Riding the emotional rollercoaster can be a thrilling ride as well as a dedicated lifestyle. It is also a ride that keeps you from experiencing the greatest joy you have ever known. It blocks your ability to live in the ever-arising bliss of your own Beingness in every moment of your life.
Your emotions are merely physical sensations, triggered by the thoughts that pass through your mind. When you think about something, your body reacts the same as if it is really happening. Your thoughts and emotions are inseparable.
This morning I woke from a dream, startled and confused. I was in a panic trying to figure out how the incidents in my dream could have happened. It was playing out in my head as if it were real. Physically, my experience was as though it all had really happened.
Your experience of your life is not based in circumstances. It is based in your thoughts about them. If you approve of how your life is going, you feel happy. If you don’t, you are not. And there is a large range of emotions to experience in between.
Your emotional condition is created by your thoughts. One researcher estimates that the average person thinks 65,000 thoughts a day. How many are positive and uplifting, and how many are negative, assuming the worst? Unfortunately, many of these thoughts are repetitive; you keep living through them over again and again.
The only way to get off the rollercoaster is to find a deeper dimension of your own being. This changes your reactions to circumstances, as Swami Nirmalananda describes:
Like a three-year old who cries when their block tower falls, you crumble in the face of life’s difficulties. But when the three-year old grows up, she or he takes the falling of the block tower in stride. When you grow into your Self, the experiencing of your own Divinity, you’ll take life’s events in stride, too.
Yoga’s goal is for you to experience your own Self. Most people focus on the external benefits of health, beauty, youth and vitality. As wonderful as these are, there is more available to you. To find the Self, the sages knew that you need to quiet your mind. Fortunately, every yoga practice is actually for your mind.
When I awoke from my dream, startled, confused and in a panic, my physical experience was as if it all really happened. Mentally I knew it hadn’t. I reminded myself of this and stopped the thought train from rushing on. Calmness ensued. I have learned a lot about my mind from my yoga studies. My yoga practices hone me for living a life focused on stillness and the opening it provides. Yet yoga promises more:
“As the mind is stilled, the emotions are also stilled. Through the practices… the mind can be freed from the forces (that drive it), and it is possible to live in purity and light all the time. You will still have feelings, but they will be purified and positive; they will be divine emotions.”
– Swami Muktananda
Yoga’s practices quiet your mind. When your mind becomes still, you open to the bliss that is you; you experience your own Self. Each experience of Self enables you to be more present in your life. You become calm and steady on the inside. You experience your life from an inner fullness that affects how you react to your circumstances. See the incredible simplicity. Use yoga to still your mind and the magic will occur.
OM svaroopa svasvabhava namo namah