Are you expressing your true feelings?
Is your ‘ role’ more important than you?
Are you responsible for how other people feel?
Some questions raised by Dr Gabor.
For some time now, I’ve been floored and freed to a degree, by the fascinating Dr. Gabor Maté. There’s something so comforting about the knowing . . . that strange feeling of resonance, when you hear scientific research and results, when you’re not that ‘sciencey’, and
Resonating??!! Then …
W A T C H T H I S V I D E O !
And Dr. Maté has recently discovered the practice of yoga and apparently is reaping rewards! Although some people perceive it as ‘new age’ or ‘airy fairy’, YOGA is in fact not new at all, actually it’s been around for thousands of years. It is a practice, a way of living, or in other words – an art and a science, the wisdom coming from The Vedas (the ancient tomes where actually modern allopathic medicine established its’ very foundation, but now has many of the ‘good bits’ taken out!)
If you don’t know me, it is generally safe to assume, that when I talk about ‘yoga’, I am not talking about a series of postures or exercises, I am talking about living according to the many practices of yoga – a system, a practical philosophy which provides a framework for intelligent living.
I’m thinking that what resonates with me about what Dr. Maté shares, is familiar to me because it lines up with what I have learned to date in my studies in yoga.
“The compulsive and automatic concern for the needs of others, while ignoring your own, is a major risk factor for chronic illness.”
GUILTY. This is my tendency.
Yoga helps me.
Ahimsa, is the first tenet of the yoga philosophy, and is often translated as non-violence. I have a personal dislike and a sort of impatience for this translation because where does your mind go when I say don’t think of elephants??! Non-violence is not a very descriptive or encompassing translation, it’s seems limiting to me. I find a more beautiful and fitting translation in the word COMPASSION. Do No Harm is another way to understand it – hippocratic, non?! Anyway, this tenet is supposed to be practised in tandem with all other yoga practices. And it’s one we are constantly given the opportunity to work on! My sense of it is simply, if we are not practising compassion we are not practising yoga.
So how can we care truly for others, or even have equal regard for all humans, if we do not have a practice of self-compassion? Compassion is a practice that needs SELF-COMPASSION in order for it to be sustainable.
I’m not talking about this estimation of ‘self-care’ and ‘self love’ that’s hitting our social media screens, ‘trending right now’, and giving millennials a bad name!!! It’s not as simplistic as treating yourself to a bath or a ‘mental health’ day off work, or even saying no to things to which we might automatically say yes. Whilst all these things are indeed beneficial practices within a self-compassion practice, unless we are teaming them up with a self-reflective practice of some sort, and a higher goal or intention, they can run out of steam and lack substance.
“You can’t separate the mind from the body. It’s unscientific”.
The benefits really come and are sustained, when we are looking deep inside ourselves and observing our reactions and responses, when we realise our needs and how they are or aren’t being met. When we address our shadow side as well as our ‘light’ side. That’s when the practice of compassion can get juicy!
Dr. Maté worries about ‘nice people’! Love it!!
Being so good all the time, constantly caring for others’ needs over our own needs, worrying about upsetting the apple cart, are the reasons why only the good die young!! We are wearing out our telomeres!!!
“Are your behaviours and thought patterns creating your illness?”
Are you even aware of how you are thinking? And of how your thoughts create and shape your reality. Are you choosing to think thoughts, create beliefs, and make actions in the world, that support you, the greater good and each other? That encompass goodness, abundance, connection with each other and compassion for all? Or are you choosing thoughts, creating beliefs and making actions in the world that are ruled or rooted in fear and lack, that create a ‘them and us’ mindset, and are a result of our attachment to our preferences? Do you observe your thoughts, words and deeds and have any higher intention or goal for your way of life?
This is an important part of a self compassion practice. Time set aside for you, no sorry, not to get a mani pedi, but to get to know YOU. Dr. Maté says “who gets sick and who doesn’t is not accidental”!!! Are you aware of the patterns you are creating, repeating, passing on to your children, or your peers or those you influence? How can you stop getting ill, if you aren’t even aware that how you are living is creating the illness.
It doesn’t show up for us all in the same way.
SURE – you eat too much bacon, you get fat. But you might be doing everything ‘right’ and still be getting sick. What he’s saying is you still haven’t listened, there’s something missing in the interpretation, the transmission isn’t yet complete. There is more work for you to do! (f.y.i. theres always more work for us to do!)
Why Restorative Yoga Supports A Compassionate Mind
What I’m saying is, etching out time to enquire is a solid foundation for a true compassion practice.
First we set aside time away from what we get caught up in – aka LIFE! We get our bodies very comfortable in a trusted and safe place, and allow it to be in a state where cellular healing and neural relaxation can take place – supported positions of physiological rest, that illicit the parasympathetic nervous system and allow the sympathetic nervous system to rest. And we use this quiet time to observe the mind’s noise, we make space for emotions, thoughts, sensations to arise, in order to hear and acknowledge our needs, important as so often we suppress our own wants and needs because we prioritise others, or our roles in life, or we have somehow come to believe that we are undeserving of our own true needs! And so we come away with a renewed physical body, and a renewed sense of self, and perhaps an intention to better support our needs, so that we can show up in the world and give our best, without giving ourselves.
One of my favourite songs comes to mind … have a listen to end this post on a loving note!
“You and I, we were captured
We took our souls and we flew away
We were right, we were giving
That’s how we kept what we gave away”