So what were my insights from last week?
I’ve done some more reading on Yoga, in particular, this week, and the premises of Yoga are very similar to those of Buddhism. Enlightenment is the goal – but this isn’t some airy fairy transcendental experience. You don’t go off flying into the air or suddenly have the wisdom of the entire world at your disposal. It is much more subtle than that, but it’s also something I have most definitely not achieved…not yet at least!
Part of trying to achieve enlightenment is to cultivate a kind of detachment. I misunderstood this for many years in that I thought detachment meant being devoid of any feelings or even caring for the things around and within us. You just let everything happen and feel nothing towards anything in particular. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Now, I’m the first to admit that my understandings of Yoga, Buddhism and Hinduism are far from complete – I have a lot to learn – but this is my understanding at this point in time.
Experiences and emotions happen – both good and bad. The trick is to try and let them happen without feeling attached to them – meaning that you recognise that you are feeling sorrow, but realise it is not who you are; you lose your job, but you realise this is also not who you are. There is something deeper – the real “you” or “me” – that is centred and can gently watch thoughts and emotions as they move through our minds and hearts.
This, as I understand it, means that we can experience a deeper sense of self and we can more easily experience happiness because we choose not to latch onto negative emotions. This doesn’t mean we don’t feel negative emotions – it is kind of like sadness turns up and instead of your mind going on “Oh no, here’s sadness again! What have I done wrong? I shouldn’t be feeling sad! This is terrible! I’d better try and fight it and get rid it!”, your mind simply recognises “I feel sad”.
So, how does this relate to last week? I tried to control my negative emotions, I put too much emphasis on trying not to feel these negative emotions that it was almost like the call of the wild to them, and I gave them power. Once I realised that I just needed to observe and be compassionate toward them they lost that power. They moved quickly on and I had space to realise the happiness and love that is in my life right now.
It also put me in a place where I could think about our child with love. I could picture them surrounded by my love and I realised that they are there – they are just not physically with me this time around. I also had the realisation that nothing would make up for the fact that we couldn’t have our child – and I needed to let that go. I needed to remove the expectation that the life I have created will provide full compensation for not having our child.
I feel freer now. I feel like I can enjoy the different parts of my life because of what they are. I enjoy conservation volunteering because I want to do it. I enjoy my pets because I love them – they don’t need to fill a void – they shouldn’t have the responsibility of filling a void. I spend time with my nephews and nieces because I love them – not because they are replacements for our own child – I love them for who they are and how they are in our life.
I certainly haven’t got anything sorted out for good – I’m not enlightened yet! I know there will be times when I will have experiences similar to those of last week – but perhaps next time I will be quicker to realise what is happening and to remember how to be with it, instead of trying to fight it.