Suffering, Anyone?

The idea of suffering was exemplified in Vinyasa class when we suspended ourselves from ropes anchored to the wall. My favorite pose was the backbend: we faced the wall, put the rope around waists, bent our knees and placed them against the wall, and leaned back, arching our spines and stretching our heads toward the floor.

All such suffering is, however, self-imposed or ego-imposed. This can mean several things. One is that we choose to make ourselves suffer more intensely. For example, we make the sting of rejection worse by brooding over it. Dwelling on pain intensifies it as the mind becomes increasingly more turbulent. This is when we become our own worst enemies and beat ourselves up by continuously rehashing events. Self-pity and self-hatred are common ways people accelerate pain.

We can spend our lives dealing with this pain or that, or we can look at the self-imposition of suffering from a yogic perspective: eliminate the self or at least dilute it. Pain cannot congregate on that which does not exist or that which cannot harbor it, so it flows like water off the back.

Fragile egos need not ever be a problem again (sounds like the beginning of a great ad) if we practice yoga! No longer do we have to take things personally: how can we when there is no person or ego?

Yoga teaches us that suffering is a choice. Once we understand world metaphysically (the illusion of the personal self and oneness of all) and practice yoga to live that metaphysical truth, then freedom occurs and trans-consciousness emerges.

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