Your body holds the history of not only anything that has ever happened to you. You have a collection of mental images that arise when you think about this thing called "your past," and the more of them you have that are painful, the harder it is to open your heart and love people. Why?
You’re afraid it's going to happen all over again. Why would pain be a good thing? If used properly, pain becomes something that acts as a cause of compassion. Somehow, pain produces empathy and that empathy, that feeling of another person’s pain, opens your heart like a flower to the sun.
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Everyone has personal tragedies behind them, losses, betrayals, deaths — not just you. You were taught how to heal yourself was to was to take care of yourself: to take the right vitamins, to eat the organic food, to avoid the pollution, to sidestep the homeless, to see the right acupuncturist, to brush the teeth, to get the right amount of sleep, the right amount of money, the right apartment, the right lover, the right job, the right everything.
But, those aren’t the actual causes of happiness.
We have been pushing away and refusing our whole lives the very thing that can create happiness. We refuse it by divorcing it, quitting it, leaving it and otherwise squashing it.
It is in the refusing of it that the pain comes. Pain itself is not actually so bad. But the refusal of it is very, very painful.
When we allow the pain to come into our heart, it transforms into love. But we worry: "I don’t think I can take all this on. It’s too much" or "What will happen to me if I lose myself so completely in love for another? Who is going to take care of my pain?" and tell pain to go away and bother someone else.
Think to yourself "Where is the (say your name to yourself) that refuses to love others?" Try to find it, look for it inside of you, where is it? Where is the being who refuses to love others? We all want to love, we all want to heal the world, we all want suffering to end, but, "Uhhh!! I cant!” Why not? The heart is closed.
Yoga wasn’t created to get you in shape or calm you down or help you multitask crises. The practice was created to get you enlightened. The practice was designed to dissolve the imaginary divisions that your mind creates between you and everything else. But, how does that dissolving happen? Can I just walk over to you, jump in your lap and say “We are one!”? Is that what the teachings meant?
You try to eat, sleep, work, drink, shop your way out of pain. Does it work? No, it lands you in rehab, or worse. You use life to distract yourself from what it is to be alive. Just hearing someone cry makes your mind go, "Oh no, please don’t make me feel you, please. It’s too much, I’m too tired/scared/spent, I can’t take on anymore pain, let me work out my stuff and get back to you” but that’s how you work out your stuff. It can’t, doesn’t, won’t happen in the confines of that tiny box you call (say your name to yourself).
All you need to do is take care of someone else. If you don’t use their pain to open your heart, their pain was for naught. Try. It will relieve your own. It’s the cause of your own pain leaving you.
You know how to do it. You were built to do it. There’s no other reason you are here. Every single being on this planet is your holy, precious child. Take them into your heart, finally, at long last, and love them.
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This post was authored by Kelly Morris.
In the age of constant communication, 24/7 jobs, and mandatory multitasking, finding a moment for reflection is almost impossible — almost. Courtney Somer made mental wellness her mission, creating Eyla, an online resource packed with inspiration and real-life tools to maintain your personal peace. We'll be sharing some of this goodness every week on R29 Guest Stars, so whether you're looking to get spiritual, clear your mind, or just read some motivating interviews, Eyla is here to help you shine brighter.