Samskara saksat karanat purvajati jnanam. “Through sustained focus and meditation on our patterns, habits, and conditioning, we gain knowledge and understanding of our past and how we can change the patterns that aren’t serving us to live more freely and fully.” -Yoga Sutra III.18
If you think you are spiritually enlightened, go and spend a weekend with your parents, your ex or your children and find out what work you still have left to do. When we are tied genetically or bonded closely to another human, chances are they are going to push every button in your box until you crash like a stack of cards.
So why does this happen? Why is it that we think we are fully functioning, well adjusted adults and then someone does or says one small thing and you feel like a naughty little child all over again? Partly conditioning, partly cultural, as we grow up we develop what is referred to as Samskara. Samskara or track is a connection of two mismatched parts. For eg when you were a child and you fell over someone may have laughed at you. This may have produced a feeling of shame in you and in your body. Thirty years on you may fall out of a yoga pose and someone thinks it’s funny, but instead of enjoying the mirth you tense up and you are hurtled right back to the beginning. You have mismatched the childhood hurt to a new similar event or feeling.
Most times that I teach, I will get some form of a ‘I don’t like that’……. I don’t like being bought to attention, I don’t like ( some pose ) I don’t like being touched. But really, is it the thing that is happening now that you don’t like or the feelings that it arouses in you? Just like when we visit a parent and they say to us ‘ you always, or why didn’t you, or why can’t you….’ is it the parent we don’t like or the feelings that they are bringing out in you? We might notice if we are mindful, it is not the words, but the words activating a feeling that then activates a story, which is what we don’t like. If we are even more astute then we might notice a pattern forming, we might learn to see our own Samskara, out tracks, that we keep tramping in over and over again.
You then have a choice at this point. To weaken the grip of the groove you have stepped in to by acknowledging the feelings that have been triggered in you and working with that, or deepening the groove by allowing those feelings or emotions and your dialogue to take you over once again. The first approach is the kinder one that will lead you more to self awareness and realisation.
Practice for today: We are all on a journey to self realisation, to evolve or transcend that which binds us to our age old stories. Today if someone pushes one of your buttons, just pause for a minute and acknowledge that you have choice as to how you will be. Choose to go somewhere beautiful instead.