things long enough to have a deep insight. 
    • Equanimity has a balance that empowers loving-kindness (metta) with patience, so that we care, even in times when the people that we love do self-destructive things. 
      • "May you be happy and have the causes of happiness."
      • "May you be healthy in body, mind, and spirit."
      • "May you be safe, free from harm."
      • "May you be at peace."  Metta Meditation
    • Without equanimity we might demand that happiness occur in the ways that we think it should, rather than stay connected and loving with things as they are. 
    • Equanimity endows compassion with courage, so that we have the courage to face the pain in life and to face the cruelty in the world. When we care deeply, we try to help, but we can't always alleviate pain. Sometimes what we do doesn't actually help.  You can not control what another person will do.  Shaila Catherine
When I accept myself, even the parts of me that I do not appreciate, and release my ego, I find peace.  

Yoga is really all about finding that peace with yourself on the mat.  

Personally, I wish I was 22 again like Alyssa at times.  I long for the flexibility of Micah at times.  I desire the backbends of Sheri at times.  I envy the joy of a tall, lean body like Shelly at times.  But, I am "me."  

At 56, some days I have a cranky joint or an inflexible hip or lower back area.  I am learning each day to give thanks for who I am.  The more I cooperate with myself, the more peaceful I become with tolerating mistakes and getting along with all people, even the unfriendly ones.  The more I practice, the more I like myself, just as I am at this age with this strength, flexibility, and balance.

The real secret to yoga is not wishing, desiring, longing, and envy.  It is "letting go" of my perfectionistic tendencies and learning to accept myself for where I am today.  

Today is my gift.  Today is my present moment.  Today I am free one breath, one peaceful intention at a time.

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